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December 2016 Edition

In this issue:

PPG Spotlight

Patient Congress Recruitment

My Care My Way - Home First

Patient Online

Use 111 when it's not a 999 emergency

Pharmacy Opening Times - Christmas and New Year

What's Your Emergency?

Reminder - Neurology Survey

Dementia Action Alliance

STP Publication

SEND Family Partnership Group

Healthwatch Priority Survey

North Staffs Carers Association - What's On

Worried about Norovirus?

Christmas Food Safety

No-one should have no-one at Christmas

Health Awareness Days

Welcome from ....

Sally Parkin photo

Sally Parkin - Clinical Director for Partnerships and Engagement

Looking back over 2016, the NHS has rarely been out of the national news and here in Staffordshire we have experienced our fair share of challenges.  Our CCG staff have been out and about at many public events over the past 2 months, meeting with local people in the Moorlands, Newcastle and across the city of Stoke-on-Trent. I am always heartened that so many people care enough to give up their own time to listen and share their views.

The NHS belongs to all of us and we will need to work together if we are to resolve the very real challenges we face as we endeavour to commission safe high quality care for the whole community at the same time as balancing the books.
In this edition you can find information about the Staffordshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan.  This is the start of a journey that will bring NHS commissioners and provider trusts, local authorities, the voluntary sector and patients together to shape and deliver our future health and care services.
As we enter the festive season may I wish you health and happiness and I look forward to continuing our work together in 2017.
Merry Christmas image

North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group would like to wish you all ...

In the spotlightPatient Participation
Group Spotlight  

Birches Head Medical Centre and
Hulton House Surgery

The PPG has shared some information about the work their patient group has done over the past 3 years in order to improve services for patients. Some of the examples of the good work that has been done include:
  • Automatic doors to both Birches Head Medical Centre and Hulton House surgery. 
  • Following feedback from the Patient Survey, our surgery building now opens at 8:20am instead of 8:30am to allow patients to wait inside who have an 8:30am appointment. 
  • Water machines have been installed at each Practice and high back chairs are now provided for patients who find low back chairs a problem. 
  • We have changed our old 0844 phone number to a local 01782 number to help our patients. We received huge technical support from Phil who is a member of our Patient group! 
  • CPR Training – Carol, our patient group chair, went to great lengths to organise Heart Start to come out and provide FREE CPR training for our patients. 

Five Towns Surgery - Dementia Awareness Day

Five Towns Surgery held a Dementia Awareness Day in partnership with Approach, on Friday 11 November.

Will Boyce from Approach ran a dementia friends training session, and 7 more staff from the practice were trained at the session.

There were a number of fundraising activities, as well as a stand to raise awareness of dementia.

£200 was raised for Approach, and this money will go towards providing support for people with dementia.

Practice Manager Di Adams, presenting a cheque to Will Boyce from Approach.

Patient Congress Recruitment


Are you interested in the quality of NHS Services?
Want to be a ‘patient voice’ in North Staffordshire?
Want to help shape present and future NHS Services?
Could you support the CCG to engage meaningfully with patients and members of the public?

If ‘YES’ – why not apply to be a member of our Patient Congress for 
NHS North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)?

The Patient Congress is a forum that works with the CCG to help shape the quality and nature of current and future health services. The Patient Congress is currently recruiting - several posts are available, and we are looking for a wide range of individuals from all ages and backgrounds.

For more information about what is involved and how to apply please visit

My Care My Way - Home First update

my care my way home firstThe CCGs arranged a further My Care My Way - Home First engagement event after receiving a request to hold an event in the Newcastle area. This event took place on Wednesday 14 December at Bradwell Lodge community centre between 5.30-7.30pm.   

Over 175 people have attended across the five public events that have taken place. All feedback from the events, including the questions and answers from the Q&A sessions, and the additional questions that people submitted, will be publicised via the CCGs' websites and sent out to all attendees.

More details about the proposals and engagement are available on the CCG's website:-

Patient Online

Patients registered at GP surgeries in North Staffordshire are being urged to log on to the internet as the online revolution makes managing their health needs easier than ever. People can now book or cancel appointments with their GP or request a repeat prescription over the internet or by using a smartphone.
   Gp online services
The GP online service, which is available across the country, is available online via a website, saving patients a visit or phone call to the surgery and allowing them to do what they need when the surgery is closed. Smartphone and tablet users can also download an app to give them access to the service. Users can also read their own GP record and check the results of tests, before speaking to their GP if they want to.

Stoke-on-Trent CCG Clinical Accountable Officer Dr Andrew Bartlam said: “Many of our patients have told us that they value the convenience of being able to make an appointment at any time day or night, or requesting a repeat prescription without having to visit the surgery. By freeing up the phone lines, they also make it easier for patients who can’t or don’t want to use GP online services to get through to surgery staff by phone.”

He added: “Having access to their GP records also means that people are more in control of their health and well-being. This is particularly helpful for people who are living with a long-term health condition such as diabetes that needs regular checking and frequent prescriptions."

People can only see their own information – including details of medication, allergies, vaccinations, previous illnesses and test results - but they can make arrangements with their local surgery for family members or carers to access their records if they wish.

The service is free and works alongside traditional methods of accessing GP services - it does not replace them. Everyone who is registered with a GP can have access to their practice's online services.

You can register for GP online services by visiting your GP surgery, or find out more by visiting the NHS Choices website at

Use 111 when it's not a 999 emergency

111 banner

If you are not sure what local NHS services are available over Christmas and the New Year, or if you are not sure which service to use, then call 111.
For more information visit

Pharmacy Opening Times
- Christmas and New Year


Please follow the link for a list of the pharmacy opening times for Christmas and New Year across Staffordshire.

Please also bear in mind that many GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours between Christmas and New Year. If you have a long-term condition or take regular medication, please remember to order and collect your repeat prescription in plenty of time.

What's Your Emergency?

University Hospital of North Midlands has launched a campaign called "What's Your Emergency?". 

Over the coming weeks, staff from the hospital will be giving a combination of advice about different illness and conditions, how people can be prepared for winter, what they can do for others and the services that are on offer. 

What's Your Emergency banner

The first video is from Liam, a pharmacist, who explains what people can do to get ready for the festive period and possibly prevent needing to come to hospital at a later date. 

Watch the video by following the link -

Reminder - Neurology Survey

We would like to remind members about the Neurology survey that the CCGs have developed to gather views about the neurology services. This is part of the review of current neurology services for patients with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson's Disease and Epilepsy.  

The CCGs would value the views of patients and carers about current provision and any improvements they might like to suggest. Anyone wanting to take part in the survey can access it via this link -
Alternatively there is a PDF version of the questionnaire which can be returned free of charge using the following freepost address:
Freepost Plus RTAA-XTHA-LGGC
Communications and Community Relations
Staffordshire CSS
Heron House
120 Grove Road
The survey closing date is Friday 30th December 2016.

Dementia Action AllianceDementia Action Alliance 

Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs have been accepted as local members of the Dementia Action Alliance.

Dementia Action Alliance is an alliance of over 150 health and social care professionals in England who connect, share outstanding practice and take action on dementia. Everything the alliance does is in partnership, and informed by people living with dementia, and those that care for them.

DAA captures and promotes outstanding practice, and enables it to grow and spread to benefit many more people. They facilitate members to take action on dementia through their Action Plans, which are made public on the DAA website. To find out more about DAA, please visit

Having joined the DAA, the CCG has committed to develop and deliver an action plan, which has three components. These include commitments to hold Dementia Friends’ sessions for CCG staff, to take part in events to raise public awareness of dementia, and to work with GP practices to ensure that staff and surgeries are dementia aware and friendly.  

The action plan will be updated on a quarterly basis. To review the CCGs’ action plan and quarterly updates on the DAA website please follow the link – Action Plan

Publication of Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for developing local health and social care services over the next five years was published on Thursday 15 December 2016, for further public discussion and feedback.

This follows on from a series of ten “Conversation Staffordshire” and “Conversation Stoke-on-Trent” events hosted by both local Healthwatch organisations during November and December. Full reports on the events will be made available by Healthwatch. A summarised version of the STP has also been published today and the “you said we did” section demonstrates how health and care leaders are already taking that feedback on board.

The local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and NHS providers in the county provide services to 1.1 million people, and between now and 2019 it is anticipated the number aged 85+ will rise by 22%. This means that more people than ever before will require support in old age. The current health and care system is not currently designed to cope with, or afford, this so we need to find new ways of working.

The plan recognises that a person’s mental health needs must be treated on an equal basis with their physical health needs. This is embedded throughout all aspects of the proposals with the aim of removing stigma and ensuring that people are treated as individuals rather than a set of symptoms. Better use of digital technology, for example shared patient records, will give health and care professionals access to more information quickly.

The STP, one of 44 nationwide, is about all health and social care partners working together and with local people to join up and improve health and care within the budgets available. These changes and many more need to be achieved against the backdrop of a challenging financial position. In four years’ time health and social care in Staffordshire will be in deficit, so unless action is taken there will be a funding gap of £542m.

For further details view the full press release.
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent STP submission
summarised version of the STP has also been published.

SEND Family Partnership Group are looking for parent volunteers

SEND Family Partnership (formerly Parent Partnership) is for parents and carers of children and young people aged 0 to 25, with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 

It is important that parents and families of children and young people with SEND’s views are heard. This can help ensure that services are delivered to meet the needs of this group of children and young people aged 0 to 25. Meetings will be held both within the Newcastle and Moorlands area and occasionally in other areas of Staffordshire. There will also be opportunities to take part in working groups on specific issues.

If you would be interested in helping by sharing your ideas and experiences please contact or telephone Ricarda on 07966 328826 for more details.
For more information about the group, please visit

Healthwatch Priority Survey

Healthwatch Staffordshire are exploring cuts to health and social care services in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. They would like to hear about people's experiences and the impact that service cuts have had on their quality of life.

This project is very timely as it links in with work that Healthwatch is doing to explore public ideas and suggestions as to where funding should be targeted, how money can be spent more efficiently, and, in circumstances where cuts have to be made, how this can be achieved with minimal impact.

The findings from this survey will be combined with other engagement activities to help inform the STP.  Please follow the link to have your say:

The survey will be open until the beginning of February 2017.

Healthwatch Staffordshire

North Staffs Carers Association - What's On

Carers Association poster

Worried about Norovirus? Stay Well this Winter

Man feeling ill
You may be unlucky enough to know that Norovirus (also known as the “winter vomiting bug”), is around again. It's a very contagious virus which can cause nausea, projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea.

It spreads by contact with droplets on contaminated surfaces, via an infected person or infected food or water. 
hand washingYou can stop the spread of the virus by washing your hands with soap and water (alcohol gel does not kill the virus) before preparing food, after using the toilet, or if you have been sick. It's also important to properly clean infected surfaces.
People with norovirus usually get better by themselves within 1-2 days, but make sure you stay well hydrated- especially children and the elderly.
Please do not visit A&E or your GP if you think you may have norovirus as there is no treatment or vaccine and you can easily spread the illness. If you are worried call NHS 111.  If you have symptoms it is important to avoid visiting hospitals or other places such as care homes and schools, as ill people, the young and the elderly are more likely to become unwell with the virus.

Christmas Food Safety 

Christmas is often a busy and stressful time. Cooking for more people than normal can mean having to handle different defrosting and cooking times for food, making sure that large amounts of food are stored safely, and that any leftovers don’t go to waste.
The ‘Food Standards Agency Freezer Fairy’ is providing advice and tips on freezing foods. These will help you to plan meals and work out what and when to cook, freeze and defrost in order to have a less stressful and wasteful Christmas. The advice and tips are especially relevant to those of us on a tight budget as we look to make food go further during the festive season.
christmas lunch

No-one should have no-one at Christmas

The festive season is traditionally a fun time with family and friends, but for people struggling to cope with a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or stress, Christmas and the New Year can be a difficult time. 

stressed when shoppingThere are many pressures that can make us anxious, stressed or depressed at this time of year, from the worry of falling into debt; overcrowded shops; trying to find the perfect gift; or the pressures that can come from spending an extended time with families and relatives.

A lot people also feel lonely over the festive season because of bereavement, divorce or separation from their family.  

There are a range of local NHS and support services offering practical and emotional help to anyone feeling lonely, stressed, anxious or low during the Christmas period.
signposting to help
Feelings of stress, anxiety or isolation can intensify over the Christmas and New Year period. There are some excellent services and support networks in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire that exist to provide help, so anybody who is feeling low during this, or any other time, should seek this support.

Awareness Days

Dry January  no drinking
January 1—31 2017
Join the millions and go dry this January!
79% of participants save money
62% of participants have better sleep and more energy
49% of participants lose weight.
Every hour someone loses a loved one to alcohol. The money raised through Dry January helps Alcohol Concern, the national charity dedicated to tackling the harm caused by alcohol to individuals, families and society.
Ever wondered what your usual tipple adds up to in terms of units or calories? Well here’s your chance to find out – try the impact calculator at

National Obesity Awareness Week
January 11—17th 2017

National Obesity AwarenessJanuary 11th through to the 17th, you can join in a national New Year’s resolution to help improve the nation’s health.  Whether it’s cooking more healthily, avoiding snacks, or being a little more physically active, join in National Obesity Awareness week and make your healthy New Year’s resolution now!
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