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March 2017 Edition

In this issue:

PPG Spotlight

Community Conversation - PPGs

Annual General Meeting: Save the date

Maternity Services Liaison Committee seeks new members

Students help patients with GP online

CCGs win funding to launch innovative online services for elderly patients

Pharmacists are a parent's best friend

Dr Ruth Chambers - "Ask the Doctor" column

Patient Reference Groups for STP

Domestic Violence: What help is available?

Health Awareness Days


Welcome from ....

Mike Edgley photoMike Edgley - Lay Member
I am pleased to introduce myself as the new Lay Member for North Staffordshire CCG, having joined the CCG in January 2017.

I previously worked for Staffordshire Police, working in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent for over 20 years. I worked in uniform on the beat, and in many other policing roles including murder investigations. This range of experiences has given me a good understanding of the local population and economy and the pressures faced across public services in the local area.
In 2005, I was promoted to the rank of Superintendent in Merseyside Police as Head of Performance and also worked as an Operations Commander in the Knowsley area. In 2010 I was seconded as Chief Superintendent to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the government's scrutiny body for the police service of England and Wales. During my time at HMIC, I carried out national inspections of police forces to assess Value for Money, police integrity, efficiency and effectiveness as well as how the police treat vulnerable people and communities. I retired from policing in 2013, although I still undertake some contract work with HMIC.
Coming from a family of public servants, my father was a GP and his mother a nurse, I have a particular interest in applying my skills and knowledge from HMIC to health services and I have a keen interest in the use of resources and changing processes to make the way we work more efficient.
In the 3 months that I’ve been at the CCG I’ve become involved in the joint governance board, finance and performance meeting, audit meeting, joint planning meeting and the primary care commissioning meeting. I think it's fair to say I am still getting to grips with understanding the structures and processes involved and, of course, the many acronyms!

In the spotlightPatient Participation
Group Spotlight  

Audley PPG

Audley PPG produce a video about the role of PPGs within GP practices

The Chair of the PPG at Audley Health Centre, David Hardy, has been involved in creating a video to help promote PPGs. The video, which features on Audley PPG’s Facebook page, covers some key points about the role of PPGs and what support is available locally.
Some of the questions that are covered in the video include:
- What role do PPGs play?
- How can technology help?
- What is the future for PPGs?
- Why is engagement important?

David talks about how he first became involved with his GP practice’s PPG back in 2009, and explains how PPGs are key in finding out what is important to local patients. He also discusses how PPGs across North Staffordshire have worked together and networked to help each other set up PPGs.
When asked about why Audley PPG wanted to make the video, David said “If this video can help to encourage a few more people to become involved with their GP practice’s PPG then that’s got to be worthwhile”.
Watch the video to find out more:
To get involved with your PPG, contact your GP practice.

If your PPG would like to feature in the "PPG Spotlight" and to share details about your PPG's activity, please email

Community Conversation
- Patient Participation Groups

The next Community Conversation will take place on:
Wednesday 26 April 2017 from 1.30pm to 4.30pm
at Bridge Centre, Birches Head Road, Stoke - on - Trent, ST2 8DD
(SatNav users can also use ST1 6NA)

The event will focus on Patient Participation Groups and will include:
  • A practice perspective on how PPGs can support their practice in improving the health and wellbeing of the local community
  • Social prescribing – what does it mean, and what could it mean for PPGs?
  • Virtual PPGs and how social media can support their communications
We will have discussions about what works well, what support PPGs need, what the barriers are to an effective PPG and possible solutions to these.

There will be information stalls to include PPGs sharing best practice and to meet the Patient Congresses, local voluntary sector organisations and local health organisations. 

To book a place at the event, please email

If you have any examples of best practice from your PPG, and particularly if you would like to showcase your PPG's good work, please email

Annual General Meeting - Save the date:
Tuesday 18 July 2017

North Staffordshire CCG and Stoke-on-Trent CCG will hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) as a meeting in common on Tuesday 18 July 2017, at Bet 365 Stadium, Sir Stanley Matthews Way, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 4EG. 

The AGM will be followed by a Community Conversation event which will be a health technology expo, demonstrating a wide range of apps and technology available to support people's health and wellbeing.

Please save the date and look out for more information in the next issue of the newsletter.

Maternity Services Liaison Committee seeks new members

  • Are you a parent-to-be or a new parent?
  • Are you interested in being involved in the development of maternity services locally? 
If so, then please consider joining the Maternity Services Liaison Committee.

maternity imagesThe committee is 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 meets every few months and is the chance for new and expectant parents to share their experiences about maternity care.  The group uses these valuable views and opinions to help shape maternity services.
Details of the next meeting:

Friday 28 April from 12.00 - 2.00pm
Burslem Children's Centre
Vale Park Enterprise Centre, Hamil Rd, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 1AW

If you are interested in coming along to the meeting, or you would like to find out more, please contact Gemma Hall on 01782 298002 or

Staffordshire students help patients to log on to GP services online   

Four medical students from Keele University have been helping patients to log onto the internet to show them that managing their health needs is easier than ever with modern technology.

Trainee doctors Daniel Sim, Alex Delaney, Grace Markham and Clarisse Nirere ran a series of drop-in events at three GP practices between 20-28 February as part of their community leadership projects to encourage patients to sign up and start using the NHS Patient Online service.

Using Patient Online, people can book or cancel appointments with their GP or request a repeat prescription. The service is available via a website, saving patients a visit or phone call to the surgery and allowing them to do what they need to do when the surgery is closed. Smartphone and tablet users can also download an app.

GP online services make use of secure computer systems which are already being used by surgeries. Users can also read their own GP record and check test results before speaking to their GP if they want to. 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.

The service is free and 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 by visiting the NHS Choices website at

CCGs win funding to launch innovative online services for elderly patients 

Health commissioners in northern Staffordshire have been awarded £272,000 to set up an innovative service linking GPs with their elderly patients and care home staff through online video technology.

North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs have been given £136,000 each by NHS England to buy equipment for their ‘Making Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) a Reality in Elderly Care’ scheme.

Under the initiative, selected GP practices and nursing and residential homes in the region will use portable computer tablets loaded with audio visual programmes, the CCGs’ Florence telehealth system, health management apps and video consultation technology, linking them with an extended network of primary care, mental health and palliative care staff, community pharmacists and geriatricians.

Dave Sanzeri, Head of Commissioning at the CCGs, said: “Meeting the care needs and improving services for frail and elderly people through a new model of care is one of our CCGs’ highest priorities and this funding will allow us to harness the benefits of modern technology to provide better healthcare.  Using this technology can improve health outcomes for patients and residents in care homes by offering their carers speedy access to extended expert primary care support, giving our patients effective care from integrated health teams.”

For more information, please visit

Pharmacists are a parent’s best friend for childhood winter illness! 

Spring may be just around the corner, but as the cold weather continues parents in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can get the best help for dealing with common childhood winter illnesses by seeking advice from their local pharmacy.

Young children are more vulnerable to coughs, colds and infections because their immune systems are still developing. That means they tend to become ill more often than adults and take longer to recover, particularly during the winter when a large number of common illnesses are circulating.

Although it can be worrying when a child becomes poorly, the vast majority of winter illnesses can be managed at home using over-the-counter medicines available from a pharmacist.

Parents are therefore encouraged to visit their local pharmacy first when their children become ill – and be prepared by taking a pharmacist’s advice on the available remedies.

The following tips from North Staffs CCG may help your child cope with the symptoms of a common cold:
  • Encourage your child to rest and make sure they drink plenty of fluids – water is fine, and warm drinks can be soothing.
  • Liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen can help ease fever and discomfort – check the dosage instructions on the packaging. Never give aspirin to children under the age of 16.
  • A warm, moist environment can ease breathing if your child has a blocked nose. Take them to into the bathroom and run a hot bath or shower, or use a vaporiser to humidify the room.
  • Keep your child’s bedroom aired and at a comfortable temperature and don’t let them get too hot – cover them with a lightweight sheet, for example.
For more advice on staying well this winter visit

Dr Ruth Chambers
- Sentinel "Ask the Doctor" column

Dr Ruth ChambersDr Ruth Chambers continues to feature in the Sentinel with her weekly column "Ask the doctor". Recent articles have included depression, eating disorders, muscle and joint pain, and asthma.

The column appears in the printed newspaper on a Tuesday - links to the the latest features are below:-

Patient Reference Groups for the
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)

Together we're betterPatients and members of the public can now apply to join Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) patient reference groups. The creation of the patient reference groups are the next stage in the STP following the series of ten “Conversation Staffordshire” and “Conversation Stoke-on-Trent” events, hosted by both local Healthwatch organisations during November and December 2016, which were attended by more than 200 people.

The STP, which was published on Thursday 15 December 2016, will now look to develop more detailed plans local health and social care services. The patient reference groups will support the development of these plans by generating ideas, meeting with key clinicians and commenting on the proposals. 
To find out more information about the Patient Reference Groups and STP workstreams please visit:
If you would like to apply to join a patient reference group or for more information, please contact Healthwatch Staffordshire via  Freephone 08000518371 or; or Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent on 01782 683080

Domestic Violence: What help is available?

This year, for Red Nose Day, local NHS services are supporting the Comic Relief charity to help victims of domestic abuse.

Red Nose Day takes place on March 24 and once every two years the well-known charity raises money for a number of projects across Africa and in England. For this year’s effort, there are several issues being focused on, including domestic violence in England.  

In light of this, doctors at North Staffordshire CCG are advising local residents to speak up if they or someone they know is experiencing domestic violence. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse, in couple relationships or between families, are all examples of domestic violence.

Both women and men can be affected by domestic abuse and anybody can be an abuser. There is plenty of help available for those who need it and it is important to remember you’re not alone; there is always someone to talk to.

You can get help and support from a number of places:
  • National Domestic Violence helpline (women only) 0808 2000 247, free 24-hour helpline run in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge.
  • Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327 (free, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or Mankind on 01823 334 244
  • If it is an emergency, you can call 999
  • Talk to your GP
To fine out more about support and services that are available, read the full article on the CCG's website

Awareness Days

Autism Awareness Week : 27 March - 2 April 2017


Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

Local help and advice:-

World Bi-Polar Day : 30 March 2017

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.  Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe and different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. 
NHS Mental Health Teams can provide mental health assessment, support and counselling or therapy through a variety of services.  People are often referred into these services ( a GP) but you can also access them direct, particularly if you are seeking urgent support.   NHS Mental Health Access Team for Stoke on Trent and North Staffordshire Tel: 0300 123 0907 open 24 hours every day.  (Also phone this number for 'Healthy Minds' service.)  NSCHT NHS Mental Health Access Team 

There is also a North Staffordshire Bipolar Support Group who belong to the national network of local groups run by Bipolar UK.  This group meets on second Wednesday of every month from 7pm – 9pm at the Quaker Meeting House,  2 Miller Street, Newcastle ST5 1QJ.

Group meetings are friendly, confidential and informal and are open to all individuals affected by bipolar including those with a diagnosis, those pre-diagnosis, their family members, friends and carers.  Just turn up at the meeting or e-mail         More information

Parkinson’s Awareness Week  : 10—16 April 2017
One person in every 500 has Parkinson's. That's about 127,000 people in the UK.  Symptoms and how quickly they progress are different for everyone. 
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition.  People with Parkinson's don't have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died.  Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things.  The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson's to appear.  Parkinson's doesn't directly cause people to die, but symptoms do get worse over time.  There's currently no cure, but drugs and treatments are available to manage many of the symptoms.
Parkinson’s UK North Staffordshire Branch offers information, friendship and support to local people with Parkinson's, their families and carers.  There are regular events and social activities so that you can meet other people affected by Parkinson's in your area.  The group meet every Wednesday,  11am—2.30pm at Elim Pentecostal Church, Heath Street, Chesterton, Newcastle  ST5 7PY
More information

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