Proposal to transform local maternity services reaches final decision stage

The decision on a proposal to transform maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will be made at the joint Governing Bodies meeting in common for the three Clinical Commissioning Groups on 16 January 2020.

Lucy Baker, Director of Service Delivery across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire said:
“Over the last three years we’ve worked with more than 4,500 mums, families, our staff, our partners in the community and those with an interest in maternity to co-create our future vision for maternity services, proposals for change and final recommendations.

“Following extensive consultation and review by an independent expert panel, we are ready for decisions to be made on the future on maternity services in the region.”

Sandra Richards, Transformation Midwife for BSW Local Maternity System said:
“We would like to thank everyone who took part in our consultation and shared their views with us. There were many suggestions for how we can improve maternity care and these have helped inform our future plans.

“Our goal is to provide more options of choice of birth to more women and to build a strong foundation on which to enhance continuity of care so that women see the same midwife or a small group of midwives before, during and after labour.”

The full consultation report and summary, Decision Making Business Case and other supporting materials are available on the Transforming Maternity Services Together website and the three CCG’s websites as part of Governing Bodies’ meeting papers.

The Governing Bodies meeting will be held in the Bloomfield Hall at Dorothy House Hospice Care, Winsley, Bradford on Avon BA15 2LE from 10.00 am to 12.00pm. Anyone who wants to attend the meeting should register using the link on the Bath and North East Somerset CCG website. Questions from the public must be submitted in writing three working days before the date of the meeting.

The decision of the Governing Bodies on the proposal will be shared after the meeting on social media and on the Transforming Maternity Services Together website, as well as the three CCG websites.


Local Paediatricians recommend that anyone who looks after children download the free HANDi app for expert medical advice

Paediatricians at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH) are urging parents to download an app which gives parents and carers more confidence in dealing with minor conditions at home.

HANDi app, which is free and can be downloaded to any Apple or Android smartphone or tablet, provides expert medical advice about the most common childhood conditions.


Dr Luai Mare, Paediatric Specialty Doctor at the RUH in Bath said:

“The HANDi app was developed at Musgrove Park and has been adapted by paediatric consultants at the RUH so that anyone who looks after children – parent, carers, grandparents, teachers and child minders – can get instant support when faced with one of the six most common childhood illnesses.

“We know that many parents don’t want to bring their children to A&E unless they really need to, but they often end up here because they aren’t sure where else they should go. The information on the app is the same that you would receive from a healthcare professional here at the RUH.”

The common childhood illnesses included on HANDi app are:

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • high temperature
  • chestiness
  • new born problems
  • stomach pain
Paediatric specialty doctor Gemma Gough says that HANDi app is really simple to use:
“It guides you through a series of questions about the child’s symptoms and advises on the best course of action – it will tell you if the problem is something you can treat at home or if you need to make an appointment with your GP, and if it’s urgent, HANDi app will tell you to go straight to a Minor Injury Unit or A&E.

“I would encourage anyone with young children to download the app. You never know when you might need it.”

You can download the app for free from iTunes: and Google Play: 


Local people’s views will help shape new plan for future of health and care services

People living in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have said they want health and social care providers to support them to live healthier lifestyles, offer better access to services and make sure the professionals they see understand their needs.

Their views have been collected as part of the recent Our Health Our Future engagement campaign run by NHS and Local Authority organisations seeking to find out what people want from future health and care services. Full results from the campaign have been published online today at

The survey results, alongside separate findings collected by independent health champion Healthwatch, will now be used by health and care leaders as they develop plans for how services across the area will be organised over the next five years.

The Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Long Term Plan will be published online over the next few weeks. 

People taking part in the survey said they would like to be given the opportunities, advice and information they need to live healthier lifestyles and be more aware of symptoms of diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure so they could seek help earlier.

They said it should be easier to see staff at surgeries and waiting times for appointments and operations in hospitals should be reduced.

Lots of respondents also said they didn’t always feel listened to or taken seriously by the health and care professionals they saw. Younger respondents said they would value better access to mental health services and support.

Tracey Cox, Chief Executive Office for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs, said:
“As the wider health and care system in B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire draws up plans for the next five years, it is essential that we listen to the views of local people so we can ensure our services provide support through every stage of people’s lives and help them start well, live well and age well.

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to fill in our survey or talk to us. The views they have shared will play an important role in how we develop our health and care services in BSW over the coming years.”

Dr Ian Orpen,  Chairman of the BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Board said:
“As our population ages and the health and care services we provide come under increasing pressure, it is going to be more important than ever before to help people live healthy lifestyles and take more control of their own health and wellbeing.

The Our Health Our Future survey has shown this is a priority for local people and it will certainly be reflected in our plans over the coming years.

At the same time, we will also need to take into account the financial pressures our local health and care system is facing now and in the future.”

BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to merge next April

Three groups responsible for the planning, buying and monitoring of health services in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will become a single organisation in April 2020.

The merger, which has been given formal approval by NHS England and NHS Improvement today, follows a period of engagement with the public, staff, providers and other key stakeholders.

It has also been supported by GP practices in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire as well as each CCG governing body.

The plan will have no effect on the way services are currently provided across the area but will reduce variation in care and standardise best practice so everyone can access high quality treatment and services, regardless of where they live. 

Working as one organisation will also help the CCG meet financial challenges through offering greater buying power, eliminating the duplication of administrative support functions and streamlining governance processes. The savings made can then be invested in frontline services or transformational projects. 

Tracey Cox, Chief Executive of the new BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Getting the go ahead to merge our three CCGs is very positive news. Coming together as a single CCG will allow health and care providers in B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire to ensure we are reducing variation in the provision of services. We also want to concentrate on supporting people to stay healthy and tackle the causes of illness.

This merger will also allow us to meet financial challenges, for example through economy of scale cost-savings and the streamlining of governance and administration which means we can invest more of our budget into frontline services. 

I believe that as a single CCG, we will be in a stronger position to improve outcomes for patients, whilst still retaining our local voice.”

Elizabeth O’Mahony, NHS England and NHS Improvement South West Regional Director said:

“Bringing together Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs into one single, strategic organisation mirrors developments taking place across the NHS as health and care services move to work more closely together for the benefit of local people and employees.”

Have you or someone you care for, recently left hospital?

The Local Government Association (LGA) is reviewing how health and care services in Bath and North East Somerset and Wiltshire are working together to support people when they leave hospital.

The LGA want to know what is and isn’t working well, so they can support health and care services and commissioners to identify what improvements need to be made in future.

Bath and North East Somerset CCG and Wiltshire CCG are helping the LGA to gather information on people’s experience on leaving hospital.

We would like to hear from you if –

  • you live in Bath and North East Somerset or Wiltshire and
  • you or the person you care for has had a stay in hospital while having treatment or recovering and left hospital within the last year.

 To share your experiences and views you can:

  •  Fill in our survey online or print out the survey form, fill it in and send it back to us. The survey closes on Monday 2 September 2019.
  •  Email with anything you would like to say or call 01225 831 861.
  •  Take part in a group discussion at St Martins Hospital, Bath on Monday 23 September 2019. If you would like to join the group discussion, please email or call 01225 831 861 to find out more.

May 2019

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There’s a lot going on around the county at the moment as we work with GPs to establish Primary Care Networks and look to develop our five-year plan across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire. On 19 June we are hosting our second large group intervention as part of pre-engagement on mental health transformation. And in a week we are launching Our Health Our Future – a survey to find out what you want from health and care services locally, now and into the future.

Four appointments have been made to the senior executive team of the new BSW Commissioning Alliance and processes are ongoing for further appointments.

One of our key partners, Healthwatch Wiltshire, is looking for new board members to expand the skills and diversity of their group. If you have a passion for health and social care services and want to help ensure the voices of Wiltshire are heard, think about joining the board. You’ll find more details further on in the newsletter.

With the two May bank holidays out of the way, we are heading into summer. Cover Up, Mate is a local campaign aimed at people who work outdoors or spend a lot of time in the sun over summer and run the risk of skin cancer. The advice is simple – spend time in the shade if you can, cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses, and use at least factor 15 sunscreen.

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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BSW Commissioning Alliance – new appointments

Four appointments have been made to the senior executive team of the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) Commissioning Alliance:

  • Gill May, current Director of Nursing and Transformation at Swindon CCG, has been appointed to the role of Director of Nursing and Quality.
  • Nicki Millin, current Deputy Chief Executive (Swindon), has agreed to take on the role of Director of Transformation and Strategy on an interim basis prior to her retirement in April 2020.
  • Caroline Gregory, current Chief Finance Officer at Swindon CCG, has been appointed to the role of Chief Finance Officer for the commissioning alliance.
  • Steve Perkins, current Chief Finance Officer at Wiltshire CCG, has been appointed as Acting Deputy Chief Finance Officer for the commissioning alliance.

Each CCG will have a Locality Director. Corinne Edwards has been appointed as the Locality Director for BaNES and the roles of Locality Directors for Wiltshire and Swindon are currently being advertised.

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E-zec Medical Transport Services provide non-emergency patient transport across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire  

From 1 June 2019 the non-emergency patient transport service in Bath and North East Somerset, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire will be provided by E-zec Medical Transport Services – a family run company focused on delivering high quality, safe, effective transportation for patients to and from a healthcare setting.

Non-emergency patient transport is for patients who, due to their mobility needs or medical condition, are unable to travel safely by other means. Patients who wish to use the service are required to be assessed against national eligibility criteria. E-zec expect to complete around 180,000 patient journeys each year across B&NES, Gloucester, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Mark Harris, Chief Operating Officer, Wiltshire CCG said: “We are delighted to partner with E-zec as our provider of non-emergency patient transport across the region. We have been working closely together since their appointment in December 2018 to ensure eligible patients have a great experience when using the service.”

Arriva Transport Solutions Ltd provided the non-emergency patient transport service until their contract ended on 31 May 2019.

Further information about the service can be found at

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Carers Week – June 2019

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by carers across the UK. This year, the theme is ‘Getting Carers Connected in their Communities’, and it will run from the 10 – 16 June. 

Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience but carers often find it challenging to take care of their own wellbeing whilst caring. Its impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough.

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. They will be looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older. Everyone has a part to play in connecting carers and helping them to get the support they need to care without putting off their own health needs or losing important relationships with others.

This could include an employer creating carer-friendly policies by listening to the experiences of their workforce, a GP practice offering an annual health check or alternative appointment times to carers struggling to attend due to their caring responsibilities or a leisure centre offering special deals for carers.

For Carers Week, why not plan to do something in your workplace to show your support and recognition of carers? From having a wellbeing day at work, a training and awareness session on carers or just simply putting up posters and sharing your support for Carers Week on social media, getting involved is a great idea. 

There is more information on the Carers Week website.

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Help make a difference to health and social care services by joining the Healthwatch Wiltshire board

Healthwatch Wiltshire is looking for people with a passion for health and social care services to join its Local Leadership Board

The Board is the driving force behind Healthwatch Wiltshire’s commitment to ensure the voices of adults, children and young people are heard by those who run, plan and regulate health and social care services in the county.

Applications are open to anyone who wants to see services meet the needs of those who use them. 

Local Leadership Board Chair, Rob Jefferson said: “As a newly-formed Board, we’re keen to expand the skills and diversity of our group. We’re looking for people who are willing to give their time and energy to Healthwatch and work to prioritise the issues that are most important to the people of Wiltshire.

“You might be a service user, have a background in the NHS or social care services, or just have a keen interest in seeing services improved.” 

As a Board member, you’ll be representing Healthwatch Wiltshire at key meetings so you’ll need to be able to make sense of complex information and be a good strategic thinker. 

You’ll also need to be a strong team player, being both a good listener and be able to speak up on issues that you feel are important. 

For more information on the role, and to apply, please visit the Healthwatch Wiltshire website. All applications must be received by midnight on Sunday 23 June. 

If you would like an informal chat about the role with one of the current board members, please email 

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News archive

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Our Health Our Future

We are launching an exciting engagement campaign offering local people a chance to have their say on the future of health and care services across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW).

The Our Health Our Future campaign is being coordinated by BSW Clinical Commissioning Groups and will run from 13 June until the end of July 2019. We want to find out what local people think about health and care issues so that we can use their views to inform our local five year plan.

We’d really like your support in helping us to promote our campaign and encouraging people in Wiltshire to complete it.

We’ll be finding out what people think through an online survey, a printed booklet, social media and by getting out and about at events across the county. We’ll be asking three simple questions:

What’s the one thing…

  • you wish you’d known sooner to help you be as healthy as possible?
  • that would help you to find and use health and care services more easily?
  • that would help to make a difference to your health and care in the future?

Our Health Our Future is a brilliant opportunity to identify the health and care issues that are important to local people and, with your support, we can make sure we hear from as many of them as possible.

You could help us spread the word by:

  • Featuring the campaign in your newsletters, publications and websites
  • Sharing our social media posts
  • Welcoming a BSW representative along to talk about the campaign at a future relevant event, such as patient or stakeholder meeting
  • Displaying posters/flyers at your events and in your offices
  • Encouraging your network of supporters, members and staff to complete the survey
  • Run your own Our Health Our Future face-to-face activity with members and staff – we will be happy to provide a session plan to support this.

There will be more details next week including the website link, social media posts and event details.

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Mental health and wellbeing services in Swindon and Wiltshire 

Wiltshire Council is asking young people, parents and professionals for their views on how we can improve mental health and wellbeing in Wiltshire. The online surveys, launched in Mental Health Awareness Week will help shape how services are provided in the future.

There are three surveys are available – for young people, for parents and carers, and for professionals.

You can find more information and links to the surveys on the Wiltshire Council website.



How Primary Care Networks could work for you

Healthwatch Wiltshire want to find out what you think of Primary Care Networks. How do you think GP surgeries can work more closely with other services to improve care for people with long term conditions?

You can share your views and find out more on the Healthwatch Wiltshire website.



Changes to the General Medical Council guidance for how doctors use patient feedback – have your say

It’s important that patients have the opportunity to give doctors feedback on the care they receive. The GMC hear that doctors value feedback from their patients. By changing their guidance, they want to make it easier for patients to share their views with their doctors. The feedback should also better support doctors’ learning and development.

For more information and to take the survey visit the General Medical Council website.


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Cover Up, Mate!

As the South West gears up for summer, people who work outdoors are being urged to cover up against harmful UV rays.

Health experts have launched their skin cancer campaign Cover Up, Mate, aimed at agricultural and construction workers, gardeners and sports-players – who may find themselves outside longer during the summer months and often don’t use sun cream.

Judith, a beef farmer from Somerset shares her first-hand experience of being diagnosed with basal cell skin cancer (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer.

“I was always aware of protecting myself in the sun, but I probably didn’t cover up as religiously as I should do. Sometimes it is freezing cold when I start my day, and it’s the last thing I would think about. Over time I noticed, what started off as a little white spot on my chin and gradually it began to grow. My GP referred me to a specialist and they immediately diagnosed me with skin cancer.”

Luckily like many people across the South West, Judith spotted the signs of what could have been fatal. The latest statistics show that ‘early stages’ of diagnoses of malignant melanoma in the South West are 88% female and 86% male which is higher than the national average across England. Unfortunately, not all cases are able to be treated and in 2016 mortality data in the South West showed 168 male and 113 female deaths due to skin cancer.

NHS England South West Medical Director, Dr Michael Marsh said: “You can’t feel UV radiation, so it’s very easy to get sunburnt in the UK, even when it’s cloudy and not particularly warm. Sunburn increases the likelihood of skin cancer so its important people take more care, especially those who work outside or take part in outdoor sport.”

Following Judith’s skin cancer experience, she shares her thoughts on the importance of covering up in the summer months. “Now I make sure I apply your sun cream before I go out, irrespective if the sun is shining or its raining. You can bet your bottom dollar that later in the day the weather will change, and I always make sure to reapply at lunch time.”

The earlier skin cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat, so see your GP as soon as possible if any moles or freckles change size or shape.

For more advice visit or follow NHS England’s skin cancer campaign #CoverUpMate on Twitter.

For more information on staying well this summer, visit our website.






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April  2019

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Primary Care Networks are the way of the future for community healthcare – GPs working together to provide a network of services to their local population. The project to establish the networks in Wiltshire builds on work that was already underway and we are working to a July deadline to complete the initial set up of our 11 networks. Watch this space for more information over the months to come.

At the moment we are working with the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and other partners to develop a new strategy for the delivery of mental health services across the BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire areas. We join AWP in welcoming their new Chief Executive and look forward to working with him when he takes up the role in August.

Healthwatch Wiltshire continues to support our community with the awarding of funding to five projects that aim to boost health and wellbeing in the county – well done to the successful applicants to the Community Cash Fund! 

Engagement on the NHS Long Term Plan with the What would you do? survey is drawing to a close, you’ve only got a couple of days to complete the survey.

Spring is certainly here bringing with it hayfever season. We’ve got lots of good information on our website to help you manage through this tricky season of runny eyes and sneezes.

I’m going to be here a little longer to support our new Chief Executive Tracey Cox as we transition to a new management structure for BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs.


Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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Primary Care Networks

The Government announced a number of policies and incentives this year to help the health and care system meet increasing demand. General practice is at the core of these new ideas with the establishment of Primary Care Networks.

Each network will serve patient populations of around 30,000-50,000. Organisations within the network area will work closely together to give patients access to a wider range of health and care professionals, as part of community teams. This includes GPs, nurses, physios, therapists, pharmacists and social care providers – each providing care that is proactive, coordinated and accessible. With the focus on patients seeing the right health professional for their needs, GPs should have more time to spend on patients who need them the most.

To support their establishment, a Primary Care Network Development Programme will be centrally funded and locally delivered. By 2023/24, the PCN contract is expected to invest an additional £4.5bn per year, or £1.47 million per typical network covering 50,000 people.

GPs in Wiltshire have decided on 11 Primary Care Networks:

  • Sarum West
  • Sarum South
  • Sarum North
  • Devizes
  • Trowbridge
  • Bradford on Avon and Melksham
  • Westbury and Warminster
  • Chippenham including Corsham and Box
  • Calne
  • North Wiltshire Border Locality including Malmesbury, Tolsey, Royal Wootton Bassett, Purton and Cricklade
  • East Kennet.

GPs and Practice Managers attended a meeting in mid-March to discuss the establishment of the networks and more recently we had a really good workshop with the 11 emergent PCNs. We will provide more information on the progress of the networks in the months to come.

You can find out more about Primary Care Networks on the NHS England website.

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New Chief Executive appointed to lead Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust has appointed Dominic Hardisty as its new Chief Executive.

Dominic is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. He will take up his role at AWP in August 2019, replacing Dr Hayley Richards, who announced her plans to retire in January and will be leaving the Trust at the end of May. Simon Truelove will fill the role of Acting Chief Executive until Dominic arrives.

 Dominic brings with him 20 years as a leader, with the last 10 in the NHS, where he has worked across acute and community trusts. He has led teams to transform services across acute, community, mental health and children’s/young people’s pathways, as well as leading on responses to CQC inspections and formation of partnerships across primary, acute, community and social care.

The Chair of AWP, Charlotte Hitchings, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointing Dominic.

“He brings a wealth of relevant experience, both in mental health and strategic and operational management.  Dominic made a great impression on the more than 50 staff, service users, carers and other stakeholders involved in the assessment and interview process.”

Dominic said: “I am thrilled to be appointed Chief Executive of AWP.  There are great things going on in the Trust and I look forward to joining and working with staff and stakeholders to ensure we build on current good work and continue to do our very best for service users, their families and carers, as well as for our staff to make AWP outstanding.”

Charlotte added: “I am excited about Dominic’s aspirations for the Trust and we are all very much looking forward to working with him as we continue on our drive for continuous quality improvement across our services for the benefit of the people we serve.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Hayley Richards once again for her commitment, passion and hard work throughout her long career with the NHS and to wish her well in her retirement.”

Dominic holds a degree from Oxford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School and is currently training to be a Health Care Assistant (HCA).

In another new appointment, Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Sarah Constantine has joined AWP as the new Medical Director, starting in the role on 16 April 2019.

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Community Cash Fund winners announced

Healthwatch Wiltshire’s Community Cash Fund grants have been awarded to five projects that aim to boost the health and wellbeing of people in Wiltshire.

The call for grant applications in March attracted 41 applications for funding of up to £2,000 each.

Healthwatch Wiltshire manager Stacey Plumb said: “Thank you to everyone who applied to the Community Cash Fund. We were delighted to receive such a high number of applications and it was a really tough job deciding who should receive funding.

“We’re really excited to be supporting these incredibly worthwhile projects and are looking forward to following their progress in the months ahead.”

The successful projects are:

Anybody Can Cook, who want to run healthy eating courses for families on a low income at children’s centres in Chippenham and Corsham. Their vision is to promote health equality across communities, with the ultimate aim being less visits to the GP and dentist, maintaining a healthy weight, better mental health and increased confidence.

Pound Arts Centre and Rewired Counselling, who are hosting SPARK, a two-day health and wellbeing event in Corsham on 12 and 13 July. The first day is aimed at Year 9 students and focuses on sleep, stress, body, food and confidence, while the second day is open to all and includes a variety of speakers and a marketplace of groups and services.

Rowden Hill Surgery, who are looking to start a choir for patients with respiratory conditions who attend the Rowden, Lodge and Hathaway surgeries in Chippenham. Singing regularly is thought to have a positive effect on the quality of life of someone with a lung condition, and sessions would be open to both patients and their carers.

Wiltshire People 1st, who are launching their Happy Hearts Dance Group for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. The sessions will promote a healthy lifestyle through conversation, cooking and dance activities.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, for their Wellbeing at the Orchard project, which is aimed at people who are experiencing mental health issues. The project, based at Roundway Orchard in Devizes, features eight weeks of outdoor activities including conservation, wild-cooking and nature-based craft. Designed to help improve mental wellbeing, the project also provides skills and knowledge on managing an orchard.

More information on the Community Cash Fund is available on the Healthwatch Wiltshire website. 

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Get involved!

Last chance to have your say – What would you do?     

You’ve only got a few more days to have your say in the Healthwatch survey that ask would you would do to improve your local services.

Take part in the What would you do? survey on the Healthwatch website and share your views today.


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Are you using your asthma inhaler correctly?

Asthma is a common lung condition that affects the airways and can make it difficult to breathe. It affects 3.4 million people in England and is usually treated by using an inhaler. But, research has shown that a third of people with asthma aren’t using their inhalers correctly. 

The new patient decision aid from NICE– Inhalers for asthma aims to tackle this and ensure that people with asthma are aware of the different devices available to them. If you have asthma, the decision aid could help you find out about the options available. It could help you and your healthcare professional decide which inhaler will suit you best. 

Asthma UK has also published a number of short videos designed to help you use your inhaler properly.

We have more information on asthma on our website.


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It’s hayfever time

With the arrival of spring, many of us will be spending more time outdoors – in the garden or local parks. It’s not all good news if you have hay fever.

Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects up to one in five people at some point in their life. You will experience hay fever if you have an allergic reaction to pollen. It is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it’s warm, humid and windy.

Your hay fever symptoms can be treated by you going to visit your local pharmacist and using over the counter medications, such as antihistamines.

We’ve got advice on managing your hayfever along with other advice and tips to help you stay well this summer our website.





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Abbott FreeStyle Libre ® Flash Glucose Monitoring System: April 2019 update

On 7th March 2019 NHS England announced the national arrangements for funding and criteria for the use of Freestyle Libre® Flash Glucose Monitoring. This can be found on the NHS England website following the link below:

NHS BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs continue to work with local hospital diabetes teams to support the introduction of FreeStyle Libre® from 1 April 2019 in line with the new NHSE arrangements.


Please see the following information about how to access FreeStyle Libre® locally on the NHS:

1. People with type 1 diabetes who are currently receiving FreeStyle Libre® from their hospital specialist/ Diabetes Specialist Nurse:

Your specialist will be writing to you and your GP to let the GP know that they can now take over the prescribing of your FreeStyle Libre® sensors. The specialist will advise what you should do with any current hospital-issued prescriptions for FreeStyle Libre® that you may have.

Patients will receive multiples of 1 month prescriptions each for 2 sensors from their GP.

The specialist team will continue to review the treatment aims* every 6-12 months and continued NHS supply of the Freestyle Libre® Glucose Monitoring System is dependent on achievement of the treatment aims agreed.

Community pharmacists have also been alerted to the change in provision of Freestyle Libre® sensors locally in order to reduce any problems with getting hold of them.

2. People with diabetes that are interested in starting to use the FreeStyle Libre® system:

Freestyle Libre® cannot be initiated by your GP. You should discuss your eligibility for FreeStyle Libre® at your next routine appointment with your specialist. Your specialist will assess your eligibility and circumstances and will advise whether you are eligible and if so, will ensure that you receive the NHS approved training about the use of FreeStyle Libre.® The training will maximise the benefits out of using the system. The specialist team will jointly agree aims* for you in terms of using FreeStyle Libre® to manage your diabetes. These aims will be reviewed every 6-12 months and continued NHS supply of the Freestyle Libre® Glucose Monitoring System is dependent on achievement of the treatment aims agreed.

3. People with diabetes that are currently self-funding FreeStyle Libre®:

As per the advice above for people who are interested in starting to use FreeStyle Libre®, eligibility can be discussed at your next routine appointment with your specialist who will assess your eligibility and circumstances and if eligible, will ensure that you receive the NHS approved training about the use of FreeStyle Libre.® The training will maximise the benefits out of using the system. The specialist team will jointly agree aims and review them every 6-12 months, as above.

*NOTE: Theses aims do not apply to people who are using Freestyle Libre® due to not having mental (e.g. learning disabilities) or physical capacity (e.g. manual dexterity problems which require a carer to do finger prick testing on their behalf) to undertake blood glucose monitoring.

Information about FreeStyle Libre®

The FreeStyle Libre ® Flash Glucose Monitor has two parts:

1. A sensor that is attached to the surface of your skin that includes a small needle-like attachment that sits just underneath the skin and measures glucose levels.

2. A wireless monitoring device that you pass over the sensor to display your glucose level. Each time you pass the monitoring device over the sensor, glucose level readings for the last eight hours will be transferred to the device. The Flash Glucose Monitoring device also comes with software so you can analyse your results and see patterns in your glucose levels.[1]

Note that the sensors need to be replaced every 14 days.

The sensor does not measure your blood glucose level. Instead, it measures the amount of glucose in the fluid that surrounds your body cells (called “interstitial fluid”).

Glucose levels in the interstitial fluid can lag-behind glucose levels in your blood by up to 5 minutes. This lag time is longest if your blood glucose level is changing rapidly, e.g. after eating or if you are exercising. For this reason, you need to do a blood glucose check (finger prick) if you’re thinking of changing your treatment (e.g. taking more insulin or treating an episode of low blood sugar).[1]

FreeStyle Libre® does not completely remove the need to do finger prick testing. Blood glucose finger prick testing is required in some circumstances e.g. during times of rapidly changing glucose levels when interstitial fluid glucose levels (measured by Freestyle Libre® Glucose Monitoring System) may not accurately reflect blood glucose levels, or if hypoglycemia or impending hypoglycemia is reported by Freestyle Libre® but your symptoms do not match the system readings.

Freestyle Libre® and test strip use for driving

On 14 February 2019 the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) updated their guidelines to make testing requirements simpler for drivers with insulin treated diabetes. This means that drivers may now choose to use finger prick glucose testing and continuous glucose monitoring systems such as FreeStyle Libre® and real-time continuous glucose monitoring for the purposes of driving.

The DVLA guidance states that users of FreeStyle Libre® must also have finger prick glucose monitors and test strips available when driving.

For full self-monitoring requirements, please contact the DVLA directly or visit their website.

For access to further information, resources, support and trouble-shooting

Telephone: 0800 1701177 Abbott Customer Services



[1] Diabetes UK, “Flash Glucose Monitoring,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 22nd March 2019].

What would you do?

Healthwatch Wiltshire is asking how you think the NHS can help people live healthier lives, what would make local services better, and how care for people with long term conditions could be improved.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the Government is investing an extra £20bn a year in the NHS until 2023. Now it’s your chance to have your say on how money should be spent on services in Wiltshire.

Take part in the What would you do? survey on the Healthwatch website and share your views today. 

You can also give your views on how care could be improved for people with conditions that health and care providers have made a priority.

If you have experience of cancer, heart and lung diseases, mental health, dementia, learning disability, autism, or a long term condition such as diabetes or arthritis, please click here to say what you think. All responses are anonymous.

Healthwatch are also running a series of events where you will be able to share your views about the future of NHS services in Wiltshire.

  • Monday 1 April – 10.30am-12pm, Allied Services Meeting, Tidworth, SP9 7EP 
  • Tuesday 2 April – 10am-2pm, Beversbrook Medical Centre, Harrier Lane, Calne, SN11 9UT 
  • Friday 5 April – 9.30am-12.30pm, Warminster Library, Three Horseshoes Walk, Warminster, BA14 9BT
  • Tuesday 9 April – 10am-2pm, Springfield Community Campus, Beechfield Road, Corsham, SN13 9DN
  • Wednesday 20 April – 10am-1pm, Royal Wootton Bassett Library, 11 Borough Fields, SN4 SAX

Find out more on the Healthwatch website.