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Annual Report 2019/20

Our Annual Report for the financial year 2019-20 is out now. Have a look to see what we’ve been up to, what people told us about their experiences of NHS, health and social care and how we made a difference to people in Northumberland.

 

Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Report 2019/20.

Ashington GP surgery to close

GP practice contract ended due to quality of care concerns

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has made the decision to close a GP practice in Ashington.

The CCG’s primary care commissioning committee made the decision, last week, to end the contract of Laburnum Medical Group following inspections carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and ongoing investigations carried out by the CCG, which identified issues with the quality of care provided.

The practice, which provides healthcare for 2400 patients from Ashington and the surrounding areas, including Wansbeck, Morpeth, Newbiggin and Bedlington, will close by the end of July.

Patients will be notified of the decision, in writing, from today and will also be advised that they have been automatically registered with one of six GP practices as close to their home as possible.

If a patient would like to register with another GP practice in their local area, they can do this from when Laburnum Medical Group closes at the end of next month.

Paul Turner, Director of Commissioning and Contracting for NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, said“The CCG has worked closely with and supported Laburnum Medical Group, over the past couple of years, to address issues highlighted by the CQC and the CCG. We appreciate that this decision will be concerning and unsettling for patients registered with the practice. Our key priority is always the health and safety of patients.

“We would like to reassure patients that we continue to work closely with Laburnum Medical Group and have put measures and additional support in place to ensure that everyone who needs to access care from the practice, between now and when it closes, can do so safely.

“Another important priority for the CCG is that patients are able to receive GP care as close to home as possible. To ensure this, the CCG team is working with NHS England and Improvement to undertake an exercise to register patients with a new GP practice and to transfer their medical records. We are doing this to ensure patients are registered with a practice without having to visit in person, in light of the current Covid-19 situation.”

Any patients with concerns or issues should contact:

Patients are also being invited to join a Zoom call hosted by Healthwatch Northumberland on Friday 3 July. The Zoom call has been arranged as the CCG is unable to do a face-to-face engagement session in light of Covid-19.

Understanding Patient Participation Groups

Healthwatch Northumberland commissioned research to help it understand how the Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) associated with the 41 GP practices in Northumberland currently work, their aspirations and challenges and the relationship they want to have individually and collectively not only with Healthwatch Northumberland but also the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Primary Care Networks (PCN) and local community and voluntary groups. We also wanted to understand how we and PPGs can most effectively communicate and exchange information and views and how this can be used for the benefit of patients, their families and carers.

The research has identified several key areas where further discussion or action would help PPGs develop in a way that is appropriate for them. The recommendations at the end of the report form an agenda for those discussions and provide Healthwatch Northumberland with a series of actions we want to consider.

The research shows that PPGs want to engage with patients, with Healthwatch Northumberland and with the wider health community but for some this is difficult. PPGs see real benefits in engaging more widely and collaborating with others to improve the patient experience. Some PPGs would like to network and engage on a countywide basis whilst others would prefer to do this at a PCN level. This desire to collaborate must be nurtured by Healthwatch Northuberland and must be extended to include the CCG and the GP practices it commissions. There is a real opportunity for a partnership approach to help support PPGs and improve the patient experience and we will play a pivotal role in this.

The research also highlights several areas of challenge for PPGs. The key areas are:

• Recruitment and retention of members who are representative of the Practice Population and who are able to understand and represent the patient perspective and work with the practice to create improvements to service

• Engagement with patients and with the Practice to gather feedback in a meaningful way and to collaborate with the practice to use this feedback to best effect

• Time and to a lesser extent cost – to travel to meetings, to attend meetings at a time that is suitable and to contribute effectively both within and outside the meetings

51% of the PPGs in Northumberland completed the survey that formed the basis of the research and a further 4 provided information during telephone calls meaning HWN heard from 61% of the PPG population during the research period. One of the challenges for HWN is how it engages with the whole PPG community, particularly those who opted not to engage this time.

As PCNs develop, the role of the PPG will become more pivotal because these networks will need to understand the patient perspective and identify how they can develop services that, among other things, improve population health. Healthwatch Northumberland, along with the CCG, will have a role to play supporting both the PCNs and the PPGs. To be most effective we will need to ensure robust relationships with the CCG, PCNs and PPGs.

The report provides recommendations that are set in the context of the aims of the research and focus on the aspirations and challenges faced by PPGs and the way in which Healthwatch Northumberland can best engage to help address these.

Understanding Patient Participation Groups – read the full report.

Share your views on NHS Interpreting Services

The interpreting arrangements in primary care from NHS England end on 30 September 2020 and it is asking for your views on what has worked well and what could be improved. Your feedback will be used to shape how these services will be delivered in the future.

There are two sessions. One for patients who have used a spoken word interpreter at their GP, dentist, pharmacy or optometrist since April 2018 and one is for people who have used a non-spoken word interpreter at one or more of these services. The sessions are also for those who haven’t used an interpreter in this time but may need to use one at an appointment in the future.

 

Patient Listening Event – Spoken Word Interpretation

Wednesday 25 March: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Cathedral Suite, Emirates Riverside Stadium, County Durham DH3 3QR

 

Patient Listening Event – Non-spoken Word Interpretation

Thursday 26 March: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Cathedral Suite, Emirates Riverside Stadium, County Durham DH3 3QR

 

 

What will the format of the session be?

An NHS England representative will give a short presentation on the planned changes to interpreting services in 2020/21. Attendees will then be asked to work in small groups to discuss and note down their personal experiences of interpreting services in primary care. Feedback will be used to answer the questions:

What has worked well?

What needs to be improved?

What are the things which matter to you most when using interpreters?

 

Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided. There are 100 places on each session and you can book on by emailing: englandphadminwf4@nhs.net with your name, the area you live and the number of places you would like to reserve (up to six). Please use either ‘patient listening event – spoken’ or ‘patient listening event – non-spoken’ as the email subject.

 

Collingwood Medical Group

Collingwood Medical Group

Update: 14 August 2018

Now that letters have been sent and patients have information about the closure of Collingwood Medical Group, we would like to hear from anyone who has had any problems registering with a new practice, or any other issues, to get in touch.

 

Patients of Collingwood Medical Group in Blyth have been informed that the current provider of the practice is unable to continue providing GP services after 30 November 2018. After careful consideration of all the available options, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has reluctantly decided to close the practice permanently. It has issued patients with a list of alternative practices in the area is asking them to begin thinking about registering with an another practice in the coming months.

Three drop-in meetings have been arranged for any patients who would like to stop by for a short time to gain further information or raise any concerns in person. These sessions will be attended by the CCG alongside representatives from NHS England, Collingwood Medical Group, Healthwatch Northumberland and the Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

They are taking place at the following times:

• Wednesday 4 July: 1.00pm – 3.00pm, Blyth Community Enterprise Centre, Ridley Street, Blyth NE24 3AG

• Wednesday 11 July: 2.00pm – 4.00pm, Briardale Community Centre, Briardale Road, Blyth NE24 5AN

• Monday 16 July: 4.30pm – 6.30pm, Blyth Community Enterprise Centre, Ridley Street, Blyth NE24 3AG

More detailed information about practices is available on the NHS Choices website. You can also read about Patient Choice of GP Practices here.

Man at GP reception

Patient choice of GP Practices

Since 5 January 2015, all GP practices in England have been free to register new patients who live outside their practice boundary area.

This means you can register with a GP practice somewhere that’s more convenient for you, such as a practice near your work or closer to your children’s schools. These arrangements are voluntary for GP practices. If the practice has no capacity at the time, or feels it is not clinically appropriate or practical for you to be registered so far away from home, they can still refuse registration. The practice should explain to you their reason for refusing your registration.

How to register with a GP practice further away

You may wish to join a GP near work or re-register with your old GP following a move. There are a few things to consider:

  • Research your options in the area you want to register with, so you choose a practice that is right for you.
  • Compare GP surgeries according to facilities, services or performance before you decide. Ask friends, relatives and others you trust for their thoughts and recommendations.
  • Contact the practice and ask if it is accepting registrations from out-of-area patients.
  • If the practice is accepting registrations, ask for a registration form.

The practice will decide, following a review of your completed registration form, whether to accept you as a regular patient or accept you without home visiting duties (if it is clinically appropriate and practical for you to be registered away from home).

Because of the greater distance to your home, the GP you register with is under no obligation to offer you a home visit. If you are not well enough to go to the practice yourself, then other arrangements will be made. NHS England (the body responsible for buying GP services) ensures that there is access to a service either near your home or at home (if needed). When you register with a practice further away from home, you will be given information about what you should do in those circumstances.

However, if you are too ill to go to the practice in person, or the practice is unable to help you over the phone, call NHS 111. The NHS 111 service can tell you about access to local services or, where necessary, arrange a home visit.

For more information please visit NHS Choices.

Blyth lighthouse

Marine Medical Group: Proposed change to practice boundary

Marine Medical Group in Blyth has applied to NHS England to change the boundary of the practice. This will not affect any patients who are currently registered with the practice. Due to the number of new houses being built in the area, the group has requested to have its boundary reduced, to end at the Spine Road (just before the Bebside railway line). The practice says this is to provide the same services and high level of care to patients.

 

Frequently asked questions

I am currently registered with the practice but I am living in one of the estates which is now outside of the new boundary will I have to move practices?

No, you will continue to be registered with the practice and be entitled to the same service as any other patient.

A member of my family who was previously registered with the practice is moving back home and we live outside of the new boundary; can they re-register with the practice

Unfortunately not. The practice cannot register any patients outside of the new boundary, even if they were previously registered with the practice.

I am currently registered with the practice but I am moving to an address which is outside of the boundary, can I remain registered with the practice?

No, you will need to register with a practice that includes your new address in their boundary.

I am currently pregnant and live in one of the estates which is now outside of the new boundary, will I have to register my baby with a different practice?

No, this is the only exception to new boundary, new babies will remain with the practice the parents are registered at.

Why do practices have boundaries?

Practices have boundaries to enable the GPs to deal with patients in a timely manner. If a patient requires a home visit the travel time has to be factored into the visit.  If patients live outside of the practice boundary the GPs wouldn’t be able to visit as many patients.

It also means if we keep patients who no longer live within the practice boundary those patients who move into the boundary cannot register as the practice can only deal with a certain amount of patients.

How do I find a GP practice who I can register with?

Please visit NHS Choices or contact any practice near your address to enquire if they can register you as a patient.

 

If you have any comments or questions about the proposed changes please contact Natalie Armstrong, Practice Manager, or Ross Kemp, IT & Strategy Manager, at Marine Medical Group or alternately you can send feedback to the practice’s Patient Participation Group at: mmgpatientparticipation@gmail.com. Please respond as soon as possible and by the end of January 2018.

Doctor's waiting room

Primary Care Services in the Rothbury area

Following on from the changes to primary care services in Harbottle, the recent relocation of GP services in Rothbury and the closure of a dental practice, we are keen to hear how these arrangements are working for local people. Please get in touch to share your experiences of health provision in the area, either positive or negative.

The Healthwatch Northumberland team will be in the Cheviot Room at The Jubilee Hall in Rothbury on Friday 26 January from 12.00pm – 1.00pm, to talk to local people about their views and experiences and we invite you to call in for a chat if you use health services in the area. This is a drop-in session so no need to book, just call in any time between 12.00pm and 1.00pm.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it that day. Give us a call on 03332 408468 or leave feedback via the website.

Christmas GP appointments

Christmas GP Appointments

This year GP appointments are available over the Christmas holidays. If you need an urgent appointment at your GP contact your practice in the usual way.

22nd December: Usual opening times for all surgeries and urgent GP appointments available, 8am to 8pm.

23rd and 24th December: Urgent GP appointments available, 8am to 8pm.

25th December – Christmas Day: Urgent GP appointments available.

26th December: Urgent GP appointments available, 8am to 8pm.

27th – 29th December: Usual opening times for all surgeries and urgent GP appointments available, 8am to 8pm.

30th December – 1st January: Urgent GP appointments available, 8am to 8pm.

2nd – 5th January: Usual opening times for all surgeries and urgent GP appointments available, 8am to 8pm.

6th and 7th January: Urgent GP appointments available, 8am to 8pm.

Find out more about GP services

Events

Laburnum Surgery closure – online forum

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has made the decision to close Laburnum GP Surgery in Ashington.

The CCG’s primary care commissioning committee made the decision, last week, to end the contract of Laburnum Medical Group following inspections carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and ongoing investigations carried out by the CCG, which identified issues with the quality of care provided.

The practice, which provides healthcare for 2400 patients from Ashington and the surrounding areas, including Wansbeck, Morpeth, Newbiggin and Bedlington, will close by the end of July.

Patients at the practice have been written to and allocated another GP at a nearby surgery.

We are holding an online forum for patients to discuss any concerns they have about the closure of the surgery and their ongoing healthcare.

To register please email: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk or call: 03332 408468.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom. If you would like help setting up Zoom on your device please ask.

 

Read more about the closure of Laburnum Surgery

Find out more about our other online forums

 

stick figure with crates of fruit

Morpeth Market Drop-in

We will be market stall holders on Wednesday 21 February, when we visit Morpeth Market to talk to local people about their health and social care experiences. Good or not so good, praise or concern, we want to hear your thoughts. You can also complete our annual survey which will help us discover what matters to you about the care you and your family receive from GPs, hospitals, dentists, mental health services, pharmacists, care homes and any other service you may use or need to use in the future. Pick up one of our pens, lip balms or stress balls if you’re quick!

 

Rothbury Drop-In Session

Rothbury Drop-in Session

Following on from the changes to primary care services in Harbottle, the recent relocation of GP services in Rothbury and the closure of a dental practice, we are keen to hear how these arrangements are working for local people. Please get in touch to share your experiences of health provision in the area, either positive or negative.

The Healthwatch Northumberland team will be in the Cheviot Room at The Jubilee Hall in Rothbury on Friday 26 January from 12.00pm – 1.00pm, to talk to local people about their views and experiences and we invite you to call in for a chat if you use health services in the area. This is a drop-in session so no need to book, just call in any time between 12.00pm and 1.00pm.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it that day. Give us a call on 03332 408468 or leave feedback via the website.