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Join our online forums

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, members of the team will be available by phone, text and email (see below) each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

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

 

Online Forums

Wednesday 20 May 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Dementia Services

Wednesday 27 May 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services)

Wednesday 3 June 2.00pm- 3.00pm: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 10 June 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Special Eduction Needs and Disabilities

Wednesday 17 June 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Maternity services

If you would like to take part please email contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 07803 427 466.

Talking Matters Northumberland: Update

Changes to services during the coronavirus outbreak

 

Due to the current crisis Talking Matters Northumberland staff are working from home, so have had to make changes to the phone referral process.

To make a referral you must now leave a voicemail with your name, date of birth and a contact phone number, as direct calls can’t be taken.

The team aims to call you back the same day and please be aware that this will be from a private number– please ensure your phone will accept this call.

Two attempts will be made throughout the day to speak to you, between 9.00am and 5.00pm but if you can’t be contacted, your referral will be closed and you will have to call again and leave another message.

 

If you have any concerns about being able to make a referral online or through this call system you can speak to your GP about them referring on your behalf.

Talking Matters Northumberland website

Digital and face to face therapy will be back on offer as soon as it is possible to do this safely and effectively.

New Physical Activity Plan for County

Northumberland Sport has launched a plan aimed at getting everyone more active for life.

The Northumberland Physical Activity Strategy provides a framework to tackle the challenge inactivity presents in Northumberland. The strategy has been developed with a range of organisations who have a vested interest in reducing inactivity levels in Northumberland, such a NHS Trusts, Northumberland County Council and Sport England.

The aim is to have an impact on the collective long term health, social, educational and economic outcomes associated with tackling high levels of inactivity.

Find out more and read the strategy at the More Active for Life website.

The Golden Guide 2020

The Golden Guide 2020 is now available at GP surgeries, libraries and other venues across Northumberland, including our office in Hexham. The guide is a free directory for over 50s and is packed with information about health, wellbeing, finances, activities, being social, transport and so much more. The theme this year is ‘social prescribing’. Social prescribing is a way for local agencies to refer people to a link worker. Link workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.

If you would like a free copy of The Golden Guide please get in touch.

Where to go for help if you feel unwell this winter

Feeling unwell? Read on for advice about where you can go for help with your health during the winter months. Cold weather can trigger or worsen health problems, so it’s important that you know where to go for help if you become unwell. This winter, the NHS is running a campaign called ‘Help us help you’ to help people understand how to stay well during the winter and which services to use when they need support. Take a look at the information below to find out which is the most appropriate service to meet your needs.

At risk groups: Get advice if you feel unwell

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition. If you are 65 or over, or in one of the other at-risk groups, see a pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or cold. The sooner you get advice, the sooner you are likely to get better. Click here to find out if you are in one of the at-risk groups, and for tips on how to stay well this winter.

Get your free flu vaccination

To help at-risk groups stay well this winter, the NHS is offering free flu vaccinations to people who are 65 or over, those with some long term health conditions, pregnant women and toddlers aged 2-3 years. Contact your GP or local pharmacist for more information.

Call NHS 111 if you are:

  • Unsure
  • Unwell
  • Confused
  • Need to know where to go

For confidential health service advice and information, call NHS 111. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They will direct you to the best place to get treatment and advise you of locally available services. Visit NHS 111 to get more information.

Visit your local pharmacy if you’re experiencing:

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Runny nose
  • Headache flu-like symptoms

Your local pharmacist is fully qualified to give you advice on common illnesses and injuries, and medicines to treat them. They will also tell you if you need to see a doctor. Click here to find your local pharmacy.

Contact your GP and out of hours if you have:

  • Ear discharge/ pain
  • Rashes
  • Stomach pain
  • Concerns regarding ongoing conditions

Contact your GP surgery if you have an illness or injury that won’t go away. You can call NHS 111 for advice if you need help outside your GP surgery opening hours. Click here to find your local GP service.

Call 999 in a medical emergency.

A medical emergency is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. These can include:

Click here for further information about the 999 emergency services.

For less serious injuries…

Go to your local Minor Injuries Unit for less serious injuries, such as:

  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Stitches

You can visit an NHS Minor Injuries Unit without an appointment for the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries. Click here for more information regarding the minor injury units.

Looking after yourself

Many illnesses and injuries can be treated at home, and this can also help to stop spreading some viral infections.

  • Cough or cold
  • Sore throat
  • Grazed knee
  • Hangover

Ensure your medicine cabinet is stocked with things like paracetamol, plasters, rehydration mixture, a thermometer and indigestion remedy. If you are feeling worried, do not wait until you feel worse, visit a pharmacy for advice about your symptoms. For more information about conditions, symptoms and services, visit the NHS website.

Parkinson’s Power

The Parkinson’s Power Project is working with people with Parkinson’s aged 55+ who are currently physically inactive (not achieving at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week). The project works on a one-to-one basis to support people to overcome the barriers that are preventing them from getting active, helps them to identify an activity they would enjoy and supports them to take the first steps towards leading a more active lifestyle.

Research suggests that leading an active lifestyle can have a beneficial effect on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s. Being physically active can help people to manage the physical and psychological symptoms of their condition, including supporting them to manage tremors and improving core strength and mobility, as well as contributing to positive mental wellbeing.

Parkinson’s UK wants to work with local partners and professionals who are trusted voices and can identify people who will benefit the project; especially those in communities which are diverse, socially isolated or marginalised.

Parkinson’s Power is:
• a two year pilot project (2019-2021) funded by Sport England in the North East of England
• for people diagnosed with any stage of Parkinson’s
• for people aged 55 and over and inactive (not achieving at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week)

Physical activity includes things such as walking, swimming, gardening, seated exercise, exercise classes

If you or someone you know could benefit from Parkinson’s Power, please contact Jasmine Danby on: 07975 947879 or email: parkinsonspower@parkinsons.org.uk

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

 

 

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

Older People

A Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing

NHS England, in partnership with Age UK, Public Health England, and the Chief Fire Officer’s Association and older people themselves, has published a Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing.

The guide helps people to stay physically and mentally well by providing hints and tips on how to keep fit and independent. It recognises, as we all should, that there is always something we can do to improve our health and wellbeing. For older people who may be starting to find things more difficult to do, it is particularly important to take active steps to slow down or reverse some of the health challenges we are all likely to face.

To help people understand their potential risk of living with frailty, the guide includes a simple, walking speed test. Taking more than five seconds to cover a distance of four metres is highly indicative of frailty, with the proviso that there is no obvious alternative reason for walking slowly such as a previous stroke or knee/hip arthritis. This is not meant to be a diagnosis, but it can provide a good indication that someone should consider making changes to their daily lives so that they can better manage their frailty or reduce the chance of it becoming more serious.

Download the Guide

Quarterly Report October – December 2018

As independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we listen to your experiences of using these services.  This report shares the themes from the feedback we received between 1 October to 31 December 2018.

We receive feedback and enquiries by:

  • Talking to people at local community events
  • Telephone calls, emails and social media
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups on specific issues

Healthwatch Northumberland is open to all feedback about health and social care services but respondents to our Annual Survey identified five priorities for specific focus these are mental health services, dementia care services, home care, GP services and access to services.

Between October and December 2018 we had 98 individual pieces of unsolicited feedback and we spoke with approximately 530 people face to face. We attended flu clinics at GP practices in Tynedale, North Northumberland and Castle Morpeth, talking to a wide range of older residents and those with long term conditions and learning disabilities. We were at Morpeth, Berwick, Prudhoe, and Widdrington libraries during Library Week. We also attended “Winter Warmer” and SEND events, the Carers’ Rights
Day at Berwick and spoke at the Belford Parish Council and the Belford Practice Patient Participation Group.

Read the October to December 2018 report in full.

 

Events

Making Every Contact Count

Making Every Contact Count is an approach that uses the millions of day to day interactions that organisations and people have with other people to support them in making positive changes to their physical and mental health and well being.

Making changes such as stopping smoking, improving diet, increasing physical activity, losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption can help people to reduce their risk of poor health significantly.

The voluntary and community sector has many contacts every day with individuals and is ideally placed to engage the population in healthy conversations.  It is not easy for everyone to raise questions about lifestyle behaviours.  It requires a range of skills and knowledge to gain confidence to support and direct people. Training is being provided specifically for the voluntary and community sector by Northumbria Healthcare.

Arranged in partnership with Northumberland CVA, this training is aimed at those who work with the public and wish to understand how they can talk to people about health, wellbeing and healthy lifestyle choices.  It is a free course for voluntary and community sector staff and volunteers.

The course will provide you with an understanding of health promotion and public health and enable you to identify opportunities to promote healthy messages/ brief advice.  You will also gain knowledge and understanding of tools and skills that can be used to engage people about their health and well being and signposting opportunities. Please register here.

 

Listening Event: Annual Survey Blyth Sports Centre

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home. You can feed back as a patient or carer.

By telling us about the care you received you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what’s important to you, what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Blyth Library

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home. You can feed back as a patient or carer.

By telling us about the care you received you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what’s important to you, what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Hexham Hospital

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Morpeth Riverside

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Wooler

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

This event is being held in conjunction with Wooler patient participation group.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Morpeth Library

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved, and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event – Annual Survey Haltwhistle Leisure Centre

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

This event is the Bridge Project Employability Hub so if you’re there it would be great if you have a couple of minutes to talk to us.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Village Surgery

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Forum Practice

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.