I am so pleased to introduce myself as the new Director of Nursing and Quality for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs.
I am a Registered Mental Health Nurse and completed my training in Staffordshire in 1990 where I continued to work within acute mental health and later forensic nursing. In 1999 I was appointed by the Royal College of Nursing, where I represented Nurses and nursing across the East Midlands. In addition to nursing, I have occupied senior leadership positions in the fields of HR, public relations, organisational development, corporate affairs and PPI (Patient, Public Involvement).
My role within PCTs took me to a position where I led on the publication of the Francis Report for South Staffordshire PCT, dealing with local politics, media and engaging with the public during a challenging time for people, patients, staff and carers in Staffordshire, and indeed the wider NHS. This was a pivotal time in my career and I returned to specialising on my nursing roots and making things better for patients and the people we serve.
Following the Health and Social Care Act 2012 I went to work as a Deputy Director of Nursing in NHS England, where I led on various transformation projects, most notably Transforming Care for people with Learning Disabilities.
I am absolutely passionate about providing patients with the best possible experience of the care we commission and I use my experience in both NHS commissioning and provider organisations to influence this, and I will continue to do this to the very best of my ability.
I also think it’s important you know a little bit about who I am behind the role. I am married to Mike and between us we have three daughters, the two older ones work in the NHS in Newcastle-on-Tyne and the youngest is at University in Leeds and we are very proud of all three of them. I spend my time outside of work exercising, I’m a very keen weight lifter, and also I enjoy spending time with people, not just friends and family, but people I come across on a daily basis, such as when I’m walking the dogs. Talking to people that I don’t know all that well, helps me understand the needs of people and how important it is that I make sure that I do my job well for all people across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and the wider areas.
I look forward to working with you - our membership. I am always happy to talk, and more importantly listen, so that together we commission services that meet the health care needs of our population.
Taking a positive step forward
Ashley Walking for Health Group
During August Ashley Surgery PPG launched a Walking for Health Group. The group have gone on to meet monthly on the first Thursday of the month, and will meet again on December 1st.
In this article Bernard Bester shares his experience of the group’s first expedition.
A small group of local patients of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) met at The Loggerheads Hotel car park at 2pm. Tracey Masterton, a member of staff from Ashley surgery led the group on its first walk, which on this occasion was around the lovely Burntwood area. Many of the walkers whilst being local residents for many years had never visited that particular area and were delighted with the gentle ambience of the area. Group members who were well accustomed to exercising in Burntwood spoke of their past experiences and encounters with the local wildlife.
The walk lasted for almost an hour with the pace at the back of the group dictated by the slowest walker. On arrival back at the Loggerheads Hotel everyone agreed that the walk had been a great success and had been most enjoyable, not only for the beneficial gentle exercise but also for the different conversations, companionship and friendships which were already beginning to form.
The benefits of walking are well known and undisputed. We know that walking is of particular benefit to those with heart and lung problems. It is perhaps fitting therefore that the initial walk took place on the site of the Loggerheads Sanatorium. The “Sani” was built on that site very many years ago because of the quality of the local air. Many residents from North Staffordshire and further afield were to benefit from its creation and development. It was good to enjoy the same benefits as those patients from many years ago.
In addition to the benefits for heart and lung problems we also know that walking can help lower your blood pressure, help with weight loss and help to keep joints and muscles flexible and strong. Some of the less well known benefits are to do with mental health and mental well being. An overall lightening of one’s mood is a benefit. Additionally recent research has shown the benefits of walking in helping prevent the onset and development of Alzheimer’s.
If you are in any doubt about the value of walking for you personally, your GP or the Practice Nurse will be willing and able to give you personal advice.
There are many reasons for people to join a Walking for Health Group. If you would like to join Ashley PPG on their next walk, they will meet at 2pm on Thursday December 1st on The Loggerheads Hotel car park. New members will need to complete a registration form which is available from the Ashley Surgery and the Community Information Shop.
The next phase of the CCGs' My Care My Way - Home First engagement continues. The first two events took place in Hartshill and Leek on 10th and 15th November, with around 50 members of the public attending.
Marcus Warnes explained the CCGs' current position and why it had been necessary to temporarily close some of the community beds across the Northern Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent area.
Members of the public were given the opportunity to ask questions about the CCGs' proposals, as well as taking part in group discussions.
The CCGs would like to reassure people that over the past three years, there has been significant (£14.5 million) investment in improving the range and quality of community health services such as district nurses, intermediate care teams, therapy services and specialist nursing teams to make sure that support and care are based around the individual patient with the aim of delivering high quality care, closer to home.
We do however, recognise from patients' stories and experiences when we undertake our quality checks, that this is not enough, which is why next year we will be investing just under £5million in additional services including:-
Primary Care to support practices to proactively manage patients £500,000
Primary Care Dementia Liaison Service £150,000
Living Independently Service Staffordshire £1,300,000
Stoke on Trent Reablement £1,100,000
Additional Reablement for winter £600,000
Nursing Homes £1,100,000
GP Cover for Nursing Homes £175,000
Therapy wrap around cover £60,000
Dr Andrew Bartlam, Clinical Accountable Officer for Stoke-on-Trent CCG said, “Our key focus is to ensure that patients get intensive support and rehabilitation in their own home and close to home where possible, so they don’t need to go in to hospital unnecessarily. We think it is really important that a variety of healthcare services are available in the community and we'll carry on paying for healthcare in the community and services like district nursing and specialist nursing teams which offer care closer to home and stop people from having to go to hospital if they don’t have to."
There are two further events taking place (details below), so if you are interested in finding out more or sharing your views, please come along to one of these events. To book a place please email email@example.com or phone 0300 404 2999 ext 6852.
There is also a survey which people can use to share their views - My Care My Way Survey. The closing date for the survey is 9 December 2016.
The two Lay Board Members for Patient & Public Involvement on North Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups are set to involve the public in putting mental health services under the spotlight. They are seeking twelve individuals to act as members of a citizen’s jury on mental health in Northern Staffordshire. They are seeking a balanced jury of people who have experienced mental health services, either as patients or carers and also people with no experience but who have an interest in health care.
The role of jurors will be to:-
agree on how the jury will operate
prepare for and attend six meetings of the jury panel
read through associated evidence and material
agree on who should be invited to give evidence
develop recommendations to inform the commissioning of mental health services contribute to the final report : this may be by writing particular sections, or if preferred, by commenting on what others have written
The first meeting will be held in December 2016 at Smithfield One Building, Leonard Coates Way, Stoke -on-Trent, ST1 4FA.
Patients advised to use alternatives to A&E amid increasing pressures at Royal Stoke University Hospital
People are being advised to use alternatives to A&E at the Royal Stoke University Hospital if their condition is not an emergency. In recent days the hospital has been experiencing increasing demand and patients are being asked to reduce the pressure on services and delays for patients needing urgent care by seeking medical help from the range of other services available unless it is necessary.
Dr Steve Fawcett, Clinical Director for Acute Care at Stoke-on-Trent CCG, said: "There appears to be a very high demand at the Royal Stoke at the moment and we would urge people to speak to their GP rather than heading to hospital unless it is very serious - your GP is there to help. Also, calling NHS 111 is the best option if you are unsure. They will direct you to the most appropriate care quickly and efficiently."
Apart from GPs and NHS 111, other options include:
Self-care – treat minor illness and injury at home using a well-stocked stocked medicine cabinet.
Local minor injury units and walk-in centres in North Staffordshire are:
Haywood Hospital, High Lane, Burslem, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 7AG.
Tel: 01782 673500
Open: 7am-10pm Monday to Friday ; 9am-10pm at weekends
Leek Moorlands Hospital, Ashbourne Road, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 5BQ.
Tel: 0300 123 1894
Open every day from 8am to 8pm
Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre, Stafford Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 1LW.
Tel: 0300 123 6759
Open 8am-8pm seven days per week
– Long Term Conditions and Elderly Care
At the October Community Conversation discussions took place around patient and public experiences of both Long Term Conditions (all adults) and Elderly Care. Key themes discussed included communications, the voluntary sector and elderly care facilitators. Commissioners would now like to take this a step further, and explore with patients and the public both the interesting ideas raised on the day and any new ideas that may develop.
Reminder - Conversation Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
There are lots of challenges to our health and social care system and a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) is being developed to address these. If you live or work locally, Conversation Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is your chance to take part in an open discussion about your health services and the way they are delivered.
Conversation Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is about local people talking about real issues – through an open, two-way discussion. As published in the last newsletter, a number of public events taking place across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The date of the remaining event being held locally is:
Stay Well this Winter
- Man flu or actual flu
- It's Movember!
It’s Movember which means it’s that the time of year when all men are encouraged to take notice of their health. We all joke about man flu, but Stoke-on-Trent CCG is asking men if they can tell whether it is flu or just a common cold?
On average, adults can expect two colds a year and children as many as ten, until they develop immunity. Sometimes a bad cold can be mistaken for flu because a severe cold can also cause muscle aches and fever. But it’s how quickly the symptoms come on which is the biggest clue.
Flu usually comes quicker than a cold and symptoms include a high temperature of 38 – 40 degrees celsius, muscle aches and pains, sweating, feeling exhausted, needing to lie down and a dry chesty cough.
A person with flu may also have a runny nose and be prone to sneezing, but these are not usually the key symptoms of flu. Flu symptoms appear one-to-three days after infection and most people recover within a week, although you may feel tired for longer.
Colds on the other hand can cause more nasal problems. This includes a blocked and runny nose which begins with a clear mucus that develops into thicker green mucus as the cold progresses, a sore throat, sneezing and a cough.
Adults are also more likely to suffer a mild fever, earache, tiredness and headache. Cold symptoms develop over one or two days and gradually get better after a few days. Some colds can last for up to two weeks.
Unfortunately, colds and flu are an unpleasant part of winter. No one likes to be ill so whether you’re normally fit and well or if you have an underlying health condition it’s important to take notice of what your body’s telling you.
If you do start to feel ill the best thing to do is visit your local pharmacist for advice on cold and flu remedies that will help you feel better. If you’re taking other medication make sure you tell the pharmacist so that they can give you remedies that won’t interfere with your medication. Also take lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Other things to remember:
Have a free flu jab if you are over 65 or have an underlying health condition
Keep paracetamol or ibuprofen-based pain and fever treatment or cold remedies in the house. They will help with the symptoms of both colds and flu
If you are prescribed antibiotics because of a bacterial infection, make sure you finish the course
Sneeze into a tissue and put it straight in the bin – don’t carry it around and reuse over and over again
Have good hand hygiene – always wash hands with soap and water, particularly after sneezing and blowing your nose. Take the time to dry them properly as wet hands harbour and spread germs
Keep surfaces clean
Whether it’s a cold or flu, get medical help if you either have a chronic condition, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or have a very high fever as well as an unusually severe headache, abdominal or chest pain.
An initiative developed to reduce the number of hospital admissions for care home residents in North Staffordshire has won a coveted Nursing Times Award.
The care home project, a collaboration between Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust and North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), was awarded the Care of Older People award at the Nursing Times ceremony in London.
The project was recognised for its work in improving the quality of life and experience of care for Staffordshire care home residents.
It focuses on reducing unplanned hospital admissions for residents in care homes with high hospital admission rates through supporting, encouraging and educating care home staff on key clinical issues, providing timely clinical reviews and promoting proactive care in conjunction with general practitioners and wider community services.
Clinical lead for the project James Rushton, Clinical Nurse Associate based within North Staffordshire CCG said: “This award reflects the dedication of the clinical teams and local care home staff to work together for the benefit of residents in care homes. The award acknowledges the sustained effort of the project to improve the experience of care and outcomes for people living in care homes who are often the most vulnerable in our society and are prone to high numbers of hospital admissions.”
Wellbeing Service among best in England for helping mental health patients
The North Staffordshire Wellbeing Service team which supports people with mental health problems has been rated one of the best in the country for recovery rates among its patients.
The service delivers ‘talking therapies’ to people who are experiencing common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, OCD, phobias and panic attacks. Recently released figures from NHS Digital show that the wellbeing team achieved the 10th highest rate of recovery for patients out of 211 CCG-commissioned services across England in 2015-16 - and in the first six months of the current year recovery rates have been consistently higher.
The service is commissioned by North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to deliver the national Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme for people across Newcastle-under-Lyme and the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Dr Waheed Abassi, Clinical Lead for Mental Health at North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “As commissioners it is our aim to commission the most effective and high-quality services possible for our patients. We are delighted that North Staffordshire Wellbeing Service is providing such excellent support for people with mental health issues in North Staffordshire and that their efforts are being recognised.”
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent local transformation plan for children and young people's mental health
The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Local Transformation Plan for Children and Young People’s Mental Health was approved in October 2015. The additional funding released has enabled a major programme of investment to improve our local offer and mental health outcomes for children and young people.
The document below identifies progress against our key priorities in the last 12 months and where we hope to be by March 2017.
Growing older doesn’t mean you need to stop doing things you like to do, which help you keep fit and active. Ageing Well is the local Age UK service that promotes better health for men and women aged 50 and over throughout North Staffordshire. All the exercise-based activities can also help prevent you from falling by improving strength and balance.Age UK aim to improve the quality of life: adding years to life and life to years by encouraging older people to enjoy a healthy lifestyle — keeping as physically, socially and mentally active as possible by taking part in a stimulating and enjoyable range of group activities.
With help and support from qualified staff and trained volunteers. Ageing Well activities can bring many health benefits, such as—gaining more energy, keeping your mind active, helping with weight control, improving your sleep, promoting good mental health, reducing the risks of falling, heart disease, strokes, raised cholesterol, stress, arthritis and osteoporosis, gaining confidence and self-esteem and meeting new people and making new friends
There is a range of different activities to suit your interests and your needs in accessible venues across Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands. There is a small attendance charge to help cover costs, such as room hire. Whatever your circumstances or level of fitness and mobility, these rewarding activities offer a sense of achievement, friendship, and improved health and wellbeing.The activities programme includes:
Gentle chair-based exercise groups
Inspire and Include – sport for people with a long-term condition or disability
Falls safety and prevention pack distribution
Practical health and safety talks, for example on healthy eating, preventing falls, reducing blood pressure, being safe in your own home and while out and about.
Activities are organised by the Ageing Well staff team working closely with professionals in the health service and with Senior Health Mentors. Senior Health Mentor volunteers are carefully selected and vetted older volunteers who are trained by the charity to carry out some of the activities that we provide, and to encourage and support participants to get the most out of the sessions. This is a unique approach which recognises that older people themselves are an important health resource for each other, and for their community.
The C-Card is a plastic card that gives you quick and easy access to free condoms from a range of venues, including a number of pharmacies, doctors surgeries and supermarkets. Find your nearest venue to register, or speak to a member of the team on 0300 124 50 20.
Registration takes about 10 minutes. You will be asked a few simple questions by the worker, how old you are, your postcode etc. All the information is confidential and will not be passed on to anybody else.
It is a confidential service which also offers information and advice about sexual health and relationships. You can get free condoms using your card anywhere you see the C-Card logo. Read more.
Stress, anxiety and depression
"Why do I feel so down?"
"How can I feel happier?".
"Can I control my fears?"
Whatever you need to know about coping with stress, anxiety or depression, or just generally improving your emotional wellbeing, the NHS Choices Moodzone may help. It offers practical, useful information, interactive tools, and videos to support you on your way to feeling better.
If you want to talk to someone right away, the mental health helpline page has a list of organisations you can call for immediate help. These are helplines with specially trained volunteers who'll listen to you, understand what you're going through, and help you through the immediate crisis.
This year Staffordshire Buddies as the local delivery partner for HIV Prevention England is actively promoting National HIV Testing Week with the goal of increasing HIV knowledge and uptake in HIV Testing and are using 1 December World AIDS Day to ask everyone one question 'Are you HIV Aware?'. As a charity they are encouraging people to know their HIV status and get tested.
Testing can be done at Buddies and in partnerships with GPs, Hospitals, the Partnership Trust as well as the voluntary and community sector to reduce late diagnosis by providing more opportunities for HIV testing including rapid HIV testing.
Decembeard is an annual sponsored beard grow, where men ditch their shaving routines and grow a beard to raise awareness of bowel cancer and fund vital research to stop bowel cancer. Already bearded? Dye, ditch or decorate your beard and join in the fun.