Working together for Marlborough and Pewsey patients

Marlborough Medical Practice and Pewsey Surgery have been in discussions to explore the possibility of a merger. With resignations from several practices in Wiltshire and a subsequent inability to recruit replacements, partners from both practices have been discussing a merger as a next step to make sure they are able to continue to provide the best care and services for their patients, by working more efficiently and sharing workloads.

The proposal is for both practices to remain open and for GP appointments to continue to be provided from both sites. The emerging plans have been discussed with and are supported by Wiltshire CCG and NHS England.

Dr Anna Collings, Partner at Pewsey Surgery said: “The workforce challenges within the NHS, and most particularly the shortage of GPs and other primary care staff, have been widely reported nationally and locally and are now beginning to affect our own north east corner of Wiltshire. It is really important for us to continue our patient relationships and to keep improving the quality and range of our services. But the challenges are real and we need to take action now to make sure we can respond to the developing healthcare landscape. Merging with Marlborough Medical Practice is a sensible and positive way forward”.

Dr Jenny Campbell, Partner at Marlborough Medical Practice said: “We’re confident that this proposal will make us far stronger and more resilient and will give us the opportunity to offer more enhanced services and to share specialisms and staff. Our two practices already work closely together, so formally merging is a logical next step. Our staff are supportive and both practices will keep our respective patients up to date with the ongoing discussions”.

The merger is expected to take effect in the Spring of 2017. Sharing resources will give some 18,000 patients access to more flexible services. While we expect that neither patients nor staff will notice any immediate change, both practices believe that collaboration will enable us to continue to provide quality care for our patients. 

Joining together will lead to better ways of working as we develop a new vision for general practice in and around Marlborough and Pewsey, and we believe that this will be good for patients and our staff.

Get help with your energy bills this winter

With the nights drawing in and colder weather here, local residents can take advantage of an initiative to help them with their energy bills which can also provide a host of other support to help them stay well this winter.

Wiltshire Council’s Warm and Safe initiative is helping eligible local people sign up for the Warm Home Discount – which could give them a £140 rebate on their electricity bill.

The Warm Home Discount is available on a first come first served basis.  However, not all suppliers provide the discount and the criteria will vary between them, so to claim the rebate people must check they are eligible first. The Warm and Safe Wiltshire team can help with this.

Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are supporting Public Health England’s Stay Well this Winter campaign which aims to ensure people who are most at risk from suffering ill-health this winter are aware of the support from schemes such as Warm and Safe Wiltshire.

Warm and Safe Wiltshire can also offer free advice and support with:

  • Help and advice relating to heating, draught proofing and insulation
  • Guidance on heating systems and controls
  • Help with switching energy suppliers and fuel tariffs to keep bills affordable
  • Help with fuel debt
  • Advice on understanding fuel bills
  • Advice on damp and condensation
  • A comprehensive home fire safety service
  • Available grants and schemes for insulation and heating improvements
  • Signing up to the Priority Services Register for extra support in the event of a power cut
Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health said:
“Help is always available from Warm and Safe Wiltshire and we are very happy to provide free advice and support for Wiltshire residents to help them lower their energy bills and make their homes warmer, safer and more comfortable.

“We would urge those on low incomes or in receipt of benefits to call Warm and Safe Wiltshire now to check to see if they can get the Warm Home Discount.”

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group added:
“Cold homes can have a significant impact on people’s health.  Being able to heat your home to at least 18C in winter is especially important for people who have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease.  This is a great scheme that will help to keep people well and healthy, especially in the colder months.” 

Wiltshire Council’s Warm and Safe team are working in partnership with Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue and the Centre for Sustainable Energy to provide free advice on lowering energy bills and improving the energy efficiency of homes in Wiltshire. In addition to this, Warm and Safe Wiltshire can provide heating and insulation grant aid to assist those on a low income with a health condition affected by the cold.

Funding is limited so for further information on this people should call Warm and Safe Wiltshire on 0300 003 4575 or visit www.warmandsafewiltshire.org.uk  

Starting a Conversation about end of life care in Wiltshire

About four thousand people die each year in Wiltshire. Most are older people who had been living with a chronic condition. Compared to ten years ago, more people in Wiltshire are dying at home or in a hospice, and fewer in hospital. Care to support people at the end of life is provided by a range of services including hospitals, hospices, care homes, pharmacies, social care agencies, charities, GPs and community services.

NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Wiltshire Council are refreshing the Wiltshire End of Life Care strategy, and are interested to hear what people think is important in end of life care. This will help them to develop their plans for end of life care in Wiltshire. Healthwatch Wiltshire are supporting them to gather these views.

We are holding 3 public “starting a conversation” events across the county. These will be an opportunity for local people to hear more about the strategy, share their views on what is important at the end of life and find out more about what services are currently available.
These meetings will be held at

  • Thursday 24th November 2 – 4pm Salisbury Methodist Church, St. Edmund’s Church Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3EF
  • Tuesday 29th November 2 – 4pm The Memorial Hall, Station Rd, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, SN4 8EN
  • Wednesday 30th November 10am – 12, St Margaret’s Hall, St Margaret’s Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1DE
Ted Wilson, Community and Joint Commissioning Director, NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said
“The refreshed End of Life Strategy reinforces our commitment to improving and developing end of life care and support services. Our vision for end of life care in Wiltshire is personalised, well co-ordinated and aims to empower patients to make informed choices about their care. We continue to learn and enhance work in a joined-up manner across health, social care and voluntary sector as we move forward. In an environment where resources are constrained, we are committed to make best use of those available and to deliver value for money; whilst delivering real choice for patients and meet their wishes, where possible, in the last phase of their life.”
Lucie Woodruff, Volunteer and Engagement Manager at Healthwatch Wiltshire said
“The aim of Wiltshire’s End of Life Strategy is to make sure people who are approaching the end of their life and their unpaid carers are able to access the care and support they need. We want to make sure that current services are meeting their needs. Only by hearing real stories and involving local people in decisions about services, can we really be sure that people approaching the end of their life are properly supported. These public events are an opportunity for people to find out more about end of life care locally, to share their experiences and views. ”

For more information about the meetings, contact Healthwatch Wiltshire on 01225 434218 or info@healthwatchwiltshire.co.uk. For those unable to attend the meeting, the strategy and a questionnaire can be found at http://www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/end-of-life-care.

B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Summary Sustainability Transformation Plan released

Health and care organisations across Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire have today (15 November) released a summary of their Sustainability and Transformation Plan ahead of full publication in the coming weeks. 

Overall, across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) the standard of health and care services compare well to other areas of England.  However, there are still improvements that need to be made to make sure services are the best they can be – and are sustainable now and in future years.  Health organisations have joined with local authority partners and other key stakeholders to work together to create the shared five-year vision to meet the increasing health and care needs of our population – while ensuring services are sustainable and affordable.

Whilst we recognise that we are at an early stage in the planning process, we are sharing this summary to begin to build on work undertaken to date with our clinical and non-clinical teams and share our current thinking ahead of wider engagement.

Our summary sets out our emerging priorities to improve health and care services for the 874,000 people who use our services.  It proposes new ways of working together in order to meet the many challenges facing the health and care system and provides the framework within which detailed proposals for how services across B&NES, Wiltshire and Swindon will develop between now and 2020/21.
 
A key theme throughout the STP is an increased focus on preventing ill health and promoting peoples’ independence through the provision of more joined up services in or closer to peoples’ homes.
 
Five priority areas have been identified as key programmes of work:

  • More focus on prevention of ill health and earlier intervention
  • Transforming Primary Care
  • Making best use of technology and our public estate
  • A modern workforce
  • Improved collaboration across our hospital trusts

James Scott, Senior Responsible Officer for the BSW STP, said, “The NHS and social care is currently under significant pressure and we know that demand on services will only continue to grow.  Our STP summary sets out a strategic direction that will enable us to engage with our citizens, and those that care for them, to agree the steps we’re going to take to design services that meet this projected increase in demand with the resources we will have.”

He continued:  “Our plan sets out the need to support people to stay healthier and independent longer.  We need to reduce the duplication, variation and potential gaps between the various health and social care services to ensure a consistent service for those who need them.  And we need to make better use of new technology to support people to monitor their own health and wellbeing with access to the right information and support.  Our shared aim is to ensure that everyone can continue to receive excellent high quality care whenever they need it, both now and in the future.”

The BSW Sustainability and Transformation Plan summary is available to download at: www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk

Outline plans for Devizes Urgent Care Centre on public view

People from Devizes and the surrounding villages are invited to view plans showing the proposed location and outline footprint for Devizes Urgent Care Centre on Friday 18 November 2016, between 3pm and 7pm at Devizes Corn Exchange.

The Urgent Care Centre, which will be based on NHS-owned land at Marshall Road, will transform the way Devizes people access same day GP appointments for minor illness and injuries, as well as other primary care services. Members of Devizes Town Council planning committee will give their views on the proposed location and outline as part of the pre-application process at a meeting on 15 November, and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Property Services hope to submit planning at the end of November.

The drop in session will be an opportunity both to view a series of displays relating to the proposals and to discuss the project and proposals with the project team. Feedback forms will also be available for people to complete.

Once received, the project team will review all of the comments and, where practical, they will be addressed as proposals move to a more detailed stage. The outline planning application for the development will be supported by a document summarising the consultation process that has been undertaken and the various responses received. 

Plans show the proposed facility will be built on land currently owned by NHS Property Services on Marshall Road in Devizes, and will be adjacent to the Devizes NHS Treatment Centre. Capital funds will be raised through the sale of the Devizes hospital site and some surplus land currently owned by NHS Property Services on Green Lane in Devizes.

Essentially, the development will be a new build and will not require the Devizes GP practices to sell their existing premises to raise the capital for its funding.  The Treatment Centre (run by Care UK) will be located next door to the proposed new development, ensuring that some services – including x-ray – could be shared.

Jo Cullen, Director of Primary Care at Wiltshire CCG said: 
“These plans have an important role to play in the future of healthcare in Devizes.  A facility like this is something which has been championed by Devizes people for some considerable time and although we still have a way to go, we are optimistic that we will be able to start building work on the Urgent Care Centre for the people of Devizes and surrounding villages within the next year.  We are grateful for the cross party political support and particularly of Claire Perry MP and the Town Council who have fully supported our initial ideas to date.  The on-going support from NHS Property Services, Wiltshire Council and most importantly the people of Devizes is absolutely crucial”. 

NHS staff have flu jab to stay healthy this winter

Peter Jenkins getting flu jab

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of NHS Wiltshire CCG, having his flu vaccination

As the cold weather approaches, NHS staff at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are offered the flu vaccination to protect themselves and to help reduce the spread of flu. It is really important for NHS staff to have the flu jab because along with keeping them safe, it also helps to protect their colleagues, their patients and their families from contracting the flu virus.

Leading the way, Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of NHS Wiltshire CCG, recently had his vaccination to protect himself and patients in his care against harm from flu this winter.

Dr Jenkins said:
“Wiltshire CCG are supporting NHS England’s drive to increase take-up of the winter flu vaccine and are encouraging its staff to have the vaccination. Flu is a nasty illness and we want to make sure our staff, patients and Wiltshire people are protected against it.”

Flu is highly contagious, can lead to serious complications for those in high-risk groups and, in extreme cases, can prove fatal.  Wiltshire CCG strongly recommends that everyone gets the flu vaccination especially those in high risk groups including: 

  • all two, three and four years olds (those born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2014)
  • pregnant women
  • adults aged 65 years and older
  • anyone with a long-term health condition
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers

You can arrange to have your flu vaccination at your local GP surgery (free for those in the high risk groups) or check to see if your local pharmacist is providing them.

Dr Jenkins added: “Winter flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Having the vaccination is a quick and simple procedure with minimal or no side effects providing effective protection against the flu virus.”