Dental check up

Coquetdale Dental Practice: Patient Consultation

Mr S. Francis of Coquetdale Dental Practice is consulting with patients on the proposed closure of the Broomhill Health Centre practice.

Mr Francis currently provides dental services at both this and the Rothbury practice and is now in discussions with NHS England about the possibility of running services from Rothbury only.

Patients can send comments to: or call: 01670 760353 for more information.

If you would like details of alternative NHS dental surgeries in the area please call the practice or call Healthwatch Northumberland: 03332 408468.

Hexham General Hospital

Overnight urgent care closures to continue

Temporary measures to close the urgent care centres overnight at Hexham, Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals are set to continue for at least another three months.

The measures, which have seen the centres closed between midnight and 8.00am since December last year, are deemed necessary by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust so that the skills of nursing staff are used where they are most needed overnight. Night time emergencies have been diverted to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Hospital in Cramlington.

In an announcement on 22nd June, the trust stated that since the temporary measure was implemented there has been no detrimental impact on patient care and no significant change in the number of people accessing services overnight at the emergency care hospital.

The trust has stressed that the move is a temporary decision and says it will continue to work with NHS Northumberland and North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Groups on future arrangements.

For more information on emergency and urgent care services please see our Find Services page or visit Northumbria NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust website.

Men's Health Week Hazardous Waist

Men’s Health Week 2017 – Is yours a hazardous waist?

Men’s Health Week is 12 to 18 June and this year it’s all about belly fat. Why? Because it’s the type of fat that’s bad for your health and men are more likely to have it.

Belly fat is a problem because it lurks not just beneath the surface but also gets down deep and surrounds your vital organs. Regardless of your overall weight, a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Sleep apnea
  • Premature death from any cause
  • High blood pressure

So, men need to get those tape measures out. If you have a waist measurement over 37 inches (94cm), you are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke and erection problems. If it’s over 40 inches (102cm), you’re ar a considerably increased risk of all these. The measurement is not the same as your trouser size. Measure your stomach at the belly button.

For advice on how to move more, eat well and watch the booze to reduce your waist measurement, visit the Men’s Health Forum website.

book titles for young people around mental health

Reading Well for young people

Are you a young person needing help to cope with the pressures of life? Or are you a parent, teacher or health professional supporting young people coping with difficult feelings and experiences that can affect their well-being? Reading Well for young people can provide the books to help.

Reading Well for young people is delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians. It is funded by Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust.

Northumberland libraries are participating in the Reading Well initiative for young people.  We are launching the scheme in Hexham and Berwick libraries with collections of the 35 books on the recommended book list available for loan at these libraries or by free request from any library in Northumberland.

The booklist of 35 titles  provides 13 to 18 year-olds with support and advice on common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and stress, as well as difficult experiences like bullying and exams. All of the titles, which include self-help, psycho-education, memoirs, graphic novels and fiction, have been chosen by young people and health professionals.

more about mental health

Social Fridays from Age UK Northumberland

Age UK Northumberland is hosting a new social group for the over 50s at its Ashington premises. Have a cuppa and a chat, meet the staff and make new friends in a relaxed setting.

There will be free tea and coffee, board games, information and advice service, regular competitions, taster sessions, technology tips, local information and more. Everyone is welcome.

Two course lunch offer: £3.50 in the cafe.

Sessions are start on Friday 16th June and are from 12.00pm until 1.00pm and staff will be on hand to answer questions about benefits, housing, social activities, volunteering and more.

For more information call: 01670 784800
The Roundhouse, Lintonville Parkway, Ashington, Northumberland, NE63 9JZ

Age UK Northumberland

Mental Health Task Group

The mental health task group aims to ensure that users of mental health services and their carers have a voice and can influence mental health service delivery in Northumberland.
The group works in partnership with providers and commissioners of mental health services to bring about improvements for the benefit of all service users.
The main remits of this group are to:
  • Consider mental health issues affecting residents of Northumberland and brought to the attention of Healthwatch Northumberland.
  • Share and receive information from providers and commissioners of mental health services
  • Work in a transparent, inclusive and timely manner.
  • Consider equality and diversity issues in relation to the matters under consideration and any impact current services or future recommendations may have on equalities groups.


Social Care Task Group

The Social Care Task Group aimed to ensure that users and carers living in Northumberland have a voice and an influence social care services, to contribute towards improving the experience of people using social care services in Northumberland and to work in partnership with providers, commisioners and inspectors of social care services to gain a better understanding of the commissioning process and influence change where the need to do so is evident.
The group’s remit was to:
  • Understand the provision of social care services in Northumberland and monitor and challenge these services.
  • Seek the views of users and carers, follow up issues raised by them and share this information with providers, commissioners and service users.
  • Work with Northumberland County Council as principal commissioner, plus providers of social care through the Health and Social Care Liaison Group, on the findings of the task group, and link in to work undertaken by the Care Quality Commission inspection unit and Healthwatch England.
  • Monitor CQC reports and their impact on improving performance.
  • To work in a transparent, inclusive and timely manner, considering equality and diversity issues in relation to the matters under consideration, and any impact current services or future recommendations may have on equalities groups.
The social care task group was led by a member of the Healthwatch Northumberland board. Membership was open to Healthwatch Northumberland board members, staff and stakeholders with an interest in social care including carers, commissioners and providers of services relating to social care.

Access to Healthcare Task Group

The Access to Healthcare Task Group was set up to ensure that patients and carers living in Northumberland, have a voice and can influence access to health and social care service, workingin partnership with providers and commissioners of hospital services to bring about improvements for the benefit of all service users.
The group’s remit was to:
  • Investigate the experience of people in Northumberland’s access to health services.
  • Seek the views of patients and carers, follow up issues raised by them and share this information with providers, commissioners and users.
  • Work with providers and commissioners through the Health and Social Care Liaison Group, on the findings of the task group and link in to work undertaken by Healthwatch England around this issue.
  • Review accessibility to health services including issues such as: GP appointments, ambulance services, patient transport services, specialist services, A&E and access for people with disabilities
  • To work in a transparent, inclusive and timely manner, considering equality and diversity issues in relation to the matters under consideration and any impact current services or future  recommendations may have on equalities groups.
The task group was led by a member of the Healthwatch Northumberland board and membership was open to Healthwatch Northumberland board members and supporters with an interest in issues around access to health services. The group met every two months or more frequently as required.
Pregnant woman with nurse

Maternity Services Engagement

During May 2016 Healthwatch Northumberland conducted a number of discussion groups across the county in order to better understand what is most important to women at each stage of their pregnancy and the maternity services they receive.

More and more, women are choosing to deliver their babies in bigger maternity units, such as the Northumbria Specialist Care Hospital in Cramlington and the RVI in Newcastle, which have the full range of services available on one site including obstetricians and other specialists. Over the years the number of women delivering babies in the standalone units like those at Berwick, Alnwick and Hexham hospitals has declined. Some of this is down to choice and some is due to national guidance which means that fewer women now meet the eligibility criteria for delivering in a standalone midwifery-led unit.

With these changes in mind, Northumberland CCG commissioned us to lead 12 discussion groups involving women living across the county who have recently accessed maternity services.

Read the full Maternity Services Report

Young boy doing a jigsaw

In It Together

In It Together

‘In It Together’ is a group of parents and carers of children and young people with a wide range of disabilities and special needs which aims to work closely with service providers and commissioners to develop and maintain accessible, high quality services for all children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. The group has around 500 members.

Healthwatch Northumberland has been involved with the forum for a number of years and when we learnt from Northumberland CCG that the number of referrals for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were increasing rapidly but with relatively few meeting the criteria for an assessment and/or obtaining a subsequent ASD/ADHD diagnosis, it was decided to review the feedback raised by In It Together members.

We identified a number of reoccurring themes and concerns raised at the Parent Carer Professional Forum. In addition to identifying themes relating to the experiences of both parents and children and young people, it had been noted a number of times that parents and carers were concerned by the lack of representation from a health commissioning perspective at the meetings. As a result, the group felt that sometimes its strategic influence was lost.
With this in mind, Healthwatch Northumberland set out to ensure that the group’s concerns were heard at the right level. We facilitated and attended a meeting with the Chair of In It Together and the commissioning lead for mental health and learning disability services from Northumberland CCG to discuss and consider how to address each of the themes identified.

The outcomes of this meeting were:

Whilst the commissioners and providers were aware of a number of the issues raised and were already considering how to address them, the group identifying the themes was helpful and they will be shared with the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board (EHWB) Strategy Group.

A number of the points identified fit into the Local Transformation Plan (2015-20) under the THRIVE model components (Coping, Getting Help, Getting More Help and Getting Risk Support) and will be taken forward.

It was acknowledged that In It Together has a wealth of information and experience to contribute and the group now has an open invitation to attend the EHWB Strategy Group meetings.

The Children and Young People Service and the CCG will review invitations to all meetings, to prioritise appropriate attendance and how best to share information.

Find out more about In It Together.




happy children running

Introduction to Safeguarding Children – Refresher

Voices Northumberland supports third sector organisations and groups (voluntary and community, charities, social enterprises, cooperatives) to achieve positive outcomes for all children and young people.

This is a refresher course and will include hot topics and updates around safeguarding children.

What would you pay to keep a child safe?

If your primary area of work or volunteering is with babies, children or young people then this is the safeguarding course for you.

This course builds on our course on awareness of safeguarding adults and children and explores in more detail: communicating with children in difficult situations, thinking about the needs of children with additional needs, consolidating your skills in recognising abuse and responding to concerns and current hot topics in Northumberland.

To book your place please email to request a booking form. The course will take place in Morpeth between 1.00pm and 4.00pm.


£10 per person – Volunteer based in Northumberland

£20 per person – VCS paid worker based in Northumberland

£35 per person – public/private sector and any VCS organisations based outside of Northumberland

Smiling Woman

Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service: Let’s Talk Taboo Workshop

Let’s Talk Taboo!…so we can focus on Prevention


This workshop held by Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service (NDAS) will showcase film and drama prevention projects around sexual exploitation and domestic abuse being carried out in partnership with both statutory and voluntary organisations with young people across Northumberland.

The day will include:

  • Video Presentation from Dame Vera Baird
  • Guest speaker – Marilyn Hawes, Founder and CEO of Enough Abuse is one of the UK’s leading professionals on how to prevent and manage the impact of child sexual abuse/exploitation.”
  • Community performance Open Clasp Theatre Company – First Time Free performance & workshop CSE Prevention
  • Little Big Butterfly – Young Women’s Film Academy Project
  • Raw Productions Film – ‘Control’

10.00am: Registration:
12.30pm: Refreshments 

1:00pm: Prevention Drama & Film Projects                                  
3.00pm: Close

(timings are approximate)

The workshop is for anyone who works with or has a responsibility for protecting children and young people. This includes parents and guardians, volunteers in community groups and safeguarding professionals.

Please visit the NDAS website to register or for more information.

Respiratory Patient – Carer Network

The British Lung Foundation and Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) would like to extend an invitation to people across the region who have experience of living with a lung condition.
Patient participation and involvement is important to the NHS and other care organisations. This respiratory network for people living with lung disease will provide you with information, ideas and an opportunity to share your experience.

The event will be looking at:

  • Your experiences of involvement in influencing
  • How to use the media (including social media) to get your voice heard
  • Identifying a regional respiratory campaign

You may already be involved as a patient or carer representative, attend a support group, or just interested in knowing more about influencing respiratory care and finding out more about patient involvement in a relaxed, friendly environment.

To book please email: or telephone 07702 591569. It is advisable to book early as places are limited. The International Centre for Life is situated 200 metres from Newcastle Central Station and Metro and there is free car parking for delegates at nearby Times Square Car Park and a small number of disabled parking places available at the venue (must be pre-booked). Free lunch and refreshments provided.

Northumberland CCG Patient Forum

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group is inviting local people to its county-wide Patient Forum to share their experiences of the NHS and help influence the design of future local health services.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Northumberland has always valued patient feedback and has used it to improve local health services. The meeting will provide an excellent opportunity for the CCG to share important information and to discuss issues currently impacting the health of the people of Northumberland.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday 29 March 2017 at the Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth, NE24 5JF between 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm.

If you would like to attend or for further information please email: or call 01670 335 178.