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Great North Care Record – update

We hosted two consultation events in November on behalf of Connected Health Cities (CHC). The purpose of these sessions was to create opportunities for a small pilot group of residents from Northumberland to hear about the Great North Care Record (GNCR) project and to share their views and suggestions with the project team. The GNCR team wants to understand the circumstances in which people across Cumbria and the North East would be prepared to share their health data.

The first meeting took place in Berwick on Tuesday, 7 November and the second meeting was held in Ashington on Thursday 16 November 2017.  A total of 35 residents were present at these sessions and individuals who were unable to attend in person sent in  questions and comments. Similar workshops have been hosted by other local Healthwatch across the region.

What was the workshop about?

Each workshop began with a presentation from a member of the CHC team. Attendees were told that NHS healthcare professionals across the North East and North Cumbria region are teaming up to improve the way patient information is shared to improve health outcomes for patients.

The GNCR is a project whereby GP practices, hospitals, universities, community and mental health trusts have teamed up to improve the way patient information is shared to improve health outcomes for patients.

Historically, different NHS organisations have developed a range of individual systems to store patient records. This means important information held in one part of the health care system might not be readily available to other health care professionals. The team at GNCR believe a co-ordinated approach to sharing information through the development of a secure integrated system which shares key medical information will result in an improved patient experience.

 

The Connected Health Cities team wanted to:

  • Ensure attendees understood what happens currently
  • Understand attendee’s views on sharing their medical information
  • Understand how attendees would like to control who sees their healthcare information
  • Help attendees understand how access to healthcare data can help researchers

 

After the presentation, attendees were asked the following questions:

Would you allow different NHS organisations to access your information?

How would you feel about other agencies involved in healthcare having access, such as social care, the voluntary sector, and the police?

How do you feel about researchers accessing your data, by a data donor register for instance?

 

Everyone who attended these events made a positive contribution, raising questions and concerns but also offering ideas and solutions. A record of all contributions has been produced by Healthwatch Northumberland and Teesside University. This has been shared with the CHC team and will influence the future direction of the Great North Care Record.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who gave up their time to share their views and opinions regarding this important development. The CHC team was extremely impressed by the knowledgeable and insightful discussions which took place at each workshop.

 

Next Steps

Workshops around the GNCR are still taking place across the region. Once these are complete, CHC will contact everyone who took part to issue thanks and keep those who would like to be, updated with the work as it proceeds and let people know how they can be involved in future developments.

 

 

 

Pharmacist and customer

Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment

A pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA) describes the health needs of the population, current pharmaceutical services provision and any gaps in that provision. It also identifies potential new services to meet health needs and help achieve the objectives of the strategic plan, while taking account of financial constraints. The PNA will be used to:
  • inform commissioning plans about pharmaceutical services that could be provided by community pharmacists and other providers to meet local need;
  • support commissioning of high quality pharmaceutical services;
  • ensure that pharmaceutical and medicines optimisation services are commissioned to reflect the health needs and ambitions outlined within the joint strategic needs assessment;
  • facilitate opportunity for pharmacists to make a significant contribution to the health of the population of Northumberland; and
  • ensure that decisions about applications for market entry for pharmaceutical services are based on robust and relevant information.
This is not a stand-alone document. It is aligned with the joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) and Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s Five Year Plan. It will be used as a tool to inform future service developments aimed at meeting the objectives of the strategic plan e.g., delivering care in the most appropriate setting, reducing reliance on hospital care, supporting those with long term conditions, promoting wellbeing and preventing ill-health, and improving access to primary care.
Couple in a doctors surgery

10 Top Tips for your GP appointment

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

 

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

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

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

Healthwatch Northumberland AGM 2017

Minutes of our AGM 2017

The draft minutes of our AGM held at Stannington Village Hall on 11 October 2017 can now be viewed/downloaded at the link below.

Minutes Healthwatch Northumberland AGM 2017

Great North Care Record

The Great North Care Record: Public Engagement Events

We would like to invite you to attend an engagement event in Northumberland, where you can share your views and shape the future development of the Great North Care Record (GNCR) project. We are working with Connected Health Cities, Teesside University and other local Healthwatch in the North East to talk to people about sharing data between health services. Events are to be held at:

Berwick Community Trust, Tuesday 7 November 12.15pm – 2.45pm

Ashington Round House, Thursday 16 November 12.00pm – 2.30pm

At present, when you visit your GP any information about you is stored on the GP practice system and is not typically shared with other health or care organisations such as hospitals or the ambulance service.  If you are unwell there could be delays in vital information being received by other organisations and health professionals. The GNCR project is being development across the North East of England and will allow your patient data to be viewed more quickly and easily by those involved in your care, with your permission.

We would like to hear your views on how the GNCR should develop and particularly about deciding your personal preferences to control which information you share and who can access your data.

 

Key points about the GNCR:

  • Healthcare staff involved in your care will have the right information at the right time
  • You will have better conversations with your health and social care provider as they will have access to relevant information prior to your appointment
  • Sharing information between healthcare professionals will save time and minimize the number of occasions that you will have to repeat your information
  • The GNCR will provide joined up care across the region
  • In the event of an emergency, medical staff will be able to access your details instantly which will result in safer care and improved healthcare
  • The GNCR can support academic and clinical research into new treatments at a faster rate if data is more readily available to the regions universities
  • You will be in control of how your data is used in your healthcare

 

The GNCR has three principal aims, to:

  • Deliver an individual’s important healthcare information, at the point of care, from whichever relevant organisations are involved in their care, irrespective of organisational boundaries.
  • Provide better information for clinical audit, service redesign and commissioners of care, so that health care systems can be transformed and improved, and run more effectively.
  • Provide data for health and care research in a research environment trusted by the citizens of the North East and Cumbria

 

If you would like to attend one of the events please email info@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk or call us on: 03332 408468.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Healthwatch Northumberland AGM

Thanks to everyone who attended our AGM 2017

The fourth Healthwatch Northumberland AGM which took place on Wednesday 11 October at Stannington Village Hall was attended by over 70 people. The event saw partners and local organisations come together with supporters and other members of the public to review the year of work 2016/17. Former Chair of the Board, Cynthia Atkin, was thanked by current Chair, David Thompson, for her work over the year and since the inception of Healthwatch Northumberland, and was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator, gave a presentation reviewing the last 12 months, and outlining the strategic priorities for Healthwatch for the coming year and beyond.

Special guest speakers were Graham Tebbutt and Barry Dews from North East Ambulance Service, who presented on the new ambulance response times which take effect this month, and how these will affect the people of Northumberland. Many questions were raised by the audience on this interesting and important topic; more information on the standards can be found here.

A marketplace of information stands from local organisations provided support and advice for guests of the meeting; they were: Carers Northumberland, Age UK Northumberland, Northumberland County Blind Association, PALS, Northumberland CVA, Independent Advocacy and Complaints Services, Ageing Well Allies and Northumberland Cancer Support Group.

David Thompson, Chair, says; ” All in all, this was a well attended and illuminating AGM with thanks due to the many stall holders who were able to display and talk about the varied services which they offer to the wider community.  Importantly, the event also presented an opportunity for members of the public to raise issues of general concern to Healthwatch Northumberland staff and board members. This is what we are all about – listening to what people have to say about their health and care services and then responding in the most appropriate way to councillors, commissioners and providers. And that is what we shall continue to do during the remainder of this year, and beyond.”

Our new satisfaction survey was launched at the event and those who completed it were entered into a free prize draw to win a fruit basket, supplied by Fresh n Thyme Mobile Fruits and Vegetables. The basket was won by Liz Johnston of Northumberland Cancer Support Group.

The Healthwatch Northumberland AGM was filmed by Hexham TV and can be viewed on its Facebook page. Minutes of the meeting will be available here on the website shortly. Thanks go to everyone who came along and helped make the day a success.

Events

Prudhoe Waterworld

Drop-in Session: Prudhoe Waterworld

Lesley is at Prudhoe Waterworld on Tuesday 21st November, with a drop-in session for members of the public. She will be armed with information on Healthwatch Northumberland, what we do and how we can help you. There will be the opportunity to give anonymous feedback about your health and social care experiences, positive or negative, which will be passed back to the commissioners and providers. You can also leave feedback online

Stop and say hello if you’re in the centre on Tuesday; if you’re lucky you may be given one of our fabulous freebies!

Hate Crime Event

Hate Crime Event

In support of National Hate Crime Week, Northumbria Police are holding a Hate Crime Event at Hexham Abbey on Tuesday 17th October.

The event will run between 10.00am and 3.00pm and will consist of various displays from different agencies and partner organisations.

The displays will represent a wide spectrum of local populations, with the emphasis on hate crime and how we can work together to support, educate and liaise with one another.

Agencies and partner organisations have been invited along to promote what they do and link in with one another and the members of the public who attend and Healthwatch Northumberland will be there with an information stand.

Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Jill Hall, Northumbria Police said: “This is the first time this event has been held in Hexham and what an amazing venue. It is a perfect place to host this fantastic event which is an opportunity for our communities to come together and show support.

“Being you is not a crime and it is a message we strongly believe in and reinforce. We encourage everyone who feels targeted or who is suffering to get in touch with police- we are here to help.”

Small child laughing and playing

SEND Information Roadshow – Alnwick

These roadshows from In It Together Parent Carer Forum and Northumberland County Council are for the families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Northumberland and the professionals who work with them.

The events, which are also at Ashington on 14 September and Hexham on 25 September will have information stalls from a wide range of services and organisations, including Healthwatch Northumberland, plus workshops including the topics: Special Educational Needs and Preparing for Adulthood.

Booking isn’t required, just come along any time between 1pm and 6pm.

For more information please contact In It Together by emailing: info@in-it-together.org.uk or call: 0772 919 2909.

Small child laughing and playing

SEND Information Roadshow – Ashington

These roadshows from In It Together Parent Carer Forum and Northumberland County Council are for the families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Northumberland and the professionals who work with them.

The events, which are also at Alnwick on 21 September and Hexham on 25 September will have information stalls from a wide range of services and organisations, including Healthwatch Northumberland, plus workshops including the topics: Special Educational Needs and Preparing for Adulthood.

Booking isn’t required, just come along any time between 1pm and 6pm.

For more information please contact In It Together by emailing: info@in-it-together.org.uk or call: 0772 919 2909.