Helping patients with ECZEMA to get the best out of the NHS.
Eczema refers to dry skin often found inside your elbow or on the back of your knees but can also affect other parts of your body as well.
Here are some links to websites with useful information on eczema that you may wish to see:
This condition is primarily managed by the nurses and doctors. They can check how your eczema is going and whether you are using sufficient emollients and creams and using other medications to control the condition. There are also Specialist Dermatology Nurses based in Hyde who can also see you if your eczema or your child’s eczema is particularly problematic.
You need to know what all the different treatments are that your doctor has prescribed and how much to use of each. Often patients and their families get used to itching all the time and having disturbed sleep. It is important that you find out what you should do especially if you are not sure. We can only help you if you tell us so. This information should be in your GP-held record for you to see.
The typical patient with eczema which is well controlled needs the following:
- Make sure all your emollients, bath oils, and anti-histamines are on repeat prescriptions are so that you can order them as soon as you need to.
- If a cream or ointment does not suit you then you must see a doctor to have it changed. You need to be in control of your treatment otherwise the condition will control you.
- Medication Review twice a year usually with the nurse unless you are told otherwise
As this is a new way of working, it is worth discussing this with the nurse to see how this can be done the first time you decide to take control.
- Get access to your GP-held record. Without knowing what is in your records and what you need to do, it will be very hard to know what to do when and with who. This is an essential first step for anybody with any condition or who wants the best from the practice.
- You need to know what the different medications are. In particular if you are prescribed any steroid cream then it should be the lowest strength and applied with the correct amount for the least amount of time necessary. Your doctor can help you to understand this as well as the websites above.
- Look at the web page – pre-consultation care – and go through it prior to your review with the clinician. This can help us to understand your needs better and what you want out of the consultation. If there are no specific issues AND all the tests are normal and you are well-controlled, it may even be possible to conduct the medication review over the telephone. This must be with the agreement of the clinician and if you are happy with this. We think many people may benefit from this but we do not want to prevent anybody from coming to the surgery of they so wish. Understanding your needs is key to a successful outcome of the medication review. See the above mentioned websites to help you to understand what your needs are. Initially you may need the clinician to help you understand how to look at the websites and what they mean for you
Instead of having to come to the surgery lots of times a year to get high dose steroid creams that could be harmful to your skin long term, once you have understood what eczema is and what advice your doctor or nurse are giving you by reading your GP-held electronic health record, you may find that your skin improves greatly, whilst you are using less steroid cream and sleeping better as a result of not itching as much. If your child is the patient then not only does he or she or sleep better but so do you and of course spend less time at the surgery.
Most importantly, by working together and understanding each other’s needs better, we can help you to get the best out of the practice and the wider NHS.