Berwick towin from the bridge

Berwick Hospital Drop-in Session

People are being invited to a drop-in session next Thursday 27 September, to give their views on plans for hospital and leisure development in Berwick.

Representatives from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council will be at The Swan Centre from 10.00am to 12.00pm to listen to people’s views and answer any questions.

A spokesperson for the trust and council says: “We’re fully aware that some local people have concerns about co-locating a hospital and leisure centre on one site and we’d encourage residents to come along and talk to us about them so we can better understand how they feel.

“Ahead of the session we’d like to reassure people that the funding for the new hospital is secure as is the funding for the new leisure centre. We look forward to meeting people on the day.”

Visit the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust website for more information.

Collingwood Medical Group

Collingwood Medical Group

Update: 14 August 2018

Now that letters have been sent and patients have information about the closure of Collingwood Medical Group, we would like to hear from anyone who has had any problems registering with a new practice, or any other issues, to get in touch.

 

Patients of Collingwood Medical Group in Blyth have been informed that the current provider of the practice is unable to continue providing GP services after 30 November 2018. After careful consideration of all the available options, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has reluctantly decided to close the practice permanently. It has issued patients with a list of alternative practices in the area is asking them to begin thinking about registering with an another practice in the coming months.

Three drop-in meetings have been arranged for any patients who would like to stop by for a short time to gain further information or raise any concerns in person. These sessions will be attended by the CCG alongside representatives from NHS England, Collingwood Medical Group, Healthwatch Northumberland and the Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

They are taking place at the following times:

• Wednesday 4 July: 1.00pm – 3.00pm, Blyth Community Enterprise Centre, Ridley Street, Blyth NE24 3AG

• Wednesday 11 July: 2.00pm – 4.00pm, Briardale Community Centre, Briardale Road, Blyth NE24 5AN

• Monday 16 July: 4.30pm – 6.30pm, Blyth Community Enterprise Centre, Ridley Street, Blyth NE24 3AG

More detailed information about practices is available on the NHS Choices website. You can also read about Patient Choice of GP Practices here.

Silhouettes of people jumping on a beach at sunset

Have your say on health and care in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working together to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the county’s residents and reduce inequalities over the next ten years.

Health and care leaders from the Health and Wellbeing Board have drafted a new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the county. This explains what priorities the board has set in order to tackle the county’s health needs.

People living and working across Northumberland are being asked to share their views on future health and care priorities by completing an online survey.  Feedback will help shape the final Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy which is due to be published later this year. There is also the opportunity to meet with staff from Northumberland CCG at four events to be held across the county this month:

  • Wednesday 15 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Morpeth Town Hall, Morpeth NE61 1LZ
  • Thursday 16 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth NE24 5JF
  • Friday 17 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Hexham Abbey, Hexham NE46 3NB
  • Monday 20 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Northumberland Hall, Alnwick NE66 1TN

The online survey can be completed here until Friday 7 September.

More details can be found on the council’s website here.

If you would like to attend one of the events or for further information please email: melodyprice@nhs.net or call 01670 335 185.

Board member talking to member of the public

Board Member Vacancies

Healthwatch Northumberland is looking to appoint up to four new independent volunteer board members who will play an important role in setting and overseeing the county-wide strategy. Please download an application pack and application form or call 03332 408468 for more information or a copy of the pack in the post.

APPLICATION PACK

APPLICATION FORM

Man at GP reception

Patient choice of GP Practices

Since 5 January 2015, all GP practices in England have been free to register new patients who live outside their practice boundary area.

This means you can register with a GP practice somewhere that’s more convenient for you, such as a practice near your work or closer to your children’s schools. These arrangements are voluntary for GP practices. If the practice has no capacity at the time, or feels it is not clinically appropriate or practical for you to be registered so far away from home, they can still refuse registration. The practice should explain to you their reason for refusing your registration.

How to register with a GP practice further away

You may wish to join a GP near work or re-register with your old GP following a move. There are a few things to consider:

  • Research your options in the area you want to register with, so you choose a practice that is right for you.
  • Compare GP surgeries according to facilities, services or performance before you decide. Ask friends, relatives and others you trust for their thoughts and recommendations.
  • Contact the practice and ask if it is accepting registrations from out-of-area patients.
  • If the practice is accepting registrations, ask for a registration form.

The practice will decide, following a review of your completed registration form, whether to accept you as a regular patient or accept you without home visiting duties (if it is clinically appropriate and practical for you to be registered away from home).

Because of the greater distance to your home, the GP you register with is under no obligation to offer you a home visit. If you are not well enough to go to the practice yourself, then other arrangements will be made. NHS England (the body responsible for buying GP services) ensures that there is access to a service either near your home or at home (if needed). When you register with a practice further away from home, you will be given information about what you should do in those circumstances.

However, if you are too ill to go to the practice in person, or the practice is unable to help you over the phone, call NHS 111. The NHS 111 service can tell you about access to local services or, where necessary, arrange a home visit.

For more information please visit NHS Choices.

Annual Report 2017/18 front cover

Annual Report 2017/18

Our Annual Report is a bitesized account of what the Healthwatch Northumberland team has been up to over the previous year. You can read about what you’ve told us about health and social care, how we’ve helped people find answers and how we’ve made a difference. We will be expanding on the report at our AGM on 16 October (more details to follow), and you can download a copy below or contact us to be sent a hard copy.

Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Report 2017/18

Visit your local Pharmacy

NHS urges ‘Think GP or Pharmacy’ this Easter

NHS England is urging people in the North East to see a pharmacist or make an appointment to see a GP for non-emergency health issues over Easter.

Although some GP practices are closed over the Easter bank holidays, the NHS has been working to ensure people can access a GP appointment or pharmacist should they need advice or treatment for a wide range of minor illnesses or ailments.

If people need urgent advice for something serious, but are not sure whether to go to A&E, the NHS 111 service provides advice from qualified clinicians and in some cases can even make a GP appointment direct. For most people, this will mean quicker treatment than attending an A&E department.

Dr Jonathan Slade, NHS England’s Deputy Medical Director, in Cumbria and the North East, and a practicing GP, said: “Many GPs have extended hours of opening and pharmacists across the region are open for business over the bank holidays, but please make sure you order your prescriptions early before the holiday weekend. We’d like to reassure people that if they call 111, they will be allocated an appointment should they need one. This is a particularly important for older people, people with long-term health conditions and for parents to know. There has been increased, sustained pressure and unprecedented demand on the NHS following severe cold weather. There is also a spike in demand on health services during the Easter holiday.”

Mike Maguire, pharmacist and owner of the Marton Pharmacy, Middlesbrough, said: “Pharmacists can provide instant, confidential advice and treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment.  We are a quick and convenient first point of contact and many pharmacies have a consulting room for seeing patients in private.”

You can find your nearest pharmacy opening times here

Many urgent care and walk-in centres will also be open. To find out which services are open, and which are local to you, visit:  www.urgentoremergency.co.uk.

Dr Slade added: “Emergency departments get extremely busy during holiday periods and we want to ensure that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting at A&E. For minor illnesses, your local pharmacist is an excellent source of help and should be your first point of contact. NHS England is also encouraging people to make sure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked before the holiday period.”

 

Northumberland Pharmacies Easter Opening Times 2018

 

Top tips to ‘Stay Well’ this Easter:

Choose the right service: Use the NHS Choices website for health advice and information about where to go to get the right treatment.

Order your prescriptions: make sure you order these before the Easter holiday.

See your local pharmacist – your pharmacist can advise on a wide range of common illnesses. If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, get immediate help from your pharmacist before it becomes more serious.

If you need medical help fast, but it’s not life-threatening or an emergency, call NHS 111 at any time for advice.

Self-care: For many winter ailments such as coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms, people don’t need to go to A&E or their local GP practice and are better off taking some paracetamol, drinking plenty of fluids and resting.

Stock up your medicine cabinet – make sure you have the essentials.

Avoid slips and trips: take care in and out of the house: use footwear with slip-resistant soles.

The child health app is free to download and offers a wealth of advice and support.

 

Wansbeck General Hospital

Temporary overnight changes at Wansbeck Urgent Care Centre announced

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has today announced the temporary decision to suspend Wansbeck Urgent Care Centre between the hours of 10.00pm and 8.00am in response to winter pressures.

The trust says the measure – part of winter resilience planning across the Emergency Care Services – will release an additional 56 hours of nursing time for the emergency department per week. Some of the nursing team already rotate to The Northumbria as part of their on-going training and education so will be able to make a positive impact immediately. It says in light of relatively low numbers attending overnight, it’s working with its urgent care nursing staff to ensure their skills can be put to best use to meet demand across the trust.

“It’s not a decision we take lightly,” said Dr Jeremy Rushmer, Executive Medical Director at the trust “But the sheer number of people attending the emergency department, including many elderly and/or frail patients who are complex to assess and are in need of significant support to resolve their problems, means that we have to activate contingency plans in order to cope.

“As members of the public may be aware we broke records in terms of the number of people attending more than once last week and there are no signs of pressure letting up, once the cold snap is over. The additional staff will play a vital role in ensuring we continue to have the right skills, in the right place, at the right time; so we can continue to provide the very best care for those most in need.”

While this temporary measure is in effect any members of the public who are not in immediate need of critical of life-saving care should contact NHS 111 to seek advice 24 hours a day. Northern Doctors Urgent Care – contactable via 111 – will continue to use the centre as one of their (3) bases should an urgent GP appointment be needed overnight.

 

Views across Berwick bridge

Berwick Infirmary Listening Events

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with partners Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council to look at the possibility of a new integrated hospital development in Berwick-upon-Tweed.  The CCG says it remains committed to developing a new hospital that will be fit for the future and best meet the needs of the local population.

The plans to redevelop Berwick Infirmary were paused 18 months ago to allow time to consider the implications of local, regional and national healthcare strategies and also to focus on the findings of a review of Berwick Infirmary which looked at how it could best be used to meet the healthcare needs of local people.

There have recently been a number of early discussions between the CCG and its partners about the possible development of a new integrated health, social care and leisure complex in Berwick. Much more detailed planning is needed but this could potentially mean a new development with inpatient, outpatient and other hospital services, some GP services, and bringing together some health and care staff who work in the community as well as leisure centre services.

The CCG says it’s pleased that the Berwick Regeneration Commission is now in place with membership including county councillors, town councillors and public governors from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. This will ensure that any new development contributes to the wider regeneration of the town and that opportunities are taken for further integrating services to ensure the maximum benefit for local people.

A series of informal drop in sessions at community venues in Berwick are planned to give members of the public the chance to give their views about the possible new development and about the different sites that are available.  People living in Belford and Wooler will be able to give their views at the Northumbria Healthcare ‘Join our Journey’ trailer which will be in those areas.  The trailer will also visit Berwick Market Place.

 

The drop in sessions will take place on:

  • Tuesday 27 February, 2.00pm – 6.00pm: Jubilee Club, Spittal, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 2JL
  • Wednesday 28 February, 9.00am – 4.00pm: Northumbria Healthcare ‘Join our Journey’ trailer, Berwick Market Place, TD15 1BN CANCELLED
  • Thursday 1 March, 10.00am – 12.00pm: Northumbria Healthcare Join our Journey Trailer, Belford Market Square, (outside Blue Bell), Market Place, Belford, NE70 7NE CANCELLED
  • Thursday 1 March, 12.30pm – 3.30pm: United Reformed Church, Main Street, Spittal, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1QY CANCELLED
  • Thursday 1 March, 2.00pm – 4.00pm: Northumbria Healthcare Join our Journey Trailer, Cheviot Centre, Padgepool Place, Wooler, NE71 6BL CANCELLED
  • Saturday 3 March, 12.30pm – 3.30pm: Tweedmouth Church Hall, Church Rd, Tweedmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed,  TD15 2AJ CANCELLED
  • Tuesday 6 March, 12.00pm – 2.00pm: Swan Centre, Northumberland Rd, Tweedmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 2AS
  • Thursday 8 March, 4.30pm – 6.30pm: St Mary’s School, Newfields, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 1SP

Rearranged events:

Wednesday 14 March, 9.00am – 4.00pm, Berwick Market, Marygate, Berwick upon Tweed, TD15 1BN

Thursday 15 March, 10.00am – 12.00pm, Belford Market Square (outside Blue Bell), Market Place, Belford NE70 7NE

Thursday 15 March, 1.00pm – 3.00pm, Cheviot Centre car park, Padgepool Place, Wooler NE71 7NE

Healthwatch Northumberland will be attending these events witht the CCG, talking to local people about care services in the area.

Speak Up

Speak up! about your health & social care services

We would really like to hear about your experiences of health and social care in Northumberland over the last year through our annual survey. This can be as a patient or carer. Knowing what is important to you helps us to work more effectively on your behalf. Your views will be shared anonymously and stored in line with data protection regulations. You could also be in with a chance of winning a £25 Marks & Spencer when you take the time to tell us about your experiences.

Thank you for your support us as we ensure the health and social care needs of the people of Northumberland are heard, understood and met by those responsible for commissioning and delivering services.

 

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LEAVE YOUR FEEDBACK