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Escape Family Support online workshops

Due to the current lockdown, Escape Family Support has temporarily moved their support sessions online. The situation will be continually reviewed until it is safe to return to face-to-face support.

The sessions will run via Microsoft Teams every Friday from 10am to 12pm. Anyone who is affected by a loved one’s drug and/or alcohol addiction is welcome to join in. Call: 01670 544055 or email: sarah.tannock@escapefamilysupport.org.uk to find out more.

The following workshops are coming up:

22 January 2021 – All About Me Workshop 

Understand the importance of taking care of yourself, learn how to set future goals and learn to change negative thoughts into positive thoughts.

29 January 2021 – Drug and Alcohol Awareness

Gain an understanding of the different categories of drugs and understand the short and long-term effects of drug and alcohol misuse.

5 February 2021 – CRAFT Maintenance Group

CRAFT is an evidence-based programme for families affected by substance misuse. This group allows you to practice the skills you have learned during CRAFT.

12 February 2021 – Anger Awareness Workshop 

Gain an understanding of anger and learn strategies to use when dealing with anger.

Ask for ANI – domestic abuse support

The Government has launched a new code word scheme, where if you are experiencing domestic abuse and need immediate help, you can ask for ‘ANI’ in any participating pharmacy.

ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately but is pronounced ‘Annie’. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo on display, it means they are ready to help you.

The pharmacy will offer you a private space, provide you with a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.

If you need support for domestic abuse you can contact Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services (NDAS) on 01434 608 030 Monday to Friday.

Care Homes – keeping in touch with loved ones

Care home lockdown: how are you keeping in touch with your loved one?

As we enter a further period where visiting relatives in care homes is restricted, we want to hear how this is affecting you and your loved ones. What information have you had about keeping in touch and maintaining communications about care and wellbeing?

We are particularly keen to hear if you managed to be tested and have an ‘in person’ visit during December.

We would like to know your experience of:

  • Using video calls (FaceTime, Zoom etc.) or telephone calls – does the home support these? How many times a week and how long? Does a member of staff help your loved one with the call?
  • Socially distanced visits – does the home support ‘window’ visits.  How many times a week and how for long?
  • How does the home keep you informed about how your loved one is getting on (apart from necessary issues about their care or health), for example, manager updates, photographs, videos
  • Does the home have a programme of group and one-to-one activities? Has your loved one taken part?
  • Has the home asked you what, within the current restrictions, would make this time easier?
  • What, within the current restrictions, would make it better for you and your love one?
  • When restrictions are eventually eased (not totally lifted) what would help you and your loved one?

You can tell us your experiences at one of the ways here on our contact page, text us on 07413 385275 to make an appointment to speak to one of our team, or come along to our public online forum around these issues on Wednesday 27 January, 1.00pm – 2.00pm.

If you would like to take part in the forum please contact Laura Haugh: laurah@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

David’s at the helm of new Berwick hospital

From Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust:

A project manager has been appointed to drive forward the building of the new £25million hospital in Berwick.

David Smailes will oversee all aspects of the development which is set to transform healthcare in the area and be erected on the site of the existing Berwick Infirmary. Northumberland-born and bred, David has more than 40 years’ experience in the civil engineering and construction industry and has led a number of large national projects.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s planning application is due to be decided by Northumberland County Council on Tuesday 1 December.

David, who was born in Alnwick and lives in Warkworth, said “I’m really excited to be part of the team building the new hospital in Berwick and the significance of this development for the town, the surrounding area, and the trust is clear from the short time I have been in post.

“My uncle Joseph was a barber in Berwick for many years so I feel I have a connection with the place and therefore it’s extra special to be involved in this project and spending time there once again.

“This hospital is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a massive difference to the lives of people for generations to come and I am proud to be working with such a dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable team.”

David, 56, added “I fully appreciate the importance of working collaboratively with the local community on developments of this magnitude and I would like to reassure residents and all partners that we will keep everyone updated throughout this process.

“While it will be challenging to build a new hospital at the same time as keeping the existing one operational, every one of the team is committed to doing just that and ensuring we continue to keep our staff safe and deliver high quality care for our patients at all times.”

If given the go-ahead, the two-storey hospital will re-provide all the existing services and embrace the latest technology to improve care for patients. It will accommodate Well Close Medical Group which will pave the way for further integration between GPs and the hospital for the benefit of patients.

Executive Director Marion Dickson, who is leading the Berwick redevelopment project for the trust, said “We are delighted to have David at the helm as we reach the stage of having a dedicated project manager for our new hospital. He has vast experience in this field and, having links to the town, is aware of the background and the need to more forward as quickly as we can.

“We will continue to keep you updated and can assure you that, as soon as we are granted planning permission, we will advance to the next stage of the development by demolishing the parts of the infirmary which we have vacated, to make way for the new hospital.”

Patients with appointments at Berwick Infirmary are encouraged to attend as normal in the run-up to, and construction of, the new hospital, and during Covid-19.

Let’s Talk: Audiology Services Report

After receiving significant feedback from people in Northumberland about the end of the Hear to Help service provided by charity Action on Hearing Loss, we decided to investigate the potential impact on service users.

Hear to Help was a drop-in service delivered in community locations including libraries and GP surgeries. The drop-in service provided advice and information for people experiencing hearing loss, as well as performing general hearing aid/s maintenance, such as replacing tubes and batteries.The Hear to Help service stopped on 30 April 2019.

Feedback we received suggested that some people appreciated the service and did not want it to be withdrawn. We took a deeper look at the impact, if any, of the withdrawal of this service and to build a greater awareness and understanding of what people in Northumberland want and need in services to support with hearing loss.

It should be noted this work was done before the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant change to services. However, the issues raised by respondents, particularly about communication, remain relevant now and in the future.

 

Aims

We wanted to find out:

  1. What do people in Northumberland think of audiology services?
  2. What audiology services are available for the people of Northumberland?
  3. What is good about audiology services in the county?
  4. What could be better about audiology services in the county?

 

Summary

Location of hearing loss services was a key area of discussion

  • More than 50% of people we asked said it was easy for them to travel to an audiology clinic
  • Some people were happy they did not need to travel to Newcastle
  • Some people said the clinic was in a bad location with accessibility issues, seasonal transport issues, and public transport combined with limited clinic opening hours
  • People who found it easy to access clinics used a range of different transport modes
  • We are unlikely to have heard from the most isolated, vulnerable people in the county People who live rurally, with mobility issues, or limited social networks, and lower incomes, are likely to find it hardest to access hearing care clinics
  • Some patients were supported by a carer or friend to attend a clinic or understand their care – a gap for patients in accessing or receiving hearing care independently
  • Few people told us they used patient/community transport services to access a clinic

Information about and awareness of services was another key area of discussion

  • We signposted people to: transport services, audiology clinics, and voluntary groups (like Carers Northumberland), showing a lack of awareness/information availability
  • Some people were aware of hearing aid/s battery locations, whilst others were not
  • One patient spoke about an information form given with their hearing aid/s used to support them to live with hearing aid/s. Contrastingly, 48% of people said they had not been offered training, advice, or support for living with hearing loss
  • Some people believed the onus was on the person experiencing hearing loss to ask rather than professionals to let them know what support was available
  • 10 of 11 people in our focus group did not know of the hearing aid/s postal service
  • Some people were not physically able to clean or retube their own hearing aid/s due to dexterity problems, vision impairment, or not feeling confident enough
  • 23% of people we asked agreed they had felt isolated as a result of their hearing loss

Drop in vs appointments

  • Most people preferred drop-ins to appointments, finding them easier or more convenient
  • In our focus group most patients preferred appointments to drop-ins
  • Many patients were satisfied with the current audiology appointment system
  • Interestingly patients gave similar reasons for their preference of either appointments or drop-ins – ease of managing transport arrangements as a priority
  • 42% of patients would like to be told it was their turn to be seen by someone calling out their name. Some patients liked the idea of having a board with their name on
  • 62% of patients we spoke to agreed the waiting time for their appointment was reasonable 71% of people agreed their appointment gave them ‘time to talk’
  • 52% of people said they had their hearing aid/s serviced at the right time for them

Regular hearing aid/s maintenance and NHS audiology services

  • People were positive about the quality of care provided in audiology clinics. People praised the staff and were satisfied they got what they needed from the service
  • It is advised that hearing aid/s tubing is replaced every three to six months. 42% of patients had their hearing aid/s maintained in the last six months, and 46% had not
  • Many people we spoke to were able to clean and change batteries in their hearing aid/s but could not change their tubes
  • Some patients said they had waited a while to receive their new hearing aids
  • People told us that not all hearing aid/s batteries/tubes were available everywhere
  • Some patients said they found face to face communication easiest. Many services now offer a phone appointment system, a barrier to people with hearing loss

Hear to Help service

  • Hear to Help was an important service for people experiencing hearing loss
  • People at the Bell View focus group said the service had helped to show them how to maintain their hearing aid/s, and given them tube cleaners

Read the Full Report

What you told us – July to September 2020

As a listening organisation working across Northumberland, Healthwatch Northumberland is interested in what people think is working well in 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 us about their experiences throughout the year. This report shares a summary of the feedback collected from July to September 2020. During this period we have continued to work in different ways due to the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic. The next report will cover October – December 2020.

This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:

  • Telephone calls, emails and social media (87%)
  • Talking to people at online engagement events (7%)
  • Through a third party (7%)

Covid-19 has meant changes have been made to health and social care services. Patients and carers’ experiences and signposting requirements are likely to have been different during this time.  For this reason we have also chosen to focus on any feedback we receive which is related to Covid-19 and these changes.

Between July and September 2020, we received feedback from 27 individuals from talking to people at online engagement events, telephone calls, emails, our website, surveys, and other sources. We signposted 15 of these people to services, and provided information or advice to five people. In total we were in contact with 29 people who gave us feedback or were signposted.

Read the Feedback Report for July to September 2020

NHS 111 Northumberland

NHS 111 ‘Call-First’ FAQs

You may have heard or seen in the news that NHS England is currently trialling a new ‘call-first’ approach, which encourages people to contact NHS 111 before going to A&E. To support this, 111 call handlers should be able to book people directly into appointments with alternative services or give people a pre-booked time to attend A&E to avoid overcrowding in departments.

Healthwatch England has produced this FAQ guide jointly with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine which outlines how the new approach should be working and common questions people may have surrounding it.

Emergency Departments (A&Es) are there for all and everyone in their time of need. They are the frontline care service we turn to when we’re experiencing a critical, life threatening health problem or have had a serious accident.

We want all patients to receive the best possible care in a safe and timely way, but too often people are kept waiting in their A&E. Many patients who go to A&E could be treated more appropriately, and often more quickly by another service within the NHS.

Which is why the NHS is asking patients to call 111 first. By calling 111 first patients can potentially avoid waiting unnecessarily in a hospital waiting room and find the service that is right for their needs.

Calling 111 first may also help to reduce pressure on parts of the health service that are overstretched by redirecting patients to services that are ready and available for them, helping make the NHS better for all.

The coronavirus pandemic has also made clear that we need to change the way we all access urgent and emergency care, to help reduce the risk of infection.
Here we outline what those changes are and answer some of the frequently asked questions about what these changes mean for patients.

NHS 111 Call-first Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is happening?
To ensure that patients get the right care as quickly as possible, save people long waits in A&E, and ensure emergency departments don’t get too crowded, patients are being asked to call NHS 111 first before going to their A&E – except in absolute emergencies. NHS 111 will advise patients on whether they could be better and more quickly served in a different care setting such as an Urgent Treatment Centre. Some areas are trialling booking appointments at A&E via 111 to help patients save time waiting if their issue is less urgent.

2. Why is this change being made now?
This is how we think emergency care should always be accessed, but it is really important that this becomes the norm now we are living with COVID-19. To support social distancing in A&E, we need to make sure A&Es really are for emergencies only, and sometimes patients waiting in A&E may be better served elsewhere, such as their General Practice. This means A&E departments are more crowded, putting patients at greater risk of COVID-19 and making it more difficult for staff to look after patients well. Social distancing in A&E may mean that some people have to wait outside or in their car until it is safe for them to come into the department.

To prevent this, the NHS wants to support as many people as possible to be seen quickly by other services that may be more appropriate for the needs of certain patients. This is why we’re asking patients to call NHS 111 before going to their Emergency Department.

3. What should I do if I have an emergency?
If you have an emergency, call 999 immediately or go straight to your Emergency Department (A&E). If you have a health issue that is not an emergency please contact your GP, call NHS 111 for advice or visit 111.nhs.uk. If you go to your A&E, you’ll be assessed on arrival but if the clinician thinks you should be seen elsewhere, you may be asked to phone NHS 111 and/or be directed to an alternative service.

4. Can you give me an example of an emergency and a non-emergency?
Emergencies include:
• loss of consciousness
• acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
• chest pain
• breathing difficulties
• severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
• severe allergic reactions
• severe burns or scalds
• stroke

If you think you are experiencing any of these it is vital you go straight to your Emergency Department or call 999.

Examples of non-emergencies would be earache or knee pain. While these may be uncomfortable you are unlikely to be in any danger and could be treated more appropriately somewhere other than you’re A&E. For these types of issues contact your GP, call NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk. If your issue is urgent but not life-threatening – like a sprained ankle – calling 111 and getting a pre-booked appointment to attend A&E can save you a long and uncertain wait in the department, allowing you to wait in the comfort of your own home until the Emergency Department is ready to see you.

5. Will I ever be turned away from an A&E department?
No-one experiencing a medical emergency will ever be turned away – you will always be treated urgently if your condition is severe or potentially life-threatening.
If your condition is not life threatening or could be treated more appropriately or quickly elsewhere you may be asked to call 111 from the hospital. By asking those with less urgent issues to call NHS 111 first for assessment rather than going straight to their A&E, we aim to save patients time and get them the care most appropriate to their needs. You could be directed to a more appropriate service or one that can see you sooner. You may also be able to wait at home and avoid a long wait in a busy Emergency Department.

6. When I call 111, who am I speaking to and are they clinically trained?
NHS 111 services are managed slightly differently in each region, but most are run by ambulance services. You will speak to trained professionals who will either be or have direct access to healthcare clinicians, and who will be able to expertly assess the urgency of your condition or illness. They will direct you to the appropriate service, book you an appointment if needed, and/or tell you what to do next.

7. My NHS 111 always sends me to A&E. Why can’t I save myself the delay and just go straight there?
In 2018, only one in ten callers to 111 was advised to visit A&E. NHS 111 can often provide health advice over the phone, or book you an appointment at an alternative service that is available. This will save you time. If you are told to go to an A&E, you will be booked in and staff at the hospital will be expecting your arrival.

8. Will I receive an appointment more quickly if I have a more urgent health need?
Yes, patients are always assessed and prioritised based on the urgency of their need.

9. If I call 111 and they say I need care from a non-emergency service, will they be able to make an appointment for me?
This varies by location, but one aim of the call-first approach is to ensure it happens more. If 111 can’t make you an appointment at an alternative service immediately, they will direct you to the best service to meet your needs.

10. What if I can’t contact NHS 111?
91% of calls to NHS 111 are answered within 60 seconds. You can also use NHS 111 online. If you have an emergency, you should call 999 or go straight to your Emergency Department. If you do not have the means to contact 111, go to your Emergency Department  and they will have facilities for you to do this. You can also contact your GP.

11. If 111 directs me to a non-urgent service, but the service tells me to go to A&E, will I be seen more quickly?
If a health professional believes that your condition has become or is becoming urgent, then you may be directed to your A&E, where you will be prioritised according to your condition. However, it will depend on the circumstances and the urgency of your medical need.

12. If I turn up at A&E and I haven’t called 111, will I need to wait longer?
Depending on your condition, you may be asked to call NHS 111 on arrival. They will assess whether you could be more appropriately treated elsewhere – and potentially more quickly. You may be given an appointment time at your GP or A&E. This will save you waiting unnecessarily. If you are directed elsewhere and choose to wait for treatment at you’re A&E, you may end up waiting longer. However, if you are seriously ill or injured you will of course be seen as quickly as possible.

13. What happens if I turn up to A&E and they tell me to call 111, but 111 then tell me to go to A&E?
This shouldn’t happen but in the unlikely event that it does you will be further assessed at your A&E and treated in a timeframe appropriate to your needs.

14. Do I need to call NHS 111 if I arrived at an A&E in an ambulance?
No, the triage and assessment by a paramedic provides a higher level of care than you would get by phoning NHS 111. If you are brought to the hospital by an ambulance, this means that the ambulance staff thinks you need further help. A&Es have always prioritised the treatment of patients who arrive by ambulance, as these people are sicker.

15. If I call 111 and they give me an appointed time to attend the A&E what will happen if I can’t get there on time?
Please do try to stick to your appointment time. Being late has a knock-on effect on the treatment of other patients, and your own care – Emergency Departments are very busy places and you may have to wait longer as a result of being late. However, what happens if you are late will depend on the severity of your condition, local policies and how busy the A&E is.

16. How far ahead of my pre-booked appointment will I need to turn up?
It is important to turn up on time as being late has a knock-on effect but arriving early does not mean you will be seen before your allotted time. We would advise checking in no more than 15 minutes before your appointment.

17. What happens if someone gets a booked appointment for A&E but doesn’t show up? Will someone check that they’re ok?
We expect all departments that book-in patients to have systems in place to assess whether a follow up is necessary. It is particularly important that vulnerable patients or those at risk of abuse who miss appointments are checked up on.

18. Will anyone else other than 111 be able to book me into A&E (e.g. GP practice etc)?
No, but your GP may tell you to go to your A&E if your needs warrant it.

19. What if I go to A&E and am advised to go to a different service but I still want to wait there and be seen?
You will be seen but you might to have to wait longer. You may find that you will be seen quicker by going to the other service.

20. What if my condition changes while I’m waiting at home?
This depends on the change in your condition; if you become seriously ill, call an ambulance, otherwise call NHS 111 again.

21. How do I cancel an appointment made by 111?
If you no longer need your appointment, please call NHS 111 to cancel it. Someone else may be able to use your timeslot.

22. If I’m told not to go to A&E, where else might I be directed to?
This will vary locally depending on what is available. You may be directed to a pharmacist, your GP, A&E or given advice on how best to self-care if your call advisor thinks you are safe to do so. You may also be directed to an Urgent Treatment Centre. These are facilities you can go to if  you need urgent medical attention, but it’s not a life-threatening situation. If you are unsure about what service is right for you, call NHS 111.

23. I have a complicated ongoing medical problem that is looked after by the hospital. When I get ill, I normally go straight to the A&E and they call the specialist to come and see me. Should I carry on doing this?
It might be better for you to try and contact the specialists that look after you before you come to the Emergency Department. Some patients with complicated medical problems need to be looked after in places other than the Emergency Department, particularly if they are vulnerable to infections. Obviously, if you are extremely ill, you should call an ambulance.

Watch our online AGM and Review of the Year

Thanks to everyone who came along to our online AGM last week. We hope you enjoyed hearing about our work over the last 12 months, and also from our guests from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who spoke about accessing healthcare via digital means, assuring quality of consultations, and what the future holds.

The event can be viewed below. There is still time to ask a question – about our work, about digital access to services, or anything to do with local NHS and social care services. Get your questions to us by 30 October; we will publish all questions and answers here in the next few weeks.

 

Healthwatch Northumberland AGM and Review of the Year 2020

 

Knowledge gap restricts mental health support to the vulnerable

Last year we launched the Your Voice Fund, and awarded four small grants to local organisations to run projects with their service users.

These projects are helping us to gather the views of people whose experiences we don’t hear enough about, in particular, people with learning disabilities, people from LGBTQ+ communities, young people, black, asian and minority ethnic communities and people living in Northumberland through asylum or refugee resettlement programmes.

Being Woman, based in Ashington and Blyth, have been using the grant to support a conversation café activity called ‘KITES – when you are your own voice’. People from various ethnic backgrounds and at risk of social isolation have been sharing their ideas, thoughts and experiences of health and social care services.

The latest report from Being Woman shows that there is a knowledge gap restricting mental health support to the most vulnerable people in Northumberland.

A total of 61 people from BAME groups including asylum seekers and refugees were surveyed with questions around general mental health knowledge, services used and proposed future needs. 8 out of 10 people said they didn’t know they could speak with their GP about anxiety, low mood and depression.

Among the suggestions listed by respondents for better knowledge on mental health were leaflets, support groups, translation services, clubs and therapists.

Read the full report here

If you would like to tell us about your recent experience of mental health services give us a call on 03332 408 468 or tell us your story here.

Care Homes – keeping in touch with loved ones

Care home lockdown: how are you keeping in touch with your loved one?

People are telling us they are worried about care homes continuing to be closed to nearly all visits.

They understand it is safer for residents and staff and the extra efforts made to maintain the quality of life in the homes, but after six months, people say they can see the effect on their loved ones, and their own, health and wellbeing.

It seems the situation may go on for some time yet.

Sharing good practice could help make this difficult time a bit better. If your relative, loved one or friend lives in a care home we would like to know what is being done to keep you in touch day to day and on special occasions like birthdays.

We would like to know your experience of:

  • Using video calls (FaceTime, Zoom etc.) or telephone calls – does the home support these? How many times a week and how long? Does a member of staff help your loved one with the call?
  • Socially distanced visits – does the home support ‘window’ visits.  How many times a week and how for long?
  • How does the home keep you informed about how your loved one is getting on (apart from necessary issues about their care or health), for example, manager updates, photographs, videos
  • Does the home have a programme of group and one-to-one activities? Has your loved one taken part?
  • Has the home asked you what, within the current restrictions, would make this time easier?
  • What, within the current restrictions, would make it better for you and your love one?
  • When restrictions are eventually eased (not totally lifted) what would help you and your loved one?

You can tell us your experiences at one of the ways here on our contact page, text us  on 07413 385275 to make an appointment to speak to one of our team, or come along to our public online forum  around these issues on Wednesday 11 November, 2.00pm – 3.00pm.

 

Events

Care homes – keeping in touch with loved ones (online forum)

As we enter a further period where visiting relatives in care homes is restricted, we want to hear how this is affecting you and your loved ones. What information have you had about keeping in touch and maintaining communications about care and wellbeing?

We are particularly keen to hear if you managed to be tested and have an ‘in person’ visit during December.

We would like to know your experience of:

  • Using video calls (FaceTime, Zoom etc) or telephone calls. Does the home support these?  How many times a week and how long?  Does a member of staff help your loved one with the call?
  • Socially distanced visits. Does the home support ‘window’ visits.  How many times a week and how long?
  • How does the home keep you informed about how your loved one is getting on (apart from necessary issues about their care or health). Eg manager updates, photographs, videos
  • Does the home have a programme of group and 1 to 1 activities? Has your loved one taken part?
  • Has the home asked you what, within the current restrictions, would make this time easier?
  • What, within the current restrictions, would make it better for you and your love one?
  • When restrictions are eventually eased (not totally lifted) what would help you and your loved one?

The forum will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Haugh: laurah@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

If you can’t make the forum and would like to tell us your story, or would rather speak to one of our team in confidence please get in touch.

 

Remotely Christmas

Remotely Christmas is an online event being streamed from the Leading Link YouTube page. This is a huge project to help unite the four corners of Northumberland and spread some Christmas cheer!

  • Interactive craft and food workshops
  • Track Santa across Northumberland
  • Special guests
  • Games and quizzes
  • And lots of festive fun!

See how to get involved at the Leading Link website.

Diabetes UK End of Year Quiz

Join Chris Askew and Partha Kar for Diabetes UK’s end-of-year quiz

The North of England team at Diabetes UK are inviting you to an event which will lift the spirits and help end what has been a tough year on a brighter note.

Chris Askew, Chief Executive, Diabetes UK, will join Professor Partha Kar, National Specialty Advisor for Diabetes, NHS England, for an online end-of-the-year quiz on Wednesday 2 December, 8pm to 9pm.

Registration is free and simple – and the quiz will be followed by a Q&A with Chris and Partha. The quiz will be fun and informal, with questions about the events of 2020.

This event should be of interest to anyone with a connection to diabetes and it will run for one hour on Zoom, starting at 8pm.

Register for the quiz

If you have any queries, or any Q&A questions for Chris and Partha that you would like to submit in advance, email evie.kinghorn@diabetes.org.uk.

Public Coronavirus Question Time

Health and council leaders in Northumberland are to host their first ever online coronavirus public question time.
While case numbers have steadied, they’re still too high in the county, and following the recent introduction of a national lockdownleaders will be answering residents’ questions on Wednesday 18 November, at 5pm.
The panel for Wednesday’s broadcast will include:
  • Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader of the Council
  • Liz Morgan , Director of Public Health
  • Daljit Lally, Chief Executive
The broadcast, the first of its kind in the region, will look at the current Covid-19 picture in Northumberland, what the national lockdown means for the county, and answer queries or concerns people have.
People can submit their questions to the council via a simple online form 
While council and health bosses might not be able to answer every question, the aim is for the public broadcast to become a regular event and cover the most commonly-asked issues.
Residents will be able to watch the broadcast live on the council’s Facebook page 
Council Leader Glen Sanderson said: “We know the impact this pandemic has had on all our lives and the hard work everyone has put in to stay safe and drive numbers down.
“People have already made huge sacrifices, and many feel exhausted by the strain that it has caused. We have a duty to support our communities to continue all their hard work to get infections under control, and we’re in a good position to build on that.
“The situation is changing almost daily so this is a great opportunity to find out the very latest information from a number of experts, as well as hearing about some of the questions that affect you and your communities – whether you work in, live in or visit our county.
We know this public question time approach has been well-received in other parts of the country and we’d really encourage people to let us know questions they might have which we can address during our first broadcast.”

Our Review of the Year and AGM

Our Review of the year and AGM will take place online on Wednesday 21 October, from 2.00pm and 4.00pm. Find out about our work and how we made a difference to people in Northumberland over the last 12 months.

As the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care says ‘People should have phone or video consultations with their doctors unless there is a clinical reason not to’, and that there had been a ‘hugely positive’ response to virtual appointments during the coronavirus pandemic, we will also have guest presenters talking about technology in NHS and social care services. We’ll explore how the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the move to online appointments and consultations, what has worked well and not so well, and what we can expect in the future.

You can ask a question in advance or at the Q&A session in our webinar.

Register for the Healthwatch Northumberland Review of the Year

Diabetes and Moving More

The North of England Diabetes UK team presents a webinar for people living with diabetes or those at risk of diabetes, taking an informal and relaxed look at the basics of getting more active. You will hear from Neil Gibson (Physical Activity Insight Advisor at Diabetes UK) and George West (Diabetes UK volunteer living with type 1 diabetes).

This webinar is free and registration is simple.  If you have any queries, Email evie.kinghorn@diabetes.org.uk

Registration

www.diabetes.org.uk

Care Homes – keeping in touch with loved ones

People are telling us they are worried about care homes continuing to be closed to nearly all visits.

They understand it is safer for residents and staff and the extra efforts made to maintain the quality of life in the homes.   But after 6 months, people say they can see the effect on their loved ones, and their own, health and wellbeing.

It seems the situation may go on for some time yet.

Sharing good practice could help make this difficult time a bit better.   If your relative, loved one or friend lives in a care home we would like to know what is being done to keep you in touch day to day and on special occasions like birthdays.

We would like to know your experience of:

  • Using video calls (FaceTime, Zoom etc) or telephone calls. Does the home support these?  How many times a week and how long?  Does a member of staff help your loved one with the call?
  • Socially distanced visits. Does the home support ‘window’ visits.  How many times a week and how long?
  • How does the home keep you informed about how your loved one is getting on (apart from necessary issues about their care or health). Eg manager updates, photographs, videos
  • Does the home have a programme of group and 1 to 1 activities? Has your loved one taken part?
  • Has the home asked you what, within the current restrictions, would make this time easier?
  • What, within the current restrictions, would make it better for you and your love one?
  • When restrictions are eventually eased (not totally lifted) what would help you and your loved one?

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

If you can’t make the forum and would like to tell us your story, or would rather speak to one of our team in confidence please get in touch.

 

Children and Young People’s Services

Are you a voluntary or community organisation working with young people? If so, we’d like you to join us for an open discussion on children and young peoples services, particularly around mental health services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

Find out more about our other online forums

 

Cancer services: Join our online forum

If you, or someone close to you, have used cancer services in the last 12 months, we’d love to hear about your experiences at our online forum.

Lead Cancer Nurse, Amanda, from Northumbria Healthcare, and Jo from the Northern Cancer Alliance will be there to answer your questions.

You can join us as a cancer patient or carer or as someone who works with people using cancer services, or just if you have an interest in local services and support.

For those who aren’t able or would rather not attend, questions for Amanda, Jo, or Healthwatch Northumberland can be sent via text to: 07413 385275 anytime before 12 August.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

Find out more about our other online forums

 

Laburnum Surgery closure – online forum

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has made the decision to close Laburnum GP Surgery in Ashington.

The CCG’s primary care commissioning committee made the decision, last week, to end the contract of Laburnum Medical Group following inspections carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and ongoing investigations carried out by the CCG, which identified issues with the quality of care provided.

The practice, which provides healthcare for 2400 patients from Ashington and the surrounding areas, including Wansbeck, Morpeth, Newbiggin and Bedlington, will close by the end of July.

Patients at the practice have been written to and allocated another GP at a nearby surgery.

We are holding an online forum for patients to discuss any concerns they have about the closure of the surgery and their ongoing healthcare.

To register please email: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk or call: 03332 408468.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom. If you would like help setting up Zoom on your device please ask.

 

Read more about the closure of Laburnum Surgery

Find out more about our other online forums

 

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