A campaign highlighting the many healthcare services available in the local community has been launched across Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend.
The Your Local Team campaign, launched this week by Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, focuses on the many different primary care professionals available to patients close to their home.
While for a lot of patients the GP might be their first port of call when they pick up an illness or injury, the message from the health board is that it may not always be the most appropriate service to use.
Alan Lawrie, Director of Primary, Community and Mental Health for Cwm Taf Morgannwg said: “Primary Care is constantly evolving and updating and we now have a range of healthcare professionals right on our doorsteps.
“People have the choice of who they can see now. If you have a bad back, there may be a physiotherapist based in your surgery, if you are feeling down or suffering with anxiety, your local Well-Being Co-ordinator might be able to help. It’s about offering our patients choice and providing the best, most effective health care, close to home.”
Carys Spencer is a Pharmacist living and working in Pontyclun. She says Pharmacists can help with a wider range of conditions than people realise:
“We’re able to give advice on anything you can think of, from colic to aches and pains, and constipation, we’re likely to know the answer or refer you to the people who do. A pharmacist is part of the local community, we’re here to help.”
A patient might often seek an appointment with their GP as a first port of call when, in fact, professionals like Optometrist, Adam Thomas might be better equipped to help.
“The best way to be treated for eye issues is to contact the optometrist first,” said Adam, who works in a high street opticians in Talbot Green. “We’ve had further training in acute eye care. We can offer appointments typically within 24 hours and you can be seen by someone who is trained specifically and has the equipment to deal with eye problems.”
Dentist Jennie Forss agrees. She treats routine and emergency patients at Porth Dental Teaching Unit. “The dentist is a really important part of the community. We work alongside the GP, as well as seeing our own regular patients to provide a well-rounded team approach to patients care and well-being. A healthy smile is so important to confidence and wellbeing. I enjoy working with patients to look after their oral health.”
And it’s not just dentists and pharmacists on the local high street, there’s a whole host of new roles based in GP surgeries too. Julie Lomas is a Wellbeing Co-ordinator, based across five surgeries in Cynon. She works with people facing all kinds of wellbeing and social issues, from problems with housing and debt to stress, anxiety and loneliness. In her role Julie can take the time to chat to patients and work with them to find ways to help.
“The reason I do this job is because I’ve always loved helping people and I’ve got a real interest in people’s stories. I just think if someone is suffering or they’re not feeling quite themselves and there’s something I can do to help that person, then that’s what I want to do”, says Julie
GP, Dr Bik Choudhary added “By working as a multi-disciplinary team within practices and with our colleagues in Primary Care, we hope that GPs are then able to have more time to be able to deal with the more complex patients. It’s about providing a better, more timely service for all our patients.”
For more information about the Your Local Team campaign visit www.cwmtafmorgannwg.wales