Clinical pharmacists helping Norwich patients stay safe and well

Clinical pharmacists JohnandGrahamPatients at five GP Practices in Norwich are being helped to stay safe and well at home thanks to a new team of clinical pharmacists.

And, according to one local GP “they have added a whole new dimension to patient care.”

The clinical pharmacists are part of NPL, the consortium of GP practices that runs the walk-in centre and registered practice in Rouen Road. They work from Rouen Road and four other GP Practices as part of a national ‘pilot scheme’ set up NHS England and other national bodies, supported by NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Healthy Norwich money helps grassroots groups grow

Gardening is good for your health and is great for where you live.

And that’s why two green-fingered community groups have been awarded a total of £7,000 by Healthy Norwich, the city-wide programme to help people lead healthier lives.

Lakenham and Town Close Green Spaces sprung up three years ago, to transform local pockets of land and improve them as amenities for local people. They have been awarded £2,000.

Surgery tests social prescribing

Castle Partnership Social prescribingA GP practice in Norwich is trialing a different way of helping some patients, called social prescribing.

A number of patients come to see their doctor or nurse with problems that don’t need medicine. They might be lonely, leading unhealthy lifestyles or have housing problems, for example.

So GPs at Tuckswood surgery are working closely with Age UK Norwich and Community Action Norwich to find better ways of helping them.

They are ‘prescribing’ help such as befriending, community transport, learning and volunteering opportunities, physical activity, parenting courses and support with practical issues such as benefits, housing, debt and employment.

This way the patients are helped to deal with problems they face and are supported to improve their wellbeing. It’s about helping people help themselves, rather than just treating the symptoms.

Dr Tesh Patel from Tuckswood Surgery said: “It is great to be part of this pilot in Norwich which looks at other ways of helping patients that does not involve medication or GP intervention. There is growing evidence that social prescribing is effective. Evidence from similar pilots in the UK suggests it can lead to real changes in people’s lives.”

The social prescribing pilot has been introduced as part of NHS Norwich CCG’s Healthy Norwich programme.

The partners who operate from the GP surgery, Age UK Norwich and Community Action Norfolk, both have a wide network of other local community partners to support successful onward referrals. Community Action Norfolk is providing £5,000 to fund the advice providers.

The Chief Executive of Age UK Norwich, Susan Ringwood, said: “We know that being worried about your housing situation, or feeling isolated can have a direct effect on your health. Helping people to overcome these worries or to improve their sense of wellbeing will help prevent more serious health issues from developing. It makes sense to keep people as mentally and physically well as possible, and social prescribing has been proven to do that.”

There is also additional support from Stonham Homestay, which provides intensive support for those at risk of losing their home and a ‘digital health’ coaching session offering one-to-one on line support for people to manage their long term health condition.

Choose the right NHS service over Christmas

The NHS in Norfolk has issued advice on where to find help if people fall ill or hurt themselves over the holidays.

Self care - make sure you have a well stocked medicine cabinet with painkillers and remedies for tummy upsets together with all of your usual medicines.

Pharmacies - There are pharmacies open every day, including Christmas and Boxing Days. The full list is at

Walk-in centres

Norwich Walk-in Centre is open every day, 365 days of the year between 7am and 9pm. It is in Rouen Road, Norwich, telephone 01603 677500.

Cromer Minor Injuries Unit is open 8am-8pm, in Mill Road, Cromer, telephone 01263 646200

NHS 111 – just phone 111 and you will get through to a well trained operator who can either give you the advice you need, or arrange for you to speak to a clinician. NHS 111 is also the way to ask for an out of ours doctor.

There is a great video to watch which explains everything really well. You can see it at

Stay Well This Winter – make sure you have medicines before Christmas

order meds earlyWith Christmas and New Year fast approaching doctors and pharmacies are reminding people to plan ahead and make sure they have the right medicines to see them through the Christmas holidays whilst only ordering what you need.

Those who take regular medication should make sure they have ordered enough to last through the holiday period or ask their GP practice for a new prescription.

Planning ahead like this is very important to help stay well and it also helps the NHS at a time when services are busy.