NHS CHOICES DEAR DOCTOR WITH DR HILARY JONES
health A-Z section. The health A-Z can be found on the NHS Choices homepage (www.nhs.
uk). The tool provides an in-depth explanation about a condition, including an introduction to a specific condition explaining what it is. There are pages that look at the symptoms, treatment and real-life stories featuring people who have experienced that condition. To ensure you get the most out of a visit to your GP, it’s worth going online and checking out the health A-Z first. The more you know about a condition the better-informed conversation you can have with your GP about care or treatment. Ultimately, it means you should be able to find the care or treatment that best suits you and your lifestyle.
Many people go online to check symptoms or to research a condition. If you want to learn more about a condition or check whether you or a family member has the symptoms for a certain illness, then go to NHS Choices health A-Z section.
FIND AND RATE A HEALTH PRACTITIONER If you’ve recently moved to a new area then, along with unpacking boxes, redirecting your post and setting up new utility accounts, you’ll also need to find a new dentist, GP and possibly optician or hospital. NHS Choices now has a database of nearly every health practitioner you could require. To begin your search, all you need to do is go to the NHS Choices homepage and then click on ‘find and choose services’. You can then choose the health service that you require, for example a GP. Once you’ve entered your postcode you will then be presented with a list of GP practices in your local area. To help choose the right GP practice for you, you’re provided with basic information about the practice, the number of male/female doctors, any additional languages spoken at the practice, opening hours and disabled access. You can also read comments from patients who have attended the surgery, and importantly, find out if the surgery is taking new patients and download a registration form. Once you’ve visited the surgery you can then rate and provide feedback about your experiences of the surgery and its staff.
Aside from GP surgeries and dentists, users can use the search option to find support clinics for a range of conditions from dementia to weight loss in your local area.
INTERACTIVE TOOLS We all need a bit of help when it comes to things like quitting smoking, taking up a new exercise regime or embarking on a diet. That’s why NHS Choices has developed a range of helpful online tools
If you’re ever unsure, then look for The Information Standard quality mark on websites and leaflets. The Information Standard is a certification scheme for health and social care information, and is supported by the Department of Health. The quality mark can usually be found at the bottom of certified member home pages. If you see the mark then you can feel confident that the information from that provider is trustworthy and reliably sourced. NHS Choices is a certified member of the scheme.
RESEARCHING HEALTH CONDITIONS
Many people go online to check symptoms or to research a condition. If you want to learn more about a condition or check whether you or a family member has the symptoms for a certain illness, then go to NHS Choices
support you while you change your lifestyle. One of the most popular online tools on NHS Choices, with over a million downloads, is the Couch to 5k running plan, which aims to get complete novices running 5k in nine weeks. There is also a range of trackers available.
DEAR DOCTOR WITH DR HILARY JONES 17
It’s quite easy
to read something online and be misled. For instance
more than a quarter of people (28 per cent) claimed they had been convinced they had an illness because of something they read online.
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