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N E W S A N D A D V I C E F R O M Y O U R F A M I LY D O C T O R S

| SPRING 2017

The GP will then make a plan and either send a prescription to your nearest pharmacy, order tests or advise that you need to be seen in person. This could be either an appointment later that day or week with a GP, or an appointment with a nurse for diagnostic tests such as a throat swab or urine test.

What are the benefits of phone consultations? Phone consultations are faster than inperson appointments, and are charged at half the cost. The appointments are suitable for a single issue – if you’ve got several complaints, you’ll need to make a longer in-person appointment. The service was trialled last year with

Phone appointments now available! Health services are always evolving, and the Fifth Avenue Family Practice team is excited to announce we are now offering the option of phone consultations with our GPs.

high patient satisfaction, and 65 percent of all cases were managed over the phone and did not require a visit to the practice. If you’re instructed to come in and see the GP, there will be no charge for your phone consultation.

When is a face-toface appointment more appropriate? If you’re feeling extremely unwell or have symptoms that need to be

In today’s busy world, the stresses of

How does it work?

looked at (for example blocked ears),

taking time off work, traffic and parking

To make an appointment for a GP

we recommend you come in for an

mean some of our patients are putting

phone consultation, you’ll need to

appointment in person.

off going to see their doctor.

ring reception as usual to make an

To combat this, our new phone consultations are aimed at helping patients put their health first by making

appointment. A time will be made for the

a phone consultation, no problem. This

GP to ring you back.

option is there for patients who want it,

The appointment will follow the

it faster, cheaper and more convenient

pattern of a normal consultation,

to speak with their doctor.

at which the GP will listen to your

Dr Luke Bradford, Dr Kiran Singh, Dr Fhiona Barrett and Dr Jen Hollway are

And if you don’t feel comfortable with

complaint and take your history. The patient has the option to

the first to offer the service, which is

confidentially send photographs of any

optional and available only to patients

visible symptoms directly to the GP via a

registered at Fifth Ave.

smartphone.

but we will always be here in person for those who prefer face-to-face contact.

Please call reception on 07 578 7087 to make an appointment for a phone consultation with a GP.


What to do when sleep won’t come Getting a good night’s sleep has a significant

Reset your body clock

impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

Your GP can work with you to beat insomnia by retraining your body clock.

When sleep comes easily, we can take it for granted. But if

If you can’t get to sleep each night until 2am, for example,

we’re not sleeping well, it can have a negative flow-on effect

we encourage you to stay up until this time. Each night, go to

on our emotional wellbeing, long-term physical health and

bed 15 minutes earlier, until your body clock is re-set.

productivity. The good news is that simple lifestyle changes can often make all the difference to our quality of sleep.

We recommend getting out of bed if you’re lying awake for more than half an hour. Make yourself a hot milky drink, read a book in a quiet room, and go back to bed when you’re feeling sleepy.

What is insomnia?

Your GP can also discuss with you supplements that

Insomnia is a chronic loss of sleep that results in decreased

support sleep, such as magnesium and tart cherry. We can also

function the next day due to fatigue.

prescribe melatonin and other medication in some cases.

If you’re experiencing broken sleep, this may be caused by other underlying medical or stress-related issues. These

If you’re struggling with your sleep, come in and have a chat with your GP – you don’t need to suffer on your own.

could include factors such as waking up to urinate, menopause symptoms, sleep apnoea, nocturnal reflux, or even drinking too much coffee. It’s important for us to look at these factors first, so we can deal with the underlying cause. Once we’ve ruled out other causes, your GP can look at treating insomnia. The first step is to look at your ‘sleep hygiene’ (see sidebar). This refers to habits that help you have a good night’s sleep. It’s also important to note that the ‘normal’ amount of sleep required varies from person to person. Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night – it could be that your body simply requires less sleep and you’re going to bed too early. It’s also normal to wake up several times in the later part of your sleep, during the REM cycles. 5TH AVE NE WS | SPRING 2017

Good sleep hygiene habits: • Ban screens in the bedroom – no phones, computers or TVs. • Stop work two hours before bed. • No coffee or caffeinated drinks after 3pm. • Use the bedroom only for reading, sleep and sex.


Managing eczema If your baby or child has itchy, red and inflamed skin, there’s a high chance it’s eczema. Eczema affects about 20% of children in New Zealand, with disproportionately higher rates among Māori and Pacific children. Over 90% of cases develop before children turn five, and 60% of these cases occur in the first year. Eczema is more common in babies and children than adults, and fortunately it usually disappears between the ages of three and five years. But while your child is suffering eczema, it’s essential that they have an eczema plan that has been agreed upon with your GP. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ – every child has a slightly different plan.

If your child is suffering eczema, it’s essential that they have an eczema plan.

Managing eczema isn’t a one-hit wonder – it’s an ongoing war. The good news is that if you stick to the plan, you can keep it under control.

The exact cause of eczema is not known, but with the most common form of eczema there is often a family history of

The cornerstone of eczema management is the use of moisturiser – heap it on! Most people don’t use enough. Use

eczema, hay fever or asthma. Unless the eczema is extremely severe, we don’t

it regularly and in large quantities. This will improve symptoms

recommend allergy testing as it’s very hard to pin-point the

and reduce flare-ups, improve sleep and quality of life, and

cause. Instead, we focus on managing eczema. The good news is that by working together with your

reduce the amount of steroid creams needed. Sometimes, however, steroid creams are needed to manage the treatment of flares – your GP will advise on this. In severe cases, we refer the child to paediatric or dermatological specialists.

Doctor’s Hint

GP and sticking to the plan, most children’s eczema can be managed until they grow out of it. Have a chat to your GP if you have any concerns about your child’s skin.

Today’s tip is for patients coming to see their GP about any kind of urinary or genital symptom. If you’ve got this kind of complaint, there is a high

Hold it in!

chance that the doctor will require a urine sample. So please, either ‘hold on’, or mention that you would like to give a sample, and a nurse will help. This will save you having to return later with your sample.

5TH AVE NE WS | SPRING 2017


MEN’S HEALTH

Men’s health in the senior years: Arthritis

In Brief

Reminder on courtesy At Fifth Avenue Family Practice we reckon we’ve got the best patients in Tauranga. But unfortunately there is a tiny minority who have been treating our staff with a lack of respect, which is unacceptable. This is mainly occurring over the phone with our receptionists and nurses, who are copping unwarranted rudeness and even abuse. Our staff are here to help, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect while they are doing their jobs.

Arthritis can be a common problem for men in their 60s and 70s.

We will always listen and respond to complaints promptly and professionally, but we reserve the right to ask a patient to leave the practice if they are repeatedly causing unpleasantness.

Arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis, becomes more of an issue

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the

as we age and the body’s repair mechanisms become less

vast majority of our patients for making our jobs such a

effective.

pleasure. We are all in healthcare because we want to help

Joints – especially knees, hips and fingers – are affected, and old

people, and we appreciate your support.

injuries flare up. The best management involves a carefully designed exercise

New patients

routine, regular intake of fish oils, and monitored use of anti-

We’ve opened up our books and are now taking on new

inflammatories. There is little evidence for over-the-counter

patients. If you have friends or family who are new to

treatments.

Tauranga, or who may be looking to change GP services,

Weight loss is always helpful for weight-bearing joints affected by osteoarthritis. Sometimes arthritis has another cause, and your GP needs to

please let them know. Our GP accepting enrolments is Dr Jennifer Hollway. New patients can enrol at reception at both our Fifth

investigate that. There are also other techniques and treatments

Avenue and Tenth Avenue sites, or by telephone. Give us

we can use to improve function and comfort.

a call now on 07 578 7087 with any queries.

In some cases we refer patients to an orthopaedic surgeon. If you have any concerns about arthritis, please make an appointment with your GP. In general, we recommend a checkup at least once a year in your 60s, and more frequently than that depending on conditions. It’s really important we pay close attention to your risk factors, and that you maintain exercise and monitor your weight. 5TH AVE NE WS | SPRING 2017

Find us online In case you missed it, we have a fresh new website: www.fifthavenue.co.nz

5th Ave News Spring 2017  

The Fifth Avenue Family Practice team is excited to announce we are now offering the option of phone consultations with our GPs. Find out mo...

5th Ave News Spring 2017  

The Fifth Avenue Family Practice team is excited to announce we are now offering the option of phone consultations with our GPs. Find out mo...

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