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

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

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.”


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.

Families encouraged to #wearitwell over the summer holidays

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging families in Wiltshire to #wearitwell and share photos of their summer holiday fun in the sun as a way of reminding others about the importance of sun protection.

The campaign aims to get people in Wiltshire to share the important health guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Cover Up Mate campaign amongst their friends and families by putting the guidance into practice and uploading their photographic evidence to Twitter using the hashtags #wearitwell and #coverupmate.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, GP at Market Lavington Surgery and Chair of Wiltshire CCG, explains:
“Each year we remind people about the importance of covering up in sun, but this year we thought we’d get the people of Wiltshire involved in helping to spread the health advice too!
“Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer, so it’s important that we make sure we take the necessary steps to be able to enjoy the sun safely and to prevent ourselves from sunburn. “Many people are unaware that you can still burn if it’s cloudy or overcast and while sunburn is usually short-lived and mild, it’s important to take precautions to avoid it because it can increase your chances of developing skin cancer later in life.”

How to protect yourself from sunburn

  • Cover up when you are out in the sun – wear loose clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible and protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
  • Use a sun cream with an SPF of 30 or higher and at least 4-star UVA protection and reapply every two hours and after swimming.
  • Seek shade and limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 11am and 3pm when UV rays are at their strongest.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps – both cause serious long-term damage and contribute to skin cancer.

What to do if you have sunburn

  • Treat minor sunburn at home by cooling the skin down by having a cool bath or shower. Then apply soothing aftersun or calamine lotion
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help cool you down and prevent you from getting dehydrated. Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol will help relieve any pain.
  • Visit your pharmacist for advice on treatment to reduce your symptoms and reduce any inflammation.

If you start to feel unwell or have any concerns about your sunburn, particularly if you are burnt over a large area, have blistering or swelling of the skin, chills, dizziness, sickness or a high temperature of 38c or above, call NHS 111 – they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you notice any changes to your skin after being out in the sun, including a new mole, growth or lump or you have any moles or freckles that have changed in size, shape or colour, you should go and get them seen by your GP. Skin cancer is much easier to treat if it’s found early.

In the UK 86% of cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely.

Find out more:

Red bags to help care home residents leave hospital sooner

A new innovative ‘red bag’ scheme launches on 1 August 2019 by Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which is designed to help care home residents in Salisbury who are admitted to hospital, to receive improved care and reduce their length of stay in hospital.

Gill May, Executive Director of Nursing and Quality for Banes, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups said:
“The red bag is a simple initiative that enables a smooth handover from the care home to the ambulance and then to the hospital staff because all of the patient’s information and personal belongings are together in the red bag.

“It helps those who provide care at all stages of the patient’s journey to have immediate access to the information they need, and it will help patients to get home more quickly because the risk of misplacing their belongings is reduced.”

Lisa Wood, Paramedic from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Because the patient has all of their medical information easily accessible there in the bag, it will help our paramedics to triage the patients and make the right decisions for them more quickly before handing them over to the care of the hospital staff.”

Included in the red bag is a ‘this is me’ document, which provides information about the patient’s needs, interests, likes and dislikes, which helps those caring for them to do so on a more personal level.

While in hospital a patient will see different clinicians in different parts of the hospital. Their red bag stays with them throughout this journey meaning that those caring for them have immediate access to their up to date medical information and medication and the patient keeps their personal items with them.

The red bag stays with the patient until they are ready to go back to their care home and includes a copy of their discharge summary to help the care home staff to provide continuity of care for their resident.

Wiltshire CCG intends to provide red bags to care homes in the rest of the county by the end of this year.

Red bags were first introduced in Sutton CCG, London in November 2015 and so far the initiative has reduced hospital stays by 4.4 days per resident, saving £354,994 in 2017/18; stopped patients losing personal items such as dentures, glasses and hearing aids; and improved communication between care home and hospital staff saving time, resources and duplication.

Wiltshire CCG has taken elements from the Sutton CCG model and worked it into a project that is aimed at improving the experience, quality and safety of patient care, reducing pressure on A&E and supporting effective working relationships between care homes and health and social care organisations.

Three local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups take steps to become one organisation

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

As one CCG, health leaders can 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 by, for example, 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.

The move is in line with similar mergers across the NHS and follows national guidance for health and care services to work more closely together and move towards becoming Integrated Care Systems to give everyone the best start in life, world-class care for major health problems and help to age well.

Dr Ian Orpen, Chair of the BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Board, said:
“CCGs up and down the country have either already merged or are beginning plans to merge to help better meet the needs of their local populations. We believe that now is the right time for our three CCGs to come together to form a leaner, more strategic, single organisation to serve local people.

“The three CCGs have a history of working together to deliver high quality care, and in the past year, we have increased our partnership working. For example, we have a single Chief Executive and executive management structure, which has led to more consistent leadership and a clearer direction to staff.

“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.”

At their recent public meetings, the Governing Bodies of BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) approved plans to apply to NHS England to create one single organisation. Prior to submitting the application, the CCGs will engage with the public, staff, providers and other key stakeholders, and the GP membership of each CCG will then vote on a final decision to apply for a merger.

The three CCGs will then submit an application to NHS England and, if approved, the three groups will become a single CCG on 1 April 2020.

People living in Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon and Wiltshire who want to share their views can do so by visiting:

What would you change about local health and care services?

Younger people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being given an opportunity to help shape how health and care services are provided in the future.

Over the next seven weeks, NHS and Local Authority organisations will invite all local residents to say what they need to live healthier and happier lives as part of a new campaign being launched today called Our Health Our Future.

Organisations involved are particularly keen to hear the often overlooked views of younger people who will be using services in the future.
Answers will be used by health and care providers as they work to publish a forward looking plan this autumn which will set out how everyone will be able to access the services and support they need. The new plan will outline a local response to priorities laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan which was published in January.

People will be able to share their views by filling in a simple survey online at or by asking for a paper copy. They can also pass on their views at engagement events taking place across the local area over the next few weeks.

Tracey Cox, Chief Executive Officer for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups said:
“Health and care organisations and local authorities are developing a bold plan for the next five years that will ensure our services provide support through every stage of people’s lives – so they start well, live well and age well.

In order to plan for the future, we need to know what matters, so we’re asking everyone to take a few minutes to fill in our survey and make sure their views are heard.

Our Health Our Future is about capturing everybody’s views, but we especially want to hear what younger people expect in the future from our services.

We also want local residents to make an effort to share their views with family and friends so, together, we can build healthier communities.”

Bath-based GP and board member of Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Brynn Bird said:
“We know the way in which health and care is provided will change in the future, especially as our population ages and services come under greater pressure, and we’re developing a plan for how we will face these challenges.

“By filling in our survey, local people will be able to give us a good idea of the services and support they need to prevent ill health and stay fit.”

Alex Luke, Associate Director of Operations for BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, said:
“We know that young people across our area are concerned about lots of issues including access to mental health services. We need to know what help and support people will need in the future and they can let us know what they think in the Our Health Our Future survey.”

The Our Health Our Future survey is open until the end of July and takes around 10 minutes to complete. It can be filled in online at, by asking for a paper copy at local GP surgeries or by sharing your views at one of our engagement events taking place over the area over the coming weeks. Copies are also available by emailing or by calling 03333 219464. Survey answers are completely anonymous and will be treated confidentially.

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

Non-emergency patient transport is for patients who, due to their mobility needs or medical condition, are unable to travel safely by other means. Patients who wish to use the service are required to be assessed against national eligibility criteria.

Mark Harris, Chief Operating Officer, Wiltshire CCG said:
“We are delighted to partner with E-zec as our provider of non-emergency patient transport across BaNES, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire. We have been working closely together since their appointment in December 2018 to ensure eligible patients have a great experience when using the service.”
Andy Wickenden, Commercial Director, E-zec Medical Transport Services said:
“We are very much looking forward to providing patients across the region with a high quality non-emergency transport service. We would like to thank the commissioners and Arriva Transport Solutions for the support they have provided over the last few months while we worked together to ensure a smooth handover of the service.”
Mark Feather, National Head Operations, Arriva Transport Solutions said:
“Arriva Transport Solutions has provided high-quality and caring transport for thousands of patients across the south west and helped to bring a modernised and innovative approach to patient transport at a time of increased pressures across the healthcare service.

“We are proud of the progress we have made and hope the legacy of this work will continue to benefit both patients and healthcare commissioners.”

E-zec delivers services across the UK and currently provides non-emergency patient transport services across Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Further information about the service can be found at

Health officials encourage patients to join a free type two diabetes prevention course

People in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire most at risk of developing type two diabetes are being encouraged to accept an invitation to a free course that could help prevent the condition.

Designed to help people eat well and get active, the Healthier You programme supports individuals over a nine-month period to reverse the early symptoms of diabetes.

Around 59,000 adults in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are at risk of developing type two diabetes and are eligible for the Healthier You programme. Around 7,000 people from the area have taken up the invitation, but many are missing out on the opportunity to take part in the course.

Dr Ayoola Oyinloye, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, said:
“It is extremely worrying that so many people are choosing to ignore this offer of free help.

“Type two diabetes is largely preventable, and this programme gives people most at risk the power to take back control of their own health and make the changes that could add years to their life and life to their years.

“I’d encourage anybody with an invitation letter just sitting in a drawer or on a table not to ignore it, and to make today the day they take a step towards a healthier lifestyle by picking up the phone and make the call to participate.”

The call to action is being made to coincide with Diabetes Prevention Week, which runs between Monday 1 and Sunday 7 April.

Type two diabetes is a condition that causes the level of sugar in a person’s blood to become too high. If left untreated, it can lead to other significant health problems, some of which can cause a threat to life, such as heart and kidney disease. It can also lead to disabling conditions such as blindness and amputations.

Janet Tooze, 68, took part in the Healthier You: Diabetes Prevention Programme after speaking with her GP about her high blood sugar levels.

Janet said:
“It was a gradual education of what was right and what was wrong, and how to make the correct choices.

“But it was done in such a way that made you really want to do it, and now I’ve lost more than a stone and people keep telling me how great I’m looking.

“I keep telling others about it. I know lots of people who have got the letter and ignored it, but it really isn’t something that should be ignored.”

Each Healthier You: Diabetes Prevention Programme group can provide support for groups of up to 25 people, all of whom are over 18 and not yet diagnosed with diabetes.

People can check for themselves if they fall into the at-risk category by using the online Know Your Risk tool, which can be found at

Although patients cannot self-refer on to the programme, more information can be found by talking to a GP or visiting

New diabetes wellbeing website for people in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group in conjunction with local GPs has developed a new website – – specifically aimed at providing support and advice for 23,500 people currently living with Type 2 diabetes in Wiltshire.

Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning at NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“We’re delighted to be able to offer patients this fantastic new website, which provides lots of helpful information to better understand their diabetes diagnosis and practical advice on how to manage their condition.
“Whether someone is newly diagnosed, or is already living with Type 2 diabetes, the website provides a trusted one-stop-shop for the information they need.”
Dr Lindsay Kinlin, GP at the Orchard Partnership said:
“We know there can be a lot of information for patients to take in at appointments, so the new Diabetes Wellbeing website is a great resource for people to refer to afterwards in their own time.
“The website has great advice about small changes you can make to improve your lifestyle, and provides information on a free X-Pert course that patients can sign up to directly.”
The Wiltshire Diabetes Wellbeing website has been funded by the NHS National Diabetes Transformation Programme.

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 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.

New non-emergency patient transport service across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

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

Andy Wickenden, Commercial Director, E-zec Medical Transport Services said: “We are proud to have been selected as the preferred provider for non-emergency patient transport services across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. We are working closely together with the Clinical Commissioning Groups as we begin our preparations for a seamless handover and countdown to our service starting on 1 June 2019.”

Mark Harris, Chief Operating Officer, Wiltshire CCG said: “We are delighted to be working with E-zec to deliver a non-emergency patient transport service for patients across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. Ensuring patients have a great experience when using the service is our priority, and we have carefully designed the contract with E-zec to provide this.”

E-zec delivers services across the UK and currently provides non-emergency patient transport services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.


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 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.

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.