Appointments in Northumberland

Extra GP appointments in Northumberland

Local GP practices are working together to offer patients better access to GP appointments in Northumberland.

Patients can now see a GP at a time which is convenient as practices in Northumberland are providing additional appointments for patients who would like to book or need to see a GP on weekday evenings and weekends.

The new service is being provided from 6.30pm Monday to Friday, additionally some access will be provided at weekends.
Northumberland GP practices are working together to deliver the additional appointments and each practice will provide specific information on the seven locations in Northumberland where patients registered with them can access the appointments.

For more information, ask your GP practice.

Dental check up

Coquetdale Dental Practice

Patients have been told this week that Coquetdale Dental Practice is to close permanently. The practice has surgeries at two sites; Rothbury and Hadston. NHS England has written to all patients explaining the situation along with answers to some frequently asked questions. The letter contains information about alternative dental services; we would be interested to hear about people’s experiences of registering with a new dental practice and any issues with access.

Contact Us


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.

Healthwatch assistant at an event

Join us! Engagement Assistant Vacancy

Engagement Assistant

£20,395 per annum pro rata (£13,780 per annum – actual)

Part time 25 hours a week

Permanent dependent on funding

Closing date midnight Tuesday 10 October 2017

Based in Hexham with travel across Northumberland


Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for health and social care across the county. We aim to give a voice to service users, influence positive change to services and help meet the health and social care needs of the population.

Health and Social Care are never far from the news and it’s an area that affects most of us.  Joining Healthwatch Northumberland will give you the opportunity to work as part of a skilled and enthusiastic team making the voice of local people heard.  It’s a busy time and you can help make a difference.

The main aim of this role is to:

  • Deliver engagement strategies and activities to ensure Healthwatch Northumberland is listening to and representative of all communities across the county

The post holder will:

  • Support the Healthwatch Northumberland strategic plan through engagement activities
  • Provide input into project-specific engagement activities
  • Liaise with the Information, Communication & Marketing Officer to ensure engagement activities and their impact are widely communicated

Key Responsibilities:

  • Deliver engagement activities including workshops, focus groups and surveys to gather residents’ experiences and views
  • Represent Healthwatch Northumberland at information-sharing events with partners
  • Collate, report and record all feedback using CRM system, support and contribute to data collection
  • Build relationships with seldom heard groups, including children and young people

If you would like an informal discussion about the role and Healthwatch Northumberland, please contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator: from 2 October.


Job Description

Application Form

Letter to Applicants

If you would like to help people with sight loss to get out and about this inspirational session is for you. The training will help you safely and confidently guide someone who has sight loss

Sighted Guiding Training

If you would like to help people with sight loss to get out and about this inspirational session is for you. The training will help you safely and confidently guide someone who has sight loss. Four sessions are available:

Tuesday 3 October: 10.00am – 12.00pm or 1.00pm – 3.00pm

Thursday 5 October: 10.00am – 12.00pm or 1.00pm – 3.00pm

To book a place please call: 01670 514316 or email:


Newbiggin Men in Sheds: Photography Project

The Newbiggin Men in Sheds photography project fortnightly sessions take place at Newbiggin Sports & Community Centre, every other Tuesday, from 10 October at 1:30pm – 3.30pm. An opportunity to learn new skills, share the skills you have and be creative!
For more information please contact: or

The Newbiggin Men in Sheds Project is a partnership between the Northumberland County Council and a host of partner organisations.

The initiative looks to connect older men, create new friendships and keep them active. Men in sheds projects have been used around the country to provide an array of benefits for older men including knowledge sharing, community engagement, personal achievement and the opportunity to meet and interact with others. The important element of the project comes from those involved taking ownership of the schemes and coming together to participate in an activity which provides a level of interest and engagement for all involved.

Rothbury Village

Decision made on inpatient beds at Rothbury Hospital

Health leaders in Northumberland have decided that the 12 inpatient beds at Rothbury Community Hospital should be permanently closed and that existing health and care services should be shaped around a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the site.

The decision was made at a meeting, held in public today, of NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Joint Locality Executive Board.

The inpatient beds were temporarily closed in September 2016, a decision which led to local residents setting up the ‘Save Rothbury Cottage Hospital’ campaign group.

The Board, which includes GP leads from across the county, says it took into consideration feedback from a three month period of public consultation which showed how much people have valued the inpatient services at the hospital and which included the community’s vision for how services should be provided in future. They also considered analysis which showed that since the interim closure of the beds a year ago there had been no unexpected pressures in local health and care services and no evidence of adverse medical consequences on individual patients.

Read the full article


Wansbeck General Hospital

24 hour urgent care to return to Northumberland

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust announced today that the urgent care centres at Wansbeck and Hexham General Hospitals would re-open overnight from 30 October. This will bring to an end the temporary overnight closures (between 12.00am and 8.00am) which have been in place since September last year. North Tyneside General Hospital will continue to close at midnight.

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Like the rest of the NHS, we are once again preparing for an extremely busy time this winter and fully endorse the NHS recommendation to call 111 before visiting any of our urgent care centres or our emergency department.

Calling 111, which is free and available 24/7, is the best way to get the treatment you need in the quickest way and will also include access to urgent GP appointments this winter.

“It is vital that The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington is kept free for serious emergencies only and we have worked hard to re-open our urgent care centres overnight for conditions which are not life-threatening but need an urgent response. We hope this news will be welcomed by patients.”

Healthwatch Northumberland was asked to engage with the public about their views on the temporary night time closures and what the public understood about urgent care centres and where to access treatment. The results were considered as part of the decision making process.

Patient Transport Ambulance

Patient Transport Services Insight

North East Ambulance Service’ non-emergency Patient Transport Service provides a vital link in the treatment chain for people with a medical need, who would not otherwise be able to get to hospital appointments.  With a 90.7% satisfaction rating across the North East we know the service is greatly valued by those who use it, but what became clear to Healthwatch Northumberland from feedback and monitoring information is that people in Northumberland have experienced problems actually getting to the service via the booking procedure – many only securing a service when they appeal after first being turned down.

Our initial analysis showed:

  • 4000+ people per year being declared ineligible for patient transport when they are later found to be eligible through the appeals process.
  • Around 5000 people per year are being declared ineligible for patient transport and not appealing
  • Almost 75% of ineligibility decisions appealed through the Patient Transport Appeals Team are overturned
  • Around 50% of ineligibility decisions are overturned due to distance where distance is not part of the initial eligibility criteria
  • The trend in Northumberland was worsening relative to other areas

This suggested to us that Northumberland patients are experiencing additional stress and anxiety by being put through a seemingly unnecessary appeals process, while others are missing out by not appealing even though they are eligible.

We decided we needed more insight on the transparency and application of eligibility criteria. We talked to North east Ambulance Service, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, North of England Commissioning Support Unit and North of Tyne Patient Advice and Liaison Service. Each organisation engaged with the issues quickly and positively and we are pleased to report the eligibility criteria have been changed. Of particular note is the extension of automatic eligibility for people with dementia or a 30-mile boundary and the ability to book multiple trips when people are undergoing a course of treatment.

Read the full report and the response from North East Ambulance Service

CQC consultation phase 2 response

Our response to the CQC Consultation Phase 2

Healthwatch Northumberland response to CQC Consultation Phase 2

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is currently at stage 2 of a consultation process on its plans for regulation health and social care and the ways in which it will make its processes more responsive and more transparent.  Healthwatch Northumberland did not respond to the first stage of the consultation but has provided a full to stage 2.

Our response is balanced as it is supportive and challenging in reasonably equal measures. We support all the areas where there is increased transparency and more focused and proportionate regulation as it is this type of regime that reduces the regulatory burden on providers without losing protection or creating detriment for end users.  The response, however, also makes a series of challenges where we feel that the plans being consulted on do not go far enough to protect the interests of service users, their families and carers or where we believe that the CQC is not demonstrating a recognition of the needs of that group.  The golden thread that runs through the response is that the CQC does everything possible to enable service users, their families and carers to make informed choices where choice is available and to better understand the services they receive where there is no choice.  Underpinning this is the need for significantly increased engagement with end users and their representatives and clearer demonstration by the CQC that not only does it recognise but that is acts on the needs of this most important of stakeholder groups.

Read the full response we gave to the consultation.


Older lady and girl gardening

End Of Life Planning Cafe

This end of life planning event is hosted by Seaton Park Medical Group with information and support from Carers Northumberland, Age UK, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Legacare. Having conversations about your end of life wishes is really important, and this is a chance to think about things like being involved in decisions about your care, access to the right services and support for those closest to you.

There will be information available on the day about advanced decisions (living will), funeral payments and bereavement services.  Admission is free.


happy children running

Introduction to Safeguarding Children – Refresher

Voices Northumberland supports third sector organisations and groups (voluntary and community, charities, social enterprises, cooperatives) to achieve positive outcomes for all children and young people.

This is a refresher course and will include hot topics and updates around safeguarding children.

What would you pay to keep a child safe?

If your primary area of work or volunteering is with babies, children or young people then this is the safeguarding course for you.

This course builds on our course on awareness of safeguarding adults and children and explores in more detail: communicating with children in difficult situations, thinking about the needs of children with additional needs, consolidating your skills in recognising abuse and responding to concerns and current hot topics in Northumberland.

To book your place please email to request a booking form. The course will take place in Morpeth between 1.00pm and 4.00pm.


£10 per person – Volunteer based in Northumberland

£20 per person – VCS paid worker based in Northumberland

£35 per person – public/private sector and any VCS organisations based outside of Northumberland

Little girl playing

In It Together SEND Consultation Events

These events are for families of young people who have special educational needs and disabilities. The events are  co-produced between the local authority and In It Together, the Northumberland parent-carer forum.

We are looking for discussions with parents and others about what specialist services, support to mainstream schools and specialist schools Northumberland needs for the future. We would like your views on what is needed in your part of Northumberland and across the whole county.


Dates for consultations are:


 3rd July    Tweedmouth Middle School

4th July     Newminster Middle School School 

6th July    Haltwhistle Middle School

10th July   Cramlington Learning Village

11th July   Blyth Academy

12th July    Rothbury First School

17th July    Glendale Middle School

18th July  James Calvert Spence College

19th July    Bellingham Middle School

20th July     The Fuse, Prudhoe

 All taking place between 6.00pm – 8.30pm


If you are interested please e-mail or telephone 07729192909. If you would like to attend your local consultation event but have difficulties with transport please contact us. In It Together may be able to assist you. The group wants to reach out to as many families as possible, including people who couldn’t attend last year’s events.

Smiling Woman

Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service: Let’s Talk Taboo Workshop

Let’s Talk Taboo!…so we can focus on Prevention


This workshop held by Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service (NDAS) will showcase film and drama prevention projects around sexual exploitation and domestic abuse being carried out in partnership with both statutory and voluntary organisations with young people across Northumberland.

The day will include:

  • Video Presentation from Dame Vera Baird
  • Guest speaker – Marilyn Hawes, Founder and CEO of Enough Abuse is one of the UK’s leading professionals on how to prevent and manage the impact of child sexual abuse/exploitation.”
  • Community performance Open Clasp Theatre Company – First Time Free performance & workshop CSE Prevention
  • Little Big Butterfly – Young Women’s Film Academy Project
  • Raw Productions Film – ‘Control’

10.00am: Registration:
12.30pm: Refreshments 

1:00pm: Prevention Drama & Film Projects                                  
3.00pm: Close

(timings are approximate)

The workshop is for anyone who works with or has a responsibility for protecting children and young people. This includes parents and guardians, volunteers in community groups and safeguarding professionals.

Please visit the NDAS website to register or for more information.

Respiratory Patient – Carer Network

The British Lung Foundation and Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) would like to extend an invitation to people across the region who have experience of living with a lung condition.
Patient participation and involvement is important to the NHS and other care organisations. This respiratory network for people living with lung disease will provide you with information, ideas and an opportunity to share your experience.

The event will be looking at:

  • Your experiences of involvement in influencing
  • How to use the media (including social media) to get your voice heard
  • Identifying a regional respiratory campaign

You may already be involved as a patient or carer representative, attend a support group, or just interested in knowing more about influencing respiratory care and finding out more about patient involvement in a relaxed, friendly environment.

To book please email: or telephone 07702 591569. It is advisable to book early as places are limited. The International Centre for Life is situated 200 metres from Newcastle Central Station and Metro and there is free car parking for delegates at nearby Times Square Car Park and a small number of disabled parking places available at the venue (must be pre-booked). Free lunch and refreshments provided.

Northumberland CCG Patient Forum

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group is inviting local people to its county-wide Patient Forum to share their experiences of the NHS and help influence the design of future local health services.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Northumberland has always valued patient feedback and has used it to improve local health services. The meeting will provide an excellent opportunity for the CCG to share important information and to discuss issues currently impacting the health of the people of Northumberland.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday 29 March 2017 at the Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth, NE24 5JF between 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm.

If you would like to attend or for further information please email: or call 01670 335 178.