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September 2016 Edition

In this issue:

Patient Participation Group (PPG) Spotlight

New Patient Surveys Launched

Launch of Antibiotics Campaign 2016/17

Community Conversation - Save the date

Falls Awareness Week 2016

North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs make a move

Children and Young People's Health and Well Being Programme Update

Be clear on Cancer

Affected by COPD?
Manage your symptoms in the warmer months

Find the sugar

Cut down on your calories

Deaf Awareness for Carers

Health Awareness Days



Anna Collins

Head of Communications and Engagement
Welcome to your latest newsletter in which we aim to keep you updated on the work of the Clinical Commissioning Group that covers North Staffordshire and how you can get involved in shaping the decisions that affect the services you receive.

I joined North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs on 8 August. I am a Chartered Marketer and my background is in policing. I worked for Cheshire Constabulary for 14 years in communications and engagement so I have a good understanding of the public sector, the financial challenges that face us, the need to be open, honest and transparent in all that we do.

I passionately believe that public service cannot be delivered efficiently and effectively without the involvement of service users.

Over the coming months, I will be working to introduce processes and opportunities for commissioners to better embed patient and public involvement in every step of the decisions they take. Especially when they change policies, practices or make decisions about local services. I will also work hard to make sure that we tell you about the difference you have made.

This newsletter includes several surveys and ways to get actively involved, please take these opportunities as they are your chance to have your say.

I am looking forward to finding new ways to communicate with you and will be writing to you later this month about how we can keep our records updated and how we can best keep you informed.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at our next Community Conversation.


Patient Participation Group (PPG) Spotlight  

Congratulations to Alton Surgery!
Huge congratulations to Alton Surgery who were rated as the best in the country in a NHS Patient Survey.

The practice beat almost 8,000 other surgeries in England for overall experience, with an astonishing 100% of patients saying they had confidence and trust in their GP, felt their doctor listened to them and gave them enough time and that they would recommend the practice to people moving to the area.
Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer at North Staffordshire CCG said to the practice "It is testament to your hard work and dedication that from hundreds of thousands of questionnaires filled in by patients across the country, your surgery was rated highest based on the seven key indicators in the NHS GP Patients Survey."

This is a great achievement for Alton Surgery and shows how important it is to listen to and act on the feedback we all get from patients.

A spokesperson from the Alton Surgery PPG said 'Congratulations to Dr. Brown and his team for providing a high standard of service to the patients at Alton surgery.  While we all recognise the excellent service we receive it is good that this has now been nationally recognised'.

Q&A with Five Towns Surgery

This month we’d like to welcome Practice Manager Di Adams, to share her experiences of working with PPGs….
Who is part of your PPG?
The PPG is made up of community members (including 2 local councillors). The PPG members work in partnership with the practice team, including our GPs.  
What sorts of things does your PPG get involved with?
We felt that we didn’t do particularly well on the GP survey, due to the language barrier (96% of our registered patients are from minority ethnic groups). From this we decided to carry out our own annual survey. The findings were brought back to the practice, and changes were then put into place. Changes have included adding an extra phone line and extra clinic times, as well as adjusting clinic times around Ramadan.
That sounds great. Are there other things that the PPG get involved with?

Yes, we run events together in the community, through which we provide education as well as having fun.
One of our big events in the community is the post Eid fun day. We have lots of fun activities for both children and adults, and the same time we invite local organisations along to provide support and education. We encourage mums to sit down and have henna painting, or enjoy a massage, to help them relax while the children play. Children are given a ‘passport’ in which they have to collect stamps through activities which they can exchange for a treat at the end. We encourage healthy eating, and have healthy food cooking on the day.
Wow, it sounds like you have a lot going on! Is there anything coming up that you’d like to share with our membership?
Yes, this year we became one of the first practices to be dementia friendly trained, and also part of the Dementia Action Alliance. In November we will be holding a dementia awareness day, on Friday November 18th. If you’d like to get involved please contact Gill Bell on 01782 222920.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before I let you get back to work?
In our CQC inspection we were rated as good across the board, along with some outstanding features. Our PPG members were an important part of this, and were interviewed as part of the process. I’d like to say thank you to our PPG members for all their hard work, and I’d like to encourage anybody reading this who has an interest in local health services to get involved with their PPG.

If this article has got you interested in becoming part of your local PPG, please speak to your GP practice for more information. 

PPG Survey Launched

North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs recognise the unique and important contribution that PPGs can make to the local NHS. This is why they have developed a survey in order to support and develop a network of strong PPGs across our area.

This survey has been sent to practice managers and PPG Chairs to complete and insights from the survey will be published in the October edition of this newsletter.
If would like any further information about this survey, please contact

Share your PPG news.....

If your PPG has a story to tell, please let us know and we will include this in the next edition of our newsletter. 


New patient surveys launched! 

North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent CCGs have launched four new surveys.

These surveys aim to gather patient and carer experiences of the following services:-

  1. Falls
  2. Community Nursing (e.g. district nursing and community matrons)
  3. Stroke
  4. Long Term Conditions

For more information and to take part in the first four surveys, please click here:

Gluten Free Prescribing

North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs are also seeking the views of patients, the public and stakeholders on the prescribing policy for gluten free foods.

An online survey is now live and will run until 12 noon on Friday 30th September. A background briefing and survey can be found below:

Gluten Free Background Briefing.pdf [pdf] 244KB

Gluten Free Pescribing Survey                      

If you would like further information please contact

Launch of Antibiotics Campaign 2016/17 


Dr Manir Hussain, Associate Director - Medicines Optimisation for North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups, urged people to take extra care of themselves as the nights draw in and more fall victim to seasonal colds, coughs and flus, but not to assume a course of antibiotics was the cure they required.
"Some people still believe antibiotics are the cure for winter colds and even flu," said Dr Hussain. "When people are struck down by a runny nose, headache, sore throat or sneezing, they often head straight to their GP to ask for antibiotics, not realising antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and will not work on colds of flu, which are caused by viruses.
Dr Manir said over and above the fact antibiotics are simply not effective against colds and flu, there were now a number of very good reasons GPs were trying to limit the prescription of antibiotics.
These include:
  • Resistance – different bacteria adapt to find ways to fight antibiotics – the more antibiotics are used the greater the opportunity for bacteria to adapt. This may eventually mean the antibiotic becomes ineffective against certain bacteria
  • Side effects – the side effects of antibiotics can include sickness, diarrhoea, stomach pains, headaches and even thrush.
“Doctors are growing increasingly aware that care must be taken by patients using antibiotics," said Dr Hussain. "Unfortunately very few new antibiotics are being developed, so we have to make sure that the ones we have continue to work.”
Dr Hussain said there were a number of ways patients could tackle seasonal conditions like colds and flu themselves. “Winter colds are what’s known as self-limiting conditions – in other words they will get better by themselves," he said. “Often the best thing is to take medicines like paracetamol to control your symptoms and keep well hydrated.  "Or visit a pharmacist, who will be able to advise on common illnesses like the cold and how best to manage them.”
Here are some useful hints & tips:-


Community Conversation Event -
Save the date 

North Staffordshire and Stoke-on Trent CCGs in partnership with the Older People's Engagement Network will be holding a 'Community Conversation' at the King’s Hall from 10am to 1pm on Thursday 20 October 2016.

The theme of the event is to gather your views on older people’s health and how the NHS can better support people to stay well and live independently.

We will also be interested in the experiences and opinions of patients and carers and give attendees the opportunity to pose questions to a panel of people who are responsible for making sure that the right services are in place.

As well as this, there will also be information from service providers that support older people, such as how to prevent slips, trips and falls which can have a sudden and challenging impact on health and well being.

Insights from this event will be used to influence how services are provided in the future.

Further information and booking details will be circulated to members in the coming weeks.

Falls  Awareness Week 2016 

Falls are the leading cause of injuries, deaths and hospital admissions for trauma. Falls can take a serious toll on an adult’s quality of life and independence.
During Falls Prevention Awareness Week, local authorities, health care providers and voluntary agencies will be holding roadshows to raise awareness among adults, their families, carers and the general public about the seriousness of falls and ways to reduce fall risk.  At the heart of this initiative is the message that falls are preventable.
Age UK South Staffs have a range of videos below showing independent living aids:
For further information, guidance and prevention tips please visit

North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs make a move

Staff at North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are packing up their boxes as they prepare to make the move to new offices in Hanley.
Over the coming weeks teams from both CCGs will be moving to new shared office accommodation on the third floor at the Smithfield 1 Building in Leonard Coates Way, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 4FA. The move will be complete by Monday, September 12 and the new telephone number will be 01782 298002.
CCG staff will be relocating from their previous separate offices at the Herbert Minton Building in Stoke and Morston House in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Dr Alison Bradley, Clinical Chair of North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The teams from the two CCGs already work very closely together, but this move will help us to improve communication and allow us to offer better joined-up care for all the people of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, especially as our partners at Stoke City Council will have teams in the building. 
“The move also reduces operating costs for both CCGs, with immediate cost savings from working in a modern efficient building, and also savings from travel time and expense incurred from operating across two sites.”
Dr Ruth Chambers, Clinical Chair of Stoke-on-Trent CCG, added: “More than 160 NHS staff will now be based on the same floor of the same building, working in a co-ordinated fashion to provide better integrated services for all our patients. This is a great symbol of the increasing co-operation which is taking place between services across the Stoke and north Staffordshire region.”
Please note, whilst the CCGs will be sharing many functions they will remain independent organisations with separate governing bodies.

Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Programme Update 

At a meeting of Cabinet on 20 July, it was agreed that the county council would continue with plans to build a new Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Programme.

This means that they will be taking the opportunity to join up some or all of the services currently provided through health visiting, Family Nurse Partnership, school nursing and children’s centres to make sure they work together for the future and meet the needs of Staffordshire’s busy, modern families.

The outline specification for the new Programme, which is for families of children and young people aged 0-19 years, has now been shared with organisations who have expressed an early interest in delivering the programme on our behalf. You can read through the outline specification online at

For further information, please click here or email

New campaign launches to encourage those with a persistent cough or breathlessness to go to their doctor

man coughing

A new Be Clear on Cancer campaign has launched across England. The campaign highlights that a cough for three weeks or more could be a sign of lung disease, including cancer and that if you get out of breath doing everyday things that you used to be able to do, like mowing the lawn, it could be sign of lung or heart disease, or even cancer.

While it may well be nothing serious, the campaign makes it clear that if you have either of these symptoms you should go to your doctor. Finding these conditions early makes them more treatable.

For further information click here

Let's get sugar smart

We're all having too much sugar. Our kids might seem fine on the outside, but too much sugar can lead to the build up of harmful fat on the inside that we can't see. To download the consumer campaign resources click here or visit to learn more.

Cut down on your calories

Many of us are eating too much, and not being active enough. That's why nearly two-thirds of the adult population in England is overweight or obese.

Find out how much you should be eating and how to cut the calories.

How much should you eat?
How much are you eating?
How you can eat less
Latest figures show that more than half of the UK population – 65% of men and 58% of women – are overweight or obese.  When we eat and drink more calories than we use up, our bodies store the excess as body fat. If this continues, over time we may become overweight and can become obese. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of type 2 diabetesheart diseasestroke and some cancers.
Many adults in the UK need to lose weight, and to do this they need to eat and drink fewer calories. Combining these changes with increased physical activity is the best way to achieve a healthier weight.
overweight people

Deaf Awareness for Carers

Health Awareness Days

World Alzheimer’s Month
1 - 30 September 2016

Remember meThe theme for World Alzheimer’s Month 2016 is Remember Me. Alzheimers Disease International are asking you to get involved by sharing your favourite memories, or memories of a loved one, on social media this September with the hashtags #RememberMe #WAM2016.

The impact of World Alzheimer’s Month is growing, but the stigmatisation and misinformation that surrounds dementia remains a global problem.  To find out how to share your memory click here.

Local advice about Alzheimer's Disease and dementia

Know your numbers week
12 - 18 September 2016

person having blood pressure takenBlood Pressure UK is the UK’s leading blood pressure charity, dedicated to lowering the nation’s blood pressure to prevent death and disability from stroke and heart disease. Know your Numbers! is their flagship awareness campaign. It encourages adults across the UK to know their blood pressure numbers and take the necessary action to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure.  It is designed to educate about the health complications associated with high blood pressure. It’s also about encouraging us to monitor our blood pressure – in short, to get to know our numbers!

While the condition may be without symptoms, it is the underlying causes of serious problems such as heart attack, stroke, and is one of the main factors in heart and kidney disease. Each year 125,000 adults in the UK have a heart attack or stroke due to high blood pressure – its something you cannot afford to ignore and the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure check.

How to get your free health check

Sexual Health Week
12 - 18 September 2016

Couple in the sunsetFPA is a sexual health charity who give straightforward information and support on sexual health, sex and relationships to everyone in the UK.  
FPA Sexual Health Week informs the public, influences service providers and supports health professionals and this year they will be focusing on sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Find out where you can get local advice
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