Category Archives: CCG News

Mothers-to-be urged to protect themselves and their babies this winter

Mothers-to-be across East Berkshire are being urged to have their flu jab to help protect themselves and their unborn child this winter.

 

 

Whether you have recently conceived, are midway through your pregnancy or nearing your due date, you are being encouraged to have the flu vaccination which is available from your GP, maternity service provider or pharmacy, free of charge. Now is the ideal time for you to have it, before the flu virus starts circulating.

Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result, increases the risk of a mother and unborn baby becoming seriously ill from flu.

Flu is a highly infectious disease. It is caused by viruses that are spread from person to person. The viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why pregnant women should be vaccinated annually. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.

Flu can make otherwise healthy people feel very poorly for up to a fortnight. There is also strong evidence that pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu which can harm them and their unborn baby. These risks include bronchitis, pneumonia and an increased risk of having a miscarriage or the baby being born prematurely or with a low birth weight.

The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so reduces the risk of developing the illness significantly.

Jo Greengrass, Associate Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety for Slough, Bracknell and Ascot and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “No matter how pregnant you are, whether you are in the early stages, mid or towards the end, it is important that all pregnant women protect themselves and their unborn baby by having the vaccination.

“Flu is a serious risk to both the mother and unborn baby.

“As a mother-to-be, you have an increased risk of developing complications from flu. The vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy and is safe for you both.

“Please speak with your GP/ maternity service provider / local pharmacy as soon as possible.

She added: “Strains of the flu virus change every year, and for that reason it is important to have the vaccine every year. Even if someone thinks they have had the flu already, they should still have the vaccine. There is more than one type of flu virus and it is important to reduce the risk as much as possible.”

Notes to editor:

All pregnant women should have the flu vaccine to protect themselves and their babies. The flu vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy, from conception onwards.

Pregnant women benefit from the flu vaccine because it will: Reduce their risk of serious complications such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy; reduce the risk of miscarriage or having a baby born too soon or with a low birth weight; help protect their baby who will continue to have some immunity to flu during the first few months of its life; reduce the chance of the mother passing infection to her new baby.

The vaccine is free for pregnant women and is available from their maternity service provider; their GP or local pharmacy.

Many GP practices hold flu vaccination clinics. It is best to find out dates and times by checking on their websites or by calling them directly.

Participating community pharmacies also offer a service for patients who are eligible for a free flu vaccine. If you have the vaccination in a pharmacy they will take your details and let your GP practice know that you have had the vaccination.

To arrange a media interview, please contact Anamika Bansal, CCGs Communications and Engagement Manager, on 01753 636 836.

Ends                     

Anamika Bansal

Clinical Waste Collections

If you have patients who are treating themselves at home and their waste has been identified as clinical waste, please ensure they follow the correct clinical waste collection process.

Clinical waste should not be placed in household wheeled bins, but should always be stored in the appropriate container provided.

Click here for more details and please ensure patients are aware

Getting it right – calling all young people – we need your views!

Getting it right – calling all young people – we need your views!
World Mental Health Day is celebrated annually on the 10 October and this year to celebrate East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Local Authorities in Bracknell & Ascot, Slough and Windsor and Maidenhead together with Berkshire Health Care Foundation NHS Trust are launching a survey to understand if health and community services for young people being offered are easy for them to use.
This survey is aimed at young people aged 11-18 across East Berkshire. We are committed to improving access to services, particularly those related to young people’s emotional and physical wellbeing, this survey will help us in making sure we are getting it right first time and where we need to make improvements.

The information collected from this survey will be used to help inform your local NHS and councils to help shape future services for young people.
The survey can be accessed via the following link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QRTW35C and will be live until Tuesday 31 October 2017.
For further information please contact Susannah Jordan on susannah.jordan@nhs.net

Carers entitled to free flu vaccine to help Stay Well This Winter

Carers across Slough, Bracknell, Windsor, Maidenhead and Ascot are being encouraged to have their free flu vaccine to help Stay Well This Winter.

Many carers are unaware they are entitled to the free flu vaccine which can prevent them contracting the debilitating virus and avoid the serious consequences – not only for themselves – but also for those who depend on the care they provide.

Patients who need a full time carer are likely to be at greater risk of becoming more seriously ill from the flu than the general population, so it is important that their carers are protected against the virus. The free vaccination offers the best form of protection to Stay Well This Winter.

People over the age of 65, pregnant women, those with long term health conditions, school children from reception to year four as well as two and three year olds are being targeted this year.

NHS England’s Regional Medical Director (South), Dr Nigel Acheson said: “Many people think of flu as just a bad cold, but it is much more serious than that.  In particular, those with caring responsibilities need to be extra careful which is why it’s important that they know that they are entitled to have the free flu vaccination and avoid becoming unwell.”

Paula Jackson, Public Health Screening and Immunisation lead for Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire said:  “Getting flu could make your partner, relative or friend seriously ill. Speak to your GP or pharmacist about the flu vaccination. Better still you could accompany the person you care for and receive the vaccination at the same time.

“The free flu vaccination is easily obtainable from GP surgeries or participating pharmacies. This should be done as soon as possible ensuring that carers and the people they care for are protected at the earliest opportunity.”

Flu is a highly infectious and caused by viruses that spread from person to person. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.

Paula Jackson said: “It is important that over 65’s, pregnant women, and those in at risk groups get vaccinated as soon as possible.  While children in reception to year four will be offered immunisation in schools, children aged two to three who have not started school should see their GP”

Notes to Editors:

1.    You are entitled to a free flu jab if you receive a carer’s allowance or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

2.    Many GP Practices hold large flu vaccination clinics. It is best to find out dates and times by checking on their websites or by calling them directly

3.    Participating community pharmacies also offer a service for patients and carers who are eligible for the free flu vaccine

4.    For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact Anamika Bansal, Communications and Engagement Manager, on 01753 636 836  or email: anamika.bansal@nhs.net

 

A simple vaccination can help protect you and others this winter

The annual fight against flu has begun and people living in East Berkshire are being encouraged to have their vaccination to help Stay Well This Winter.

Flu can be a very serious illness for some people. It can lead to more severe complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital or even death. There has been a serious outbreak of flu in Australia this year and we want as many people to be as protected as possible.

The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts.

The flu vaccination is available for free on the NHS for various groups and individuals that could be particularly vulnerable to complications.

This year, you are eligible for a free flu vaccination if you are:

  • Aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2018)
  • Aged from 6 months to less than 65 years of ages with a serious medical condition which includes chronic (long term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis; chronic heart disease, such as heart failure; chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five; chronic liver disease; chronic neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, or learning disability; diabetes; splenic dysfunction; weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment); morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)
  • You are pregnant (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
  • A child aged two to nine on 31 August 2016
  • Living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. Please note that this does not include prisons, young offender institutions, or university halls of residence
  • You are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or if you are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill

If you do not fall within any of the above groups, you can still have the vaccination by paying for it at your local pharmacist.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, extreme tiredness and aches and pains in the joints and muscles.  Healthy individuals usually recover within a week, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.  If you do get the flu make sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthily.  Taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce any fever or discomfort, can also help.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses and not bacteria. Therefore, antibiotics will not help to treat it.  However, if there are complications from getting flu, antibiotics may be needed.

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spread the flu virus in tiny droplets of saliva over a wide area. These droplets can then be breathed in by other people or they can be picked up by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed. You can prevent the spread of the virus by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and you can wash your hands frequently or use hand gels to reduce the risk of picking up the virus.

Associate Director for Nursing and Quality, Jo Greengrass, from the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “Getting your flu vaccine is easy. Simply call and book an appointment with your doctor, midwife or pharmacy.

“Some GP surgeries across East Berkshire are offering flu clinics on certain dates/ times for those who are eligible for the free vaccine, so it would be worth you checking these details by either calling them or visiting their website. Some surgeries are sending our invitations to attend these clinics.

She added: “The best time to have your vaccination is in the autumn, so anytime between now and early November is good.

“If you have a long term condition such as asthma, diabetes, a neurological disease or chronic liver, kidney or lung disease, or indeed if you are pregnant, then protecting yourself against flu is vital.

“Flu can also be serious for young children and because they mix with so many family members they are called ‘superspreaders’. For these reasons, we feel it is really important for them to be vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them.”

This year, children in Reception, Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 (aged up to 9 years on 31 August 2017) will be offered the free flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray in schools. Children aged two to three will continue to have theirs via their GP.

The strain of flu can change each year so even if you were vaccinated last year, you are being advised to vaccinate again this year.

This is the first of a series of press releases to be published by the East Berkshire CCGs as part of their on-going efforts to ensure people Stay Well this winter.

New Thames Valley Integrated Urgent Care (IUC) Service is launched

People across the Thames Valley (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire) now have new and improved access to urgent care services.
Launched on Tuesday 5 September, the new Thames Valley IUC 111 service will help people access a wide range of clinical care through a single call, including dental, pharmacy and mental health services, ensuring patients get the right care, first time.

This new service is provided by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) in collaboration with Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare.
The contract was awarded by the 10 Clinical Commissioning Groups across the Thames Valley in July 2017 after a thorough and rigorous procurement process involving clinicians, specialists and NHS managers in the decision-making.
Philip Astle, chief operating officer at SCAS, said: “From today, patients will continue to call the 111 number and the trained call handler will assess the person’s needs. They will be able to arrange for the patient to see or speak to a clinically trained healthcare professional, including GPs where this is clinically appropriate.

“It is expected that approximately 30 per cent of calls will be handled by a clinically trained healthcare professional from day one of the new service.

“For the launch, clinicians will be based at SCAS Headquarters in Bicester and at the Berkshire Healthcare Hub in Wokingham, linked via a telephone network to allow seamless management of patients.”
Sam Burrows, the senior responsible officer for the procurement process, said: “In 2015, NHS England announced that NHS 111 would integrate with out-of-hours providers to form an integrated urgent care model with the intention of delivering a more streamlined service, increasing the chance of getting the patient to the right place, first time.
“To bring about the Thames Valley Integrated Urgent Care (TVIUC) service, a new specification was developed, with an enhanced form of triage, a new workforce, new commissioning standards and quality measures. Clinical governance of this new model will be a joint process with regional leadership and central oversight.”

From day one, the service will draw on the best practice of the organisations within the alliance to support patient care across the region via the clinical hub, offering enhancements over the current 111 service including:

• GP clinical leadership and triage within the service
• dental nurse assessment
• community psychiatric nursing and improved access to mental health crisis teams across the week
• paediatric specialists
• prescribing pharmacist
• tailored support to care and nursing homes
• early intervention for under-fives, over 85s and end of life patients
• phased direct booking of appointments in out of hours across Thames Valley
• enhanced assessment of cases recommended to attend Emergency Departments or receive a Green ambulance (60 minute) response by a clinician
• improved support for self-care where clinically appropriate
• Improved transfer of patient information and access to care records.

Patients will be confident that, with one call to 111, the care they are directed to will meet their physical, mental and social care needs in a timely and clinically safe manner.

Health and social care professionals will be confident that the 111 integrated urgent care service has assessed and managed patients appropriately, placing them with the service which can most effectively meet their needs.

Where integrated urgent care services have been launched elsewhere in the UK they have demonstrated that an enhanced review can downgrade A&E and green ambulance calls (60 minute response time).

A film featuring James Ray, A&E Consultant, Carol Trower, Chief Executive Officer for Thames Valley Pharmacy and Phillip Astle, Chief Operating Officer at SCAS, explaining the benefit of the service is available here
The 10 CCGs in the Thames Valley are:
• Aylesbury Vale
• Bracknell and Ascot
• Chiltern
• Newbury & District
• North & West Reading
• Oxfordshire
• Slough
• South Reading
• Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead
• Wokingham

Bank Holiday opening times for pharmacies and GP surgeries

As we fast approach a Bank Holiday at the end of this month, residents are being reminded to make sure their medicine cabinets are stocked up.

Most pharmacies and GP surgeries will be closed on Monday 28 August, so people are advised to plan ahead.

If you are on regular medication, the east Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups are urging you to make sure you have enough to last while GPs and pharmacists are closed.

A small number of pharmacies will be open but with reduced opening times. Click for details of local pharmacy opening times.

If you need help over the bank holiday when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 to find a local service that is open. You can also visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk.

A&Es and emergency ambulances are for life-threatening emergencies only, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attack or stroke, severe breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. In these cases call 999 immediately.

Choosing the right NHS service will help get you the best advice and reduces pressure on A&E and GP services, freeing them up to help those who need it most.

Residents invited to Bracknell and Ascot CCG AGM

NHS Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is holding its fourth annual meeting (AGM) next month.

Residents are invited to attend the free event on Wednesday 6 September at Ascot Racecourse, High Street, Ascot, SL5 7JX, from 1.30pm to 6pm. There will be light refreshments and free parking available in Car Park 3 which will be signposted.

Building on the successes of previous years, the event is an opportunity for people to hear about key achievements and challenges over the past year, as well as plans for the coming year.

In addition, marketplace stalls will display key information around how The NHS and local authorities plan to work more closely together to improve health and care over the next five years.

Attendees will also be able to provide feedback on local NHS services, informing clinicians and staff of what is working well and where improvements could be made.

Dr William Tong, Clinical Chair for the CCG and recently retired local GP, said “The NHS in Bracknell and Ascot has a lot to be proud of, especially as we have just been rated ‘Outstanding’ by NHS England. This event is an opportunity for us to showcase some of our work which is helping to make a difference to the lives of so many patients.

“The event is very much for local communities and for them to get involved in their local health service.”

Anyone who would like to ask specific questions at the AGM is asked to email them ahead of the event to communications.eastberksccgs@nhs.net.

For more information, visit the Annual Report and AGM webpage.

The CCG hopes to stream the event live on Facebook at www.facebook.com/eastberkshirecollaborativeccgs.

The CCG will also be tweeting throughout the event from @BandA_CCG. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to submit a question, please use #askBandACCG.

Note to editors:

Although we will be making photographs and updates available post event, we would welcome your reporter or photographer on the day. Please confirm their attendance in advance by emailing anamika.bansal@nhs.net

East Berkshire CCGs celebrate ‘Outstanding’ rating by NHS England

East Berkshire’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have been rated as ‘outstanding’ by NHS England.

This puts Bracknell and Ascot, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead, and Slough CCGs in the top 10% in the country.

Only 21 out of 209 CCGs achieved this top rating, following an annual assessment by NHS England of 29 performance indicators, including leadership and financial management.

Dr William Tong, Clinical Chair for Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “I am proud to acknowledge receipt of the rating of ’outstanding’.

“It describes in part the value Bracknell and Ascot CCG has placed on developing and improving relationships and the way we work with our members and local stakeholders, as well as in our federation with Slough and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCGs and the Frimley Health and Care Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, working towards an accountable care system.

“This has been achieved only because we work as one team of clinicians and managers in our federation of 3 CCGs. So thank you to all clinicians and managers alike.”

He added: “This ethos will allow us to break up traditional silos, making for better health and care for the people we look after.
“In addition, we have been told, following the CCG’s 360 feedback, that our 3 CCGs are rated “outstanding” for Leadership.”

Slough’s Clinical Commissioning Chair, Dr Jim O’Donnell, said: “We are delighted that Slough CCG’s commissioning capability and expertise has been recognised by NHS England as ‘Outstanding’.

“Every person in Slough should know that the highest quality services are being designed and procured for their use. They should know that in NHS England’s opinion we do this exceptionally well, that we are continually improving the quality of our services and that we are consulting with local people, listening to what they tell us and shaping services accordingly. We are in the top 10% of all CCGs nationally.

“There is still a great deal more to do and we cannot rest on our achievement. We have many further improvements in health and social care to achieve in the coming years and we will need the help and participation of local people to secure these. We also need everyone to develop a better capacity to self-care when they have minor illness to help ensure the NHS locally is sustainable into the future.”

These sentiments were echoed by Dr Adrian Hayter, Clinical Chair for Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG: “Our teams work really hard to make a difference to patients and it is great that this can be recognised. This work started four years ago and has been a team effort between our member practices, a great shared executive team led by John Lisle and other members of the senior management team, as well as our partner CCGs, Bracknell and Ascot, and Slough.

“Our vision of ‘working together locally to deliver sustainable excellence in healthcare’ could never ring more true. We know that, in order to be effective, we have to deliver good performance and outcomes for our residents, as well as keeping a good eye on our finances and ensuring we have top-class collaborative leadership. This, combined with how we are leading our health and care system, bodes well for the future. Our real success is not what we do as an individual CCG, but in how we contribute and work as part of the Frimley Health and Care STP, plus the work we do with the Royal Borough is a very important element of how we get better health for our residents.”

Planning Permission Granted to Build New Hospice

The following is being released on behalf of Thames Hospice who is delighted to announce planning permission has been agreed, in principle, to build a new, state-of-the-art hospice for the community by Bray Lake, in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

The announcement follows several months of planning and consultation before the planning application was submitted.  The charity will now finalise the details, and secure the option to purchase the land from local business, Summerleaze, and start the process towards building the new hospice.

Debbie Raven, Chief Executive, Thames Hospice, said:  “This decision represents a huge step forward in the provision of specialist palliative and end-of-life care for our local community.

“Our Hospice, first opened 30 years ago, is no longer able to keep up with the volume of people who need our care and services. Pine Lodge – our much-loved existing building – has been added to, altered and expanded many times and we cannot adapt it any further. Patient numbers are increasing dramatically and we are caring for more patients with increasingly complex illnesses and symptoms. Put simply, the care we provide is outstanding – but the building is holding us back. The new hospice will allow nursing and medical teams to continue to deliver exceptional care, without hindrance.”

Set in more than eight acres, with stunning views across landscaped gardens and Bray Lake, the new hospice will have 28 inpatient beds in individual en-suite rooms. A new Day Centre (the Paul Bevan Centre) will offer a wider range of daily therapeutic and social activities for day patients and inpatients, and will allow the hospice to double its day service provision. A new Education Centre will be dedicated to promoting palliative care excellence – ensuring staff receive ongoing training so patients get the best care. We will also be able to offer education to others in our community.

Debbie Raven continued: “Thames Hospice is a vital part of the local community and its expansion will address ongoing end-of-life care needs. Once built, the new hospice will be an unrivalled state-of-the-art facility for the residents of East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire, and one I know they will be incredibly proud of. We hope to open the doors of the new facility in 2020.”

NHS launches video to keep kids safe this summer

Commissioners in East Berkshire have launched an online video to keep kids safe in the summer holidays.

Called ‘Keep your kids live and kicking this summer’, the video highlights the risks of leaving babies and infants unsupervised near water or open windows, particularly when parents and carers get distracted.

Up to 60 children drown every year in the UK. However, most of these deaths could be prevented.

Babies and infants need constant supervision around water – whether this is in the bath, paddling or swimming pool, by ponds, rivers or lakes. They also need supervision around open windows.

Debbie Hartrick, Associate Director of Safeguarding for east Berkshire’s three NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGS), said: “While incidents of drowning or near drowning in east Berkshire are thankfully rare, it is really important that the safety of infants and children around water and open windows remains at the forefront of our minds, especially at this time of year.

“Pools, ponds and baths can keep your kids cool in the hot weather. However, water can also be dangerous for children if parents and carers don’t pay attention.

“Young children can drown in fewer than 2 inches (6 centimeters) of water, in only 20 seconds. If they are very young, you won’t even hear them. They can slip under the water without making a splash or a sound.

“Young children don’t understand that a fall can kill them – just as they don’t understand that water can kill them.”

She added: “Getting distracted by a mobile phone, talking to other people, or wandering off when your child is around water can lead to tragedy.

“By spreading these key messages, we can all help to keep our young children live and kicking this summer.”

As part of the campaign, the CCG will be seeking the support of local schools and other establishments to help raise awareness of this video and its key messages.

 

New contract for Slough Walk-in Centre

East Berkshire Primary Care Out of Hours has been awarded a contract to run the Slough Walk in Centre and Chapel GP Practice at Upton Hospital.

Fiona Slevin-Brown, Director of Strategy and Operations for the three east Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said:

“We are delighted to announce the awarding of this contract to East Berkshire Primary Care. Over the coming months we will continue the conversation with our patients and partners about the future of local health services to ensure these are designed to improve the health outcomes of local residents.”

Children see big improvements in local mental health services

Children and young people in East Berkshire have seen big improvements in mental health services, thanks to local NHS commissioners.

Plans to transform child and adolescent mental health services began in December 2015, and, as a result, our children and young people now have more support than ever before.

Among other new services, Kooth, offers online counselling for children and young people aged 11 to 19.

Alongside this, CAMHS transformation has funded an increase in face to face counselling provision via Youth-Line which offers face-to-face counselling for 11 to 25 year olds in Bracknell and Ascot and
No 22/Youth Talk which offer a similar counselling service for children aged 11 years and over in Windsor, Ascot, Maidenhead and Slough.

In addition Autism Berkshire has been funded to provide a wide range of support across East Berkshire for children and families affected by autism.

The Autism Group works in Maidenhead with teenagers and young people with autism up to age 25 years, as well as their parents and carers.

The Special Parenting group offers parenting support for children with behavioural and sleep difficulties as well as children pre and post ADHD and autism diagnosis.

An enhanced crisis support service has also been funded, which aims to provide rapid evidence based psychological support to children and young people in crisis.

CAMHS transformation has also worked with the Oxford Academic Health Science Network to deliver mental health training to over 500 teachers and health care professionals helping them to support children and young people in distress.

Dr Katie Simpson, GP mental health lead for the East Berkshire Federation of Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “It is important that children and young people have the right support if they are feeling down, anxious or stressed out. The services we have commissioned aim to promote good mental health, tackle problems early to prevent them getting worse and make it easier to get the right support when it is needed.”

For more information about these services please visit the Mental Health Services for Children & Young People Transformation Plan webpage.

Alliance led by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust awarded the contract for new Thames Valley 111 Integrated Urgent Care Service ‘The new front door to urgent care’

Patients across the Thames Valley will be opening a new front door to urgent care services from September 2017.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) has been awarded the contract for the new Thames Valley 111 telephone service by the 10 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the Thames Valley. SCAS leads an alliance set up to deliver the service, which also includes Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The alliance brings together the relevant skills and expertise from local NHS providers needed for patients to access a wide range of medical disciplines.

Thames Valley 111 will now offer patients a seamless 24/7 urgent clinical assessment and treatment service – bringing together NHS 111, GP out of hours and other clinical advice, such as dental, medicines and mental health.

A team of clinicians will be available on the phone when needed, and will be linked into a new NHS Clinical Hub – a group of healthcare professionals who can help get patients the right care, at the right time, in the right location.

A thorough and rigorous procurement process took place involving clinicians, specialists and NHS managers from across the Thames Valley in the decision-making.

The focus was on selecting a provider which will work across all CCGs to support the development of an integrated 24/7 care service on a local basis.

Sam Burrows, the senior responsible officer for the procurement process, said: “We are pleased to announce that the Thames Valley 111 Partnership, led by SCAS, has been awarded the contract. This is an exciting time and one which is going to improve patients’ experience by getting people to appropriate care more efficiently by this integration of urgent care services.

“We undertook a comprehensive procurement process, which included engaging with clinicians, patients and members of the public to identify issues, address them and design a new integrated urgent care service which will revolutionise the experience for those calling 111. The Thames Valley region will be an early adopter of this new approach which will be rolled out throughout England by 2020.

“During the summer of 2015 the 10 CCGs in the Thames Valley undertook widespread public engagement with key stakeholders, as well as a review of feedback from existing users of the current 111. This gave us a picture of patient experiences and desired improvements to NHS 111, as well as gaining an understanding of public knowledge of urgent care services.

“I would like to thank all those local residents, stakeholders and clinicians who took the time to give their views and feedback during the engagement process. Your valuable contribution will help shape this integrated service and confirms our commitment to ensuring that patients are at the heart of the services we commission.”

Philip Astle, Chief Operating Officer at SCAS, said “We are delighted to be at the heart of these exciting developments of the NHS 111 in the Thames Valley. SCAS has a strong track record of working with healthcare partners to deliver outstanding care to the people of the Thames Valley, and this transformation of NHS 111 will enable us to build on that record.”

A detailed mobilisation plan is now being implemented; working towards the launch in September 2017.

The national Commissioning Standards for Integrated Urgent Care published in 2015, describe an ambitious model of care for the future in support of the Urgent and Emergency Care Review. Commissioners across Thames Valley are committed to delivering a regional service that meets the full potential of these standards.
Note to editors
The Senior Responsible Officer on behalf of the 10 CCGs in the Thames Valley, Sam Burrows (Director of Strategy, Berkshire West CCGs), and Philip Astle (Chief Operating Officer) from SCAS are available for interview. To arrange please email victoria.brandon@nhs.net

  1.  The 10 CCGs in the Thames Valley are:
    • Aylesbury Vale
    • Bracknell and Ascot
    • Chiltern
    • Newbury & District
    • North & West Reading
    • Oxfordshire
    • Slough
    • South Reading
    • Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead
    • Wokingham
  2. The SCAS alliance comprises the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Good news for east Berkshire patients as Frimley Health and Care Partnership leads on national reform

The Frimley Health and Care Partnership, which includes east Berkshire, has been named as one of nine national leaders on fast-tracking service improvements for local people.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation in Liverpool, chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said: “As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday, we now embark on the biggest national move to integrating care of any major western country. For patients this means better joined up services in place of what has often been a fragmented system that passes people from pillar to post.”

Eight ‘accountable care systems’ (ACSs) across the country are bringing together local NHS organisations, often in partnership with social care services and the voluntary sector. They build on learning and early results from NHS England’s new care model ‘vanguards’, which are slowing emergency hospitalisations growth by up to two thirds compared with other less integrated parts of the country.

The ACSs will also lead the way in taking more control over funding for transformation programmes – up £450m over the next four years. They will also have more accountability for improving health and wellbeing locally, with more freedom to make decisions over how health and care systems operate.

The Frimley Health and Care Sustainability and Transformation Partnership is responsible for  the 750,000 residents of north east Hampshire and Farnham, Surrey Heath and east Berkshire.

It is rapidly building on existing work to help local people live longer, healthier lives.

Sir Andrew Morris, chief executive of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and lead for the partnership, said: “We are very proud to have been selected nationally to be one of the leaders in transforming health and care for the community.

“The national support we will receive will help to deliver real results fast to people in the community such as taking the strain off A&E, investing in general practice so patients can be seen in a timely manner and improving access to high quality cancer and mental health services.”

To find out more about the Frimley Health and Care Partnership visit  www.northeasthampshireandfarnhamccg.nhs.uk

Notes to editors

The eight accountable care systems are:

  • Frimley Health and Care, covering parts of Surrey, north east Hampshire and east Berkshire
  • South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw, covering Barnsley, Bassetlew, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield
  • Nottinghamshire, with an early focus on Greater Nottingham and Rushcliffe
  • Blackpool & Fylde Coast with the potential to spread to other parts of the Lancashire and South Cumbria at a later stage
  • Dorset
  • Luton, with Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire West, covering Reading, Newbury and Wokingham
  • Buckinghamshire

In addition, it is expected that West, North and East Cumbria and Northumberland could join the group of accountable care systems later in the year.

 

Women with learning difficulties urged to have cancer screening

Commissioners in East Berkshire are urging women with learning difficulties to have a cervical screening test after research showed that many are not taking up the free invite.

The message comes during Cervical Cancer awareness week which began yesterday (12/6). The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening and its role in preventing cancer, as well as encouraging women with learning difficulties to be tested when invited.

Every day, nine women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three lose their lives to the disease. While it is the most common cancer for women under 35, it is largely preventable thanks to cervical screening and the HPV vaccination programme.

In England, fewer than one in three women with a learning disability who are eligible for the test received cervical cancer screening. By contrast, three in four without a learning disability received the test.

Dr Anant Sachdev, local GP and the Clinical Commissioning Lead for Cancer across east Berkshire said: “The proportion of women with learning difficulties who get the test is very low compared to the wider population and the NHS is working to combat this.

“It is really important for women with learning difficulties to attend cervical screening as it can detect pre-cancer abnormalities, which, if left untreated, may develop into cancer. We are also asking their friends and loved ones to encourage and support them to get the test done.

He added :”So many lives may potentially be saved with this simple test, and many women will not undergo treatments that could have been avoided.”

The three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in east Berkshire – Slough; Windsor, Maidenhead and Ascot; and Bracknell and Ascot – have signed up to the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust ‘Time to Test’ pledge demonstrating commitment to raising awareness of cervical cancer prevention in the workplace and ensuring female employees can access cervical screening.

Notes to editors:

Throughout the week, east Berkshire CCGs will be using social media channels to raise awareness of the facts about cervical cancer and the screening programme including reaching out to women who are entering the screening programme for the first time.

Cervical screening is offered to all women aged 25 to 64, with women aged 25 to 49 screened three yearly and women aged 50 to 64 screened every five years.

The HPV vaccine is given to girls at school when they reach 12 and 13. It is still important for women who have been vaccinated to practise safe sex and to take up screening when they reach 25 (the vaccination was introduced in the 1990s)

The NHS screening programme aims to screen 80% of the target population, to offer the greatest protection against cervical cancer. In the south east of England coverage last year was on average 74.3%.

Ascot residents urged to support planning application for vital new medical centre

Commissioners and GPs in east Berkshire are seeking local residents’ support for a vital new medical centre in Sunningdale, Ascot.

A number of people are already in favour of the planning application to build the new centre on the BEN Lynwood Care Village site by early 2019.

However, there is still time for others to pledge their support via email to planning@rbwm.gov.uk or in writing to :

Planning Department at Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead,
Town Hall,
St Ives Road,
Maidenhead, SL6 1RF.

Please quote the planning application number, which is 17/01188FULL, together with your name and address. The deadline for all submissions is 8 June.

If the plans are approved by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the state-of-the-art medical centre will see two doctors’ surgeries coming together under one roof – Magnolia House and Kings Corner surgeries. This would enable them to provide a wider range of services in the community and, thereby, reduce the need for hospital visits.

Plans for the new building were submitted to the council in early April, following consultation with patients, Patient Participation Groups, members of the council, GPs and others.

In addition, more than 140 people attended a public meeting to showcase the plans at Ben Lynwood Care Village, Rise Road, Ascot, on Thursday (25 May). They were able to view the plans, ask questions and listen to a presentation from GPs and representatives from Bracknell & Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group.

A second public meeting will be held Saturday 17 June, from midday to 3pm, at  at Ben Lynwood Care Village, Rise Road, Ascot.

Click to view the presentation proposal from the meeting on 25 May.

Click to view the Ben Lynwood Q&AS from the meeting on 25 May.

For more information, visit the Magnolia House website.

For more information, visit King’s Corner Surgery website.

Little Blue Book of Sunshine

Teenagers across the east of Berkshire are getting help and tips on dealing with their mental health from a ‘little blue book of sunshine’. Anyone can sometimes feel down, worried or anxious because of a variety of situations like school, family or friends.

The book, which has been co-produced with  young people  and the Clinical Commissioning Groups in the east of Berkshire , has been delivered to every secondary school in Slough, Bracknell, Ascot and Windsor for pupils aged 14 and above to keep and refer to whenever they are feeling blue.

Dr Katie Simpson, GP Mental Health Lead for the East Berkshire Federation of Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “It is important that children have the confidence to know what to do if they are feeling down, anxious or stressed out.

The booklet includes information on how to get support and provides lots of useful information and who to contact in times of need. Talking to people they trust can make a big difference and this provides reassurance that there is help out there.”

The book also has a check list of things that may worry young people, and tips on how to deal with anxiety, stress, body image and eating problems, relationships and anger.

You can pick up a copy at school, download a copy to your phone or simply read some of the great advice on the Little Blue Book of Sunshine webpage.

Campaign to raise awareness as thousands face silent killer across east Berkshire

Commissioners in east Berkshire are raising awareness of hypertension as part of their campaign to prevent, detect and treat heart conditions.

                                                                     

This coincides with World Hypertension Day today (19/5) which aims to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage people nationwide to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic.

High blood pressure – known as hypertension – rarely has noticeable symptoms and if left untreated increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.

More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, but may not realise it.
High blood pressure is any reading of 140/90mmHg or more.

Persistently high blood pressure can damage your arteries, put extra strain on the heart muscle and increase your chances of heart attack or stroke.

According to the British Heart Foundation, up to seven million people in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure.

Unfortunately, very often the first time people find out they have it is when they are admitted to hospital after a stroke or heart problem.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked by a health professional, such as your GP or local pharmacist. You can also buy home testing kits. Click here to view a British Heart Foundation video about how to measure your blood pressure at home.

Dr Anant Sachdev, one of the cardiology clinical leads for the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “We know there are thousands of people across Bracknell and Ascot, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, who have undiagnosed hypertension. Our aim is to diagnosis more people so we can treat them and avoid complications such as stroke – one of the most debilitating and soul-destroying illnesses for many patients and families.

“Current guidelines say we should all have our blood pressure checked at least once every five years.

“If you have high blood pressure, or it is close to 140/90mmHg, you should have it checked more regularly. Your GP or nurse will be able to tell you how often.

He added: “While we don’t know the cause of high blood pressure, we do know our lifestyles can have an impact, including obesity, lack of exercise and drinking too much alcohol. In a very small number of people, there is a specific cause (known as ‘secondary hypertension’). Some people may be taking medication or have a hormonal problem that causes high blood pressure.

“Certain ethnic groups are more prone to developing it – for example, African-Caribbean communities. We think they are more sensitive to salt. African-Caribbean people also appear to be more at risk of severe hypertension than other ethnic groups.”
CCG Population Numbers with hypertension Diagnosed

CCG Population Numbers with hypertension Diagnosed
Bracknell and Ascot 137,655 30,100 (22%) 15,800 (11%)
Slough 146,550 29,300 (20%) 16,400 (11%)
Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead 152,318 35,200 (23%) 17,300 (11%)

 

New community service commissioned to help people with life-limiting illnesses

The Rapid Response Team

The Rapid Response Team

A service commissioned to help people with life-limiting illnesses manage their condition at home has been launched in East Berkshire to coincide with Dying Matters Weeks*.

Commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the east of Berkshire, the new ‘Rapid Response Service’ was launched on Monday (8/5) by Thames Hospice who is responsible for providing the service working alongside others.

The new community service includes a palliative care telephone service, to give advice to local people on the End-of-Life Care Register and their families, as well as healthcare professionals who need guidance and support on delivering palliative care. The specialist team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to provide guidance on symptom control, practical advice and emotional support.

As part of the service there is also a Rapid Response Team (RRT), made up of a Registered Nurse and Health Care Assistant, ready to make urgent visits to patients on the End-of-life Care Register. The RRT will also support their loved ones.

Jacquie Batchford, Thames Hospice Director of Patient and Family Services, said: “I am delighted that we are able to offer this new service to further support those people in our community who are facing the last year of their life. It will be reassuring for many to know that they will be able to pick up the phone and talk to a palliative care expert, at any time of the day or night, to manage their condition and, if possible, prevent unnecessary hospital visits.”

Dr Anant Sachdev, the end-of-life care lead and palliative care specialist for the CCGs in the east of Berkshire, said: “A lot of people have excellent care in hospitals, hospices, care homes or their own homes when they are dying, but many others do not. Some people experience unnecessary pain and are not able to die where they want to. They can end up dying in hospital instead, because they suddenly get very ill and their carer can’t cope, or health professionals are unable to access the right advice.

“Therefore, I am pleased that the CCG is commissioning a Rapid Response Service in partnership with Thames Hospice, which provides high-quality care. The new service will be open 24 hours every day of the year to offer advice to patients, families, carers and health professionals. Our sincere hope is this will bridge any gaps in getting the right care and the kind of death people want, where they want.”

If you or someone you know requires support or advice on palliative or end-of-life care, please call the team on 01753 848925. To find out more about the services offered by Thames Hospice, visit the website https://thameshospice.org.uk/patients-our-services.

*A national awareness campaign run by the National Council for Palliative Care, highlighting the importance of talking about death and bereavement.

May Bank Holiday Pharmacy Opening Times

Some local NHS services across Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, Bracknell and Ascot will have different opening times over the May bank holiday.

East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are advising people to check the opening times for pharmacies, GP surgeries and dental practices before visiting.

Those on regular medication are being reminded to order and collect repeat prescriptions well in advance so they have enough medicine while GP surgeries and pharmacies are closed.

You can download a list of pharmacies in east Berkshire and their opening hours over the May bank holiday.

To check opening times for GPs and dentists, please go to http://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx, where you can also find out if your GP can provide repeat prescriptions online.

For minor injuries and illnesses, people should visit their nearest walk-in centre or minor injuries unit (MIU).

Click for more information on choosing the right health service for you.

Time is brain – dial 999 if you think you’re having a stroke

If you’re having a stroke, you need urgent medical attention. So recognising the signs and dialling 999 for an ambulance is vital, say the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups.

In emergencies such as this every second counts. The right treatment will stop your condition getting worse and improve your chances of recovery.

Since January stroke services have been improving for more than 430,000 East Berkshire residents. The improvements are the culmination of two years’ planning by the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, involving local clinicians, patients, the public and the Stroke Association from the start.

Now, stroke patients are being taken straight to their nearest hyper acute stroke unit by ambulance to receive the best possible care.

Local hyper acute stroke units are sited at:

  • Frimley Park Hospital, Camberley
  • Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading
  • St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey
  • Wycombe General Hospital, High Wycombe

East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups have also commissioned a stroke rehabilitation unit at Wexham Park Hospital for patients who need further rehabilitation in hospital after leaving a hyper acute stroke unit.

Fiona Slevin-Brown, Director of Strategy and Operations for East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “These new arrangements, which provides clot-busting treatment (thrombolysis) and 24-hour specialist stroke care, are expected to save lives in the years ahead by improving people’s quality of life and maximising their chances of remaining independent at home after a stroke.

“However, I would like to remind people that if they think they are having a stroke, they must dial 999 immediately and not just go to the nearest hospital, which may not be the right place for them.”

You could save your own or someone else’s life, or help limit the long-term effects of stroke, by learning to think and act FAST:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have drooped
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all, despite appearing to be awake
  • Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms

NHS and local councils to work more closely than ever

Plans to improve health and social care for the 750,000 residents of east Berkshire, north-east Hampshire and Farnham and Surrey Heath were strengthened today.

This follows the announcement that the Frimley Health and Care sustainability and transformation area will be one of the first in England to see commissioners and providers taking joint responsibility for all local care services.

Under the new ‘accountable care system’, councils and the NHS will be granted more control and freedom and be given a single financial bottom line – effectively abolishing annual contractual purchaser/provider negotiations in their areas.

They will work more closely together to strengthen services for people’s physical, mental and social wellbeing. All partners are committed to ensuring residents have accessible, closer-to-home services delivered in a straightforward way.

Dr Adrian Hayter, one of the chairs of the three east Berkshire clinical commissioning groups, said: “We can now move forward with our plans for care to be much more joined up. This will bring real benefits to patients.

“Health and social care professionals will be talking more to each other and supporting patients more effectively in their own homes, working in more proactive ways. Good quality hospital care will be available when needed, but support for patients to return to their own homes as quickly as possible will also be available.

“Technology and different ways of working between organisations will make much of this happen, including plans to support improvements in A&E with a new building at Wexham Park. Care for patients with mental health problems and cancer will also improve following extra investment.

“We plan to build on our great work locally, which gives patients seven-day access to GP and nurse appointments. We are also leading significant changes in GP practices by supporting them in working more closely together and strengthening their teams by recruiting other professionals, such as clinical pharmacists.

“Practices such as mine are also working more closely with social care, linking up to support people and their carers in their own homes and helping them to stay connected to their communities.”

Bracknell and Ascot CCG lay member scoops award for Patient Leader

An ambassador and inspirational
role model for patient and
public involvement in Bracknell and Ascot has been crowned Thames Valley and Wessex Patient Leader 2016/17.

Karen Maskell, lay member for Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group, accepted the award at Wokefield Park, Berkshire, during an NHS Thames Valley and Wessex leadership recognition awards ceremony.

The awards celebrate leaders at all levels and across all professions in the NHS who have improved people’s health and the public’s experience of the NHS.
Speaking after the ceremony, Karen said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have received this award.

“Although I find it challenging at times, I thoroughly enjoy representing patients and the public in Bracknell and Ascot, ensuring their voices are heard and considered when decisions are made about service improvements or changes.

She added: “Now more than ever, we’re seeing health partners working more closely together across the east of Berkshire to plan and provide the best possible care to improve our quality of life.

“Equally, we all have a role to play in taking responsibility for our own health and care and making the best out of life.”

Karen is recognised for her huge contribution in the creation of HealthMakers locally. These are a group of volunteers with long-term health issues who teach others how to live well as well as they can with their own health problems.

The group train others to become HealthMakers and work closely with local health services to improve patient care and quality of life.

Karen’s vision for the group arose from the 2012 Olympics, during which 80,000 volunteer Games Makers happily contributed their time and energy to helping visitors. Karen wanted to capture the spirit of a well-trained and motivated community to support health and wellbeing, thus HealthMakers were born.

She also works as a patient partner with the Thames Valley Senate and the NHS England Patient Experience Oversight Group.

Sarah Bellars, Director of Nursing and Quality for the three CCGs in east Berkshire, said: “Karen tirelessly seeks and represents the public’s view and ensures those around them do so as well.

“The way in which she works with the Oxford Academic Health Science Network and East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups epitomises effective, collaborative patient engagement. She challenges the status quo in a way that is constructive and opens up new ways of looking at things.”

Short video released as part of on-going campaign to identify and treat people with AF – East Berkshire

Commissioners in East of Berkshire have launched a short video on how to check your pulse as part of an on-going campaign to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation, which can make you five times more likely to have a stroke.

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. A normal heart rate should be regular and between 60 and 100 beats a minute when you are resting.

Slough, Bracknell & Ascot, and Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are encouraging people to check their pulses to save lives – it’s the easiest way to detect the condition.

Doctor Anant Sachdev, a GP in Bracknell and a clinical lead for cardiology for the three CCGs, said: “Raising awareness to help identify and treat people with atrial fibrillation is one of four key areas of the east Berkshire cardiology programme. We want to improve cardiology services and the quality of care that patients receive. One of the ways we can do that is to show patients how they can care for themselves in certain situations.

“Checking your pulse in an important factor in good self-care and I would encourage people to carry out the simple check in the comfort of their own homes by following our short video.

“Early detection and appropriate medical management can help patients enjoy a healthier and happier life for longer, avoiding long-term conditions such as stroke which can leave some people with severe disabilities.“

A normal pulse should follow a steady beat. If you have atrial fibrillation your pulse will usually feel irregular and unpredictable, as well as sometimes fast and weaker. If your pulse feels like this, or if you are worried, please contact your GP practice.

Approximately 1 million people across the UK are affected by the condition. If left undetected, it can increase a person’s risk of stroke fivefold.

Symptoms can include dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness. You may have noticeable heart palpitations – the heart feels like it’s pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for a few seconds or minutes. However, not everyone will experience such symptoms and some people may be completely unaware that their heart rate is irregular.

Adults of any age can suffer with atrial fibrillation, but it becomes more common as you get older. About 7 in 100 people over 65 have the condition and more men than women have it. People with conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis, or a heart valve problem are also more likely to have it.

Double-edged campaign to identify and treat people with AF – East Berkshire

Woman checking pulse on wrist closeupCommissioners in East of Berkshire have launched a campaign to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation, which can make you five times more likely to have a stroke.

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. A normal heart rate should be regular and between 60 and 100 beats a minute when you are resting.

Slough, Bracknell & Ascot, and Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are encouraging people to check their pulses to save lives – it’s the easiest way to detect the condition.

The British Heart Foundation offers the following advice on how to check your pulse:

1.     Put one of your hands out so you are looking at your palm

2.     Use the index finger and middle finger of your other hand and place the skin of these fingertips on the inside of your wrist. You should place them, at the base of your thumb near where the strap of a watch would sit

3.     Press lightly and feel the pulse – if you can’t feel anything press slightly harder or move your fingers around until you feel your pulse

4.     Once you’ve found your pulse, continue to feel it for about 20-30 seconds Feel the rhythm of the pulse to see whether it’s regular or not

A normal pulse should follow a steady beat. If you have atrial fibrillation your pulse will usually feel irregular and unpredictable, as well as sometimes fast and weaker. If your pulse feels like this, or if you are worried, please contact your GP practice.

Approximately 1 million people across the UK are affected by the condition. If left undetected, it can increase a person’s risk of stroke fivefold.

Symptoms can include dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness. You may have noticeable heart palpitations – the heart feels like it’s pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for a few seconds or minutes. However, not everyone will experience such symptoms and some people may be completely unaware that their heart rate is irregular.

Adults of any age can suffer with atrial fibrillation, but it becomes more common as you get older. About 7 in 100 people over 65 have the condition and more men than women have it. People with conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis, or a heart valve problem are also more likely to have it.

Doctor Anant Sachdev, a GP in Bracknell and a clinical lead for cardiology for the three CCGs, said: “Raising awareness to help identify and treat people with atrial fibrillation is one of four key areas of the east Berkshire cardiology programme. We want to improve cardiology services and the quality of care that patients receive. One of the ways we can do that is to show patients how they can care for themselves in certain situations.

“Checking your pulse in an important factor in good self-care and I would encourage people to carry out the simple check in the comfort of their own homes.

“Early detection and appropriate medical management can help patients enjoy a healthier and happier life for longer, avoiding long-term conditions such as stroke which can leave some people with severe disabilities.“

Cold Weather Alert

The met Office have issued a level three cold weather alert for the area covering Berkshire, meaning that the mean daily temperature is unlikely to be above 2degrees Celsius for the next 48 hours. Local authorities and the NHS are now working to their severe weather plans to ensure business continuity and to minimise any risks to human health. Weather of this nature, exacerbated as it is with dense fog in places may increase the health risks to vulnerable people and disrupt the delivery of services.

To minimise these risks, we give the following public health advice:

Keep your home warm, efficiently and safely:

  • heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing
  • get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated
  • use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
  • do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill
  • make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or sold fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity – to make sure you do not run out in winter

Keep in the warmth by:

  • fitting draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors
  • making sure you have loft insulation. And if you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too
  • insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes
  • draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms
  • make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains

Look after yourself:

  • food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks
  • aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day
  • stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy
  • exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter
  • If possible, try to move around at least once an hour. But remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans
  • wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat
  • wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls
  • make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out
  • check if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier

Look after others:

  • check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.

Choose Well – Only visit A&E if you are experiencing a potentially life-threatening or critical condition

choose-wellAttendances at our local A&E departments are currently extremely high. Please only visit A&E if you or someone you know is experiencing a potentially life-threatening or critical condition.

Remember that the Bracknell Urgent Care Centre is open from 8am to 8pm everyday (even over the festive period).

Alternatively, for common illnesses and minor ailments, please visit your local pharmacist. Local pharmacy opening times over Christmas & New Year.

Stroke care improvements will save lives

Stroke services are set to improve for more than 430,000 people living in the east of Berkshire.

This means that, from January 1, local people suspected of having a stroke will be taken straight to the nearest hyper acute stroke unit by ambulance to receive the best possible care.

The improvements are the culmination of two years’ planning by the east Berkshire clinical commissioning groups, involving local clinicians, patients, the public and the Stroke Association from the start.

These plans aim to improve patients’ health after a stroke, with fast access to clot-busting treatment (thrombolysis) and 24-hour specialist stroke care, which have been proven to give patients a better chance of recovery when combined with therapy support as needed.

Hyper acute stroke units that are local for residents in the east of Berkshire are:

  • Frimley Park Hospital, Camberley
  • Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading
  • St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey
  • Wycombe General Hospital, High Wycombe
  • Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow

Most patients will go home after hospital treatment, with additional support if they need it. People who need rehabilitation in hospital will be transferred to an inpatient unit as close as possible to where they live.

For patients in the east of Berkshire, the plans mean:

  • from January 1, most stroke patients who would previously have gone to the acute stroke unit at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough will go to the hyper acute stroke unit at Wycombe General Hospital
  • Wexham Park Hospital will no longer have an acute stroke unit, but will have a new stroke rehabilitation unit
  • the reconfiguration will mainly affect Maidenhead, Slough and Windsor patients who would previously have gone to Wexham Park Hospital
  • Bracknell and Ascot patients will be largely unaffected, as almost seven out of ten already go to the hyper acute stroke units at Frimley Park Hospital or the Royal Berkshire Hospital

Dr Jackie McGlynn, one of the east Berkshire clinical commissioning groups’ stroke leads, said: “We believe these new arrangements will save lives in the years ahead. They will improve people’s quality of life after a stroke through maximising their chances of remaining independent at home.

“While we realise some families and carers may need to travel slightly further to visit their loved ones in a specialist stroke unit, it is important to us that local people receive the best possible care.”
Notes to editors

  • The three east Berkshire CCGs are Bracknell & Ascot CCG, Slough CCG, and Windsor & Maidenhead CCG
  • The plans are in line with recognised national best practice
  • 24/7 screening, consultant and other specialist support will be available on HASU sites
  • Rehabilitation services will include high-quality physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, psychological support and occupational therapy
  • Benefits will include:more people will survive a stroke
    • patients will have a speedier recovery
    • the severity of any disabilities will be reduced
    • more patients will be able to live independently following their stroke
    • they are more likely to return to work
    • services will be safe, sustainable and affordable for the future

Recognising the signs of a stroke

The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person but usually begin suddenly. As different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, your symptoms will depend on the part of your brain affected and the extent of the damage.

The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST: Face, Arms, Speech, Time:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have drooped
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake
  • Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms

Christmas opening hours for local NHS services

Some local NHS services across Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, Bracknell and Ascot will have different opening times over Christmas.

East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are advising people to check the opening times for pharmacies, GP surgeries and dental practices before visiting.

Those on regular medication are being reminded to order and collect repeat prescriptions well in advance so they have enough medicine while GP surgeries and pharmacies are closed.

You can download a list of pharmacies in east Berkshire and their opening hours over the Christmas.

East Berkshire CCGs are also reminding local people that their GP surgeries will have reduced opening hours over Christmas and New Year. For opening times, please check with your own surgery.

For minor injuries and illnesses, people should visit their nearest walk-in centre or minor injuries unit (MIU).

An out of hours dental service will be available over the festive period. Click for details of local dentists.

Click for more information on Staying Well this Winter.

Notes to editors:

For further information, please contact Anamika Bansal, Communications & Engagement Manager, on 01753 636 836, or email: anamika.bansal@nhs.net

East Berkshire CCGs launch Facebook

facebook_image

The three east Berkshire CCGs, Bracknell & Ascot, Slough, and Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead, have set up a joint Facebook site as a way of communicating and engaging with local people within the comfort of their own homes.

We hope it will help us understand people’s opinions and wishes for their local NHS, at a time when we are planning a number of improvements.

The CCGs’ Medical Director, Lalitha Iyer, said: “We decided to join Facebook to make sure local people get an opportunity to tell us what they want from their healthcare services and to encourage them to get involved in planning for future improvements.

“This is another way for us to engage with patients, staff, the public and our partner organisations and to communicate all our latest news and information.”

As well as news and information about engagement opportunities, such as surveys and events, the site has links to general health information and advice from NHS Choices.

The CCG’s official Facebook page can be found at:
www.facebook.com/eastberkshirecollaborativeccgs

Registered members of Facebook can visit this page by typing ‘East Berkshire CCGs’ into the search bar at the top of the homepage. By clicking on the ‘Like’ button, users can become members of the page to receive regular updates via the usual Facebook news feed.

South Central Ambulance Service and partners identified as preferred provider for the new Thames Valley 111 service – ‘The new front door to urgent care’

PrintSouth Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), the current provider of NHS 111, has been selected by the 10 clinical commissioning groups across the Thames Valley as the preferred provider to deliver an integrated urgent care service across the Thames Valley.

Launching next year, it will be delivered in partnership with other local providers, and will offer patients access to a seamless 24/7 urgent clinical assessment and treatment service – bringing together NHS 111, GP out of hours and other clinical advice, such as dental, medicines and mental health.

Sam Burrows, the senior responsible officer for the procurement process said: “We are pleased to be working with SCAS on this exciting transformation, building on the strong performance currently delivered to patients across the Thames Valley.

“We are now entering a co-production phase with SCAS, which is still an ongoing part of the procurement process. A formal contract will be awarded once this phase has been completed successfully.”

SCAS’s Chief Operating Officer Philip Astle said “SCAS is delighted to be working with the Clinical Commissioning Groups and our partners from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to design and deliver a transformational integrated urgent care service for the people of the Thames Valley for the next five years.”

Care UK was initially selected as the preferred supplier of the new service, but withdrew from the procurement process after identifying issues with their bid. In line with the published procurement process, Thames Valley Clinical Commissioning Groups invited the reserve bidder, an alliance of NHS organisations led by South Central Ambulance Service, to enter a co-production process with them to design a new integrated urgent care system for Thames Valley.

Note to editors:

(1)   The Thames Valley clinical commissioning groups working together on the procurement of the 111 service includes:

  • Aylesbury Vale CCG
  • Chiltern CCG
  • Oxfordshire CCG
  • Berkshire West CCG Federation (Newbury & District CCG, North & West Reading CCG, South Reading CCG, Wokingham CCG)
  • Berkshire East CCG Federation (Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead CCG, Bracknell and Ascot CCG, Slough CCG)

(2)   The SCAS alliance comprises the South Central Ambulance Service, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Local health and care plan outlines improvements to future services for everyone

Health and social care is about to get a whole lot better for the 750,000 residents of North East Hampshire and Farnham, Surrey Heath, The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Bracknell Forest and Slough.

Thanks to a new plan that pulls together partners from local councils, the NHS and community partners, the care that people receive will soon be easier to access, closer to home and delivered in a more straightforward individually focused way.

The Frimley Health and Care Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), published today (Thursday, 24 November), is one of 44 plans set up across the country to deliver a Five Year Forward View vision of better health, better patient care and improved efficiency whether its health or social care that’s needed. The plan sets out how this will be achieved locally and how local services will evolve and become more sustainable over the next five years.

This plan expands upon the work which is already underway locally to transform services for people by improving care and helping them to live longer, healthier lives. Local people will have access to high quality consistent care as close to home as possible, with specialist services centralised where necessary. There are no plans to close hospitals within this STP area.

Cllr Dale Birch, executive member for adult services, health and housing, said: “This is an exciting time for health and social care in Bracknell Forest. The plan builds on the ideas already being developed between the council, NHS organisations and other health and care partners.  It will make a real difference to the health and social care local people receive. Local people will get the opportunity to shape the plan moving forward.”

Dr William Tong, chair for Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “I strongly support the STP plan. It builds on our existing work and the integration of services and this plan will take it to the next level.

“Health and social care organisations have come together to do the things that can only be achieved by working in partnership.

“Over the coming months, we intend to continue our engagement with our local population, through the significant number of existing arrangements for engagement such as HealthConnect, Patient Assembly, patient panel and the Community Partnership Forum. Additionally, we are planning some further public engagement events for the New Year.”

The plan focuses on four priorities:

  • Supporting communities and social networks so that people have the skills, support and confidence to first of all stay fit and healthy and when not they can be independent and manage their own care.
  • Focusing on the care and health workforce (doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, mental health experts and volunteers etc.) to ensure everyone delivering any part of the service is ready and skilled to meet the demands of our communities.
  • Delivering consistent and integrated care, which means you will only have to give details once, for all aspects of a person’s life where they may need help to maintain good health and wellbeing.
  • Using technology and creative interventions to help improve outcomes for people and increase the efficiency of our own services.

The Frimley Health and Social Care STP will over the next five years:

  • Invest in frontline NHS and care services to improve (reduce) waiting times, treatment and home-based care for local people. GPs will have more time to see patients and the number of community nurses and pharmacists and other health professionals will increase.
  • Secure extra funding so people can get a GP appointment from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. This means there will be lots more GP appointments across the borough. There will also be weekend appointments at new GP hubs and new integrated health and social care centres (hubs) across the community for specialist and family doctors, community nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists and pharmacists.
  • Invest in mental health services, particularly children and young people, so patients needing specialist care may not always need to travel out of the area and provide services seven days a week.
  • Ensure patients can access their medical and social care records online, and use technology for those with diabetes, heart or breathing problems, to monitor their health and alert doctors to any problems.

The plans cover a period of five years (from 2016 to 2021) and have now been published on our website, please visit the Sustainability and Transformation Plan webpage.

These plans will only be delivered with the support of local residents so one of the early actions in the plan is to engage with local residents. Local people will be invited to get involved in early 2017 and help shape the health and care services in their community. Details of public engagement meetings and opportunities to have your say can be found on our Getting Involved webpage.

Notes to Editor:

Interviews are available on request. Please contact comms@bracknell-forest.gov.uk for more information.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan planning footprint is the population of 750,000 people registered with GPs in five CCGs:

  • NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG
  • NHS Slough CCG
  • NHS Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG
  • NHS Bracknell and Ascot CCG
  • NHS Surrey Heath CCG

Other stakeholders include:

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

GP Federations

A GP federation is a group of GP practices that decide to collaborate to provide improved access and quality whilst reducing variation in general practices’ services. In North East Hampshire and Farnham, Salus Medical Services Ltd is a federation made up of 23 GP surgeries.

Mental health providers

  • Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Community providers

  • Virgin Care
  • Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Ambulance Trusts

  • South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
  • South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Councils

  • Surrey County Council
  • Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council
  • Slough Borough Council
  • Bracknell Forest Council
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Guildford Borough Council
  • Rushmore Borough Council
  • Waverley Borough Council
  • Hart District Council
  • Surrey Heath Borough Council

GP Out of Hours Services

  • East Berkshire Primary Care
  • North Hampshire Urgent Care

Windsor girl amongst hundreds to support national campaign to Stay Well this winter

group-photo-for-mediaA 6-year-old girl from Windsor is amongst hundreds of pupils across East Berkshire to be vaccinated as part of a national drive to help Stay Well this winter.

Alyzeh Hassan (Year 1 pupil) from Hilltop First School in Dedworth welcomed the flu spray from a team of nurses’ yesterday morning (8/11) from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

On Monday this week (7/11), NHS England and Public Health England launched its national ‘Stay well this winter’ campaign which aims to help people prepare for winter weather.

According to their figures, around 25,000 more people die over the course of each winter compared to other times of the year and there are a range of conditions worsened by the cold weather – 80 per cent of these deaths are accounted for by people with circulatory diseases (such as heart disease, lung illnesses and stroke), dementia and respiratory diseases (such as asthma).

In support of the campaign, the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in east Berkshire* are encouraging local residents, particularly the young, old and those with long-term health conditions to get vaccinated this winter.

Thousands of people nationwide visit their doctor with flu symptoms each year. Many will need hospital treatment because of flu-related complications, and in some cases, these complications can be fatal.

The flu vaccination is provided free of charge to the following groups of people as they could be particularly vulnerable to complications from the flu:

  • Children aged two, three and four on August 31 2016 – that is, children born between September 1 2011 and August 31 2014
  • Children in school years one, two and three
  • Children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions
  • Everyone over 65 years of age
  • Anyone with a long term condition such as diabetes, chronic liver or neurological disease
  • Pregnant women
  • The main carer of an older or disabled person.

Director of Nursing & Quality at the CCG, Sarah Bellars, said: “If you have a long term condition such as asthma, diabetes, a neurological disease or chronic liver, kidney or lung disease, then protecting yourself against flu is vital.

“The strain of flu can change each year which is why we strongly recommend that even if you were vaccinated last year, that you are vaccinated again this year. Catching the flu could make you seriously ill and make complications more likely.

She added: “Flu can be serious for young children and because they mix with so many family members they are called ‘superspreaders’. For these reasons, we feel it is critical for children to be given the nasal spray to protect themselves and those around them.”

Children aged 2, 3 and 4 years old can attend a flu clinic at their GP practice while children aged 5 and 6 will receive the flu nasal spray at their school. The nasal spray for children offers a free, fast and painless way to protect children from flu.

When explaining the reasons why pregnant women should to be vaccinated, Sarah Bellars, said:

“If you are expecting a baby, catching the flu could lead to some serious complications. For this reason, it is important for pregnant women to get their free flu jab. The vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy, from conception onwards. Your doctor or midwife will be able to guide you with specific advice and details of local vaccination clinics.”

Some simple steps to help keep safe this winter:-

  • Wrap up warm in freezing weather. Research shows even at above freezing temperatures, for every one degree centigrade drop below five degrees, there is a resulting increase in older people consulting their GP for breathing problems, as well as an increase in associated deaths.
  • Make sure your gas, solid fuel and oil burning appliances are serviced by a registered engineer so that they are working effectively and safely before the winter sets in.
  • Experts are also advising people to heat their homes to at least 18°C (65°F) and to look out for those at increased risk of illness over the winter months. Cold and damp homes can contribute to poor mental health and social isolation, which are also key factors in increased winter deaths and disease.
  • Remember that eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying physically active can keep you healthy.

*Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG, Slough CCG and Bracknell and Ascot CCG

Seven days of free health and fitness activities for residents

bfcResidents are invited to enjoy a week of free health and wellbeing events in the borough between 14 and 20 November as Bracknell Forest Council and its partners’ award winning Self Care Week returns.

Volunteers will take to Princess Square to provide shoppers with health and wellbeing advice throughout the week. Tailored ‘self-prescriptions’ will be offered, signposting people to local organisations and activities to help residents improve their overall health such as help to quit smoking, falls prevention and free leisure centre activities.

Look out for the street doctors offering on the spot health checks along with advice on managing your blood pressure and weight.  The street doctors will be at different locations in Bracknell Forest throughout Self Care Week.

Get into the rhythm of keeping fit and mentally stimulated with free health walks and Tai-Chi sessions created with you in mind. Other activities include Parkrun, beginner exercise sessions and educational events.

Talking Therapies group, part of Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will also be on hand to help residents manage their mental wellbeing, answering questions and providing advice.

Residents are encouraged to get involved with the range of activities to help them look after their physical and mental wellbeing while keeping fit this November.

Cllr Dale Birch, Bracknell Forest Council’s executive member for adult services, health and housing, said: “Self care is extremely important in enabling people to remain independent. It’s a range of actions people take for themselves and their families, helping them to stay fit and have good physical and mental health.

“Our Self Care Week is designed to help people make time to look after themselves, try out a new fitness activity and get the information they need to equip them for treating minor ailments and managing long term conditions themselves.

“Self Care Week 2015 was a huge success and we hope even more residents take advantage of the range of activities and information events on offer this year to help them remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible.”

Self Care Week will also involve children and vulnerable groups of the community; seated exercise plans will be sent to sheltered housing complexes, residential homes and nursing homes to encourage residents to participate in exercise together.

Schools are encouraged to get involved through a poster competition which will be running across the borough with some fantastic prizes, including family tickets to The Look Out, generously donated by partners and providers supporting the event.

Dr Martin Kittel, director and self care lead for Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group and Forest End GP, said: “A great many A&E attendances, hospital admissions and even GP appointments are avoidable if people improve their self care and conditions get diagnosed earlier rather than later. Self care doesn’t mean that you’re on your own, or that the necessary support or services won’t be there for you when you need them. Talking to your GP and other healthcare workers, including pharmacists, can help, but there is a lot you can also do yourself.”

A full list of events, street doctor locations and details on how to book a place on one of the sessions can be found at www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/selfcare or by calling 01344 352765.

You can support Self Care Week by volunteering your time to help spread the word on self care. Volunteers are needed to talk to shoppers in Princess Square with slots running from 10.30am to 12.30pm and 12.30pm to 2.30pm between Monday, 14 November and Friday, 18 November. If you would like to volunteer, please give call 01344 352765 or email: ASCHH.CommissioningTeam@bracknell-forest.gov.uk.

Get updates on Self Care Week by searching #BFSelfcare on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

CAMHS Transformation Conference 20th October 2016 with guest speaker Professor Tanya Byron

The CAMHS Transformation Working Group invites you to join us at this free event; designed to continue the promotion and support for children and adolescents with mental health needs in east Berkshire.

This conference offers attendees the opportunity to hear how to  support children and young people to build mental health resilience, learn more on the whole system approach to improve mental health for children and adolescents in east Berkshire, hear how our services are successfully providing effective support and meet service providers developing initiatives to continue improving children’s mental health needs. You will also have an opportunity to meet service providers in the Market Stall area.

The conference will be held on Thursday 20th October 2016 3pm-6pm at the:

Desborough Suite, Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1RF

Reserve your place now by visiting: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/camhs-conference-tickets-27403059288

Self Care Week wins big

Bracknell Forest Council and Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group have been awarded the first ever Self Care Week Award by co-chairs of the National Self Care Forum, Dr Pete Smith OBE and Dr Selwyn Hodge, Royal Society of Public Health.

The team, led by Matthew Clift, project manager: commissioning and resources, worked in collaboration with a multitude of community groups and volunteers to deliver Self Care Week 2015, running targeted preventative activities for the community in November 2015 via funding from the Bracknell Forest Better Care Fund.

The project won the award for:

  • its specifically organised and relevant events
  • providing a broad base of activities across a range of health areas
  • involving a good range of partner organisations, with a potentially large impact on developing health care improvements in the local area
  • making good use of publicity and literature to promote Self Care Week and to encourage and support the use of self-care
  • delivering well planned programmes of activities to promote self-care and to reinforce the work already being done in the area
  • making good links to health promotion, particularly with the possible impact on children and young people through the arrangements made with schools.

The project was deemed a ‘truly comprehensive programme’, culminating in the Year of Self Care which launched in January this year.

The prize included a £500 bursary which will be used to find activities during Self Care Week 2016, running from 14 – 20 November 2016.

Open Up About Medicines

Patients urged to ‘open up’ to get the most from their medicines

A new campaign is under way to help patients make best use of their prescription medicines.

Local health commissioners, made up of Bracknell and Ascot CCG, Slough CCG and Windsor and Ascot and Maidenhead  CCG, along with the CCGs in west Berkshire and Oxfordshire are backing the ‘Open up about medicines’ initiative.

Melody Chapman, CCG Lead Prescribing Support Pharmacist, said: “ The ‘Open up about medicines’ campaign encourages patients to take responsibility for their medicines by asking them to open up about their medicines during their visits to GPs and pharmacists. This includes opening up and checking the contents of the medicines bag to ensure they contain what is needed, therefore increasing medicines safety and reducing medicines waste.  The CCGs are committed to making sure that our patients get the best possible treatment. Preventing medicines waste is critical to this commitment, and the money saved will ensure that other areas of local healthcare are maintained.”

Karen Maskell, Lay Member for Patient and Public Involvement for Bracknell and Ascot CCG, said: “ It’s important that people taking medications for an extended period of time and those with long-term conditions understand what they are taking and why. People need to be able to manage their prescription so they have sufficient medication to stay healthy but without building up an excessive supply, and they see managing their medications as part of their own self-management. If we get this right, this will benefit the health of individuals, as well as have positive implications for the NHS”

Lindsey Roberts the campaign coordinator and Clinical Network Manager at the Oxford Academic Health Science Network said: “There are two main messages for patients. Firstly, we want them to open up their medicines bags when they collect them and check everything inside is what they need. Secondly, we’re encouraging people to be more open in their conversations with their doctor or pharmacist. This will ensure patients get the right medicines, reduce waste and save the NHS money that can be invested back into frontline services.”

‘Open up about medicines’ was originally developed by Southampton Clinical Commissioning Group.

Leaflets, posters and other information are being distributed to GP practices and pharmacies.

For more information, visit the Open up About Medicines page.

Notes to editors:

1.     More details can be found online here: http://bit.ly/OpenUpMed

2.     This video explains more about the campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xyG-m7KHNY 

For more information contact:

The Media Desk

Email: communications.eastberksccgs@nhs.net

Telephone: 01753 636836

August Bank Holiday Pharmacy Opening Times

With the bank holiday approaching, we are reminding people to plan ahead for repeat prescriptions over the August bank holiday as many GPs and pharmacies in the area may be closed or working shorter days. The bank holiday falls on 29th August 2016. Click to view the local bank holiday pharmacy opening times.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday period. This can be a very busy time for the local NHS, so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with life-threatening emergencies.

Common ailments such as colds can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine, so make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit including:

  • paracetamol or Ibuprofen for pain and/or fever (in adults and children);
  • medicine to combat diarrhoea;
  • rehydration mixture;
  • plasters;
  • a thermometer.

Download your copy of the NHS “Your Guide to Local Primary Care and Urgent Care Services in Bracknell and Ascot”

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 where friendly, highly-trained staff are available to talk to you directly about your health concerns. Advisors are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and then offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is FREE to call from landlines or mobile phones.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

www.nhs.uk

www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/

www.selfcareforum.org

www.patient.co.uk

www.childhealthbucks.com

Speak to your local pharmacist

Your pharmacy is a good place to start when you need health advice. Pharmacists can offer advice about minor illnesses, such as ear ache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea as well as provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds.

Pharmacies offer stop smoking advice, the morning-after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines – and most have private consulting rooms so you don’t need to explain what’s wrong with the possibility of other people listening in.

Click to view local pharmacy opening times  during the August Bank Holiday.

Talk before you Walk – where to go for help

Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.

There are many real alternatives available so ‘Talk before you Walk’ to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre

Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace

London Road

Bracknell, RG12 9BG

Tel: 01344 55 11 00

Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year

The centre treats minor injuries and illnesses that need immediate assessment and treatment but don’t require a visit to A&E. The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.

Waiting times vary, depending on the time of day and the number of patients, and staff will prioritise certain groups of people, including children and the elderly. If you are kept waiting, please be patient.

 

St Marks Urgent Care Centre

St Marks Hospital

112 St. Marks Road

Maidenhead, SL6 6DU

Tel: 03000 242000

Open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays) 9am to 1.00pm.

The centre is for minor injuries and ailments including bites and stings, foot and hand injuries, cuts and bruises, back pain, strains and sprains, burns and scalds, eye problems, panic attacks, breathing problems, fever, rashes etc. Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.

 

Slough Walk-in Health Centre

Upton Hospital

Albert Street, SL1 2BJ

Tel: 01753 635505

Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year. The centre is available for people with minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray. No appointments are necessary. Just turn up but please be patient as there may be queues at certain times.

 

For further information visit NHS Choices.

Your GP Practice needs you!

Visit your GP practice in Slough, Ascot, Maidenhead or Windsor on the 9th June to share your thoughts on how local health services can be improved!

GP practices across Slough, Bracknell, Ascot, Maidenhead and Windsor are encouraging patients to help make a difference and join their Patient Participation Group (PPG). All GP surgeries in Slough and seven practices across Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead are holding an “Open Day” hosted by the PPGs on the 9th June.

The objective is to help create awareness of the important work that PPGs do, and encourage other patients and carers to sign up and join in. On the day, patients will also be asked to complete a short survey about how local health services can be improved.

The patient voice is gaining in momentum as the improvements in primary care evolve. Patient views are vital in defining areas of improvement within the practice and in informing decisions affecting local services. This is fed through to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who has responsibility for commissioning services to meet local needs.

Karen Maskell, Lay Member, Bracknell and Ascot CCG said: “As everyone is aware in the national press, there has never been a greater need to ensure sustainability of primary care. Being part of the GP Patient Group is an excellent opportunity to be part of this process. Patient groups can influence the care at GP practice level but also, have the opportunity to influence wider health and social care via the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Every GP Patient Group works slightly differently, and you may not need to attend meetings to be involved. I would encourage everyone to find out about how your GP practice patient group works and to get involved. We all have something to contribute!”

Mike Connolly, Lay Member, Slough CCG said: “This is the third year that Slough GP practices are holding “Open Days”. These are an excellent way to reach out to patients and explain the work that Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) do and the role they play in supporting practices to listen to their patients. PPG representatives from each Practice make up a Slough wide Patient Reference Group and we work with commissioners to support the design of local NHS services such as seven day working and other important projects, which cannot go forward without public involvement. We are keen for our PPGs to grow and would love to hear from anyone who would like to be involved.”

Robert Cooper, Lay Member, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG said: “Your views are vital in identifying areas for improvement in your GP surgery and in informing decisions made by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in the commissioning of services to meet local needs. Please let us know your views on the services you receive from your GP practice by completing the questionnaire available at your GP practice or on our website https://www.eastberksccgs.nhs.uk/consult.ti.”

Patient groups are made up of volunteers of patients, doctors and practice staff who meet regularly to decide ways to make a positive contribution to the continual improvement of services and facilities offered by the practice. The PPG also encourages the voice of the patient population to be heard.

No specific skills or experience are needed to join a PPG. If you are a patient of the practice and are prepared to share your views in a constructive way for the improvement of the practice, then you will be welcome. Some enthusiasm and a little time to offer your involvement would be very valuable.

From our experience excellent practices and good PPGs go hand in hand! Go to the Open Day or speak to your GP receptionist to find out about how you can get involved!

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

  1. Throughout this press release, GP Patient Groups are synonymous for Patient Participation Groups (PPGs).
  2. The PPG Awareness Week is organised by the National Association for Patient Participation, (N.A.P.P) a national charity, formed in 1978.
  3. The online questionnaires for Slough, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead will be available online from Thursday 9th June here: https://www.eastberksccgs.nhs.uk/consult.ti

For more information contact:

The Media Desk

Email: communications.eastberksccgs@nhs.net

Telephone: 01753 636836

Talk Before you Walk – Stay healthy and safe this Summer

With the May bank holiday weekend here, it is important to think about your health and what to do if you are feeling unwell. During public holidays pharmacies and GP practices operate under reduced opening hours meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday
period. This can be a very busy time for the local NHS, so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with life-threatening emergencies.

Common ailments such as colds can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine, so make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit including:

  • paracetamol or Ibuprofen for pain and/or fever (in  adults and children);
  • medicine to combat diarrhoea;
  • rehydration mixture;
  • plasters;
  • a thermometer.

Download your copy of the NHS “Your Guide to Local Primary Care and Urgent Care Services in Bracknell and Ascot”.

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 where friendly, highly-trained staff are available to talk to you directly about your health concerns. Advisors are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and then offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is FREE to call from landlines or mobile phones.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

www.nhs.uk
www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/
www.nhs.uk/selfcare
www.selfcareforum.org
www.patient.co.uk
www.childhealthbucks.com

Speak to your local pharmacist

Your pharmacy is a good place to start when you need health advice. Pharmacists can offer advice about minor illnesses, such as ear ache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea as well as provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds but can also.

Pharmacies offer stop smoking advice, the morning-after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines – and most have private consulting rooms so you don’t need to explain what’s wrong with the possibility of other people listening in.

Click to view local pharmacy opening times during the Bank Holiday.

Talk before you Walk – where to go for help

Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.

There are many real alternatives available so ‘Talk before you Walk’ to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre
Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace
London Road
Bracknell, RG12 9BG
Tel: 01344 55 11 00Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the yearThe centre treats minor injuries and illnesses that need immediate assessment and treatment but don’t require a visit to A&E. The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.Waiting times vary, depending on the time of day and the number of patients, and staff will prioritise certain groups of people, including children and the elderly. If you are kept waiting, please be patient.
St Marks Urgent Care Centre
St Marks Hospital
112 St. Marks Road
Maidenhead, SL6 6DU
Tel: 03000 242000OpenMonday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays) 9am to 1.00pm.The centre is for minor injuries and ailments including bites and stings, foot and hand injuries, cuts and bruises, back pain, strains and sprains, burns and scalds, eye problems, panic attacks, breathing problems, fever, rashes etc.Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.
Slough Walk-in Health Centre
Upton Hospital
Albert Street, SL1 2BJ
Tel: 01753 635505Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the yearThe centre is available for people with minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray.No appointments are necessary. Just turn up but please be patient as there may be queues at certain times.

For further information visit NHS Choices.

Planned industrial action – Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April 2016

JD AI 26 27 April strike graphic

The planned industrial action by junior doctors from 08:00 Tuesday 26 April 2016 to 08:00 Thursday 28 April 2016 will put hospitals and the rest of the NHS under extra pressure at a time when it is already facing significant demand.

You can help us to ensure that the NHS continues to operate as effectively as possible by visiting the NHS Choices website for self-help advice and information about services, or calling 111.

We’re expecting NHS services to be busier than usual, so please use the NHS Choices or 111 to get the right advice or treatment in the right place.

Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service

NEPTS posterFrom 1 April 2016 South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) will be providing the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) for all patients registered with a GP in a Berkshire, Buckinghamshire or Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area, under a single Thames Valley contract.

NEPTS provides transport for patients who have a medical reason that means they are not able to travel for treatment by another method. It includes the following journeys:

  • To a planned outpatient appointment
  • To hospital for a planned admission
  • Home from hospital following your discharge
  • To and from renal dialysis appointments
  • Home to the Thames Valley area from hospitals in other areas of the country
  • As resources are limited and are focussed on the patients with most need, there are eligibility criteria that must be met in order to access the service.

For more information, including eligibility criteria, accessing the service and contact details, please view the NEPTS Patient Leaflet. Alternatively visit their website.

Clinical Commissioning Groups award £90,000 to local mental health charities

Clinical Commissioning Groups award £90,000 to local mental health charities providing youth counselling services across Bracknell, Windsor, Ascot, Maidenhead and Slough areas.

Supporting children and young people with mental health needs is a priority for the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups. Our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Transformation Plan sets out the ways we are tackling this area by increasing investment and supporting the development of new services, including a specialist eating disorder service for young people. Funding was only agreed late in the year so we had the opportunity to invest some unallocated funds in counselling services, provided by not-for-profit organisations.

A number of studies have been conducted including a recent survey by the Association of School and College Leaders[1] all highlighting the challenges faced by schools in helping children with a range of mental health problems including anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders.

Dr Katie Simpson, GP Lead for Mental Health, commented that “Bracknell and Ascot CCG, Slough CCG and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG have awarded funding to three local organisations that were successful in a bidding process to provide additional counselling and support to children and young people. This money will enable the three organisations to expand their services and increase access to talking therapies which we know are a real help to children and young people with mental health needs. In total, £90,000 has been awarded to these organisations and their work will feed in to our wider efforts to address the mental health needs of children and young people.”

The three successful bidders are:

“Youthline” – covering the Bracknell area;

“Family Friends Windsor” covering Windsor and

“Windsor and Maidenhead Counselling” covering Windsor, Maidenhead and Slough.

Martin Gocke, Chair of Trustees at Youthline commented that: “The Youthline team welcomes our inclusion in this important project. The grant will enable us to strengthen our services, equipping our counsellors to offer face to face support to more young people across Bracknell Forest and Ascot.

“Youthline has been providing face to face counselling for young people for nearly 30 years. It is a well-established local charity supported by local councils, other charitable organisations, corporate sponsorship and voluntary donations. Counselling is offered on a one to one basis to young people between the ages of 12 and 25 at our main base at The Lodge at Coopers Hill. Clients live, attend school and work in Bracknell Forest and Ascot.  Contact can be made through www.Youthlineuk.com

Shula Tajima, Counselling Co-ordinator at Windsor and Maidenhead Counselling (Youthtalk and Number 22) said “we are so pleased to have received this funding from the CCG, it will help us enormously to carry on the work we are doing when tackling this painful issue.  It will also help us to grow and expand, reducing the waiting times before seeing a counsellor, which is such a crucial issue for us to address. Further information on our services can be found at http://www.number22counselling.org ”

Asma Aziz, Public Relations and Fundraising Executive at Family Friends in Windsor and Maidenhead commended that “we are delighted to have received a grant from NHS Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG.  This grant will enable us to support children aged 7 – 13 years experiencing difficulties that result in feeling insecure, lonely and self-blaming, which can lead to self-harm and eating disorders and putting themselves at risk.  The grant will enable us to prevent declining mental health and promote positive emotional well-being through the provision of group and one to one support to children affected by domestic abuse, anxiety and mental health issues.”

“Family Friends aim to use part of the grant to train members of staff, volunteers and parents on Self Harm Awareness training so that self-harm issues can be recognised in children and intervened before it becomes severe.  We would like to thank CCG for providing Family Friends with the opportunity to support local children in need.  For more information about what we do please visit www.family-friends.org.uk. ”
– ends –

Notes to editors:

Footnote 1: As featured on the BBC website, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35730625

For more information contact:

The Media Desk

Email: communications.eastberksccgs@nhs.net

Telephone: 01753 636836

Talk Before you Walk – Stay healthy and safe this Easter

With the long bank holiday weekend fast approaching, it is important to think about your health and what to do if you are feeling unwell. During public holidays pharmacies and GP practices operate under reduced opening hours meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday
period. This can be a very busy time for the local NHS, so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with life-threatening emergencies.

Common ailments such as colds can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine, so make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit including:

  • paracetamol or Ibuprofen for pain and/or fever (in  adults and children);
  • medicine to combat diarrhoea;
  • rehydration mixture;
  • plasters;
  • a thermometer.

Download your copy of the NHS “Your Guide to Local Primary Care and Urgent Care Services in Bracknell and Ascot”.

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 where friendly, highly-trained staff are available to talk to you directly about your health concerns. Advisors are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and then offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is FREE to call from landlines or mobile phones.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

www.nhs.uk
www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/
www.nhs.uk/selfcare
www.selfcareforum.org
www.patient.co.uk
www.childhealthbucks.com

Speak to your local pharmacist

Your pharmacy is a good place to start when you need health advice. Pharmacists can offer advice about minor illnesses, such as ear ache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea as well as provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds but can also.

Pharmacies offer stop smoking advice, the morning-after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines – and most have private consulting rooms so you don’t need to explain what’s wrong with the possibility of other people listening in.

Click to view local pharmacy opening times during the Easter Bank Holiday.

Talk before you Walk – where to go for help

Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.

There are many real alternatives available so ‘Talk before you Walk’ to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre
Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace
London Road
Bracknell, RG12 9BG
Tel: 01344 55 11 00Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the yearThe centre treats minor injuries and illnesses that need immediate assessment and treatment but don’t require a visit to A&E. The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.Waiting times vary, depending on the time of day and the number of patients, and staff will prioritise certain groups of people, including children and the elderly. If you are kept waiting, please be patient.
St Marks Urgent Care Centre
St Marks Hospital
112 St. Marks Road
Maidenhead, SL6 6DU
Tel: 03000 242000OpenMonday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays) 9am to 1.00pm.The centre is for minor injuries and ailments including bites and stings, foot and hand injuries, cuts and bruises, back pain, strains and sprains, burns and scalds, eye problems, panic attacks, breathing problems, fever, rashes etc.Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.
Slough Walk-in Health Centre
Upton Hospital
Albert Street, SL1 2BJ
Tel: 01753 635505Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the yearThe centre is available for people with minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray.No appointments are necessary. Just turn up but please be patient as there may be queues at certain times.

For further information visit NHS Choices.

CQC rates Wexham Park Hospital Good

The Care Quality Commission have today published the results of their visit to Wexham Park Hospital in October 2015. They have awarded an overall rating of ‘Good’ with two departments receiving the top rating of ‘outstanding’.

Sarah Bellars, Director of Nursing and Quality for East Berkshire CCGs said ‘This is great news and recognises the hard work of everyone involved. This will be welcome news for patients and the public.

‘We listen to what patients tell us and during the past few months we have been hearing from them about how much they feel the services have improved. I also visit the wards on a regular basis, talking to staff and patients. The difference over the last year has been made very clear to me at those visits.

‘When people are ill and feeling most vulnerable, it is important that they can be confident that their local hospital is safe and offers the care they need. I would like to add my thanks to all staff and the leadership of the organisation who together have made such a difference for patients.’

The CCGs have been involved in supporting the development and the monitoring of action plans for improving services.


 

For more information contact:

The Media Desk

Email: communications.eastberksccgs@nhs.net

Telephone: 01753 636 836

 

Developing mental health services for veterans in England

NHS EnglandNHS England are asking people to share their views and experience of mental health services for veterans to help improve future care across England.

The launch of a national survey is a chance for veterans to share their experience and views of existing mental health services and for NHS England to understand the reasons why some people have not sought or received support and treatment. In addition to seeking views from veterans, the NHS would like to hear from their family members and carers, as well as staff and organisations that are providing treatment and support in this area.

The NHS currently provides 12 mental health services across England specifically for veterans. They enable specialist staff to care for ex-forces personnel with mental health needs, direct them to the most appropriate service and give them effective treatment. Most of the contracts for these services will end in September 2016. So this provides an opportunity to ask people about they think of them to help ensure future veterans’ mental health services best meet the needs of ex-Service personnel, regardless of when they leave the armed forces.

To access the survey and supporting information, please visit www.engage.england.nhs.uk/survey/veterans-mental-health-services. The deadline for responses is 5pm on 31 March 2016.

veterans poster

Talk Before you Walk this Winter

Stay healthy and safe this Christmas

With the long bank holiday weekends around Christmas and New Year fast approaching, it is important to think about your health and what to do if you are feeling unwell. During public holidays pharmacies and GP practices operate under reduced opening hours meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday period. This can be a very busy time for the local NHS, so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with those who may need more urgent support.

To protect against flu, don’t forget to have your flu jab! It is free for those between 2-5 years old, pregnant women, those who are over 65 and people with long term conditions. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for more information.

Common ailments such as colds can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine, so make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit including:

  • paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain and/or fever (in adults and children);
  • medicine to combat diarrhoea;
  • rehydration mixture;
  • plasters;
  • a thermometer.

However, if you are worried or not getting better here are some good ways to get expert medical help and advice – without going to A&E.

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 where friendly, highly-trained staff are available to talk to you direct about your health concerns. Advisors are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and then offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is FREE to call from landlines or mobile phones.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

Speak to your local pharmacist

Your pharmacy is a good place to start when you need health advice. Pharmacists can not only provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds but can also offer advice about minor illnesses, such as earache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea.

Pharmacies offer stop smoking advice, the morning-after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines – and most have private consulting rooms so you don’t need to explain what’s wrong with the possibility of other people listening in.

Check your local pharmacy’s opening times, particularly over the Christmas and New Year holiday period by clicking here.

Talk before you Walk – where to go for help

Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.

There are many real alternatives available so ‘Talk before you Walk’ to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre
Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace
London Road
Bracknell
RG12 9BG
Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year

The centre treats minor injuries and illnesses that need immediate assessment and treatment but don’t require a visit to A&E. The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.

Waiting times vary, depending on the time of day and the number of patients, and staff will prioritise certain groups of people, including children and the elderly.

Call 111 to speak to someone before you visit.

Slough Walk-in Health Centre
Upton Hospital
Albert Street
SL1 2BJ
Tel: 01753 635505
Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year

The centre is available for people with minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray.

No appointments are necessary.

St Marks Urgent Care Centre
St Marks Hospital
112 St. Marks Road
Maidenhead
SL6 6DU
Open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays) 9am to 1.00pm.

The centre is for minor injuries and ailments including bites and stings, foot and hand injuries, cuts and bruises, back pain, strains and sprains, burns and scalds, eye problems, panic attacks, breathing problems, fever, rashes etc.

Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.

Call 111 to speak to someone before you visit.

For further information visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx.

New Extended Hours Primary Care Service to launch in December 2015

Extended Access image

Extended Access Poster

Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group is delighted to announce that extended hours services will begin from December 1st 2015, to support the health and wellbeing of time-pressed local residents.

Patients registered with a GP practice within Bracknell and Ascot who find it difficult to attend an appointment during the working day, or who need longer consultations, may find that the new Extended Hours service is particularly helpful.

This 12 month pilot scheme will offer an extended hours primary care service, based upon the future model of care that we developed with patients, carers and healthcare professionals earlier this year. The service will provide:

  • Routine appointments for planned primary care.
  • General Practitioner, nurse and health care assistant appointments.
  • The new times on offer are 18.30 – 20.00 Monday to Friday and between 08.00 –14.00 on Saturdays.
  • A central Bracknell location with plenty of parking and close to public transport, hosted at the Boundary House Surgery.
  • Longer appointment times, with 15 minutes appointments, longer than the usual 10-minute slots.
  • Patients will be able to call their GP surgery in the usual way and their surgery will be able to book an appointment quickly and easily directly into the Extended Hours service.

Dr Jackie McGlynn, CCG Medical Director and Ascot GP said, “We anticipate that this will be an excellent addition to our existing primary care services in Bracknell and Ascot which will improve access for local people, run by local GPs and practice nurses”

We are using the pilot project to test and evaluate some new ways of working. These include some tests and examinations carried out on the day, often with results given there and then, as the service will have the latest diagnostic equipment. The provision of near patient testing will support the Healthchecks plus service, in which patients will receive same day test results for cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Patients in Bracknell and Ascot will begin to see information about the Extended Hours services in their own GP surgery from November 2015.

Click to view the Extended Access Patient Leaflet

Click to view the Extended Access Patient Poster

 

Self-Care Week – helping you help yourself

Get ready for national Self-Care Week and health and wellbeing events taking place in the borough between 16 and 22 November.

Look out for the Street Doctors where you can get a Health Check, pick up useful advice on how to quit smoking, manage your weight and get your blood pressure checked. The Street Doctors will be at different locations in Bracknell Forest throughout the week.

There will also be staff from “Talking Therapies”, part of Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, who will answer questions about mental health.

Across the Borough, there will be free events such as Zumba at Sandhurst Memorial Hall on 17 November, or Tai-Chi at the Warren Community Centre, in Martins Heron, on 19 November. Email the ASCHH Commissioning Team or call 01344 352765 to book your place.

Self-Care Week is being supported by Bracknell Forest Council and partners, Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group (BACCG), Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, HealthWatch Bracknell Forest and Shopmobility.

Cllr Dale Birch, Bracknell Forest Council’s Executive Member for adult services, health and housing, said: “Self-Care Week is about people making time to look after themselves, which is why we are encouraging residents to stay fit and healthy as well as being informed about how to deal with minor ailments and long term conditions.”

Dr Martin Kittel, from BACCG, said: “When people take good care of their own health it has benefits for everyone. They spend less time at the GP and other appointments and get more enjoyment out of life. Our local hospitals also save time and money because they will be under increasing pressure as winter draws near.”

As part of the Self-Care Week, there will be a School Poster Competition with opportunities to win some fantastic prizes including family tickets to The Look Out and Coral Reef, all generously donated by partners and providers supporting the event.

If your family is spending more time on the couch than at the local park why not visit a children’s centre during the week for family-friendly events?  For information about local children’s centres, go to the council’s children’s centre web page.

Visit our Self-Care Week web page for more information and a full schedule of events. For further information, please email the ASCHH Commissioning Team.

Have you had your flu jab?

Stay well this winter

As the weather begins to turn cold, residents across east Berkshire are encouraged to stay well this winter and get their flu vaccination.

Thousands of people nationwide visit their doctor with flu symptoms each year. Many will need hospital treatment because of flu-related complications, and in some cases, these complications can lead to death. Therefore, across east Berkshire, the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) together with the local authority Public Health teams are encouraging residents to play their part in the fight against flu by having their vaccination.

It is particularly important for people in the groups below to get their free flu vaccination:

  • Children aged 2, 3 and 4 years old;
  • Children aged 5 and 6 (school year 1 and 2);
  • Everyone over 65 years old;
  • Anyone with a long term condition such as diabetes, chronic liver or neurological disease;
  • Pregnant women;
  • The main carer of an older or disabled person.

Dr William Tong, Chair of the Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group said “If you have a long term condition such as asthma, diabetes, a neurological disease or chronic liver, kidney or lung disease, then protecting yourself against flu is vital. Catching the flu could make you seriously ill and make complications more likely.”

Dr Jim O’Donnell, Clinical Chair, NHS Slough CCG said “Flu can be serious for young children and because they mix with so many family members they are called ‘superspreaders’. For these reasons, we feel it is critical for children to be given the nasal spray to protect themselves and those around them. Children aged 2, 3 and 4 years old can attend a flu clinic at their GP practice while children aged 5 and 6 will receive the flu nasal spray at their school. The nasal spray for children offers a free, fast and painless way to protect children from flu.”

Dr Adrian Hayter, Clinical Chair, Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead CCG said “If you are expecting a baby, catching the flu could lead to some serious complications. For this reason, it is important for pregnant women to get their free flu jab. Your doctor or midwife will be able to guide you with specific advice and details of local vaccination clinics.”

As well as your GP Practice, also this year, certain local pharmacies across Berkshire are offering the flu jab free of cost, to those who are eligible. This should help those that may find it difficult attending a flu clinic at their GP practice. Click here for more information.

 

August Bank Holiday Pharmacy Opening Times

With the bank holiday approaching, we are reminding people to plan ahead for repeat prescriptions over the August bank holiday as many GPs and pharmacies in the area may be closed or working shorter days. The bank holiday falls on 31st August 2015.

Ailments such as coughs, flu-like symptoms and upset stomachs can often be treated at home simply by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Local pharmacies can supply the right items and also provide expert advice on how to treat many common illnesses and injuries at home.

You can also dial 111 if they need medical help but are not in a life-threatening situation. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is a great way to get the right medical advice at any time.

Below is a list of local pharmacies and their opening hours during the August bank holiday.

BRACKNELL
Boots The Chemists
13 Princess Square, Station Road
RG12 1LS
Tel: 01344 424906
 10:00 – 16:00
Sainsburys Pharmacy
Ringmead, Bagshot Road
RG12 7SS
Tel: 01344 456868
 9:00 – 19:00
Tesco Pharmacy
Jigs Lane, Warfield
RG42 3JP
Tel: 01344 723447
 10:00 – 16:00

Pharmacy opening hours on Bank Holidays are voluntary and are, therefore, subject to change.Patients are advised to check if pharmacies are open by telephone before making a journey.

New Pulmonary Rehabilitation Service in Bracknell

Why is Pulmonary Rehabilitation so important?

NICE guidelines specify that patients with moderate to severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD, Chronic Bronchitis) should have pulmonary rehabilitation every 18 months. 

Patients, who receive pulmonary rehabilitation get more confident, fitter and more independent again. They will be less sick and have to be admitted to hospital less often. They will have a higher quality of life and will be less fatigued, tired and housebound.

We are very happy to announce we started a new service at the Bracknell Open Learning Centre while continuing the existing service at Heatherwood Hospital.

So what is changing?

  • GPs can now directly refer to this service (before only hospitals could)
  • All patients with moderate to severe COPD will get timely access
  • There will be maintenance classes for motivated patient (nationally a new trial to learn about the benefit of more continued intervention)
  • Patients in Bracknell have more local access to services
  • Waiting times have been reduced from 6 months to 3-6 weeks depending on urgency
  • All patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD will now get timely pulmonary rehabilitation
  • NICE guidelines are now being met

For more information, click here.

Co-Commissioning Update

As you may be aware, your local Clinical Commissioning Group holds some meetings in public. Such meetings are an opportunity to observe the discussions that take place about your local health services. They are one way in which we ensure transparency and accountability over our actions and decisions.

You may be interested to know that a new committee has been formed called the Joint Co-Commissioning Committee – primary care.  This is a joint meeting between the CCG and NHS England and will be responsible for the joint commissioning of GP services and for the delivery of the local primary care strategy.

This committee will meet four times a year.

The first meeting of the new committee takes place on Wednesday 15th July, from 12:30pm – 2pm, at:

Grandstand Suite 1&2, Royal Windsor Racecourse
Maidenhead Road,
Windsor, SL4 5JJ

Any members of the public are welcome to come and observe the meeting and questions related to the agenda may be submitted in advance.

A copy of the meeting agenda and papers can be found here.

If you would like to attend the meeting on Wednesday 15th July, or submit a question related to the agenda, then please email your questions to communications.eastberksccgs@nhs.net, clearly stating on your email that your question is for the ‘B&A CCG Joint Commissioning Committee on the 15th July’

*Please note ‘only’ written questions from the public will be accepted and ‘no’ questions from the floor will be accepted. Therefore all questions to be received by 5pm on Monday 13th July 2015, any questions received after this time / date will not be considered.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Day in the Life of a Doctors’ Receptionist

Receptionist from Bracknell and Ascot provides an account of her day, April 2015

Joining reception at SGP, five years ago, was an eye opener.  I always thought receptionists made appointments and booked me in.  But I soon learnt there was far more to being a “receptionist” than I had previously thought. I very quickly realised that, contrary to popular belief, they are not ‘dragons’, or the ‘appointment prevention brigade’, but caring people who are patients themselves, and understand patients’ concerns and frustrations. They try their very best to offer appropriate appointments within the system.

Shifts of 3 – 4 people start a little before 8:00am, until 1:30 pm and the afternoon shift from 1:30 pm until a little after 6:30pm.

On a typical day, up to 400 patients arrive to attend appointments.  Some patients use the self-check-in system when arriving for a doctor’s/nurse’s appointment, but frequently patients will book further appointments or reschedule them, collect/query prescriptions, hand in/collect letters, ask questions and obtain information.  This can sometimes lead to long queues at the reception desk.  We try to make sure that nobody is kept waiting for long and it can be difficult when at the same time answering telephone calls.  These have increased hugely on a daily basis in the last few years.  We deal with many varied requests from patients, hospitals, pharmacies, medical organisations, care homes, insurance companies and other outside agencies.  Incoming calls are our priority unless we are talking face to face with patients at the front desk or dealing with urgent requests from a doctor e.g. booking an emergency ambulance.  We are aware that there is difficulty getting through to the surgery by telephone but we do answer calls as quickly as we can and never deliberately ignore calls.

Each shift, there are dedicated receptionists dealing with telephone enquiries and processing prescription requests from patients and pharmacies, either by hand/fax or online.  On average we receive 150-200 requests a day.

We are responsible for processing specific GP requests and authorisations; contacting patients with test results / making the appropriate appointments and actions.

From 1-2pm time is spent completing all additional tasks. Along with detailed handovers to team members – this can be anything not resolved or clarified from doctors/nurses; passing on messages to members of the Primary Health Care Team; rescheduling appointments; phoning patients with test results; chasing up test results; preparing blood test forms/faxing them to District Nurses; arranging patient transport; retrieving and replacing patients’ medical records; putting together registration and maternity packs; restocking doctors’ rooms with equipment/stationery; booking appointments for medicals and minor surgeries; organising and ‘tagging’ incoming new patient notes; organising information leaflets in the waiting area and carrying out general housekeeping tasks.

SGP is a very busy Practice.  Every day is different for a busy receptionist. It is challenging, sometimes overwhelming but mostly fulfilling.  Good teamwork is vital to provide an efficient, positive frontline service for patients and to provide assistance and support for the doctors, nurses, and all members of the Primary Health Care Team.

Wasted Medicines Campaign

Bracknell and Ascot, Slough and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead Clinical Commissioning Groups, launch major initiative to reduce medicine waste.

UntitledA campaign aimed at reducing unnecessary waste launches today, 8th June across Bracknell and Ascot CCG, Slough CCG and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG, GPs and community pharmacies.

Local doctors and pharmacists have estimated that an incredible £2 million is lost each year in the Berkshire east region through medicines waste alone.

The campaign, calls upon patients to:

  • Only order what they need
  • Return their unwanted medicines to their pharmacy for safe disposal
  • Take their medicines with them when they go into hospital.

Dr Adrian Hayter, Clinical Chair, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “One of the biggest problems is repeat prescriptions, which are ordered and collected by patients but then not used. Unwanted medicines in the home may mean that patients are not getting the benefit they could from their prescriptions. It also represents a large amount of waste. It is estimated that at any one time £90 million worth of unused prescription medicines are being retained in individual’s homes across the UK. With a few simple considerations, patients could help save the NHS millions each year.”

“We are looking for a real joint effort between doctors and their patients to ensure medicines are used in the best and safest way. We hope that patients shall be supported to order their medication responsibly considering that the cost of waste drugs means fewer resources to spend in the NHS.”

The £2 million that could potentially be saved across Bracknell, Ascot, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, through better medicine management and could be spent on:

  • 79 more nurses OR
  • 539 more hip replacements OR
  • 2,081 more cataract operations.

Catriona Khetyar, Head of Medicines Optimisation said: “This really is one area where we can make a difference. Health professionals have joined forces in a bid to inform patients about their treatment and to help people understand more about their medicines and the options they have.”

Mary Purnell, Head of Operations, Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group said:  “We all have a responsibility to make sure that patients are involved in making decisions about their treatment and that we help people to take their medicines as recommended.”

Jacky Walters, Interim Head of Operations said: “We want patients on repeat prescriptions to think about what they are ordering and only ask for what they need and are running out of. Any of the medicines can be dispensed when needed at a later date, as once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be recycled.”

Around half of the UK population do not take or use their medicines as prescribed. This can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • Patients not believing the medicine is necessary
  • Possible side effects
  • Fitting taking or using medicines into daily routines
  • Choosing between medicines if patients’ feel they are taking too many
  • Cutting down or stopping medicines they have been taking for a long time

If you have any questions about the medication you are taking please discuss with your pharmacist.

Posters and leaflets will be displayed in pharmacies and GP practices to raise awareness of medicine waste among both patients and carers. Further information may also be found on the national website www.medicinewaste.com
.

Your GP Practice needs you!

Awareness Week for patient involvement.

GP practices across Bracknell, Ascot, Maidenhead, Windsor and Slough are encouraging patients to help make a difference and join their GP patient group. These groups are made up of volunteers of patients, doctors and practice staff and are there to act as a discussion forum and ‘critical friend’ to make sure the practice remains accountable, dynamic and responsive to its patients’ needs.

The patient voice is gaining in momentum as the improvements in primary care evolve. Patient views are vital in defining areas of improvement within the practice and in informing decisions affecting local services. This is fed through to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who has responsibility for commissioning services to meet local needs.

Morag Langthorne from Ascot said: “I have been a member of my GP Patient Group since May 2014 and the work we are getting involved in is developing and exciting! Times are changing, and patients have the chance to make a difference by supporting their patient group and having their say. By making sure we are getting the opinion of members of the public means that we are holding the local NHS accountable and improving services to meet our local needs.”

Karen Maskell, Lay Member, Bracknell CCG said: “Patient involvement and engagement are becoming increasingly essential to the way the NHS & GP practices function. GP Patient Groups are an important part of this involvement & engagement. They can influence the care at GP practice level but also, because of the Health and Social Care Act, have the opportunity to influence wider health and social care via the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Every GP Patient Group works slightly differently, and being involved does not necessarily mean attending meetings.  I would encourage everyone to find out about how your GP practice patient group works and to get involved. We all have something to contribute!”

Mike Connolly, Lay Member, Slough CCG said: “The Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) offer an effective way for practices to listen to their patients. PPG representatives from each Practice make up a Slough wide Patient Reference Group and we work with commissioners to support the design of local NHS services such as seven day working and other important projects, which cannot go forward without public involvement. We are keen for our PPGs to grow and would love to hear from anyone who would like to be involved.”

Christine Reid from Slough said: “As a member of the PPG we represent the patient voice and ensure that patient opinion is kept at the heart of key decisions. This helps improve GP services and ensure that patients are happy with the quality of healthcare they receive. We facilitate communications between the practice and patients, enabling both sides to understand each other, and how they can best support each other. This improves levels of satisfactions. Personally, I am passionate about the need to reduce the number of appointments “wasted” due to people not cancelling at all, or in enough time for another patient to take it up. These wasted appointments are a real cost to the system and can usually be avoided. I feel that by being part of my PPG, I can help patients understand these important messages and together we can make some really positive changes.”

Gill Manning, from a GP Patient Group in Bracknell said: “GPs recognise that questioning, challenging and effective patient and public engagement is crucial for them to ensure the services that are provided truly represent the interests of the people they serve. It is also a fantastic forum for communication in all directions between the practice and its community to make sure that the exchange of knowledge constantly improves patient experience.”

Robert Cooper, Lay Member, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG said: “Increasingly, GP practices want to hear from patients to understand how they can improve patient experience. If you have something to say about the way in which services at your local GP practice are provided, ask your GP receptionist for the contact details for the Patient Participation Group, as they would really like to hear from you!”

From our experience excellent practices and good PPGs go hand in hand! Speak to your GP receptionist and find out about how you can get involved!

Details of GP Practices can be found here.

Pharmacy Opening Times May Bank Holiday

With the bank holiday approaching, we are reminding people to plan ahead for repeat prescriptions as many GPs and pharmacies in the area may be closed or working shorter days. The bank holiday falls on 25 May 2015.

Ailments such as coughs, flu-like symptoms and upset stomachs can often be treated at home simply by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Local pharmacies can supply the right items and also provide expert advice on how to treat many common illnesses and injuries at home.

You can also dial 111 if they need medical help but are not in a life-threatening situation. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is a great way to get the right medical advice at any time.

Below is a list of local pharmacies and their opening hours during the May bank holiday.

B&A Pharmacy Opening Times May BH

Primary School Pupils Skip to Health with Jump Start Initiative

Jump Start Image

 

Starting on Monday, 18th May, pupils from Year One and Year Six in Bracknell Forest primary schools will be skipping their way to health with Jump Start, an initiative aimed at encouraging children to skip to keep healthy.

Participating schools will hold special lessons with exciting skipping activities and a fun healthy heart quiz. Pupils will also learn about their hearts and how to take care of them.

Regardless of whether a school participates in the skipping themed activities, each Year One and Year Six pupil will receive a free skipping rope to take home and keep. They will also receive a leaflet with fun facts about skipping, information on staying healthy and information on where they can get involved with physical activity in the local area.

During Jump Start pupils can score points, either by answering the healthy heart quiz questions correctly, or by the number of skips they do during the activities. The three pupils who have scored the most points in each class will receive a certificate.

Jump Start is a joint initiative which is being supported by Bracknell Forest Council and the Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group.

The national recommendation for 5 – 18 year olds is that all children and young people should engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day.   Vigorous intensity activities, including those that strengthen muscle and bone, should be incorporated at least three days a week.

Dr. Martin Kittel, Director and Self-Care lead for Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group, said “Skipping is a great way to have fun and keep your family fit and healthy. A great many A&E attendances, hospital admissions and even GP appointments are avoidable if people improve how they look after themselves. One of the key areas to remaining fit and healthy is doing the recommended amount of physical activity each week. This doesn’t have to mean running a marathon but can include gardening, housework or washing the car”

Click here for the Jump Start information leaflet.

For more information on Jump Start you can also view the Bracknell Forest Council Self-Care web page (www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/selfcare).

For further information, please email the Adult Social Care, Health and Housing Commissioning Team (ASCHH.CommissioningTeam@bracknell-forest.gov.uk).

 

 

Talk before you walk – Stay healthy and safe this Easter

With the long bank holiday weekend fast approaching, it is important to think about your health and what to do if you are feeling unwell. During public holidays pharmacies and GP practices operate under reduced opening hours meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday period. This can be a very busy time for the local NHS, so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with life-threatening emergencies.

Common ailments such as colds can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine, so make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit including:

  • paracetamol or Ibuprofen for pain and/or fever (in adults and children);
  • medicine to combat diarrhoea;
  • rehydration mixture;
  • plasters;
  • a thermometer.

However, if you are worried or not getting better here are some good ways to get expert medical help and advice – without going to A&E.

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 where there are friendly, highly-trained staff available to talk to you direct about your health concerns. Advisors are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and then offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is FREE to call from landlines or mobile phones.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

Speak to your local pharmacist

Check your local pharmacy’s opening times, particularly over the Easter period.

Your pharmacy is a good place to start when you need health advice. Pharmacists can not only provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds but can also offer advice about minor illnesses, such as ear ache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea.

Pharmacies offer stop smoking advice, the morning-after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines – and most have private consulting rooms so you don’t need to explain what’s wrong with the possibility of other people listening in.

Talk before you Walk – where to go for help

Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.

There are many real alternatives available so ‘Talk before you Walk’ to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre
Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace
London Road
Bracknell
RG12 9BG
Tel: 01344 55 11 00

Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year.

The centre treats minor injuries and illnesses that need immediate assessment and treatment but don’t require a visit to A&E. The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.

Waiting times vary, depending on the time of day and the number of patients, and staff will prioritise certain groups of people, including children and the elderly. If you are kept waiting, please be patient.

Slough Walk-in Health Centre
Upton Hospital
Albert Street
SL1 2BJ
Tel: 01753 635505

Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year

The centre is available for people with minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray.

No appointments are necessary. Just turn up but please be patient as there may be queues at certain times.

St Marks Urgent Care Centre
St Marks Hospital
112 St. Marks Road
Maidenhead
SL6 6DU
Tel: 03000 242000

Open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays) 9am to 1.00pm.

The centre is for minor injuries and ailments including bites and stings, foot and hand injuries, cuts and bruises, back pain, strains and sprains, burns and scalds, eye problems, panic attacks, breathing problems, fever, rashes etc.

Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.

For further information visit NHS Choices.

Walk and Live Confidently Campaign

WALC Campaign‘Walk and Live Confidently’ (WALC) is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the help and support available to those at risk of falling.

The campaign is a joint partnership between NHS Bracknell and Ascot CCG, NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Surrey Heath CCG.

Being at risk of a fall is a much bigger health risk than many realise. A fall can have a significant impact on an individual’s independence, confidence and wellbeing.

  • 30% of adults over 65 will fall at least once a year
  • 50% of adults over 80 will fall at least once a year
  • 50% of fallers will fall frequently
  • Injuries caused by falls are the most common cause of deaths in over 75’s

*Source: National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2013).*

The Walk and Live Confidently (WALC) campaign has been working to raise the awareness of this health risk and the ways in which an individual can prevent a fall from occurring. Sometimes only a few simple changes to the individual’s living arrangements can help prevent a fall.

Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, said: “Falls can have a disproportionate and devastating effect, especially for older people. This is why campaigns such as WALC are so worthwhile. Raising awareness of falls and the preventative steps everyone can make to reduce risk and ensure people live longer, healthier lives is vitally important.”

As well as providing information for individuals about how to prevent falls, the campaign has also been working to raise awareness about how to refer to the falls service.

The CCGs involved with the campaign have worked with local healthcare providers to launch a new assessment team and phone number dedicated to talking to people who need support. The caller will speak to a trained falls therapist who will be able to offer the caller advice. The therapist can also arrange an appointment to attend a clinic or undertake a home assessment.

If you want more information about the campaign, or who to call if you have suffered a fall, or think you are at risk of falling and are in need of some advice, click here or call 0845 241 7201.

Wasted medicines ‘like pouring money down the drain’

Savings can help front-line services, say CCGs

Unused prescription medicines are costing the NHS in the East Berkshire area up to £1.8m every year – and now local patients are being urged to help their doctors, nurses and pharmacists to cut down on this expensive waste.

NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Slough, Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead and Bracknell & Ascot say that even small changes can make a big difference – with the savings available for investment into more care and front-line services.

Tim Langran, CCG Lead Pharmacist, explained: “The vast majority of people don’t wilfully waste their medicines. There are many reasons why patients end up with too many stacked in their bathroom cabinet – perhaps they have forgotten to take them, have given up because they feel well again, have had side-effects or genuinely don’t understand the benefits of the medication they have been prescribed.

“It is important for your doctor, nurse and pharmacist to know if you stop taking a medication – not just to prevent waste, but also so that they can safely treat you in future and so they can give you all the information you need to make the right decision for you about your treatment. They may be able to advise on lifestyle changes you could try instead of medication or find a different medication that suits you better. They would like to know about any medicines that you are no longer taking to make sure that you are getting the best out of your care.

“That’s why it’s essential to have good, open communications between healthcare professionals and patients, and if patients don’t understand about their medicines they should not hesitate to ask.”

It is estimated that waste prescription medicines cost each of the three local CCGs between £550,000 and £600,000 a year – money that could be spent on much-needed services such as more than 4,000 cataract operations, over 300 drug treatments for breast cancer and around 600 heart operations.

Overall, wasted medicines cost the NHS more than £300m a year.

Tim added: “Wasting medicines is like pouring money down the drain – and we all have a responsibility to make even small changes so that valuable savings can be used for more of the front-line services needed across our community.

“Understandably, some people can be confused by what they should be taking and when – and just give up. We need to make sure that everyone understands fully what their prescription medicines are for and how and when to take them.”

There are many reasons for prescription medicines being wasted but the most common are:

  • patients get better
  • side effects mean a different medicine is needed
  • patients go into hospital but continue to get medications delivered to their home
  • the ‘repeat prescription’ process fails, e.g. a new supply is ordered when it is not needed
  • patients don’t take the right amounts
  • medicines have a short shelf life
  • patients don’t like to ‘upset’ their doctor by revealing they don’t take their medicines for a variety of reasons

Around 50% of medicine waste is preventable and patients can make a difference by:

  • only ordering the medicines they need
  • always following the advice on the label
  • letting their GP or pharmacist know if they no longer take the prescribed medicine
  • helping older family members or friends to order and take the correct doses of their medicines
  • checking all dispensed prescriptions before leaving the pharmacy – even unopened medicines cannot be reused once they have left the premises

NHS professionals are helping to cut prescription medication waste by ensuring that they are:

  • giving patients clear and simple information about how and when to take their medicine
  • making sure patients know how to order repeat prescriptions
  • arranging blister packs/dosettes if appropriate

All unused medicines should be returned to a pharmacy for safe disposal – they should never be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the household rubbish bin.

Make simple swaps to reduce your children’s sugar intake

It’s surprising how much sugar there is in some of the things we give our children throughout the day – from breakfast cereals and drinks, to snacks and puddings.

But too much sugar means extra calories that cause fat to build up which is is bad for their health and their teeth.

So now is a good time to join the Change4Life Sugar Swaps campaign which has four simple swaps to choose from to encourage your family cut back on sugar – and help prevent serious illnesses in later life.

Four simple Sugar Swaps:

  • Drinks swap: Swap fizzy and sugary drinks to water, lower-fat milks, sugar free, no added sugar or diet drinks
  • Breakfast swap: Swap sugary cereal to plain cereal such as plain porridge, plain wholewheat biscuits or plain shredded whole grain
  • After school snack swap: Swap sugary snacks such as muffins, cakes, croissants or pastries, biscuits, chocolate, cereal bars, sugary breakfast cereal, puddings and sweets to fruit (fresh or tinned in juice), fruit salad (fresh or tinned in juice), cut up vegetables such as carrot or cucumber sticks, plain rice cakes, toast or bagel with low-fat spreads or reduced fat hummus, plain wholewheat biscuits, breakfast cereals, plain unsalted nuts or fruited tea cake
  • Pudding swap: Swap chilled desserts, puddings, cakes, ice cream or yoghurt to fruit/fruit salad (fresh or tinned in juice), low-fat, lower sugar yoghurt or sugar-free jelly

Advice for parents

By the time they leave primary school, one in three children across the country are carrying excess weight. Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, go onto experience weight and health problems in adolescence, and are more likely to become overweight or obese adults.

Eating foods high in sugar can also lead to tooth decay.

  • Take time to explain to your children that too much sugar is bad for their health and for their teeth. Get them to choose which sugar swaps they want to make. Help them to keep track of their sugar swaps and see how many they can make in a week
  • Be a role-model. Children will copy you so if they see you eating and drinking healthier things they will too
  • You do the shopping and decide what they have but give them some choice by offering options for healthier alternatives so they feel involved
  • When you are shopping look at the nutritional colour-coded front-of-pack labels and go for more greens and ambers and fewer reds

Sign up to Sugar Swaps

All you need to do is sign up to make at least one easy swap to cut back on sugar – like swapping sugary drinks for water, lower-fat milks or sugar free, diet, no added sugar drinks.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive a fantastic Sugar Swaps pack with ideas for how to cut back on sugar plus money-off vouchers, swap cards, stickers and emails and texts packed with recipes and ideas to help you make healthier changes (subject to availability).

Your free pack contains inspiration, hints, tips and recipe ideas to help you and your family reduce your daily sugar intake at key points in the day such as breakfast, puddings, drinks and after school snacks.

To sign up to Sugar Swaps, visit sugarswaps.change4life.co.uk and register for your free pack which will be sent to you in the post.

Sugar Swaps

Take a break from booze – go ‘dry’ in January

Dry January

Sign up with thousands of others taking a break from booze by joining Alcohol Concern’s Dry January campaign.

This is a great opportunity to take a month away from alcohol and enjoy the benefits after the Christmas festivities, including:

  • Helping your New Year waistline by reducing the number of calories you consume
  • Helping your finances by not spending money on alcohol
  • Improving your general health – we all need a break and your body is no different.

Dry January has proven that taking a month off booze can have a positive impact on long term drinking levels.

  • Not only do participants who take a month off alcohol drink less frequently afterwards, they drink less per drinking day and also get drunk less often.
  • Taking part in Dry January can help people have stronger willpower and the confidence to say ‘no’ to an alcoholic drink

There is plenty of fun to be had without alcohol and you probably won’t be missing it as much as you think by the end of the month!

For support and encouragement visit www.dryjanuary.org.uk.

Talk Before you Walk

Stay healthy and safe this winter

Along with the chilly winter days comes the annual increase in people feeling poorly or under the weather.

Thankfully, with the help of a well-stocked home first aid kit, most people recover well from winter’s crop of minor illnesses without needing to see a doctor. However, for those who are worried or not getting better there are some good ways to get expert medical help and advice – without going to A&E.

The three local clinical commissioning groups – Slough, Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead and Bracknell & Ascot – have issued some helpful, practical advice about the many options available.

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency. NHS 111 is available free 24 hours a day every day of the year. Friendly, highly-trained advisors, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics, can talk through your concerns and offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

www.nhs.uk
www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/
www.nhs.uk/selfcare
www.selfcareforum.org
www.patient.co.uk

Speak to your local pharmacist

A good starting place when you need health advice, local pharmacists can not only provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments but can also offer advice about minor illnesses, such as ear ache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea. Most have consulting rooms to protect patient privacy.

Check your local pharmacy’s opening times over the festive period at:

Christmas and New Year pharmacy opening times

Talk to your GP surgery

GPs, practice nurses and other members of the team can help with a range of services by appointment – but remember if you phone at a particularly busy time they may need to take a message and arrange to call you back later.

Protect yourself against flu

If you are pregnant, over 65 or have a long-term health condition (such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease) you are entitled to a free flu jab from your GP. If you haven’t had your jab this winter, make an appointment as soon as possible.

Talk before you Walk – where to go for help

Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.

There are a number of local and easily accessible alternatives available for minor injuries and illnesses:

  • Bracknell Urgent Care Centre, Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace, London Road, Bracknell RG12 9BG – 8am to 8pm every day of the year; tel: 01344 55 11 00

The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.

  • Slough Walk-in Health Centre, Upton Hospital. Albert Street SL1 2BJ – 8am to 8pm every day of the year; tel: 01753 635505

For minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray. No appointment needed.

  • St Marks Urgent Care Centre, St Marks Hospital, 112 St. Marks Road, Maidenhead SL6 6DU – Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays, including Christmas Day) 9am to 1.00pm; tel: 03000 242000

For minor injuries and ailments. Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.

For further information visit NHS Choices

Look after your health this Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, local people are urged to plan ahead for any repeat prescriptions they may need over the festive holidays.

The ‘don’t run out’ reminder comes from the three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) covering Slough, Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead and Bracknell & Ascot, especially since GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours between Christmas and the New Year.

Tim Langran, CCG Lead Pharmacist, said that while it was important not to waste medicines by overstocking, it was absolutely essential for people with long-term conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, to have all their required medications to hand.

He said: “At this time of year when most people are focused on getting organised for the holiday period it is all too easy to forget about ordering repeat medicines – but this is so important for people who have long-term conditions that require regular medication.

“Our advice is – don’t delay, order what you need today and make sure you are all set to enjoy Christmas without fretting about missing your medication.”

The CCGs are also reminding everyone to visit their local pharmacy for advice about dealing with winter ailments such as colds, coughs and sore throats. Reassurance, advice and treatments available from the pharmacist can make all the difference.

Key steps to help you look after your health over the festive period:
• Restock with Paracetamol for fever and pain and something soothing for sore throats or coughs like honey and lemon.
• Visit your local pharmacy for advice and information.
• Request your repeat prescriptions in good time – your GP surgery may have a ‘last orders before Christmas’ date so please check and order and collect your prescription in good time.
• Make sure you know your GP surgery opening times over the holidays – check your surgery or its website to get the details.
• Give yourself a chance to rest over the festive period.
• If you are unwell over Christmas or need advice about the local emergency dentist call the NHS helpline on 111.

Pharmacy opening times will vary but there will be duty pharmacies operating limited hours over the holidays in your area. Look out for the holiday opening information poster in your local pharmacy. Click here for more information on pharmacy opening times.

Christmas and New Year Pharmacy Opening Hours

With the holiday season approaching pharmacy opening times will change.

Below are the details of pharmacy opening times on 25th/26th December and 1st January.

Pharmacy 25th December (Thursday) 26th December (Friday) 1st January(Thursday)
 BRACKNELL
Boots The Chemists

13 Princess Square

Station Road

RG12 1LS

Tel: 01344 424906

Closed 10:00 – 17:00 Closed
Sainsbury’s Pharmacy

Ringmead, Bagshot Road

RG12 7SS

Tel: 01344 456868

Closed 10:00 – 17:00 Closed
 ASCOT
David Pharmacy

24 New Road

SL5 8QQ

Tel: 01344 882399

12:00 – 14:00 Closed Closed

*Pharmacy opening hours on Bank Holidays are voluntary and are, therefore, subject to change. There may be changes to normal pharmacy opening hours between Wednesday 24th December and Sunday 4th January inclusive. Patients are advised to check if pharmacies are open by telephone before making a journey. Local pharmacy details can be found on the NHS Choices website, click here.

Success in Delivering Public Health

A mid-year review by Bracknell Forest Council Public Health team shows that we are performing well in delivering a range of public health services.

The table below shows performance this year compared with the same point last year.

Service  2013/14 2014/15 Change
Health Checks Delivered 765 1743 128%
No. of Smoking four week quitters 129 153 19%
People starting weight management 29 196 576%
Opiate Completion & Non-representation 8% 14% 75%
Non-Opiate Completion & Non-representation  31.60% 35.40% 12%

Our CCG is also in the top 5% nationally for giving the right care for those with diabetes as the graphic below shows:

Adults with Diabetes

For further information on this item, please email Dr Lisa McNally, Consultant in Public Health: lisa.mcnally@bracknell-forest.gov.uk

Self-Care Week – Helping you help yourself

17th – 23rd November 2014

Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group and partners, Bracknell Forest Council, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, HealthWatch Bracknell Forest and Shopmobility, have come together to empower residents to take control of their health and wellbeing.

A dedicated team will be at Shopmobility, Princess Square, to give advice and support to residents throughout the week. Organisations such as the Samaritans, Slimming World, Forestcare and many more will be at the stand in front of Shopmobility, and street doctors will be available to provide health checks and answer your questions.

Dr Martin Kittel, CCG self-care lead and Governing Body members comments: “When people take good care of their own health it has benefits for everyone. People spend less time at the GP and other appointments and get more enjoyment out of life. Our local hospitals also save time and money which is important because they will be under increasing pressure as winter draws near.”

Talking Therapies, part of Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, will be manning a stand throughout the week offering advice and answering questions from those who may be worried about their Mental Health and Wellbeing. Talking Therapies supports those who suffer with low mood, worry, stress or phobias.

Residents are encouraged to make the most of free events such as Zumba, in Sandhurst, or Tai-Chi, in Martins Heron, which are being held across the borough.

There is a chance to win some fantastic prizes during Self-Care Week by simply completing questionnaires, which will be available at events. The prizes include family tickets to The Look Out and Coral Reef, a free round of golf at Downshire Golf Club, money-off vouchers at top retailers, all generously donated by partners and providers supporting the event.

If your family is spending more time on the couch than at the local park why not visit a children’s centre during the week for family-friendly events and activities. Call in to your local children’s centre for more details.

Details of our Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA) can be found below. The JSNAs are the means by which our local authorities and their partners assess the current and future healthcare and wellbeing needs of our local population.

Bracknell Forest JSNA

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead JSNA

The self care guide provides information, advice and links to services related to long term conditions and lifesyle factors.

Please see www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/selfcare for more information and a full schedule of events across the borough.

Talks organised in conjunction with Magnolia House Surgery

A series of talks organised by the Magnolia House Surgery and the CCG

A talk by Mr Vaughan Tanner, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

“MICRO-INCISION CATARACT SURGERY AND THE LATEST RETINAL TREATMENTS”

Date: 16 October 2014

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: AT THE HANKEY MORANT HALL, SUNNINGDALE PARK. THROUGH THE KIND PERMISSION OF DE VERE VENUES

Directions to the Hall: Use the Northcote house entrance in Silwood Road to Sunningdale Park and press the call button to open the barrier and then follow the road to the roundabout in front of Northcote House, turn right and there is parking immediately on your right. At the end of the car park take the footpath and the Hankey Morant Hall is diagonally on your right as you come to the buildings.

The event is free of charge, everyone welcome. Tea and Coffee available.

FORTHCOMING MEETINGS

20 November: Strokes and their Treatment

19 February: Arthritis

19 March: Asthma

Monitor approves Frimley Park Foundation Trust takeover of Heatherwood and Wexham Park Foundation Trust

Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG, Slough CCG, Bracknell and Ascot CCG and Chiltern CCG are very pleased that the acquisition of Heatherwood and Wexham Park by Frimley Park FT has been confirmed. Together with neighbouring clinical commissioning groups and NHS England, a new vision for local services can be achieved.

Dr William Tong, Clinical Chair for Bracknell and Ascot CCG said: ‘I am pleased the acquisition is now agreed and we can now move on to deliver our shared vision for transformed local services.’

Alan Webb, Chief Officer for the three CCGs in East Berkshire said: ‘This is really exciting news. We have all worked hard to get to this point and acknowledge the complexities of bringing together two acute hospital trusts. This decision will secure a bright future for local health services and I am looking forward to working with the new organisation so that we start to see the benefits for patients.’

Monitor, who announced the acquisition, issued the following press release:

26 September 2014

Monitor approves foundation trust takeover to help patients

Better care and improved health services for 900,000 people should be the outcome of the first acquisition of an NHS foundation trust by another, says Monitor.

The health sector regulator has granted final approval to Frimley Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to acquire troubled neighbouring Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Frimley Park is the first FT to be rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission whilst Heatherwood & Wexham Park was placed in special measures by Monitor in May 2014. Heatherwood & Wexham Park will now benefit from coming under the strong leadership of Frimley Park.

Monitor expects the newly enlarged organisation – Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – to provide expanded and enhanced services such as specialist elderly care and cardiology across Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire.

Final approval of the acquisition will also kick-start work on upgrading facilities for patients at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough and the Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot.

Monitor has conducted a detailed review of the acquisition proposals to ensure any risks concerning the sustainability of the enlarged organisation have been identified and will be appropriately managed.

The regulator also worked with Frimley Park to help it navigate the Competition and Markets Authority process. This resulted in a decision that there would be no significant loss of choice for patients following the creation of the enlarged trust.

Dr David Bennett, Chief Executive of Monitor, said:

“We’ve approved this acquisition to provide patients with better care and improved services while ensuring the sustainability of the two trusts.

“We will continue to help trusts find and utilise innovative solutions – including acquisitions or mergers – to address challenges they face with care quality, leadership and sustainability.

“This decision is proof that acquisitions between foundation trusts that represent the right balance of patients’ interests are possible. It also shows that early engagement with us is key to successfully navigating healthcare regulations that are in place to protect patients and trusts.”

 

Join the fight against flu – get your jab today

As winter approaches, Bracknell Forest residents are encouraged to be prepared and get their flu jab.

Thousands of people nationwide visit their doctor with flu symptoms each year. Many will need hospital treatment because of a flu-related complication, and in some cases, these complications can lead to death. Therefore, Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group together with the Public Health Team in Bracknell Forest Council are today encouraging residents across the borough to play their part in the fight against infection by getting their flu jab.

It is particularly important for people in the groups below to get their flu jab:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged two, three and four years old
  • People aged 65 and over
  • People with health conditions such as heart problems, chest complaints, breathing difficulties, lowered immunity due to disease or medical treatment, kidney or liver disease, and diabetes
  • Everyone living in a residential or nursing home
  • The main carer of an older or disabled person

Dr George Kassianos a GP and flu lead for east Berkshire and Jo Greengrass Deputy Director of Nursing for Slough CCG, Bracknell and Ascot CCG and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG said: “Winter flu can be a serious illness with complications, particularly for people who are elderly or suffer from underlying medical conditions. For this reason it is really important that adults and children at risk have their flu vaccination this year and every year. The NHS provides free annual flu vaccinations for those eligible and for people who have certain chronic diseases.”

“Dr Lisa McNally, Public Health Consultant said “Last year, the uptake of the flu vaccination in Bracknell Forest was above the national average for most of the priority groups. We would like to increase the uptake even further this year.”

Contact your GP to arrange an appointment to have a flu vaccination. Some pharmacies are also offering flu jabs for pregnant women, those who have long term health conditions and carers (in receipt of carers’ allowance).

A list of pharmacies which offer the free flu jab for people with certain conditions, can be found at Wokingham Borough Council Website

For further information about the flu vaccine, go to the NHS Choices website.

For information about a Q&A session with TV doctor, Dr Pixie McKenna, in association with Public Health England, please visit the netmums.com webchat.

Our First Annual General Meeting, 18th September

A big thank you to all of you who attended our first AGM. It was pleasing to see many of you attend – some familiar and some new faces.

Our AGM was held on Thursday 18 September and gave us an opportunity to report on progress in our first year as a CCG.

On the day, we were also able to get people’s views on primary care as part of a listening exercise. As part of this, interactive workshops were held on Self Care, the new Urgent Care Centre and Primary Care, where we asked those we work with and those who use our services, how we can design primary care so it can rise to the challenges of the future.

We had a live Twitter chat on the day and we are encouraged that so many of you took part in the discussions. You can follow us at: @BandA_CCG

Feel free to download the documents below:

agm2
agm1

Carers Conference to Shape Future Services

On Thursday 24th July, Bracknell and Ascot CCG will be at a carers conference hosted by Bracknell Forest Council and its partners at the Grange Hotel, Bracknell.  The main objective of the event is to discuss how support services are to be shaped for the next five years, and will give carers a chance to give their feedback on support currently on offer.

 

The conference will help inform the Joint Commissioning Strategy for Carers 2015-2020, which sets out how the local authority and the NHS will work together to develop services for adults and young people who care for others.

 

Cllr Dale Birch, Bracknell Forest Council’s executive member for adult services, health and housing, said:

 

“This event is invaluable in helping us to help and support carers in the future. We want as many people as possible to attend and to contribute to the debate.”

 

“Feedback from the conference will help us identify our priorities for carers for the next few years.”

 

To book your place or to get more information email the ASCHH commissioning team or call customer services on 01344 352000.

For updates of the event, follow us on twitter @BandA_CCG

Bracknell CCG First in South to Offer Summary Care Records to All Patients

Bracknell and Ascot CCG are delighted to announce that we are the first Clinical Commissioning Group in the southern area to offer Summary Care Records to 100 per cent of its patients.

What is a Summary Care Record?

Your Summary Care Record is an electronic record of your important medical information such as the medication you take, allergies you suffer and any reactions you may have had to medicines in the past.  You are free to opt out of the service at any time if you wish.

What does the Summary Care Records Service mean for me as a patient?

In the event of an emergency, or when your GP Practice is closed, having a Summary Care Record means that healthcare staff will have easier access to important information about your needs as a patient.  As a result, you should receive safer care.

Where can I find out more?

For further information, visit the NHS Care Records website at www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk

Alternatively you can call the Health and Social Care Information Centre on 0845 300 6016 or email enquiries@hscic.gov.uk

Contract signed for Bracknell Musculoskeletal Assessment and Treatment service (BMAT)

The CCG has commissioned Healthshare to provide Bracknell and Ascot’s Musculoskeletal Assessment and Treatment Service.

Bracknell Musculoskeletal Assessment and Treatment Service (BMATS) is a service for people with complex musculoskeletal conditions to assess and treat their problem and send them on for an operation if needed. The service is essentially a ‘one-stop-shop’, providing specialist clinical assessments and investigations as well as treatments such as joint and soft tissue injections.

The BMATS team comprises two consultant physicians, physiotherapists, a podiatrist and a sonographer, all with advanced training and skills in diagnosing and managing musculoskeletal pathology. Patients will need to be referred to BMATS by their GP and can be referred by the service on to acute care should the need arise.

The new service will be based in Royal Berkshire Bracknell Clinic, Healthspace.

The decision to procure the new provider was approved at the Bracknell and Ascot CCG Governing Body meeting on the 9th April.

Falls Awareness Week, 15th-21st June

Falls Awareness Week runs every year to promote the services and interventions on offer to help the elderly and their families reduce their risk of a fall.
Advice on Falls Prevention

All healthcare professionals take falls in older people very seriously because of the impact they can have on a person’s health.

Discuss any falls you have had with your GP and mention if it has had any impact on your health and wellbeing. Your GP can carry out simple balance tests to see if you are at an increased risk of falling in the future. They can also refer you to useful services in your local area.
Avoiding falls at home

Tips for preventing falls in the home include:

  • Mopping up spillages straight away
  • Removing clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet
  • Using non-slip mats and rugs
  • Using high-wattage light bulbs in lamps and torches so you can see clearly
  • Organising your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are kept to a minimum, and to avoid bumping into things
  • Getting help to do things that you are unable to do safely on your own
  • Not walking on slippery floors in socks or tights
  • Not wearing loose-fitting, trailing clothes that might trip you up
  • Wearing well-fitting shoes that are in good condition and support the ankle
  • Taking care of your feet by trimming toenails regularly, using moisturiser and seeing a GP or chiropodist about any foot problems

 

Strength and balance training

Doing regular exercises to improve your strength and balance can help reduce your risk of having a fall. This can range from simple activities such as walking and dancing to specialist training programmes.
Many community centres and local gyms offer specialist training programmes for older people. Exercise programmes that can be carried out at home are also available. Ask your GP about training programmes in your area.
There is evidence that taking part in regular tai chi sessions can help reduce the risk of falls. Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that places special emphasis on balance, co-ordination and movement. Unlike other martial arts, tai chi does not involve physical contact or rapid physical movements, making it an ideal activity for older people.

 

For more information see NHS Choices

We would like your views on our Carers Strategy

We would like your feedback on our draft Carers Strategy, drawn up in partnership with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead Clinical Commissioning Group (WAM CCG).

 

In the UK, more than 6.5 million people care, unpaid, for friends or family members who are ill, frail or disabled. According to the 2011 Census there are known to be 13,235 carers in RBWM.

 

This strategy sets out the commitment that health and social care will make to carers for the period 2014-2017. This commitment recognises the crucial role that carers play in the life of the person they care for, the support they require to continue carrying out this role as well as their need for a life outside of caring.

 

The draft strategy is available to view on the RBWM website, please take a look and give us your feedback using our online form. Your views are important to us.

 

Please note: the consultation closes on 2 July 2014 at noon.

Cervical Screening Awareness Week, 8th – 13th June

This year we are working with Bracknell Forest Council to promote cervical cancer screening week from 8th – 13th June to encourage all those eligible for screening to take up their invitation when they receive the letter.

 

In England, women aged 25-49 are invited for screening every three years and those aged 50-64 are invited every five years.   Every year 3000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer.  However, this cancer is largely preventable as a result of the Cervical Screening and HPV vaccination programmes. Each year 5,000 lives are saved in the UK as a result of the screening programme.

 

Regular cervical screening provides a high degree of protection against developing cervical cancer. As part of the screening process a sample of cells is taken from the cervix which is examined for any abnormalities that may become cancerous in the future. In Bracknell Forest, 82 per cent of women were screened in 2012-2013 which is higher than the national target of 80 per cent, however this figure masks a lower uptake in certain groups.

 

  • National data indicates that younger women (aged 25-34 years) are less likely to take up their screening invitation and in some areas this could be up to a third of women.
  • Recent research indicates that older women (aged 60-64) are also not taking up their invitation for screening.
  • Other priority groups who are less likely to take up the offer of a screening test include people from Black and Ethnic Minority groups, people with learning disabilities and those with mental health problems.

 

Local GP, Dr Anant Sachdev says:

“Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it is a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test will show some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix and which could then lead to Cancer.  I would encourage every woman over 25 to get the test done regularly.”

Carers Week: 9th -15th June 2014

Carers Week is a national awareness campaign that sets out to the improve the lives of carers and those they care for.  Next week, there will be a programme of events around Berkshire to provide support and information for anyone caring for a friend, relative or neighbour.

What is a Carer?

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who – due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction – cannot cope without their support. You could be one of the estimated 9,674 carers who live here in Bracknell Forest.

What is the Carers Week Quest 2014?

The Carers Week Quest is an initiative to encourage local communities to work together and reach out to the thousands of carers in the UK who are missing out on services and support.  For more information, visit www.carersweek.org/carers-week-quest

Carers Week 2014 Programme of Events

Staff from Berkshire Carers Service, Bracknell Forest Council and other local agencies supporting carers, will be at a number of information stands at venues in Bracknell Forest. If you want advice and information about the help that is available or would like to talk someone about being a carer please come along on the following dates:

  • Monday 9th – Friday 13th June, 10am – 4pm: Sainsbury’s Superstore, Bagshot Road, Bracknell, Rg12 7SS.
  • Tuesday 10th June, 10am – 4pm: Patient Education Centre, Urgent Care Centre, Brants Bridge, Bracknell, RG12 9BG.
  • Thursday 12th June: Bracknell & Wokingham College (advice for students on being an unpaid carer).
  • Friday 13th June, 10am – 4pm: Lloyds Pharmacy, Great Hollands Square, Bracknell RG12 8UX.

Carers Lunch

The popular Carers Lunch for all unpaid carers will be held on Friday 20th June 11:30am – 2:30pm at Easthampstead Baptist Church, South Hill Road, Bracknell, RG12 7NS.

Booking for the lunch is essential and transport and respite care are available. Call Berkshire Carers Service on 0800 988 5462 or email helpline@berkshirecarers.org to reserve your place and to get more information.

For more information on what’s happening in the area, see our calendar.

For more information on the UK-wide campaign and how you can get involved, visit www.carersweek.org

Become a Dementia Friend

Bracknell and Ascot CCG are proud to support the Dementia Friend campaign which is aiming to mobilise people to play their part in tackling one of the biggest health issues facing the region.

Becoming a Dementia Friend involves finding out more about what dementia is, and the small things they can do to make a big difference to a person living with the condition. People can live well with dementia, it just takes a little love and care from those around them.

The campaign is being run by Public Health England and the Alzheimer’s Society and aims to show it will take a whole society response to enable people with the condition to live well.

The initiative forms part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, and builds on commitments declared at the 2013 G8 Dementia Summit, which included a call to improve the quality of life for people living with the condition.

For more information on becoming a Dementia Friend, visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk

CQC Publishes Report on Heatherwood and Wexham Park

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its report today, Thursday 1 May 2014, following their most recent inspection of Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals in February this year. We welcome and accept the CQC findings and the report. It is important to put this latest CQC Report in context so that we are able to reassure patients and the wider community about their local healthcare services.  Please click below to view a Briefing Note summarising the findings along with some Questions and Answers, and the press release:

The full report on the inspection at Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust can be found on the CQC website: www.cqc.org.uk/directory/rd7

NHS Change Day – Get Involved and Make a Pledge

Today is NHS Change Day and to mark the occasion, from 3rd – 31st March, a pledge board will be going up at King Edward VII Hospital, inviting patients and staff to get involved and make a pledge. It could be making a good impression on everyone you come into contact with at work, it could be doing all you can to see things from your patients’ point of view; whatever your pledge, you will be making a contribution to challenging the status quo and improving patient care.

What’s your pledge? For more information, to make your pledge online, or join an existing pledge, visit www.changeday.nhs.uk.

Flooding in the Thames Valley: A Message from the NHS Thames Valley Area Team

NHS England’s Thames Valley Area Team is encouraging residents from Berkshire and Oxfordshire to be vigilant and take the following safety measures as the flooding continues in the area:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly if you come into contact with flood water as it can become contaminated.
  • If you are advised by emergency services to evacuate your property due to flooding, don’t forget to take essential medicines and personal health items (such as prescription medicines and inhalers) with you.
  • If you are evacuated, be sure to take appropriate warm clothing with you.

NHS staff are working to identify and check on the wellbeing of vulnerable patients in flooded areas in order to make sure they are safe and well.

If you need any health support or advice and it is not an emergency please contact your local GP or ring the NHS 111 service by dialling 111.

More information on flooding from Public Health can be found here.

NHS Health Checks: Changing Lifestyles and Saving Lives

Bracknell and Ascot CCG are pleased to announce that NHS Health Checks in the area have been resounding success, with a total of 991 checks being carried out last quarter.

Bracknell and Ascot CCG and many of its GPs believe in prevention being the best cure, which is why NHS Health Checks are so important. Offered to patients over the age of 40, health checks are vital in the prevention of potentially life-threatening diseases through early intervention. Certain illnesses and symptoms such as Diabetes and high blood pressure can both be reversed if diagnosed early.

Dr Martin Kittel, of Forest End Medical Centre says:

“We have offered NHS health checks for over a year now and have found significant numbers of patients with High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and Diabetes. By tackling these conditions early, we can prevent patients from getting early heart attacks and strokes, kidney disease and even becoming blind. And quite a few patients have changed their lifestyles and feel a lot better and healthier than ever before.”

Patients over 40 without pre-existing conditions are encouraged to book themselves for a health check with their doctor. Conditions apply. Please speak to your practice about your eligibility. Most practices now participate in the NHS health check programme.

Heatherwood and Wexham Park NHS Trust: Have Your Say on Care

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals is inviting patients to give their views on the care provided by Heatherwood and Wexham Park NHS Trust. The information collected by the inspection panel will inform February’s inspection of the trust by the Care Quality Commission.

Listening events will be held at the following times and locations, and all patients and PPG representatives are encouraged to attend:

• 6.30pm, 4 February – Jaqz, Station Hill, Ascot, SL5 9EG (Adjacent to Ascot train station). • 6.30pm, 12 February – Wexham Park Golf Centre, Wexham Street, Slough, SL3 6ND.

CQC Report re: Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals

Please find below the statement from the CCGs in East Berkshire following the CQC Inspection Report that was published on Wednesday 8 January 2014.

“East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) welcome the improvements the Trust has made in many wards and other areas since the CQC’s initial visit in May. We recognise that there is more to be done, particularly in areas of cleanliness, suitability of premises, and treating patients with respect and dignity. We will continue to work with other health and social care partners to support the Trust in meeting its requirements of ensuring safe, high-quality care and services for patients”.

CQC Report re: Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals

Please find below the statement from the CCGs in East Berkshire following the CQC Inspection Report that was published on Wednesday 8 January 2014.

“East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) welcome the improvements the Trust has made in many wards and other areas since the CQC’s initial visit in May. We recognise that there is more to be done, particularly in areas of cleanliness, suitability of premises, and treating patients with respect and dignity. We will continue to work with other health and social care partners to support the Trust in meeting its requirements of ensuring safe, high-quality care and services for patients”.

One Medicare to Provide New Urgent Care Service in Bracknell

Bracknell and Ascot CCG and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG are pleased to announce that from April 2014, One Medicare will be providing a new Urgent Primary Care service in Bracknell.  One Medicare – part of the One Medical Group – was chosen by the two CCG Governing Bodies following an exhaustive selection process that saw it beat six other bidders to win the contract.

Dr. Adrian Hayter, Chair of the Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead CCG said:

“We are really looking forward to establishing the new service for local people. We have gone through a very rigorous process to make sure we chose the right provider and we are delighted to have found an organisation which has such a strong reputation and track record”.

Dr William Tong, Clinical Chair of Bracknell and Ascot CCG, agreed, adding:

“The new service brings a new dimension to urgent care in the Bracknell and Ascot area. As well as the minor injuries and illnesses services, One Medicare will also provide a dedicated children’s clinic five evenings a week to cater for the needs of young families”.

Rachel Beverley-Stevenson Chief Executive of One Medical Group, commented:

“We are thrilled that One Medicare is the preferred provider for the Bracknell Urgent Primary Care Centre. We can confidently look forward to the service starting in April and working with other local providers and community groups to deliver innovative, patient first healthcare for the residents of Bracknell and surrounding areas.” The service, which is set to replace the minor injuries unit at Heatherwood Hospital, will be based at the Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace and will operate from 8.00am to 8.00pm, 365 days a year.  It will serve the localities of Bracknell, Sandhurst, Crowthorne, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, and is estimated to receive around 29,000 attendees a year, taking the pressure off local A&E departments.

NHS Health Checks: Winning Awards and Saving Lives

image002

Public Health at Bracknell Forest Council are pleased to announce the latest winner of the “Best Performer” award for NHS Health Checks. The award has gone to Crown Wood Medical Centre in Bracknell. The practice had a busy summer, carrying out 353 health checks between July and September this year.

The NHS Health Check is for adults in England between the ages of 40 and 74. Those having a check are given a range of simple medical tests, which in turn tell them their own risk of developing serious illness such as heart diease or stroke. This is followed up with advice on how this risk can be reduced and referral to healthy lifestyle initiatives to help make lifestyle changes.

Dr Rao, at Crown Wood Medical Center told us:
“Crown Wood Medical Centre has been a part of the NHS Health Checks programme since May this year. Through the programme we have made a number of new diagnoses of hypertension and identified some patients with diabetes. These cases would not have been picked up routinely as the patients were previously unaware of these conditions. I see this as an excellent example of a public health programme that helps me, as a GP, to identify patients earlier so I can help them to manage their conditions more effectively.”

One of Dr. Rao’s patients a 50 year old man told us how his NHS Health Check changed his life:

“My doctor gave me a full NHS Health Check, a full range of tests including blood pressure, cholesterol and others. He found my cholesterol was too high, and it also emerged that I had Type II Diabetes. It was frightening at first, but it put things into perspective for me. I now knew why I had been feeling tired and experiencing other symptoms. I had actually been putting that down to me just getting older, but now I know the real cause! The Health Check has allowed me to take action. I am now taking medication as well as making changes to my lifestyle, such as my diet and exercise. I’ve also been going to education sessions that are helping me learn about the possible complications of my condition and how I can stay healthy. I would advise others to get an NHS Health Check. It can bring things to light that you can then do something about.”

The delivery of NHS Health Checks across Bracknell Forest has increased significantly from earlier in the year, with the total number of checks in quarter two being well over three times the total delivered in quarter one (April to May).

The photograph shows Dr Venkata Rao receiving the certificate on behalf of the practice from Claire D’Cruz, Health Checks Lead, from the Bracknell Forest Public Health team. Also present were (back row) Vijaya Mallipeddi, Practice Manager, Angela Drakes, Receptionist, (front row) Audrey Leahy, Practice Nurse and Dr Lisa McNally, Consultant in Public Health.

Berkshire Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy: Have Your Say

The Bracknell Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy is a document that sets out where priority action is needed to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the local area.  It is put together by the Joint Health and Wellbeing Board which comprises of delegates from Bracknell and Ascot CCG, Bracknell Forest Council and the Bracknell Forest branch of Healthwatch.  The purpose of this survey is to give you the chance to tell us what you want to see happen to improve the health and wellbeing of people in your local area.

Click here to have your say

A Call to Action: Have Your Say on the Future of the NHS

ctaNHS England is calling on patients, the public and staff to join in a discussion about the future of the NHS so it can plan how best to deliver services, now and in the years ahead. It has launched “The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action”. This sets out the current issues facing the NHS, identifies future challenges and the impact on funding of doing nothing. You can access a copy of the document here.

There have already been changes to make savings and improve productivity. The NHS is on track to find £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015. However, further change is needed to protect high quality healthcare, free at the point of use. This does not mean cutting core NHS services or charging for them; NHS England is governed by the NHS Constitution which protects these principles.

The launch of the Call to Action heralds the beginning of a nationwide programme of engagement to start a public debate on the difficult questions, seek ideas and feedback. The NHS Choices website gives further information on the Call to Action. Please do visit the site and leave your comments: www.nhs.uk/nhsengland

We very much look forward to working together with the local community on the bold actions needed to build an excellent NHS now and for the future.

Community Partnership Forum, 17 October

The next meeting of our Community Partnership Forum will be held at Long Barn, Norden Farm Arts Centre, Altwood Road, Maidenhead SL6 4PF on Thursday, 17 October, starting at 6.00pm.

The Forum has been set up to involve local people in making decisions about health care in East Berkshire – anyone who would like to come along and find out more is very welcome.

If you would like to come to our next meeting, it would be helpful if you could let Jane Fannon know in advance at J.Fannon@nhs.net

Community Partnership Forum, 12 September

The next meeting of the Central Southern Commissioning Support Unit Community Partnership Forum will be held at the Brants Bridge Clinic in Bracknell (RG12 9BG) on Thursday, 12 September, starting at 6.00pm.

The Forum has been set up to involve local people in making decisions about health care in East Berkshire. Anyone who would like to come along and find out more is very welcome. If you would like to come to our next meeting, it would be helpful if you could let Jane Fannon know in advance at J.Fannon@nhs.net

Congratulations Heath Hill Surgery!

heathhillcongrats-300x235

Heath Hill Surgery, Crowthorne, were presented with a certificate of achievement on Thursday August 15 for carrying out the most NHS Health Checks during the first quarter of the year. The surgery carried out 59 of these checks during the period of April to June.

 

NHS Health Checks are for adults between the ages of 40 and 74 who have not already been diagnosed with vascular disease or treated for certain risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. They last approximately 30 minutes and assist in early detection of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia.

 

Health Checks in Bracknell Forest are offered by several General Practice in the borough. The Public Health Team at Bracknell Forest Council, who commission and coordinate the programme, launched the new ‘Best Performer’ award to recognise the practices which delivers the most health checks to their patients.

 

The Bracknell Forest Public Health team have reported that the number of health checks delivered across the area are increasing, with a number of practices having already exceeding their previous totals and putting themselves well in the running for the next award for Quarter 2 (Jul to Sept).

 

More information on how your NHS health Checks and how your practice can get involved, email public.health@bracknell-forest.gov.uk

NHS 111 Service rolls out in Berkshire

The new NHS 111 service was launched in Berkshire in July. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help you access the care you need, any time, any day.

 

NHS-111-live-carousel-300x160The service in Berkshire is being run by the South Central Ambulance Service who are local experts. On dialling 111 callers will be put through to a team of highly trained advisers, and experienced nurses and paramedics, receive a clinical assessment and be directed to the local service that can help them best at that time. This may be the nearest pharmacy, direction to an appropriate service such as the GP out of hours service or even dispatching an ambulance if required.

There will be only three numbers you need to know;

  • 999 for life-threatening emergencies,
  • Your GP surgery for routine health conditions
  • 111 for urgent / unplanned health conditions or when you are unsure of which service to use.

Andy Ciecierski, NHS 111 Project Board Chair said:

This simple, free to call, easy to remember number will make it easier for people in Berkshire to access the urgent care they require, no matter what time it is or where they are..

So, if you’re worried about your child’s temperature, need an urgent prescription or health advice call 111 to speak to the team who will assess and help you straight away.”

For more information on NHS 111 visit www.nhs.uk/111

The service is under continuous review by the clinical commissioning groups in Berkshire to ensure it continues to provide a high quality, safe and effective service for patients.
We would encourage patients to feedback their experiences to SCAS who provide the NHS 111 service in Berkshire at patientexperience@scas.nhs.uk

NHS 111: GP Reassures Berkshire Patients

Dr Andy Ciecierski, Project Board Chair for NHS 111 Berkshire and a Reading GP, would like to advise people that the NHS 111 service in Berkshire is provided by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, a respected and stable service which also provides 999 call handling.

“The service has a strong clinical presence in the form of nurse practitioners and paramedics supporting the health advisers who respond to calls. We planned the introduction to minimise any risks of a “big bang” approach and the modelling being used to predict demand and staffing is proving to be very accurate and this is being reflected in a good level of service.”

Since phasing in the service, performance has been closely monitored and is meeting NHS England’s standards for strong performance. Across the whole of Berkshire more than 45,000 calls have been received since the service went live. So far there is a 25% reduction in GP Out of Hours activity and below national average referrals to 999 of 7%. Over 96% of calls are answered within 60 seconds.

The service is under continuous review by the clinical commissioning groups in Berkshire to ensure it continues to provide a high quality, safe and effective service for patients.

CQC Report re: Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The CQC report is the outcome of a welcome and thorough inspection into services at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We accept the findings of the report and will work with the Trust and its clinicians to improve and maintain high standards of patient care and quality.

As Clinical Commissioning Groups, we, along with others, monitor the safety and standard of clinical care at the hospital on behalf of our patients. This includes regular inspection visits to wards and facilities, feedback on patients experience of the hospital’s services and systematic monitoring of clinical standards. We have alert systems in place so that any issues of concern are identified early and can be addressed with the Trust.

As soon as our monitoring process identified the issues of concern, swift action was taken. We have already started to see improvements in many areas that the CQC highlights in its report. We recognise that there is still work to be done but are confident that the Trust’s action plan will deliver the improvements required. We will continue to support and monitor the Trusts services and ensure support for the hospital from the health and social care system in East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire.

We understand that capacity at the hospital has been highlighted following increased demand for emergency and urgent care services over the winter period. These issues are being addressed both by the hospital and an Urgent Care Programme Board of health and social care partners working with the Trust on expanding capacity as we lead up to next winter.

Although, of course, aspects of the CQC report are of concern, it also provides reassurance that there are many examples of good practice in the quality of medical and nursing care provided by Heatherwood and Wexham Park. We want patients to have full confidence in their local health services and will do everything within our power to ensure that high levels of patient safety, quality and care are achieved.

CQC warns Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that it has failed to protect the welfare of patients at Wexham Park Hospital

The Care Quality Commission has told Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that it must make urgent improvements to protect patients at Wexham Park Hospital.

CQC has issued a formal warning to the trust following an unannounced inspection at which it failed to meet any of the seven national standards which were reviewed.

A team of inspectors with nursing experience, supported by experts, spent four days at the hospital unannounced in May in response to concerns raised about patient care in the emergency care pathway – including the results of an NHS survey published in April 2013 which found that patients were waiting too long for treatment in Accident & Emergency (A&E).

The team visited the A&E, Emergency Department Decision Unit (EDDU), acute medical unit (AMU), medical interventions day unit (MIDU), acute stroke unit, wards 4, 6, 7, 9 and 18, the paediatrics unit and a number of the hospital’s escalation areas. A full report from this inspection has been published on the CQC website today.

Among CQC’s findings:

  • Inspectors found that a combination of high attendances and a shortage of inpatient beds elsewhere in the hospital meant the A&E was overwhelmed. People could not always be moved on from A&E when they no longer needed to be there – which left A&E crowded and busy, and people at risk of receiving care which did not meet their needs. Patients were waiting up to 11 hours to be admitted to a ward.
  • Inspectors observed that, while staff were trying their best to cope with the volume of patients, they were struggling to do so. While inspectors saw many instances of good care, they also saw a number of instances of poor care. Patients did not always have their needs adequately assessed, planned, and delivered. This was a particular concern for patients who were confused or who were assessed as having dementia. There was no system to ensure patients with dementia had dedicated care and support. Call bells were not always in reach, and were not responded to quickly enough.
  • Privacy and dignity were not always respected throughout the hospital. Inspectors saw people lined up on trolleys by the reception desk when no A&E beds were available, and spotted a bay designed for one person being used for two due to lack of space. Patients and their relatives told inspectors that communication was often poor, and observations of care taking place backed this up.
  • Poor standards of cleanliness and inadequate infection control arrangements were found in some areas of the hospital. Storage of medicines was sometimes poor, with patients and visitors on some wards able to access drugs which should have been locked away.
  • Staff told inspectors that they felt there were not enough staff in the hospital to meet the needs of patients, and said that they felt they were under considerable pressure to work longer hours. A number of staff told inspectors they regularly worked additional hours, sometimes up to two hours a day, which were unpaid. Staff said there was no connection between the needs of patients on the wards and the number of staff required to meet those needs.
  • While there were systems in place to identify risks to patient safety and to maintain quality of service, these were often ineffective. There was a strong emphasis on responding to national and local clinical targets, but little emphasis on ensuring that overall patient experiences were positive.

Adrian Hughes, Regional Director of CQC in the South, said:

“While we would acknowledge that Wexham Park Hospital was under considerable pressure at the time of this inspection, this is not an excuse for the systemic catalogue of failings we identified there. Local people deserve much better from their hospital.

“Our experienced inspectors – the team including trained nurses and a pharmacist in this case – and expert advisors found that there was a clear focus on managing the demand for inpatient beds in the hospital, which sometimes came at the expense of providing the expected level of care. Basic things, such as making sure people’s dignity was respected did not get the attention they deserved. This impacts on the patients and therefore is completely unacceptable and needs to be tackled immediately.

“Patients are entitled to be treated in services which are safe, effective, caring, well run, and responsive to their needs. The trust has assured us that it will take action and make the improvements required. We will keep watch on this, and our inspectors will return unannounced in the near future to check that it has made those changes.”

-ENDS-

For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9239 or out of hours on 07917 232143.

NOTES TO EDITORS

CQC has published a full report.

Inspectors found that Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was failing to meet seven standards at Wexham Park Hospital:

  • · Respecting and involving people who use services
  • · Care and welfare of people who use services
  • · Staffing
  • · Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision
  • · Records
  • · Management of medicines
  • · Cleanliness and Infection Control

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve. We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.

Heatwave Alert! South East England

Public Health England issues a Level 3 ‘Heatwave’ alert issue for South East.

Top advice for being sun safe:

  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Wear loose cotton clothing
  • Drink lots of cool drinks
  • Seek shade
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat
  • Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals

Remember that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when you can. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.

For more advice please refer to NHS Choices.

Dementia Strategy Consultation

How to take part in the consultation

If you have dementia, care for someone with dementia or have an interest in dementia, we would like to hear from you about how people with dementia and their carers in Bracknell Forest can be better supported to live the lives they choose.

Get involved in the consultation around the Bracknell Forest Dementia Strategy by clicking here

The consultation period runs until Friday 19th July 2013. You can get in touch in several ways:

Response to Francis Report

A statement from Dr William Tong, Chair of Governing Body and Alan Webb Accountable officer Bracknell and Ascot CCG.

The publication of the Final Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry has identified serious failings in the NHS. In response to the Francis report Bracknell and Ascot CCG is reviewing the report and its recommendations in detail. We are committed to working with all our local healthcare partners to ensure that our patients receive the most effective care possible, have a positive experience of their healthcare and are treated safely. We will continuously strive to improve the quality of services we commission through listening and responding to the views and intelligence gained from our patients, Carers and the wider community.

GPs take on commissioning role in Bracknell and Ascot

The NHS stepped into a new era when GPs took over responsibility for buying and paying for local healthcare services in Bracknell and Ascot on 1 April 2013.

The Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group which is led by GPs, other clinicians and lay members will plan and commission hospital, community health and mental health services on behalf of local people.

The CCG is made up of 15 GP practices with a population of 135,000 patients, and has a commissioning budget of £137m in 2013/14.

Dr William Tong, the Chair of Bracknell and Ascot CCG, said: ‘We’re delighted to take on our new commissioning role to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services we buy on behalf of local people. GPs are best placed to really understand the needs of patients they care for in the local community.

Dr William Tong said: ‘Working with our partners like local government and hospitals will be essential to ensure we buy the best care for people. We’ll also be listening and talking to patients to help us achieve our commissioning priorities. I would encourage people who want to get involved in shaping services to join a patient participation group at their local GP practice – your views will be listened to by the CCG.’

Bracknell and Ascot CCG was authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board in February this year to take on its new commissioning role after a rigorous assessment. The CCG has replaced NHS Berkshire East Primary Care Trust.

Across England, 211 CCGs have become commissioners of healthcare services and are responsible for a total budget of £65billion – there are seven CCGs in Berkshire.

Shaping the Future PCT Board decision

Following public consultation which ran from October to January, the Berkshire East PCT Board will consider recommendations relating to proposed changes to maternity, minor injuries and rehabilitation services at Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot, at its meeting in public on Tuesday 26 March. A Decision Making Business Case which has the backing of CCGs will be published ahead of the meeting along with an independent analysis of consultation responses.

Updates will be published here.

Draft Community Engagement Strategy

Bracknell Forest are consulting on the draft community engagement strategy, which is something we will wish to work closely with them on.

You and your practice staff, or PRG members may be interested in completing the survey so do please circulate it widely to anyone you think may be interested. Do please encourage your colleagues and contacts to share their thoughts on the draft strategy.

You can find the draft, background information and a simple survey here.