November 2017

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Welcome

Welcome to the first issue of our new monthly newsletter!

We want to provide a regular source of information for Wiltshire people that helps to keep you ‘in touch’ with the commissioning and development of your local healthcare services. Wiltshire is a beautiful county comprising a mix of town and country and completely rural in between, making the provision of easily accessible healthcare services for all who live here challenging to say the least – but not impossible.

But this newsletter isn’t just about telling you what’s going on; it’s important that we hear your views on current and future healthcare services to help inform our planning. In this issue, we’re asking for your thoughts on urgent GP appointments and support for those with diabetes – please do take a few minutes to complete the surveys.

We recently announced Medvivo as the provider for a new integrated urgent care service, which launches on 1 May 2018 and asked our Patient Participation Groups (PPG) for help with designing the options a caller would hear when they dial 111 – their feedback was invaluable. This is a fantastic example of helping to shape our local healthcare services; why not find out about your GP Practice’s PPG and how you could get involved?

With the nights drawing in, we encourage you all to stay safe and well this winter.

Take care, Linda

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In the news!

Meet our new Chair – Dr Richard Sandford-Hill

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill became our new Chair on 1 October 2017, after being voted in by Wiltshire GPs.

Having spent four years as a Governing Body member, Dr Sandford-Hill has a sound understanding of Wiltshire CCG and the challenges it faces and he is committed to ensuring the CCG continues to provide fair access to high quality, locally delivered health services.

Dr Sandford-Hill said: “I’m delighted to take up this new opportunity and I look forward to working closely with our partners to provide strong, sustainable health and care services now and for future generations.”

New provider announced for Integrated Urgent Care Services

Medvivo has been awarded a five year contract to provide integrated urgent care services across Wiltshire Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES) and Swindon, from 1 May 2018.

Medvivo will be responsible for running the NHS 111 service across Wiltshire, BaNES and Swindon and will develop the service model to include a new locally managed ‘clinical hub’.

The new clinical hub means that callers to the 111 service will be listened to and advised about what action they should take next. If they require further medical advice they will be able to talk to the clinical hub – a team of experienced health professionals who can collectively make clinical assessments, give advice and arrange urgent care if required. It means no decision is made in isolation.

Local patients and residents will receive information about the new integrated urgent care service and how to access it, ahead of the launch on 1 May 2018.

Read more news articles here.

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Have your say!

Diabetes survey: 12 October – 1 December 2017

We want to improve the care of all diabetics in Wiltshire; so we need to understand what matters to you. Next Spring we are launching a wellbeing toolkit for all diabetics and those who support them.

Please complete this short survey and tell us where the gaps are in the information you need to help support the management of diabetes. Your comments will help to shape the new wellbeing toolkit.

Urgent GP appointments – where would you go?

If you need a same day urgent GP appointment – this could mean that you might not be able to see your usual GP and you may have to travel to a different practice. Urgent GP appointments are booked on the day and are for patients who have health problems which cannot wait for a routine appointment.

We want to hear your views on accessing urgent GP appointments. Tell us what you think by completing this short survey.

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Campaigns

Every year we support a number of national health campaigns and run some local ones too. Click on the images below to find out more about our current campaigns.

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Follow us

You can find Wiltshire CCG on social media – follow us and keep up to date with our latest news.

www.facebook.com/NHSWiltshireCCG www.twitter.com/NHSWiltshireCCG www.pinterest.com/NHSWiltshireCCG
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Small changes can help you and your loved ones stay well this winter

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging local people to follow eight simple steps to help them stay well over the winter months, as part of the national awareness week for Self Care.

Self Care Week runs from 13-19 November 2017 and focuses on helping people to help look after themselves better when it comes to their health.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, a GP from The Avenue Surgery in Warminster, said:
 “Self care is about taking responsibility for your health and we’re encouraging Wiltshire people to make small changes to help them and their families to stay well over the festive period.”

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s eight self care tips for Winter are:

S – see your pharmacist at the first sign of illness

Pharmacists are not only medicine experts, they can also offer advice and information on a range of minor illnesses and injuries. If you start to feel unwell this winter, even if it is just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist before it gets more serious.

E – eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

A healthy diet is vital for your wellbeing, so try and eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

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

In Wiltshire there are many options available for when you need medical advice and treatment. Consider all of the choices available to help you make the right decision about where to go.

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

People who are eligible include those who are aged over 65 years, pregnant women, anyone who is the main carer for another person or who is in receipt of Carers’ Allowance, and those with a long-term condition such as diabetes or asthma. Children between the ages of two and eight years old are also eligible for the free nasal vaccination, which is quick, harmless and the best way to protect against catching flu this winter.

C – check in on your neighbours

Winter can be dangerous for elderly people, so checking they have enough supplies will mean they don’t need to go out in bad weather.

A – arrange to pick up your prescription

Many pharmacies and GP surgeries will be closed or have reduced working hours over the festive period. If you require a repeat prescription, make sure you order it in plenty of time.

R – restock your medicine cabinet

Looking after yourself when you’re feeling under the weather with a minor illness is easy if you already have a medicine cabinet stocked with painkillers, oral rehydration salts, anti-diarrhoea tables, antihistamines, indigestion treatments and a first aid kit.

E – ensure you stay warm

Cold weather can be very harmful and increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke and chest infections. Try and heat your home to at least 18°C and have a least one hot meal a day to stay warm.

Dr Kinlin continues,
”During winter our health services are put under a lot of pressure. By taking personal responsibility for our health and following our self care tips, we can help to free up valuable practitioner time, allowing us to focus on those people who need us the most.”

Find out more about small changes you can make to stay well this winter by visiting www.wiltshireccg,nhs.uk

Protect your unborn baby this winter with a free flu jab

The immune system is naturally lower during pregnancy, so if you were to catch the flu it could become serious very quickly.  Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging all pregnant women to get the free flu vaccination this winter.

Flu can cause many complications during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages and in some cases it can lead to still birth or death in the first week of life.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, GP at the Avenue Surgery in Warminster said,
“Flu can make otherwise healthy people feel very poorly and I would urge any lady who is pregnant to get the flu vaccination as soon as possible.  During pregnancy a women’s immune system is naturally lower to ensure that the pregnancy is successful.  As a result, pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus.”

The flu vaccination is the best protection against flu.  It is recommended during any stage in pregnancy, from the first few weeks through to the due date.  Keeping fit and healthy in pregnancy is important for your baby’s growth and development.

Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.

Dr Kinlin, added,
“Even if you have had the flu vaccination in previous years it is important to get it again because the type of virus in circulation changes every year, so the vaccine changes too.”

If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge.  It’s free because you need it.

Ask your midwife or GP about the flu vaccination now.  You can book an appointment at your GP practice or visit your local pharmacy.

Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home this winter recommends NHS Wiltshire CCG

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is advising local residents to be prepared this winter with their own well-stocked medicine cabinet, so they can treat themselves at the first signs of coughs, colds, sore throats or stomach bugs.

Dr Andy Hall from The Orchard Partnership in Fovant said:
“Most people can take care of their own health at home when they have minor ailments, such as sore throats and coughs by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet, drinking plenty of fluids and getting lots of rest.”

Looking after yourself when you’re feeling under the weather with a minor illness is easy if you already have a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Keeping the following items will mean you can stay at home and focus on getting back to full health.

What to keep in your medicine cabinet

Painkillers

Aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are highly effective at relieving most minor aches, pains, coughs and cold

Oral rehydration salts

Can help restore your body’s natural balance of minerals and fluid lost through diarrhoea, fever, vomiting – if you can’t continue your normal diet

Anti-diarrhoea tablets

It’s a good idea to keep anti-diarrhoea medicine at home as diarrhoea can happen without warning. Causes include food poisoning and a stomach virus

Antihistamines

Useful for dealing with allergies, insect bites and hay fever

Indigestion treatment

If you have stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind, a simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief

Suncream

Sunburn can happen at any time of year, so keep some suncream of at least factor 15, with UVA protection. Exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk of cancer

Dr Andy Hall added,
“Many people are affected by minor illnesses and ailments at this time of year with coughs, colds and sickness and having a well-stocked medicine cabinet means you can treat these symptoms yourself at home and prevent the need for a doctor’s appointment.  Your local pharmacist can also help with advice and over the counter medicine for many minor ailments and you don’t need an appointment to see your pharmacist.”

If you do need medical help and advice on where to go to access the right healthcare (and it’s not an emergency), then call NHS 111 anytime. It’s free and they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Listen to your doctor and only take antibiotics when you need to, advises Wiltshire CCG

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting the national ‘Keep antibiotics working campaign’ to highlight the risk associated with taking antibiotics when you don’t need them and are encouraging patients to listen to the medical advice from their doctor.

Taking antibiotics encourages bacteria that live inside you to become resistant, meaning the antibiotics may not work when you really need them to and can put your family at risk of a more severe or longer illness.

Professor Michael Moore, GP and researcher at Three Chequers Surgery in Salisbury said:
“Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. But they are also frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, colds and sore throats that can get better by themselves or by using over the counter medication that you can get from your pharmacy.”

Research has shown that GPs are experiencing enormous pressure from patients to prescribe them a course of antibiotics to show they are taking their health condition seriously.  In Wiltshire 294,365 antibiotics tablets, capsules and bottles were prescribed during 2016 costing the NHS £1,314,230.

Professor Moore added:
Without urgent action, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become far riskier.  Conditions like kidney infections and pneumonia have already started to become untreatable.”

It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.

Rachel Hobson, Formulary Pharmacist for Wiltshire CCG said:
“We are working closely with our GPs to help reduce inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics so that patients who need antibiotics are getting the right dose, at the right time, for the right condition.  We are asking for you to play your part by trusting your doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice as to when you need to take antibiotics.”

If you are prescribed antibiotics, you should take them as instructed, finish the course, never save them for later use or share them with others. For more information on keeping antibiotics working, visit the campaign page on our website: www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk

Don’t put off getting your flu jab – it’s free because you need it

Health leaders across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) are urging people not to delay getting their flu jab if they are eligible for a free vaccination this winter.

People who are eligible include those who are aged over 65 years, pregnant women, anyone who is the main carer for another person or who is in receipt of Carers’ Allowance, and those with a long-term condition such as diabetes or asthma.

Children between the ages of two and eight years old are also eligible for the free nasal vaccination, which is quick, harmless and the best way to protect against catching flu this winter.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a Wiltshire GP and the Clinical Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“If you or someone close to you falls into one of the ‘at risk’ categories, the flu vaccination is free because you, or they, really do need it.

“Flu is an unpredictable virus that can cause mild our unpleasant illness in most people, but it can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups. We strongly encourage you to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination so you are protected against flu this winter.’ 

This year, there is a particular emphasis in the BSW Sustainability and Transformation Partnership on carers taking up the offer of a free flu vaccination. A carer is someone of any age who looks after an elderly person or someone with a disability.

Rosie, a carer and former trustee of the Bath and North East Somerset carer Carers’ Centre. said:

“Caring is an incredibly serious role and carers provide an invaluable service to the community,’

“They care for family members and friends who may be elderly, disabled or have a serious long-term condition and it is vital that they look after their own health as well as the health of the person they care for,’

“One winter I fell really ill, which made me very anxious that I might not be able to fulfil my caring role. So I urge anyone in a caring capacity to protect yourself this winter and have the free flu vaccination without delay.’

Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications if you have a long-term health condition like bronchitis or liver disease. It can also cause serious complications for both mother and baby if pregnant women catch it. The flu jab is the safest way to protect yourself from illness this winter – however healthy you might otherwise feel.

If you are eligible or want to check whether you or someone close to you is, contact your GP, midwife or usual healthcare provider. Some pharmacies are also able to provide the flu vaccination to certain eligible groups. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell/ for more information.

Castle Practice staff have their flu jab to protect themselves and others this winter

Staff at Castle Practice surgery in Ludgershall are preparing for winter by having the flu jab and helping to protect themselves and their patients against from catching the winter illness.

Dr Toby Davies, GP at Castle Practice said:
“We have a duty to safeguard our patients, and the best way we can do that during winter is to have the flu vaccination. That way we are protecting ourselves from catching flu and at the same time helping to protect our patients, friends and families.”

Flu, short for influenza, is a common infectious viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. Many people who catch it will begin to feel better within a week, but for some it can be more serious.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) added:
“Flu is not just a bad cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people.

The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus, especially for those most at risk, including pregnant women, young children and those with long term conditions, such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes. We urge those in high risk groups to have their flu vaccination now, it’s free and you can arrange to have it at your GP Surgery or see if your pharmacist is providing the flu vaccination service.”

Those in the high risk group are eligible for a free flu vaccination and include:

  • Children aged two and three
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Anyone with a long term condition
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes and carers

The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so if you had a jab last winter you will need another one this year to stay flu safe.

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

If everyone has the flu vaccination, we collectively help to protect each other from the virus and reduce the spread between our families, friends and colleagues.”

Medvivo to provide integrated urgent care services across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire

Medvivo has been awarded a five year contract to provide integrated urgent care services across Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon and Wiltshire, from 1 May 2018. The healthcare provider, which is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission will be the lead provider, working in collaboration with Vocare and BaNES Enhanced Medical Services (BEMS+).

Jo Cullen, Director of Primary and Urgent Care at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“In line with the NHS GP Forward View requirements, we have been working hard to develop and deliver a functionally integrated 24/7 urgent care service.

It’s more than just bolting together the existing NHS111 and out-of-hours services and calling it by a new name, it’s the introduction of an innovative new service that dovetails with existing primary care services. It will provide patients with a clear, clinically-led and local urgent care service that ensures they receive the right care, at the right place at the right time.”

Medvivo will be responsible for running the NHS111 service across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire and will develop the service model to include a new locally managed ‘clinical hub.’

Dr Jamie Brosch, Medical Director for Medvivo, explains:

“The new clinical hub is a fantastic new element of the service. Callers to the 111 service will be listened to and advised about what action they should take next. Following their initial conversation with the 111 call handler, it may be necessary for them to receive further medical advice. In this situation, the caller will be able to talk to the clinical hub – a team of experienced health professionals who can collectively make clinical assessments, give advice and arrange urgent care if required. This will mean that no decision is made in isolation.

It’s local too as it is Wiltshire based, so the team know the area and local healthcare services that are available and with the support of a comprehensive directory of services, are able to confidently pass that information on to callers.

Medvivo’s responsibility for providing the GP out-of-hours service will extend to BaNES. Wiltshire and telecare monitoring and urgent care and response at home for Wiltshire Council will continue to be provided by Medvivo.

We’re really proud that Medvivo has been awarded the contract and we are committed to delivering an innovative new urgent care service for people in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire.” 

Local patients and residents will receive information about the new integrated urgent care service and how to access it ahead of the launch on 1 May 2018.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“We are delighted that Medvivo has been awarded this contract and very much look forward to working with them in developing a high quality and responsive integrated urgent care service for people in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire.”
Peter Lucas, Lay Member of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added:
“This is an immense project which, importantly, has the opportunity to really transform the provision of urgent care across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire. I’m really looking forward to seeing this happen.”

The NHS111 service is currently provided by Care UK in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire. The GP out-of-hours service in Wiltshire is currently provided by Medvivo and by Vocare in BaNES. Great Western Hospitals Foundation Trust will continue to provide the GP out-of-hours service in Swindon, as that particular service was not included as part of the procurement.

Joining up a number of urgent care services across the region will help to ensure everyone has access to the same high quality, personalised and responsive service.

Improving access to psychological therapies for those with long-term health conditions

Residents of Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) are benefiting from a ground-breaking programme that offers psychological therapies to people with common mental health problems as well as long-term physical conditions.  

Specialist mental health practitioners have based themselves in GP surgeries and community hubs in both counties, and will work closely with the three acute hospitals; Swindon’s Great Western Hospital, Bath’s Royal United Hospital and the Salisbury Foundation Trust.

This will ensure a more direct referral route is in place for patients with existing long-term physical conditions who are already receiving treatment from those hospitals.

Ted Wilson, Director of Community and Joint Commissioning at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“This new way of delivering services is very accessible and makes it much easier for GP’s, nurses and other health professionals to refer or signpost to interventions that really make a difference to people’s lives and can reduce the need for onward healthcare.

Joining up the services and making them more integrated will allow patients to manage their conditions more confidently, which in turn will reduce their emotional strain, which poses a real risk of harm to their physical and mental wellbeing.”

The programme is being provided by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in Wiltshire and B&NES. IAPT is part of a national NHS England programme to support its ‘Five Year Forward View’ – a vision of better health, better patient care and improved NHS efficiency.  

The new service in B&NES and Wiltshire will enable evidence-based psychological interventions to be offered under a ‘stepped-care’ approach. Individuals will be able to self-refer to the programme and will be offered the intensity of intervention that is most appropriate for their condition. The programme will link with primary care professionals, community teams and local hospitals. 

Dr Claire Williamson, Head of Psychological Therapies for AWP said:

“The new programme of local IAPT services has started.  Initially, services will offer support to people with diabetes as well as common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. This will be expanded to include those with other long-term health conditions. It’s a great opportunity to take a holistic approach to both physical and psychological wellbeing.” 

Dr Daisy Curling, clinical lead for mental health on the Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group Board said:
“We know that when mental and physical problems are treated alongside each other, people can often achieve better outcomes. This new programme offers a real chance to make those outcomes a reality.”

Firm commitment made to support carers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good feedback for cancer services in Wiltshire

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

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

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

Key highlights include:

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

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

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

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

All the support you need to quit

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

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

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

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

New Chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group

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

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

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

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

He continued:
“Providing fair access to high quality, locally delivered health services, with people encouraged to take a personal responsibility for their health, is key. Health services in Wiltshire need to adapt to current and future demand and population trends. I’m convinced that by continuing to work closely with our partners across health and social care services, as well as voluntary organisations, we will be able to provide strong, sustainable health and care services now and for future generations”.
Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added:
“Peter has made significant contributions to the way we’ve been able to re-shape primary care services in Wiltshire and on behalf of the CCG Board I want to thank him for his outstanding commitment to health care services in our area, and the changes he has overseen. I know that Richard will bring a renewed energy to leading the CCG, and building on the important work already happening within the CCG, will drive it forward with our partners. We all look forward to welcoming him as Chairman at the beginning of October”.

£2.7 million wasted on missed appointments in Wiltshire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How healthy is your heart?

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

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

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

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