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.

young people in group

Insight Report – Young People’s Mental Health Services

This report shares the insights from Healthwatch Northumberland’s on-going work to understand the different mental health services available for young people and the barriers they may face in using them.

Using the combined evidence from young people themselves and professionals in the statutory and voluntary sectors our aim is to highlight good practice and promote positive solutions to the commissioners and providers.

Read the full report here.

Women completing a survey outside a hospital

Ambulance Service Volunteers Wanted

North East Ambulance Service is currently looking for volunteers to help complete patient surveys in local hospitals throughout the region. Patient Survey Volunteers support the service to collect patient feedback via the collection of patients’ views and experiences using electronic tablet surveys and face to face patient contact.

Volunteers need to be able to give six hours of their time per month and will be required to make their own way to hospital and back; they will also be required to move around hospital sites from reception and waiting areas to hospital wards and departure lounges.

For more information you can download the information sheet and application form below.

Patient Survey Volunteer Information Sheet

Patient Survey Volunteer Application Form

Board member talking to member of the public

Board Member Vacancies

Healthwatch Northumberland is looking to appoint up to four new independent volunteer board members who will play an important role in setting and overseeing the county-wide strategy. Please download an application pack and application form or call 03332 408468 for more information or a copy of the pack in the post.

APPLICATION PACK

APPLICATION FORM

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 air..is 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: andygriffin66@gmail.com.

Sessions are supported by:

Action on Hearing Loss logo

Couple in a doctors surgery

10 Top Tips for your GP appointment

We know from our conversations with the public that some patients report feeling rushed during appointments and struggle to make themselves heard. As appointment times can be limited, Healthwatch has pulled together some top suggestions that could help you get the most out of visiting your GP.

 

  • Is your issue urgent? Do you need to see a specific GP?
    Is it important you are seen quickly or would you rather wait for an appointment with a particular GP? If you have a long-term illness would you benefit from seeing a GP who knows your history personally?
  • Take notes to help you
    Before you see your GP, be clear in your own mind what you want to say. Make a note of your symptoms, worries and any questions that you would like to ask.
  • Many problems? See if you can book a double appointment
    If you have a number of issues that you would like to discuss with your GP, see whether it is possible to book a double appointment to give you more time to talk them through.
  • Take a list of your medicines – prescribed or otherwise
    Bring a list of any medication you are taking, including over-the-counter and/or alternative medicines, or anything prescribed after a hospital visit.  This includes tablets, liquids or creams. Your GP needs to know about everything you are taking.
  • Discuss important things first and stick to the point
    Make sure you tell the doctor about the important things first and try to get to the point. Do not feel you have to justify being there or leave your main concern to the end.
  • Not clear on treatment plan? Ask again
    Make sure you fully understand the next steps before you leave the room.  If you don’t, then don’t be afraid of asking your GP to go through the plan again.
  • Ask who to contact if you have any more questionsYou may think of questions that you would like to ask after your appointment. Find out who you can contact to ask questions, as well as any support groups that can provide reliable information.
  • If you need support, take a relative, carer or friend
    If you feel your situation needs it, take a relative or friend for support. They can help you understand or explain.
  • Unhappy? Ask to see another GP
    If you’re not happy, you can ask to see another GP in the practice. You can also change GP practices, but you should as a first step always discuss your concerns with a practice staff member first.
  • Could the practice nurse deal with your problem?
    In many cases, a practice nurse could deal with your concern, so consider this as an alternative to making an appointment with a GP. The surgery may also run special clinics such as asthma and diabetes, so make sure you find out.

If you would like to know more about the questions you can ask your doctor to get the most out of your consultation, take a look at the comprehensive list developed by NHS Choices.

These tips are based on guidance from Healthwatch Trafford, Healthwatch Central West London, Which? and NHS Choices.