Steve Fawcett -
Medical Director for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs
I am pleased to introduce myself as the new Medical Director for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs. While this is a new role, both for me and the CCGs, I was previously Clinical Director for Acute Services with Stoke-on-Trent CCG, a role I held for 3 years. I am already enjoying my new responsibilities for both CCGs as we strive to work in partnership to improve care for patients across the area.
My role as Medical Director focusses on ensuring that the clinical leadership of the CCGs is aligned with what the GP members and frontline clinical staff tell us is important for patients. It is about making sure that services are joined up and that quality is at the centre of all the care we deliver. With the prominent focus on the NHS in both the national and local media, we all know about the strain on local resources, but as clinicians working for the CCG we have to ensure that standards are maintained and that we have assurances about the quality of care for patients.
As a GP myself I hope that patients will feel confident that I always have their best interests at heart. I continue to see patients on my clinical days at my GP practice at Moorcroft Medical Centre, which gives me invaluable insight into the issues and concerns of local people, and the challenges they face in staying healthy and well. My time in practice also keeps me in grounded in the context of pressures affecting my GP colleagues on a day to day level.
Within the CCG I am keen to ensure that as an organisation we engage with local people and patients. The CCGs regularly hold events for people to come along and share their views, and as you will see, this month sees the latest Community Conversation which will focus on maternity and infant health. If you have recent experience in either having a baby, or helping a friend or family member who has had a baby, then please come along to share your views and experiences.
I’m looking forward to working with you and the local community to make sure we commission the best possible services for our local people.
Park Medical Centre - Combatting Loneliness
Health Awareness Promotion Event
Combatting loneliness was one of several health promotion events organised by Park Medical Centre’s Patient Participation Group in Leek during 2016. In conjunction with Leek U3A, Moorlands Home Link and Support Staffordshire, it ran for two weeks.
Winter months were looming so we wanted to showcase what was available in the community. For people who are mobile there are so many options to go out and make new friends and cultivate new interests. For example Leek U3A offer a wide range of activities, including sports, walking, table top games, dance, music, languages, crafts, trips out and holidays. There is something for everyone in a very sociable atmosphere. Or, one could share their skills with others by volunteering which can be so rewarding. Support Staffordshire have a wide range of organisations who are seeking local volunteers.
For those who are lonely but less active Moorlands Home Link run a visiting scheme – Befriending – and a telephone befriending scheme, they have around 50 members in Leek. They also collect members from around Leek for their Cheddleton Outreach Group every Friday morning. A Moorlands Home Link advisor was present in the Practice Waiting Room/Reception with the display one morning, Support Staffordshire was represented on another and Leek U3A were on site the remaining eight days.
All our events are advertised in the weekly newspaper - the (Leek) Post and Times. They are also publicised on the GP Practice Facebook page, the Envisage screen, the PPG Newsletter and the PPG Notice Board. All members of the public are welcome to visit us and use the range of information on the table and to talk to the advisors when on site.
Significant amounts of information were given out. Over 150 U3A brochures were taken away, a lot going out which would probably be seen by more than one person. An unintended, but positive, outcome was that all the U3A committee are now more aware of their role in combatting loneliness. Recently they held a half day event particularly aimed at male non-members, as men tend to be less social and more isolated than women. Another positive was that people who had joined following the PPG display tended to be 'younger' than many existing members.
Due to the events success we have been requested by the support organisations to repeat at a similar time next year. Loneliness can have a variety of health consequences and is not confined to older people, so perhaps an extra challenge will be to help younger ones.
- Maternity & Infant Health
North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs are holding their next Community Conversation Event which will focus on Maternity and Infant Health. Details of the event are in the attached poster and below:-
Tuesday 31 January 2017
Knutton Children's Centre, Blackbank Rd,
Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 6DH
This conversation will inform the way the CCGs commission services for maternity and infant health, including exploring the choices that are available to expectant and new mums and how they are supported to stay healthy.
We would like to encourage expectant mums, new parents and anyone who supports a new family member to get involved and share their experiences. Numbers are limited - places can be booked by emailing: email@example.com or calling Janet Carr on 0300 404 2999 ext 6852.
Maternity Services Liaison Committee (MSLC)
Are you a parent to be or a new parent (with pre-school children)?
Are you interested in being involved and contributing to the development of maternity services locally?
We would like to invite you to join the Staffordshire Maternity Services Liaison Committee, a group of local service user representatives and healthcare professionals whose aim is to ensure that local maternity services reflect the needs and wishes of the community.
The committee will bring together the different professions involved in maternity care alongside those who use the services. Every few months we invite new and expectant parents to come and see us so we can find out about the maternity care they have received or are receiving, gaining views and opinions to help shape maternity services.
Come and have your say! We would love to hear your experiences.
If you are interested please contact Sharon Cooper or Gemma Hall on 01782 298002
What's Your Emergency?
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust is running a campaign called 'What's Your Emergency?' During the campaign you will hear from a variety of frontline staff from across different departments. They'll be giving a combination of advice about different illness and conditions, how you can be prepared for winter, what you can do for others and the services that are on offer.
The 'What's Your Emergency?' campaign recognises that for everyone who has their own urgent health concern, it is their own emergency. Some of these concerns can be solved with a trip to the pharmacy, walk-in centre, GP surgery, a call to NHS111 or by self-care at home. For Life threatening emergencies, it's 999 or A&E. It's about matching the right person with the best service.
Stay Well this Winter -
Don't let the elderly and vulnerable "soldier on"
Local GPs are urging people to look out for their elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours this winter – and make sure they don’t ‘soldier on’ in silence as winter starts to bite. Older people and those with long-term health conditions are particularly susceptible to illness and isolation at this time of year, yet it can sometimes be difficult for those at risk to admit they need help.
Dr Alison Bradley, Clinical Chair of North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said winter is a time when communities should come together to support people in need – and encourage them to seek medical assistance before illness becomes so serious they need to be admitted to hospital.
“All too often we see elderly and vulnerable people having to be treated in hospital for lengthy periods with symptoms that might not have become so serious and could have been managed effectively at home if they’d only sought help sooner. This is often the result of people trying to ‘soldier on’ through adversity because they don’t want to cause inconvenience to their families or bother their GP or pharmacist with something they feel is insignificant.
“If you are aged over 75 or you are living with a long-term medical condition such as a respiratory illness, don’t wait when you’re feeling ill – get help straight away. Speak to your local pharmacist first and they’ll either recommend an over-the-counter medicine to alleviate your symptoms, or tell you if you need to see your GP.
“If you have a friend, neighbour or relative who is vulnerable then you can do your bit to help by checking in on them regularly and making sure they have everything they need to stay well this winter.”
The CCG has the following top tips for how to help elderly and vulnerable people you may know:
Drop in to see them and check if they are well at least once a week – and more often if the weather turns very cold.
Check if they are feeling well and don’t let them brush off your questions if you’re concerned they’re trying to hide an illness, particularly if they don’t seem their usual self or they look unwell.
If they are feeling ill, encourage them to visit their local pharmacist without delay – and give them a lift if you can.
Ask if you can collect any prescriptions they need or take them to their GP for any appointments.
Tell them to call 111 if they feel unwell when pharmacies are closed – a trained NHS health care adviser will be able to help them.
Make sure their home is heated to at least 18°C to 21°C throughout the winter.
Ensure they are eating well and have a good supply of essential and store-cupboard food to keep them going – and offer to help them with shopping if they struggle with mobility.
Encourage them to get heating and cooking appliances safety checked – and recommend a trustworthy gas and heating engineer or electrician if you know one.
If it snows, clear their path, front steps or doorway areas for them – or better still, encourage them to stay in.
Public Health England has launched a campaign to highlight the damaging effect smoking has on the heart, and is urging smokers to quit smoking in the new year.
The Smokefree campaign reveals that 45 people a day die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) caused by smoking, which is over 16,500 a year in England. CVD includes all diseases of the heart and circulation, including heart attacks and strokes.
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease by a quarter (24%) and doubles the risk of heart attack or stroke.
The Smokefree campaign coincides with the first year that all cigarettes in the UK will be sold in unattractive standard packs, with graphic picture health warnings.
Public Health England has released a short film featuring children’s TV and NHS doctor Dr Ranj and primary school children creating their own heartfelt messages about the dangers of smoking, inspired by the new standard packs.
A new campaign that highlights the surprising amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt found in everyday food and drink has been launched to encourage parents to ‘Be Food Smart’ and take control of their children’s diet.
Without realising it, we are all eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt. Over time this can lead to harmful changes on the inside and increases the risk of serious diseases in the future. Childhood obesity is a growing issue with figures showing that in England, more than 1 in 4 children aged 4-to 5-years-old and more than 1 in 3 children aged 10 and 11-years-old are overweight or obese.
The Be Food Smart campaign empowers families to take control of their diet by making healthier food and drink choices. The free app works by scanning the barcode of products, revealing the total sugar, saturated fat and salt inside and providing hints and tips adults plus fun food detectives activities for kids.
The campaign also includes distribution of 4.6 million free Be Food Smart packs to primary aged children and their families at local events across England.
Roadshow events will be touring the country with Be Food Smart branded stands appearing in shopping malls and supermarkets. Trained staff will be on hand giving live demonstrations of the new app, talking to shoppers, handing out consumer packs and answering any questions they might have. www.nhs.uk/change4life
Beth Johnson Foundation
- Free cooking course for cancer patients
Beth Johnson Foundation, in partnership with the local charity Groundworks, is offering a free 6 week ‘Cook and eat with and after cancer’ course. The course is a sociable and practical way to learn about and practice healthy eating, as well as exploring some of the issues around healthy eating during and after cancer treatment.
Have you experienced changes
to your health and social care services?
If so this questionnaire applies to you
Healthwatch Staffordshire are exploring cuts to health and social care services in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. Healthwatch want to hear from the public about your experiences and the impact that service cuts have had on your quality of life. This project is also exploring 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 share your views online before 3rd February.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week
22-28 January 2017
Every day in the UK 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. 3 women lose their lives from the disease every day.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35. 75% of cervical cancers are prevented by cervical screening (smear tests). However 1 in 4 women do not attend this potentially life-saving test.
#SmearForSmear asks as many people as possible to upload smeared lipstick selfies to social media with the message: Attend your smear, reduce your risk of cervical cancer to encourage more women to attend their smear test when invited. The campaign runs from 22-28 January during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
February is Raynaud's Awareness Month - to highlight Raynaud's and the work of the RSA they are asking you to “LOVEyourGLOVES!”. February is statistically the coldest month of the year and it is vital to wrap up warm and protect your extremities.
Raynaud's phenomenon is a common condition thought to affect up to 10 million people in the UK. In people who have Raynaud's, the small blood vessels in the extremities are over-sensitive to changes in temperature. This causes a Raynaud's attack where the fingers sometimes change colour, but not always, from white, to blue, to red.
A Raynaud's attack can be a very uncomfortable, possibly painful, process. It can also make everyday tasks, like buttoning a jacket or unzipping a purse, very difficult. Raynaud's symptoms generally affect the fingers and toes, but all extremities can be involved.
For more information about Raynauds and support please visit www.sruk.co.uk