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Roving Vaccination Service

Covid-19 vaccination pop-up pilot launched in Northumberland

People in Northumberland are soon to benefit from new pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinics.

As part of its commitment to reducing health inequalities in the county, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with the Cramlington Seaton Valley Primary Care Network (PCN) to set up a Roving Vaccination Service. This will see vaccines safely transported to people in the most rural parts of Northumberland as well as minority groups including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, those affected by homelessness and residents from a BAME background.

A transit van has been specifically modified and customised to help ensure that residents in remote communities and hard to reach groups are not left behind in the vaccination programme.

Already more than 200,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to Northumberland residents and, thanks to the CCG’s partnership working with the PCN and Northumberland Fire and Rescue, another 100 received their first dose of the vaccine at the pop-up clinic at Bellingham Fire Station in Hexham on Thursday 15 April.

The vaccination team will be led by a team of healthcare staff from the Village Surgery in Cramlington, which includes a community paramedic, two practice nurses and a healthcare assistant. They will be supported by an admin team from the same practice, who will provide a vital support service to this clinic as they have done so far within the local vaccine sites.

Vaccinating from the pop-up clinic is Paula Jamieson, senior practice nurse from the Village Surgery in Cramlington. Paula said, “This new service provides people who live out in our most rural communities in Northumberland, who may find it difficult to travel to a large vaccination centre or their more local vaccination site, more choice as to where they can get vaccinated.

“Northumberland has a really unique geography with a diverse and disparate population and we’ve worked in collaboration with lots of different organisations to find the best and most practicable solutions to roll out Covid-19 vaccines. Piloting our pop-up vaccination service demonstrates this and also shows our commitment to ensuring as many people in Northumberland as possible are protected from Covid-19.”

Richard Hay, Head of Planning and Operations at the CCG said, “We have never seen a vaccination programme on this scale before and our teams in primary care have been working flat out to get the vaccine into as many people’s arms as possible whilst following the national roll-out guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) and have done a phenomenal job so far.

“We understand the uniqueness of Northumberland and we’ve had to overcome some big challenges with this roll-out. For example, the distance people have been expected to travel to attend a large vaccination centre.

“The introduction of the Roving Vaccination Service will make sure no-one is left behind. It’s a fantastic example of our local GPs working in collaboration across the county to deliver innovative services for the benefit of residents.”

Residents are being reminded not to contact their GP practice to seek a vaccination appointment from their practice or the Roving Vaccination Service. Practices will contact people when it is the right time – no one will be missed. People are also being reminded not to turn up too early for their appointments.

Find out more about the Covid-19 vaccination programme here

New Northumberland MSK and pain service announced

NHS Northumberland CCG has announced changes to musculoskeletal services in the county – please see their statement below. Healthwatch Northumberland would like to hear from people across all parts of Northumberland who use these services currently, about the service they are receiving and how they are affected after 1 July when the new service begins. To get in touch please visit our Contact Us page.

 

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is pleased to announce, following a comprehensive procurement process, that Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) has been awarded the contract to provide a new musculoskeletal and pain service in partnership with Connect Health.

The term musculoskeletal condition (MSK) includes well over 200 disorders affecting joints, bones, muscles and soft tissues. Some of the most common conditions that would be seen in the new MSK and pain service include back pain, sprains and strains, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.  The new service is for patients in Northumberland aged 16 and over with MSK or pain issues where all other conservative treatments have been considered.

Commenting on the new contract, Dr John Warrington, Director for Planned Care for the CCG said: “The successful bid was of a high standard with some exciting developments that will enhance the care of Northumberland patients.”

As part of the procurement process, the CCG carried out a period of engagement to provide patients and GPs with an opportunity to comment on how the new service should be designed.

John continued: “We know from our engagement with patients that they want quicker access to appointments and referrals, and we recognise the positive impact this has on patients’ diagnosis and treatment. The new service will ensure all patients across the county have equal access to high quality NHS services. The bid forms a partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation and Connect Health. Connect Health has successfully been awarded many NHS contracts throughout the country and will bring their tried and tested systems to Northumberland. We are keen to work with both organisations, who also have the potential to offer innovative developments to further improve care for Northumberland patients.”

MSK problems are the most common reason for repeat appointments with a GP, comprising up to 30% of primary care consultations nationally. In recent years, as the number of elderly people in the community has increased, the number of people with MSK conditions has also risen. The new service, which will be called Joint Musculoskeletal and Pain Service (JMAPS), will improve access for patients and provide them with the opportunity to choose care based on their desired outcomes and personal preferences.

Nicky Moon, Deputy Director for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the preferred bidder and together with Connect Health, we are looking forward to delivering the best possible service for the people of Northumberland. We are currently working with staff on the implementation plan. Our experience of providing MSK services over previous years gives us a fantastic foundation on which to build and we know we have a dedicated and highly skilled workforce ready to deliver this new service.”

Professor Andrew Walton, Executive Chair for Connect Health said: “I am delighted that Connect Health will be able to support the population of Northumberland in the delivery of a robust and innovative Joint Musculoskeletal and Pain Service. Here at Connect Health, we are confident that we will be partnering with a really enthusiastic team at Northumbria Healthcare who advocate the same patient-centred values that we do. We will demonstrate our commitment to improving the lives of people living with musculoskeletal problems and persistent pain and I’m truly excited about how we can be creative with how we deliver this.”

The CCG will now work with the Trust and Connect Health to ensure the service is up and running by July 2019 and those patients using existing services experience a seamless transition.