LATEST NEWS

Improvements to our Telephone System

We are excited to inform you that we are upgrading our telephone system on 11th December 2018. This new system will improve your access to the surgery, offering you 4 different options, advice and information to ensure you speak to the right person first time. There will be a back-up line installed to ensure our services remain 'live' during core hours. We hope this upgrade will improve our services to you, however please bear in mind that there may be some technicial difficulties during the initial 24 hours of the upgrade. We thank you for your patience.

Improving Access to Appointments

We are now working together with other local practices to offer more appointments on Monday evenings 6:30pm to 8.00pm. Please speak to a member of the practice team to find out more.

Sick Notes for School Children 

We will not be providing sick notes for school children. This is not part of the NHS Healthcare Service. If the school request a sick notem they will have to request it in writing with parental consent, and there will be a fee of £10.00 to the school or parent. With the increased workload on GP's, appointments solely for sick notes are an inappropriate use of time.

Changes to Ear Care at Sea Mills Surgery

In line with other local & national GP practice policies, we will be changing the ear care services we offer at Sea Mills surgery from 1st January 2018. Surgeries are not funded to offer this service, and sadly we are having to prioritise our clinical services to ensure that those most in need have the treatment required.

We will continue to offer ear care appointments to the following groups of people;

  • people over the age of 75
  • people who wear hearing aids
  • those with learning disabilities
  • individual medical exemptions, identified by GP or nurse, & flagged for reception staff

We recognise that self-management of wax build up may be difficult for these patients, & socially isolating.

For all others, there are two options;

  1. Self-care using olive oil / drops
  2. Private micro-suction at a local surgery of your choice (further details below)

Ear wax is normal. It is designed to protect the delicate ear drum by trapping dust particles & debris. Ears are designed to clean themselves, and wax build up usually only becomes a problem if it has been pushed deep into the ear canal, beyond the self-cleaning structures. We advise you never to use cotton buds or similar objects to clean your ears, as they push wax into this area where it can become impacted & block your ear canal.

 

Self care using Oil / Drops

In most cases, the use of olive oil from the supermarket, applied with a dropper from the chemist (warmed is most effective) or drops bought from the chemist (e.g., Earex, Cerumol, Earol, Otex) will disperse the build up of wax within 2 weeks.

  • Lie on your side with the blocked ear uppermost, & gently pull the outer ear upwards & outwards in order to straighten the ear canal. Place 3-5 drops in the ear canal. Let the drops soak in for 10 minutes before sitting up. Then wipe away any excess. Don’t put a cotton wool plug into your ear, as this will simply absorb the oil.
  • It may help to massage the outer area around the ear so the oil can get right down to the blockage.
  • Repeat 2-3 times per day until the wax has gone & your hearing improves.

If you have regular problems with wax blocking your ears, we suggest you use olive oil drops once a week to prevent this.

If you have dry skin problems such as eczema or dermatitis, try to avoid shampoo, shower gel or hairspray entering the ear canal.

NB Sodium bicarbonate drops should not be used for more than 2 weeks, as they may cause irritation of the skin. Use olive oil after 2 weeks, if the problem has not resolved.

If at any time you are experiencing pain or notice an unpleasant smelling discharge, stop using the drops & make an appointment to see a doctor.

 

Microsuction

Microsuction is the gold standard for ear wax removal, as it does not hold the same risks of damage to the ear drum which are associated with ear irrigation. It is undertaken using a microscope & medical suction device.

Several surgeries in our north Bristol offer this private service, currently at a cost of £40 for one ear, £60 for two (buy one, get one half price!) Please click on the link below to download an information leaflet about accessing this service, & preparing for microsuctioning.

Click here for Private Ear Syringing Information

Although we are disappointed to no longer be able to offer a full ear care service to everyone, we recognise that microsuction is the safest way of removing wax. We have always had to ask patients to sign a consent form acknowledging the risks associated with ear irrigation, such as perforation of the drum or infection, and we are advised that when safer procedures are available, these should be offered first.

If you are unhappy that we are no longer able to offer ear care services free of charge to everyone, please contact Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who are responsible for allocating funds to GPs for the services they provide.

E-mail contactus.bccg@nhs.net, or use the ‘contact us’ online form on their web-site www.bristolccg.nhs.uk 

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