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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 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, or use the ‘contact us’ online form on their web-site 


Declaration of GP Annual Net Earnings

All GP practices are required to declare the mean net earnings (e.g., average pay) for GPs working to deliver NHS services to patients at each practice. This is required in the interests of the greater public accountability recognising GP pay is ultimately funded from tax paid by the public.

The average pay for GPs working in Sea Mills Surgery in the last financial year was £51291 before tax and national insurance. This is for 0 full time GP, 6 part time GPs and 0 locum GPs (who worked in the practice for more than six months).


Friends and Family test

Please complete our Friends and Family short questionnaire by clicking here, or next time you visit the practice.


Health Visiting Team

Unfortunately there is no longer a health visitor at Baby Clinic.

You may visit the Health Visiting Team at any of the following venues:
Avonmouth Medical Centre 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month from 2pm to 3.30pm.
Shirehampton Health Centre Tuesdays 1.30pm to 3pm

Alternatively you may telephone them on 0117 916 2221.


Chlamydia Screening for 15 – 24 year olds

Sea Mills Surgery has become a collection and distribution point for the Chlamydia Screening Programme and packs are available from Reception.

This is an anonymous service run by the Primary Care Trust, all results and contact tracing are dealt with by the screening service and NOT the practice. Nothing will be entered into your clinical record.

If you are aged between 15 – 24 years old please contact Reception for a pack.

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