Travel Advice and Vaccinations
We offer the full range of travel vaccinations, including Yellow Fever (We are a registered Yellow Fever Centre), and our nursing staff are always happy to advise on the requirements for your trip. They will also advise on malaria prevention, and other health issues which may be relevant to your journey. Please note that you should attend for travel vaccinations at least 8 weeks in advance of your journey, for immunity to develop.
Some vaccinations will require boosters before you travel, so please always consult the nurse at the earliest opportunity after you have planned your journey.
Please note that many travel vaccinations are not NHS services and therefore attract a fee. Details are available at reception or from the nurses.
Many types of minor operation are available in the surgery. These include the removal of moles and other skin lesions, cryotherapy (freezing treatment usually used for warts), injections of joints and surrounding structures (for tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, etc.) and incision of abscesses.
The midwives at Royal Berkshire Hospital and our doctors share a programme of regular checks on women who are pregnant, or who have recently given birth.
As soon as you know you are pregnant, make a routine (not emergency) appointment to see your doctor. Please note that we do not routinely do tests to confirm pregnancy, as the pregnancy-testing kits available in chemists are every bit as accurate as the hospital urine tests. The doctor will work out your dates, and give you some basic information, including the schedule of antenatal checks, blood tests and scans. You will then be asked to refer yourself to the midwife. (You can get the number at reception)
All midwife appointments are arranged through the Community Midwife and will usually be at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
In an uneventful pregnancy, antenatal checks follow at 16, 18-20, 25, 28, 31, 36, 38, 40 (the due date for your baby) and 41 weeks, if you get that far. The 18 week check is with the GP and subsequent checks alternate with the midwife. At each check they will test your urine for sugar and protein, do a blood pressure and check on your baby, as well as deal with any questions or problems you may have.
Please remember to bring a urine sample to each antenatal check and, if you are seeing the doctor, make sure you tell the receptionist when you book the appointment that it is for an antenatal check (antenatals are given longer appointments, and different records have to be given to the doctor).
After your baby is born, the midwife will see you both regularly for the first two weeks, and then hand over your care to your health visitor. At about 8 weeks after delivery you should see the doctor for a postnatal check and your baby’s child health check and first course of vaccinations. Please bring your red book to this appointment.
The Diabetes Clinic is run by one of our practice nurses. All diabetics over the age of 16 years are invited to attend,
When attending the clinic, please bring a specimen of your urine.
Nearly 1 in 10 of our patients have asthma and two thirds of these had some kind of treatment in the last 12 months.
We recommend that all our patients with asthma have a special check for their asthma at least once a year.
Our practice nurses have had special training in the care of people with asthma, and will be happy to see you.
Why is an asthma check necessary?
Good control of asthma helps to prevent serious attacks and may possibly prevent development of another kind of breathing disorder called COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
It improves your quality of life.
Regular checks are designed to make sure that you are having the best treatment for your particular needs.
What happens at an asthma check?
Please bring along any inhalers or other medication you are using for your asthma, because we will want to make sure that you are using your treatment correctly.
If you are a smoker they will be able to offer you help with stopping.
They will take a peak flow measurement and if you are a child may measure your height . If necessary, they will make recommendations about improving your treatment.
We recommend that some of our asthmatic patients have a flu injection every year (please check with the Practice Nurse if this is reccommended for you.) around October to November. This may help to prevent severe chest infections and asthma attacks due to flu.
This is measured with a meter that we can prescribe for you to use at home. It measures how quickly you can expel the air from your lungs.
If your peak flow measurement begins to fall it can be an early warning sign of a worsening of your asthma and allows you to adjust your treatment to prevent this.
We sometimes use this special test that involves blowing into a device attached to a computer. It measures the function of your lungs and can help to diagnose asthma and distinguish it from another wheezy chest problem called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
It is important to tell the which condition you have, because the treatments are slightly different.
Heart Disease, Strokes and Blocked Arteries
All patients with the above diseases are invited to attend. The clinic focuses on tackling risk factors (obesity, smoking, cholesterol) and in making sure any drug treatment is optimal.
This clinic is designed to encourage weight loss and management through dietary advice and regular weighing.
Blood tests arranged by your GP can be carried out in the surgery or at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. The walk-in service is available at the Practice On Monday,Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday mornings, between 9.00am and 11.00am.
You should arrive at the surgery no later than 11.00am. If you have been advised that it is a Fasting Blood Test, you should not eat for 12 hours prior to the test, although you may drink a small amount of plain water only.
If you are taking any medication for your heart, you should take this as usual. All other medication should not be taken as it might affect the test.
The cervix is the lower part of the womb, often called the neck of the womb. Cancer of the cervix may be caused by a virus. It is very rare in women that have not been sexually active. Those who smoke are at greater risk of the disease. About 1500 women still die from this every year, most of these have never had a smear test.
Most of the 1500 women dying of cancer of the cervix every year have never had a smear test.
Luckily, this cancer usually develops slowly, and goes through a treatable "pre-cancerous" stage first. This early stage can last several years, and if treated before cancer has developed the cure rate is virtually 100%.
How can cancer of the cervix be prevented?
The smear test is the basis of our country's campaign against cervical cancer.
All women between the ages of 25 and 64 are offered a test through the NHS. Under some circumstances those aged 65 and over need a smear, please check with us.
We advise that everyone should have this test every three years.
This test can detect the abnormal cells on the cervix in the pre-cancerous stage so that treatment can be started early.
The test doesn't hurt, though sometimes if you tense up it may feel a bit uncomfortable. Remember not to come for a smear test during a period, or within 24 hours of making love if you use a barrier method of contraception because the spermicide chemicals can interfere with the test.
Even if you have had a hysterectomy you may sometimes need a smear test, so check with us before assuming you don't need one.
Please be aware that no screening test detects all cases. If you develop any abnormal symptoms despite a normal test, such as bleeding after intercourse, then come and see us.
What if my smear result is abnormal?
Because the test is designed to pick up minor changes in the cervix before any problems develop, it is almost certain that there is nothing to worry about, especially if you have regular smears.
What do the results mean?
Borderline changes or mild dyskaryosis, are small changes that can return to normal by themselves. In this situation we usually repeat the test in 6 months. If the test is still abnormal you may then need a further check up (colposcopy), at hospital to see if any treatment is needed.
Moderate or severe dyskaryosis is unlikely to return to normal by itself, though it is still unlikely that you have cancer. You will need to have a colposcopy.
What is colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a simple examination that helps the doctor decide if any treatment is needed. It is similar to having a smear test taken except a telescope is used to look at the cervix more closely. If you need treatment you probably won't need to stay in hospital, and remember that it's nearly always 100% successful.