Blog Archive


What is a Faecal Immunochemical Test?

A Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT Test) detects small amounts of blood in your poo, which you would not normally see or be aware of.

Your GP may arrange it if you have bowel/tummy symptoms such as pain, discomfort or changes in bowel habit.

How do I collect my sample?

Collecting your sample is very simple and hygienic. Only a small amount of poo is needed for the test.

Follow the instructions on the back of this leaflet.

What do I do with my collected sample?

Please return the samples to your GP practice as soon as possible, ideally within 2 working days of doing the test. They will then be sent to the laboratory at your local hospital for testing.

Please return your samples with this return slip. 

What happens after I have done my FIT test?

Results of your FIT test will be sent to your doctor. Your follow-up will depend on your test results as follows:-

    • –  You will be contacted by the hospital with an appointment for further investigations within thefollowing 2 weeks. OR
    • –  You will be contacted by the hospital to arrange a clinic appointment OR
    • –  You will be contacted by your GP by telephone and/ or letter

What do I do if I don’t get any calls or letters?

If you have not been contacted within 2 weeks of your GP consultation, please contact your GP surgery.

What if my symptoms persist?

Please contact your GP surgery.



How do I access help to quit smoking?

One You provides help for the residents of Cheshire East who would like support to stop smoking.

You are three times more likely to succeed by working one-to-one or in a group with a Health Coach than going it alone.

You will get lots of support and motivation from your Health Coach. They will be able to tell you about nicotine replacement products and other stop smoking medicines. They can also recommend which product or combination of products could work for you.

We can also measure the levels of carbon monoxide in your body – the monitor shows how your level drops to the same as a non-smoker’s just 24 hours after your last cigarette.

If you would like help to stop smoking please call One You free on 0808 1643 202.

Find out more about One You and its services here.


Should I be taking Vitamin D?

Everyone should get an adequate intake of vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps our bodies to absorb calcium. Most of our vitamin D intake comes from sunlight and a small proportion comes from our diet. It is particularly important for pregnant women, to help keep their bones healthy and so that their babies are born with enough vitamin D in their bodies for the first few months of life.

Public Health England advises that the following groups should take a vitamin D supplement daily, which can be purchased from your local pharmacy or supermarket:

  • pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • babies and children under 5 years
  • older people
  • people with darker skin and those not exposed to much sun

Women and children who qualify for the Healthy Start scheme can get free supplements containing the recommended amounts of vitamin D


Do I need antibiotics?

Each year 25% of the population visit their GP for a respiratory tract infection (eg sinus, throat or chest infection). These are usually caused by viruses.

For patients who are otherwise healthy, antibiotics are not necessary for viral infections.

These infections will normally clear up by looking after yourself at home with rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol.

Ear infections typically last 4 days

89% of cases clear up on their own

A sore throat typically lasts 7 days

40% of cases clear up after 3 days and 90% after 7 days without antibiotics

Sinusitis typically lasts 17 days

80% clear up in 14 days without antibiotics

Cough/bronchitis typically lasts 21 days

Antibiotics reduce symptoms by only 1 day

Antibiotics only work for infections caused by bacteria.

Taking unnecessary antibiotics for viral infections should be avoided because they may not be effective next time you have a bacterial infection.


Who should I see for my problem?

We try to keep our GP appointments for patients with more serious health problems.

Before you book an appointment to see a doctor please consider whether an appointment with a practice nurse might be appropriate. They can help you with a wide range of medical problems.

Our receptionists can help you decide which is the right person for you to see.


If you have a cough, cold, headache or other minor ailment try treating yourself at home first. Find out more about self care treatments for common minor ailments.

Please remember that self-care for common conditions can help free up our GPs’ time, making it easier to get an appointment when you have a more serious condition.

Your pharmacist can help too

Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals, they can give you confidential health advice for a wide range of common illnesses and complaints.

Don’t wait for a GP appointment for coughs, colds, aches and pains. Just call your local pharmacy there’s no need to make an appointment.

Your pharmacists can also help you decide if you need to see a doctor or nurse.

Find out how pharmacies can help you.

NHS 111

111 is the free NHS non-emergency number.

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

Call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

Click here for more information about how NHS 111 can help you.

Sexual Health Services

For the emergency contraceptive pill, we recommend you contact your local pharmacist. They may offer you a phone or video consultation. You’ll then be given an electronic prescription so you can collect your contraception. You can also buy emergency contraception directly from a pharmacy without a prescription.

If you think you might have an STD – Cheshire East commission Axess to provide this service and a wide range of other sexual health services at Eagle Bridge in Crewe.

You do not need a referral to access these services please contact Axess directly to book an appointment.


Did you know that you do not need to see a GP for a referral to physiotherapy?

Just complete this online physiotherapy self-referral form: Physiotherapy Self-referral Form

Minor Injuries

The Minor Injuries Unit is a Nurse-led unit, which sees and treats approx 16,000 patients per year. The department is open daily from 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday and Saturday to Sunday, 9 am to 1pm. It is based at Victoria Infirmary Northwich ( VIN). You can attend here for minor injuries without an appointment.

They can treat:

  • sprains and strains
  • broken bones
  • wound infections
  • minor burns and scalds
  • minor head injuries
  • insect and animal bites
  • minor eye injuries
  • injuries to the back, shoulder and chest


A&E is for more serious accidents and emergencies. Before you go there, ask yourself, “Is it an emergency?”

If not, please consider using other local health services or get advice from 111 before you visit A&E.


How can I clear my ear wax?


Earwax is a normal build-up of dead cells, hair, foreign material such as dust, and natural wax which forms a protective coating on the skin in the ear canal. The quantity of earwax produced varies greatly from person to person.

A doctor or nurse can look into the ear canal and confirm a plug of earwax has formed, though this isn’t always necessary. A plug of earwax is not a serious problem, more a nuisance. You only need to remove earwax if it is causing symptoms such as dulled hearing or when fitting a hearing aid.

Do not put anything in your ear if you have pain or if you are aware that you have a perforation (hole in the eardrum)- see your nurse/GP.

Do not try to remove wax using a cotton bud or any other small item – this only stimulates the wax secreting glands – to make more wax – and gives a serious risk of infection and perforation! Nothing smaller than your elbow should go into your ear!

How to remove Ear wax
Ear drops
Ear irrigation (ear syringing):
How to remove Ear wax

Note: If you think you have ear wax, do not try to clean the ear canal with cotton wool buds. This can make things worse, as you will push some earwax deeper inside. It may also cause an ear infection.

Ear drops

Ear drops alone will clear a plug of earwax in most cases. Put 2 or 3 drops of ordinary olive oil down the ear 2 or 3 times a day for 2-3 weeks. This softens the wax so that it then runs out of its own accord without harming the ear. You can continue for any length of time, but 3 weeks is usually enough. Surprisingly, you will not necessarily see wax come out. It often seems to come out unnoticed.

If you are prone to repeated wax built up you can continue to use olive oil drops twice a week to prevent a recurrence.

If olive/almond/coconut oil does not work you can buy drops from pharmacies.

How to use ear drops:

  1. Warm the drops to room temperature before using them
  2. Pour a few drops into the affected ear
  3. Lie with the affected ear uppermost when putting in drops
  4. Stay like this for 10 minutes to allow the drops to soak into the earwax.

Bulb syringing is a safe, alternate way to remove ear wax. Bulb syringes can be easily purchased from a pharmacy and allow you to clear your ears from wax in your own home.

If your ears are painful or have fluid coming out of them, or if you have a hole in their eardrum (perforation) or have recently had surgery on your ear you should see a doctor or nurse and don’t use this method.

Bulb Syringing:                     

Instructions for Bulb Syringing:

Use olive oil drops twice a day for at least 14 days prior to bulb syringing. Or alternatively use sodium bicarbonate ear drops purchased from your pharmacy (please read the manufacturers leaflet.)

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Use a bowl of cooled, boiled water that is warm to the touch, not too hot or too cold. You can use 50% water 50% vinegar if you would like as this has an anti-inflammatory effect due to acetic acid in the vinegar.
  3. Prepare the syringe by squirting water in and out of it a few times.
  4. Gently pull your outer ear “up and out” to help straighten out the canal, which will allow better access for the water
  5. Tilt your head so the ear to be treated is upmost.
  6. Place the tip of the syringe into the opening of the ear.- Do NOT push the syringe further into the ear and gently squirt one or more bulb syringes of water into your ear. (This might be best done in the shower so that the excess water will run into the bathtub and not on your floor)
  7. Allow the water to remain in your ear for at least 60 seconds. Gently tilt your head in the opposite direction and wiggle your outer ear

Ear irrigation (ear syringing):

Ear irrigation is only recommended on the rare occasions where ear drops and bulb syringing has failed to work. Ear syringing can lead to ear infections, perforated eardrum and tinnitus (persistent noise) and therefore it is only performed in exceptional circumstances. If you think you have persisting wax despite taking the above measures please make an appointment with your doctor or nurse to discuss.

For patients who are not physically able to self-manage please discuss with the surgery.


Why do I feel tired all the time?

Feeling tired all the time and exhausted is so common that it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for “tired all the time”.

We all feel tired from time to time. The reasons are usually obvious and include:

  • too many late nights
  • long hours spent at work
  • a baby keeping you up at night

But tiredness or exhaustion that goes on for a long time is not normal and can affect your ability to get on and enjoy your life.

Unexplained tiredness is one of the most common reasons for people to see their GP.

Some reasons why you could be feeling tired include:

  • Not getting enough exercise.
    Sitting in one position for long periods of time can sap your energy, even if you’re watching the TV or using the computer. Your body equates the stillness with going to sleep.
  • Poor posture
    A lot of your energy goes on keeping you upright. Your spine can be put out of alignment by bad postures, such as:

    • -hunching forwards
    • -lumping in your seat
    • -cradling your phone
    • The more out of balance your spine is, the more your muscles have to work to compensate.
  • Constant Worrying
    If you’re fretting about something all day long, your heart rate and blood pressure rise, and your muscles tighten, leading to fatigue and aches.
    Try: setting aside some time to concentrate on your worries. Try to think of positive solutions, then put the worries out of your mind.
  • Exercising too much

Regular exercise is good for you, but working out intensively every day may not be good for your energy levels, especially if you’re a beginner or trying to get back in shape.
Try: taking a day off between strenuous bouts of exercise. However, don’t leave more than 2 or 3 days between sessions, or you might fall out of the regular exercise habit.

Sleep Tips

If you have difficulty falling asleep, a regular bedtime routine will help you wind down and prepare for bed.

Few people manage to stick to strict bedtime routines. This isn’t much of a problem for most people, but for insomniacs, irregular sleeping hours are unhelpful.

Your routine depends on what works for you, but the most important thing is working out a routine and sticking to it.

  • Sleep at regular times
  • Make sure you wind down before bed
  • Try a warm bath before bed
  • Write a ‘to do’ list for the next day to clear your mind of any distractions
  • Read a book or listen to music
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and between 18°c and 24°c
  • Relaxation exercises such as yoga or light stretches

When to see your GP

If you have tried some of the techniques and you still feeling tired or fatigued and are concerned, visit your GP who will ask you questions about your lifestyle and may even decide to carry out some simple tests for common issues such as anaemia.


I am struggling with my mental health, where can I get help / support? is an online platform helping you find mental health and wellbeing services in Cheshire.

Simple in design and easy to use, is designed to connect those with mental health needs with local providers and online resources that they would otherwise be unable to find.

Whether you’re looking for professional support like counselling or wish to join a community group to improve your wellbeing, there’s something for everything on our website. Search by condition and postcode to discover suitable services near you.

At, our goal is to make mental health services in Cheshire more accessible. We know that finding the right support can be a challenge; that’s why our platform is dedicated to signposting you to relevant services.

Our team works closely with local providers to keep our platform up-to-date and to make sure their services reach those that need it. If you run a mental health service, please get in touch so we can include you on our database.

Since launching in May 2017, we have partnered with over 150 providers and list more than 700 mental health services (accurate as of May 2018). We are currently commissioned NHS South Cheshire CCG and NHS Vale Royal CCG and we work in close partnership with NHS West Cheshire and NHS East Cheshire CCG.

Visit, and find the mental health support you need.



How do I get out of hours help for my child who is struggling?

Cheshire and Wirral NHS Partnership Trust’s children and young peoples out of hours advice line, provides mental health services to children and young people, their families and concerned professionals outside of usual business hours.

All Clinicians you speak to are trained in different backgrounds and have experience and knowledge of a range of mental health difficulties.

> Are you a young person struggling with your mental health?

> Are you worried about your child’s mental health? 

> Are you an adult working with a young person and are concerned about their mental health?

Contact our advice line for advice, support and resources.

Mon – Fri        5.00pm   – 10.00pm
Weekends     12.00pm – 8.00pm

01244 397644

You can also visit to find out more information about children and young peoples mental health services.


How do I get a referral to physiotherapy?

Did you know that you do not need to see a GP for a referral to physiotherapy? You can self refer with this online form:

Self Referral Physiotherapy Form