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Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – April 2021

Bowel cancer or colorectal cancer affects the large bowel. It is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and one of the leading causes of cancer death with more than 16,000 people dying from it each year.

The risk of bowel cancer is higher in people aged 50 and over. However, bowel cancer can affect anyone of any age and it is important to know the signs and symptoms to watch out for.

Early diagnosis is crucial as this leads to improved treatment outcomes. If you experience any of the symptoms below, do not delay, contact your GP as soon as possible- the NHS is open safely.


Symptoms of Bowel Cancer

  • Bleeding from your bottom and or blood in your poo
  • Persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

You will also find information on how to spot the symptoms of bowel cancer on Bowel Cancer UK website or by visiting the NHS website.

Risk Factors

The following risk factors increase your risks of getting bowel cancer:

  • Aged 50 and over
  • Family history of bowel cancer
  • A history of non-cancerous growth (polyps) in your bowel
  • Inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Unhealthy Lifestyle

Reducing Your Risk of Bowel Cancer

You can reduce your risk by having a healthy lifestyle including the following:

  • Regular Exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Healthy Eating
  • Avoid smoking and drinking excessively

Bowel Cancer Screening Programme

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (NHS BCSP) is part of the NHS cancer screening programmes in the UK.

The BCSP aims to reduce the number of deaths resulting from bowel cancer through regular bowel cancer screening. Screening can help spot early signs of bowel cancer when it is easier to treat

Every 2 years, everyone aged 60-74 who is registered with a GP and lives in England will receive an invitation for bowel cancer screening and a FIT test kit. The age for testing is due to be extended to people aged 56 in May 2021.

Previously people aged 55 were invited for bowel scope screening. However, this is no longer offered as part of the bowel cancer screening programme. If you were invited for bowel scope prior to the covid-19 pandemic and are still waiting to be seen, you will receive a FIT test kit by April 2021

People aged 75 and over can also request a testing kit by contacting the bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

The FIT test detects tiny traces of blood in the poo sample and the kit is really easy to use as it only requires one stool sample. The participant unscrews the cap of the test, dips the end of the stick into the stool sample and then replaces the stick. You then post it to the lab for testing. But don’t worry, full instructions and a detailed information leaflet will be sent with your invitation and test kit.

There are things that you can do to make sure that you do not miss your screening invitation and bowel screening FIT kit:

  • Ensure that your GP has the correct address for you
  • Contact your GP regarding any questions or concerns around screening and results

Information on bowel cancer screening is also available in different languages and formats via the GOV.UK website.

SWL Under 50s Survey

Tell us your views about the covid19 vaccine – your chance to win a £150 Amazon voucher!

We want to know what you think about the covid-19 vaccine

The NHS in South West London has done an amazing job to roll out the biggest vaccination programme in the NHS’s history

Soon we will be offering the vaccine to younger people – and we want to make sure we are ready to support you to come forward to get your vaccine when it’s your turn

Please help us by answering a 7 minute questionnaire – and have your chance to win £150 amazon voucher – and help your local NHS

The survey launched on Tuesday 16 March 2021 and will close at midnight on Tuesday 23 March 2021

Fill in the survey here now

Self-referral to Merton Uplift

Feeling low? Stressed? Anxious? Need help with your mental health and wellbeing? Merton Uplift can help.

Merton Uplift is a free integrated Primary Care Mental Health service accessible to anyone 18 and over, living in the borough of Merton or registered with a Merton GP.

Merton Uplift supports anyone who has a mental health or wellbeing need, whether this is due to emotional difficulties or life stressors. Merton Uplift launched on 1 April and is a partnership between NHS and local voluntary sector organisations.

With values based on empowerment and building resilience within the community, Merton Uplift aims to tailor support to the individual. The service has three key elements:

  • Primary Care Recovery Service
  • Talking Therapies or IAPT (Improving access to Psychological Therapies) and
  • Wellbeing

Wellbeing work across the community, in partnership with a variety of organisations and offer a wide range of support as well as wellbeing workshops, and in collaboration with all elements of Merton Uplift.

The Primary Care Recovery service offers support for people with a stable mental health condition such as Psychosis, Bipolar Affective disorder and complex Anxiety or Depression.

Merton Uplift can support you through a number of ways including:

  • Self-management workshops
  • Psychological therapies which include Guided Self-Help (GSH), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy, Counselling and group therapy
  • Recovery and Wellbeing support

Our therapies, both group and individual, are provided at Cricket Green Medical Practice or in GP surgeries and other community venues across the borough. We also offer individual therapy by audio-visual link (like Skype), as well as other online based interventions, such as IESO and SilverCloud.

How to get in touch

If you think we can be of help and are interested in finding out more about or service please call us on 020 3513 5888 or visit our website

You do not need to be referred by your GP or any other professional.

Just get in touch with us and we can talk through whether our service is for you. We aim to support people with Wellbeing in many ways so no problem is considered to be too small. You can complete a self-registration form on our website.

Warm and Well Merton: Are you prepared for cold weather?

The Warm and Well in Merton campaign is raising awareness of the importance of preparing for winter and giving you support on how best to stay warm and well.  How Warm and Well in Merton can help:

Online talks

Online talks on keeping warm and well in the winterWe are running online talks for community groups with tips on how to stay warm and well in colder weather and information on local services available to you in current circumstances. If you are interested in a talk: Contact Wimbledon Guild: 0208 946 0735.

Energy saving advice

Not-for-profit organisation Thinking Works can give free, impartial advice over the phone on keeping warm and well at home as well as delivering free devices to help cut water and energy use. Advisors can see if you might be eligible for grants for insulation and heating works. This service is for residents aged over 65, OR with a long-term health condition or disability OR on a low income. Contact Wimbledon Guild: 0208 946 0735.

Information and advice

Age UK Merton are on hand to provide you free, confidential advice over the telephone on pensions, welfare benefits, social care, health, housing, transport and more.  Contact Age UK Merton: 020 8648 5792. 

Financial support for individuals

Wimbledon Guild provide grants for eligible people in Merton to help with fuel costs, bedding and food as well as supermarket vouchers. In the current circumstances, they are completing assessments over the phone. Contact Wimbledon Guild: 0208 946 0735.

Handyperson service

Merton Council have a handyperson to help people aged 65+ or with long-term health conditions or disabilities with minor jobs to ensure their homes are safe at these times and to help them stay well. This includes home visits to fix lightbulbs, replace batteries in smoke alarms, replace broken toilet seats etc. Contact Wimbledon Guild: 0208 946 0735.

The Nelson Medical Practice – Update on our current services

Update – January 2021

As you will be aware there are now high levels of coronavirus nationally including in Merton. In these unprecedented times we know that many of our patients will be worried about what this means for their routine and urgent medical care.

Please be assured that the practice is open and we want to encourage you to seek support from the surgery if needed, for any reason. Urgent and emergency hospital and community services continue to operate. However at the time of writing some hospital outpatient or non-urgent services are being provided remotely or capacity is being reduced. This is in order to support re-deployment of staff to critical areas. This may result in some delays with onward referrals and we ask to you to be patient.

In line with national guidance most of our care starts with a telephone call, we can also use video calls and text messaging if these suit you. If we cannot resolve your problem remotely we will invite you for a face to face appointment where we will follow strict infection control measures to keep you safe.

If you are attending the surgery please take careful note of any instructions you have been given. Please wear a face covering, respect social distancing and follow the one-way system. If you are asked to wait outside or in the car please do so. Of course remember to wash or sanitise your hands before entering and on leaving the building.

We are here for you on the phone, on line, by video and in person.

Our whole team are here for you and will stay here for you. If you need us please go online or contact us by phone (see further information on how to access our services below.


Like GP practices and hospitals all over the UK, all consultations will initially be carried out remotely via a phone or video call. This helps us manage care in a safe and, we hope, effective manner. If we can resolve any issues via a phone or video call we will, hopefully providing a more convenient and responsive service whilst reducing your risk of infection. However if either you, or we feel you need to be seen in the surgery then we are here for you. The initial phone call often allows tests and investigations to be organised before a face to face consultation, making the most of your time with the doctor.

We hope that this approach provides benefits for our patients by being convenient, and improves safety by making sure that every appointment within the surgery counts, whilst also maintaining the quality of care –ensuring that all those who need to see a doctor face to face can do.

We ask that patients do not come in to the practice to arrange an appointment. Please contact us via telephone on 020 3826 0826, the ‘Get Help Now’ tool on our website or Doctorlink instead. Patients can now also book a routine telephone appointment with a GP via the ‘Patient Access’ app.

We have introduced a new type of appointment called a Planned Care Appointment. These are pre-booked appointments with a specific doctor, at a specified time and can be conducted by phone, video or face to face. Our clinical team or patient care coordinators can book these for review of longstanding conditions or those who most need the continuity of their usual GP.

Our Same Day Team are available from 08:00 – 18:30 Monday – Friday to deal with clinically urgent problems which need addressing that day – this can be accessed in the usual manner by calling 0203 826 0826. We are now using video calls and two-way text messaging (including the sending of pictures) in addition to telephone calls to offer an even more comprehensive service.

We continue to provide Home Visits to those that need them. Please be aware that there is a limited capacity to provide these and we are only able to provide these to people who are housebound and unable to attend the Surgery. If you think you may need home visit then please contact the practice before 11:00 to request a visit.

We have hugely increased our capacity for telephone triage and our phone lines are open 08:00 – 18:30 Monday Friday. If you are unwell outside of these times please contact NHS 111, or use the online symptom checker Doctorlink – the results of this symptom checker are fed back to the practice to arrange appropriate appointments if needed. If it’s an emergency please call 999 or attend the nearest accident and emergency department.

We’ve also expanded the use of our Doctorlink App . Here you can check your symptoms 24 hours a day and if you need to see a doctor you can book a telephone appointment directly through the app.

If you need help from the practice but don’t think you need to speak to a doctor then you can use the ‘contact us’ form on our website. We hope that this is convenient to use, please allow 5 working days for a response from the practice.

Keeping you safe

In order to keep you safe whilst in the building you may notice a few changes, please be reassured that this is to maximise the safety of patients and staff. Once inside, barriers and floor markers will help you to maintain strict 2m social distancing. The waiting areas have also been marked so you know where it is safe to sit. You will need to check in with a receptionist rather than the automatic screens.

Your clinician will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They may also be wearing some very snazzy work clothes (“scrubs”) kindly crafted for us by talented local volunteers! All our non-clinical staff are now wearing face coverings, you will also need to wear a face covering when entering the building.

Infective symptoms and isolation room

If you have symptoms which could possibly be caused by an infection please do not come into the practice without first speaking to a doctor. We have a specific consultation room in which strict infection control and cleaning procedures are maintained. This is separate to the main surgery. This is in order to keep you and other patient’s safe. If you are asked to come to the isolation room by your doctor you will be given a specified time, please then wait outside the building until your doctor calls you. This is in-order to limit your waiting time within the building. Please wear a face covering, walk straight through the building to the surgery reception and avoid touching surfaces. The isolation room is to the left of the surgery reception and is separate from the rest of the surgery. Either your doctor or the receptionist will then show you into the consultation room.

Other services

There are lots of useful links here on our website which might help you to manage your health at home as well as contacts for other NHS and voluntary organisations who can help.

We are working with our local partners to direct patients with suspected Covid-19 to dedicated clinics and to see those who need to shield in the safety of their own homes.

Blood tests continue to be performed on the ground floor 08:00 – 19:30 Monday to Friday and 08:00 – 13:30 on Saturdays.

Helping us help you

There are some things that you can do to help us to help you at this time.

If you think you might have Covid-19 please do NOT come to the surgery, stay at home and first visit NHS 111 Service where you can check your symptoms, arrange a test and print a sick note if needed. If you are finding it difficult to cope with your symptoms you can call 111 and they can arrange for you to be followed up by ourselves or seen in a specialist clinic if needed.

When you call the surgery please give the navigator (receptionist) as much information about your problem as possible – this will allow them to get you the right help. Please ensure that your contact details are up to date and that you have nominated a pharmacy where we can send any prescriptions electronically. Consider downloading the Patient Access app so you can check results and order regular medications using this.

If we are calling you back please ensure your phone is charged up, set to ring and in the area with the best reception. Video calls work best over WiFi. We will send you a link by text, you follow this and will need to enable the mic and camera when asked to do so. If you have a rash or skin lesion consider taking a photograph in good light before we call so that you can text the image to us if needed.

It really helps us if you have some easy to use and inexpensive equipment at home. A thermometer means you can check your temperature and an automated blood pressure machine can be purchased in the pharmacy or online and will also check your pulse. If you have a long-term condition such as diabetes or take regular medications it is often important for us to check your weight so having some bathroom scales is helpful too.

We know that advice is changing fast and it can be confusing. We want to reassure you that we are here to help and working hard to keep everyone safe. We will keep our website and social media feeds regularly updated so please do follow us or check back regularly.

Stay safe and stay well but remember we are here if you need us.

The Nelson Medical Practice Team

Free online fitness classes for Nelson Medical Practice patients


The Patient Participation Group of the Nelson Medical Practice in collaboration with Fit-Nest Training would like to offer free weekly fitness classes delivered online until 31 March 2021. During this time of isolation, we need to keep strong both physically and mentally. Movement helps to stay mentally well balanced and also keeps our immune system resilient.

No matter what your level of fitness, feel free to book your class selecting one of the options below and then following the link.


  • Beginner Fitness Class – Thursdays 12.00 noon
  • Intermediate Fitness Class – Fridays 12.00 noon

Please visit:

The password : ncfitness21

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

We will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. Please wait to be contacted.

At this time, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals to:

  • some people aged 80 and over who already have a hospital appointment in the next few weeks
  • people who work in care homes
  • health care workers at high risk

The vaccine will be offered more widely, and at other locations, as soon as possible. We will contact patients when it is their turn to be offered the vaccine.

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Meanwhile, we must all continue to adhere to stick to the local tier restriction rules and remember hands, face, space.

Hot Topics – My Child and Coronavirus

Hot Topics – your questions answered.

Members of our patient group have kindly put together a few questions that maybe relevant to anyone living in the area. If you have a question yourself, and you think the answer may be of interest to others then please let us know using the ‘contact us’ form on the practice website and we will endeavour to answer them in this section.

Dr Tom Wilson

My child and coronavirus October 2020:

With coronavirus rates increasing again many people are asking us how and when to get a coronavirus test. The most up-to-date national information can be found on the NHS website including details on how to book a test. Up to date information including details of the current coronavirus information, local infection rates and guidance can also be found by downloading the NHS COVID 19 app

The symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • fever >37.8
  • continuous cough
  • loss or change in the sense of smell and or taste

In our experience the symptoms of coronavirus are highly variable with some people becoming seriously unwell but most having minimal or no symptoms, thankfully this is usually the case in children. In general we would advise caution – self isolating if you think you are becoming unwell and organising a test if you have any of the above symptoms. Please also bear in mind (particularly in children) that there are many other causes of a fever and continue to seek help as you would do in any normal year.

Do I need to book a test EACH time my child has a fever above 37.8?

A test should be organised (if the above symptoms are present) for every illness episode. This does not necessarily mean every time the temperature goes above 37.8, but it does mean that a repeat test may be needed if you have recovered and then become unwell again.

Can I send my child to school if they don’t have high temperature anymore, but they did not have a test?

If your child has had the symptoms of coronavirus (fever >37.8, continuous cough, loss or change in the sense of smell) then they will need to isolate until they have had a negative test or for at least 10 days from symptom onset. Individuals in their support bubble will also need to isolate for 14 days or until they have a negative coronavirus test.

Should I keep my child at home if one of our family is showing one of the symptoms?

Yes – until the family member has a negative test or all members have isolated for the required length of time (usually 14 days).

For how long should I keep my child at home?

For at least 10 days from symptom onset or until you receive a negative test for coronavirus, however members of the support bubble may need to isolate for longer. More information can be found at:

If I am unable to work because of coronavirus do I need a sick note?

No – you can apply for an NHS ‘isolation note’ directly from the NHS website

How do I treat the symptoms of coronavirus?

In the majority of cases symptoms of coronavirus can be managed safely at home with routine self-care, ensuring that you isolate yourself from others to avoid spread. However if you do think you are becoming more unwell for example significantly more short of breath, confused or lethargic then please seek further medical advice either via the surgery in hours of NHS 111 out of hours. Information relating to symptoms can be found at

How do I organise a coronavirus test for me or my child?

Coronavirus tests can be organised for those with symptoms at or by calling 119. Please note that the surgery does not have separate access to coronavirus testing and local accident and emergency departments will only test those who have a clinical need.