Coronavirus: What is Shielding?

People that have been identified from their medical records as being at highest risk of severe illness resulting in hospitalisation if they catch coronavirus (Covid-19) have been contacted by the government to start ‘shielding’ themselves.

The letter strongly advises people to rigorously follow the guidance, which includes staying at home at all times for at least 12 weeks.

The following Q&A, based on information provided by government aims to help you get some of the answers you need.

What does ‘shielding’ mean? 

Shielding is the word used to describe how to protect those at highest risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus. You can shield yourself following the government guidance, and shield others by minimising all interaction between yourself and those who are most at risk.

How do I shield myself?

If you think you have a condition which makes you extremely vulnerable or have received a letter from NHS England you are strongly advised to shield yourself, to reduce the chance of getting coronavirus (COVID-19). This means following the face-to-face distancing measures below:

  1. Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus
  2. These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  3. Do not leave your house
  4. Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, family homes, weddings and religious services
  5. Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
  6. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media

 

Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

How long do I shield myself for?

You are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter.

How do I get food and medication if I’m shielding?

Ask family, friends and neighbours to support you and use online services. The Government has also set up a dedicated website and helpline where you can go for wider support. Please register now if you have received the letter so that the government can start putting in place people to help:

Tel: 0800 028 8327

www.gov.uk/cornonavirus-extremely-vulnerable

This service can help answer any questions you may have, such as:

How do I get food shopping?

How do I buy medicine?

How do I pick up prescriptions?

I haven’t received a letter, but I think I am in the high-risk group – what should I do?

If you have not received a letter by 30 March, but feel you are within the high-risk category, you should contact your GP or hospital team. If you are unsure, check the list on the gov.uk website to see if you are in the most at risk/ extremely vulnerable group.

I’m worried that shielding is going to affect my mental health – what do I do?

Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling if you want to.

Remember, it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too. Or you might want to try an NHS recommended helpline.

 

Project to get Voices Heard

Last year we launched the Your Voice Fund, and awarded four small grants to local organisations which will run projects with their service users.

These projects will help us gather the views of people whose experiences we don’t hear enough about, in particular, people with learning disabilities, people from LGBTQ+ communities, young people, black and minority ethnic communities and people living in Northumberland through asylum or refugee resettlement programmes.

Northumberland County Blind Association will be holding workshops and focus groups with 150 visually impaired people, bringing people’s experiences and views on health and social care services together in order to influence and inform service providers and decision makers.

Northumberland County Council Youth Council will use the grant to create wallet cards, digital graphics and posters to share with schools, youth and health settings to promote self-care and mental health support services that are available to children and young people.

A Creative Café will be held at Headway Arts in Blyth, for 30 people with a learning disability and their carers to discuss their experience of the healthcare system in a safe and supportive environment.  The event will be filmed and people’s thoughts presented through a video piece.

Being Woman (based in etc) will also use the grant to support a conversation café activity called ‘KITES – when you are your own voice’. Here, 50 people from various ethnic backgrounds and at risk of social isolation can share ideas, thoughts and experiences of health and social care services and reported back to those running and paying for services.

Healthwatch Northumberland Project Coordinator Derry Nugent says “We’re really happy to work with these local organisations who can help us listen to the care experiences of those we don’t hear from very much. These projects will help us share people’s voices with the service providers and decision makers and help make services better for residents of Northumberland. “

Fareeha Usman, Founder of Being Woman says “This project will help underrepresented communities have their say on health and social care services, in a safe environment. The KITES cafe will help us remove barriers and promote equal access to local services to the migrant and BAME population in Northumberland.”

Allie Walton-Robson, Creative Director at Headway Arts says “We’re inviting people to come along to our Creative Café in Blyth on Thursday 21 May for a nice cup of tea, a chat and a chilled out creative workshop. This time we are working with Healthwatch Northumberland and focusing our chat on healthcare to offer disabled people a real chance to provide feedback on their experiences. On the day we will be welcoming people along to enjoy our beginners painting workshop using lovely vibrant colours and to try out print making with our PrintAble artists. It’s a relaxing session and also a time to talk about experiences whilst feeling supported to do so.”

We look forward to sharing the results of the project with you later in the year.

BID Services Northumberland

BID Sight Loss Drop In Service

BID Services is a charity working in partnership with children, young people and adults and their families and carers. It supports people who are deaf, hard of hearing, visually impaired or have a dual sensory loss. Specialist service areas include advocacy, employment, British Sign Language interpreting and training, rehabilitation and mobility training, specialist equipment, residential care, social work, support for tinnitus and housing related services.

BID Services Northumberland is trying to further promote services across the community by having promotional tables at a range of venues for people to come along and discuss sight loss. There will be equipment on display and information leaflets available on different sight conditions. The people manning the table are qualified professionals within the sight loss area and are able to answer any questions you may have. Please see below where you can go and when to have a chat with the BID Services team.

For more information call 01670 293150.

 

Prudhoe Waterworld

Monday 17 February, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Thursday 25 June, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Friday 23 October, 1.30pm – 3.30pm

 

Wentworth Leisure Centre, Hexham

Monday 17 February, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Tuesday 25 June, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Friday 23 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

 

Swan Centre, Berwick

Monday 20 January, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Wednesday 20 May, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Thursday 24 September, 10.30am – 12.30pm

 

Willowburn Leisure Centre, Alnwick

Monday 20 January, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Wednesday 20 May, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Thursday 24 September, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

 

Ashington Leisure Centre

Monday 20 April, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Wednesday 19 August, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Friday 4 December, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

 

Riverside Leisure Centre, Morpeth

Monday 20 April, 11.30am – 1.30pm

Wednesday 19 August, 11.30am – 1.30pm

Friday 4 December, 11.00am – 1.00pm

 

Blyth Sports Centre

Wednesday 25 March, 11.30am – 1.30pm

Thursday 23 July, 11.30am – 1.30pm

Friday 20 November, 11.00am – 1..00pm

 

Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington

Wednesday 25 March, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Thursday 23 July, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Friday 20 November, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communication and Marketing Assistant

We are looking for a Communication and Marketing Assistant to join our team.

Communication and Marketing Assistant

Part time – 20 hours per week

Permanent dependent on funding

Based at Adapt (NE), Hexham

Salary: £20,395 per annum pro rata (£11,024.32 per annum – actual)

Closing date for applications: midnight, Wednesday 29 January

Interview date: 5 February 2020

 

Could this be you?

  • Are you passionate about improving local NHS and social care services?
  • Do you enjoy talking to people and listening to their experiences?
  • Can you create content that is engaging and accessible?

Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services.  By joining our committed and enthusiastic team you will have the opportunity to use your communication skills to give a voice to people who use those services, influence positive change to services and help meet the health and social care needs of our communities.

Below you will find the application form, job description and a link to our latest annual report.

If you would like an informal discussion about the role and Healthwatch Northumberland, contact Claire Jackson, Communication and Marketing Officer: clairej@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, 03332 408468.

Healthwatch Northumberland Communication and Marketing Assistant job description and person specification

Healthwatch Northumberland Communication and Marketing Assistant application form

Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Report 2018/19

 

Director of Public Health Annual Report 2018

The 2018 Director of Public Health Annual Report focuses on Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The report asks, ‘why is mental health important?’
‘Over the last few decades there has rightly been a focus on reducing the number of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke. Across the whole of the county’s population, about 45% of all deaths are due to five causes and heart disease and stroke still cause nearly 30% of all deaths.

There is quite a difference though between the conditions that people are dying of and the conditions which contribute to disability and ill health during life. Mental ill health makes a significant contribution to ill health and
in some groups, is the major cause of death and ill health. For instance in men aged 15 – 49, nearly 30% of deaths are attributable to mental illness.’

View 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

11 September: Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall, 10am – 2pm

11 September: Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall, 4pm – 7pm

12 September: Morpeth NHS Centre, 10am – 12pm

13 September: Morpeth Leisure Centre, 11am – 1pm

24 September: Morpeth Leisure Centre, 10am – 12pm

26 September: Morpeth NHS Centre, 12.30pm – 2.30pm

1 October: Wansbeck General Hospital, main reception 10am – 11am, south entrance 12pm – 1pm

3 October: Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall, 3pm – 7pm

 

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.

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.

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