Easter is upon us!

Steve-Rowlands-2014_WEB

Doesn’t time go fast when you are having fun? Amazingly enough, the last time I put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) for my blog was just after Christmas, and now all of a sudden we’re facing Easter.

I love Easter because to me it really is the start of Spring – green shoots appearing in the hedgerows, and more importantly I can eat my Easter egg with a clear conscience, having abstained from chocolate for the last forty days.

Easter also means a four day break from the normal health services we expect, so as well as thinking about how we’re going to spend our extended leisure time, we also need to think about planning ahead for our health care needs – and for those who may be visiting or for whom we’re looking after.

There are a considerable number of options available to support people if they need medical treatment over the bank holiday. If you take routine medication, have a check to make sure that you have enough to keep you going over the four day period, so that there’s no likelihood of you running out.

So, what routes are open for you to access health care?

For minor health problems, it may be possible to seek advice and treatment from your local pharmacy as many of them are open over the holidays. Sprains, dislocations, minor cuts and burns can be treated at the minor injury units opened in Wiltshire, as well as at the walk-in centre in Salisbury.

We want to ensure that you have access to the help that you need, so if you’re not sure where to go for your health problem, then telephone the NHS 111 service – they will be able to assist you about where to go for advice or treatment nearest to where you live. Remember that if you need urgent medical assistance, call 999 straight away.

Let’s keep the pressures away from hospital A&E departments this Easter period, and use all the other options available to us instead.

For a list of pharmacies open over the Easter Bank holiday, and for the locations and opening times of Minor Injury Units visit www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk and for information on the walk-in centre in Salisbury visit www.salisburywalkincentre.co.uk

Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy Easter!

 

PRESS RELEASE

25 March 2015

Specialist hospital dementia care in Wiltshire to remain in Salisbury

Following an in-depth public consultation process, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (Wiltshire CCG) has made the decision to permanently locate 20 specialist hospital dementia care beds in Amblescroft South, Fountain Way, Salisbury.

These beds will provide short term hospital care for those people suffering with the most severe form of dementia, which in Wiltshire affects around 120 people a year, and who require a short period of treatment in a hospital setting.

The consultation, carried out by independent community champions, Healthwatch Wiltshire took into account the views and opinions of people with dementia, their carers, residents, volunteers, community groups and professionals around the county. Healthwatch Wiltshire delivered its report to Wiltshire CCG following the end of the consultation on 10 March 2015. Nearly three quarters (71%) of those consulted were in favour of continuing to provide specialist hospital dementia care from Amblescroft South, the current temporary location of specialist hospital dementia care in Wiltshire.

Chief Officer, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Deborah Fielding comments: “Dementia is a real and growing issue for the UK, which is why it’s so important that we get it right here in Wiltshire.

“We reviewed in detail all three of the proposed locations for specialist dementia care in Wiltshire against criteria which included, quality and continuity of service, proximity to an acute hospital, capital costs and the investment opportunity of surplus funds into enhancing dementia support across the county. This review, in conjunction with the views and thoughts contained in Healthwatch Wiltshire’s report led us to the conclusion that Amblescroft South, Fountain Way in Salisbury would be the most effective and efficient location for Wiltshire’s specialist hospital dementia care.

“Throughout the consultation process we have worked closely with our colleagues at Wiltshire Council and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust, who provide our dementia services in Wiltshire, to find the best solution which supports our joint seven year Dementia Care Strategy, whilst working within the constraints of the funding we have available.”

There are no planned changes to how the unit in Amblescroft South currently operates, patients will continue to receive high level specialist care for a short period of time whilst in crisis before being able to return to a community setting.

The three viable sites under consideration were Charter House in Trowbridge, Green Lane hospital in Devizes and Amblescroft South, Fountain Way in Salisbury. The report compiled by Healthwatch Wiltshire can be found at www.healthwatchwiltshire.co.uk and further information about each of the proposed options as well as information presented to Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body on 24 March can be found by visiting www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk.

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

  • Specialist dementia care beds for Wilshire patients are also available in St.Martin’s in Bath and the Victoria Centre in Swindon
  • NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the commissioner of health care services for the population of Wiltshire.       The CCG is led by local GPs who have first-hand experience of what their patients need.

The CCG consists of 58 GP member practices and works closely with local partners including Wiltshire Council, local NHS providers, patients and the public to manage existing NHS services and implement new services to ensure that high quality health and social care is delivered to the population as close to their home as possible. Further information can be found on the website www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk

Further information:

Tracy Torr or Lynsey Thorp, Communications, NHS Wiltshire CCG.
T. 01380 736010 E. communications.wiltshireccg@nhs.net

Friday’s partial eclipse of the sun

Public Health England (PHE) is reminding people planning to watch the partial eclipse of the sun on Friday 20 March 2015 to take precautions to reduce potential damage to their eyes.

The eclipse will be visible across the country, with observers in Scotland likely to see more of the sun obscured by the moon than any other part of the UK.

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) has published detailed advice and useful information on how to safely view the eclipse. They advise that viewing a solar eclipse is potentially hazardous and should only be attempted with caution. You should never, ever – under any circumstances – look directly at the Sun. In their leaflet they list there are things we can get hold of easily – or even make – that are safe to use.

The UK last experienced a total eclipse of the sun in August 1999. In 2000 the journal of the Royal College of Opthalmologists published a study detailing the health effects of the event the previous August. Approximately 70 people reported a loss of vision, with half of that total reporting issues within 48 hours, as a consequence of gazing at the eclipse. Of those more than half used no eye protection and 30% used some kind of filter, such as sunglasses, which did not have the desired protective effect. Forty percent of those that reported injury had looked at the eclipse for less than a minute.

The reason the eclipse poses a risk to eyes is that most of the time the sun is too bright for us to look directly at it. In an eclipse strong sunlight penetrates into our eyes and the retina can be damaged, without the feeling of pain.

Governing Body Meeting – 24 March 2015

The next governing body meeting will be held at the Civic Centre, St Stephen’s Place, Trowbridge BA14 8AH, on Tuesday 24 March 2015.  The public session runs from 10am to 12.30pm and members of the public are welcome to attend.

Copies of the papers and the agenda, can be found here.

NHS health care commissioners given greater responsibility for primary care in Wiltshire 

The commissioning of elements of primary care in Wiltshire may soon be the responsibility of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, as its expression of interest to embark on joint commissioning in conjunction with NHS England, who manage GP contracts nationally, has been approved.

Pending full approval by Wiltshire CCG’s Governing Body on 24 March 2015, Wiltshire CCG will have the opportunity to further improve primary care services locally for the benefit of patients and local communities by entering into joint commissioning arrangements with NHS England. By tailoring services to meet the needs of Wiltshire residents, the CCG is better placed to deliver its commitment to provide high quality healthcare to all and to keep more people out of hospital and in their own homes.

Deborah Fielding, Chief Officer at Wiltshire CCG comments: “This is a real opportunity for us to ensure that we use our additional responsibilities for the benefit of Wiltshire residents. By working with NHS England we can ensure that primary care services throughout Wiltshire are aligned to our strategic goals and provide the best possible care to people in Wiltshire.

“Given the impact primary health care has on our population, this is a positive move designed to align standards of care right across the county and to focus on delivering the right services, in the right place.”

Jo Cullen, Group Director and leading on Primary Care for Wiltshire CCG said: “Co-commissioning will allow us to deliver our vision to support extended primary care teams which are aligned to community teams, mental health and social care provision. By delivering services in this way we can ensure better integration of health and care services and a more joined-up, seamless approach for patients.”

Wiltshire CCG is one of 87 CCGs across the country to have been approved for joint commissioning subject to constitutional amendments. Wiltshire CCG will take on this additional responsibility from 1 April 2015, pending formal approval on 24 March 2015.

Reduced opening hours for Minor Injuries Unit at Chippenham Community Hospital

For three days from Monday 16 March, the Minor Injuries Unit at Chippenham Community Hospital will be operating under reduced opening hours while essential maintenance work is carried out.

On Monday 16, Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 March the unit will open one hour later than normal at 8am and close two hours earlier than usual at 11pm.

This is to allow for a new floor to be fitted in the unit, which is currently undergoing refurbishment works.

Jane Ingham, MIU Lead Nurse at Chippenham Community Hospital, said: “The fitting of a new floor is vital to the upgrade of the whole unit.

“We are committed to transforming the Minor Injuries Unit at Chippenham into a modern care environment that will be of benefit to our patients. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time.”

Any person needing medical treatment for a minor injury during the affected hours is advised to visit the Minor Injuries Unit at Trowbridge Community Hospital, which is open 24 hours a day.

Medical help and advice is also available from the NHS 111 service.

In case of a medical emergency, people are reminded to call 999 and ask for the ambulance service.

 

 

Finding the right health advice and treatment over the Easter bank holiday

The four day break over Easter can sometimes catch people off guard when it comes to planning for their healthcare needs. With GP surgeries in Wiltshire closed on 3rd and 6th April 2015, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to plan ahead and to consider the range of options available to them if they need medical advice or treatment over the bank holiday.

Dr Steve Rowlands, Chair for Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “A&E admissions during the Easter break often reach similar peaks to those seen at Christmas. Those figures can be attributed, in part, to people attending A&E for less serious illnesses and injuries. It’s important therefore, that people are aware, and understand the alternative routes to health advice and treatment they have access to.

“For a minor health problem it may be possible to seek advice and treatment from your local pharmacy, many of which will be open over the holidays. For sprains, dislocations, minor cuts and burns or minor eye injuries then one of the two minor injury units in the county will be open, as well as the walk-in centre in Salisbury. If you’re not sure, then call the 111 service, they will be able to advise you on the most appropriate place to go for advice or treatment. If you need urgent medical assistance for a serious or life threatening condition then always telephone 999 straight away.

“We would also strongly recommend that people think ahead and check that they have enough of their routine medication to see them through the four day weekend. If you need to order more, it is advisable to request it well in advance of the bank holiday to ensure that you receive it in time.

“Our priority is always to ensure that people get the help they need, when they need it. By making the right choices and taking personal responsibility, people can not only help keep themselves well, but also help to reduce the impact on the health system over what is traditionally a busy period for A&E departments in Wiltshire.”

For a list of pharmacies that are open over the Easter bank holiday click here. Pharmacists are experts on medicines and how they work. They can also offer advice on common complaints such as coughs, colds, aches and pains and other health issues and help to decide whether it’s necessary to see a doctor.

For location and opening times of Minor Injury Units in Wiltshire visit www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk. Minor Injuries Units are for patients with less serious injuries, such as sprains, cuts and grazes. No appointments are required and they are led by qualified nurse practitioners.

The Salisbury walk-in centre is open from 0800 – 2000 everyday, including bank holidays. The centre is run by a team of experienced doctors and nurses and is based on a first come first served basis, unless someone is acutely unwell and needs immediate attention. For details on how to find the Salisbury walk-in centre visit http://www.salisburywalkincentre.co.uk.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobiles. It is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. Healthcare advice can be given over the telephone or you may be directed to a local service that can help you best.

If a medical situation is life threatening, you should always phone 999. Serious injuries, loss of consciousness, chest pain or suspected stroke are medical emergencies and you should not hesitate to call 999.

Wiltshire Pharmacies

Easter Opening Hours

Good Friday

Boots, High Street, Chippenham SN15 3ER – 8.30am-5.30pm
Lloyds, Hathaway Medical Centre, Chippenham SN14 6GT – 10am-4pm
Morrisons, Cepen Park North, Chippenham SN15 3JP – 9am-6pm
Sainsbury’s, Bath Road, Chippenham SN14 0BJ – 8am-8pm
Morrisons, Estcourt Street, Devizes SN10 1LA – 9am-6pm
Boots, The Brittox, Devizes SN10 1AR – 8.30am-5.30pm
Boots, High Street, Marlborough SN8 1LT – 10am-4pm
Asda, Bradford Road, Melksham SN12 8LQ – 9am-6pm
Tesco, Bourne Centre, Salisbury SP1 2NY – 11am-4pm
Superdrug, Old George Mall, Salisbury SP1 2AG – 8.30am-5.30pm
Boots, Silver Street, Salisbury SP1 2NG – 8.30am-5.30pm
Asda, Orbital Shopping Park, Swindon SN25 4YX – 9am-6pm
Asda, Tewkesbury Way, Swindon SN5 7DL – 9am-6pm
Boots, Orbital Shopping Park, Swindon SN25 4AN – 8.30am-9pm
Boots, Greenbridge Retail Park, Swindon SN3 3SG – 8.30am-6pm
Boots, Brunel Plaza, Swindon SN1 1LF – 8am-6pm
Lloyds, Moredon Road, Swindon SN2 2JG – 10am-4pm
Morrisons, Haydon Wick, Swindon SN2 3QQ – 9am-6pm
Sainsbury’s, Oxford Road, Swindon SN3 4EW – 7am-11pm
Sainsbury’s Bridgemead, Swindon SN5 7YH – 8am-10pm
Sainsbury’s Stratton St Margaret, Swindon SN3 4EW – 7am-11pm
Tesco, Ocotal Way, Swindon SN1 2EH – 8am-8pm
Boots, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge BA14 8FZ – 8am-midnight
Tesco, County Way, Trowbridge BA14 7AQ – 11am-4pm
Superdrug, The Shires, Trowbridge BA14 8AT – 9am-5.30pm

Easter Sunday

Lloyds, Hathaway Medical Centre, Chippenham SN14 6GT – 9am-10pm
Lloyds, Rowden Hill, Chippenham SN15 2SD – 3pm-5pm
Rowlands, Pembroke Street, Bemerton Heath, Salisbury SP2 8JD – 3pm-5pm
Hawthorn, Cricklade Road, Swindon SN2 1AE – 10am-2pm
Sparcells, Peatmoor, Swindon SN5 5AN – 10am-12noon and 4pm-6pm
Swindon Pharmacy, Hawthorn Medical Centre, Swindon SN2 1UU – 2pm-6pm
Cohens, Wingfield Road, Trowbridge BA14 9EN – 11am-1pm
Cohens, Bradfield Road, Trowbridge BA14 9AR – 11am-1pm
Lloyds, North Street, Wilton SP2 0HA – 11am-1pm

Easter Monday

Boots, High Street, Chippenham SN15 3ER – 10am-4pm
Lloyds, Hathaway Medical Centre, Chippenham SN14 6GT – 10am-5.30pm
Morrisons, Cepen Park North, Chippenham SN15 3JP – 9am-6pm
Sainsbury’s, Bath Road, Chippenham SN14 0BJ – 9am-7pm
Morrisons, Estcourt Street, Devizes SN10 1LA – 9am-6pm
Boots, The Brittox, Devizes SN10 1AR – 10am-4pm
Boots, High Street, Marlborough SN8 1LT – 10am-4pm
Asda, Bradford Road, Melksham SN12 8LQ – 9am-6pm
Tesco, Bourne Centre, Salisbury SP1 2NY – 11am-4pm
Boots, Silver Street, Salisbury SP1 2NG – 8.30am-5.30pm
Asda, Orbital Shopping Park, Swindon SN25 4YX – 9am-6pm
Asda, Tewkesbury Way, Swindon SN5 7DL – 9am-6pm
Boots, Stratton Road, Swindon SN3 3SG – 8.30am-6pm
Boots, Orbital Shopping Park, Swindon SN25 4AN – 9am-6pm
Boots, Brunel Plaza, Swindon SN1 1LF – 10am-5pm
Morrisons, Haydon Wick, Swindon SN2 3QQ – 9am-6pm
Sainsbury’s, Oxford Road, Swindon SN3 4EW – 9am-7pm
Sainsbury’s, Bridgemead, Swindon SN5 7YH – 9am-7pm
Sainsbury’s, Stratton St Margaret, Swindon SN3 4EW – 9am-7pm
Tesco, Ocotal Way, Swindon SN1 2EH – 9am-6pm
Boots, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge BA14 8FZ – 8am-midnight
Tesco, County Way, Trowbridge BA14 7AQ – 11am-4pm

 

Farewell to Steve Rowlands as new Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is elected

Following a two year term as Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (Wiltshire CCG), Dr Steve Rowlands will be stepping down on 30th June 2015 and handing the responsibility of Chairing the commissioning of Wiltshire’s health services to newly elected Dr Peter Jenkins.

Dr Jenkins, who was elected through a majority vote process by the Wiltshire GPs who make up the CCG membership of 58 practices, will be responsible for shaping the CCG with members of its Governing Body.

Dr Steve Rowlands comments: “Much has changed since I began my clinical career a number of years ago, but what remains unwavering, regardless of what job people do within the NHS, is the commitment to delivering the best possible service, where the patient is at the centre. This theme has been core to Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group since it was authorised in 2013.

“As with the NHS nationally, the CCG has been faced with challenging financial constraints which has meant that we have had to make some difficult decisions. However, our vision has always been to provide people in Wiltshire with the right services, at the right time, locally to them.

“I’m proud to have been part of helping to develop health services in Wiltshire that are aligned to the needs and demands of a growing and increasingly ageing population, now and into the future.”

Commenting on his new post, Dr Jenkins, who is currently Senior Partner at Avon Valley Practice said: “I’m delighted to be voted as the new Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Having spent two years as the GP Medical Advisor to Wiltshire CCG, I have a sound understanding of the organisation. I’m under no illusion that with the current financial challenges facing the NHS, this will be an easy role; however, I’m committed to ensuring that the CCG is in the best possible position to enable it to deliver on the objectives set in its five year plan.

“Providing fair access to high quality, locally delivered health services, with people encouraged to take a personal responsibility for their health, is key. Health services in Wiltshire need to adapt to current and future demand and population trends. I’m convinced that by continuing to work closely with our partners across health and social care services, as well as voluntary organisations, we will be able to provide strong, sustainable health services now and for future generations”.

Deborah Fielding, Chief Officer at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, remarks: “Our CCG has undergone a rapid period of development and the process has been successfully overseen by Steve as our Clinical Chairman. In particular, Steve has made significant contributions to the way we’ve been able to re-shape primary care services closer to home. On behalf of the CCG Board I want to thank Steve for his outstanding commitment to health care services in our area, and the changes he has overseen. I’m confident that Peter will build on the great work already happening within the CCG to continue to drive it forward and to explore new opportunities and ways of working, and I look forward to welcoming him on 1st July.