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a woman answers questions from another woman with a clipboard outside a hospital

Annual Survey 2019 – Share your Experiences

We would really like to hear about your experiences of health and social care services in Northumberland over the last year, through our annual survey. You can share your thoughts and experiences as a patient or as a carer. Your feedback will help us set our work priorities for the coming year. Knowing what is important to you helps us to work more effectively on your behalf. We can also look at trends and themes year on year, seeing what has changed and what remains important to people.

You could also be in with a chance of winning one of three prizes when you take the time to tell us about your experiences.

We realise there are a lot of surveys out there from organisations asking for your feedback, but this really does help us to find out what matters to people.

Please help us ensure that the health and social care needs of the people of Northumberland are heard, understood and met by those responsible for commissioning and delivering services.

Thank you for your support.

Complete the Annual Survey 2019

Countryside view in Coquetdale

Carers Wanted for Focus Group

Carers in Coquetdale are being asked to take part in a focus group as part of a postgraduate study research project. The study aims to look at health and social care through your eyes as a carer and to have your views fed (anonymously) to the council, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust and Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

 

What would that involve?

You will take part in a focus group of six to eight carers, lasting 60 to 90 minutes.  In the focus group you will be asked to discuss topics put forward by the researcher and to suggest questions that you would like the researcher to ask the council, the trust and the CCG.

The focus group will take place in The Cheviot Room, Jubilee Hall, on Tuesday 12 March at 2.00pm.

You will then be invited to a second focus group, again lasting 60 to 90 minutes, to hear what the council, NHS trust and the CCG have to say and to share what has changed for you and the person you care for.  Everyone’s anonymity will be protected.

 

Who is doing this study? 

This research is being undertaken by Rita Stringfellow, postgraduate student in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University, who is also a carer.

If you would like to take part please email: rita.stringfellow@northumbria.ac.uk or call: 07968157741.

 

Nurse talking to a man in a hospital

Become the heartbeat of your local NHS

If you’re passionate about the NHS, then joining Northumbria HealthcareNHS Foundation Trust as a member will give you the opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas about the way the trust delivers care to over half a million people across Northumberland and North Tyneside.  Northumbria Healthcare is a forward thinking organisation and at the forefront of pioneering changes in the NHS, so it’s a great time to join.

You can be involved as much or as little as you like, from simply receiving e-newsletters and voting papers to donating your time as a volunteer or standing for election to become a trust governor. It is free to become a member and you can opt out at any time.

To join please complete the short online membership form.

 

 

 

Golden Guide 2019 front cover

The Golden Guide 2019 Out Now

This popular FREE guide for Over 50s in Northumberland is well known for information on activities, clubs and social groups across Northumberland.  Readers also discover how to find expert advice on their health, their home, their care and their money.

New things to do include Social Fridays, Core Music sessions, Railway Walks, Sailing and Archery. There’s more money and consumer advice, plus the Side by Side befriending scheme, the Friendship Line and all kinds of health and social care information.

You can get a copy from us here at Healthwatch Northumberland, Libraries; Northumbria Healthcare Care teams, Age UK Northumberland, Alzheimers Society, Women’s Institute branches, Carers Northumberland, Royal Voluntary Service, British Red Cross, Citizens Advice Bureau, Golden Age Forum, GP surgeries – ask the Care Navigators and Practice Nurses; also selected Boots Pharmacies.

Postal copies available by calling our office: 03332 408468 or from Age UK Northumberland on: 01670 784800.

Online

The full edition is also online at www.goldenguide.org.uk.

For all enquiries please contact Heather Alabaster on: 0191-386 5918, or email: heather@goldenguide.org.uk.

Healthwatch Response to NHS Long Term Plan

The NHS in England has published a ten year plan setting its priorities for the future.

NHS England leaders say that the Long Term Plan could save up to 500,000 lives over the next ten years by focusing on prevention and early detection. The plan comes after the Government announced the NHS budget would be increased by £20bn a year by 2023. The biggest funding increases will be seen in GPs, mental health and community care.

Key priorities within the plan:

  • cancer
  • mental health
  • care for people with two or more chronic medical conditions
  • supporting people to age healthily and tackling issues such as dementia
  • children’s health
  • cardiovascular and respiratory diseases
  • learning disability and autism

There will also be a focus on improving the way that people are able to interact with the health service for example, by using digital technologies such as video consultations.

Read more

Text - NHS Long Term Plan

NHS launches Long Term Plan

The NHS has launched its Long Term Plan which it says will make the NHS fit for the future and get the most value from taxpayers’ investment.

The plan has been drawn up by those who know the NHS best, including frontline health and care staff, patient groups and other experts. The opinions and interests of 3.5 million were heard and taken into account when drawing up the plan.
Below you can read the plan in full or a summary of the plan.
Healthwatch graphic with two people

Healthwatch Northumberland Quarterly Report July – September 2018

People who live in Northumberland and who use health and social care services tell Healthwatch Northumberland about their experiences throughout the year. This report shares the themes which emerged from 1 July to 30 September 2018. The next report will cover October to December 2018.

We receive feedback and enquiries from:

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

We are 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 July and September 2018 we had 59 individual pieces of unsolicited feedback and we spoke to 170 people at 32 engagement events.

Read the Report

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.’
Annual Report Front Cover

Healthwatch England submits new report to Parliament

In his first annual report to Parliament as Chair of Healthwatch, Sir Robert Francis looks beyond health and social care performance statistics to explore how people are experiencing care day-to-day across England.

Drawing on evidence from 406,567 people, over the last year Healthwatch has looked at what people are saying about GPs and community services, hospitals, social care services and mental health support, as well as issues that are common to all four areas of care (see below).

Over the course of the year, our network shared 2,053 reports with local services and decision makers about the improvements people would like to see.

The collective findings of these stories and reports show a real mix of views, with people continuing to receive outstanding care, much of which people say is down to the dedication shown by the extraordinary staff who keep things running.

However, it is also becoming clear that others struggle to access the support they need, with services not getting the basics of care right. Examples Healthwatch has worked on over the last year include care home residents not being able to see an NHS dentist and hospitals not providing the right information to help prevent patients having to return unnecessarily.

Issues like these require the NHS and social care system to be looked at as a whole rather than focusing on the headline targets for individual parts of the service.

Yet as it stands, services are not always able to spot the gaps between them and the impact this is having on the people they care for.

With the NHS Long Term Plan imminent, and the government’s plans for social care due in the New Year, listening effectively to people needs to become “part of the DNA” of health and care in England. From the beginning of the planning process to the provision of services to individual patients, insight from people need to be used to shape decisions and better track performance.

Healthwatch is doing its part. Since 2014 we have created the health and social care sector’s single biggest source of user insight, gathering more than 1.4 million experiences and views. We have also set a clear goal to step this up further, by reaching a million people a year by 2023.

Encouragingly, those working in health and social care are also using our insight more than ever before, drawing on our evidence and calling on our expertise to engage with communities up and down the country.

The government’s commitment to invest billions more in the NHS provides a rare opportunity to invest for the long-term in a building a culture where staff at all levels work in equal partnership with communities to shape the way services run.

Chair of Healthwatch England, Sir Robert Francis, says,

“The government’s investment of extra billions in our health service gives us a great opportunity to think about how that money should be spent, and how we can track the impact of any changes to ensure they deliver the help people want and need.

“To do this, we want to see people’s experiences of care become part of the very DNA of the decision-making processes throughout the NHS and social care sector.

“I have seen first-hand how a purely target driven culture within the NHS can actually be bad for people’s health, both patients and staff. To focus exclusively on performance measures can leave services with a false belief they are succeeding without any real idea whether people’s care and support needs are being met or where things might need to change.

“Listening to people and learning from their stories is the best way to get the balance right, and to ensure services have the evidence they need to shape care around the real-life needs of those they serve.

“The outstanding efforts of our local Healthwatch teams, supported by more than 5,000 volunteers, have created an evidence base of people’s experiences that is simply unparalleled. What’s more, we can see this insight being used to shape some of the biggest debates in health and care.

“For me, this is just the beginning. Over the next five years, we are looking to create a movement that puts people at the very heart of health and social care. To do this we need people to keep coming forward, keep sharing and help services hear what really matters to them.”

Four common themes

From the hundreds of thousands of stories gathered by Healthwatch in the last year, we have identified four themes which people commonly experience across all services.

  1. Better information to make the right choices
    With the right information, the public is not only empowered to make better decisions about their health and care, but know where to go for help when they need it. However, this information isn’t always available, and when it is, it can be too technical, confusing or difficult to find.
  2. Easier access to support
    Quicker and easier access to health and care services is essential. It can take a long time for people to get the support they need. Many experience delays at every step – from getting an initial appointment, in waiting rooms, and to see a specialist for further treatment. Repeated cancellations also indicate that the NHS doesn’t value people’s time. Technology used correctly offers the potential to alleviate these barriers and provides easier access to services, and to earlier diagnosis.
  3. Improved conversations
    We know people want to be involved in decisions about their treatment and care. Good communication between professionals and the public helps people to be more informed, understand their choices, and manage their expectations. This is particularly important for people with disabilities or people who don’t speak English as a first language.
  4. Well-coordinated services
    Navigating health and social care can be complicated. People want a seamless experience across different services. When services work well together, it not only makes things easier for people but also reduces the risk of serious issues being missed.

Read the full What Matters Most Report 

Download an Easy Read What Matters Most Report

Rothbury Village

Rothbury Hospital – Task and Finish Group

A new group will examine proposals put forward by the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) regarding the future of Rothbury Community Hospital.

The services at the hospital are commissioned by the CCG and in October 2017 the council’s Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) met to consider the proposed closure of the 12 bed inpatient ward at the hospital, with services being shaped around a new health and wellbeing centre on the site.The committee referred the final decision to the Secretary of State for Health. Last month he announced that while the inpatient ward should not be immediately re-opened, further action is required to agree and implement the proposed health and wellbeing centre.

The Minister asked for an update on progress by the end of January 2019.

The council has already pledged to work closely with the local community, Healthwatch Northumberland and the CCG to develop proposals for the hospital over the coming months. Councillor Jeff Watson, who also leads the Health and Wellbeing OSC, will chair the new review group. At the first scoping session it was agreed that the CCG and OSC would fully engage with the community as the health and wellbeing centre is developed, while there is also a joint assessment on the impact of travel, cost and inconvenience for families and carers of those affected by the planned closure.

Councillor Watson said: “As timescales are tight it is important we set up a small working group to ensure progress is made quickly. Although an update is required by the Secretary of State by the end of January we do recognise work will continue beyond then which the OSC will need to monitor and review.”

David Thompson, Chair of Healthwatch Northumberland, added: “We welcome the opportunity to continue our involvement in this crucially important issue for people in the Rothbury area, in our role as independent health and social care champion. We would encourage people to get in touch with us with their ideas and views.”

A meeting of the review group, which the public can attend, will be held in the council chamber at County Hall on 10 December at 9.30am.

Events

Watering can on a lawn with daffodils

Stepping into Spring Roadshow: Blyth

This is one of a series of free events for older people in Northumberland, from Ageing Well in Northumberland. The event is a chance to meet 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.

For more details about this event please email: jbell@activenorthumberland.co.uk

 

 

 

Panoramic view of Wooler

Glendale Health Awareness Fair

The Glendale and Cheviot Primary Care Group Patient Participation Groups are once again running a health awareness day at The Glendale Hall.
There are many health groups and organisations attending so there is something there for everyone. The event is being opened by Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health and some of the groups attending are:

Healthwatch Northumberland                                                                                                                                                                                         Age UK
Support Planners
Health Trainers
Hospice at Home
Carers Northumberland
Hear to Help
Diabetes UK
Arthritis
Assistance Animals
Stroke Association
Northumberland County Blind Association
Paramedic (if available)
U3A
Podiatry Services

The WI will be providing soup, tea, coffee and cakes.

Please pop in and see what help and support is available to you.

Watering can on a lawn with daffodils

Stepping into Spring Roadshow: Hexham

This is one of a series of free events for older people in Northumberland, from Ageing Well in Northumberland. The event is a chance to meet 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.

For more details about this event please email: lrobertson@activenorthumberland.co.uk

 

 

 

Watering can on a lawn with daffodils

Stepping into Spring Roadshow: Morpeth

This is one of a series of free events for older people in Northumberland, from Ageing Well in Northumberland. The event is a chance to meet 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.

For more details about this event please email: alison.byard@morpeth-tc.gov.uk

 

 

 

Watering can on a lawn with daffodils

Stepping into Spring Roadshow: Haltwhistle

This is one of a series of free events for older people in Northumberland, from Ageing Well in Northumberland. The event is a chance to meet 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.

For more details about this event please email: ellenwalton@haltwhistle.org.

 

 

Watering can on a lawn with daffodils

Stepping into Spring Roadshow: Prudhoe

This is one of a series of free events for older people in Northumberland, from Ageing Well in Northumberland. The event is a chance to meet 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.

For more details about this event please email: kstorey@activenorthumberland.org.uk.

 

 

Watering can on a lawn with daffodils

Stepping into Spring Roadshow: Ponteland

The first of this year’s Stepping into Spring Roadshows from Ageing Well in Northumberland kicks off in Ponteland. This is a free event for older people, packed with 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 Healthwatch Northumberland team will be at this event so come and say hello and pick up a giveaway or two!

For more details about this event please email: veronica.jones@northumberland.gov.uk.

 

Two ladies chatting with a clipboard

Annual Survey Drop In – Belford

We will be in Belford on Wednesday 13 March with our annual survey. Come and meet us at The Bell View Centre between 1.30pm and 3.00pm and share your experiences of health and social care over the last 12 months.

You can share your thoughts and experiences as a patient or as a carer. Your feedback will help us set our work priorities for the coming year. Knowing what is important to you helps us to work more effectively on your behalf. We can also look at trends and themes year on year, seeing what has changed and what remains important to people.

You could also be in with a chance of winning one of three prizes when you take the time to tell us about your experiences.

Thank you for your support and we hope you can call in to see us.

children playing on grassland

In It Together Annual Conference (Hexham)

This year’s In It Together Parent Carer Forum annual conference is entitled ‘Getting it Right.’ The theme is preparing for adulthood from the earliest years. The event will be of interest to all parents and carers of children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) in Northumberland, but particularly those in Year 6 and above.

This year there will be two events in the county. You can book for the Hexham event here.

There is also an event in Alnwick at the Rugby Club on 19 March. More details and bookings here.

For further information about the conference please contact In It Together Parent Carer Forum: info@in-it-together.org.uk or call: 07729192909.

children playing on grassland

In It Together Annual Conference (Alnwick)

This year’s In It Together Parent Carer Forum annual conference is entitled ‘Getting it Right.’ The theme is preparing for adulthood from the earliest years. The event will be of interest to all parents and carers of children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) in Northumberland, but particularly those in Year 6 and above.

This year there will be two events in the county. You can book for the Alnwick event here.

There is also an event in Hexham at the Mart on 20 March. More details and bookings here.

For further information about the conference please contact In It Together Parent Carer Forum: info@in-it-together.org.uk or call: 07729192909.