Annual Report 2018-19

Our latest annual report was published this week. The report documents our activity over the past year; where we’ve been, who we’ve heard from and how we’ve made a difference to people who use health and social care services. We will be talking more about the report at our Conference on 16 October in Blyth, so please put that date in your diary – more details to follow soon.

We will have hard copies of the report available very soon so please get in touch if you would like one in the post. You can download and read the report here.

Amble Harbour

Health and Wellbeing Board Meeting

The Newcastle Chronicle this week reported on the discussions which took place at the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board meeting, which is attended by Healthwatch Northumberland Chair, David Thompson.

Siobhan Brown, Chief Operating Officer of NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions the county’s healthcare services, set out how the CCG’s operational plan for this year will help to meet the goals of the Northumberland Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

The strategy has four themes: Giving children and young people the best start in life; Empowering people and communities; Tackling some of the wider determinants of health; Adopting a whole system approach to health and care.

Read the full report

Alnwick Hearing Support Group

Alnwick Hearing Support Group meets informally each month. The group have a cup of tea and a chat, sharing their day to day experiences as well as their knowledge of hearing loss. There are also talks and discussions and the programme for the rest of the year can be seen below.

The meetings are held the last Wednesday of the month from 2.00pm to 4.00pm at St Paul’s Court, Prudhoe Street, Alnwick NE66 1XY. A £2.00 contribution per person per meeting is appreciated to help cover costs.


2019 Programme

Wednesday 31 July: “Marvellous Modern Molars: Dentistry in the 21st Century” by Andrew Buddle, BDS Dental Surgeon

Wednesday 28 August: No meeting – summer break

Wednesday 25 September: The Elderberries Programme at The Alnwick Garden, Tracy Jones

Wednesday 30 October: Northumberland Fire and Rescue service – no longer just the fire brigade! Russell Stalker

Wednesday 27 November: Hearing strategies – problems and solutions: what’s your experience?

Wednesday 25 December: No meeting – Happy Christmas!


For further information please contact Andy Griffin on 01665 581244 or at

Morpeth Memory Cafe

Morpeth memory Cafe is held at Morpeth Methodist Church and Centre for the Community. The cafe is for people with memory problems or dementia, and their family and friends. Come along for a chat, to pick up information and to enjoy some social time with others in a similar situation to your own. No need to book,  you can just drop in.

Refreshments will be available.

The café will run on the Thursdays shown below from 10.30am to 12.00pm in the coffee lounge at the Morpeth Methodist Centre, Howard Terrace, Morpeth. For further information please contact the church office on 01670 511078 or e-mail


Memory Café Dates  June  – December 2019

June 6th and 20th

July 4th and 18th

August 1st and 15th

September 5th and 19th

October 3rd and 17th

November 7th and 21st

December 5th and 19th


Scam Awareness Events

Citizens Advice Northumberland and Trading Standards are holding a series of events across Northumberland to help people spot potential scams.

The events are part of a national Scams Awareness campaign encouraging people to report and talk about scams. People will learn about the spotting the common signs of a scam, such as receiving an offer that sounds too good to be true or being told to pay upfront for an item or service. Attendees will also be encouraged to report scams so that the police can take action and they can get advice on how to try and get their money back.

The events will take place at the following venues and dates:


Bedlington Library – 11th June 10.00am

Alnwick Sainsburys – 12th June 10.00am

Ashington Leisure Centre – 13th June 1.00pm

Cramlington Manor Walks – 14th June 10.00am

Berwick Library 18th June – 10.00am

Hexham Library 20th June – 1.00pm

New Northumberland MSK and pain service announced

NHS Northumberland CCG has announced changes to musculoskeletal services in the county – please see their statement below. Healthwatch Northumberland would like to hear from people across all parts of Northumberland who use these services currently, about the service they are receiving and how they are affected after 1 July when the new service begins. To get in touch please visit our Contact Us page.


NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is pleased to announce, following a comprehensive procurement process, that Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) has been awarded the contract to provide a new musculoskeletal and pain service in partnership with Connect Health.

The term musculoskeletal condition (MSK) includes well over 200 disorders affecting joints, bones, muscles and soft tissues. Some of the most common conditions that would be seen in the new MSK and pain service include back pain, sprains and strains, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.  The new service is for patients in Northumberland aged 16 and over with MSK or pain issues where all other conservative treatments have been considered.

Commenting on the new contract, Dr John Warrington, Director for Planned Care for the CCG said: “The successful bid was of a high standard with some exciting developments that will enhance the care of Northumberland patients.”

As part of the procurement process, the CCG carried out a period of engagement to provide patients and GPs with an opportunity to comment on how the new service should be designed.

John continued: “We know from our engagement with patients that they want quicker access to appointments and referrals, and we recognise the positive impact this has on patients’ diagnosis and treatment. The new service will ensure all patients across the county have equal access to high quality NHS services. The bid forms a partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation and Connect Health. Connect Health has successfully been awarded many NHS contracts throughout the country and will bring their tried and tested systems to Northumberland. We are keen to work with both organisations, who also have the potential to offer innovative developments to further improve care for Northumberland patients.”

MSK problems are the most common reason for repeat appointments with a GP, comprising up to 30% of primary care consultations nationally. In recent years, as the number of elderly people in the community has increased, the number of people with MSK conditions has also risen. The new service, which will be called Joint Musculoskeletal and Pain Service (JMAPS), will improve access for patients and provide them with the opportunity to choose care based on their desired outcomes and personal preferences.

Nicky Moon, Deputy Director for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the preferred bidder and together with Connect Health, we are looking forward to delivering the best possible service for the people of Northumberland. We are currently working with staff on the implementation plan. Our experience of providing MSK services over previous years gives us a fantastic foundation on which to build and we know we have a dedicated and highly skilled workforce ready to deliver this new service.”

Professor Andrew Walton, Executive Chair for Connect Health said: “I am delighted that Connect Health will be able to support the population of Northumberland in the delivery of a robust and innovative Joint Musculoskeletal and Pain Service. Here at Connect Health, we are confident that we will be partnering with a really enthusiastic team at Northumbria Healthcare who advocate the same patient-centred values that we do. We will demonstrate our commitment to improving the lives of people living with musculoskeletal problems and persistent pain and I’m truly excited about how we can be creative with how we deliver this.”

The CCG will now work with the Trust and Connect Health to ensure the service is up and running by July 2019 and those patients using existing services experience a seamless transition.

Morpeth Hearing Support Group

Morpeth Hearing Support Group meets informally each month. The group have a cup of tea and a chat, sharing their day to day experiences as well as their knowledge of hearing loss. There are also talks and discussions and the programme for the rest of the year can be seen below.

The meetings are held from 2.00pm to 4.00pm at Northumberland County Blind Association, Reiver House, Staithes Lane, Morpeth, NE61 1TD. A £2 contribution per person per meeting is appreciated to cover costs.


2019 Programme

Wednesday 10 July: Famous Deaf People – part 2

Wednesday 14 August: No meeting – summer break

Wednesday 11 September: Northumberland Fire and Rescue – no longer the ‘fire brigade’! Philip Nicholson

Wednesday 9 October: The Elderberries Programme at The Alnwick Garden, Tracy Jones

Wednesday 13 November: Music and Memories of 1958, Andy Griffin

Wednesday 11 December: Christmas Lunch (please pre-book)


For further information please contact Andy griffin on:

01665 581244 or at



Quarterly Report October – December 2018

As independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we listen to your experiences of using these services.  This report shares the themes from the feedback we received between 1 October to 31 December 2018.

We receive feedback and enquiries by:

  • Talking to people at local community events
  • Telephone calls, emails and social media
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups on specific issues

Healthwatch Northumberland is open to all feedback about health and social care services but respondents to our Annual Survey identified five priorities for specific focus these are mental health services, dementia care services, home care, GP services and access to services.

Between October and December 2018 we had 98 individual pieces of unsolicited feedback and we spoke with approximately 530 people face to face. We attended flu clinics at GP practices in Tynedale, North Northumberland and Castle Morpeth, talking to a wide range of older residents and those with long term conditions and learning disabilities. We were at Morpeth, Berwick, Prudhoe, and Widdrington libraries during Library Week. We also attended “Winter Warmer” and SEND events, the Carers’ Rights
Day at Berwick and spoke at the Belford Parish Council and the Belford Practice Patient Participation Group.

Read the October to December 2018 report in full.


Pharmacy Opening May Bank Holiday

Another Bank Holiday is on its way, so make sure you pick up any prescriptions you may need before then. Some pharmacies in Northumberland will be open for a time on Bank Holiday Monday 27 May. Click on the link below to see when your nearest pharmacy is open. It is recommended that you call before visiting.

Pharmacy Opening Northumberland Summer 2019


Older lady talking on the phone

Age UK Northumberland Drop In Clinic

Age UK Northumberland has a monthly drop in clinic at Corbridge Health Centre, on the first Monday of the month, from 10.00am to 2.00pm. The drop in clinic can help you find out more about maximising you income, managing a health condition, social activites and day centres in your area.

You don’t need to be a patient at Corbridge Health Centre to visit the Age UK Northumberland drop in clinic.

If you would like more information please call: 01670 784800.