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Changes to how we operate

We are following government advice and guidelines in light of the coronavirus outbreak and have made changes to the way we operate. We have postponed all of the community events we had planned and from Monday 23 March our staff will be mainly working from home. We are still very much open for business, so if you want to give us feedback on a service you’ve used, or if you are looking for information on local health or support for a particular issue, you can call our signposting service. Get in touch on 03332 408468 or email info@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk.

Our board meeting scheduled for 24 March will not physically take place, but our board members are very much working away in the background and discussing future plans for Healthwatch Northumberland.

We will keep you updated with our plans on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages as things develop nationally.

Latest NHS coronavirus guidance

Where to go for help if you feel unwell this winter

Feeling unwell? Read on for advice about where you can go for help with your health during the winter months. Cold weather can trigger or worsen health problems, so it’s important that you know where to go for help if you become unwell. This winter, the NHS is running a campaign called ‘Help us help you’ to help people understand how to stay well during the winter and which services to use when they need support. Take a look at the information below to find out which is the most appropriate service to meet your needs.

At risk groups: Get advice if you feel unwell

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition. If you are 65 or over, or in one of the other at-risk groups, see a pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or cold. The sooner you get advice, the sooner you are likely to get better. Click here to find out if you are in one of the at-risk groups, and for tips on how to stay well this winter.

Get your free flu vaccination

To help at-risk groups stay well this winter, the NHS is offering free flu vaccinations to people who are 65 or over, those with some long term health conditions, pregnant women and toddlers aged 2-3 years. Contact your GP or local pharmacist for more information.

Call NHS 111 if you are:

  • Unsure
  • Unwell
  • Confused
  • Need to know where to go

For confidential health service advice and information, call NHS 111. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They will direct you to the best place to get treatment and advise you of locally available services. Visit NHS 111 to get more information.

Visit your local pharmacy if you’re experiencing:

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Runny nose
  • Headache flu-like symptoms

Your local pharmacist is fully qualified to give you advice on common illnesses and injuries, and medicines to treat them. They will also tell you if you need to see a doctor. Click here to find your local pharmacy.

Contact your GP and out of hours if you have:

  • Ear discharge/ pain
  • Rashes
  • Stomach pain
  • Concerns regarding ongoing conditions

Contact your GP surgery if you have an illness or injury that won’t go away. You can call NHS 111 for advice if you need help outside your GP surgery opening hours. Click here to find your local GP service.

Call 999 in a medical emergency.

A medical emergency is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. These can include:

Click here for further information about the 999 emergency services.

For less serious injuries…

Go to your local Minor Injuries Unit for less serious injuries, such as:

  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Stitches

You can visit an NHS Minor Injuries Unit without an appointment for the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries. Click here for more information regarding the minor injury units.

Looking after yourself

Many illnesses and injuries can be treated at home, and this can also help to stop spreading some viral infections.

  • Cough or cold
  • Sore throat
  • Grazed knee
  • Hangover

Ensure your medicine cabinet is stocked with things like paracetamol, plasters, rehydration mixture, a thermometer and indigestion remedy. If you are feeling worried, do not wait until you feel worse, visit a pharmacy for advice about your symptoms. For more information about conditions, symptoms and services, visit the NHS website.

Healthwatch Northumberland Conference 2019

Thank you if you joined us at our Conference in Blyth on 16 October! We hope you found the sessions useful and informative. Please see all of the presentations below, including the short film we were unable to show on the day. If you would like more information on any of these subjects, please get in touch and we will make sure your enquiry reaches the right people.

Draft minutes of Healthwatch Northumberland AGM Conference 2019

 

Review of the year and AGM: David Thompson and Derry Nugent

Community Involvement: Mark Johns, North East Ambulance Service

Primary Care Networks: Pamela Phelps, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group

Marine Medical Patient Participation Group: Carole Pitkeathley

Social Prescribing: Tara Twigg-Robson, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group

Mary’s story. Part of the Social Prescribing presentation

Review of the Ageing Well Programme: Louise Sweeney, Public Health

Mental Health Trailblazer: Rhian Davies, Northumbria Healthcare

A Space at the Table: Film created by Hexhamtv with Dry Water Arts

Substance Misuse Health Needs Assessment: Louise Sweeney, Public Health

 

Healthwatch Northumberland Board

Healthwatch Northumberland – Join our Board

Healthwatch Northumberland Board

Healthwatch Northumberland is looking for up to four exceptional people with a keen interest in, and passion about, ensuring local communities have their say on heath and social care services, to join our board.

Find out more below and please apply by 6 November 2019.

 

Healthwatch Northumberland Board Recruitment Information

Application Form

Healthwatch Northumberland Strategic Plan

NHS Long Term Plan – Our Report

Thanks to everyone who told us their views on the local implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS England and NHS Improvement asked Healthwatch to work with communities across the country to find out how the NHS Long Term Plan should be implemented at a local level. More than 30,000 people from across England shared their views about how the NHS can better support them in keeping well and how it can improve care for specific conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and autism.

Staff and volunteers from all 151 local Healthwatch across England also held more than 500 focus groups, bringing together people from all sections of the community to share how they would improve local NHS services.

 

Overall Satisfaction

In Northumberland, the specific health conditions which people told us about were cancer, autism, heart and lung diseases, mental health and long term conditions. People with cancer and autism reported the most positive experiences and those experiencing dementia and mental health services, the most negative. Of this group of respondents 62% felt the support they received when they first tried to access help did not meet their needs, 23% felt it did meet their needs and 15% thought it met their needs ‘somewhat’. 17% described the waiting time to receive an initial diagnosis as ‘fast’ with 63% rating it as ‘slow’ or ‘very slow’. Those with mental health conditions were the most dissatisfied with the speed of being referred to a specialist, cancer was the only condition where the referral rate was said to be ‘fast’. People with specific conditions show a preference for diagnostic services to be within an hour’s travel time. This is especially marked for those with mental health problems.

 

Travelling for Diagnosis

71% of respondents in this category used a car as their way of travelling. Living in a large rural county an hour’s travel time is important as it has different implications for those who can drive to appointments and those who rely on public transport or being driven by friends and family. Those with dementia reported using a taxi and carers pointed out the difficulty of driving with a person with dementia. The difficulty of accessing alternative or planned transport – either NHS or charitable – was noted, as dementia is not routinely an automatic qualifying condition. People with specific conditions showed a higher preference for services up to one hour travelling time away, but were prepared to travel further.

The feedback we received in Northumberland via surveys and the focus groups we held fed into the combined Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Durham report.

Read the full report

 

Quarterly Report October – December 2018

As independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we listen to your experiences of using these services.  This report shares the themes from the feedback we received between 1 October to 31 December 2018.

We receive feedback and enquiries by:

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

Healthwatch Northumberland is 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 October and December 2018 we had 98 individual pieces of unsolicited feedback and we spoke with approximately 530 people face to face. We attended flu clinics at GP practices in Tynedale, North Northumberland and Castle Morpeth, talking to a wide range of older residents and those with long term conditions and learning disabilities. We were at Morpeth, Berwick, Prudhoe, and Widdrington libraries during Library Week. We also attended “Winter Warmer” and SEND events, the Carers’ Rights
Day at Berwick and spoke at the Belford Parish Council and the Belford Practice Patient Participation Group.

Read the October to December 2018 report in full.

 

Annual Survey 2019 Headlines

We had a 35% increase in responses to our annual survey this year; thank you for taking part. We had responses from all area of the county apart from just one or two postcodes. 64% of people said that overall, their experience of care services in the past 12 months had been good or excellent, whilst 13% described their experience as poor – a similar figure to last year. The main themes to emerge are:

  • GPs – many favourable comments but appointments are still a concern, in terms of availability rather than the process of getting them.
  • Communication within and between services causes concern across all services
  • Fewer concerns reported about Patient Transport than last year
  • GP services and mental health services remain a priority for people
  • Some concerns around access to services

 

Healthwatch logo and people icon

Come and Work with Us!

We are recruiting for an Engagement Officer to join our enthusiastic and effective team.

 

£23,685.56 (pro rata £13,443.15)

Part time 21 hours a week

Permanent dependent on funding

Closing date midnight  Thursday 11 April  2019

Based in Hexham with travel across Northumberland

 

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

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.

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

 

Job Description

Application Form

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.

 

People talking at a Healthwatch event

Join us! Engagement and Research Officer Vacancy

Engagement and Research Officer

Healthwatch Northumberland

 

  • Part time – 25 hours a week
  • £23,685 pro rata – £16,003
  • Permanent dependent on funding
  • Closing date midnight Friday 15 March 2019
  • Interviews will be held on 27 March 2019
  • Based in Hexham with travel across Northumberland

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

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, especially if you have experience in gathering data and producing engaging information and reports.

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

 

Job Description and Person Specification

Healthwatch Northumberland Strategic Plan

Application Form

Events

Let’s Talk – Audiology Services, Seaton Delaval

We would like to hear from Northumberland residents about their experience of using local audiology services (services to help with hearing loss) and the aftercare they receive. We are interested in finding out what is working well and what needs improvement.

You can also find us at:

Bellview Centre, Belford: Tuesday 10 September, 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Ponteland Medical Centre: Thursday 12 September, 12.00pm – 1.00pm
Age UK, Ashington: Wednesday 18 September, 10.00am – 11.00am
Adapt (NE), Hexham: Thursday 19 September, 1.00pm – 2.30pm

If you are unable to make one of these sessions and would like to feedback about audiology services, please get in touch with us directly

The Hear to Help Project from Action on Hearing Loss closed at the end of April 2019. Hearing aid support is now available directly from NHS audiology services. Find out where you can get support.

Let’s Talk – Audiology Services, Hexham

We would like to hear from Northumberland residents about their experience of using local audiology services (services to help with hearing loss) and the aftercare they receive. We are interested in finding out what is working well and what needs improvement.

You can also find us at:

Bellview Centre, Belford: Tuesday 10 September, 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Ponteland Medical Centre: Thursday 12 September, 12.00pm – 1.00pm
Age UK, Ashington: Wednesday 18 September, 10.00am – 11.00am
Seaton Delaval Community Centre: Tuesday 1 October, 10.00am – 11.00am

If you are unable to make one of these sessions and would like to feedback about audiology services, please get in touch with us directly

The Hear to Help Project from Action on Hearing Loss closed at the end of April 2019. Hearing aid support is now available directly from NHS audiology services. Find out where you can get support.

Let’s Talk – Audiology Services, Ashington

We would like to hear from Northumberland residents about their experience of using local audiology services (services to help with hearing loss) and the aftercare they receive. We are interested in finding out what is working well and what needs improvement. You can also find us at:

Bellview Centre, Belford: Tuesday 10 September, 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Ponteland Medical Centre: Thursday 12 September, 12.00pm – 1.00pm
Adapt (NE), Hexham: Thursday 19 September, 1.00pm – 2.30pm
Seaton Delaval Community Centre: Tuesday 1 October, 10.00am – 11.00am

If you are unable to make one of these sessions and would like to feedback about audiology services, please get in touch with us directly

The Hear to Help Project from Action on Hearing Loss closed at the end of April 2019. Hearing aid support is now available directly from NHS audiology services. Find out where you can get support.

Let’s Talk – Audiology Services, Ponteland

We would like to hear from Northumberland residents about their experience of using local audiology services (services to help with hearing loss) and the aftercare they receive. We are interested in finding out what is working well and what needs improvement.

You can also find us at:

Bellview Centre, Belford: Tuesday 10 September, 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Age UK, Ashington: Wednesday 18 September, 10.00am – 11.00am
Adapt (NE), Hexham: Thursday 19 September, 1.00pm – 2.30pm
Seaton Delaval Community Centre: Tuesday 1 October, 10.00am – 11.00am

If you are unable to make one of these sessions and would like to feedback about audiology services, please get in touch with us directly

The Hear to Help Project from Action on Hearing Loss closed at the end of April 2019. Hearing aid support is now available directly from NHS audiology services. Find out where you can get support.

Let’s Talk – Audiology Services, Belford

We would like to hear from Northumberland residents about their experience of using local audiology services (services to help with hearing loss) and the aftercare they receive. We are interested in finding out what is working well and what needs improvement.

You can also find us at:

Ponteland Medical Centre: Thursday 12 September, 12.00pm – 1.00pm
Age UK, Ashington: Wednesday 18 September, 10.00am – 11.00am
Adapt (NE), Hexham: Thursday 19 September, 1.00pm – 2.30pm
Seaton Delaval Community Centre: Tuesday 1 October, 10.00am – 11.00am

If you are unable to make one of these sessions and would like to feedback about audiology services, please get in touch with us directly

The Hear to Help Project from Action on Hearing Loss closed at the end of April 2019. Hearing aid support is now available directly from NHS audiology services. Find out where you can get support.

NHS Northumberland CCG logo

Northumberland CCG Annual Public Meeting

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will be holding its Annual Public Meeting on Wednesday 26 June. The CCG is responsible for the planning and purchasing of Northumberland’s healthcare. If you are interested in developments of health care services in the county and would like to know about plans for the future, this meeting is a chance to find out more.

For further information, to confirm attendance or to submit a question for the CCG governing body, please contact Stephen Young on: 01670 335161 or email: norccg.enquiries@nhs.net before 24 June.

Work for the NHS

Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic NHS Recruitment Event

If you’d like to find out more about working in the NHS, head to the Royal Victoria Infirmary for this recruitment event. The NHS is committed to making workplaces inclusive and is taking positive action to increase Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation in the workforce.

Whether you come along for a few minutes or longer you will have the opportunity to speak to staff, view current vacancies, learn how to set up for job alerts, learn how to complete a good application form and find out about volunteering opportunties. Staff representatives from all local NHS Trusts will be on hand to answer all of your questions.

Workshops will be available throughout the day:

  • Introduction to roles in the NHS and the recruitment process
  • Introduction to NHS jobs
  • Completing an NHS Jobs Application Form
  • Interview Skills Preparation.
Silhouettes of two people jumping on a beach

Have your say on health and care: Alnwick Event

Northumberland County Council and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working together to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the county’s residents and reduce inequalities over the next ten years.

Health and care leaders from the Health and Wellbeing Board have drafted a new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the county. This explains what health and wellbeing priorities the board has set in order to tackle the county’s health needs. Rather than taking action on everything at once, it sets priorities for joint action with the aim of making a real impact on people’s lives.

People living and working across Northumberland are being asked to share their views on future health and care priorities by completing an online survey.  Your feedback  will be gathered and considered to help shape the final Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy which is due to be published later this year. Four enagement events are taking place across the county. The other events are:

  • Wednesday 15 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Morpeth Town Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 1LZ
  • Thursday 16 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 5JF
  • Friday 17 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Hexham Abbey, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3NB

 

The online survey can be completed here until Friday 7 September.

More details can be found on the council’s website here.

If you would like to attend one of the events or for further information please email: melodyprice@nhs.net or call 01670 335 185.

Silhouettes of two people jumping on a beach

Have your say on health and care: Hexham Event

Northumberland County Council and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working together to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the county’s residents and reduce inequalities over the next ten years.

Health and care leaders from the Health and Wellbeing Board have drafted a new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the county. This explains what health and wellbeing priorities the board has set in order to tackle the county’s health needs. Rather than taking action on everything at once, it sets priorities for joint action with the aim of making a real impact on people’s lives.

People living and working across Northumberland are being asked to share their views on future health and care priorities by completing an online survey.  Your feedback  will be gathered and considered to help shape the final Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy which is due to be published later this year. Four enagement events are taking place across the county. The other events are:

  • Wednesday 15 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Morpeth Town Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 1LZ
  • Thursday 16 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 5JF
  • Monday 20 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Northumberland Hall, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1TN

 

The online survey can be completed here until Friday 7 September.

More details can be found on the council’s website here.

If you would like to attend one of the events or for further information please email: melodyprice@nhs.net or call 01670 335 185.

Silhouettes of two people jumping on a beach

Have your say on health and care: Blyth Event

Northumberland County Council and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working together to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the county’s residents and reduce inequalities over the next ten years.

Health and care leaders from the Health and Wellbeing Board have drafted a new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the county. This explains what health and wellbeing priorities the board has set in order to tackle the county’s health needs. Rather than taking action on everything at once, it sets priorities for joint action with the aim of making a real impact on people’s lives.

People living and working across Northumberland are being asked to share their views on future health and care priorities by completing an online survey.  Your feedback  will be gathered and considered to help shape the final Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy which is due to be published later this year. Four enagement events are taking place across the county. The other events are:

  • Wednesday 15 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Morpeth Town Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 1LZ
  • Friday 17 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Hexham Abbey, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3NB
  • Monday 20 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Northumberland Hall, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1TN

 

The online survey can be completed here until Friday 7 September.

More details can be found on the council’s website here.

If you would like to attend one of the events or for further information please email: melodyprice@nhs.net or call 01670 335 185.