Dental check up

Coquetdale Dental Practice

Patients have been told this week that Coquetdale Dental Practice is to close permanently. The practice has surgeries at two sites; Rothbury and Hadston. NHS England has written to all patients explaining the situation along with answers to some frequently asked questions. The letter contains information about alternative dental services; we would be interested to hear about people’s experiences of registering with a new dental practice and any issues with access.

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Healthwatch Northumberland AGM

Thanks to everyone who attended our AGM 2017

The fourth Healthwatch Northumberland AGM which took place on Wednesday 11 October at Stannington Village Hall was attended by over 70 people. The event saw partners and local organisations come together with supporters and other members of the public to review the year of work 2016/17. Former Chair of the Board, Cynthia Atkin, was thanked by current Chair, David Thompson, for her work over the year and since the inception of Healthwatch Northumberland, and was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator, gave a presentation reviewing the last 12 months, and outlining the strategic priorities for Healthwatch for the coming year and beyond.

Special guest speakers were Graham Tebbutt and Barry Dews from North East Ambulance Service, who presented on the new ambulance response times which take effect this month, and how these will affect the people of Northumberland. Many questions were raised by the audience on this interesting and important topic; more information on the standards can be found here.

A marketplace of information stands from local organisations provided support and advice for guests of the meeting; they were: Carers Northumberland, Age UK Northumberland, Northumberland County Blind Association, PALS, Northumberland CVA, Independent Advocacy and Complaints Services, Ageing Well Allies and Northumberland Cancer Support Group.

David Thompson, Chair, says; ” All in all, this was a well attended and illuminating AGM with thanks due to the many stall holders who were able to display and talk about the varied services which they offer to the wider community.  Importantly, the event also presented an opportunity for members of the public to raise issues of general concern to Healthwatch Northumberland staff and board members. This is what we are all about – listening to what people have to say about their health and care services and then responding in the most appropriate way to councillors, commissioners and providers. And that is what we shall continue to do during the remainder of this year, and beyond.”

Our new satisfaction survey was launched at the event and those who completed it were entered into a free prize draw to win a fruit basket, supplied by Fresh n Thyme Mobile Fruits and Vegetables. The basket was won by Liz Johnston of Northumberland Cancer Support Group.

The Healthwatch Northumberland AGM was filmed by Hexham TV and can be viewed on its Facebook page. Minutes of the meeting will be available here on the website shortly. Thanks go to everyone who came along and helped make the day a success.

Citizens Advice Northumberland

Citizens Advice Northumberland: Opening Times

Citizens Advice Northumberland: Information and Opening Times from October 2017

New information services and opening hours are now in place at Citizens Advice locations across Northumberland. The organisation has found that more and more people are trying to access information and advice via telephone, email and webchat rather than by traditional, face-to-face methods. In 2016-17 staff and volunteers helped more than 13,700 people with over 40,000 different problems and, during this period, saw a 40% increase in the number of people trying to get in touch by telephone. To keep reaching as many people as possible, the charity is developing its telephone and digital services whilst maintaining a face-to-face presence across the county.

The Northumberland Adviceline will be available from Monday to Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm and can be contacted by calling: 03444 111 444. There is also a new, county-wide debt helpline which will be available from Monday to Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm on: 01670 339960. This is in addition to a recently introduced text debt service. Clients who text ‘debt’ to 81400 will receive a call back within two working days to discuss their debt problems.Face to face services will continue to be available from a range of centres across the county through a mixture of drop-in sessions and appointments. Details below.

Over the coming months Citizens Advice Northumberland will be developing new email and webchat services to help meet increasing demand and will provide further information as these services become available.


Northumberland Adviceline: 03444 111 444. Monday to Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm

Online advice:

Debt Advice Helpline: 01670 339960. Monday to Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm

or text ‘debt’ to 81400 (for a call back within two working days)

Face to face drop in sessions:

Alnwick: Tuesday 9.30am – 3.30pm

Amble: Tuesday 9.30am – 3.30pm

Ashington: Monday and Tuesday 9.30am – 3.30pm

Berwick: Wednesday and Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm

Blyth: Tuesday and Wednesday 9.30am – 3.30pm

Cramlington: Monday and Tuesday 9.30am – 3.30pm

Morpeth: Wednesday 9.30am – 3.30pm

Hexham: Wednesday and Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm


Appointment only sessions:

Haltwhistle and Prudhoe

Healthwatch assistant at an event

Join us! Engagement Assistant Vacancy

Engagement Assistant

£20,395 per annum pro rata (£13,780 per annum – actual)

Part time 25 hours a week

Permanent dependent on funding

Closing date midnight Tuesday 10 October 2017

Based in Hexham with travel across Northumberland


Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for health and social care across the county. We aim to give a voice to service users, influence positive change to services and help meet the health and social care needs of the population.

Health and Social Care are never far from the news and it’s an area that affects most of us.  Joining Healthwatch Northumberland will give you the opportunity to work as part of a skilled and enthusiastic team making the voice of local people heard.  It’s a busy time and you can help make a difference.

The main aim of this role is to:

  • Deliver engagement strategies and activities to ensure Healthwatch Northumberland is listening to and representative of all communities across the county

The post holder will:

  • Support the Healthwatch Northumberland strategic plan through engagement activities
  • Provide input into project-specific engagement activities
  • Liaise with the Information, Communication & Marketing Officer to ensure engagement activities and their impact are widely communicated

Key Responsibilities:

  • Deliver engagement activities including workshops, focus groups and surveys to gather residents’ experiences and views
  • Represent Healthwatch Northumberland at information-sharing events with partners
  • Collate, report and record all feedback using CRM system, support and contribute to data collection
  • Build relationships with seldom heard groups, including children and young people

If you would like an informal discussion about the role and Healthwatch Northumberland, please contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator: from 2 October.


Job Description

Application Form

Letter to Applicants

If you would like to help people with sight loss to get out and about this inspirational session is for you. The training will help you safely and confidently guide someone who has sight loss

Sighted Guiding Training

If you would like to help people with sight loss to get out and about this inspirational session is for you. The training will help you safely and confidently guide someone who has sight loss. Four sessions are available:

Tuesday 3 October: 10.00am – 12.00pm or 1.00pm – 3.00pm

Thursday 5 October: 10.00am – 12.00pm or 1.00pm – 3.00pm

To book a place please call: 01670 514316 or email:


Newbiggin Men in Sheds: Photography Project

The Newbiggin Men in Sheds photography project fortnightly sessions take place at Newbiggin Sports & Community Centre, every other Tuesday, from 10 October at 1:30pm – 3.30pm. An opportunity to learn new skills, share the skills you have and be creative!
For more information please contact: or

The Newbiggin Men in Sheds Project is a partnership between the Northumberland County Council and a host of partner organisations.

The initiative looks to connect older men, create new friendships and keep them active. Men in sheds projects have been used around the country to provide an array of benefits for older men including knowledge sharing, community engagement, personal achievement and the opportunity to meet and interact with others. The important element of the project comes from those involved taking ownership of the schemes and coming together to participate in an activity which provides a level of interest and engagement for all involved.

Rothbury Village

Decision made on inpatient beds at Rothbury Hospital

Health leaders in Northumberland have decided that the 12 inpatient beds at Rothbury Community Hospital should be permanently closed and that existing health and care services should be shaped around a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the site.

The decision was made at a meeting, held in public today, of NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Joint Locality Executive Board.

The inpatient beds were temporarily closed in September 2016, a decision which led to local residents setting up the ‘Save Rothbury Cottage Hospital’ campaign group.

The Board, which includes GP leads from across the county, says it took into consideration feedback from a three month period of public consultation which showed how much people have valued the inpatient services at the hospital and which included the community’s vision for how services should be provided in future. They also considered analysis which showed that since the interim closure of the beds a year ago there had been no unexpected pressures in local health and care services and no evidence of adverse medical consequences on individual patients.

Read the full article


Wansbeck General Hospital

24 hour urgent care to return to Northumberland

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust announced today that the urgent care centres at Wansbeck and Hexham General Hospitals would re-open overnight from 30 October. This will bring to an end the temporary overnight closures (between 12.00am and 8.00am) which have been in place since September last year. North Tyneside General Hospital will continue to close at midnight.

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Like the rest of the NHS, we are once again preparing for an extremely busy time this winter and fully endorse the NHS recommendation to call 111 before visiting any of our urgent care centres or our emergency department.

Calling 111, which is free and available 24/7, is the best way to get the treatment you need in the quickest way and will also include access to urgent GP appointments this winter.

“It is vital that The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington is kept free for serious emergencies only and we have worked hard to re-open our urgent care centres overnight for conditions which are not life-threatening but need an urgent response. We hope this news will be welcomed by patients.”

Healthwatch Northumberland was asked to engage with the public about their views on the temporary night time closures and what the public understood about urgent care centres and where to access treatment. The results were considered as part of the decision making process.

CQC consultation phase 2 response

Our response to the CQC Consultation Phase 2

Healthwatch Northumberland response to CQC Consultation Phase 2

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is currently at stage 2 of a consultation process on its plans for regulation health and social care and the ways in which it will make its processes more responsive and more transparent.  Healthwatch Northumberland did not respond to the first stage of the consultation but has provided a full to stage 2.

Our response is balanced as it is supportive and challenging in reasonably equal measures. We support all the areas where there is increased transparency and more focused and proportionate regulation as it is this type of regime that reduces the regulatory burden on providers without losing protection or creating detriment for end users.  The response, however, also makes a series of challenges where we feel that the plans being consulted on do not go far enough to protect the interests of service users, their families and carers or where we believe that the CQC is not demonstrating a recognition of the needs of that group.  The golden thread that runs through the response is that the CQC does everything possible to enable service users, their families and carers to make informed choices where choice is available and to better understand the services they receive where there is no choice.  Underpinning this is the need for significantly increased engagement with end users and their representatives and clearer demonstration by the CQC that not only does it recognise but that is acts on the needs of this most important of stakeholder groups.

Read the full response we gave to the consultation.

GP writing a prescription

White Medical Group: proposal to close Stamfordham Surgery

The Partners of White Medical Group are intending to submit a formal application to Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group/NHS England to close the branch surgery in Stamfordham. A letter has been sent to all households in the vicinity of Stamfordham surgery informing them of the proposal. All services delivered from this surgery would be relocated to Ponteland Primary Care Centre, plus the branch surgery in Wylam will continue to provide the services currently on offer.

The group says it has considered a number of options in order to provide patients with a modern primary care service, but sees closure of the Stamfordham surgery site as the only viable option to maintain the current partnership and provide safe and effective modern day general practice to patients.

The full letter can be found at White Medical Group’s website. Feedback on the proposal can be sent to: or by writing to the practice manager. All responses should be given by 14 November.



Life Laundry

Financial Life Laundry

This session is from the WEA Finance Branch and West Northumberland Food Bank and is an opportunity to get your finances and paperwork in order.

Bring along the letters you haven’t opend and the policies you don’t understand, get up to date and have a good clear out. There will also be a chance to shred any papers for free; just bring those along too!

Hate Crime Event

Hate Crime Event

In support of National Hate Crime Week, Northumbria Police are holding a Hate Crime Event at Hexham Abbey on Tuesday 17th October.

The event will run between 10.00am and 3.00pm and will consist of various displays from different agencies and partner organisations.

The displays will represent a wide spectrum of local populations, with the emphasis on hate crime and how we can work together to support, educate and liaise with one another.

Agencies and partner organisations have been invited along to promote what they do and link in with one another and the members of the public who attend and Healthwatch Northumberland will be there with an information stand.

Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Jill Hall, Northumbria Police said: “This is the first time this event has been held in Hexham and what an amazing venue. It is a perfect place to host this fantastic event which is an opportunity for our communities to come together and show support.

“Being you is not a crime and it is a message we strongly believe in and reinforce. We encourage everyone who feels targeted or who is suffering to get in touch with police- we are here to help.”

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group Patient Forum

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) 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 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 Tuesday 31 October at Northumberland Hall, Market Place, Alnwick, NE66 1TN between 2pm and 5pm.

If you would like to attend or for further information please email: or call 01670 335 185.

Gloved hands holding cup of coffee

Winter Warmer at Belford

A health roadshow from Ageing Well in Northumberland focusing on different aspects of keeping healthy for older people. There will be lots of stalls giving information and advice – including Healthwatch Northumberland! Plus there’s a free lunch of soup and a sandwich.

Free transport is available on the day. For more information or to book transport please call: 01668 219220.

Macrame bracelet

Caring Crafters Session – Wooler

Do you like having a dabble with crafts? Do you have a skill you’d like to share? Would you like to meet others with similar interests?

Everyone is welcome at the Carers Northumberland Caring Crafters sessions, where so far the group has enjoyed making silk paper, notebooks, felt bowls, noticeboards and glass painting. The group is also open to non-carers.

This next session is at the Cheviot Centre, Wooler where there will be the chance to make a macrame bracelet.

To book a place at the session please call: 01670 320025.


Northumberland County Blind Association: Information and Equipment Day

A chance for blind and partially sighted people to come along and try the latest equipment from some of the leading suppliers of low vision aids and solutions. There will be free information, advice and support from organisations including:

  • Associated Optical
  • Enhanced Vision
  • HumanWare
  • Optelec
  • Pamtrad
  • Royal National Institute for the Blind
  • British Wireless for the Blind
  • Blind Veterans UK
  • Macular Society


Everyone is welcome.

For more information visit Northumberland County Blind Association or call: 01670 514316.

Hand with LGBT ribbon

LGBT Community Culture training session

Are you a member of the lesbian, gay bisexual and/or trans community? Do you have an interest in social inclusion, health and wellbeing? Would you like to be a part of a network that listens and provides opportunities for you to share your values? Would you like to be an LGBT community role model?

Our community culture project (managed by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and funded through the National Lottery Big Lottery Fund) aims to raise awareness of topics and build more inclusive networks and peer support in Northumberland.

These training events will help you to better understand the things that LGBT people have in common, and how homophobia and heterosexism can make LGBT lives more difficult. The events are mainly aimed at LGBT people or people who have a strong personal understanding of the LGBT experience.


Order of Day:

12:30pm Delegate arrival/registration (teas/coffees on arrival)

12:45pm Course Start

14:30pm Break

16:00 Close

Register for this free event here.

Small child laughing and playing

SEND Information Roadshow – Alnwick

These roadshows from In It Together Parent Carer Forum and Northumberland County Council are for the families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Northumberland and the professionals who work with them.

The events, which are also at Ashington on 14 September and Hexham on 25 September will have information stalls from a wide range of services and organisations, including Healthwatch Northumberland, plus workshops including the topics: Special Educational Needs and Preparing for Adulthood.

Booking isn’t required, just come along any time between 1pm and 6pm.

For more information please contact In It Together by emailing: or call: 0772 919 2909.

Small child laughing and playing

SEND Information Roadshow – Ashington

These roadshows from In It Together Parent Carer Forum and Northumberland County Council are for the families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Northumberland and the professionals who work with them.

The events, which are also at Alnwick on 21 September and Hexham on 25 September will have information stalls from a wide range of services and organisations, including Healthwatch Northumberland, plus workshops including the topics: Special Educational Needs and Preparing for Adulthood.

Booking isn’t required, just come along any time between 1pm and 6pm.

For more information please contact In It Together by emailing: or call: 0772 919 2909.


happy children running

An Introduction to Safeguarding Children

An Introduction to Safeguarding Children


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.

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 the course ‘an 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 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.


£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

This course will take place in central Northumberland – exact venue/location will be confirmed at a later date.