Blyth lighthouse

Marine Medical Group: Proposed change to practice boundary

Marine Medical Group in Blyth has applied to NHS England to change the boundary of the practice. This will not affect any patients who are currently registered with the practice. Due to the number of new houses being built in the area, the group has requested to have its boundary reduced, to end at the Spine Road (just before the Bebside railway line). The practice says this is to provide the same services and high level of care to patients.


Frequently asked questions

I am currently registered with the practice but I am living in one of the estates which is now outside of the new boundary will I have to move practices?

No, you will continue to be registered with the practice and be entitled to the same service as any other patient.

A member of my family who was previously registered with the practice is moving back home and we live outside of the new boundary; can they re-register with the practice

Unfortunately not. The practice cannot register any patients outside of the new boundary, even if they were previously registered with the practice.

I am currently registered with the practice but I am moving to an address which is outside of the boundary, can I remain registered with the practice?

No, you will need to register with a practice that includes your new address in their boundary.

I am currently pregnant and live in one of the estates which is now outside of the new boundary, will I have to register my baby with a different practice?

No, this is the only exception to new boundary, new babies will remain with the practice the parents are registered at.

Why do practices have boundaries?

Practices have boundaries to enable the GPs to deal with patients in a timely manner. If a patient requires a home visit the travel time has to be factored into the visit.  If patients live outside of the practice boundary the GPs wouldn’t be able to visit as many patients.

It also means if we keep patients who no longer live within the practice boundary those patients who move into the boundary cannot register as the practice can only deal with a certain amount of patients.

How do I find a GP practice who I can register with?

Please visit NHS Choices or contact any practice near your address to enquire if they can register you as a patient.


If you have any comments or questions about the proposed changes please contact Natalie Armstrong, Practice Manager, or Ross Kemp, IT & Strategy Manager, at Marine Medical Group or alternately you can send feedback to the practice’s Patient Participation Group at: Please respond as soon as possible and by the end of January 2018.

Doctor's waiting room

Primary Care Services in the Rothbury area

Following on from the changes to primary care services in Harbottle, the recent relocation of GP services in Rothbury and the closure of a dental practice, we are keen to hear how these arrangements are working for local people. Please get in touch to share your experiences of health provision in the area, either positive or negative.

The Healthwatch Northumberland team will be in the Cheviot Room at The Jubilee Hall in Rothbury on Friday 26 January from 12.00pm – 1.00pm, to talk to local people about their views and experiences and we invite you to call in for a chat if you use health services in the area. This is a drop-in session so no need to book, just call in any time between 12.00pm and 1.00pm.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it that day. Give us a call on 03332 408468 or leave feedback via the website.


CompassionART: Creative sessions in Hexham

CompassionArt is a project working with people in and around Hexham who have long term health conditions and/or mental health issues which prevent them from working and/or have major impact on their day to day abilities. When living with long term health conditions we can often find that life opportunities diminish vastly, leading to lack of confidence and isolation. It is however, important that any activities offered are sensitive to individuals needs and health limitations.

The project has been structured to ensure empathy and compassion with participants, but it will also provide (appropriate) stimulating challenges and opportunities. It is designed so that most of the activities could be continued beyond the project by the individual. The project offers a series of stimulating and engaging creative activities to bring people together in a calm and supportive environment, breaking down isolation.

The sessions will include art, gong workshops, woodland workshops and creative writing. There are 20 sessions all led by artists, experts and fully qualified practitioners.

Please visit the website for more details and to book on to sessions.

Woman talking to pharmacist

Pharmacy Survey

Northumberland County Council is currently updating its Pharmacy Needs Assessment. This document describes how many pharmacies we have in the county, the hours they are open and the services they provide. It does not provide the public or patient’s perspective about pharmacy services and how they use them. By answering the questions below, this will help provide this part of the jigsaw.

As the independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we want to make sure your views are considered when services are being designed.

We would like to learn more about your experience of, and thoughts about, improving or changing pharmacy services in our community. Pharmacy services are either services you receive in your community pharmacy or from a dispensary in your GP practice. We would be grateful if you could complete the questionnaire below. The survey will be open until 31 January 2018.

Pharmacies Survey

Older lady with carer

Carewatch Home Care

Northumberland County Council and Carewatch, a contracted provider of home care services, have agreed that the current contract will transfer to Age UK, by the 18th December 2017.

Northumberland County Council, Age UK Northumberland and Carewatch are working to make this transfer as smooth as possible for people receiving services.

If you experience any problems with your care, or would like to speak to a social worker or care manager about any concerns you have about the transfer, please contact them through Northumberland County Council’s single point of access, telephone: 01670 536400.

If you need an urgent response out of hours please call: 01670 827100. This number is available 24 hours a day/seven days per week.

Great North Care Record

The Great North Care Record: Public Engagement Events

We would like to invite you to attend an engagement event in Northumberland, where you can share your views and shape the future development of the Great North Care Record (GNCR) project. We are working with Connected Health Cities, Teesside University and other local Healthwatch in the North East to talk to people about sharing data between health services. Events are to be held at:

Berwick Community Trust, Tuesday 7 November 12.15pm – 2.45pm

Ashington Round House, Thursday 16 November 12.00pm – 2.30pm

At present, when you visit your GP any information about you is stored on the GP practice system and is not typically shared with other health or care organisations such as hospitals or the ambulance service.  If you are unwell there could be delays in vital information being received by other organisations and health professionals. The GNCR project is being development across the North East of England and will allow your patient data to be viewed more quickly and easily by those involved in your care, with your permission.

We would like to hear your views on how the GNCR should develop and particularly about deciding your personal preferences to control which information you share and who can access your data.


Key points about the GNCR:

  • Healthcare staff involved in your care will have the right information at the right time
  • You will have better conversations with your health and social care provider as they will have access to relevant information prior to your appointment
  • Sharing information between healthcare professionals will save time and minimize the number of occasions that you will have to repeat your information
  • The GNCR will provide joined up care across the region
  • In the event of an emergency, medical staff will be able to access your details instantly which will result in safer care and improved healthcare
  • The GNCR can support academic and clinical research into new treatments at a faster rate if data is more readily available to the regions universities
  • You will be in control of how your data is used in your healthcare


The GNCR has three principal aims, to:

  • Deliver an individual’s important healthcare information, at the point of care, from whichever relevant organisations are involved in their care, irrespective of organisational boundaries.
  • Provide better information for clinical audit, service redesign and commissioners of care, so that health care systems can be transformed and improved, and run more effectively.
  • Provide data for health and care research in a research environment trusted by the citizens of the North East and Cumbria


If you would like to attend one of the events please email or call us on: 03332 408468.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Appointments in Northumberland

Extra GP appointments in Northumberland

Local GP practices are working together to offer patients better access to GP appointments in Northumberland.

Patients can now see a GP at a time which is convenient as practices in Northumberland are providing additional appointments for patients who would like to book or need to see a GP on weekday evenings and weekends.

The new service is being provided from 6.30pm Monday to Friday, additionally some access will be provided at weekends.
Northumberland GP practices are working together to deliver the additional appointments and each practice will provide specific information on the seven locations in Northumberland where patients registered with them can access the appointments.

For more information, ask your GP practice.

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.

Contact Us


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.

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