People in Milton Keynes asked to ‘think pharmacy’ this October half term

This October half term, health leaders from Milton Keynes are encouraging people to visit their local community pharmacy for helpful health advice.

Community pharmacists and their teams are highly trained healthcare professionals and can give clinical and practical medical advice or over-the-counter medicines to help safely manage minor health issues such as: sore throats, coughs, colds, tummy troubles, teething problems and aches and pains.

Pharmacists have five years of training and are qualified to assess symptoms and manage minor illnesses and ailments. They can recommend the best course of treatment. If it is something more serious, they will direct people to the most appropriate healthcare service to receive the help they need.

Dr Nicola Smith, GP and Chair from NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Community pharmacists work closely with their local communities and are a great resource for anyone needing help, medical advice or support.

“Your local community pharmacist is trained in managing minor illness and can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment.

“If symptoms indicate there is a more serious problem, they have the right clinical training to advise on the urgency and ensure people get the help they need.”

With most people living close to a pharmacy and many pharmacies now offering extended opening hours at weekends and in the evenings, pharmacy teams offer fast and convenient clinical support with no appointment needed.

Many pharmacies also have a consultation room which patients can ask to use if they want to discuss their concerns privately.

If you cannot access a pharmacy and you have an urgent medical problem you get help online or on the phone with NHS 111 who can provide advice and direct you to the most appropriate service for your need.

To find your nearest pharmacy and see its opening times visit:

Brexit and the Supply of Medication

Please be reassured that the availability of medication post Brexit is being closely monitored nationally. You are kindly asked not to stockpile your medication as this will create unnecessary stock shortages. Just order your usual quantities as normal.

Protected Learning Time

GP surgeries and health centres across Milton Keynes participate in Protected Learning Time and during that “protected” afternoon when the surgery is closed to patients, staff members have an opportunity to participate in training and development activities.

Protected Learning Time is valued by all staff and is a benefit to patient care.

Parkside works with the Out-of-Hours services when we are closed for this Protected Learning Time.

The practice will be closed for Protected Learning Time which runs from 1.30pm onwards. For dates please contact reception.

How to manage your Hay Fever

Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen. The symptoms of hay fever are caused when a person has an allergic reaction to pollen. Common hay fever symptoms are:

  • a runny, itchy and/or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • itchy eyes

Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. Pollen contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.

How to treat hay fever

Many hay fever symptoms can be controlled with over-the-counter medication at your local pharmacy.

  • Steroid nasal sprays help to prevent or reduce inflammation in the lining of the nose and some can help to relieve watery eyes. Available from your local pharmacy.
  • Antihistamines help to relieve a runny nose, sneezing, itching and watery eyes. Some types of antihistamines make you drowsy and are best taken before bed. Newer antihistamines are less likely to make you drowsy and are a common choice for children and people with milder or occasional symptoms of hay fever. Available from your local pharmacy.
  • Decongestant nasal sprays and tablets are used to unblock the nose. They should never be taken for more than a few days at a time. Available from your local pharmacy.
  • Eye drops can be used to treat itchy or watery eyes. Available from your local pharmacy.

If none of the above treatments are effective for you, please book an appointment to discuss other treatments.

Useful Links

NHS – Hay fever
NHS – Find your local Pharmacy
Met Office – Pollen forecast

Smear tests don’t detect ovarian cancer

One in five women think a smear test (cervical screening) can detect ovarian cancer, but they are mistaken.

Smear tests are performed to detect abnormal cells on the cervix, the entrance to the womb. If abnormal cells are identified they are removed from the cervix and that can help prevent cervical cancer.

Ovarian cancer is different to cervical cancer. Ovarian cancer develops when cells in the ovary (connected to the womb by the fallopian tubes) begin to grow and divide in an abnormal way, eventually growing to form a tumour.

GPs check for ovarian cancer by doing a pelvic examination to determine whether the ovary is enlarged and by taking a sample of blood to test for a substance called CA125, which, if high in the blood may indicate ovarian cancer.

The lack of awareness behind the purpose of a smear test means many women may think they are ‘safe’ or ‘protected’ from ovarian cancer. As March launches Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to know the signs of the cancer:

  • Constant bloating or swollen stomach
  • Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Urinary symptoms, including needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual.

Dr Nicola Smith, GP and Chair of NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“Everyday 20 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK, and over half of these newly diagnosed patients are already at a late stage of cancer.

“It is crucial women are aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and if women are presenting any of the signs, not to be embarrassed and book an appointment with their GP.

“If changes have been noticed they may not be due to cancer, but if it is, the earlier the diagnosis the higher the rate of successful treatment.”

For more information about ovarian cancer, visit

For more information about smear tests (cervical screening), visit

For more information about cervical cancer, visit

Important Announcement

It is with sadness that we say goodbye to Dr Paul Minney who has been a GP at Parkside Medical Centre for over 25 years. Dr Paul Minney has been an important influence on patient care including being involved in prescribing safety as part of MK prescribing Advisory Group. He officially leaves on 31st March.

Patients registered with him will be transferred to a new GP in due course. We will contact you as soon as we can.