Hundreds have their say on proposals to transform local maternity services

Our Transforming Maternity Services Together Consultation comes to an end on 24 February 2019, so there is still plenty of time to have your say on the proposal for changes to maternity services across the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Maternity System (LMS).

We’ve already heard from over 1000 people, who have shared their views through our online survey, written to us or attended one of our public events, drop in sessions or market stalls. We’ve also been out and about capturing the views of people in our local communities.

Lucy Baker, Acting Director for Maternity Services at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Lead Director, said:
 ”We would like to thank all the people who have taken the time to complete our survey so far, but we are keen to hear from as many people as possible, in particular those who are planning to start or grow their family in the next few years.

“We want to enhance the experience we provide for people using and working in our maternity services and provide more choice for more women.

“We‘ve been really clear that we’re not proposing to reduce how much we spend or reduce the amount of staff we have. We know that people value having services in their local community and we are not proposing to close any buildings as a result of this proposal – we’re proposing to continue providing maternity services in Chippenham, Frome, Paulton and Trowbridge.

“You can find everything you need at www.transformingmaternity.org.uk. We are encouraging people to take a few minutes to read through the information or view one of our short videos. You can also have a look at the kind of questions people have been asking and our responses.”

Sandy Richards, Transformation Midwife for the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire LMS said: 
”As part of our consultation, we have been keen to talk to as many mums and families as possible to gain their views of our proposals.  

“We are seeing a decline in the number of women choosing to give birth in a Freestanding Midwifery Unit. On average only one baby is delivered every two or three days in each of these units but they need to be staffed to support births 24 hours a day seven days a week. Proposing to support births in two rather than four of our Freestanding Midwifery Units means women will still have this choice, but we can also free up underused staff and resources to enhance our antenatal and post-natal and birthing services.

“We know that many women and families are concerned at the possibility of having to transfer from a Freestanding Midwifery Unit to an Obstetric Unit if labour is not progressing well or more support is required. That’s why this proposal includes creating an Alongside Midwifery Unit at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and Salisbury District Hospital, so more women who have a low risk of complications in labour and are otherwise fit and healthy could have a midwife-led birth, and staff in our Obstetric Units can focus on mothers who need to have their baby in this environment.”

The proposal offers the following:

  • To continue to support births in two, rather than four, of our Freestanding Midwifery Units across Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon. Women will still be able to have their baby in Chippenham and Frome Freestanding Midwifery Units, and antenatal and postnatal clinics will continue to be provided in all four – at Chippenham, Frome, Paulton and Trowbridge as well as all other current locations e.g. GP practices.

A detailed independent travel impact analysis was undertaken to inform our proposal to continue supporting births in two of the Freestanding Midwifery Units.   

  • To create two new Alongside Midwifery Units, one at Salisbury District Hospital and one at the Royal United Hospital. These will enable women to have a midwife-led birth in a more relaxed setting without medical intervention but if support from doctors is needed there is direct access to the Obstetric Unit. These two units will be in addition to the White Horse Birth Centre that already exists at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.
  • To improve the range of antenatal and postnatal services, for example by providing more breastfeeding support to women in their own homes. We also want to support more women to give birth at home if this is their preferred choice.
  • To replace the nine community postnatal beds (four at Chippenham and five at Paulton Freestanding Midwifery Units)with support closer to or in women’s homes. Women who need to be admitted for medical treatment after giving birth would be treated in their local Obstetric Unit at one of our acute hospitals in Bath, Salisbury and Swindon. 95% of the time postnatal beds in our Freestanding Midwifery Units are empty as women rarely need to stay in a community hospital after giving birth. 89 antenatal or postnatal beds are available at our Obstetric Units for women who need them.
Lucy said:
“We believe this proposal will considerably enhance the experience we provide for people using and working in our maternity services. It will allow us to offer more choice for more women, enhance antenatal and post-natal care and ensure we have the right resources in the right place at the right time. You might agree or disagree with our proposal, or have an idea to share – whatever your view is, we’d like to hear from you.”

The consultation closes on 24th February 2019.  The responses will be carefully and independently analysed and the results used to help the Governing Bodies of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups make a final decision by late spring 2019.

February 2019
Contents

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Welcome

We made it through our first bout of snow for the winter which put pressure on our health and care services, our staff, and the patients and people of Wiltshire.

From sharing resources to providing transport, I know people went above and beyond their usual work responsibilities. I really want to acknowledge the dedication and passion that means NHS and health and care services remain available when patients need us the most.

The focus this month for the Help Us Help You campaign is on making the most of your pharmacist. Twenty-seven per cent of GP appointments could potentially be treated elsewhere, and a visit to a pharmacy is a good choice in the early stages of an illness – don’t wait until you feel worse, ask your pharmacist first.

Looking ahead, the NHS Long Term Plan aims to achieve some ambitious improvements for patients over the next 10 years. We will be working with our staff, partner agencies and the public to help shape our local actions to improve services for the health and wellbeing of our communities.

The Transforming Maternity Services Together consultation period is coming to a close – the last day to have your say is 24 February 2019. I encourage you to share your views on the proposed changes.

Linda
Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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News

NHS long term plan

The NHS long term plan published on 7 January aims to save almost half a million more lives with practical action on major killer conditions and investment in world class, cutting edge treatments including genomic tests for every child with cancer.

The 10 year plan has three objectives:

  • making sure everyone gets the best start in life
  • delivering world-class care for major health problems
  • supporting people to age well.

To ensure that the NHS can achieve the ambitious improvements for patients over the next 10 years, the NHS Long Term Plan also sets out ways to overcome the challenges that the NHS faces, such as staff shortages and growing demand for services.

The plan brings with it a new guarantee that investment in primary, community and mental health care will grow faster than the growing overall NHS budget. This will fund a £4.5 billion new service model for the 21st century across England, where health bodies come together to provide better, joined up care in partnership with local government.

You can find out more about the NHS Long Term plan at https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/nhs-long-term-plan.pdf

 


AWP Chief Executive announces retirement

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust’s Chief Executive, Dr Hayley Richards has announced that she is set to retire from the NHS at the end of May 2019, following a 33-year long and successful career.

Dr Richards said: “It has been an absolute privilege to be part of AWP over the last 13 years and I am extremely proud of the work we have achieved.

“When I started as Chief Executive in 2016 some of my main aims were to help us re-establish the confidence we deserved to have in the services we provide, to increase clinical leaders, to have senior managers and frontline staff work together more closely and to improve quality. There have been many challenges along the way, of course, mainly around funding and service demand, and these will continue in the coming years.

“I leave the NHS at a time of great challenge and opportunity and I will watch with hope and optimism that true parity of esteem is achieved for mental health service users.”
 
AWP’s Board will publish their intention regarding recruitment of a new Chief Executive in due course but are keen to initiate recruitment as soon as possible.

 


New Healthwatch Board

Healthwatch Wiltshire has appointed a new Board to help prioritise the health and social care issues that are most important to the people of Wiltshire.

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

The new Board is made up of Rob Jefferson, Hazel Dunnett, David Line, Irene Kohler and Andy Mintram. They will be joined by Emma Leatherbarrow, Director of Partnerships at Help and Care, Healthwatch Wiltshire’s provider.

Visit the Healthwatch Wiltshire website for more information.

 


News archive

Read more news from Wiltshire CCG in our news archive.
 

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Get Involved!

Transforming Maternity Services Together – consultation coming to a close

The consultation on a proposal to transform maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), Swindon and Wiltshire is coming to an end – the last day to have your say is 24 February 2019.

We’ve been around the county with public meetings, on the streets for market days and at a number of Area Board and Town Council meetings to publicise the consultation.

Some parts of the county seem to be more aware of the proposed changes to services than others and we have had some robust conversations along the way. Maternity services touch on a very personal experience and we encourage people to share their views through the online survey or by completing the hardcopy form to ensure their voice is heard.

The consultation document, link to the online survey and further information on engagement opportunities is available on the Transforming Maternity Services Together website

 


Patient and Public Voice Partners needed for Quality of Life after cancer treatment project

NHS England is looking to recruit Patient and Public Voice (PPV) Partners to join the Steering Group for the Quality of Life after cancer treatment project. The aim of the pilot project is to test whether collecting data about quality of life from cancer patients can help us to better understand quality of life after cancer.

PPV representation will bring important views, perspective and challenge into the project. The closing date for applications is Friday 15 February 2019.

For more information about the role visit NHS England’s Involvement Hub. To request an application pack, please email Bijal.Purohit@nhs.net.

 


Share your ideas and help improve services at a Wiltshire hospice

An independent research consultancy is looking for patients, their carers or family members to share their experiences on the services provided by a Wiltshire-based hospice.

A small user advisory group at Dorothy House Hospice Care has been run by Evolving Communities for the last two years. Now in its third year, the group are on the lookout for more people to join to share their ideas on the care and support provided at the hospice.

Lucie Woodruff, from Evolving Communities, explained: “The User Advisory Group is a forum of people who share their ideas on the care and support provided at Dorothy House Hospice Care. These views are then fed back to the decision-makers in the charity to help shape future provision.

To find out how you can get involved contact Lucie at Evolving Communities on 01225 701851 or email info@evolvingcommunities.co.uk.  Or for more information on Dorothy House visit www.dorothyhouse.org.uk.

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Campaigns 

Sore throat, cough or cold? See your local pharmacist first

The focus for the Help Us Help You campaign this month is on getting help from your local pharmacist first, before you book in with your GP or visit A&E.

Andrew Hobson, Pharmacy Manager at Cohens Chemist in Royal Wootton Bassett and Vice Chair of Community Pharmacy Swindon and Wiltshire said: “Pharmacists can help recognise and treat many common illnesses. We can give advice and where appropriate, recommend over-the-counter medicines that could help clear up the problem. We can also give advice about how to take medicines and answer questions about common side-effects. If we think you need to see a GP for your illness, we will advise you to do that.”

The campaign follows research which shows that 27 per cent of GP appointments could potentially be treated elsewhere and that 18 per cent of these appointments could be treated through self-care and community pharmacists.

Find out more on the campaigns page on our website.

Resources 


Dementia Roadmap for Wiltshire launched  

Alzheimer’s Support has launched a new website to guide people through the process of being diagnosed with dementia in Wiltshire.

The Dementia Roadmap for Wiltshire simple online guide to what to expect during the process of being diagnosed with any type of dementia. It includes a symptoms guide and things to look out for, information of other conditions that can be confused with dementia, and explains the roles of health care and non-medical staff in supporting families at every step of the way. 

Take a look at the Roadmap and the Support Village which pulls together links to relevant local information about the support available.

 

 

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Sore throat, cough, cold or minor illness? See your local pharmacist first

People in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire suffering from minor illnesses including sore throats, coughs, colds, tummy troubles and aches and pains are being urged to seek help from their local pharmacist in the first instance rather than booking an appointment with their GP or visiting their local A&E department.

The advice is part of a new NHS campaign to encourage the public – and particularly parents with young children – to visit a local pharmacy as their first choice for help with common minor health concerns.

The campaign follows research which shows that 27 per cent of GP appointments could potentially be treated elsewhere and that 18 per cent of these appointments could be treated through self-care and community pharmacists.

Andrew Hobson, Pharmacy Manager at Cohens Chemist in Royal Wootton Bassett and Vice Chair of Community Pharmacy Swindon and Wiltshire said:

“Every year, millions of people visit their GP with minor health problems that a local pharmacy could easily help with. By visiting your pharmacy instead of your GP about a minor illness, you could save yourself time. Seeing a pharmacist will also free up appointments for your GP to see other patients.

Pharmacists can help recognise and treat many common illnesses. We can give advice and where appropriate, recommend over-the-counter medicines that could help clear up the problem. We can also give advice about how to take medicines and answer questions about common side-effects. If we think you need to see a GP for your illness, we will advise you to do that.”

Richard Brown, Chief Officer of Avon Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said:

“There is a strong network of local pharmacists across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire. They are often open late and at weekends, can see people without an appointment and their highly trained staff can offer quick and effective treatment and good advice about many common conditions.

For minor health concerns such as coughs and colds, don’t wait until it gets worse, ask your pharmacist first.”

AWP Chief Executive announces retirement

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust’s Chief Executive, Dr Hayley Richards has announced that she is set to retire from the NHS at the end of May 2019, following a long and successful career.

Dr Hayley Richards has been part of the NHS for 33 years and for the last 13 years has served AWP as a Consultant Psychiatrist, Director of Medical Education, Medical Director and Chief Executive.

Dr Richards said:

“It has been an absolute privilege to be part of AWP over the last 13 years and I am extremely proud of the work we have achieved.

“When I started as Chief Executive in 2016 some of my main aims were to help us re-establish the confidence we deserved to have in the services we provide, to increase clinical leaders, to have senior managers and frontline staff work together more closely and to improve quality. There have been many challenges along the way, of course, mainly around funding and service demand, and these will continue in the coming years.

“I leave the NHS at a time of great challenge and opportunity and I will watch with hope and optimism that true parity of esteem is achieved for mental health service users.”

AWP's Chair, Charlotte Hitchings, said:

“I would like to express my personal appreciation and thanks to Hayley for her commitment, passion and drive to AWP and mental health. Thanks to Hayley’s leadership we are in a good position to take on the challenges that lie ahead and build on productive relationships with our partners to deliver excellent mental healthcare that puts our service users, carers and families at the heart.”

Dr Richards qualified in medicine at the University of Bristol in 1986. She became a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1990 and a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1993, achieving dual accreditation in General and Old Age Psychiatry.

She joined AWP in 2006 as a Consultant Psychiatrist, became Medical Director in 2013 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2016.

AWP’s Board will publish their intention regarding recruitment of a new Chief Executive in due course but are keen to initiate recruitment as soon as possible.

Christmas Opening Times for Wiltshire Pharmacies

Opening times for your local pharmacy services for the festive period (21 December – 1 January)  are available below.
Please note that these times are subject to change.

Click on the relevant region to bring up the list of pharmacy opening times for your area:

BRADFORD ON AVON/ DEVIZES/ MELKSHAM/ TROWBRIDGE/ WARMINSTER/ WESTBURY    >

Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below

Wiltshire-Pharmacy-list-WWKYD-24.12
 

SALISBURY/ TIDWORTH/ WILTON/ MERE/ TISBURY    >

Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below

Wiltshire-Pharmacy-list-Sarum-24.12
 

CORSHAM/ CALNE/ CHIPPENHAM/ MALMESBURY/CRICKLADE/ MARLBOROUGH PEWSEY/ PURTON    >

Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below

Wiltshire-Pharmacy-list-NEW-24.12
 

 

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust –
Health Based Place of Safety survey

Due to quality issues identified by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) in 2016 and 2017, NHS England authorised the temporary consolidation of two of three Health Based Place of Safety (HBPoS) Suites in Swindon and Salisbury to a third site in Devizes for 12 months from 26 March 2018.

This will provide an opportunity for organisations to address the CQC’s improvement requirements, particularly around assessment times following a change to the law which states how long a person can be detained for. Further information about the service can be read here.

Have your say via the online survey

As part of the review, members of the public have been asked to complete the online survey:  www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/7024O  

All responses to the survey are anonymous and will be taken into consideration during the ongoing discussions regarding the future of the Place of Safety Suites in Swindon and Salisbury.

The survey will close on Monday 31 December 2018.

Help the NHS help you this winter by taking simple steps

People living in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire are being urged to do their bit to help the NHS cope with an increase in demand for services this winter.

As the season gets underway and Christmas approaches, health and care leaders from across the region are asking people to do as much as they can to stay healthy to avoid any unnecessary hospital stays at such a busy time.

We can all help ourselves by following some simple advice:

  • If you’re eligible, get your flu vaccination from your general practice or pharmacy to protect yourself against catching flu this winter. There’s still time.
  • If you start to feel unwell, even just from a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious – get help from your pharmacist straight away. The sooner you get advice the better – pharmacists are here to help you stay well this winter.
  • If you’ve been prescribed medication, don’t forget to pick up your prescription before the Christmas holidays start. Many GPs and pharmacies will close over the bank holidays. Stock up on any over-the-counter medicines you might need over the festive period.
  • If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 to get the right medical attention urgently or visit www.nhs.uk which can direct you to a local service that is open
  • Finally, older neighbours, relatives, friends and other elderly members of the community are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help. You can help them by keeping in touch, checking if they are feeling under the weather, helping them stock up on food supplies and making sure they have the necessary medication before the Christmas holidays start.
Dr Ian Orpen, a GP based in Bath and chair of B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire STP’s Clinical Board, said:

“As winter gets well and truly underway, health and care services in B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire will begin to experience an increase in demand, so the more our residents can do to stay well this winter and help reduce that pressure, the better.

Taking simple steps such as making sure you have a flu jab, seeing a pharmacist rather than ignoring minor ailments, calling 111 for urgent medical help and ensuring you have a supply of any over the counter medications before the Christmas holidays will really help.

It’s also important that everyone uses the service that is right for their health and care needs. During the winter, hospitals and A&E departments can get very busy – so calling 111 or visiting your pharmacist or GP can make all the difference in making sure that the NHS works most effectively and hospitals are more easily able to treat those with serious conditions or injuries.”

The winter advice has been issued by the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and is part of a new NHS and Public Health England campaign called Help Us Help You.

The campaign aims to help make it easier for the public to understand the things they can do to manage their own health and get the best out of the NHS. By following the expert advice of NHS staff, the public can stay well; prevent an illness getting worse; take the best course of action; and get well again sooner.

 

December 2018
Contents

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Welcome

As the leaves start to fall and the nights draw in we know that winter is upon us. The colder weather always brings increased pressure on the NHS, with services stretched and staff working harder than ever to manage the influx of patients.

This winter we are asking you to Help Us Help You. The more you can do to prepare for winter and take care of yourself when it does turn cold, the less likely it is that you will end up in A&E or in hospital. Right now, the single best thing you can do to protect yourself and others this winter is to get a flu vaccination.

You can have your flu jab at your GP surgery or local pharmacy and for those who are most at risk of suffering serious consequences if they catch the flu, the vaccination is free – it is free because you need it.

In line with the national GP Access directive, we have increased the availability of GP appointments at evenings and weekends across Wiltshire, to ensure that everyone has access to a GP or a health professional when they need it. This is being managed by the Wiltshire GP Alliance and you can read more about both of these initiatives in this newsletter.

Across the NHS in Wiltshire, we are working hard and working together to deliver health services as best we can over the winter months. We’ve produced this handy clock infographic to show you, your family and friends what services are available in Wiltshire. If you use the right services at the right time, it will make it easier for us to help you when you really need it.

With Christmas just around the corner I would like to thank all our staff for their hard work and dedication over the year – I hope you find some time to relax and enjoy a well-earned break.

Wishing you a happy and healthy festive season!

Linda
Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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News

Improved access to GPs

From 1 October 2018 people registered with a Wiltshire practice can book routine appointments to see a GP, practice nurse or other health professional in the evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm, and at weekends and Bank Holidays.

Across the population of Wiltshire there is an additional 235 hours per week of clinical time in this move to improve access to health services.

To use the service you just need to call your GP Practice. You won’t always be able to see your registered GP and may need to go to a different local practice in your area to take up the after-hours and weekend appointments.

Read our news article about improved access to GPs to find out more.

 


GPs working together

The Wiltshire GP Alliance (WGPA) was established in April 2018 and is a not-for-profit group made up of almost all the GPs across Wiltshire. It aims to help practices work better together to improve GP resilience, and stimulate and share improvements – for instance with availability of GP appointments – across the county.

WGPA are managing the improved access provision in Wiltshire which means surgeries are now working together to provide extra appointments in the evening and at weekends.

The alliance is still in its early days but they aim to provide more services ‘at scale’ by supporting genuine cooperation between practices, and help stabilise the workforce, and facilitate transformation to solve problems in health and care.
 
Marlborough News Online published an article about the GP Alliance which includes comment from GP Dr Lindsay Kinlin who is part of the alliance team.

 


A move for the Salisbury Walk-in Centre

On 1 October 2018 the Salisbury Walk-in Centre moved a few metres away to its new location within Millstream Medical Centre. The move, which does not affect the services offered by the walk-in facility means that the Walk-in Centre gains more space for patients who need to use the service.

You can read more about the move in our news article.

 


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Be Involved!

Transforming Maternity Services Together

As part of our local maternity system, we are consulting the general public on our proposal to transform maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon and Wiltshire. Our proposal has been developed by all the NHS organisations that plan and buy health services as well as those that provide or manage maternity services across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire. Over last 18 months, these organisations have worked with more than 2000 women and families, staff, and partner organisations to look at ways we can improve the services we provide to mothers and families across the region. We want to provide:

  • More equal access to the different birthing options available to women
  • Improved personalised care so we listen to and understand what women want
  • Continuity of care to improve the relationship between mother, family and midwife
  • Improved community support to provide targeted care close to home
  • Integrated and seamless care regardless of where and how women choose to give birth.

This consultation period runs from 12 November 2018 until 24 February 2019.

Find out more on the consultation website and have your say on the proposals by completing the online survey.

 


Urgent GP appointments

We want to hear your views on accessing urgent GP appointments – appointments that are booked on the day and are for patients who have health problems which cannot wait for a routine appointment.

Tell us what you think by completing the short survey on our website.

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Campaigns 

Help Us Help You

This year’s winter health campaigns are all about us working together to ensure we all do our best to stay fit and healthy, which collectively will help to reduce pressure on the NHS over winter.

Help Us Help You talks about the self-care steps you can take to stay well this winter like getting a flu jab; encourages you to talk to your pharmacist if you start to feel unwell; and reminds you to call 111 for urgent (but not life-threatening) medical assistance.

Visit our campaign pages to find out more about Help Us Help You.

 


Keep Antibiotics Working

Public Health England’s ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign is back, reminding you that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk.

Antibiotics are essential for treating serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

It’s important that, when it comes to antibiotics, you always take your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice.

For more information, visit: www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/our-campaigns/antibiotics-resistance

 


Self care this winter

To help you know what simple steps you can take to help keep well over the winter months we have developed this easy-to-use eight step guide.



To find out more about Staying Well This Winter, and to download the self care infographic, visit www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/our-campaigns/stay-well-this-winter

Resources 

Free guides available to support the health and wellbeing of older people and carers

NHS England has co-produced free guides that provide older people with practical advice to support healthy ageing and caring.

The Healthy Ageing and Healthy Caring guides provide information to older people and carers about staying healthy, fit and independent during the winter months. They identify the support that’s available to help maintain health and wellbeing and which can help older people and carers to stay out of hospital.

The guides have been co-produced with AGE UK, Fire Rescue Service, Carers UK, Carers Trust, Public Heath England, carers networks and people with lived experience including older people. They are part of NHS England’s long term ambition to support older people and carers to look after their own health.

Both these free guides are A4 magazine-style publications that can be ordered in any quantity and delivered for free. Order by calling 0300 123 1002, quoting reference HC2, for the healthy caring, or HA2 for the healthy living guide, or online at www.orderline.dh.gov.uk.

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More Primary Care Appointments across B&NES Swindon and Wiltshire will help tackle increased demand for Health Services this winter

It will be much easier for people living in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire to book an appointment to see a GP, nurse or other health professional during the evenings and weekends this winter thanks to a new initiative to help health and care providers across the region cope with increased demand for services.

As winter begins, surgeries and practices have made it easier for people to book appointments at a number of surgeries across the region at times ranging from 6pm-9pm during weekdays and 8am to 12 noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

The new initiative to make it easier to see a GP or nurse is part of a range of measures introduced across the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership to ensure people stay well, stay out of hospital and help reduce the increase in demand for health and care services during the winter months.

Other initiatives include encouraging eligible patients to take up the offer of a free flu jab, highlighting the importance of talking to a local pharmacist for advice before minor ailments or winter illnesses get worse and raising awareness of the NHS 111 telephone and online service, which directs patients to the most appropriate service.

Dr Ian Orpen, a GP based in Bath and chair of B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire STP’s Clinical Board, said:

“Offering people across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire an opportunity to see a GP or nurse at a time that is convenient for them is good news for patients this winter and we hope will help relieve some of the pressures faced by other hard-pressed areas of the health service such as urgent and emergency care.

“Many people across our region find it hard to access GP appointments during normal appointment times and this initiative will be an enormous help to them.

“Winter is always a challenging time for the health service and it’s important that people in our region avoid getting unwell as far as they possibly can. Ultimately, we want to ensure that people who are most at risk of preventable emergency admissions to hospital over winter are aware of and, where possible, motivated to take actions that avoid that happening.”

Dr Andrew Smith, Chief Executive Officer of B&NES Enhanced Medical Services (BEMS), a local GP federation which is currently providing extra appointments on behalf of 19 practices across BaNES with the remaining five to offer the service within the next two weeks, said:

“It is fantastic that people living across the region will be able to access routine appointments at times that suit them best. Patients may need to attend a different GP surgery to the one they usually go to, but staff of the services will have access to their full medical records. To access the full range of appointments, patients will need to book with their usual practice, by phone, during normal working hours.”

Proposal to close St Damian’s Surgery in Melksham

Increased demands on healthcare services and the national shortage of GPs are having an impact on primary care across the UK and in Wiltshire. The Bradford on Avon and Melksham Health Partnership (BoAMHP) have been unable to recruit enough clinicians following the retirement of three full-time GP partners and have sought approval to close St Damian’s Surgery in Melksham.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group Chair said:
“We understand the challenges facing primary care, particularly around recruitment of clinical staff. BoAMHP has sought approval to close its branch surgery in Melksham because, despite their best efforts, the partners feel unable to maintain a full range of patient services at all of their sites.”
Dr Janice Patrick, Senior Partner at Bradford on Avon and Melksham Health Partnership said:
“This has been a very difficult decision for us to take. Over the past year we have put a lot of measures in place to try and maintain the surgery at St Damian’s, but we find ourselves in a position where we cannot continue to provide a service in Melksham with the resources we have available to us.

“BoAMHP is keen to continue to provide services to as many of the St Damian’s registered patients as wish to stay with their current GP, should our proposal to close the surgery at St Damian’s be approved. We are writing to all St Damian’s patients to explain to them what the proposed closure would mean for them.”

St Damian’s patients who want to continue to see a GP in Melksham would need to register with Giffords Surgery or Spa Medical Centre after the decision is made about the practice closure, in the New Year.

Patients who have questions or would like further information about the proposed closure should contact St Damian’s Surgery.

Transforming Maternity Services Together

A proposal to transform maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), Swindon and Wiltshire has been shared with the general public for their consideration today, Monday 12 November.

The proposal has been developed after listening to the views of women, families and staff over the last two years by all the NHS organisations that plan and buy health services as well as those that provide or manage maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire. Together these organisations make up the Local Maternity System.

Lucy Baker, Acting Director for Maternity Services at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group
and Lead Director for the project said:
“Our proposal is the result of feedback gained from listening to over 2,000 women and families, staff, midwives, obstetricians and others with an interest in maternity services to look at ways we can improve the services we provide to mothers and families across the region. To do that, we need to make some changes to how we currently do things”.
Lucy added:
“Our proposal would allow us to provide more choice for more women across our area about where and how they are supported before, during and after the birth of their baby, and allows us to make more efficient use of our resources and workforce so we can further improve our antenatal and post-natal and birthing services. We also want to ensure we are delivering the services that can meet the changing needs of our local women and families both now and in the future.

“Despite the financial pressures facing the NHS locally and nationally, we are not planning to reduce how much we spend on maternity services, nor are we proposing to reduce the amount of staff we have or to close any buildings.”

The proposal addresses the issues posed by changes to the population. The average age of a woman giving birth in the UK is now 35. More and more women are experiencing high risk pregnancies (for example, because of high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes) which means they need to be supported in a hospital setting with an expert medical team available. The combination of these factors means there is vastly increased pressure on services at the Obstetric Units at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, Great Western Hospital in Swindon and Salisbury District Hospital.  

In addition, many women with a low risk pregnancy are choosing to have their babies in an Obstetric Unit because they are worried about having to move by ambulance to another site during or after their labour if they need the help of a doctor. Women need a safe, convenient alternative so staff at the three obstetric units at Bath, Salisbury and Swindon hospitals can focus on mothers who really need their care.

Sarah Merritt, Head of Nursing and Midwifery at Royal United Hospital, Bath, said:
“Some of the changes we are proposing are because, particularly at the RUH, certain services are underused and we are often staffing empty buildings and beds. 85% of women give birth in one of the three Obstetric Units with fewer than 6% giving birth across our four Freestanding Midwifery Units in Chippenham, Trowbridge, Paulton and Frome.

“We believe we have the right number and mix of staff but they’re not based in the right locations to ensure efficient use of our resources and provide women with the services they need.

“In our Freestanding Midwifery Units – particularly at night – staff are covering areas even when there are no or very few births. On average only one baby is delivered every two or three days in each of these units but they need to be staffed to support births 24 hours a day seven days a week.”

The plans have been developed to ensure services are efficient and sustainable to support future population growth, changes in housing policy, and the repatriation of military personnel to South Wiltshire from April 2019.

The proposal offers the following:

  • To continue to support births in two, rather than four, of our Freestanding Midwifery Units across Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon. Women will still be able to have their baby in Chippenham and Frome Freestanding Midwifery Units, and antenatal and postnatal clinics will continue to be provided in all four – at Chippenham, Frome, Paulton and Trowbridge as well as all other current locations e.g. GP practices. A detailed travel impact analysis was undertaken to inform our proposal to continue supporting births in two of the Freestanding Midwifery Units.
  • To create two new Alongside Midwifery Units, one at Salisbury District Hospital and one at the Royal United Hospital, which will provide more women with the opportunity to have a midwife-led birth. These two units will be in addition to the White Horse Birth Centre that already exists at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.
  • To improve the range of antenatal and postnatal services, for example by providing more breastfeeding support to women in their own homes. We also want to support more women to give birth at home if this is their preferred choice.
  • To replace the nine community postnatal beds (four at Chippenham and five at Paulton Freestanding Midwifery Units) with support closer to or in women’s homes. Women who need to be admitted for medical treatment after giving birth would be treated in their local Obstetric Unit at one of our acute hospitals in Bath, Salisbury and Swindon.
  • 95% of the time post-natal beds in our Freestanding Midwifery Units are empty as women rarely need to stay in a community hospital after giving birth.
  • 89 antenatal or post-natal beds are available at our Obstetric Units for women who need them

Once the public consultation has closed, the responses will be carefully and independently analysed and the results used to help the Governing Bodies of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups make a final decision by Spring 2019.

Lucy Baker said:
“Our proposal is just that – a proposal. It addresses what women and staff have told us they think will work, but we want to hear people’s views and encourage them to have their say.

“The consultation will run from 12 November 2018 until 24 February 2019, to enable plenty of time for people to give their views.

“We will make the consultation results available to the public and explain how their feedback has helped shape our plans. We are aiming to make our final decision in Spring 2019.”

Find out more on our consultation webpage.

All the consultation information and documents, including ways to get involved and to provide feedback will be available online from Monday 12 November, at: www.transformingmaternity.org.uk

Helping each other to stay well this winter

Today is the start of Self Care Week and Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are encouraging people to be well-prepared ahead of winter by taking simple steps to look after themselves and helping their families, friends and neighbours to do the same.
 

This year, the theme for Self Care Week is ‘Choose Self Care for Life’ and preparing now for the winter ahead will help people, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable, to stay as well as possible.

This means trying to stay active even when the weather is colder, and eating a balanced diet. Wiltshire Council’s health trainers can help people every step of the way – the service is for people aged 18 + and is free. They can also help you find other services and activities to keep you healthy and well over winter.

For more information visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-trainers or call 0300 003 4566.

There are also benefits and grants available to help with energy efficiency, such as cavity wall insulation to help keep homes warm. Call Warm & Safe Wiltshire on 0800 038 5722 or visit www.warmandsafewiltshire.org.uk for more information.

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, said:
“It’s also sensible to check on vulnerable neighbours and relatives and ensure they have everything they need to stay safe and warm. Sometimes, simply offering to do the shopping for someone can make a big difference.

“There is a lot of support available to help people to stay safe, healthy, warm and out of hospital this winter and beyond.”

NHS Wiltshire CCG has created an easy-to-use eight-step guide, to help people know what simple steps they can take to help keep themselves well over the winter months.

S – see your pharmacist at first sign of illness

E – eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

L – learn more about around the clock healthcare services in Wiltshire

F – find out if you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine

C – check in on your neighbours

A – arrange to pick up your prescription

R – restock your medicine cabinet 

E – ensure you stay warm

Dr Andrew Girdher, GP at Box Surgery, explains:
“We’re encouraging people to be proactive with their own self-care, to help them stay as healthy as possible and to know where to go if they do need health care advice.

“Healthcare services are put under enormous pressure over the winter months and by doing what you can to look after yourself where you can, helps to free up valuable practitioner time to see those people who really need to be seen.”

Flu season is approaching – get your flu jab now


The clocks have gone back which means winter is on its way. And with winter comes flu. On average, flu kills around 8,000 people a year in England. Getting a flu vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu.

You can have your flu jab at your GP surgery or local pharmacy and for those who are most at risk of suffering serious consequences if they catch the flu, the vaccination is free – it’s free because you need it.

Dr Andrew Girdher, a GP at Box Surgery who had the flu last year, is encouraging those who need the vaccination, to have it:
“For the first time last winter I felt what it was like to experience flu and having a flu jab is definitely on my list of ‘must dos’ at the moment.
“Flu certainly knocked me for six – I had to take five days off work, the first time in 25 years, and I missed the surgery Christmas party. I’m someone who is very fit and active but once I got sick, I was physically unable to get out of my house, even getting out of bed was a challenge.
“People owe it to themselves to get a flu jab before winter, to protect their own health but also to protect the health of their family, work colleagues and friends from the debilitating effects of the flu.
“I also urge all patient-facing workers in health and social care to ensure they get a flu vaccination to reduce the risk to themselves and their patients this winter.”

People who are eligible for a free flu vaccination include:

  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Adults aged 18-64 with long-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease
    or those who have had a stroke
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged 2-3 years
  • Children in school years: reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Carers
  • Health and social care workers.

Get your flu vaccination from your GP practice, or pharmacy before the end of November 2018 to help protect you and those around you this winter.

Flu is a highly infectious illness characterised by a fever, chills, headache, aching muscles and joint paint and fatigue. For most healthy people, flu symptoms can make you feel exhausted and unwell so that you have to stay in bed and rest until you get better.

If you think you may have the flu, stay at home and rest until you feel better. Call NHS 111 if you have an underlying health condition or feel really unwell.