The practice nursing team at Academy Medical Centre is playing an increasingly important role in the management of minor illnesses.
The number of practice nurses at the centre has increased over the last year with additional training in the assessment and management of minor illnesses being undertaken to prepare them for their expanded role in the practice team. Some nurses are also independent prescribers, enabling them to issue a prescription.
Dr MacCallum said: “The practice nurses are providing an invaluable service in the practice supporting the management of minor illnesses every day in the practice. This not only allows the patient to have quick access to appropriate support for the management of their problem, but also frees up the GPs to spend with people with more complex health problems.”
In order for the most appropriate person to deal with a request, the patient will be asked for a brief description of the problem when they contact the practice.
Speaking about her role, practice nurse Eleanor McIntosh commented: “We feel that we are using our skills fully supporting patient care within the practice. It is really satisfying for us to ensure people with minor illnesses that require input from a healthcare professional get seen promptly. There is always a GP available if the patient is assessed as needing further medical advice.
“Minor illnesses that are commonly dealt with by our nursing team include allergies, minor burns, coughs, coldsores, earache, emergency contraception (morning after pill), eye infections, urine infections, sunburn and thrush.”
Dr MacCallum concluded: “While this is a great service that has greatly improved patient access in the practice, we would remind patients that many minor illnesses are self-limiting. Coughs and colds normally get better in a week or two in an otherwise healthy person and we have little to offer in such situations.
“Community pharmacies also now offer an extended range of services and can be a really useful first point of contact if you have a minor illness and are not sure whether you need to see someone in the practice or not.
“We are aware that our patients have experienced significant change over the last year as we have implemented and fine-tuned our new service. We are grateful for all of their feedback that has allowed us to continue to make small improvements. We would ask them to continue to provide us with feedback by using email@example.com or contacting Diane Meek, Practice Manager either in person or by telephone.”