Stay well this winter and avoid the flu

23 October 2015

With the drop in temperature over the last few weeks you can’t fail to notice that winter is on its way and with it comes the start of the cold and flu season.

To help you to stay well this winter, GPs and pharmacies throughout the county are offering an annual flu vaccination to people most at risk from developing complications. Pregnant women, those over 65, people with long term health conditions and their carers, are all eligible to receive a free vaccination to help them to stay well this winter.

In addition, children in school years one and two and children aged two, three and four are entitled to receive a free nasal spray vaccine that is quick, painless and non-invasive. Parents of children aged two to four are encouraged to book an appointment with their GP to vaccinate their child against the flu virus. Parents of children in school years one and two are asked to complete a consent form to allow the school immunisation teams to administer the nasal spray flu vaccine to their children. For children in areas where the vaccination is not offered through their school, parents should make an appointment with the local GP.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, spokesperson for Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and GP at The Avenue Surgery in Warminster comments:

“Most people with the flu start to feel better after a few days. Bed rest, plenty of liquids and a mild pain relief such as paracetamol is often all that is required. However, for more vulnerable people, like the very young or the elderly, flu can be extremely dangerous and in some serious cases, can be fatal.

“For those people, having the flu vaccine is the best way to help them to stay healthy this winter. If you are pregnant, over 65, have a long term health condition or care for someone that does make sure you remember to take up the offer of your free flu vaccination. You can make an appointment with your local doctor or there are a number of pharmacies in the county that are offering the vaccination to people in vulnerable groups free of charge.”

Wiltshire Council corporate director, Maggie Rae said:

“We want as many families as possible protected and the flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can make people seriously unwell, particularly those in at risk groups.

“I would urge people to get the vaccination as soon as possible as the virus does evolve and we want families to stay safe during the winter months and beyond.”

Dr Lindsay Kinlin continues:

“To help stop the spread of flu and the chance of catching it, good hygiene is really important. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, using a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and putting used tissues in the bin all help to prevent catching or spreading the flu virus.”

The flu is not the same as the common cold. The flu is cause by a different group of viruses and often tends to start more suddenly, be more severe and last for longer. If you think you have the flu try to avoid interacting too much with other people until you start to feel better.

The main differences between the flu and a common cold are:

Flu symptoms:

  • Come on quickly
  • Usually include fever and aching muscles
  • Make you feel too unwell to continue your usual activities

Cold symptoms:

  • Come on gradually
  • Mainly affect your nose and throat
  • Are fairly mild, so you can still get around and are usually well enough to go to work

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, Keith Humphries said:

“A flu vaccination is the type of thing that’s easily put off and put off until it’s forgotten about.

“However, the vaccination process is quick and simple and will help protect people as much as possible from this virus, which for some people can have particularly devastating consequences.”

For further information on how to stay well this winter visit


A single provider for Wiltshire’s Community Child Health Services

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Wiltshire Council and NHS England have today confirmed the intention to award Virgin Care the contract1 to provide community child health services in Wiltshire2 for the next five years.

As of April 2016, the services currently provided, which include among others, children’s specialist community nursing, health visiting and speech and language therapy will transfer to Virgin Care. By moving from five providers to one, children and parents will have access to consistent and equitable levels of service and support regardless of where they live in the county.

Deborah Fielding Accountable Officer for Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group comments:

“It was important to us that before we started looking at the contract for community child health services that we really understood how the children, their parents and their families feel about the services they receive. So, together with Wiltshire Council, NHS England and our partners around the county we held several workshops, developed an online survey and spoke with children, their families and carers. It’s with their help that we designed the principles that the new service will adhere to.”

Wiltshire Council Corporate Directors, Maggie Rae and Carolyn Godfrey, said:

“This new way of working means that children and their families will receive a high quality, joined up and consistent service shaped specifically around them.

“We have worked effectively as a partnership in developing this new service and we believe it will help Wiltshire families achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Debra Elliott, Director of Commissioning for NHS England adds:

“A single community child health service will help children and young people in Wiltshire receive the best possible start in life. For example, the same standards of care and easier access to services will be possible to all, through more joined-up working between health and social care professionals.”

Jayne Carroll, Regional Director at Virgin Care, comments:

“We are really excited to be working alongside a great team to provide a truly Wiltshire focussed service that has been shaped by the people who use it and is focussed on delivering outstanding outcomes for children and young people in Wiltshire.”

Staff working in areas affected by the change to the community child health services provider will continue in their current role with the same employment terms and conditions, but will be employed by Virgin Care as of April 2016.

The contract was awarded to Virgin Care following a robust procurement process which adhered to the necessary regulatory and policy requirements. Virgin Care is an independent provider of NHS and local authority services with extensive experience in running services for children and young people.

The changes made will help children’s community health services in Wiltshire to continue to meet its statutory duties in relation to safeguarding and new responsibilities in relation to children and young people with a special educational need or disability. This is in line with the SEND reforms included within the Children and Families Act 2014. Children’s community health services play a key role in ensuring children have the best start in life and that their health needs are met throughout childhood.

1 Following completion of a 10 day standstill period

2 Services provided in Swindon do not form part of the community child health services in Wiltshire contract


Notes for Editors:

Community Child Health Services refer only to those in Wiltshire. Swindon Community Child Health Services are not included.

At this stage, commissioners will not be accepting requests for media interviews. An FAQ is available below. 

About Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group

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

About Wiltshire Council

Wiltshire Council, formed in 2009, is one of the largest unitary authorities in the country. The council is made up of 98 councillors and is one of the biggest employers in Wiltshire.

The council is responsible for providing around 350 services including children and adult social care, waste collection, highways maintenance, and planning and leisure services. Additionally, in April 2013, the responsibility of public health services formally transferred to the council. More information about the council can be found at

About NHS England

NHS England is an independent non departmental public body. Working in partnership with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and other stakeholders, it secures better outcomes for patients, promotes the rights and standards guaranteed by the NHS Constitution and ensures that the health and social care system operates within the resources available. NHS England leads the commissioning system to provide national consistency in areas like quality, safety, access and value for money, whilst promoting the autonomy of CCGs to make decisions that are in the best interests of their communities. NHS England directly commissions some specialised services, primary care services, healthcare for people in the justice system and services for members of the armed forces and public health services.

About Virgin Care
Virgin Care provide local NHS services and Local Authority services that are free at the point of delivery. We operate over 230 services ranging from children’s services to urgent care centres and community nursing.

Virgin Care have been providing services since 2006 and have cared for more than 5 million people during this time.

Virgin Care currently provide children’s services in Surrey and Devon where they already care for more than 300,000 young people and their families.

Further information:

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group Communications team:

Wiltshire Council Communications team:

NHS England Communications team:

Virgin Care Communications team:; 0207 380 1792

Listen to Julia Cramp’s, Associate Director (joint with CCG) Commissioning, Performance and School Effectiveness at Wiltshire Council, interview with BBC Wiltshire – Julia features at 01:36:15.

Do you have questions about what the changes to Community Children’s Health Services in Wiltshire might mean to you?

If you’re a parent carer of a child or young person with a disability or special educational needs, come to a Question and Answer session and get a better understanding of what the changes may mean to you.

  • Monday 7th December, 10:00am – 12:00pm
    Fairfield Farm College Conference Venue, 43 High Street,
    Dilton Marsh, Westbury, BA13 4DL
  • Tuesday 8th December, 10:00am – 12:00pm
    Bemerton Heath Neighbourhood Centre, 58-60 Pinewood Way,
    Salisbury, SP2 9HU

To attend one of these sessions, you must book a place. You can book by:

If you’d like to ask a question, but can’t attend a session, you can submit your question to the panel here.


  What services make up Community Child Health Services in Wiltshire?    >

Community Child Health Services in Wiltshire comprise of 14 individual services, currently delivered by five separate organisations. These services are:

  • Health Visiting Service
  • Family Nurse Partnership
  • School Nursing and National Child Measurement Programme
  • School age immunisation service
  • Children’s Learning Disability Nursing
  • Integrated Paediatric Therapy service – Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Children’s Specialist Community Nursing
  • Community Paediatricians – including Designated Doctor LAC, Safeguarding and Child Death Review
  • Community Paediatric Audiology (Including Provision Hearing Screening to Independent Schools) West Wiltshire
  • Safeguarding Children Service
  • Looked After Children’s Health Service ( including LAC Designated Nurse)
  • Portage (South Wilts area only)
  • Child Health Information Service (CHIS)

Services are commissioned differently and separately in Swindon, and are not included in our plans. 

  Why are you changing the way you commission Community Child Health Services in Wiltshire?    >

Services are currently commissioned by three organisations: NHS England; NHS Wiltshire CCG and Wiltshire Council. We currently commission a number of different providers to deliver Community Child Health Services in the county*, but from April 2016, it is our intention for services to be delivered through a single contract. This way, we can ensure that services are the same across the county so that services are easier to access for children and their parents.

* Services provided in Swindon do not form part of the community child health services in Wiltshire contract 

  How long is the contract?    >

The new contract will run for five years. 

  How many children are involved?    >

Currently, there are 110,000 children receiving health and care services which come under the Wiltshire Community Child Health Services contract*.

* Services provided in Swindon do not form part of the community child health services in Wiltshire contract 

  Are you cutting any of the services?    >

No, at this time we won’t be cutting any of the current services provided. The changes are all about enabling us to deliver the current services more effectively and efficiently. Children, their parents and their carers will have access to consistent and equitable levels of services and support regardless of where they live in Wiltshire*.

* Services provided in Swindon do not form part of the community child health services in Wiltshire contract

  Will there be any money saved as a result of reducing the number of service providers?    >

Any cost savings will be reinvested back into the community services we provide for children in Wiltshire*. There is no intention to take money out of these services.

* Services provided in Swindon do not form part of the community child health services in Wiltshire contract

  Will you be reviewing and monitoring the service contract?    >

As with all providers we will ensure that we closely monitor service delivery and will have strict quality and performance processes in place to ensure that the expected high service levels are delivered. We will set the criteria as part of Virgin Care’s contract with us.

  How do these new services support local and national plans?    >

We are confident that by changing the way we commission community child health services in Wiltshire* we will be able to support a number of local and national initiatives and plans. Details of the plans, initiatives and schemes can be found below:

* Services provided in Swindon do not form part of the community child health services in Wiltshire contract 


The Early Help Strategy which sets out the vision and strategic intent for early help for children and young people in Wiltshire and includes plans for the national Troubled Families initiative. A detailed Early Help Improvement Plan sets out how the strategy will be implemented.

The Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy which aims to improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of Wiltshire’s children and young people.

The Child Poverty Strategy which supports both the reduction of child poverty in Wiltshire and mitigation of the effects of child poverty. It seeks to provide a view of the causes, barriers and challenges of child poverty, set a shared vision and encourage a coordinated approach to address child poverty and its impact.

The Child Health Improvement Strategy which identifies the strategic objectives that are needed to ensure that Wiltshire’s children and young people experience optimal health, both in childhood and throughout their lives. It recognises that child health is dependent on the family and environment in which the child lives, plays and learns. We are committed to understanding and reducing health inequalities within our county and have highlighted where we know these exist across a range of health outcomes such as obesity and childhood accidents. These inequalities will be targeted in the Child Health Improvement Implementation plan.


Giving all children a healthy start in life, including the Healthy Child programme:

Local action on health inequalities: evidence papers including Evidence review 1: Good quality parenting programmes and the home to school transition:

Services are child and family friendly, including meeting formal Baby Friendly and Young People Friendly standards and be You’re Welcome compliant by 2020, as set out in national guidance

The Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum reports:

The NHS Mandate for 2014-15 has a focus on improving support for children with disabilities and complex health needs.

The Children and Families Act 2014, which contains new statutory duties for CCGs and Councils around children with disabilities, complex health needs and special educational needs.

The national agenda to improve safeguarding places increased focus on CCGs to quality assure safeguarding practice by its providers, including the requirement for a number of Designated Doctor roles, usually undertaken by Consultant Paediatricians.

The focus on improving early intervention is part of the role of many professionals working in different parts of children’s community health services.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health outlines service values including being family friendly, pathway based and continually improving.

NHS Outcomes Framework document:

Public Health Outcomes Framework: 

  What difference will these changes make to me as a parent?    >

By having one provider delivering all of the community child health services throughout the county* will mean that you will have access to a more coordinated level of service regardless of where you live in Wiltshire*. Your child will still have access to services that best meet their needs.  No services are being cut.

* Services provided in Swindon do not form part of the community child health services in Wiltshire contract

  We’ve built up a really good relationship with the healthcare workers who look after my child, will someone else now be employed to do their job?    >

You will have access to consistent and equitable levels of service and support regardless of where you live in Wiltshire*. Your child will still have access to services that best meet their needs. We understand the relationships you have with your child’s healthcare workers are incredibly important to both you and your child and we are not expecting those to change in the near future – there are no changes planned for the staff who deliver these services.

* Services provided in Swindon do not form part of the community child health services in Wiltshire contract

  How have you involved people that use this service when considering changing Community Child Health Services?    >

It was important to us that before we started looking at the contract for community child health services that we really understood how the children, their parents and their families feel about the services they receive. So, together with Wiltshire Council, NHS England and our partners around the county we held several workshops, developed an online survey and spoke with children, their families and carers. It’s with their help that we designed the principles we want the new service to adhere to, so thank you!

  How can I find out more about how this change will affect my child?    >

Please contact your local service delivery lead.

  How has the new service provider be chosen?    >

Commissioners of NHS healthcare and local authority services must contract with the provider who is most capable of delivering the specified requirements, within the funds available.

  What experience will these new providers have?    >

All bidders are required to demonstrate their ability to deliver the services being procured. The successful bidder, Virgin Care, has been providing NHS services since 2006 and already offer children’s services to more than 300,000 young people and their families across Surrey and Devon.

New Learning Disabilities service to launch in Wiltshire

A new modern purpose built service for individuals with complex learning disabilities and challenging behaviour has moved a step closer for NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP). Work has commenced on the new building in Devizes which includes accommodation for up to 9 people and means that Wiltshire will be able to provide appropriate care for individuals specialist needs close to home and near their families.

The new service will open in the summer of 2016 and will be located on land within Green Lane Hospital, Devizes.  Plans for the building will be on display within Devizes Library from Monday 12th October until Monday 19th October.

Deborah Fielding, Accountable Officer of Wiltshire CCG, said

“We are delighted to be able to bring Wiltshire patients back to the county and provide them with a specialised service totally designed to enable them to live a fulfilled and meaningful life within a community setting.

Wiltshire CCG is committed to provide the right care for individuals closer to their family and in a care setting that provides the highest quality of service suitable to their specific needs.”

This new service allows for Individuals to live within a home setting and each living area will be fully equipped with a kitchen, en-suite and lounge allowing independent living and self-management – providing them with a ‘home from home’.

Jane Anderson, AWP’s clinical lead for specialised services, says that the new accommodation will provide a safe and supportive environment.

“For some people with complex learning disabilities, living at home is not always an option as they can require specialised care in the right setting. The new service has been designed to create a home for them which, while equipped and staffed to meet their needs, will feel as far from a clinical unit as possible.”

Dina McAlpine, Director of Quality for Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added:

“This innovative service aims to provide individualised care and support for Wiltshire residents who have a complex learning disability with a mental health condition or display behaviours that challenge. This is a local residential setting which will encourage individuals to maintain their family relationships, build a fulfilled life through participation in the community and access mainstream services when required to ensure that their health and social care needs are met. The experience of individuals will be used to inform the development of the service and to imbed a culture which is positive and which promotes an approach of continuous improvement.”

The new service will provide an enhanced quality of life for individuals and their care will be planned, proactive and coordinated with their involvement so that they have choice and control over how their care needs are met – putting them at the centre of everything we do.