Mental health and the Journey to Parenthood

Find out what’s working well for people and what needs to improve when it comes to people about their mental health experiences before, during and after pregnancy, in a new Healthwatch report.

The arrival of a new baby is a major life event for any family. It can be joyful, exciting, overwhelming and challenging all at once, so it’s essential that parents get all the support they need to help them form strong bonds with their children and help lay the foundations for a healthy, happy life for all involved.

Over the last year, our network has gathered views and experiences from women and their partners. Each one of these stories was different and highlighted that every person’s experience is unique to them.

Three common issues

  • People feel their mental health problems are triggered by a variety of issues
  • People don’t know where to turn for help
  • People feel scared about how people will respond if they speak up
  • Healthwatch is calling on everybody who interacts with prospective and new parents to make more space for people to discuss how they’re feeling, and to find out what they need to do if they need mental health support.

Find out more about what people said in the report.

Whalton Unit Morpeth

Whalton Unit Drop-in Sessions

Whalton Unit,  Morpeth

People in Morpeth and the surrounding area are being given the opportunity to have their say about the temporary relocation of the Whalton Unit to Wansbeck General Hospital.  NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is holding public drop-in sessions in Morpeth and carrying out independent research to find out the community’s views.

Public drop in sessions
Date Time Venue
11 September 10am – 2pm Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall
11 September 4pm – 7pm Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall
12 September 10am – 12pm Morpeth NHS Centre
13 September 11am – 1pm Morpeth Leisure Centre

 

People are also able to complete an online survey

 

Background

The Whalton Unit provides specialist care and rehabilitation for residents, predominantly frail older patients. It was temporarily relocated from Morpeth to Wansbeck hospital in December 2018 due to nurse staffing issues and an expected increase in activity over the winter period.

This decision was reviewed in April 2019 by the trust and there was an agreement to extend the temporary location pending an updated report to enable a longer timeline for the impact analysis, with a specific focus on the experience of patients.

Prior to making any long term recommendations the CCG and the trust have agreed to this programme of public engagement and independent research to understand the views of the local population in more detail. The findings from both the independent research and engagement activity will be collated and shared with the Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee in November.

Healthwatch Northumberland Conference

Join us at our Conference 2019

If you use NHS or social care services and live or work in Northumberland, we’d love you to come along to our bigger and better Conference 2019. The Conference will take place at The Phoenix Theatre in Blyth on Wednesday 16 October, between 10.00am and 3.30pm.

Join in the community conversation at this free event with information and listening workshops about mental health, dementia, substance abuse, social prescribing, patient involvement, GP services and more.

We aim to make the day informative, interactive and entertaining. This is a chance for you to share your experiences of care with those who provide it and find out what’s available locally.

There will be an ‘information buffet’, free raffle and lunch and refreshments provided.

To register for a place please call us on 03332 408468 or visit Eventbrite

Quarterly Report – January to March 2019

Introduction

Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services. We are a listening organisation working across Northumberland,to find out what people like about services and what can be improved. We act on what people are saying, sharing their views with those who have the power to make change happen. We also help people find the information they need about services in their area and record this as ‘signposting’.

People who use health and social care services tell us about their experiences throughout the year. This report shares a summary of the feedback collected from January to March 2019.  The next report will cover April to June 2019.

 

This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:

  • Talking to people at local community events (18%)
  • Telephone calls, emails and social media (55%)
  • Surveys and Feedback forms (21%)
  • Through meetings and third parties (6%)

 

Areas of Focus

We are open to all feedback about health and social care services. Responses to our Annual Survey helped us to identify three specific areas of focus which we are prioritising in 2019:

  1. General Practitioner Services (GP Services)
  2. Mental Health Services, including dementia care
  3. Access to Services

Aims

The report aims to increase understanding of:

  • Who Healthwatch Northumberland is hearing from
  • What people are saying
    • The general sentiment of comments
  • What people are experiencing
    • What is working well?
    • Where there are areas for improvement?

Read the January to March Report in full

 

Older People

A Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing

NHS England, in partnership with Age UK, Public Health England, and the Chief Fire Officer’s Association and older people themselves, has published a Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing.

The guide helps people to stay physically and mentally well by providing hints and tips on how to keep fit and independent. It recognises, as we all should, that there is always something we can do to improve our health and wellbeing. For older people who may be starting to find things more difficult to do, it is particularly important to take active steps to slow down or reverse some of the health challenges we are all likely to face.

To help people understand their potential risk of living with frailty, the guide includes a simple, walking speed test. Taking more than five seconds to cover a distance of four metres is highly indicative of frailty, with the proviso that there is no obvious alternative reason for walking slowly such as a previous stroke or knee/hip arthritis. This is not meant to be a diagnosis, but it can provide a good indication that someone should consider making changes to their daily lives so that they can better manage their frailty or reduce the chance of it becoming more serious.

Download the Guide

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

 

Watering can and daffodils

Stepping into Spring Roadshows

Stepping into Spring is a series of roadshows from Ageing Well in Northumberland. These are free events for older people in Northumberland and are a chance to talk to local organisations offering advice and information on staying well and keeping active. Call in for a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat about local events and activities, volunteering opportunities and keeping fit and healthy.

 

The Roadshows are happening at the following locations:

  • Ponteland, Merton Hall: Thursday 21 March, 9.00am – 12.00pm
  • Prudhoe, Waterworld: Monday 25 March, 10.00am – 1.00pm
  • Haltwhistle, Methodist Hall: Tuesday 2 April, 10.00am – 2.00pm
  • Hexham, Wentworth Leisure Centre: Friday 12 April, 10.00am – 2.00pm
  • Morpeth, Town Hall: Wednesday 1 May, 10.00am – 2.00pm
  • Blyth, Leisure Centre: tbc
  • Ashington, Leisure Centre: tbc

 

For more details about individual events please visit our events page

 

 

 

Rothbury Village

Our response to the decision to close inpatient beds at Rothbury Hospital

Healthwatch Northumberland would encourage anyone with an interest in the future of health care in the area to contact us with queries or concerns, or to raise them directly with the review group examining proposals for the hospital.

 

Update November 2018: The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) has responded to the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group regarding the engagement and consultation process undertaken around the decision to close the inpatient ward at Rothbury Community Hospital and reshape the existing services around a health and wellbeing centre. The IRP concludes that “further action locally is required to agree and implement the proposed health and wellbeing centre at Rothbury Community Hospital”. The full letter from the IRP can be read here.

 

A great deal of concern has been expressed by people within Northumberland about the decision taken on 27 September 2017 by the Joint Locality Executive Board to close the 12 in-patient beds at Rothbury Community Hospital.

Having considered the information circulated prior to the Joint Locality Executive Board and representatives having attended the meeting, board members of Healthwatch Northumberland saw justification in responding to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in a letter forwarded on 5 October 2017. This was followed one week late by a response from Janet Guy, Lay Chair of the CCG. Both letters can be found below for your information.

The County Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee discussed the in-patient bed closures on 17 October and decided to refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health. His decision is awaited with interest. In the meantime, Healthwatch Northumberland will continue to act as an independent champion to ensure the interests of the wider community remain at the heart of all decisions made about health and social care throughout the county, by listening to the views of local people and engaging in meaningful dialogue with the CCG.

David Thompson, Healthwatch Northumberland Chair.

Letter to the CCG re. Rothbury Hospital

Response from the CCG re. Rothbury Hospital

 

Please note: Any response to news items by individuals or organisations are the views of those posting the response.  They do not reflect the view of, nor are they solicited by Healthwatch Northumberland unless this is explicitly stated in the news article.

The Whalton Unit, Morpeth

Whalton Unit to relocate to Wansbeck General Hospital

Please note the section in bold below regarding transport arrangements for families visiting patients who have been transferred from the Whalton Unit.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has made the following announcement:
‘In order to ensure that staffing is as resilient as possible for winter, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has announced that the Whalton Unit in Morpeth is to temporarily transfer to Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington.
The inpatient ward, which delivers specialist rehabilitation for frail older patients, will move to its new, interim, home in Ward 8 at Wansbeck hospital from Wednesday 19 December.The relocation – which will be reviewed next summer – is to ensure that there is adequate staffing to cope with the expected increase in demand over the winter months.In line with care of the elderly wards across the country, the Whalton Unit has faced significant recruitment issues for both nurses and doctors and the subsequent use of locum doctor and bank and agency nurse cover has made continuity of care challenging.Being based within Wansbeck General Hospital will enable more cross-cover and support across teams; making the workforce more resilient and flexible.It will also make it easier for inpatients to access other hospital services such as diagnostic tests which currently involve them being transported; something which can be difficult for frail older patients.Usage figures since April 2017 shows that only around half of patients staying at the Whalton Unit are from the Morpeth area. Almost 30 per cent live in areas which are equidistant to Wansbeck hospital with nearly one in five living closer to the new location.
The trust recognises that travel may be more difficult for some families and has arranged a transport solution for those disadvantaged by the new location. Anyone affected after the move is urged to discuss this with the ward team on 01670 529008.
Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to reassure the local community that this much-valued service provided from the Whalton Unit will be transferred to Wansbeck General Hospital in full and we remain committed to providing the highest standards of care to our patients in the new, temporary, location.
The multi-disciplinary team which are the cornerstone of this service and has vital links to follow-up care in the community will re-locate to ensure that patients requiring further rehabilitation in hospital are able to receive this without interruption.
Winter is an extremely busy time for the NHS with increased numbers of frail older patients requiring admission and subsequent rehabilitation. For these reasons we must ensure that we have appropriate staffing in place where demand will be highest. Being able to draw on the wider staffing pool already in place at Wansbeck will aid our efforts to do this.
We fully appreciate that people from the Morpeth area may find it difficult to travel to Wansbeck hospital to visit loved ones and we’d urge anyone with any issues to contact us on 01670 529108.”
Outpatient, diagnostic and community services provided at Morpeth NHS Centre are unaffected by the move.’
People joining hands with the word Volunteer

Volunteer Officer Opportunity

We are looking to recruit a Volunteer Officer to join the Healthwatch Northumberland team.

£11,301 pa     (£23,230 full time)

18 hours per week

Permanent dependent on funding

Based in Hexham with travel across Northumberland

Closing date midnight Thursday 8 November 2018

Interview week 23-30 November 2018

Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for health and social care across the county.

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 by developing opportunities for volunteers to be involved in our work.

You can download the Application Form and Job Description or email jeanp@adapt-tynedale.co.uk for a paper copy.

If you would like an informal discussion about the role and Healthwatch Northumberland, contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator at: derryn@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk or: 03332 408468.