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Easter Bank Holiday Pharmacy Opening

Some pharmacies across Northumberland and North Tyneside will be open over the Easter Holidays. You can see which pharmacies are open and when, by clicking on the link below.

Northumberland Pharmacies – Easter Opening Hours

 

What Would You Do logo with young woman image

NHS Long Term Plan – What Would You Do?

Watch Project Coordinator Derry talking to Hexhamtv about the NHS Long Term Plan and how you can get involved.

 

With growing pressure on the NHS – people living longer, more people living with long-term conditions, and lifestyle choices affecting people’s health – changes are needed to make sure everybody gets the support they need.

The government is investing an extra £20 billion a year in the NHS. The NHS has produced a Long Term Plan, setting out all the things it wants health services to do better for people across the country. Now the NHS needs to hear from you about what those changes should look like in your community.

The Long Term Plan sets out what the NHS wants to do better, including making it easier for people to access support closer to home and via technology, doing more to help people stay well, and providing better support for people with cancer, mental health conditions, heart and lung diseases, long-term conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, learning disabilities and autism, and for people as they get older and experience conditions such as dementia.

 

We’d like to hear from you so that we can tell the NHS what you think.

What would you do to give people more control of their care?

 

  • How would you help people live healthier lives?
  • What would make health services better?
  • How would you make it easier for people to take control of their own health and wellbeing?
  • What would you do to make support better for people with long-term conditions?

You can tell us what you think here.

Easy Read Version

BSL Version

What would you do to give people better support?

 

Your local NHS needs to hear from you about how it can provide better care for people living with conditions such as cancer, mental health conditions heart and lung diseases, diabetes, arthritis, learning disabilities, autism, and dementia.

You can tell us your thoughts here.

Find out more about how Healthwatch is helping people get involved in the NHS Long Term Plan here.

 

Lady on a bus

Do you need help getting to hospital?

Find out what support is available to help you travel to your hospital appointments.

If you visited hospital recently, how did you get there?

Most people drive, use public transport, or rely on the kindness of family and friends to get to their hospital appointments on time. But if you don’t have good access to transport it can mean missing out on health check-ups and routine screenings. It can be even harder if you need to attend regular appointments at a hospital for long-term conditions, such as chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

There are lots of reasons why you might not be able to get to hospital easily for a non-emergency appointment. For example, we often hear from people who are physically unable to travel, can’t afford transport, or live in a rural area.

What support is available?

If you need help getting to hospital, find out whether you’re eligible for NHS-funded support.

If you can’t travel because of your medical condition

Ask your GP or the person who referred you to hospital whether Patient Transport Services run in your area. These services provide free transport to and from hospital for:

  • People whose condition means they need additional medical support during their journey
  • People who find it difficult to walk
  • Parents or carers of children who are being transported

Need help finding support in your area?

To see what help is available where you live, get in touch with us and we can point you in the right direction: 03332 408468.

Young woman on the street at night

Helping someone who is homeless access healthcare

On any one night in England, over 4,700 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on our streets. The Healthwatch network looks at the common issues found by people who do not have a place to call home when it comes to getting the support they need for health and care.

Experiencing homelessness can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health, so it’s important that people are able to access support.

How can health and social care professionals help?

People who have faced homelessness have told their local Healthwatch that they can experience problems accessing services.  If you work for an NHS or social care service there are several steps you and your colleague can take to help.

Enable people to register with their GP

People have told us that they have not been able to register with an NHS general practice because they lack identification or do not have a permanent address.

Read more

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

Northumbria Hospital

Accident and Emergency at The Northumbria

This month we’re working with Healthwatch North Tyneside to find out more about why people go to the A & E department at The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital. We will have an information stand in the waiting room at various times over the next few weeks and will be asking patients to answer a few questions about their visit.

Healthwatch staff and volunteers will be asking people about their experiences of the A & E department and why they are choosing to use this service. The information given to us will remain anonymous. We will share a summary of the responses we receive with the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and use the information to help understand what is working well and what can be done differently.

Berwick towin from the bridge

Berwick Hospital Drop-in Session

People are being invited to a drop-in session next Thursday 27 September, to give their views on plans for hospital and leisure development in Berwick.

Representatives from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council will be at The Swan Centre from 10.00am to 12.00pm to listen to people’s views and answer any questions.

A spokesperson for the trust and council says: “We’re fully aware that some local people have concerns about co-locating a hospital and leisure centre on one site and we’d encourage residents to come along and talk to us about them so we can better understand how they feel.

“Ahead of the session we’d like to reassure people that the funding for the new hospital is secure as is the funding for the new leisure centre. We look forward to meeting people on the day.”

Visit the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust website for more information.

Male doctor talking to a patient

Our Annual Survey Report

2018 Annual Survey

Each year Healthwatch Northumberland asks supporters, residents of Northumberland and wider networks to complete a survey. This year a record 579 people responded giving us a wealth of information about your experiences of health and social care services.

The survey has nine questions about the types of services used, frequency of visits and with the opportunity to leave comments, hundreds of which have been reviewed to help Healthwatch Northumberland to understand what is happening in the county.

This report shares the themes which emerged from the survey.  These have helped us prioritise work for 2018 – 2019.  We also hope that it stimulates debate and conversations between individuals, communities, those who plan and provide our health and social care services.

We will be talking in detail about the findings at our AGM in October – if you’d like to come along you can find out more and register here.

Read the Annual Survey Report 2018

 

It Starts With You logo

#ItStartsWithYou campaign launches in Northumberland

#ItStartsWithYou campaign launches in Northumberland with three stories.  Healthwatch wants thousands more.

A national Healthwatch campaign launches this week to encourage people across the country to share their experiences to help make health and care better for their communities.

Run by the independent health and care champion Healthwatch England, the #ItStartsWithYou campaign returns for a second year. The campaign encourages people to have their say, and highlights the difference that people are already making to health and social care services by sharing their experiences.

An #ItStartsWithYou award celebrates the dedication of people using their voice to make a difference to care of others. Those shortlisted for this award, which will be announced at our annual conference, in October, include:

  • Errol Campbell from Bristol is campaigning and leading an organisation called Friends of Caswell Thompson to raise awareness of the high incidence of prostate cancer in the Afro Caribbean community. Caswell was a close friend of Errol’s, who died from prostate cancer. Errol has spoken at many community events to encourage men to get tested. While one in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lives, for black men it is much worse – one in four will get the disease. Errol and the team at Friends of Caswell Thompson organised the first awareness-raising day last year, getting 135 people involved in workshops, information sessions and personal testimonies. He believes that lives have been saved as some men have had early diagnosis

 

  • Tony Bentley from County Durham tried to find information about care homes when looking for one for his mother and had difficulty finding even basic information. There were no details of CQC ratings, of fees or what services homes provided. His simple internet search turned into a major research project. Thanks to Tony, all care homes with a contract with the county council now have to provide information to a set standard, which is now in the public domain. The public have much more information about the homes available, which helps them make more informed decisions. Tony also helped to develop a best practice website for providers, so they can learn how to improve their own websites.

 

  • Families of Nascot Lawn stopped the closure of Nascot Lawn Respite Service in Watford. The service provides short breaks for children with disabilities and learning difficulties. The families presented evidence to a high court judicial review, and the judge found in their favour. The families argued that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the local authority should work together to decide how they can continue to operate this vital community service. By taking their case to the High Court, the families have had a national impact on the way local services are viewed and funded.

 

In recognition of these dedicated individuals and groups, together with the many thousands more who have contributed over the last year, the #ItStartsWithYou, campaign is designed to highlight the difference people can make by sharing their experiences and to encourage more people to have their say on health and care.

Imelda Redmond, National Director of Healthwatch England, says:

“However big or small the issue, Healthwatch wants to hear about it from you. If it’s important to one person, it’s very likely that it affects other people, too. 

“By sharing your story you can help doctors, dentists, hospitals and care homes understand what’s working and what could be better, for you and your community.

“Its heartening to see a growing culture of people sharing their experiences. It might just feel like your story, but if it matters to you, it matters to us, and it really can make a difference” 

Healthwatch Northumberland Chair David Thompson says:

“With the ‘it starts with you’ initiative we are encouraging the people of Northumberland to tell us about their experiences of health and social care. Such information really does help those who make the decisions about care to improve what is available to patients, their families and friends.”

close uo of a woman's eye

National Glaucoma Week – Get Eye Wise

The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is focusing on the impact of dry eye syndrome for people with glaucoma during International Glaucoma Week 4 to 10 June 2018. Dry eye syndrome can have a debilitating effect on a person’s quality of life yet is little understood. Dry eye syndrome affects 50 to 60 per cent of people with glaucoma and one in three people over the age of 65. It is a disorder where the eyes don’t make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. This can make eyes feel dry, scratchy and irritated or watery, and feel heavy and tired by the end of the day. In severe cases people report pain, discomfort and depression, and its impact has been compared with that of angina, dialysis and disabling hip fractures.

Commenting on the campaign, Karen Osborn of the IGA says: “Dry eye has an adverse impact on quality of life, with people saying that they cannot read, find the sunlight painful, feel unhappy and can’t even open their eyes long enough to do certain daily tasks. We want to encourage anyone who has aggravating dry eye symptoms to seek the advice of their pharmacist or GP and it is important that people with glaucoma raise any dry eye symptoms with their ophthalmologist as a change of glaucoma treatment to a preservative free eye drop often helps to reduce the symptoms of dry eye syndrome”.

Glaucoma affects around 700,000 people in the UK and the majority of people will initially be treated with medical eye drops. Managing both dry eye and glaucoma effectively is important, but challenging. Both conditions are long-term but manageable.

 

What are the most common symptoms of dry eye?

  • Heavy tired feeling of the eyes
  • Difficulty reading or working on the computer
  • Blurriness of vision
  • Excessive watering of the eyes
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Stinging or burning of the eyes
  • A sandy or gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Pain and redness of the eyes

 

Tips to help

Drink lots of water which helps tear production

Get enough sleep

Avoid alcohol and spicy foods

Avoid smoking and smoky areas

Wear glasses or sunglasses on windy days

Avoid air-conditioned environments and draughts

Consider using a humidifier

Blink more frequently when using a computer screen or reading

Look away from computer screens every 30 minutes

 

Download the free IGA Dry Eye Syndrome Leaflet for more information.

Events

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.

View of Berwick town from the bridge

Public Drop-in Session for Berwick Hospital Plans

People are being invited to a drop-in session next Thursday, 27 September to give their views on plans for hospital and leisure development in Berwick.
Representatives from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council will be at the The Swan Centre from 10am to 12pm to listen to people’s views and answer any questions.A spokesperson for the trust and council said: “We’re fully aware that some local people have concerns about co-locating a hospital and leisure centre on one site and we’d encourage residents to come along and talk to us about them so we can better understand how they feel.

“Ahead of the session we’d like to reassure people that the funding for the new hospital is secure as is the funding for the new leisure centre. We look forward to meeting people on the day.”

We will be there to listen to people’s reactions to what they see and hear on the day.

Man with electronic tablet

Northumberland County Blind Association Information Day

Come along to this Information and Equipment Event from Northumberland County Blind Association and try the latest equipment from some of the leading suppliers of low vision aids and solutions for blind and partially sighted people.

  • Associated Optical
  • Enhanced Vision
  • HumanWare
  • Optelec
  • Orcam
  • Pamtrad

Free information and advice will be available from the following sight loss organisations:

Northumberland County Blind Association, British Wireless for the Blind, Macular Society, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Blind Veterans UK.

For more details contact Northumberland County Blind Association:  info@ncba.org.uk or call: 01670514316.

Public Meeting – Berwick Hospital Consultation

A public meeting is being held in Berwick to discuss people’s views on the possibility of a new integrated hospital development.

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with partners at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council to consider the possibility of the new hospital in Berwick being part of an integrated development including health, social care and leisure services.

The public meeting is being held as part of the ongoing listening exercise which was launched in February to give members of the public the chance to give their views about the potential new integrated development and about the different sites that are available.

The public are encouraged to come along and listen to the emerging themes and give their views on an integrated hospital development for Berwick and the surrounding area.

If you would like more information please contact Melody Price: 01670 335185 or email: melodyprice@nhs.net. You can also give your views by visiting NHS Northumberland CCG’s website at: www.northumberlandccg.nhs.uk or on twitter: @NHSNlandCCG or facebook: @northumberlandccg.

Primary Care Commissioning Committee Meeting

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will be holding its primary care commissioning committee meeting in public on Wednesday 20 December at 2.30pm at County Hall, Morpeth. The CCG is responsible for the planning and purchasing of Northumberland’s healthcare.

The meeting is a chance to come along and get involved in shaping your local health services.

For further information or to confirm attendance please contact Melody Price on 01670 335185 or email melodyprice@nhs.net.