Firm commitment made to support carers

Local organisations have made a firm commitment to work together to recognise, support and promote the wellbeing of carers by signing  a memorandum of understanding.

By signing the document at the recent Wiltshire Health & Wellbeing Board meeting,  the organisations have committed to abide by a number of principles. These focus on:

•       Carers’ physical health and emotional wellbeing
•        Supporting and empowering carers to manage their caring role and their life outside of caring
•        Raising carer awareness within health and social care
•        Respecting carers as expert partners in care
•        Improving information sharing and early identification of the needs of vulnerable carers.

The updated Wiltshire Carers’ Strategy, due to be published in March 2018, will detail how this will be achieved.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council and Chair of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“ We are all fully committed to supporting carers in Wiltshire and we recognise the invaluable contribution that they make, as well as the positive impact that the work they do has in reducing the pressure on the health and social care system. “This is certainly not a nine to five job and is one that can really take its toll. We have made a commitment to work together to make sure they have the support they need and deserve. This memorandum of understanding underlines how collectively we aim to achieve this.”
Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Deputy Chair of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board added:
Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Deputy Chair of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board added: “We recognise how important it is to support carers in their role because without them giving their time and commitment to tend to the needs of their friends and families, the number of people who are looked after in their own homes would be fewer and the impact on the health and social service system would be overwhelming. We understand the demands placed on carers and the difficulties they may face looking after someone – we welcome this memorandum of understanding as our carers deserve to be valued and supported.”

Representatives from the following organisations have signed the memorandum of understanding:

•         Wiltshire Council
•         NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group
•         Salisbury Hospital Foundation Trust
•         Bath Royal United Hospital
•         Great Western Hospital
•         South West Ambulance Service
•         NHS Foundation Trusth
•         Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership
•         Healthwatch Wiltshire
•         Carer Support Wiltshire

Good feedback for cancer services in Wiltshire

Cancer patients in Wiltshire have rated the overall care they receive as a positive 8.8 out of 10, according to the 2016 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey published in July 2017.

Patients answered a series of questions which asked for their thoughts on the quality of care and standard of cancer services in Wiltshire. A total of 845 patients (72%) completed the survey, representing a response rate higher than the national average of 66%.

Dr Debbie Beale, a GP at White Horse Health Centre in Westbury said:
“There is much to be proud of with this feedback from our patients. Areas in which we have historically done well and continue to do so include good quality patient care, involving patients in the decision process of their care and treatment and our clinicians instilling our patients with confidence and trust. ”

Key highlights include:

  • 81% of patients said they were definitely involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment
  • 89% of patients said that they were given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist who would support them through their treatment
  • 90% of patients said that, overall, they were always treated with dignity and respect while they were in hospital
  • 95% of patients said that hospital staff told them who to contact if they were worried about their condition or treatment after they left hospital
  • 66% of patients said that they thought the GPs and nurses at their general practice definitely did everything they could to support them while they were having cancer treatment.
Debbie continued:
“Our cancer services team work incredibly hard to ensure that people have the care and support they need before, during and after cancer treatment. These results show us that the vast majority of our cancer patients are very positive about the NHS care they are getting and we are proud to see continued improvement in patient feedback about cancer care In Wiltshire.

We are delighted with the results of the survey, and are pleased that a majority of our patients feel that they are getting the treatment they deserve; there will always be areas where we can do better, so we will continue to strive for improvements. These latest results from the national cancer patient survey are testament to the team and the GP practices who work together to ensure high-quality care and services for their cancer patients.”

Stoptober – the 28-day quit smoking campaign – is back.

Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking campaign from Public Health England, is back from 1st October. Stoptober has driven over 1 million quit attempts to date and is the biggest mass quit attempt in the country. It is based on research that shows that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to stay smokefree for good.

All the support you need to quit

Everyone’s quitting journey is different, but with Stoptober, you won’t be on your own. Join the thousands quitting smoking with Stoptober and get all the support you need to help you on your quit journey.

There a lots of ways to quit and Stoptober can help you choose what works for you. You can quit using medication (including nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum) or e-cigarettes. Stoptober offers a range of free support to help you including an app, daily emails, Facebook Messenger and lots of encouragement from the Stoptober online community on Facebook. In addition, you can get expert face-to-face advice from local stop smoking services.

Those who use stop smoking aids and who get face-to-face support from their local stop smoking service are up to four times more likely to quit successfully. Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you. If you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you’re 5 times more likely to stay quit for good.

Just search ‘Stoptober’ or visit our campaigns page to find out more.

New Chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group

After almost three years as Chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (Wiltshire CCG), Dr Peter Jenkins will step down on 30 September 2017, handing responsibility of Chairing the commissioning of Wiltshire’s health services to newly elected Dr Richard Sandford-Hill.

Dr Sandford-Hill was elected through a majority vote process by Wiltshire GPs, who make up the CCG membership of 50 practices, and will be responsible for shaping the strategic direction of the CCG together with members of its Governing Body.

Dr Jenkins said:
“I’m proud to have been part of helping to develop health services that are aligned to the needs and demands of a growing and increasingly ageing population, now and into Wiltshire’s future. 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 health care, with patients at the centre. This theme has been core to Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group since it was authorised in 2013. Our vision has always been to provide people in Wiltshire with the right services, at the right time, locally to them”.
Commenting on his new post, Dr Sandford-Hill, who is currently Senior Partner at Market Lavington Surgery said:
“I’m delighted to take up this new opportunity. Having spent four years as a Governing Body member of the CCG, I have a sound understanding of the organisation and of the issues we face and am committed to ensuring that the CCG is in the best possible position to enable the delivery of our objectives”.

Dr Sandford-Hill will continue working at Market Lavington Surgery and his patients will not see any difference to his current schedule.

He continued:
“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 and care services now and for future generations”.
Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added:
“Peter has made significant contributions to the way we’ve been able to re-shape primary care services in Wiltshire and on behalf of the CCG Board I want to thank him for his outstanding commitment to health care services in our area, and the changes he has overseen. I know that Richard will bring a renewed energy to leading the CCG, and building on the important work already happening within the CCG, will drive it forward with our partners. We all look forward to welcoming him as Chairman at the beginning of October”.

£2.7 million wasted on missed appointments in Wiltshire

Over the course of 12 months more than 76,400 GP Practice appointments were missed in Wiltshire, leading to £2.7 million of pressured finances being wasted and the equivalent total population of Trowbridge and Salisbury not being able to get an appointment when they needed one.

Between July 2016 and June 2017, Wiltshire’s 50 GP Practices were recording an average of 29 missed GP, Practice Nurse and Healthcare Assistant appointments every week. Known as ‘Did Not Attends’, missed appointments have a huge impact on the health economy, prevent other patients from being seen and wastes practitioners’ valuable time.

Dr Andrew Girdher from Box Surgery said:
“The scale of missed appointments across Wiltshire is extremely high and adding unnecessary pressure to already stretched NHS resources. “It’s really important that if a patient no longer needs, or cannot attend their appointment that they cancel it. We understand that people often feel better by the time their appointment comes around, or that circumstances change meaning it is no longer convenient, but cancelling your unwanted appointment allows other patients to be seen more quickly.”

Most Wiltshire Practices have multiple ways to make cancelling an appointment easy at any time of day including online systems, dedicated telephone lines with answer machine facilities and text messaging services. Speak to your Practice Receptionist to find out what’s available at your Practice to help make cancelling appointments easy for you, your family and friends.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP from Market Lavington Surgery, explains:
“On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July 2016 – June 2017, that’s the equivalent of 2,547 days of general practitioner time that has been lost. “It’s widely known that NHS resources are under significant pressure, particularly as the needs of patients increase, which is why it’s important that people understand the impact they have if they simply do not turn up to their appointment.”

The reported number of missed appointments wasted £2.7 million of public money, which could have been spent on over 63,000 hours of nursing hours in a GP Practice, or used to pay for:

  • 324 heart bypasses,
  • 2,853 cataract operations, or
  • 711 treatments for stroke
Dr Girdher continues:
“The numbers speak for themselves and highlights the collective impact missed appointments across Wiltshire have on our local health economy. Everyone has a responsibility to look after the NHS – it is tax payers’ money after all – and we urge patients to remember to cancel their unwanted appointments and to help their friends and family to do the same.”

How healthy is your heart?

Heart disease (including heart attack and stroke) is still the leading cause of death amongst men. Throughout September alone, 12,700 people will die from a heart attack or stroke.

To increase awareness about heart health and reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, Public Health England (PHE) is urging adults to take three minutes out of their day to take the Heart Age Test.

The Heart Age Test is being re-launched as part of the One You Adult Health programme to mark the start of PHE’s Healthy Heart campaign, which will run throughout September in partnership with leading cardiovascular charities.

The Test offers an online assessment for anyone over 30 which allows a person to input basic physical and lifestyle-related information, and provides an immediate estimation of their ‘heart age’. Having a heart age older than your chronological age means that you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.