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Health & Wellbeing

Crawley still has one of highest rates of smokers

Smokers are being urged to break their unhealthy relationship with cigarettes as part of the national Stoptober campaign.

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New figures show that although smoking rates in West Sussex remain low, more than one in four (27.6%) of the county’s manual workers are current smokers.

An estimated 87,000 adults in the county are smokers, according to statistics revealed by West Sussex County Council’s Public Health team.

Across the county, Adur, Crawley and Worthing have the highest local rates of smoking, while Horsham has the lowest.

Stoptober is a national campaign which has so far supported more than 1.9 million people in England on their journey to quit. This year Stoptober is encouraging smokers to ‘split up’ with smoking.

It is based on the insight that people are five times more likely to quit for good if they can stop smoking for 28-days.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, Amanda Jupp, said:

“The evidence shows that people are more likely to stop smoking for good if they have professional support rather than going it alone. Free advice is available from trained stop smoking advisors across West Sussex which makes Stoptober the perfect time to kick the habit, even if you have tried before.

“The West Sussex Wellbeing Website has lots of useful advice as well as details of venues that provide support to help people who want to ‘break-up’ with smoking.”

To find your nearest GP surgery, pharmacy or wellbeing team offering support to stop smoking, visit www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk/smokingservices

To access a range of free self-serve stop smoking tools, visit the Stoptober website at www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/quit-smoking/stoptober

Health & Wellbeing

DIY doctors set to slash wait times in Crawley

It has been revealed that 23% of people in Crawley are waiting longer than two weeks to get seen by a GP – with thousands waiting over a month for an appointment.

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Recent NHS figures suggest that 56% of residents in the town were not offered a choice of time or date for their appointment, and six in ten did not get a same-day appointment with a GP.

44% of people in Crawley find it difficult to get through to their practice by phone, and 23% of people in town described the experience of booking a GP appointment as poor.

The new report comes from Medicspot, a digital health company hoping to put an end to the wait in Crawley by allowing doctors to perform remote examinations using equipment operated by the patient.

This new initiative allows doctors to listen to a patient’s heart and lungs, look into their ears and throat, and take their vitals including blood pressure, oxygen levels and body temperature – all without needing to be in the same room.

Dr Zubair Ahmed, Co-founder of Medicspot, says:

“In light of these figures, we hope our service will offer a convenient alternative for people in Crawley and help ease some of the pressures the NHS is facing.

“Longer wait times lead to more strain on an already struggling NHS. When patients are forced to wait weeks to see a GP, they often end up waiting for hours at A&E”, Dr Ahmed explains.

A national survey of patients who have used the new service revealed 40% of respondents would have gone to accident and emergency if they didn’t use Medicspot – generating a £1.2 million saving for the NHS.

This saving comes after news A&E waiting times have hit the worst level on record, with one in six patients waiting more than 4 hours and warnings that patients are about to endure one of the bleakest winters in NHS history.

Medicspot is already available in over 250 pharmacies across the UK, where patients pay £39 for a same-day GP consultation. The company plans to bring the service to pharmacies across Crawley early next year.

While the majority of Medicspot patients are comfortable operating the equipment themselves, a trained pharmacist is always available for those who need help.

The full report from Medicspot is available online at https://www.medicspot.co.uk/reports/gp-report-2019.

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