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Permanent move agreed for Whalton Unit

The decision was taken this week that the Whalton Unit will be permanently relocated to Wansbeck General Hospital. Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee has agreed with the recommendation from Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG)s governing body and the trust to retain the unit at Wansbeck hospital where it has been temporarily based since December 2018.

Below is the full press release from the CCG, released 5 November 2019.

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have today welcomed the decision that the Whalton Unit is to be permanently relocated to Wansbeck General Hospital.

Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee has agreed with the recommendation from the CCG’s governing body and the trust to retain the unit at Wansbeck hospital where it has been temporarily based since December 2018.

Members were informed that the relocation of the unit from Morpeth to Wansbeck hospital had improved a number of aspects of patient care and safety and eased nurse staffing pressures.

The committee decided that the move was not a substantial change in service delivery given that the service still exists for local communities to access.

Members, however, sought assurance from the CCG and trust that there would be planned improvements to community and palliative care in the Morpeth area and that the privacy and dignity of patients would be taken into account.

In addition, improvements are to be made to the ward environment at Wansbeck hospital and transport support for relatives and carers to travel to visit patients will continue.

The decision follows an extensive period of engagement during September which saw around 800 people give their views through independent research and a series of drop-in sessions. Committee members also called on the CCG and trust to carry out on-going engagement in the community over the next few months.

Dr Graham Syers, clinical director of primary care at the CCG, said: “Our governing body firmly believed that due to the improvements in patient care that have resulted from transferring the Whalton Unit to Wansbeck hospital that it should remain in the new location, and we are pleased that our decision has been backed by the health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee.

“We would like to reiterate our thanks to the campaign group and members of the community for their contributions throughout this process and, while this decision is not what they wanted to hear, we are particularly grateful for their input during the engagement which replicated what a full public consultation would look like.

“Working closely with the trust, we will now press ahead with joint plans to improve care in the Morpeth community and in people’s own homes, including delivering specialist palliative care in nursing homes, while supporting work to enhance the environment at Wansbeck hospital.”

Marion Dickson, executive director of nursing, midwifery, allied health professionals, surgery and community care at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We welcome today’s decision by the health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee and will now progress our plans, in partnership with the CCG, to better support our patients in Morpeth in the community and at home and make improvements to the Whalton Unit’s permanent home at Wansbeck hospital.

“We would like to remind the public of our transport service and would urge people who would find it difficult to travel from Morpeth to Wansbeck hospital to visit relatives in the unit to make use of it by speaking to the ward team.While there have been significant improvements in patient care and to nurse recruitment and skill mix since the unit moved to Wansbeck hospital, we remain committed to ensuring that this continues to the case and that our patients receive the highest standards of care.”

The improvements to patient care and safety following the move have included patients receiving more timely and thorough investigations, fewer transfers of patients back to The Northumbria hospital for emergency care and fewer episodes of harm associated with incidents due to greater observation of patients.

While the original move was instigated due to nurse staffing issues and an expected increase in activity over the winter period, more nursing staff had been recruited for the unit since the relocation and more consistent nursing care is now provided through an improved skill mix across the team.

The trust and CCG are to improve care in the Morpeth community including jointly investing in more community matrons to support additional nursing home beds in the town and allied health professionals to better support frail elderly patients within their own homes to prevent unnecessary admissions and facilitate earlier discharges home.

They are also jointly developing a palliative care bed model to enable patients to receive end-of-life care in local nursing homes with specialist nursing support. The improvements to the ward environment at Wansbeck hospital will include areas for rehabilitation and multi-disciplinary working.

Quarterly Report – July to September 2019

As independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we receive feedback about what is working well for people and what could be improved, and share these 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’.

The report below shares a summary of the feedback collected from July to September 2019.
This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:
• Telephone calls, emails and social media (52%)
• Postal surveys and feedback forms (5%)
• Talking to people at local engagement events (43%)

 

Summary for feedback received between July and September 2019.

  • The average person feeding back to Healthwatch Northumberland is a woman aged between 65-79 from the Tynedale area. They are most likely to be feeding back about their own experiences.
  • They are most likely to get in touch with us by the telephone, email, or social media, or through engagement events we run in their local area.
  • Most people fed back to us with concerns or complaints about health services.
  • Most of our feedback is about primary care services. This quarter pharmacies and GP surgeries dominated the negative feedback we got about primary care.
  • Secondary care services also make up a large proportion of our feedback. This quarter feedback about a physiotherapy service dominated the negative feedback about secondary care.
  • We also continued to hear back about the loss of the Hear to Help Service, which was provided by Action on Hearing Loss.
  • Consistent with last quarter, most feedback was about people finding it hard to access services, rather than quality of care.
  • Healthwatch Northumberland had a total of 80 recordable interactions with people. 58 of these gave us feedback, 38 were signposted and 3 exchanged information with us.
  • We signposted to Independent Complaints Advocacy Northumberland, Carers Northumberland, North of Tyne Patient Advice and Liaison Service, and Northumberland County Council more than once this quarter, and at least once last quarter.
  • Almost half of the organisations we signposted to this quarter were voluntary sector organisations.

Read the full report for July to September 2019

Northumbria Hospital

Healthwatch at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Working in partnership with Healthwatch North Tyneside and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, we heard from 309 people over 14 three-hour sessions in the waiting area in the Emergency Department and Paediatrics Emergency Department of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in November 2018.  People had travelled to the hospital independently and told us why they were attending the Emergency Department, what other services they had/tried to access and what they thought could make their experiences of getting care better.

Based on what we heard we produced the report below which includes recommendations that are now being implemented by Northumbria Healthcare, Northumberland and North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Groups and North East Ambulance Service Foundation Trust.  Our observations and recommendations:

  • We suggest that a system-wide approach is needed to review the information and advice available to support people to get the care they need and help people to navigate themselves through the urgent care system.

 

  • A system wide approach is needed to review the transport issues people have highlighted, particularly public transport access to The Northumbria Hospital. We are pleased to note that Northumbria Healthcare has established a Rural Healthcare Commission and we hope this report will be used to help inform the discussions about transport.

 

  • Changes to the waiting room environment to improve experience and accessibility.

 

A number of changes have already taken place or are planned to the public waiting areas.

Read the report – Understanding people’s experiences of attending the Emergency Department at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Your Voice Fund

We are very excited to announce the Your Voice Fund.  This is an opportunity for more people to have their experiences of health and social care services heard and to make those services better.  We recognise that there are some people we do not hear from enough. In particular:

  • People with learning disabilities
  • People from the LGBTQ+ communities
  • Young people
  • Black and minority ethnic communities
  • People living in Northumberland through asylum or refugee resettlement programmes

Small grants of up to £1,000 are available for projects which can:

Gather people’s views and experiences of health and social care services in Northumberland,

Or

Respond to views you have already gathered, deliver an activity, create a resource or run a promotional campaign about a health and care issue in Northumberland.

Talk to us about your ideas and find out more below.

Your Voice Fund Information Pack

 

Quarterly Report – April to June 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, interested in 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 Healthwatch Northumberland about their experiences throughout the year.

This report shares a summary of the feedback collected from April to June 2019. The next report will cover July to September 2019.

This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:
• Telephone calls, emails and social media (611%)
• Postal surveys andfeedback forms (24%)
• Talking to people at local community events (11%)
• Through meetings and third parties (3%)

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 2019/20:
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 April to June Report in full

 

Wellbeing Survey – Your Help Needed

Are you a member of the public?

NHS England would like your views on what wellbeing means to you and what may prevent you from looking after yourself as well as you can.

It would also like to know how you think the health and care system can support you further to look after yourself.

To give your feedback please click on the link below. The survey will run until Friday 21 November. There is also the opportunity to sign up for updates after completing the survey.

Wellbeing Survey for Public

 

Do you work in health and social care?

NHS England would like to know what you think needs to be done so that you can focus more on prevention as part of your role. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete and the deadline is 21 November.

Wellbeing Survey for Staff

 

Permanent move recommended for Whalton Unit

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body has agreed with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s recommendation to take steps to permanently relocate the Whalton Unit to Wansbeck General Hospital.

At a meeting in Morpeth held in public, the governing body made the decision to retain the unit at Wansbeck hospital where it has been temporarily based since December 2018.

The governing body was told that the relocation of the unit from Morpeth to Wansbeck hospital has improved a number of aspects of patient care and safety. This has included patients receiving more timely and thorough investigations, fewer transfers of patients back to The Northumbria hospital for emergency care and fewer episodes of harm associated with incidents due to greater observation of patients.

While the original move was instigated due to nurse staffing issues and an expected increase in activity over the winter period, the meeting also heard that more nursing staff had been recruited for the unit since the relocation and more consistent nursing care is provided through an improved skill mix across the team.

The recommendation will now go to Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee which will decide whether the move is a significant variation in service and a public consultation is required.

Read the full report

Parkinson’s Power

The Parkinson’s Power Project is working with people with Parkinson’s aged 55+ who are currently physically inactive (not achieving at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week). The project works on a one-to-one basis to support people to overcome the barriers that are preventing them from getting active, helps them to identify an activity they would enjoy and supports them to take the first steps towards leading a more active lifestyle.

Research suggests that leading an active lifestyle can have a beneficial effect on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s. Being physically active can help people to manage the physical and psychological symptoms of their condition, including supporting them to manage tremors and improving core strength and mobility, as well as contributing to positive mental wellbeing.

Parkinson’s UK wants to work with local partners and professionals who are trusted voices and can identify people who will benefit the project; especially those in communities which are diverse, socially isolated or marginalised.

Parkinson’s Power is:
• a two year pilot project (2019-2021) funded by Sport England in the North East of England
• for people diagnosed with any stage of Parkinson’s
• for people aged 55 and over and inactive (not achieving at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week)

Physical activity includes things such as walking, swimming, gardening, seated exercise, exercise classes

If you or someone you know could benefit from Parkinson’s Power, please contact Jasmine Danby on: 07975 947879 or email: parkinsonspower@parkinsons.org.uk

Healthwatch Northumberland Conference 2019 – Presentations

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.

 

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

Events

Creating Space

Creating Space is a new craft session run by local people, for local people, and will provide a friendly and supportive space for those who might find getting crafty helps with low mood and improves wellbeing. Please come along if you are interested – a warm welcome and a cuppa awaits!

Prudhoe Older Person’s Information Day

Find out what’s going on in the local area for older people at this event from Prudhoe Community Partnership. There will be advice and information, health checks and a refreshments on offer.

Organisations attending the event include Carers Northumberland, U3A, Tynedale Talking News, Silver Talk, Age UK, library Services, Community Buddies, Northumbria Police and Digital Champions.

Creating Space

Creating Space is a new craft session starting at Adapt (NE) in Hexham this November.
Creating Space is run by local people, for local people, and will provide a friendly and supportive space for those who might find getting crafty helps with low mood and improves wellbeing.
This first session will be an initial meeting to chat about what people want, how often the sessions will happen and other details of the sessions going forward. Please come along if you are interested – a warm welcome and a cuppa awaits!

Audiology Cinic drop-in Berwick – Union Brae

As part of our work to find out people’s experiences of using audiology services, we will be at the audiology clinic in Berwick talking to those using the services. We will be asking people with hearing loss a few questions to find out what is working well for them and what could be improved.

 

Audiology drop-in Alnwick

As part of our work to find out people’s experiences of using audiology services, we will be at the audiology clinic at Alnwick Infirmary talking to those using the services. We will be asking people with hearing loss a few questions to find out what is working well for them and what could be improved.

 

Audiology drop-in Berwick

As part of our work to find out people’s experiences of using audiology services, we will be at Berwick Library talking to those using the services. We will be asking people with hearing loss a few questions to find out what is working well for them and what could be improved.

 

Audiology clinic drop-in Corbridge

As part of our work to find out people’s experiences of using audiology services, we will be at the audiology clinic in Corbridge talking to those using the services. We will be asking people with hearing loss a few questions to find out what is working well for them and what could be improved.

 

Audiology clinic drop-in Morpeth

As part of our work to find out people’s experiences of using audiology services, we will be at the audiology clinic in Morpeth talking to those using the services. We will be asking people with hearing loss a few questions to find out what is working well for them and what could be improved.

 

Ponteland Winter Warmer

Join local support groups and organisations for a cuppa and a chat at the first Ageing Well in Northumberland Winter Warmer. Find out more about staying active, safe and well, plus advice on the health and social support available for older people at this free event.

Carers Rights Day

This year’s Carers Rights Day Information Event from Carers Northumberland is taking place in Ponteland. If you look after someone, then this event will provide everything you need to stay informed and healthy. There will be information stalls around the areas of carers rights, welfare rights, housing, digital skills, energy advice, advocacy, fire and community safety, aids & adaptations and healthcare – our team will be there too with lots of information about health and social care services.

The health MOT area will have lots of information for you around moving and handling, healthy eating, stopping smoking, mental health and GP services, and you can even get your blood pressure checked.

You don’t need to book for this event for carers, just turn up. Call 01670 320025 for more details.