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.


View plans for Berwick Hospital

The public are being given the opportunity to view plans for the newhospital in Berwick on Wednesday 11 March. Northumbria Healthcare released this message this week:


Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is sharing its proposals at drop-in sessions, hosted by Berwick Regeneration Commission, at the Town Hall from 11.00am – 4.00pm and 5.00pm – 7.00pm.

Staff from the trust will be on hand to showcase the architect’s proposals for the development on the existing Berwick Infirmary site before a formal planning application is submitted to Northumberland County Council. Teams at the infirmary have had a major input into the design of the new state-of-the-art hospital to ensure that it supports an improved experience for patients and is fit for the future.

The new hospital will re-provide all the existing services and embrace the latest technology. It is planned that Well Close Medical Group will be part of the development which will pave the way for further integration between primary care (the GPs) and secondary care (the hospital). Patients from the practice are also welcome to come along to the sessions to give their thoughts on the proposed relocation of the surgery.

Marion Dickson, executive director for nursing, midwifery, allied health professionals, surgery and community services at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is leading the Berwick redevelopment project. She said “We know that local people are very keen to see our plans for the new Berwick hospital and we are pleased to be able to confirm the date for our drop-in sessions. We hope that as many people as possible, including patients of Well Close Medical Group, will take this opportunity to come along and have a first glimpse of the proposals before we submit our planning application.”

Preparations are already well underway for the new build on the northern end of the existing infirmary site with departments moved to elsewhere on the site, and the car park next to the maternity unit is being resurfaced over the next two weeks. Pedestrian access to the maternity and physiotherapy departments will be maintained via the High Greens Road entrance however parking at the main hospital is available as usual during this work.

In the meantime, the trust is reminding patients with an appointment at Berwick Infirmary to attend as normal, however, report to the reception within medical records to be redirected to their waiting area.

Subject to planning approval, construction will start on site in the autumn with an expected completion date for the new hospital of spring 2022.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick, said “The new hospital in Berwick will be a massive boost to the town and surrounding areas and is hugely anticipated by the local community. I’m delighted that the public is being given the opportunity next month to see the plans and would encourage residents to go along to the drop-in sessions at the Town Hall.”

Riverside Surgery

Community urged to have say on proposed Riversdale Surgery relocation

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Primary Care Commissioning Committee met in public on 12 February, to discuss the proposed relocation of Riversdale Surgery in Wylam to its branch site in the Oakland’s Health Centre in Prudhoe.

The practice submitted a formal application to the committee who heard the details of the proposal. The move would allow the practice to operate from a modern, fit for purpose primary care centre and enable clinical and community services to run from one central location.

As part of their application to relocate, the practice also shared with the committee the feedback from their patient and public engagement which raised concerns over the withdrawal of services in Wylam, difficulties with transport and accessibility.

The CCG noted these concerns and has agreed to undertake further engagement to hear the views of the local community and assess the impact of the proposed relocation.

Two drop in sessions have been arranged at St Oswin’s Church Hall, Wylam as follows:

  • Wednesday 19 February, 3.00pm – 5.00pm, St Oswin’s Church, Wylam
  • Monday 24 February, 1.00pm – 3.00pm St Oswin’s Church, Wylam
  • Thursday 27 February, 5.00pm – 7.00pm, Wylam Library

Responses from the community, together with the engagement report we produced in 2018 will be used to understand how the practice can address any concerns.

Further information on the next steps will be provided as soon as they are available.


Buildings from Wylam bridge

Riversdale Surgery Relocation

Are you a patient at Riversdale Surgery in Wylam?

The practice has received a decision in principle to move its operations to the Oaklands Centre in Prudhoe and is asking patients to complete a short survey about what this might mean for them.

Responses given together with the engagement report we did in 2018, will be used to understand how the practice can address any concerns (you can read our report here).

The practice is particularly keen to hear from patients who find it difficult to travel to Prudhoe and to understand what the practice could do to help them.

The survey closes on Sunday 26 January and a summary of the findings will be put on the surgery website in the next few weeks.

Find the survey on the Riversdale Surgery website

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



Pills spilling from a jar

Changes to Repeat Prescriptions – 28 Day Prescribing

If you are being prescribed medicines on a repeat prescription, then the amount of medicine you receive on each prescription is changing from a three month supply of medicines to a 28 day supply.


How will 28 day prescribing affect me?

GP practices in Northumberland are changing to ‘28 day prescribing’, which means each time you get a prescription, you will receive enough of each medicine to last you for 28 days.


How can I order repeat prescriptions?

In person at your GP surgery

Over the phone (some surgeries)

GP Online Services


GP Online Services

After registering to use online services from your GP, you will be able to renew or order repeat prescriptions online. The service is free and everyone who is registered with a GP can have access to their practice’s online services. For more information contact your GP practice or visit NHS Choices.


Will it cost patients more?

If you pay prescription charges and you need more than one  item a month the best way to pay for your prescriptions would be to obtain a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC).

A PPC lets you get as many NHS prescriptions as you need for a set price. If you regularly pay prescription charges, a PPC could save you money. The price of a PPC has remained the same over the last few years, whereas the prescription charge increases each year.

The current prescription charge in England is £8.60 per item and a PPC costs £29.10 for three months or £104 for 12 months.


Are there any exceptions?

Depending on your individual circumstances there may be exceptions to the 28 day policy. For example there are some drugs which are packaged in three monthly amounts, for example, contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy. These will continue to be supplied in this way.


Further Information

If you have any questions about 28 day prescribing, or would like more information, please contact your GP practice. You can also ask your community pharmacist for further information.

If you are having difficulties with prescriptions Healthwatch Northumberland would like to hear from you. Please give us a call: 03332 408468 or use our contact us page.

Hadrian Primary Care Alliance logo

Easter Appointments with Hadrian Extra Care Hub

Patients who are registered with any of these practices can now access appointments from 9am-1pm on Good Friday and Easter Monday, as well as on Easter Saturday from 9am-5pm at the HADRIAN EXTRA CARE HUB based at Corbridge Health Centre.

Appointments must be booked in advance through your own GP Practice. Any follow-up or onward management of your condition will be arranged by your own GP.

Participating Practices:

Adderlane Surgery

Bellingham Practice

Branch End Surgery

Burn Brae Medical Group

Corbridge Medical Group

Haydon Bridge and Allendale Medical Practice

Haltwhistle Medical Group

Humshaugh and Wark Medical Group

Prudhoe Medical Group

Riversdale Surgery

Scots Gap Surgery

Sele Medical Practice

White Medical Group

Infograpgic f stick figures with clipboard

Wylam Primary Care Provision Survey

We are seeking feedback from people in Wylam and the surrounding area about the proposals by the Riversdale Surgery to move its services to Prudhoe. The survey will help us find out what, if any, issues and concerns this raises for residents and we will report back on our findings when we have collated all the feedback.

To complete the short survey please click here

A street in Wylam

Wylam drop-in Sessions

We will be in Wylam this week, talking to local people about health and social care services and in particular, about the proposed changes to Riversdale GP Surgery and the relocation of services to the Oaklands Centre in Prudhoe. Come and see us at:

Wylam Library, Tuesday 20 February, 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Wylam Institute (coffee morning), Saturday 24 February, 10.00am – 12.00pm.

If you can’t join us that day, please get in touch with any comments or feedback you’d like to share with us.

GP writing a prescription

White Medical Group’s Stamfordham Surgery to Close

The Stamfordham branch of White Medical Group is to close on 31 March 2018, after Partners submitted a formal application to Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England. A letter has been sent to all households in the vicinity of Stamfordham surgery informing them of the closure. All services delivered from this surgery will be relocated to Ponteland Primary Care Centre, plus the branch surgery in Wylam will continue to provide the services currently on offer.

“If you are a patient and would like to discuss this change with someone outside of the practice you can contact us on 03332 408468 or via e-mail on  As the independent champion for people who use health and social care services in the county, feedback can be given to us anonymously and at any time.”


A street in Wylam

Wylam drop-in: Talk to us about local services

We will be in Wylam on Saturday 24 February, at the Wylam Institute Coffee Morning. We’d like to talk to local people about health and social care services in the area and in particular, about the proposed changes to Riversdale GP Surgery and the relocation of services to the Oaklands Centre in Prudhoe.

Please come over and see us if you are there for a cuppa, or call in and have a chat if you are in the area.

If you can’t join us that day, please get in touch with any comments or feedback you’d like to share with us. We hope to plan more visits to local groups in the near future; please keep an eye on the website and our Facebook and Twitter pages for more details soon.