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
  • Thursday 1 March, 10.00am – 12.00pm: Northumbria Healthcare Join our Journey Trailer, Belford Market Square, (outside Blue Bell), Market Place, Belford, NE70 7NE
  • Thursday 1 March, 12.30pm – 3.30pm: United Reformed Church, Main Street, Spittal, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1QY
  • Thursday 1 March, 2.00pm – 4.00pm: Northumbria Healthcare Join our Journey Trailer, Cheviot Centre, Padgepool Place, Wooler, NE71 6BL
  • Saturday 3 March, 12.30pm – 3.30pm: Tweedmouth Church Hall, Church Rd, Tweedmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed,  TD15 2AJ
  • 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

Healthwatch Northumberland will be at the sessions in bold.

A street in Wylam

Wylam drop-in Sessions

We will be in Wylam this week, talking to local people about health and social care services and in particular, about the proposed changes to Riversdale GP Surgery and the relocation of services to the Oaklands Centre in Prudhoe. Come and see us at:

Wylam Library, Tuesday 20 February, 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Wylam Institute (coffee morning), Saturday 24 February, 10.00am – 12.00pm.

If you can’t join us that day, please get in touch with any comments or feedback you’d like to share with us.

Young teenagers chatting

Young People and Mental Health

We want to understand how young people get the information they need about services for, and support with, their emotional wellbeing and mental health.

We are facilitating a workshop with young people this month at Bedlington Community Centre as part of an emotional health event organised by Northumberland County Council. The feedback we receive will inform how we develop and roll out this consultation process across the county. Our findings will be shared with relevant managers and service commissioners and will be available on our website.

If you would like to find out more or have any comments and suggestions about children and young people’s mental health, please let us know at our Have Your Say page.

New young people’s emotional health resources are now available on the Northumberland County Council website, developed in conjunction with young people in the county. The resources are part of an initiative called #free2bme, which will continue to be developed over time.

Person potting plants and watering can

Elderberries Clinic Cafe Programme

The Elderberries Community Programme aims to enrich the lives of people over 55 years in the Alnwick area.  As well as weekly exercise, activity, gardening and social sessions, the Clinic Cafe takes place on the second Tuesday of the month, 2.00pm – 3.30pm in the Stuart Hall Elderberries Room. The Clinic Cafe holds a variety of talks and consultations on health and lifestyle issues. Here’s what’s happening over the next few months:


Tuesday 13 February

Action for Hearing Loss – confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss

Tuesday 13 March

Macmillan Cancer Advocacy Project

Tuesday 10 April

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month


For more information please contact Tracy Jones on: 01665 511256 or email:



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.




GP writing a prescription

White Medical Group’s Stamfordham Surgery to Close

The Stamfordham branch of White Medical Group is to close on 31 March 2018, after Partners submitted a formal application to Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England. A letter has been sent to all households in the vicinity of Stamfordham surgery informing them of the closure. All services delivered from this surgery will be relocated to Ponteland Primary Care Centre, plus the branch surgery in Wylam will continue to provide the services currently on offer.

“If you are a patient and would like to discuss this change with someone outside of the practice you can contact us on 03332 408468 or via e-mail on  As the independent champion for people who use health and social care services in the county, feedback can be given to us anonymously and at any time.”

Carer with her arm around an older lady

CQC Care Home Campaign: Case Study Recruitment

Would you be happy to share your experience of choosing a care home?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is planning a new campaign aimed at people who are choosing care at home or a care home for themselves or a loved one. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the CQC, its role in inspecting and regulating care homes and the help its inspection reports and ratings can provide to those choosing what is right for them.

How you can help

The CQC is looking for people who would be happy to share their recent experience of care homes, to help support the campaign. Ideally it’s looking for people with a range of experiences, including:

• Those who are in the process of finding home care or a care home for themselves or a loved one who want to share their advice and tips with other people
• People who are happy with the care they or their loved one receive in their care home, and what good care looks/ feels like to you/ your loved one.

Written stories

You will be interviewed and a summary of your experience will be written up. This will be shared with you for approval and once approved, offered to magazines and other consumer media as supporting material. The campaign would launch at the end of February.


Short video clips (approx. one minute) will be flmed, with three case studies, talking about your experiences and advice for other people. These short films would be shared with you for approval, and once approved, feature on the CQC website, shared on social media and with consumer media.

Getting in touch

If you are interested in participating, either with a written story or participating in a filmed interview, please get in touch with the following information:
Name, age, where you are from and a short summary of your experiences, highlighting anything you think would be particularly interesting to other people researching care homes. Please also provide your availability for filming over the next few weeks. It’s possible the filming may take place in your home/relative’s care home if appropriate and if we are granted permission.
If you are interested in participating or would like any further information please email:


Front cover The Golden Guide 2018

The Golden Guide 2018

The Golden Guide Northumberland 2018 – Out Now

The new The Golden Guide for Northumberland is out now. This free guide lists local activities, clubs and social networks for older people and is also full of information for finding expert help with health, care, community and money issues.

Explore the great outdoors with walking, wildlife and gardening groups, take up woodwork, singing, sport or make extra cash by starting a business, as many over 50s now do. The guide also has more on befriending schemes, dementia and mental health support, and contacts for tracing lost money, or help claiming your pension or other entitlements.

Look out for the feature on ‘How to Retire in Northumberland’. If you’re about to retire or already have, you can find helpful hints about making the most of it, from planning your finances to enjoying your extra free time.

Copies are available from us here at Healthwatch Northumberland, Age UK Northumberland, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Voluntary Service, GP surgeries, libraries, Alzheimer’s Society, Citizens Advice Bureau, British Red Cross and selected Boots UK pharmacies across the county.



Postal copy

If you can’t get out, or can’t find a copy ring us on 03332 408468 or contact Age UK Northumberland on 01670 784821 and you can be sent one in the post for free.



The full edition is online at

For all enquiries please  Heather Alabaster on: 0191 386 5918, or email

Morpeth Hearing Support Group

Morpeth Hearing Support Group meets informally each month, to share day-to-day experiences and knowledge of hearing loss. The meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month and include talks and discussions on different themes. A contribution of £2.00 per session is suggested, towards the cost of room hire; tea and coffee are included.


2018 Programme

10 January: Health Trainers – how fit and healthy are you? with Justine Bowey, Northumbria NHS Healthcare

14 February: Love is in the St Valentine alive and well?

14 March: Relatively speaking – who do they think they are?

11 April: Tom’s Tale – Memoirs of a glorified grass cutter, by Tom Ridley

9 May: 1955 – was it a good year for you? by Andy Griffin

13 June: Bedlington Ironworks and Cresswell Catch Up by Barry Mead

All sessions take place from 2.00pm – 4.00pm at Northumberland County Blind Association, Reiver House, Staithes Lane, Morpeth NE61 1TD. For more information please contact Andy Griffin on: 01665 581244 or email:

Sessions are supported by:

Action on Hearing Loss logo

Group of smiling young people

Young Carers Awareness Day

25 January 2018 is Young Carers Awareness Day.

There are almost 166,000 young people acting as unpaid carers in England.

Young carers don’t always realise they are carers — they can feel isolated and not know where to turn for support outside of their families.

Over the last year, several local Healthwatch have spoken to young carers about their experiences and how health and social care services could work better for them. Some of the common things they’ve raised include a need for:

  1. Greater awareness of carers and their needs among health professionals
  2. Better information and help finding services
  3. Access to effective support services
  4. More consistency in the support offered by schools

After identifying a lack of services for young carers in the local area, Healthwatch Bolton found a unique way to make their voices heard — with a charity single raising money to help young people. Read more.