August 2018


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I can’t quite believe that we are at the end of August already! The summer seems to have flown by; we’re already referring back to ‘that spell of hot weather’ and this week we are submitting our early stage plans for winter preparedness to NHS England. I’ll resist the urge to let you know how many days there are until Christmas…

In the last issue of ‘in touch’ I mentioned that we were expecting an update from NHS England around the time of the NHS’ 70 birthday on 5 July. As expected, there will be a greater focus on the integration of health and social care and in particular for NHS Commissioning, an opportunity for you to have your say on what this will look like in the future. The public consultation runs until 26 October and there’s more information for you below if you want to be involved and have your say.

We’ve recently launched our OTC – easy as 1 2 3 campaign and you may have heard about this from your GP, or spotted the information in your local Pharmacy. In line with national guidance we’re really encouraging you to think ‘pharmacy first’ and where you can, to buy your over the counter medicines for minor, short-term conditions, such as coughs, dandruff and ear wax, from your local pharmacist or the high street.

Self-care by using over the counter medicines helps you to look after yourself and your family when you can. Seeking health advice from a pharmacist, who is an expert in medicine, means you don’t have to wait for a GP appointment and will be able to be treated more quickly. Read on to find out more or head straight to our website for all the details

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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Change to prescribing of Over the Counter medicines

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is following new guidance set out by NHS England in March 2018, meaning that for 35 minor, short-term conditions, medicines that are available over the counter will no longer routinely be prescribed.

The guidance has been published following a period of national public consultation and recommends that over the counter medicines associated with minor, short-term conditions which get better by themselves, or can be self-treated by the patient, should no longer be available on NHS prescription.

Medicines under the guidance include treatments for coughs, colds, dandruff, mild cystitis, nappy rash, warts and verrucae, ear wax, head lice and mild dry skin. A full list of conditions is available on our website.

This means that some patients who contact their GP Practice to make an appointment regarding any of the 35 conditions may be advised by the receptionist to seek advice from a pharmacist instead. There are certain scenarios where certain patients should continue to have their treatments prescribed.
To find out more visit



Free online patient education videos!

We have added an online library of free patient education videos for Wiltshire patients on our website, to provide support and expert information on managing six long term health conditions.

The Sound Doctor library contains around 300 short, concise videos covering:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Dementia
  • Back Pain
  • Weight Management Surgery

The video contents were co-produced with clinical experts in their field and disease specific charities, e.g. Alzheimer’s Society, British Lung Foundation, & British Heart Foundation. All of the material adheres to National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Sound Doctor videos provide patients access to expert advice from the comfort of their own homes, or on the move via Smartphones or tablets.

Access to the Sound Doctor is via the Wiltshire CCG website. Users are asked to confirm their GP surgery and provide their Wiltshire postcode in order to get instant, free access to the online video library.


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Be Involved!

Have your say on contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers

NHS England is consulting with stakeholders and the public on the contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers (ICPs) and runs until 26 October 2018.

Visit the NHS England website to find out more and have your say.

The consultation provides more detail about how the proposed ICP Contract would underpin integration between services, how it differs from existing NHS contracts, and how ICPs fit into the broader commissioning system.

There is widespread support for ending the fragmented way that care has been provided to improve services for patients and the NHS has been working towards this in a number of ways. ICPs are one of these ways, and are intended to allow health and care organisations to be funded to provide services for a local population in a coordinated way.

NHS England is also running engagement events during the consultation period to provide further opportunities for stakeholders and the public to share their views.

If you have any questions or other enquiries about the consultation, you can email NHSE England at



Help shape and improve the future delivery of the child immunisation service in Wiltshire

Parents and carers are invited to express their views and opinions about children’s immunisations at one of three focus groups taking place across Wiltshire.

It is important children receive the best start in life. Parents are being encouraged to protect their families by ensuring their children receive the right vaccines at the right time.

This is an important opportunity to share your opinions, experiences such as the challenges you may have faced, and ideas and suggestions you may have to help shape and improve the future delivery of the child immunisation service.

Focus groups will take place:

  • 26 September 2018 in Calne 10am-1pm
  • 27 September 2018 in Salisbury 10am-1pm
  • 4 October 2018 in Trowbridge 10am-1pm

Please note that places are limited and booking closes on 23 September 2018.
Find out more by reading this flyer.

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We’re supporting Public Health England’s Be Clear on Cancer campaign. For more information and downloadable resources visit


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June 2018


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Next week marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS. What a milestone!

Over the last couple of months we have been counting down to the big day on social media, taking the opportunity to highlight the fantastic achievements of the service and its people over the last 70 years. A lot has changed during that time and we know that developments will continue.

Infact, we have been advised that the Government will publish a Green Paper around the same time as the NHS’ birthday and we are expecting further guidance on what this means from NHS England. It’s not known what the detail of the Green Paper will be, but it is widely expected to include a longer term funding agreement, the integration of health and social care and clarity on the future direction for NHS Commissioning. We’ll share more news as we receive it.

Since the last issue of ‘in touch’ the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published the results of their detailed review of Wiltshire’s health and social care system, confirming that people receiving services in the county are safe. Wiltshire CCG coordinated the review with Wiltshire Council which included key partners in the local adult health and social care sectors providing information and evidence of what it’s like to receive care in Wiltshire.

We are pleased that the review considers our services to be safe and we will continue to work closely with Wiltshire Council and with all of our health and care partners to ensure people in Wiltshire experience high quality services. For more information, our press release and to read the CQC report, visit our website.

I hope you are finding time to enjoy this lovely weather!

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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In the news!

Dad Pad app launched to support new dads

An app to support new dads and dads-to-be in Wiltshire, BaNES and Swindon has been launched containing practical information and advice on topics ranging from changing nappies, feeding and how babies like to be held. The Dad Pad aims to support new dads and help them to feel more confident about fatherhood.

Lucy Baker, Programme Director for Maternity – the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Maternity Transformation Partnership explains: “We’ve had loads of conversations with dads, who have told us that they want information on how to care for their new babies, so that they can be more involved right from the start. The Dad Pad has practical advice which dads can access quickly and easily to help support them in caring for their new born.”

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Public Protection comments, ”As a dad and granddad myself, I know from personal experience that this app will really help new dads. It’s user-friendly and full of hints and tips to help new dads truly enjoy the experience of fatherhood and to offer them reassurance and support – particularly in those early weeks and months.”

The Dad Pad was previously launched in Wiltshire as an online and printed leaflet. It is now available in an updated version as a free to download app. Visit the Dad Pad website to download the app: 



Northlands Surgery nominated for Surgery of the Year Award!

As part of the national General Practice Awards 2018, Northlands Surgery in Calne has been nominated for The People’s Choice Award: Surgery of the Year.

The award offers the general public the chance to give their thanks and show appreciation for their local healthcare team. Northlands Surgery is one of 81 Practices nationwide that have been nominated and public voting is now in full swing until 10 August 2018.

Alison Ingham, Practice Manager at Northlands Surgery comments, “It is an absolute thrill that Northlands has been nominated for this prestigious award. Everyone in the Practice Team works tirelessly to provide outstanding care for our patients and I think it is wonderful for our staff to have been recognised in this way.”

Voting is now open and people have until 10 August 2018 to show their support for Northlands Surgery in one of two ways:

The final three shortlisted surgeries will be announced on 3 September and will be invited to attend this year’s Awards Event, which takes place on 30 November in London.

The General Practice Awards are an annual celebration of the hard work, innovation, and dedication taking place in primary care across the UK, showcasing the very best projects, teams, and leaders and sharing in achievements.

To find out more, visit 



Improving services for the victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse

NHS England has published the Strategic direction for sexual assault and abuse services, which sets out what is needed to improve services and consequently patient experience for those who have experienced sexual assault and abuse.

Developed with a range of partner organisations, as well as the victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse, the Strategic direction takes into account a lifelong pathway of care for survivors. It also outlines how services need to evolve and work together to ensure that as much as possible can be done to safeguard individuals and support them at times of crisis and at the point of disclosure. 



News archive

Read more news from Wiltshire CCG in our news archive.

Be Involved!

The Wiltshire Vision

Local system leaders in health and social care invite anyone living in Wiltshire to take part in the development of our vision for the way we provide health and care services in the county. Your views will help us to build and develop our health and wellbeing strategy, which sets the direction for services supporting people to live as well as possible.

We’d like you to help us to understand what Wiltshire people consider to be the most important factors in their health and care. The feedback you give us will also help us work out how to prioritise the money we have to help people manage their own health and wellbeing, and what support people need to live independently in their own communities for as long as possible.

Everyone – no matter what age – is welcome to contribute. This is your county, so please share your thoughts with us.

Visit our website for more information and to access a printable version of the survey.



Gluten-free foods on prescription

In February 2018 the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced its decision to nationally restrict the prescribing of gluten-free foods. This is in response to the public consultation in 2017 on the ‘Availability of gluten-free foods on NHS prescription’.

Wiltshire CCG’s current policy permits the prescribing of gluten-free staple foods for patients with a diagnosis of coeliac disease and/or dermatitis herpetiformis, with the following guidance:

  • Gluten-free prescribing should focus on enabling people with coeliac disease to access gluten-free staple foods, (bread, bread mix, flour, flour mix and pasta) free of charge on NHS prescription, as part of a healthy balanced diet.
  • Sweet biscuits and cakes should not be prescribed based on the grounds of supporting healthy lifestyles and the fact that gluten-free products are available at competitive prices in supermarkets.
  • Any gluten-free foods prescribed for patients without a confirmed diagnosis should not be prescribed.

Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, gluten-free foods on prescription cost NHS Wiltshire £241,487.

Wiltshire CCG is asking the public, patients and clinicians to have their say by completing a survey on two proposed options that will change the prescribing approach to gluten-free foods in Wiltshire, in line with National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Visit our website to find out more and to complete the survey.


Stay well this Summer

To help you, your friends and family stay well this summer, we’ve teamed up with Wiltshire Council to produce this handy booklet. With lots of tips on how to enjoy the sun safely, advice on what to keep in your medicine cabinet and information on healthy living it’s this summer’s latest must-read!

For more information and top tips for a safe summer, visit

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May 2018


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Welcome to May’s edition of ‘in touch’.

We live in a world where people with mental illness often feel alone, afraid and confused, and many find it difficult to find the treatment and support services that can help them make a positive change in their life. Our aim is to change that, and with funding available we want to hear from organisations, which can help make that happen so that people can feel supported, empowered and educated. With your help, we can make a difference in mental health.

Dying is never an easy subject to talk about, and it can be even harder in the work place. We have launched the Wiltshire Dying Well Community Charter this month, which provides employers with resources to help them manage this sensitive subject in the workplace. We are encouraging local businesses to sign up to the charter and show their commitment to staff to help and support them through their difficult times.

Having a consultation with your doctor doesn’t always have to be face to face and NHS England wants to hear your views about the prospect of online consultations. This offers you an alternative way to speak to your GP using the internet.  The survey will take around 10 minutes to complete, so please take part and share your thoughts.

With the sun finally here, we will all enjoy spending more time outdoors in this nice weather.  In this issue there are also a few reminders for staying safe thorough the summer months.


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In the news!

Funding available for delivering a ‘step change’ in positive mental health and wellbeing within Wiltshire

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is inviting bids from all stakeholders, of up to £50,000, for delivering a ‘step change’ in positive mental health and wellbeing within Wiltshire.

Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning for NHS Wiltshire CCG said:

“We are pleased to be able to offer these non-recurrent funds to support initiatives that aim to enable people to be more positive and confident about their mental health.  We hope that the success of these initiatives will be a catalyst for future collaboration and support.”

We are looking to fund community based initiatives that support national and local priorities of increased focus on prevention and keeping well, and applications will need to demonstrate how funds will be used to deliver their project.

For more information on submitting an application, visit our website.  The closing date for submission is 5pm on Friday 15 June 2018.

Wiltshire Dying Well Community Charter

Are you an organisation that would like to make a difference on how you support your staff who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, or who cares for someone that is approaching the end of their life?

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is committed to supporting people when they or their loved ones have a life-limiting illness or are recently bereaved. The Wiltshire Dying Well Community Charter aims to encourage a community wide approach to support people who are affected by dying, and identifies simple steps employers can take to demonstrate their commitment to supporting their staff.

The Charter will help ensure you have the best possible resources for your workforce to help you manage this sensitive subject in the workplace, and signing up to the charter is easy and doesn’t cost anything.

You can sign up to the Wiltshire Dying Well Community Charter by visiting our website: or emailing:

Businesses are simply asked to commit to demonstrating their support for the Charter by signposting employees, volunteers or students to additional support resources and embedding supportive practices within their organisations for people who are affected.

Dr Helen Obsorn, GP at Courtyard Surgery said, “The Charter has been developed to help bring greater understanding of the problems faced by working people who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, or care for people who are approaching the end of their lives.”

Not sure what to do when a child is poorly? Download the free HANDi app!

The HANDi app is a fantastic free app that gives you expert health advice at your fingertips when you need it the most. Covering the six most common childhood conditions HANDi app provides information and guidance on managing:

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • High temperatures
  • Chestiness
  • New born problems
  • Stomach pain 

The HANDi app was developed and approved by paediatric consultants at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, in partnership with Bath and North East Somerset and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The app is available to download for free from iTunes App Store or Google Play.

For more information about the HANDi app, visit

Celebrating 70 years of the NHS

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service as it celebrates its birthday on 5 July 2018.

The NHS is one of the nation’s most loved institutions, and we are appealing to patients, staff and members of the public to help us celebrate the special anniversary by sharing their stories, photos and memories of healthcare in Wiltshire over the least 70 years.


Do get in touch if:
  • You share the same birthday as the NHS – were you one of the first babies to be born on 5 July 1948 in the NHS?
  • You have recollections of working for the local NHS in Wiltshire (past and present) during the last 70 years
  • You have received treatment or care from the NHS in Wiltshire and would like to share your story
  • You can share any memories of our hospitals in Wiltshire, particularly if you have any old photographs of our hospitals (past and present) or the staff who worked in them
  • We are especially interested in any memories and photographs from 1948, the year the NHS was founded and to hear from those who were born in 1948

People can share their memories and photos by emailing the Communications Team at or by post to Communications, Wiltshire CCG, Southgate House, Pans Lane, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 5EQ. If you are sending any original photographs and would like them returned, please include your name and contact address.

Wiltshire Council’s Big Pledge is back – sign up today!

This year’s Big Pledge is now underway and the council wants you to take part.

This year’s theme is: Beat the Clock and is for any age or ability.  It’s free to sign up to and easy to take part in – it’s just a timed challenge for any sport or activity. 

The challenges are:

  • Beat the clock challenge – if you want to get active or are new to activity or have a disability then this is for you
  • Beat the clock plus challenge – already active and looking to push yourself. Then this is for you!
  • Beat the clock team challenge – do with colleagues, friends and family
  • Beat the clock schools challenge – this challenge is for schools

It’s a great challenge to take part in with friends, family and colleagues – so round them up and get involved.  The challenge finishes on 8 July.

Sign up and beat the clock on the Big Pledge website –

Have Your Say

Online consultations – an alternative way to have a consultation from your GP

NHS England would like to hear your views about online consultations – this is a service offering patients an alternative way to have a consultation with a GP online via the internet, rather than waiting for the next available appointment to attend in person.

Online consultations are a way for patients to contact their GP practice without having to wait on the phone or go into the practice. Using a smartphone, tablet or computer, you can contact your surgery about a health issue and the practice will ensure you here from the right person in the team – this might mean you have a phone call with the GP or nurse, or you might need an appointment at the surgery to see the GP in person.

Benefits of using online consultations include:

  • Patients are able to get a quicker response, rather than wait for an appointment in person
  • It is more convenient as patients do not have to travel to their GP practice or wait for the next available appointment
  • GPs are able to provide more appointments for patients, offering the same level of consultation, diagnosis and necessary actions as the patient would get in a face to face appointment.

Some places are already using online consultations, and it doesn’t matter if you have not used this system – your views are still of interest to the NHS.  The survey can be accessed here and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Closing date is 15 June 2018.

For more information on the survey, please visit:

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Focus on Mental Health

Mental health and wellbeing

Are you feeling stressed, anxious or depressed?  If so, you are not alone because one in every four of us living in Wiltshire will experience a mental health problem during our lifetime.

Most people experience ups and downs in their life, and you can feel unhappy, depressed, stressed or anxious during difficult times.  Many difficult events and experiences can also leave us in low spirits or cause depression; this is a normal part of life. Having said this, sometimes it is possible to just feel down without there being an obvious reason.

Recognising that you may have a mental health problem and taking the first steps to get help can be difficult. 

Mental health should be treated the same as physical health and in Wiltshire there’s a wide range of national and local services and support available to people.  We’ve listed some of these here:

Psychological support

Relate | The Relationship People
Provide counselling, support and information for all relationships.

Cruse Bereavement Care
Provide bereavement support and counselling.

Turning Point: Wiltshire Substance Misuse Service
Help and support you to think about your drug and alcohol use and make changes.

Revival Wiltshire RASAC
Provides support, advice and information for adults who have experiences sexual abuse as a child.

General counselling services

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists
They can signpost you to the right person to help you. 

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
They can help you find the right counsellor or psychotherapist for the therapy you need.

Work and financial issues

Richmond Fellowship
Provides employment advice and guidance for people seeking work, training or voluntary roles and they also offer support to help people with a mental health problem experiencing difficulties at work.

National Debt Line | Free online Debt Advice
Gives advice and information to help you deal with your debt.

Wiltshire Citizens Advice Bureau
Gives advice and information on money, debt, housing, employment, benefits and education.

Money Advice Service
Gives free and impartial money advice.

Leisure, activities and social support programmes

Leisure centres
There are lots of leisure centres in Wiltshire that offer a wide range of facilities from swimming to running clubs.

Health Trainers | Wiltshire Council
A dedicated health trainer can assist you every step of the way to achieving and maintaining your goals.

Wiltshire based charity that offers a variety of support for women and young people experiencing the trauma of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

There are great benefits to volunteering for individuals – this is a good starting point to search for volunteering opportunities near you.

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Stay well this Summer

Most of us enjoy spending time in the sun and the opportunities that nice weather brings for activities, outdoor living, fresh air and fun. But on laid back, sunny days it’s easy to switch off to messages about health risks, so here are a few reminders on what to do when you are enjoying time outdoors.

Stay safe in the sun

It’s all too easy to overdo exposure to sun rays, and it’s easy to underestimate how much time we spend in the sun and not realise we are getting burnt. By taking a few steps to safeguard your skin you can stay safe in the sun while you enjoy the sunshine!

  • Seek shade and stay out of the hot sun, particularly between 11am and 3pm
  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and cover up – wear loose clothing and a wide-brimmed hat and protect your eyes with sunglasses
  • Have plenty of cold drinks to keep hydrated, but avoid caffeine and alcohol


If you do have minor sunburn, you can treat this at home by:

  • Cooling the skin down by having a cold bath or shower
  • Applying soothing after sun or calamine lotion to moisture your skin
  • Drinking plenty of fluids, will prevent you from getting dehydrated
  • Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol will help relieve any pain

You could also visit your local pharmacy for advice on treatment to help ease your sunburn symptoms and reduce any inflammation.

Don’t let allergies take the spring out of your step

Spring and summer are the time of year when allergies such as asthma and hay fever can get much worse, with symptoms including sneezing, coughing and shortness of breath. 

But there is no need to get bogged down by runny noses, itchy eyes and tickly throats.

If you are an allergy sufferer, you can prepare for the warmer weather by getting the medicines you need from your local pharmacist – who can also offer you expert advice to manage your health during the summer months.

For more information on summer health, visit our summer health campaign page on our website.

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April 2018


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Welcome to April’s edition of ‘in touch’.

Our NHS will soon be celebrating its 70th birthday. All those years ago who would ever have imagined what healthcare would look like now.  The illnesses that we can treat and many of the operations and procedures that needed weeks of recovery have become routine, done in a day and carried out at a local hospital or even a GP surgery!

In this issue the very nature of how and where care is provided, whether that’s in our hospitals, community clinics or GP surgeries continues to evolve. We want to mark this occasion by sharing your memories and reminiscences of the NHS, if you have a story or photo to share, please get in touch –

Earlier this month it was confirmed that the GP led health centre for Devizes can move to its next phase, which is great news. There still remains a considerable amount of detailed planning work to be undertaken and we will keep you updated about the development in future issues of ‘ in touch’.

We are discussing end of life care in this issue. Talking about death is still a taboo subject that so many people choose to ignore. However, talking about death as well as planning for it may not be easy, but it can help us to make the most of life and spare our loved ones from making difficult decisions on our behalf.  

With the arrival of Spring and long awaited sunshine I hope you are enjoying getting out and about in the Wiltshire countryside. We’ve included some information about how to recognise ‘ticks’ and precautions to take to prevent you from being bitten because they are prevalent at this time of year. We hope you find it useful.


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In the news!

Major step forward to development of Devizes Health Centre

Earlier this month, after a commitment of £7million to funding by NHS Property Services , it was confirmed that the GP led health centre for Devizes can move to its next phase.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is leading the project which aims to deliver significant benefit to patients care by creating a modern and sustainable facility for the people of Devizes and the surrounding areas. The commitment to funding from NHS Property Services to fund the construction costs comes as outline planning permission for the development from Wiltshire Council is expected later this month.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman of Wiltshire CCG and lead GP for the project said:

“It’s really exciting to see that the Devizes Health Centre project is taking a significant step forward, and I’m delighted on behalf of the five Devizes GP practices and the CCG. The commitment from NHS Property Services means it’s all systems “go” to work towards the implementation of this important, long awaited scheme that will provide modern, fit for purpose premises for the delivery of healthcare for the people of the Devizes community area. There’s still a lot of work to do, and we look forward to the outcome of the Outline Planning Application, but we’re extremely confident now that we’re well on the way to achieving what we set out to do on behalf of our patients”.

The next step in the project will involve us concluding the outline business case, including a commitment to fund the future costs of running the health centre. If the outline business case is approved, work on developing the detailed design of the scheme can be begin to inform the full business case, which would then need to be approved by us and NHS England.

The health centre development is part of a wider scheme that involves the release of land at Marshall Road for housing, and, in due course, the outdated community hospital in the town.

We will keep you updated on the development of the health centre in future issues of the newsletter.

Help us celebrate 70 years of the NHS

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service as it celebrates its birthday on 5 July 2018.

It’s an organisation woven into the very fabric of our way of life with each and every one of us using its services in some shape or form at some time.

To get here from 1948, the NHS has been constantly evolving and adapting to meet changing needs and expectations. All those years ago who would ever have imagined that we would be able to map the human brain, carry out heart transplants and immunise against so many diseases.

We want to mark the occasion by sharing local people’s memories and reminiscences of the NHS – either because they have worked for the service, or have received NHS treatment over the last 70 years. In particular, we are keen to hear from anyone who was born on 5th July 1948 and shares the same birthday as the NHS.

People can share their memories and photos by emailing the Communications Team at or by post to Communications, Wiltshire CCG, Southgate House, Pans Lane, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 5EQ. If you are sending any original photographs and would like them returned, please include your name and contact address.

Founded on the principle of free, high quality health care for all the NHS has evolved to meet our changing needs through new treatments, pioneering surgeries and technical innovations – helping us to live longer and better lives. None of this would be possible without the skill, dedication and compassion of NHS staff, as well as the many volunteers, charities and communities that support us and work tirelessly to provide care and support for everyone.

Do get in touch if you:
You share the same birthday as the NHS – were you one of the first babies to be born on 5 July 1948 in the NHS? You have recollections of working for the local NHS in Wiltshire (past and present) during the last 70 years You have received treatment or care from the NHS in Wiltshire and would like to share your story You can share any memories of our hospitals in Wiltshire, particularly if you have any old photographs of our hospitals (past and present) or the staff who worked in them We are especially interested in any memories and photographs from 1948, the year the NHS was founded and to hear from those who were born in 1948

Annual General Meeting

We are holding our annual general meeting in the conference room at Southgate House, Pans Lane, Devizes on Tuesday 26 June starting at 9.30am.

This event provides you with the opportunity to learn about what the clinical commissioning group has achieved in the past year and allows you to ask questions and find out more about our plans for the future – You can also pick up a copy of our annual report and accounts on the day.

Doors will be open from 9am for registration, and the AGM will take place between 9.30 – 10.30am.

If you would like to attend the AGM, please email by Friday 15 June 2018.

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Focus on End of Life Care

End of life care

Being told that you or someone you love and care for has a life limiting illness is tough news to receive. The care an individual needs at this time will be focused upon supporting them to have the best possible quality of life, independence and control over their life and care.

We believe that care at the end of a person’s life is vitally important and know that there is only one chance to get it right. Our end of life strategy sets out our local vision, which is for all patients at the end of life, together with those closest to them, are able to express their needs and wishes, and that as far as clinically appropriate, these needs and wishes are met.

What is end of life care?

Palliative and end of life care is about treatment and care focusing on the need of the whole person as well as their family, carers and friends. It is not just about managing pain and other symptoms but includes support to deal with emotional needs, social and spiritual needs, care in bereavement and help dealing with the financial effects of facing and of life situation.

End of life care includes palliative care, but can start earlier. If you have a terminal illness, or are approaching the end of your life, it may be a good idea to make plans in advance for the future of your care. Planning ahead in this way is sometimes called advance care planning. It involves thinking and talking about your wishes for how you are cared for in the final months of your life.

People usually carry out advance care planning because they have condition that is expected to get worse, which may mean they will not be able to make decisions, or communicated their decisions in the future. However, anyone can plan for their future care, whether they are approaching the end of their life or not. Advance care planning can help you let people know your wishes and feelings while you still can. Your wishes and preferences can then be shared with your family, carers, GP and others as appropriate.

Palliative care helps to make you as comfortable as possible by relieving pain and other distressing symptoms while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family or carers. This is called holistic approach to care, as it deals with the ‘whole’ person rather than just one aspect of their care.

Talking about death doesn’t bring death closer. It’s about planning for life. Without communication and understanding, death and terminal illness can be a lonely and stressful experience, both for the person who is dying and for their friends and family. There may be practical matters as well as care issues. Though hard to start these conversations, most people find it a great relief once it’s brought up.

Further information

Your GP is a good place to start if you want to discuss end of life, but you can also find lots of helpful information online:

Macmillan Cancer Support – advice and support for end of life
Dying matters – general information about preparing for a good death for the public and professionals
Terminal illness support from Marie Curie – at some stages all of us have to face the fact that we (or our loved ones) have a life limiting condition and are coming towards the end of our lives
Prospect Hospice – our local hospice
NHS Choices – general information about end of life care
What to expect when someone important to you is dying – a guide for carers, families and friends of dying people
Palliative and end of life care – a factsheet from Marie Curie


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One You: Nutrition

Eating out has become very common place and a quarter of our calories intake comes from eating out, meaning many of us are consuming more calories than we realise – an average of 200 to 300 extra calories per day. Over time, these extra calories can creep up on us and cause an unhealthy weight gain.

Public Health England’s One You campaign aims to help you be more aware of the calories you consume on the go and is encouraging people to make healthier choices, whether you are picking up breakfast on the way to work, having lunch at your desk or buying everyday meals.

This calorie creep is contributing to our county’s obesity problem which causes a range of health issues, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

One simple tip can help you make healthier choices while out and about – aim for 400-600-600. Try and stick to around 400 calories for breakfast, 600 calories for lunch and 600 calories for dinner, plus a couple of healthier snacks and drinks in-between.

So if you are looking to eat a little healthier, try a healthier choice today and aim for 400-600-600, because there is only One You: Nutrition.

Beware, ticks are lurking!

With the arrival of Spring, the CCG is advising you to brush up on your knowledge of ticks, what they are, where they live, the diseases they can carry, and how to minimise your risk of infection.

Ticks are small, spider like creatures that feed on the blood of animals, including people. They can be found in woodlands, grasslands, moorland, heathland and some urban parks and gardens.

Ticks are present in most parts of the country and are about the size of a poppy seed, and whilst irritating, most tick bites are harmless however; some ticks are infected with bacteria which can cause Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include:

A high temperature (fever), headaches, tiredness (fatigue), muscle and joint pain, chills and neck stiffness and a characteristic skin rash that looks like a bulls-eye.

To minimise your risk of being bitten, take these steps to help protect yourself:
  • Keep to paths and away from long grass or overgrown vegetation if possible, as ticks crawl up long grass in their search for a feed
  • Wear appropriate clothing in tick infested areas (long sleeved shirt and long trousers tucked into socks).  Light coloured fabrics are useful, as it is easier to see ticks against a light background
  • Consider using insect repellents, e.g. DEET
  • Inspect skin frequently and remove any attached ticks
  • At the end of the day, check again thoroughly for ticks, especially in skin folds
  • Make sure that children’s head and neck areas, including scalps, are properly checked 
  • Check that ticks are not brought home on clothes
  • Check that pets do not bring ticks into the home on their fur

If you have been bitten by a diseased tick, symptoms of Lyme disease usually appear between 3 and 30 days. You should make a GP appointment as soon as possible and remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick. More information on tick bites can be found on our website.

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March 2018


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Welcome to March’s edition of ‘in touch’.

In this issue, we tell you about Carer Support Wiltshire’s new contact which starts on 1 April 2018 where they will provide support to carers of all ages in Wiltshire.  We are delighted to continue working with Carer Support Wiltshire; they play an invaluable role in supporting carers meaning that many of the people who they care for are able to remain in their own homes and out of hospital or care homes.

The Easter bank holiday break will be here soon and with this comes additional pressures on health services, especially A&E.  We are reminding people who are not seriously ill about the alternative health care services available over the bank holiday and to help you make the right decision about where to go download our ‘Around the clock healthcare leaflet’.

To help enable us to provide safe environments that reduce harm from exposure to second-hand smoke, all NHS sites in Wiltshire have pledged to become completely smoke free from 1 January 2019. We are already a smoke free NHS site here at Southgate House, but some NHS sites in Wiltshire still have designated areas for smoking.  This means in nine months’ time smoking will not be permitted on any NHS sites in Wiltshire including all buildings, grounds and vehicles.  It also means that designated smoking areas will be removed.  There is plenty of help available if you want to quit smoking on

Be sure to set your clocks forward this weekend and let’s start to enjoy the longer and warmer days to come!


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In the news!

Find the right health advice and treatment over the Easter bank holiday

The four day break over Easter can sometimes catch people off guard when it comes to planning for their healthcare needs.  With GP surgeries in Wiltshire closed on Friday 30 March and Monday 2 April, we are asking people to plan ahead and consider the range of healthcare services available if they need medical advice, or treatment over the bank holiday.

It’s important that people understand where to go for health advice so that people avoid going to A&E for less serious illnesses and injury and to help with this, we have produced an easy to use ‘Around the clock healthcare in Wiltshire leaflet’. 

By making the right choices, people get the help they need, when they need it and it also helps reduce the impact on the health system over what is an extremely busy period for A&E departments in Wiltshire.

For a minor health problem it may be possible to seek health and advice from your local pharmacy, many of which will be open over the bank holiday.  Pharmacists are experts on medicine and how they work.  They can also offer advice on common complaints such as coughs, colds, aches and pains and other health issues and help to decide whether it’s necessary for you to see a doctor.

We also strongly recommend that people think ahead and check that they have enough of their routine medication to see them through the four day weekend.  If you need to order more, it is advisable to request it well in advance of the bank holiday to ensure that you receive it in time.

NHS 111 is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobiles.  It is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced clinicians.  Healthcare advice can be given over the telephone or you may be directed to a local service if appropriate.

For life threatening situations, serious injuries, loss of consciousness, chest pain or suspected stroke you should always call 999.

The views of over 200 individuals from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have helped shape a modern service for children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health problems.

New contact for Carer Support Wiltshire to support carers of all ages

Carer Support Wiltshire starts their new contract to support carers of all ages on 1 April 2018.  The contact was awarded by Wiltshire Council, with funding support from NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and builds on the existing work the organisation been doing with both organisation for a number of years to support adult carers. 

 The new contract will involve the organisation providing services and support for all carers in Wiltshire, including young carers, parent carers, those juggling work with caring and an aging population living longer and looking after loved ones.

One of their focuses will be going out into the community to improve information and accessibility for all and this will be done by introducing Community Connectors, who will work across Wiltshire to raise awareness, and support and identify carers and they will be in the following areas:

  • Malmesbury, Royal Wootton Bassett and Calne
  • Chippenham, Corsham and Bradford-on-Avon
  • Devizes, Marlborough and Pewsey
  • Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury
  • Tidworth, South Wilts and Salisbury
  • Warminster, Mere and South West Wiltshire

Their young carer service will also begin from 1 April 2018 to ensure that all young carers are identified and properly supported.  They will work with schools, colleges, community groups and delivery partners, such as Youth Action Wiltshire to provide young carers with breaks, activities and opportunities to learn, aspire and grow.

Carers play an invaluable role within our communities and this new contract will help strengthen the support that is provided to them and will also help raise awareness of what is available to help support carers in their caring role.  Find out more by visiting the Carer Support Wiltshire website.

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Focus on ‘Smoke Free NHS’

‘Stub it out’

That’s the message to smokers as all NHS sites in Wiltshire begin their nine month countdown to becoming completely smoke free.

In order to help reduce the number of people who smoke and the serious illnesses associated with smoking, the pledge is for all of NHS sites in Wiltshire to smoke free by Tuesday 1 January 2019. 

In nine months’ time staff, patients and visitors (including contractors and suppliers) will no longer be able to smoke anywhere on NHS sites, including grounds and gardens or in vehicles and car parks.

NHS buildings in Wiltshire have been smoke free for several years, but the introduction of this new policy means smoking and tobacco use will not be allowed anywhere on site.  Home of the Clinical Commissioning Group, Southgate House in Devizes is already a non-smoking site but some of our NHS sites in Wiltshire still have designated areas for smoking, which are used by staff, patients and visitors.  From Tuesday 1 January 2019, this will no longer be the case. 

By NHS sites going smoke free, it will mean a much safer and fresher environment for our patients, our visitors and our staff and will bring significant benefits for the health and wellbeing of everyone in our using NHS services.

We know, for example, that patients recover quicker from periods of illness or injury, have shorter lengths of stay in hospital, require less medication and generally have fewer complications, when they do not smoke.

Over the next nine months we will be engaging with our staff, patients and visitors to identify the most effective ways to support them, and the announcement is being made nine months ahead of implementation of a smoke free NHS in Wiltshire to provide time for those who do smoke to be prepared for the change, and to give them the opportunity to quit smoking.

If you would like support to quit smoking, please visit : for expert advice and support or call the Smokefree National Helpline to speak to a trained adviser on 0300 123 1044.

We understand that some people may not wish to stop smoking during their stay in hospitals, or whilst at work and support will be provided to assist them in abstaining whilst they are on an NHS site through Nicotine Replacement Therapy and support from stop smoking advisors.

There are many benefits in not smoking both to the smoker, their family and loved ones and the wider community. 

Some of the benefits of not smoking can affect the body very quickly:
  • After 20 minutes blood pressure and heart rate can return to normal
  • After 8 hours nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood half and oxygen levels return to normal
  • After 1 day lungs start to clear and carbon monoxide levels return to normal
  • After 2 days ability to smell and taste are improved
  • After 3 days breathing becomes easier and energy levels improve
  • After 3 – 9 months 
  • lung function improves by 10% and there is improvement with coughing, breathing and wheezing
  • After 5 years risk of stroke returns to that of a non-smoker
  • After 10 years risk of lung cancer returns to that of a non-smoker

There is no given right to smoke and no obligation to permit people to smoke.  It is part of our duty to improve and protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, patients and wider communities and this includes ensuring we uphold their right to be protected from second hand smoke.

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Have your say!

Make a difference: Join your Patient Participation Group

A patient participation group (PPG) is made up of volunteers from patients and carers of patients registered at a GP practice.  PPGs meet regularly and work in partnership with the practice staff and doctors to ensure the practice deliver high quality and responsive care. 

PPGs can also offer a way for patients and practice staff to talk to each other, to share experiences and ideas, and to work together to improve patient experience.

The main purpose of most PPGs is to represent patients’ views and work with the practice to make changes. Some PPGs also volunteer to carry out other activities such as health promotion events, acting as advocates to encourage other patients to take responsibility for their own health, setting up support groups, promoting practice services and sharing information.

If you want to join your patient participation group speak to the staff at your practice who will advise you on how to join and become an active member of their PPG.


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Your pharmacy can help!

Your pharmacy team can help you with minor health concerns. To find out where your nearest pharmacy is, visit our website.

Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines to effectively and safely manage a range of minor health concerns, including:



  • Sore throats
  • Coughs
  • Colds
  • Tummy troubles
  • Teething

Every pharmacist is trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice, so they are the right person to see for minor health concerns.

With over 12,000 pharmacies open every day of the week in England, and many offering extended opening hours in the evenings and weekends, it is easy to find a pharmacy close to you.

Pharmacists are healthcare experts who can give you clinical advice, right there and then, and if your symptoms are more serious, they can ensure you get the help you need.
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Promoting Cancer 

In last month’s newsletter we gave a focus on cancer, and how one in three people in England will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.  Recognising the signs and symptoms of cancer early could save your life and this month we are focusing on Prostate cancer and Cervical cancer.  If you do recognise any of the symptoms, tell your doctor.  If it’s detected early, it is more treatable.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.

Prostate cancer develops slowly, so there may be no signs you have it for many year.  Symptoms often only become apparent when your prostate is large enough to affect the urethra and when this happens, you may notice things like an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating and a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied.

These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, but they do not mean you definitely have prostate cancer.

For many men with prostate cancer, treatment is not immediately necessary.  If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, a policy of “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance” may be adopted.  This involves carefully monitoring your condition.

Some cases of prostate cancer can be cured if treated in the early stages and treatment includes surgically removing the prostate, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.

Some cases are only diagnosed at a later stage when the cancer has spread.  If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, typically the bones, it cannot be cured and treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms.

As prostate cancer usually progresses very slowly, you can live for decades without symptoms or needing treatment.

Learn more about prostate cancer on NHS Choices.

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a women’s cervix (the entrance to the womb) and has no symptoms in its early stages.  If you do have symptoms, the most common is unusual vaginal bleeding, which can occur after sex, in between periods or after the menopause.

Abnormal bleeding doesn’t mean that you definitely have cervical cancer, but it should be investigated by your GP as soon as possible.  If your GP thinks you might have cervical cancer, you should be referred to see a specialist within two weeks.

The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women from the age of 25.  During cervical screening, a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix and checked under a microscope for abnormalities.  You will receive a letter from your GP offering you a screening appointment and we urge to you attend.

An abnormal cervical screening test doesn’t mean you definitely have cancer.  Most abnormal results are caused by an infection or the presence of treatable precancerous cells, rather than cancer itself.

If cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, it’s usually possible to treat it using surgery.  In some cases, it’s possible to leave the womb in place, but it may need to be removed.  The surgical procedure used to remove the womb is called a hysterectomy.  Radiotherapy is an alternative to surgery for some women with early stage cervical cancer and in some cases it’s used alongside surgery.

The stage at which cervical cancer is diagnosed is an important factor in determining a women’s outlook, and this is dependent on how far the cancer has spread.

The chances of living for at least five years after being diagnosed with cervical cancer are:

Stage 1: 80 – 99%
Stage 2: 60 – 90%
Stage 3: 30 – 50%
Stage 4: 20%

In the UK, just under 1,000 women die from cervical cancer every year.  You can find out more information on cervical  cancer on NHS Choices.

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February 2018


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Welcome to February’s edition of ‘in touch’.

In this issue we’re excited to tell you about a new Children and Adolescent Mental Health service that starts on 1 April. Over 200 people across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset and Swindon helped to shape the service which will support young people aged 0-18 years.

NHS England is working with NHS Clinical Commissioners on a public consultation to reduce prescribing of over the counter medicines for minor, short-term health concerns. Drugs like paracetamol can cost the NHS up to three times more on prescription than if patients bought them directly from a supermarket. The results from the consultation will inform national guidance on how such drugs are available in the future. What are your thoughts on buying some medication over the counter? Share your views by completing the survey.

Over the coming months we’ll be focusing on cancer types and the common signs to look out for. 

It’s very easy to ignore symptoms and put off going to see your doctor, but if you are worried you should book an appointment with your doctor straight away.

It may not be anything serious, but if it is cancer it’s important to find it early. See below for the campaigns we’re highlighting in this edition.

While Winter hasn’t quite left us yet the days are gradually getting longer and the sun is starting to brighten up our skies – Spring is nearly here!


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In the news!

New service to support children and young people with their emotional wellbeing

The views of over 200 individuals from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have helped shape a modern service for children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health problems.

The new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) service starts on 1 April 2018 and will be delivered by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. The service be providing targeted and specialist mental health and wellbeing support to children and young people aged 0-18 years, which includes having timely access to an integrated system of co-ordinated and effective promotion, prevention, early intervention and community support and treatment.

Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning for Wiltshire CCG said: “With valuable input from young people across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset and Swindon we have commissioned a mental health service that will better suit their needs, be easier for them to access and will provide improved advice and support.”

National Survey shows improvements in women’s experiences of maternity care

Most women are having a positive experience of maternity care and treatment with the NHS, according to a survey of more than 18,000 people in England.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) survey results reveal responses from women who had given birth in February 2017 in services run by 130 NHS trusts across the country.

Women were asked questions about all aspects of their maternity care from the first time they saw a clinician or midwife, during labour and birth, through to the care provided at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby. The results highlighted improvements in areas such as choice on where to give birth, quality of information and access to help and support after giving birth.

The full results for England as well as individual results for each trust are available on the CQC’s website.

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Focus on cancer!

More than one in three people in England will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally cells grow and divide to form new cells when the body needs them. When cancer develops, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumours. These cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.

There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each one is diagnosed and treated in a particular way. The four most common types of cancer diagnosed in England are:

Spotting the signs

It is important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body. If you notice any changes to your body’s normal processes or unusual, unexplained symptoms – such as the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in your urine, or a change to your usual bowel habits, it’s important to see your doctor so they can investigate. The chances are it is nothing serious, but it might be something that needs attention and if diagnosed earlier, treatment can be a lot more successful.

Click here for more information on cancer and spotting the signs and symptoms.

We’re helping to raise awareness of cancer, so keep an eye out for information on the following campaigns in the next few issues of ‘in touch’:

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
In the UK, about one in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Ovarian cancer is the biggest gynaecological killer of UK women, as most women are diagnosed once the cancer has spread which makes treatment more challenging.

Be clear on cancer – breast cancer in women over 70 
In England, one in three women who get breast cancer are aged 70 or over.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in England with around 44,300 women diagnosed each year, of which around 13,500 (a third) are aged 70 and over. The older you are – the more likely you are to get it.

This campaign aims to get more women with breast cancer diagnosed at an early stage by raising awareness of the symptoms so it’s important to get to know how your breasts look and feel normally, so that you will find it easier to spot something unusual.

A lump isn’t the only sign of breast cancer. If you do notice any changes to your breast you should make an appointment to see your doctor straight away. It might not be anything serious, but if it is, getting a diagnosis early can make a real difference.

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Have your say!

Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care

NHS England has launched a public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns.

From June 2016 until June 2017 the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions for medicines which could have been purchased over the counter from a pharmacy, or other outlets such as a supermarket.

These prescriptions include items for a condition:

  • That is considered to be self-limiting and so does not need treatment as it will heal of its own accord;
  • Which lends itself to self-care, i.e. that the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical care but may decide to seek help with symptom relief from a local pharmacy and use an over the counter medicine

NHS England has partnered with NHS Clinical Commissioners to carry out the consultation, which is intended to help produce a national framework for CCGs to use.

The consultation is seeking your views on the proposals and is open until 14 March 2018.

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Know the signs of a stroke and act F.A.S.T.

We are encouraging you to learn the F.A.S.T. test to help you identify the early signs of a stroke and save more lives.




The F.A.S.T. test identifies the three most common symptoms of a stroke and the right action to take:

Face: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arms: Can the person raise both arms?

Speech: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you are saying?

Time: call 999

If you recognise any single one of these symptoms of stroke, in yourself or others – CALL 999 straightaway. The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.

Your pharmacy can help!

Your pharmacy team can help you with minor health concerns. Visit our website to find out where your nearest pharmacy is:

Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines to effectively and safely manage a range of minor health concerns.



  • Sore throats
  • Coughs
  • Colds
  • Tummy troubles
  • Teething

Every pharmacist is trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice, so they are the right person to see for minor health concerns.

With over 12,000 pharmacies open every day of the week in England, and many offering extended opening hours in the evenings and weekends, it is easy to find a pharmacy close to you.

Pharmacists are healthcare experts who can give you clinical advice, right there and then, and if your symptoms are more serious, they can ensure you get the help you need...

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January 2018


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Happy New Year!

The cold weather is still biting at our heels and as you will have seen in recent press coverage, the NHS is under massive strain due to winter pressures, particularly due to the high instances of flu and norovirus. In this issue of ‘in touch’ we’re focusing on how you can help to look after yourselves and your families and treat common health complaints early. 

Many winter ailments can take up to two weeks or more to shake off. You shouldn’t need to see your GP unless symptoms become particularly severe and if you make an appointment, there are other healthcare staff that can help you, meaning GPs are freed up to see those who really need them – take a look at our primary care leaflet to find out more.

There are a number of things you can do to help yourself before needing to see a GP and help ease the pressures on our local health system at the same time. Ensuring you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home will help you to treat simple coughs and colds early; seeking advice from a pharmacist at the first-sign of illness may mean you don’t need a GP appointment as well and contacting NHS 111 for advice will help direct you to the right healthcare service.

Flu symptoms are still doing the rounds; it’s very infectious and easily spread by coughs and sneezes. The NHS Catch it. Kill it. Bin it. campaign gives you some great guidance on how to reduce the spread of the flu virus, read the article on page 3 to find out more.

Spring is just around the corner, but until it arrives let’s help keep those winter bugs at bay!


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In the news!

Winter pressures means deferral of non-urgent inpatient operations

NHS England has issued guidance in line with new Winter Pressures Protocol to hospitals as they had been under sustained pressure over the Winter period.

To help hospitals handle the sustained pressure, one of the steps has been to defer all non-urgent inpatient elective care operations until 31 January 31.  Cancer operations and time-critical procedures will go ahead as planned.

These steps will ensure patients in hospitals receive the best possible care over this challenging period.

We are asking the public to call NHS 111 if they need to obtain clinical advice when they start to feel ill and it’s not urgent, which will allow staff in A&E to focus on the sickest patients.

Read the official letter from Pauline Philip, National Director, Urgent and Emergency Care, NHS England and NHS Improvements to systems and press statement here.

Meet the team

We have developed a ’Your primary healthcare team’ leaflet to help you get the right appointment for your needs.

You may not always need to see your doctor.  Many surgeries employ other healthcare staff such as nurses, pharmacists and emergency care practitioners who can help you. Speak to your Practice receptionist, or visit the Practice’s website to find out who could help you.

Each GP practice also has a range of staff including receptionists,, administration support staff and practice managers who work to ensure you have a great patient experience.

Struck down by Norovirus? Stay at home!

When it comes to sickness and diarrhoea, looking after yourself at home is often be the best option.

Norovius is particularly widespread at this time of year, and diarrhoea and vomiting are often among its symptoms.  It’s also very easily spread through contaminated surfaces and close contact with other people.

There is not cure for norovirus but it usually clears up by itself within a few days, and the best way to recover is through self-care at home – get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and wash your hands regularly with soap and water.  If you need guidance on what you can do to help yourself get better, speak to your local pharmacist – they can provide quick advice without you having to wait for an appointment or sit in a waiting room sharing your misfortune with others!

If you are worried your stomach complaint is something more than a simple bug, the pharmacist will be able to let you know if you need to see a doctor. You can also call NHS 111 and a trained call handler will talk you through the best course of action.

For more information on norovirus visit:

Read more news articles here.

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Have your say!

Help NHS England improve services for patients and take part in their survey

Equality Delivery System Grading

The Equality Delivery System (EDS2) is a tool which helps NHS organisations make sure services are fair for all patients and communities and supports NHS organisations to make sure that the people who work for them are treated fairly and can apply for a lot of different jobs at all levels.

Help them know how well they are doing for people from all backgrounds by taking part in their survey – closes on 18 February 2018.

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Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.

Cold weather can be seriously bad for your health.  That’s why it’s important to look after yourself, especially during the winter.  If you do start to feel unwell, even if it’s a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious – seek advice from your pharmacist.

If your cold develops into flu, which is very infectious and is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes – it can live on hands or surfaces for 24 hours.

To help reduce the risk of spreading germs – CATCH IT. BIN IT. KILL IT.

Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze

Germs can live for several hours on tissues – bin used tissue as quickly as possible

Hands can transfer germs to any surface you touch – wash your hands often with warm water and soap

Most of us will catch a cold at some point during the winter months, leaving us with a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and a cough.  No one enjoys having a cold and by following these simple steps you could avoid passing the virus to someone else.


Change4Life – Nutrition

These days kids are eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt and in England children are eating nearly three times the recommended amount of sugar. Surprisingly, half the sugar they consume comes from snacks and sugary drinks.

Eating too much sugar can lead to harmful fat building up inside and serious health problems, including painful tooth decay.

To help reduce the amount of sugar children are consuming Change4Life is encouraging parents to choose healthier snacks choices for them by introducing a new simple tip – ‘Look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max.’

You can also sign up to join Change4Life to receive money-off vouchers for healthier snacks and helpful tips and ideas.

Visit the Change4Life website for more details.


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December 2017


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As winter takes hold, we’ve focused this edition of ‘in touch’ on articles offering you advice on how you can help you and your loved ones to stay well during the colder weather.

Winter can be challenging, with the cold and damp weather making us more vulnerable to illness, particularly flu, so it’s really important to take care of your health. If you’re eligible for a free flu jab and haven’t had it yet, pop along to your local pharmacist, or make an appointment with your GP to have it. 

We also know how worrying it can be when your child falls ill, even more so when your local surgery is closed. We’ve launched a new out of hours GP service for children under 10 years in South Wiltshire. It’s at Salisbury Walk in Centre and parents can book a same day appointment for their child by calling NHS 111.

We also support a free mobile app called HANDi app which provides expert advice to parents and carers on common childhood illnesses – download it free from the ITunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Since our last newsletter we have been out and about in Wiltshire talking to you about diabetes. Your feedback will help us to design and provide a diabetes toolkit for helping you to manage your diabetics at home.

Keep well this winter and enjoy the festive season!


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In the news!

Out of hours service for children in South Wiltshire

An out of hours GP service for children aged 0 – 10 years in Salisbury and South Wiltshire means parents can now book a same day appointment to see a GP at the Salisbury Walk in health centre.

The extended service will provide out of hours GP health advice and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries from Monday to Friday between 6.30pm – 10pm, and will provide parents with a local alternative to A&E when their child is ill.

Parents should ring 111 to access the service. 

Virgin Care’s Wiltshire Children’s Community Services complete moves to hubs


Wiltshire Children’s Community Services, run by Virgin Care, has completed its move to four new, purpose designed spaces dedicated for both colleagues and children and families in Wiltshire, which delivers a milestone on the organisations plans in implementing its five year roadmap to deliver improvements in patient care. 

These sites will be where patient-centred care is organised and coordinated, while service delivery will be either in universal settings such as schools, children’s centres, families own homes or Virgin Care’s dedicated clinical space.

Ted Wilson, Community and Joint Commissioning Director of Wiltshire CCG, said: “We are pleased the move to the four community hubs in Wiltshire will enable children’s community health staff to provide coordinated, person-centred care, designed around the individual needs of the children and to support them when they need help.”


Patients have a responsibility to be ‘fit, willing and able’

Wiltshire patients are being encouraged to be ‘fit, willing and able’ this winter to ensure planned outpatient clinics and operations run as smoothly as possible over the winter period. 

We are working with GPs and hospital clinicians across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to help guide patients through their treatment pathways and in turn reduce the number of instances where patients do not turn up for their appointments, or decline required appointments, or dates for planned operations. 

The campaign focuses on ensuring patients are:

Fit – aware of their planned treatment and are in their best health to get the maximum benefit from it.  This can include maintaining a healthy weight and stopping smoking.

Willing – clear about what their treatment entails and are willing to sign up to it at the outset

Able – committed to attending future appointments and understand that this may require flexibility on their part.

Read more news articles here.

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Have your say!

Make a difference: join your Patient Participation Group

Would you like to get involved and make a difference to the care patients receive?

Your GP surgery has its own team of people who provide a voice for all patients on the practice’s list and work with the doctors and practice staff to improve the way things are run.  

That team is called a PPG – a Patient Participation Group.

Just ask at reception at your GP surgery to find out how you could join your PPG.

Have your say on the organ donor ‘opt out’ consultation

People who donate their organs and tissue after they die help save thousands of lives in England each year. However, 3 people die a day due to lack of suitable organs. Under current rules, a person who has died can only be an organ donor if they have agreed to it when they were alive.

If the law changes, people will be considered willing to be an organ donor unless they have opted out.  This would increase the number of organs donated and save more lives.


The Department of Health’s ‘opt out’ consultation is now live – take a few minutes to share your views on the proposed new rules.


Diabetes Feedback

Thanks to all who completed our online diabetes survey featured in last month’s newsletter, did you spot our team speaking to patients about diabetes in supermarkets in Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury? The team are now working on the diabetes resource pack which will be available in Spring 2018. 

Knowledge is the key to successfully managing your diabetes, our free patient education programmes are available for Type 1 and Type 2  patients and  take place all over the county so there’s bound to be one near you, speak to your diabetes Doctor or Nurse for information on how to book.

Feedback from participants on the Type 1 Freedom For Life course said:

  • “Can vary meals more – some meals more carbohydrate: some meals less”
  • “Support and at last, some help”
  • “Not as anxious about eating a variety of foods.  More knowledge, more freedom”

This is what recent participants have said about our Type 2 X-pert course:

  • “A very informative programme which has already aided management of my diabetes by better information about diet.”
  • “A very interesting and informative course which was presented in a friendly and easy to understand manner. Many thanks to all presenters.”
  • “Excellent course. I have gained so much from your sessions. Thank you.”

 Support to prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The National Diabetes Prevention Programme has been launched in Wiltshire. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, however, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes. If you are identified at risk of becoming diabetic your GP can refer you to the programme where you will be supported to maintain a healthy weight and be more active, and significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Diabetes Myth of the month: People with diabetes should eat 'diabetic' foods
‘Diabetic’ labelling tends to be used on sweets, biscuits and similar foods that are generally high in fat, especially saturated fat and calories. Diabetes UK does not recommend eating ‘diabetic’ foods, including diabetic chocolate, because they still affect your blood glucose levels, they are expensive and they can give you diarrhoea. So, if you are going to treat yourself – you should go for the real thing.

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Campaign – Stay well this winter

Winter can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older and people with long term conditions.

The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to illnesses that are more common in winter.

We have put together some handy information to help you stay well this winter.

Have you had your flu vaccination?
Flu strikes in winter and can be far more serious than you think – it can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia and in some instances it can be deadly.

That’s why it’s important that people who are at increased risk from flu, have their free flu vaccination.

If you are:

Aged 65 or over
Have a long term health condition
Living in a residential care home
A carer Living with someone who is immunocompromised
Are a frontline health or social care worker

This year more children are being vaccinated, and children over 6 months old with a long term health condition, and children aged two and three are offered the vaccination in general practice.

Children in reception class and school years 1, 2 3 & 4 will be offered the vaccine at school.

If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccination and not yet had it, speak to your surgery and make an appointment today!


Keeping warm as the temperature drops!

It’s important to keep warm in winter – both indoors and outdoors

Heat your home to at least 18C (65F) 
especially if you are not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition 
during the day you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer

Keep your bedroom window closed at night 
breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest conditions

Keep active when you are indoors 
try not to sit still for more than an hour or so, get up and stretch your legs
even moderate exercise can help keep you warm

Wear several layers of light clothes 
light layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer and help to maintain body heat

Draw your curtains at dusk, and keep doors closed 
to block out draughts and keep the warm in

Have at least one hot meal a day 
eating regularly helps to keep you warm; and make sure you have lots of hot drinks


Make sure you are receiving all the help you are entitled to – Warm and Safe Wiltshire


Get advice from your pharmacist

Winter can make existing health problems worse, so if you feel you are coming down with something, even if it’s just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets worse – act quickly and get advice from a pharmacist.

Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action when you start to feel unwell, and this can be the best and quickest way to help you recover and feel healthy.

Most pharmacies now have a private consultation area, so you can discuss your health issues in confidence and you don’t need to make an appointment.


Is your medicine cabinet fit for the winter?
Be prepared for common ailments by keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home.Always keep medicines out of the reach and sight of children


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