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

Help us understand Patient Participation Groups

Help Healthwatch Northumberland  to understand Patient Participation Groups


We have an exciting opportunity for someone to help us understand more about how the Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) in the county work and how they interact with the health service commissioners and providers.

Healthwatch Northumberland is committed to working in partnership with key groups in local communities and with decision makers, providers and commissioners of health and social care services.   We recognise that PPGs in GP practices are an important way in which local people can influence the services on offer, and how improvements can be made for the benefit of patients, carers and the practice.

The brief below tells you more about the work we would like to do and how you could help us to achieve it.   The closing date for submissions is 9.00am on 24 October.

To discuss the project contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator or 03332 408468


Understanding Patient Particpation Groups in Northumberland



Director of Public Health Annual Report 2018

The 2018 Director of Public Health Annual Report focuses on Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The report asks, ‘why is mental health important?’
‘Over the last few decades there has rightly been a focus on reducing the number of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke. Across the whole of the county’s population, about 45% of all deaths are due to five causes and heart disease and stroke still cause nearly 30% of all deaths.

There is quite a difference though between the conditions that people are dying of and the conditions which contribute to disability and ill health during life. Mental ill health makes a significant contribution to ill health and
in some groups, is the major cause of death and ill health. For instance in men aged 15 – 49, nearly 30% of deaths are attributable to mental illness.’

View the Report



Could you get help with NHS costs?

Check if you’re eligible for help

You might be able to get help to pay these NHS charges:

  • NHS prescriptions
  • NHS dental treatment
  • sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • travel to receive NHS treatment
  • NHS wigs and fabric supports

You can check what help you could get and what to do next.

It usually takes three minutes to check.

Check if you can get help

Who gets help

The help you’re entitled to depends where you live and if you:

Apply for help to pay NHS costs

If you do not qualify for the help that you need, you can apply for help. You could be eligible depending on your household income and outgoings.

Where to find Hearing Loss Services

As we hear from people across the county about their experiences of audiology services in Northumberland – services to help with hearing loss – it is becoming apparent that not everyone knows where their local service is and what is on offer. The information below shows clinic locations and times, plus places where hearing aid supplies are provided. Some GP practices, district nurses and libraries also supply hearing aid batteries. Please check with your local service.


Audiology Services for residents of Northumberland. The contact number for all locations is: 0191 223 1043. Email:


Freeman Hospital, Adult Hearing Aid Repairs

9am to 4pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays)

There is also a postal service available from the Freeman for replacement tubing and batteries. Please call for details.


Alnwick Infirmary

Tuesdays by appointment only



Union Brae & Norham Practice, Berwick

Tuesdays by appointment only

n.b. Replacement batteries are now supplied by Berwick Library in the town centre Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm and 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays


Corbridge Health Centre

Tuesdays by appointment only


NHS Cramlington, Manor Walks

Monday, Tuesday and Friday by appointment only, excluding Bank Holidays


Hexham General Hospital

Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only, excluding Bank Holidays


Morpeth NHS Centre

Thursday and Friday by appointment only


North Tyneside General Hospital

Monday afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday all day and Friday afternoon, by appointment only, excluding Bank Holidays


Oaklands Health Centre, Prudhoe: hearing aid/s batteries are provided here


Ponteland Medical Group: hearing aid/s batteries are provided here


For more support and information on hearing loss please contact Action on Hearing Loss on: 01670 513606.

Whalton Unit Morpeth

Whalton Unit Drop-in Sessions

Whalton Unit,  Morpeth

People in Morpeth and the surrounding area are being given the opportunity to have their say about the temporary relocation of the Whalton Unit to Wansbeck General Hospital.  NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is holding public drop-in sessions in Morpeth and carrying out independent research to find out the community’s views.


Public drop in sessions

11 September: Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall, 10am – 2pm

11 September: Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall, 4pm – 7pm

12 September: Morpeth NHS Centre, 10am – 12pm

13 September: Morpeth Leisure Centre, 11am – 1pm

24 September: Morpeth Leisure Centre, 10am – 12pm

26 September: Morpeth NHS Centre, 12.30pm – 2.30pm

1 October: Wansbeck General Hospital, main reception 10am – 11am, south entrance 12pm – 1pm

3 October: Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall, 3pm – 7pm


People are also able to complete an online survey



The Whalton Unit provides specialist care and rehabilitation for residents, predominantly frail older patients. It was temporarily relocated from Morpeth to Wansbeck hospital in December 2018 due to nurse staffing issues and an expected increase in activity over the winter period.

This decision was reviewed in April 2019 by the trust and there was an agreement to extend the temporary location pending an updated report to enable a longer timeline for the impact analysis, with a specific focus on the experience of patients.

Prior to making any long term recommendations the CCG and the trust have agreed to this programme of public engagement and independent research to understand the views of the local population in more detail. The findings from both the independent research and engagement activity will be collated and shared with the Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee in November.

Mental health and the Journey to Parenthood

Find out what’s working well for people and what needs to improve when it comes to people about their mental health experiences before, during and after pregnancy, in a new Healthwatch report.

The arrival of a new baby is a major life event for any family. It can be joyful, exciting, overwhelming and challenging all at once, so it’s essential that parents get all the support they need to help them form strong bonds with their children and help lay the foundations for a healthy, happy life for all involved.

Over the last year, our network has gathered views and experiences from women and their partners. Each one of these stories was different and highlighted that every person’s experience is unique to them.

Three common issues

  • People feel their mental health problems are triggered by a variety of issues
  • People don’t know where to turn for help
  • People feel scared about how people will respond if they speak up
  • Healthwatch is calling on everybody who interacts with prospective and new parents to make more space for people to discuss how they’re feeling, and to find out what they need to do if they need mental health support.

Find out more about what people said in the report.

Healthwatch Northumberland Conference

Join us at our Conference 2019

If you use NHS or social care services and live or work in Northumberland, we’d love you to come along to our bigger and better Conference 2019. The Conference will take place at The Phoenix Theatre in Blyth on Wednesday 16 October, between 10.00am and 3.30pm.

Join in the community conversation at this free event with information and listening workshops about mental health, dementia, substance abuse, social prescribing, patient involvement, GP services and more.

We aim to make the day informative, interactive and entertaining. This is a chance for you to share your experiences of care with those who provide it and find out what’s available locally.

There will be an ‘information buffet’, free raffle and lunch and refreshments provided.

To register for a place please call us on 03332 408468 or visit Eventbrite

Bedlington Wellness Week

Wellness Week at East Bedlington Community Centre

Monday 9 to Thursday 12 September

Four days of free activities – open to everyone


Monday 9 September:  Create Change

Paper Crafting, Relaxation Yoga, Mat Making, Legs, Bums and Tums, Beginners Yoga,

Tuesday 10 September: Be at Your Best

Confidence Boosting Workshop, The Bridge Project, CV/Interview Skills, Clothes Exchange

Wednesday 11 September: Live Well for Less

Debt/Benefits/Budgeting Advice, Doing Digital, Clothes Exchange, Health Trainers, Housing Advice, Eating Well on a Budget

Thursday 12 September: Find a Job

Jobs Fair, Meditation and Pilates


For more details call: 01670 828808.

Support groups from Rape Crisis

Support Groups from Rape Crisis

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland (RCTN) is running three support groups in autumn 2019.

The groups are open to women aged 16+ who live, work or study in Tyneside and Northumberland and have experienced sexual violence at any time in their lives.

Digital Me                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thursday 5.30pm – 7.30pm, 3 October to 21 November 2019

RCTN & Digital Voice are running a digital empowerment group starting in October. This group will allow you to improve digital skills and help you to create anonymous messages for other women about your journey and the support you have accessed. Over eight weeks participants will complete a digital story, using photography and script writing/recording to explore, identity, life stories and messages.


Eight-week Support Group

Wednesday 5.30pm – 8.30pm, 16 October to 4 December 2019

This group offers you the opportunity to meet other women who have experienced sexual violence in a safe, supportive space so that you can:

  • Explore how society’s attitudes towards sexual violence have affected you
  • Learn and practise positive coping strategies
  • Identify and develop positive future goals and steps towards these
  • Increase your peer support network


Mindfulness Group                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      November to December 2019 (two hour weekly sessions, day and time tbc)

RCTN and Mindful Therapies have developed a specialist mindfulness course for women survivors of sexual violence.  If you would like to learn and practice mindfulness in a safe, trauma-sensitive, women-only space, this six week course may be for you.

For further information about groups or to join a group please call 0191 2220272 during office hours or email: A group worker will contact each woman who gets in touch and invite her to a one-to-one meeting. This is so women can decide whether the group is the right service for them before joining.


World Mental Health Day Age UK

Mental health issues can affect any of us at any time in our lives. As we get older we are more likely to find ourselves either experiencing mental health problems or caring for someone who does. If you’re over 65 and would like to learn more about the changes that ageing can have on mental health or you’d like to find out more about the help and support available for carers drop in to this open day from Age UK Northumberland.

Get advice on where to seek help and what help is available

Take advantage of the‘Carers Corner’ to get advice on caring and how to stay well

Chat to professionals about common mental health concerns Grab a cuppa and have a friendly chat

Drop in between 10am – 2pm on Thursday 10 October 2019

There will be a great team on hand to provide help and advice including Age UK Northumberland, Alzheimer’s Society , Behaviour Support Services, Carers Northumberland, Dementia Matters, Northumberland Memory Service and Social Care Support Planners

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.


Healthwatch Northumberland Volunteer Training

If you’ve been thinking about getting involved with Healthwatch Northumberland as a volunteer, you might want to come along to our next volunteer training day. Taking place in Hexham, the day will equip you with everything you need to help us make a difference to people living in Northumberland. To find out more please call Emma on: 03332 408468 or visit our Volunteer page.

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.


Volunteer Induction Session

There are spaces available on our next Volunteer Induction Day in Hexham in October, so if you’ve been thinking about joining our growing team of Healthwatch Northumberland volunteers, please get in touch. There’s more information about the ways you can get involved at our Volunteer page.


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.