Share your views on NHS Interpreting Services

The interpreting arrangements in primary care from NHS England end on 30 September 2020 and it is asking for your views on what has worked well and what could be improved. Your feedback will be used to shape how these services will be delivered in the future.

There are two sessions. One for patients who have used a spoken word interpreter at their GP, dentist, pharmacy or optometrist since April 2018 and one is for people who have used a non-spoken word interpreter at one or more of these services. The sessions are also for those who haven’t used an interpreter in this time but may need to use one at an appointment in the future.


Patient Listening Event – Spoken Word Interpretation

Wednesday 25 March: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Cathedral Suite, Emirates Riverside Stadium, County Durham DH3 3QR


Patient Listening Event – Non-spoken Word Interpretation

Thursday 26 March: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Cathedral Suite, Emirates Riverside Stadium, County Durham DH3 3QR



What will the format of the session be?

An NHS England representative will give a short presentation on the planned changes to interpreting services in 2020/21. Attendees will then be asked to work in small groups to discuss and note down their personal experiences of interpreting services in primary care. Feedback will be used to answer the questions:

What has worked well?

What needs to be improved?

What are the things which matter to you most when using interpreters?


Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided. There are 100 places on each session and you can book on by emailing: with your name, the area you live and the number of places you would like to reserve (up to six). Please use either ‘patient listening event – spoken’ or ‘patient listening event – non-spoken’ as the email subject.


Pharmacy Opening May Bank Holiday

Another Bank Holiday is on its way, so make sure you pick up any prescriptions you may need before then. Some pharmacies in Northumberland will be open for a time on Bank Holiday Monday 27 May. Click on the link below to see when your nearest pharmacy is open. It is recommended that you call before visiting.

Pharmacy Opening Northumberland Summer 2019


Feeling under the weather?

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


Visit your local Pharmacy

NHS urges ‘Think GP or Pharmacy’ this Easter

NHS England is urging people in the North East to see a pharmacist or make an appointment to see a GP for non-emergency health issues over Easter.

Although some GP practices are closed over the Easter bank holidays, the NHS has been working to ensure people can access a GP appointment or pharmacist should they need advice or treatment for a wide range of minor illnesses or ailments.

If people need urgent advice for something serious, but are not sure whether to go to A&E, the NHS 111 service provides advice from qualified clinicians and in some cases can even make a GP appointment direct. For most people, this will mean quicker treatment than attending an A&E department.

Dr Jonathan Slade, NHS England’s Deputy Medical Director, in Cumbria and the North East, and a practicing GP, said: “Many GPs have extended hours of opening and pharmacists across the region are open for business over the bank holidays, but please make sure you order your prescriptions early before the holiday weekend. We’d like to reassure people that if they call 111, they will be allocated an appointment should they need one. This is a particularly important for older people, people with long-term health conditions and for parents to know. There has been increased, sustained pressure and unprecedented demand on the NHS following severe cold weather. There is also a spike in demand on health services during the Easter holiday.”

Mike Maguire, pharmacist and owner of the Marton Pharmacy, Middlesbrough, said: “Pharmacists can provide instant, confidential advice and treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment.  We are a quick and convenient first point of contact and many pharmacies have a consulting room for seeing patients in private.”

You can find your nearest pharmacy opening times here

Many urgent care and walk-in centres will also be open. To find out which services are open, and which are local to you, visit:

Dr Slade added: “Emergency departments get extremely busy during holiday periods and we want to ensure that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting at A&E. For minor illnesses, your local pharmacist is an excellent source of help and should be your first point of contact. NHS England is also encouraging people to make sure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked before the holiday period.”


Northumberland Pharmacies Easter Opening Times 2018


Top tips to ‘Stay Well’ this Easter:

Choose the right service: Use the NHS Choices website for health advice and information about where to go to get the right treatment.

Order your prescriptions: make sure you order these before the Easter holiday.

See your local pharmacist – your pharmacist can advise on a wide range of common illnesses. If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, get immediate help from your pharmacist before it becomes more serious.

If you need medical help fast, but it’s not life-threatening or an emergency, call NHS 111 at any time for advice.

Self-care: For many winter ailments such as coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms, people don’t need to go to A&E or their local GP practice and are better off taking some paracetamol, drinking plenty of fluids and resting.

Stock up your medicine cabinet – make sure you have the essentials.

Avoid slips and trips: take care in and out of the house: use footwear with slip-resistant soles.

The child health app is free to download and offers a wealth of advice and support.


Woman talking to pharmacist

Pharmacy Survey

Northumberland County Council is currently updating its Pharmacy Needs Assessment. This document describes how many pharmacies we have in the county, the hours they are open and the services they provide. It does not provide the public or patient’s perspective about pharmacy services and how they use them. By answering the questions below, this will help provide this part of the jigsaw.

As the independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we want to make sure your views are considered when services are being designed.

We would like to learn more about your experience of, and thoughts about, improving or changing pharmacy services in our community. Pharmacy services are either services you receive in your community pharmacy or from a dispensary in your GP practice. We would be grateful if you could complete the questionnaire below. The survey will be open until 31 January 2018.

Pharmacies Survey

Pharmacist and customer

Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment

A pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA) describes the health needs of the population, current pharmaceutical services provision and any gaps in that provision. It also identifies potential new services to meet health needs and help achieve the objectives of the strategic plan, while taking account of financial constraints. The PNA will be used to:
  • inform commissioning plans about pharmaceutical services that could be provided by community pharmacists and other providers to meet local need;
  • support commissioning of high quality pharmaceutical services;
  • ensure that pharmaceutical and medicines optimisation services are commissioned to reflect the health needs and ambitions outlined within the joint strategic needs assessment;
  • facilitate opportunity for pharmacists to make a significant contribution to the health of the population of Northumberland; and
  • ensure that decisions about applications for market entry for pharmaceutical services are based on robust and relevant information.
This is not a stand-alone document. It is aligned with the joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) and Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s Five Year Plan. It will be used as a tool to inform future service developments aimed at meeting the objectives of the strategic plan e.g., delivering care in the most appropriate setting, reducing reliance on hospital care, supporting those with long term conditions, promoting wellbeing and preventing ill-health, and improving access to primary care.
Man talking to doctor's receptionist

Access to healthcare: online survey

The NHS in Northumberland was awarded ‘vanguard’ status by NHS England in 2015, after being chosen as one of eight areas across the country to take a national lead on transforming care for patients. Over the last year, the Northumberland Vanguard has introduced three new models of care across the county to transform local services:

1. Implementation of new access models across all GP practices including frequent attendees and long term conditions

2. Blyth Enhanced Care Model where multidisciplinary teams work with patients with complex needs to avoid admittance into emergency care

3. Integrated pharmacy service where pharmacists work in the community as part of multidisciplinary teams with complex care patients and in care homes

To ensure that pathways of care are designed around people’s needs and informed by what people are saying about accessing NHS services, an evaluation of these new models of care is being carried out. Northumberland CCG has commissioned independent research agency, Explain Market Research, to gather feedback from staff, patients and carers to establish how these models have impacted on these three key groups.

An online survey to seek peoples’ views about how they currently access GP and pharmacy services can be accessed below. The survey will run throughout August and September.


Northumberland Vanguard Survey