May 2019

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There’s a lot going on around the county at the moment as we work with GPs to establish Primary Care Networks and look to develop our five-year plan across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire. On 19 June we are hosting our second large group intervention as part of pre-engagement on mental health transformation. And in a week we are launching Our Health Our Future – a survey to find out what you want from health and care services locally, now and into the future.

Four appointments have been made to the senior executive team of the new BSW Commissioning Alliance and processes are ongoing for further appointments.

One of our key partners, Healthwatch Wiltshire, is looking for new board members to expand the skills and diversity of their group. If you have a passion for health and social care services and want to help ensure the voices of Wiltshire are heard, think about joining the board. You’ll find more details further on in the newsletter.

With the two May bank holidays out of the way, we are heading into summer. Cover Up, Mate is a local campaign aimed at people who work outdoors or spend a lot of time in the sun over summer and run the risk of skin cancer. The advice is simple – spend time in the shade if you can, cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses, and use at least factor 15 sunscreen.

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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BSW Commissioning Alliance – new appointments

Four appointments have been made to the senior executive team of the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) Commissioning Alliance:

  • Gill May, current Director of Nursing and Transformation at Swindon CCG, has been appointed to the role of Director of Nursing and Quality.
  • Nicki Millin, current Deputy Chief Executive (Swindon), has agreed to take on the role of Director of Transformation and Strategy on an interim basis prior to her retirement in April 2020.
  • Caroline Gregory, current Chief Finance Officer at Swindon CCG, has been appointed to the role of Chief Finance Officer for the commissioning alliance.
  • Steve Perkins, current Chief Finance Officer at Wiltshire CCG, has been appointed as Acting Deputy Chief Finance Officer for the commissioning alliance.

Each CCG will have a Locality Director. Corinne Edwards has been appointed as the Locality Director for BaNES and the roles of Locality Directors for Wiltshire and Swindon are currently being advertised.

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E-zec Medical Transport Services provide non-emergency patient transport across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire  

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. E-zec expect to complete around 180,000 patient journeys each year across B&NES, Gloucester, Swindon and Wiltshire.

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 the region. We have been working closely together since their appointment in December 2018 to ensure eligible patients have a great experience when using the service.”

Arriva Transport Solutions Ltd provided the non-emergency patient transport service until their contract ended on 31 May 2019.

Further information about the service can be found at

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Carers Week – June 2019

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by carers across the UK. This year, the theme is ‘Getting Carers Connected in their Communities’, and it will run from the 10 – 16 June. 

Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience but carers often find it challenging to take care of their own wellbeing whilst caring. Its impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough.

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. They will be looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older. Everyone has a part to play in connecting carers and helping them to get the support they need to care without putting off their own health needs or losing important relationships with others.

This could include an employer creating carer-friendly policies by listening to the experiences of their workforce, a GP practice offering an annual health check or alternative appointment times to carers struggling to attend due to their caring responsibilities or a leisure centre offering special deals for carers.

For Carers Week, why not plan to do something in your workplace to show your support and recognition of carers? From having a wellbeing day at work, a training and awareness session on carers or just simply putting up posters and sharing your support for Carers Week on social media, getting involved is a great idea. 

There is more information on the Carers Week website.

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Help make a difference to health and social care services by joining the Healthwatch Wiltshire board

Healthwatch Wiltshire is looking for people with a passion for health and social care services to join its Local Leadership Board

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

Applications are open to anyone who wants to see services meet the needs of those who use them. 

Local Leadership Board Chair, Rob Jefferson said: “As a newly-formed Board, we’re keen to expand the skills and diversity of our group. We’re looking for people who are willing to give their time and energy to Healthwatch and work to prioritise the issues that are most important to the people of Wiltshire.

“You might be a service user, have a background in the NHS or social care services, or just have a keen interest in seeing services improved.” 

As a Board member, you’ll be representing Healthwatch Wiltshire at key meetings so you’ll need to be able to make sense of complex information and be a good strategic thinker. 

You’ll also need to be a strong team player, being both a good listener and be able to speak up on issues that you feel are important. 

For more information on the role, and to apply, please visit the Healthwatch Wiltshire website. All applications must be received by midnight on Sunday 23 June. 

If you would like an informal chat about the role with one of the current board members, please email 

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News archive

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Get involved!


Our Health Our Future

We are launching an exciting engagement campaign offering local people a chance to have their say on the future of health and care services across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW).

The Our Health Our Future campaign is being coordinated by BSW Clinical Commissioning Groups and will run from 13 June until the end of July 2019. We want to find out what local people think about health and care issues so that we can use their views to inform our local five year plan.

We’d really like your support in helping us to promote our campaign and encouraging people in Wiltshire to complete it.

We’ll be finding out what people think through an online survey, a printed booklet, social media and by getting out and about at events across the county. We’ll be asking three simple questions:

What’s the one thing…

  • you wish you’d known sooner to help you be as healthy as possible?
  • that would help you to find and use health and care services more easily?
  • that would help to make a difference to your health and care in the future?

Our Health Our Future is a brilliant opportunity to identify the health and care issues that are important to local people and, with your support, we can make sure we hear from as many of them as possible.

You could help us spread the word by:

  • Featuring the campaign in your newsletters, publications and websites
  • Sharing our social media posts
  • Welcoming a BSW representative along to talk about the campaign at a future relevant event, such as patient or stakeholder meeting
  • Displaying posters/flyers at your events and in your offices
  • Encouraging your network of supporters, members and staff to complete the survey
  • Run your own Our Health Our Future face-to-face activity with members and staff – we will be happy to provide a session plan to support this.

There will be more details next week including the website link, social media posts and event details.

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Mental health and wellbeing services in Swindon and Wiltshire 

Wiltshire Council is asking young people, parents and professionals for their views on how we can improve mental health and wellbeing in Wiltshire. The online surveys, launched in Mental Health Awareness Week will help shape how services are provided in the future.

There are three surveys are available – for young people, for parents and carers, and for professionals.

You can find more information and links to the surveys on the Wiltshire Council website.



How Primary Care Networks could work for you

Healthwatch Wiltshire want to find out what you think of Primary Care Networks. How do you think GP surgeries can work more closely with other services to improve care for people with long term conditions?

You can share your views and find out more on the Healthwatch Wiltshire website.



Changes to the General Medical Council guidance for how doctors use patient feedback – have your say

It’s important that patients have the opportunity to give doctors feedback on the care they receive. The GMC hear that doctors value feedback from their patients. By changing their guidance, they want to make it easier for patients to share their views with their doctors. The feedback should also better support doctors’ learning and development.

For more information and to take the survey visit the General Medical Council website.


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Cover Up, Mate!

As the South West gears up for summer, people who work outdoors are being urged to cover up against harmful UV rays.

Health experts have launched their skin cancer campaign Cover Up, Mate, aimed at agricultural and construction workers, gardeners and sports-players – who may find themselves outside longer during the summer months and often don’t use sun cream.

Judith, a beef farmer from Somerset shares her first-hand experience of being diagnosed with basal cell skin cancer (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer.

“I was always aware of protecting myself in the sun, but I probably didn’t cover up as religiously as I should do. Sometimes it is freezing cold when I start my day, and it’s the last thing I would think about. Over time I noticed, what started off as a little white spot on my chin and gradually it began to grow. My GP referred me to a specialist and they immediately diagnosed me with skin cancer.”

Luckily like many people across the South West, Judith spotted the signs of what could have been fatal. The latest statistics show that ‘early stages’ of diagnoses of malignant melanoma in the South West are 88% female and 86% male which is higher than the national average across England. Unfortunately, not all cases are able to be treated and in 2016 mortality data in the South West showed 168 male and 113 female deaths due to skin cancer.

NHS England South West Medical Director, Dr Michael Marsh said: “You can’t feel UV radiation, so it’s very easy to get sunburnt in the UK, even when it’s cloudy and not particularly warm. Sunburn increases the likelihood of skin cancer so its important people take more care, especially those who work outside or take part in outdoor sport.”

Following Judith’s skin cancer experience, she shares her thoughts on the importance of covering up in the summer months. “Now I make sure I apply your sun cream before I go out, irrespective if the sun is shining or its raining. You can bet your bottom dollar that later in the day the weather will change, and I always make sure to reapply at lunch time.”

The earlier skin cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat, so see your GP as soon as possible if any moles or freckles change size or shape.

For more advice visit or follow NHS England’s skin cancer campaign #CoverUpMate on Twitter.

For more information on staying well this summer, visit our website.






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April  2019

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Primary Care Networks are the way of the future for community healthcare – GPs working together to provide a network of services to their local population. The project to establish the networks in Wiltshire builds on work that was already underway and we are working to a July deadline to complete the initial set up of our 11 networks. Watch this space for more information over the months to come.

At the moment we are working with the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and other partners to develop a new strategy for the delivery of mental health services across the BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire areas. We join AWP in welcoming their new Chief Executive and look forward to working with him when he takes up the role in August.

Healthwatch Wiltshire continues to support our community with the awarding of funding to five projects that aim to boost health and wellbeing in the county – well done to the successful applicants to the Community Cash Fund! 

Engagement on the NHS Long Term Plan with the What would you do? survey is drawing to a close, you’ve only got a couple of days to complete the survey.

Spring is certainly here bringing with it hayfever season. We’ve got lots of good information on our website to help you manage through this tricky season of runny eyes and sneezes.

I’m going to be here a little longer to support our new Chief Executive Tracey Cox as we transition to a new management structure for BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs.


Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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Primary Care Networks

The Government announced a number of policies and incentives this year to help the health and care system meet increasing demand. General practice is at the core of these new ideas with the establishment of Primary Care Networks.

Each network will serve patient populations of around 30,000-50,000. Organisations within the network area will work closely together to give patients access to a wider range of health and care professionals, as part of community teams. This includes GPs, nurses, physios, therapists, pharmacists and social care providers – each providing care that is proactive, coordinated and accessible. With the focus on patients seeing the right health professional for their needs, GPs should have more time to spend on patients who need them the most.

To support their establishment, a Primary Care Network Development Programme will be centrally funded and locally delivered. By 2023/24, the PCN contract is expected to invest an additional £4.5bn per year, or £1.47 million per typical network covering 50,000 people.

GPs in Wiltshire have decided on 11 Primary Care Networks:

  • Sarum West
  • Sarum South
  • Sarum North
  • Devizes
  • Trowbridge
  • Bradford on Avon and Melksham
  • Westbury and Warminster
  • Chippenham including Corsham and Box
  • Calne
  • North Wiltshire Border Locality including Malmesbury, Tolsey, Royal Wootton Bassett, Purton and Cricklade
  • East Kennet.

GPs and Practice Managers attended a meeting in mid-March to discuss the establishment of the networks and more recently we had a really good workshop with the 11 emergent PCNs. We will provide more information on the progress of the networks in the months to come.

You can find out more about Primary Care Networks on the NHS England website.

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New Chief Executive appointed to lead Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust has appointed Dominic Hardisty as its new Chief Executive.

Dominic is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. He will take up his role at AWP in August 2019, replacing Dr Hayley Richards, who announced her plans to retire in January and will be leaving the Trust at the end of May. Simon Truelove will fill the role of Acting Chief Executive until Dominic arrives.

 Dominic brings with him 20 years as a leader, with the last 10 in the NHS, where he has worked across acute and community trusts. He has led teams to transform services across acute, community, mental health and children’s/young people’s pathways, as well as leading on responses to CQC inspections and formation of partnerships across primary, acute, community and social care.

The Chair of AWP, Charlotte Hitchings, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointing Dominic.

“He brings a wealth of relevant experience, both in mental health and strategic and operational management.  Dominic made a great impression on the more than 50 staff, service users, carers and other stakeholders involved in the assessment and interview process.”

Dominic said: “I am thrilled to be appointed Chief Executive of AWP.  There are great things going on in the Trust and I look forward to joining and working with staff and stakeholders to ensure we build on current good work and continue to do our very best for service users, their families and carers, as well as for our staff to make AWP outstanding.”

Charlotte added: “I am excited about Dominic’s aspirations for the Trust and we are all very much looking forward to working with him as we continue on our drive for continuous quality improvement across our services for the benefit of the people we serve.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Hayley Richards once again for her commitment, passion and hard work throughout her long career with the NHS and to wish her well in her retirement.”

Dominic holds a degree from Oxford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School and is currently training to be a Health Care Assistant (HCA).

In another new appointment, Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Sarah Constantine has joined AWP as the new Medical Director, starting in the role on 16 April 2019.

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Community Cash Fund winners announced

Healthwatch Wiltshire’s Community Cash Fund grants have been awarded to five projects that aim to boost the health and wellbeing of people in Wiltshire.

The call for grant applications in March attracted 41 applications for funding of up to £2,000 each.

Healthwatch Wiltshire manager Stacey Plumb said: “Thank you to everyone who applied to the Community Cash Fund. We were delighted to receive such a high number of applications and it was a really tough job deciding who should receive funding.

“We’re really excited to be supporting these incredibly worthwhile projects and are looking forward to following their progress in the months ahead.”

The successful projects are:

Anybody Can Cook, who want to run healthy eating courses for families on a low income at children’s centres in Chippenham and Corsham. Their vision is to promote health equality across communities, with the ultimate aim being less visits to the GP and dentist, maintaining a healthy weight, better mental health and increased confidence.

Pound Arts Centre and Rewired Counselling, who are hosting SPARK, a two-day health and wellbeing event in Corsham on 12 and 13 July. The first day is aimed at Year 9 students and focuses on sleep, stress, body, food and confidence, while the second day is open to all and includes a variety of speakers and a marketplace of groups and services.

Rowden Hill Surgery, who are looking to start a choir for patients with respiratory conditions who attend the Rowden, Lodge and Hathaway surgeries in Chippenham. Singing regularly is thought to have a positive effect on the quality of life of someone with a lung condition, and sessions would be open to both patients and their carers.

Wiltshire People 1st, who are launching their Happy Hearts Dance Group for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. The sessions will promote a healthy lifestyle through conversation, cooking and dance activities.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, for their Wellbeing at the Orchard project, which is aimed at people who are experiencing mental health issues. The project, based at Roundway Orchard in Devizes, features eight weeks of outdoor activities including conservation, wild-cooking and nature-based craft. Designed to help improve mental wellbeing, the project also provides skills and knowledge on managing an orchard.

More information on the Community Cash Fund is available on the Healthwatch Wiltshire website. 

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News archive

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Get involved!

Last chance to have your say – What would you do?     

You’ve only got a few more days to have your say in the Healthwatch survey that ask would you would do to improve your local services.

Take part in the What would you do? survey on the Healthwatch website and share your views today.


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Are you using your asthma inhaler correctly?

Asthma is a common lung condition that affects the airways and can make it difficult to breathe. It affects 3.4 million people in England and is usually treated by using an inhaler. But, research has shown that a third of people with asthma aren’t using their inhalers correctly. 

The new patient decision aid from NICE– Inhalers for asthma aims to tackle this and ensure that people with asthma are aware of the different devices available to them. If you have asthma, the decision aid could help you find out about the options available. It could help you and your healthcare professional decide which inhaler will suit you best. 

Asthma UK has also published a number of short videos designed to help you use your inhaler properly.

We have more information on asthma on our website.


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It’s hayfever time

With the arrival of spring, many of us will be spending more time outdoors – in the garden or local parks. It’s not all good news if you have hay fever.

Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects up to one in five people at some point in their life. You will experience hay fever if you have an allergic reaction to pollen. It is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it’s warm, humid and windy.

Your hay fever symptoms can be treated by you going to visit your local pharmacist and using over the counter medications, such as antihistamines.

We’ve got advice on managing your hayfever along with other advice and tips to help you stay well this summer our website.





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March 2019

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This month’s newsletter seems to be mostly about change. We have announced a new Chief Executive, Tracey Cox, who is responsible for the three Clinical Commissioning Groups in our area – Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire – and our Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. I’m staying on into April to smooth the transition to the new structure.

The NHS Long Term Plan brings with it the requirement to establish Primary Care Networks and we are supporting GPs across Wiltshire to develop networks that meet their local populations’ needs. GPs have had an initial meeting to discuss how the networks might operate and there will be more to come on this over the next few months.

Healthwatch Wiltshire are engaging locally on the Long Term Plan, giving you the opportunity to have your say on how increased funding for the NHS should be spent in Wiltshire – what would you do?

And we have developed a new website that aims to provide a wealth of information that a Type 2 diabetic needs to help them make healthy changes and seek support to manage their diabetes.

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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New Chief Executive appointed to continue integration of health and care across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire

BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups have appointed a single Chief Executive to oversee the ongoing improvement and integration of health and care services across the region.

Tracey Cox has taken up the position of Chief Executive of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs and will also lead the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) for the region.

Tracey was previously Accountable Officer for BaNES CCG and Interim Senior Responsible Officer for the STP. She will oversee closer working between the three CCGs, which will operate with a single senior management team, use their collective resources more efficiently and streamline their respective decision-making arrangements.

“With our local health and care system facing unprecedented demand and financial pressures, it’s now more important than ever before that health and care providers work in a joined up and seamlessly integrated manner,” said Tracey.

“Where it makes sense, we will work collaboratively to deliver health and care improvements for a larger population across the region. We will also continue with our existing plans for local integration and transforming services that benefit our local communities and are responsive to people’s needs.

“The views and the needs of people living in the local area will play a central role in the way we shape services in the future and we will be starting a programme of public engagement about this over the next few months.”

Tracey took up the new Chief Executive position on 1 March 2019.

You can find more information on our website   


Salisbury Hospital launches HEAT project

The Salisbury Foundation Trust launched the Health, Education and Technology (HEAT) Project Salisbury in March, a project which is set to regenerate the Salisbury District Hospital site, creating a modern, sustainable, environmentally-friendly centre to serve the local community’s changing needs.

The project plans to integrate the existing hospital facility with a potential range of other services designed to complement health care. These could range from education and training to research and development.

Nick Marsden, Chairman at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Salisbury District Hospital has an important place at the heart of the community: this exciting project is about educational, social, and environmental benefits as well as health.

“Like many other hospitals, we are facing a challenging future. We have to plan to ensure we can manage with increased pressures on resources, be more efficient and improve our services.

“The hospital is not a modern build but has evolved over time, becoming Salisbury’s largest employer, and a pivotal part of the local economy.

“The estate currently has a repair bill running into tens of millions of pounds, which is essential to bring it up to modern standards. This is simply not viable given the current layout and inadequacy of existing buildings.

“So we have to reconfigure to make the best of our specialist services and work with other providers that can complement our health care services. It will help us to provide an optimal service to the city and surrounding region.”

Consultation began with public exhibitions on 14 and 16 March 2019 for people to find out more about the project. The exhibition panels can be viewed online on the HEAT website.

Health, Education and Technology (HEAT) Project Salisbury is a working title. As part of the consultation, the public is also being invited to suggest potential names for the project by visiting

Timescales for the project are not fixed, but it is anticipated a planning application will be made in spring 2020.


Transforming Maternity Services Together

The consultation period has come to end for the proposals change the way maternity services are delivered across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Thank you to everyone who shared their views – more than 2,400 people took part in the consultation, including 1800 survey responses and 600+ face-to-face discussions.

We are now collating the feedback which will be independently analysed and the results used to help the Governing Bodies of BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs make a final decision in the summer.


New chair appointed to RUH Trust

The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust has announced it has appointed Alison Ryan as its new chair. She will take over from Brian Stables, who is stepping down after nine years in the role, from 1 April 2019.

Ms Ryan has 30 years strategic and executive experience in the health and social care sector. She was most recently a Non-Executive Director at the University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, chairing its Quality and Outcomes Committee between 2014-17, during which the Trust moved from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Outstanding’ after inspection by the CQC.

Ms Ryan said: “I’m delighted to be joining the RUH Trust team at what is an exciting time and challenging time for the NHS and for the Trust itself. We have some major development projects in the pipeline, and some coming to fruition, that will help make the RUH fit for the future and further improve the services we offer to our patients.

“As chair I am committed to listening to our patients and their families, our staff and our communities and partners, and to act on what we hear. I have already found out that our directors and governors are a talented, caring and committed team and I look forward to working with them very much.”

Find out more on our website.


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Get Involved!

What would you do? 

Healthwatch Wiltshire is asking how you think the NHS can help people live healthier lives, what would make local services better, and how care for people with long term conditions could be improved.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the Government is investing an extra £20bn a year in the NHS until 2023. Now it’s your chance to have your say on how money should be spent on services in Wiltshire.

Take part in the What would you do? survey on the Healthwatch website and share your views today.

You can also give your views on how care could be improved for people with conditions that health and care providers have made a priority.

If you have experience of cancer, heart and lung diseases, mental health, dementia, learning disability, autism, or a long term condition such as diabetes or arthritis, please visit the website to say what you think. All responses are anonymous.

Healthwatch are also running a series of events where you will be able to share your views about the future of NHS services in Wiltshire.

  • Monday 1 April – 10.30am-12pm, Allied Services Meeting, Tidworth, SP9 7EP
  • Tuesday 2 April – 10am-2pm, Beversbrook Medical Centre, Harrier Lane, Calne, SN11 9UT
  • Friday 5 April – 9.30am-12.30pm, Warminster Library, Three Horseshoes Walk, Warminster, BA14 9BT
  • Tuesday 9 April – 10am-2pm, Springfield Community Campus, Beechfield Road, Corsham, SN13 9DN
  • Monday 29 April – 1pm-3pm, Jubilee Centre, High Street, Marlborough, SN12 1LW

Find out more on the Healthwatch Wiltshire website.


Implementing the NHS Long Term Plan – proposals for possible changes to legislation

NHS England are inviting patients, NHS staff, partner organisations and interested members of the public to give your views on potential proposals for changing current primary legislation relating to the NHS.

The proposals are based on what they have heard from patients, clinicians, NHS leaders and partner organisations, as well as national professional and representative bodies. They are intended to better enable NHS organisations to work collectively.

NHS England want to hear from as many people and organisations as possible. They intend to share feedback with other NHS bodies, the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Select Committee and the Department of Health and Social Care to further develop the ideas. 

You can read more about the proposals, complete the survey and give your views on the consultation web pages.

Consultation closes on 25 April 2019.

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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 the 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.


MJOG – download the free app for secure, two-way communication with your GP Practice

GP Practices in Wiltshire are offering their patients a smart way to communicate via a free, downloadable app – MJOG. The app provides a simple and secure channel for two-way communications between the GP Practice and the patient.

Dr Jonathan Osborn, GP at Giffords Surgery and Chief Clinical Information Officer for Wiltshire CCG explains: “MJOG is a fantastic, free, secure and simple-to-use app that I’m encouraging all of my patients with smart phones to download.”

MJOG provides patients who have downloaded the app with secure, two-way direct messaging with their Practice, including:

  • Handy appointment reminders
  • Instant notifications from their GP Practice
  • One-click process for cancelling their appointments
  • Private and secure messaging

“Many Practices already use straight-forward text messaging to communicate with their patients, but MJOG notches this up a level. Patients are able to receive information in a more informative way when compared to SMS, with the added convenience of being able to reply at the touch of a button. MJOG also makes it simple for patients to cancel their appointments in one-click, saving them time by removing the need to telephone the Practice,” said Dr Osborn.

Practices that are using the MJOG app are sending their patients a text message to encourage them to download the app for free, from the App Store or Google Play. MJOG has no hidden message costs for the patient.

Patients should ensure their Practice has their up to date contact details.

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Cervical screening campaign

Cervical screening, or the “smear test”, is a routine health check that identifies potentially harmful cells and changes on the cervix. Cervical screening is not a test for cancer but catching any changes early can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer kills two women every day. Regular screenings can help reduce that number, which is why it’s so important you attend your screening when invited.

Cervical screening lasts about five minutes, and you only have to go once every three or five years depending on your age.

It’s five minutes that could save your life.

Find out more on the campaigns page on our website.




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February 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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NHS long term plan

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

The 10 year plan has three objectives:

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

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

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

You can find out more about the NHS Long Term plan at


AWP Chief Executive announces retirement

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

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

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

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


New Healthwatch Board

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

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

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

Visit the Healthwatch Wiltshire website for more information.


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Get Involved!

Transforming Maternity Services Together – consultation coming to a close

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Share your ideas and help improve services at a Wiltshire hospice

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

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

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

To find out how you can get involved contact Lucie at Evolving Communities on 01225 701851 or email  Or for more information on Dorothy House visit


Governing Body meeting

Our next Governing Body meeting is on 26 March 2019 at 10.00am at Southgate House, Pans Lane, Devizes SN10 5EQ.

You can read the papers from previous meetings on our website

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

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

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

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

Find out more on the campaigns page on our website.


Dementia Roadmap for Wiltshire launched  

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

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

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




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December 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you a happy and healthy festive season!

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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Improved access to GPs

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

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

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

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


GPs working together

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

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

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


A move for the Salisbury Walk-in Centre

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

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


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Be Involved!

Transforming Maternity Services Together

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

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

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

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


Urgent GP appointments

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

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

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Help Us Help You

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

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

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


Keep Antibiotics Working

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

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

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

For more information, visit:


Self care this winter

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

To find out more about Staying Well This Winter, and to download the self care infographic, visit


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

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

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

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

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


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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. 



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