Proposal to transform local maternity services is approved

The joint Governing Bodies of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (BSW CCGs) today approved a proposal to improve and modernise maternity services across the region.

The decision follows a three-year period of engagement and consultation with more than 4,000 mums, families, staff and partners in the community to develop a new vision for maternity services, proposals for change and final recommendations.

The proposal was developed to better meet the needs and choices of women and families across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire. These changes will mean more equal access to choice for women about where to have their babies, a more effective use of resources, a better supported homebirth service and enhanced antenatal and postnatal care.

Sarah Merritt, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust said:
“These proposals will help us provide more choices for birth to more women and will build a strong foundation on which to enhance continuity of care so that more women can see the same midwife or small team of midwives before, during and after labour.

“The addition of Alongside Midwifery Units at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and at Salisbury Hospital will give our birthing mums a new option for labour and delivery, significantly enhancing choices in Salisbury in particular. Our midwives and staff are excited to embrace this new way of working in purpose built facilities.”

The BSW CCG Governing Bodies approved the proposal to:

1. Create an Alongside Midwifery Unit at Salisbury Hospital Foundation Trust.

2. Create an Alongside Midwifery Unit at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

3. Continue to support births in two, not four Freestanding Midwifery Units.
This would mean births ceasing in Trowbridge and Paulton with antenatal and postnatal care continuing.

4. Enhance current provision of antenatal and postnatal care.

5. Improve and better promote home birth services.

6. Replace the five community postnatal beds in Paulton and the four community postnatal beds in Chippenham with support closer to, or in women’s homes. This will be phased with four beds remaining in Chippenham for up to 12 months to support co-creation of new pathways.

Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director for Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Governing Body member said:
“We are very grateful to everyone who gave their time and expertise over the last three years as this proposal was developed and refined. From mums and dads who use the services to clinical experts and local organisations – everyone has helped to steer a path through the complexities of service change.

“We know that in both Paulton and Trowbridge there were strong feelings in support of women continuing to be able to give birth in the existing Free Standing Midwifery Units and some people will be disappointed by today’s decision. However this proposal was approved to help us better meet the needs and choices of women and families across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

“As a result of feedback we have delayed the closure of four of the community postnatal beds to allow more time to work with mums, families and staff to co-design a new community postnatal offer that will meet the needs of local people. The feedback, for example around breastfeeding and mental health support, will also be used to help shape our future maternity services.”

While services will be changing, it is important to note that approval of the proposal will not result in the closure of any buildings or reductions in budget and staffing for maternity services. Maternity services will remain available at all four FMUs antenatal and postnatal care will continue to be provided at these sites.

Chaya Tagore, Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) Lead and one of the members of the Expert Panel that reviewed the consultation results and developed the final recommendations said:
“It’s really important that all women across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have easy access to maternity services and this proposal means more choice to more women about where to have their baby. I encourage expectant parents and those who have used maternity services in the last five years to get involved with the MVP.

“The next steps as new community hubs are developed, where women can access integrated care from pre-conception to postnatal care are wonderful opportunities for co-creation. As MVP Volunteers we are really excited about enhanced support for home births and ongoing care.”

We will continue to share information on the Transforming Maternity Services Together website. This will include proposed timeframes for changes to services. To get involved in the next phase of co-producing services please email maternity.transformationBSW@nhs.net

All the papers from today’s Governing Bodies meeting, along with supporting reports and documents are available on the Transforming Maternity Services website.

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.

 

Help our local hospitals this New Year by stopping the spread of Norovirus

People living in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being urged to help stop the spread of Norovirus this new year to help relieve pressure on the area’s hospitals and health services.

Norovirus – often referred to as the winter vomiting bug – is a very unpleasant and highly contagious stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and vomiting.

It has closed numerous beds over the past few days in hospitals across the region and local health leaders are appealing to the public to play their part in stopping the spread of the condition by following some simple steps.

  • Please don’t visits to hospitals, care homes, nursing homes and GP surgeries if you are suffering from symptoms of Norovirus (diarrhoea and vomiting)  – send someone else to visit loved ones until you are better
  • Once you’ve been symptom-free for at least 48 hours, you’re safe to return to work, school or visit hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes and nursing homes
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food
  • Only hand-washing will prevent spread of norovirus – alcohol hand gels DON’T kill the virus
  • Self-treating at home is the best way to help yourself and avoid putting others at risk. You don’t normally need to see your GP as usually drinking plenty of water and taking paracetamol to relieve pain will help.
  • If you’re concerned, the NHS 111 phone or online service is a helpful alternative to going to your GP in person for advice.

Health leaders are also urging the public to only visit hospitals over the new year period if it is absolutely necessary.

They are asking local people to use the NHS 111 service if they have an urgent medical problem and are not sure what to do. The service is free to call and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is staffed by fully-trained adviser on the phone, who will advise which local service can offer help and get a face-to-face appointment needed.

Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs said:

“If you do have norovirus, then please don’t visit our hospitals. They are already under serious pressure. Instead, stay at home, drink plenty of water, wash your hands regularly with soap and water and wait at least 48 hours after symptoms have gone before returning to work.”

 

Accessing health and care services in Wiltshire this Christmas and New Year

With Christmas just around the corner, people living in Wiltshire are being asked to prepare by making sure they know how to access medical care during the coming holiday period.

While all GP practices in Wiltshire will be closed during the Christmas and New Year bank holidays, some pharmacists will be open and there are lots of other ways of accessing medical help and advice should it be needed.

Here’s some tips for how to look after yourself and where to go for help during what is always a very busy time for NHS health services:

Self care

If you have minor bruises, minor cuts and grazes, a sprain or a slight cough or cold, you are best to deal with it yourself in the first instance. It’s worth keeping a few handy medicines and treatments at home for when you might need them such as painkillers, cough and cold remedies, decongestants, indigestion tablets and a first aid kit but remember to keep them out of reach of children. If you’re not sure go to a pharmacist or phone NHS111.

Ask your pharmacist

If you want some expert advice quickly, try a pharmacist as your first port of call. They can provide advice and treatments for common health problems such as coughs, colds, flu and rashes. You don’t need an appointment to see a pharmacist and many have private consultation areas. Your pharmacist will be able to tell you if you need further medical attention.

Use the NHS 111 service

If you’re really not sure what to do, and your GP surgery is closed, NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for help. So if you think you might need to go to the Emergency Department or need another NHS urgent care service, don’t know who to call for medical help or need information about a health issue, give them a call. You can also go online to 111.nhs.uk

A&E/999

These services are for life threatening emergencies only such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. A&E is likely to be extremely busy over the holidays with long waiting times, so please call NHS 111 for advice first if you are not sure where to go.

Full Christmas and New Year opening hours for all pharmacies in Wiltshire are available below. Click here for the downloadable PDF

 
Wiltshire-Winter-Pack-2019-20-v2.0
 

 

Health Based Places of Safety (HBPoS) in Swindon and Salisbury

In September 2019, Swindon CCG and Wiltshire CCG Governing Bodies approved a permanent change to the location of the Health Based Places of Safety (HBPoS) in Swindon and Salisbury, which were temporarily closed following poor Care Quality Commission (CQC) feedback. A pilot has been running for the last 18 months to evaluate the experiences of people using a purpose built HBPoS (Bluebell Unit) at Green Lane in Devizes.

An options appraisal was developed following engagement with key stakeholders, including service users, staff and strategic partners. Excellent feedback was received in relation to the pilot service, particularly in relation to the quality of the environment and care provided.  The options were scored by both a Clinical Panel and a panel representing service users.  An Options Appraisal Report identified a preferred option of permanently closing the HBPoS sites at Swindon and Salisbury which was formally ratified by the Swindon Adult’s Health, Adult’s Care and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Wiltshire Health Select Committee in November 2019.

A statement from the CCG – in response to the decision – can be seen below:

“While the CCG acknowledges the community’s strong support for retaining a place of safety in Swindon, the evidence put forward to the Governing Bodies – much of which was obtained through meaningful conversations with people who have real experience of using the service in both its current and former state – clearly shows that local people requiring future mental health support will be best served by maintaining a single facility in Devizes.  

“This move will not only ensure the necessary safety requirements called for by the Care Quality Commission can be achieved, but also that people being detained will have quicker access to professional mental health support in a location that is safe, secure and conducive to their wellbeing and overall recovery.”

New Independent Chair appointed to lead Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire health and care system

Health and care leaders from Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) have appointed a new Independent Chair.

Stephanie Elsy, a Non-Executive Director at Solent Community and Mental Health Trust and former Leader of Southwark Council in London, joins the BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) from 9 December 2019.

She will provide independent leadership and work to oversee the ongoing improvement and integration of health and care services across the region.

She will also help to deliver the ambitions set out in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire’s Five Year Plan  – which will be published early next year – and provide support to the partnership as it develops into an Integrated Care System (ICS) by April 2021.

Integrated Care Systems are NHS organisations working in partnership with local councils and others to take collective responsibility for managing resources, delivering NHS standards and improving the health of the population they serve.

Stephanie Elsy said:
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to work with health and care leaders across BSW during such an exciting time.

“Our local health and care system is under considerable pressure and it is now more important than ever before that we work in a seamlessly integrated manner to improve service quality, improve the health and wellbeing of our local population and deliver financial stability.”

Tracey Cox, Chief Executive Officer of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs and STP Senior Responsible Officer said:

“Appointing Stephanie as an Independent Chair is a significant step forwards for BSW.

“She will play a central role in holding the system to account for delivering positive change, promoting joint working, securing the support of the boards and staff of all of our partners and ensuring the public are engaged and well informed.”

Stephanie has worked in the delivery of public services for over 30 years. She was a CEO in the charity sector for 15 years managing community and residential services for people recovering from substance misuse, people with disabilities and people living with HIV and AIDS.

She has also worked in local politics as a Councillor in the London Borough of Southwark in 1995, becoming Chair of Education in 1998 and then Leader of the Council in 1999.

After retiring from local government in 2002 Stephanie served on the Board of Southwark Primary Care Trust. She then worked for eight years as a Director of External Affairs for Serco Group. Since 2012 she has run a consultancy providing support to businesses delivering services to government. In 2017 she became a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Solent NHS Trust where she now Chairs the Finance and the Community Engagement Committee.

Stephanie lives in Emsworth, Hampshire, is married to her partner of 20 years, Christine, and has three grown up step-daughters and six grandchildren.

Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs –
Joining together as one organisation

On the 1 April 2020, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group will officially take the place of the three individual CCGs that currently exist.

The new, single CCG will serve a population of 934,000 people with 94 member (GPs) practices. It will be responsible for £1.3bn of core NHS funding each year.

The three current CCGs have a shared history of working together effectively to deliver high quality care. They have already established a single executive management structure to provide more consistent leadership and direction to staff working across the three organisations.

NHS England approved the CCGs’ application to merge in October 2019 following an extensive stakeholder engagement programme in July and August. Tracey Cox was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the new CCG in February 2019 and is leading the transition.

The merger will ensure that local people continue to have access to the services they need, where they need them but it will reduce variation in care and standardise best practice, so that everyone in the region receives high quality treatment, 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, which means we can invest more of our budget into frontline services or transformational projects.

In January 2019, The NHS Long Term Plan was published. The plan sets out the need for people to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and CCGs play a strategic role in supporting everyone to do this. As ‘transformers of the system’, CCGs need to lead the way to transform local health and care services. They must work as high level decision makers and purchasers of local services, holding the providers of these services to account. As a single organisation, BSW CCG will be better placed to do this

There is still work to be done before 1 April; not least the recruitment of some key roles to the governing board. At the end of January all posts should be filled and the organisational structure will be published.

The teams at all three CCGs are working together to safely transition colleagues and contracts to the new organisation and create new ways of working.

A new website is being developed in readiness for 1 April but in the meantime you can keep up to date with progress by following us on social media.

Recruitment for BSW lay members underway

In preparation for 1 April 2020 when we merge to become Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) CCG, we are searching for dynamic and passionate people to join our governing body as lay members.

Lay members will have a key role in ensuring the newly merged CCG exercises its functions effectively, efficiently, economically and with good governance. We are looking for local individuals with strong links to public and patient engagement to help us improve health, reduce inequalities and provide the best services for a diverse population.

We have a number of roles to fill, each with a specific focus. If you know of anyone who has the skills and experience to help us drive change and improvements to health services across the local area, please share the links below:

Help stop the spread of Norovirus in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire this winter

People living in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being asked to help stop the spread of Norovirus this winter by following some simple steps.

Norovirus – often referred to as the winter vomiting bug – is a very unpleasant and highly contagious stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and vomiting.

Although most people will recover within a few days, if it is introduced unintentionally into schools, nurseries, hospitals or care homes, it can spread incredibly quickly and affect vulnerable people.

Norovirus is already causing problems in hospitals across the area and has led to ward closures and had an impact on waiting times.

To help reduce norovirus-related problems this winter, health and care leaders in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire are asking people to play their part in stopping the spread of the condition by just thinking NORO:

N     No visits to hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries if you are suffering from symptoms of Norovirus – send someone else to visit loved ones
       until you are better.
O     Once you’ve been symptom-free for at least 48 hours, you’re safe to return to work, school or visit hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes
R     Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food
O     Only hand-washing will prevent spread of norovirus – alcohol hand gels DON’T kill the virus

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP in Market Lavington and Clinical Chair of the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“There have already been a number of clinical settings across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire affected by norovirus and we’re keen to keep these to a minimum as our health and care services begin to experience increased demand on services this winter.

Self-treating at home is the best way to help yourself and avoid putting others at risk. You don’t normally need to see your GP as usually drinking plenty of water and taking paracetamol to relieve pain will help.

If you’re concerned, the NHS 111 phone or online service is a helpful alternative to going to your GP in person for advice.”

Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs said:
“At this time of the year we all need to be extra vigilant about the dangers of catching and spreading norovirus.

No one wants to suffer the effects of this unpleasant disease and we need to do all we can to minimise the disruption it can have on our hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes, schools and nurseries.

Taking a few very simple steps can really help to address this problem. I’d urge everyone in our local area to makes sure they are washing their hands regularly with soap and water, keeping away from hospitals and GP surgeries if they have the condition and waiting at least 48 hours after symptoms have gone before returning to work or school.”

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: http://bit.ly/HANDiiTunes and Google Play: http://bit.ly/HANDiGoogle 

 

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 www.bswstp.nhs.uk/ourhealthourfuture/

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.”

Wiltshire Pharmacy Opening Times for the August Bank Holiday

Opening times for your local pharmacy services on Bank Holiday Monday (26 August) are available below.
The pharmacies listed should be open on the dates as shown, the details are correct at the time published but are subject to change. You are advised to contact the pharmacy before attending to ensure they are open and have the medication you require.
 
Click here to view the downloadable PDF
 20190819-Wilts-August-BH-Pharmacy-Poster-2019-v1.0