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

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

Published on Tuesday 30 January by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) the survey results reveal the responses from women who had given birth in February 2017 in services run by 130 NHS trusts across the country. They highlight improvements in areas such as choice of where to give birth, quality of information and access to help and support after giving birth.

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 show that across the country, women were generally more positive about their experiences at every stage of their care, with most responses having improved or stayed the same since the survey was last carried out in 2015.

The responses to the 2017 survey show a number of notable trends, including:

  • The proportion of women who said they were offered the choice of giving birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre has increased by seven per cent since 2013 (35% in 2013; 41% in 2015; rising to 42% in 2017).
  • Over a third of women (38%) reported that they saw the same midwife at every antenatal appointment: a 4% increase since 2013.
  • 88% of women surveyed said that they were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth compared to 86% who said this in 2015 (85% in 2013).
  • The majority of women (77%) reported that they were never left alone during the birth of their baby at a time when it worried them. This compares to 74% in 2015.
  • Almost six in 10 women (59%) said they could ‘always’ get help from a member of staff within a reasonable time while in hospital after the birth: an improvement of 5% since 2015.
  • 66% of women felt they were ‘always’ given the information or explanations they needed after birth before returning home (compared with 58% in 2013).
  • 98% of women said their midwife or health visitor asked them how they were feeling emotionally during their postnatal care; however, a smaller proportion (57%) of women said they were ‘definitely’ given enough information about potential emotional changes they might experience after giving birth.
  • While there has been an increase in the number of women who reported being offered the choice about where to have their antenatal checks compared to previous years (29% in 2013 rising to 31% in 2017), the majority of women in 2017 (69 %) said they were not given a choice about this aspect of their care.

Professor Ted Baker, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “This year’s survey shows some very positive results about the quality of maternity care being provided in the NHS. This is a testament to efforts and dedication of staff working hard to provide care for pregnant women and new mothers across the country.

“The survey identifies a number of encouraging data trends showing improvements in women’s experiences throughout pregnancy, during birth and postnatally, and it indicates a greater focus on women’s individual needs and choices.

 “However, the scope for continued improvement remains, particularly in relation to women’s choices about their antenatal care and ensuring enough information is available to support women through any emotional changes they might experience after giving birth.  

“Our own inspection work of maternity services so far shows that the majority of trusts are providing high quality care – with over 60 per cent of hospitals rated as either Good or Outstanding for maternity. However, this also highlights that further work is needed to narrow the variation that we know exists.

 “I hope that NHS trusts will reflect on their individual results to understand what women using their maternity services really think about the care and treatment they provide. This will help them to identify where they need to make changes to drive improvements in the quality of care for the benefit of all women and their families.”

The full results for England, as well as individual results for each trust are available on the CQC’s website at www.cqc.org.uk/maternitysurvey

 This is the fifth survey of its kind that CQC has carried out in order to help NHS trusts understand what women’s experiences are of their maternity care and to make improvements. The results are used by CQC as part of its wider monitoring of NHS trusts.

New group lets cancer patients have their say

People whose lives have been touched by cancer can now come together as part of a new group and have their collective voices listened to by experts from the Great Western Hospital.

The Swindon Cancer Partnership Group, which officially launches next month, will give cancer patients and/or their carers the opportunity to be involved in the development of local cancer services.

By meeting regularly, it’s hoped members of the group will not only be able to talk about their own cancer journey, but work with experts to influence how care is given in the future.

Lyndel Moore, Cancer Nurse Consultant, said:
This new group will provide local people with a forum in which they can have their voices at the very heart of the services we provide.

By listening to, and acting upon, the views of people affected by cancer, we are able to continually make the changes and improvements that will ensure our care is always of the highest standard.   

Our overall aim is for local people, who have lived the cancer journey, to have a hand in influencing the quality of the care and treatment given to others like them.  Whether it’s feeding back directly, taking part in focus groups or just filling out questionnaires, those people coming along can be involved in as much or as little as they like.

The Swindon Cancer Partnership Group will meet four times a year, with attendance open to any person who feels their experience can help make a difference to others.

Last year, a survey of more than 72,000 cancer patients highlighted the positive care happening at GWH.

Of the 438 Swindon patients who took part, the majority gave a favourable account of their experience, with GWH’s cancer care receiving an average score of 8.6 out of a possible ten.

 A special event to launch the group is being held on Wednesday 21 February 2018 in the Cherwell Education Room at Great Western Hospital between 3.15pm and 4.45pm. Please contact the GWH Cancer Team on 01793 646152 or at gwh.gwhcancerpartnership@nhs.net to register your interest.

Parents invited to join webinar and have their say on SEND inspection

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will be conducting an inspection of the local area’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) arrangements as part of their routine inspections from next Monday.

The local area refers to Wiltshire Council, Clinical Commissioning Group, schools, colleges, health providers, children’s centres, Wiltshire Parent Carer Council and other relevant partners.

The inspection will consider how effectively the local area:

  • Identifies and assesses the needs of children and young people with SEND,
  • Meets the needs of these children and young people so that their outcomes and chance of participating fully in society improve

The inspection will run from Monday 29 January to Friday 2 February.

Part of the fact finding process is to invite parents and children and young people with SEND to give their views at a special webinar. The session will be led by Jen Southall, Her Majesty’s Inspector, who will ask parents and carers about their views and experiences on how effectively the Wiltshire local area is fulfilling its responsibilities.

The webinar which is organised and hosted by Ofsted, will be on Friday 26 January from 10am to 11am.

You can find out more information and register at:
 https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6577293238529389570

Work being carried out at Southgate House

Wiltshire CCG would like to announce that NSH Property Services will be working in Southgate House, Pans Lane after normal working hours for one week beginning on Monday 22 January 2018.

Contractors are likely to be on site until 2.30am daily and whilst this work is being carried out noise will be kept to a minimum.

Update from NHS National Emergency Pressure Panel

NHS England has issued guidance in line with the new Winter Pressures Protocol.  The guidance, which is issued to hospitals, extends the deferral of all non-urgent inpatient elective care to free up capacity for the sickest patients to January 31. The panel reiterated that cancer operations and time-critical procedures should go ahead as planned.  Over and above this, day-case procedures and routine outpatient appointments should also be deferred where this will release clinical time for non-elective care.

Read the official letter from Pauline Philip, National Director, Urgent and Emergency Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement to systems, and the press  statement from the National Emergency Pressure Panel which was issued to media.

 

Joy as Wiltshire charity named UK’s Best dementia Care team

A Wiltshire charity is celebrating after being told it has the best dementia care team in the UK.

The Support at Home team at Alzheimer’s Support won the Best Team category at the prestigious Dementia Care Awards 2017.

The team, which provides highly personalised, one-to-one companionship and support to people living with dementia across Wiltshire, comprises 65 support workers and eight care coordinators. They visit people in their own homes and take them on outings, building up a strong rapport with clients and helping them stay active in their communities for as long as possible.

Registered Services Manager Sally Haddrell-Jenks, who accepted the award on behalf of the team, said:
“I am absolutely thrilled to be receiving this on behalf of our wonderful colleagues who do so much to support people living with dementia in Wiltshire. The important work we do is very much ‘behind the scenes’ so it is wonderful for the team to get this recognition.”
CEO Babs Harris said:
“I am bursting with pride. Our small Wiltshire outfit stood out amongst all the large, national, and well-funded organisations and what came through was the dedication, understanding and love that our colleagues show every day in their work.”
Joanne Armstrong, from Devizes, who cares for her husband Robin said: 
 “This is so well deserved. The service from Alzheimer’s Support has been wonderful. I cannot speak highly enough of the support worker who comes to us at home. He understands our needs.”

The award was handed over by former Emmerdale actor John Middleton at a ceremony in Doncaster as part of the National Dementia Congress.

The judges’ citation said:
“Support at Home was chosen because the team is making a tangible difference every day to people in their own homes. Even though the support workers work with clients individually, there is an immense feeling of belonging and team identity. There’s been huge investment in team development and support which has been acknowledged and spread across Wiltshire.”
Ted Wilson, Community and Joint Commissioning Director said:
‘We are really proud of Alzheimer’s Support.  They have considerable engagement and commitment and allow people with dementia to take an active part in the community and participate in meaningful activities.  We highly commend the level of support they give to people, and are absolutely dedicated to ensuring that the people they support lead full and happy lives.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Firm commitment made to support carers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Royal United Hospital launches mobile app to provide expert advice on common childhood illnesses

A free mobile app which provides expert advice to parents, carers and health care professionals on common childhood illnesses has launched today by The Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

Developed and approved by Paediatric Consultants at the RUH and endorsed by local GPs, the HANDi app provides expert advice on how best to manage the six most common childhood illnesses; diarrhoea and vomiting, high temperature, chestiness, newborn problems and stomach pain.

Becky Winterson, Consultant at the RUH said:
“This app has been created to help parents and carers if they’re not sure what to do when their child has a common childhood illness. It’s easy to use and takes the parent or carer through a series of questions about the symptoms their child is experiencing and then advises on the best course of action, whether that’s to treat at home, make a GP appointment or to go to A&E.

This app aims to give parents and carers more confidence in dealing with minor conditions at home. Each of the six common childhood illnesses listed in the app has a home care plan to help parents and carers provide the best support for their child as well as advice about when they should seek further help where necessary.”

Bath resident Becky Banahan, wife of Matt Banahan, Bath and England rugby player, said:
“I’ve got a hectic lifestyle with three young children, two dogs and I run a business so I think this app is perfect for mums like me who want somewhere they can get trusted advice quickly. Plus downloading it onto my phone means I’ve always got it with me.

I will also find it really useful to check and see whether I need to take my children to the GP or whether I can look after them just as well at home.”

Dr Shanil Mantri, Partner, Newbridge Surgery, Bath said:
“As a local GP, I see lots of parents who struggle with deciding whether to manage their child themselves and when to get help. There is a wealth of information online so it can be hard for parents to know what advice to follow.

Therefore, having approved the advice given on the range of common childhood conditions in the HANDi app I hope it will give parents the confidence to self-manage as appropriate. The app also advises which healthcare service parents should contact if their child’s illness worsens and when to seek immediate help.”

Available to download for free from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store, the HANDi App will work on any Apple or Android device.

The HANDi App will be promoted to parents and healthcare professionals across Bath, North East Somerset and Wiltshire thanks to the partnership with Bath and North East Somerset Council, BaNES Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Wiltshire CCG.

New phone number for Arriva

Arriva’s contact number is: 0345 600 6068

The new contact number is cheaper than the previous 0845 number, particularly if calling from a mobile phone.

Starting a Conversation about end of life care in Wiltshire

About four thousand people die each year in Wiltshire. Most are older people who had been living with a chronic condition. Compared to ten years ago, more people in Wiltshire are dying at home or in a hospice, and fewer in hospital. Care to support people at the end of life is provided by a range of services including hospitals, hospices, care homes, pharmacies, social care agencies, charities, GPs and community services.

NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Wiltshire Council are refreshing the Wiltshire End of Life Care strategy, and are interested to hear what people think is important in end of life care. This will help them to develop their plans for end of life care in Wiltshire. Healthwatch Wiltshire are supporting them to gather these views.

We are holding 3 public “starting a conversation” events across the county. These will be an opportunity for local people to hear more about the strategy, share their views on what is important at the end of life and find out more about what services are currently available.
These meetings will be held at

  • Thursday 24th November 2 – 4pm Salisbury Methodist Church, St. Edmund’s Church Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3EF
  • Tuesday 29th November 2 – 4pm The Memorial Hall, Station Rd, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, SN4 8EN
  • Wednesday 30th November 10am – 12, St Margaret’s Hall, St Margaret’s Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1DE
Ted Wilson, Community and Joint Commissioning Director, NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said
“The refreshed End of Life Strategy reinforces our commitment to improving and developing end of life care and support services. Our vision for end of life care in Wiltshire is personalised, well co-ordinated and aims to empower patients to make informed choices about their care. We continue to learn and enhance work in a joined-up manner across health, social care and voluntary sector as we move forward. In an environment where resources are constrained, we are committed to make best use of those available and to deliver value for money; whilst delivering real choice for patients and meet their wishes, where possible, in the last phase of their life.”
Lucie Woodruff, Volunteer and Engagement Manager at Healthwatch Wiltshire said
“The aim of Wiltshire’s End of Life Strategy is to make sure people who are approaching the end of their life and their unpaid carers are able to access the care and support they need. We want to make sure that current services are meeting their needs. Only by hearing real stories and involving local people in decisions about services, can we really be sure that people approaching the end of their life are properly supported. These public events are an opportunity for people to find out more about end of life care locally, to share their experiences and views. ”

For more information about the meetings, contact Healthwatch Wiltshire on 01225 434218 or info@healthwatchwiltshire.co.uk. For those unable to attend the meeting, the strategy and a questionnaire can be found at http://www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/end-of-life-care.

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Are you taking part in Stoptober – the 28 day stop smoking challenge?

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, GP

NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is urging smokers to take part in this year’s Stoptober Campaign, the 28 day stop smoking challenge starting on 1 October.

If you are a smoker, why not join in with England’s biggest stop smoking challenge – nearly a million people have taken part since Stoptober began five years ago. It’s never too late to stop smoking and quitting success rates are currently at their highest level ever recorded. If you can stop smoking for 28 days it’s widely reported that you are five times more likely to quit for good.

No matter how daunting it seems and even if you’ve been smoking for decades, quitting really is possible. Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and 83% of smokers want to quit for this reason. As soon as you stop smoking you will start seeing and feeling the benefits to your health and your lifestyle.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP at Market Lavington Surgery says: “We’ve all heard it before, but quitting smoking at any time of life will greatly benefit your health. I encourage every smoker in Wiltshire to quit this Stoptober and join together with friends and family to motivate each other throughout this 28 day challenge. It’s never too late to quit”

Dr Richard Sandford – Hill talking about quitting smoking

By signing up to Stoptober, you can choose from a range of free tools including daily emails, facebook and text messages to support and motivate you during Stoptober, or download the mobile phone app which includes lots more tips and advice – all designed to help increase your chances to stop smoking. You can also get more expert information from your local Stop Smoking Service on stop smoking aid available to you – Stoptober is here to help you.

Join in with the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, register with Stoptober now.

Pregnant women urged to protect their babies from whooping cough as infections rise across the south

Cases of highly infectious whooping cough have increased by 25% across the south region, posing a serious risk to babies and young infants. Yet despite the rise, thousands of women are still not being vaccinated, with 40% of pregnant women not taking the protection it offers to their new born child.

A regional campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the risks and promote uptake of the vaccine among pregnant women.

Whooping cough – known medically as pertussis – is an infection which can create serious breathing difficulties, particularly in babies and young children. It can lead to major health complications such as brain damage and pneumonia and can be fatal.

In the south region, there were 1141 cases of whooping cough in 2014, increasing by over 25% to 1432 in 2015. In 2012, 14 babies died in England and Wales following a whooping cough infection.

New born and young babies are particularly vulnerable, but a highly effective vaccine is routinely available to pregnant women, who then pass the resistance to their unborn child, protecting the baby from birth until they are old enough to receive their childhood immunisations at around three months old.

The vaccine is given at a GP practice or in maternity units at the point of the foetal abnormality scan, from 20 weeks of pregnancy. Ideally it should be given before 32 weeks, but it can still be given right up to the point of labour, but with reduced effectiveness.

The national average coverage of eligible pregnant women is around 60%.  But in the South there is significant variation – as low as just 43% in Slough CCG area – highlighting areas where many women are not receiving the protection offered by the vaccine.

During the winter flu season, pregnant women should also receive the flu vaccination, which can be given at the same time as whooping cough.

Dr Nigel Acheson, Regional Medical Director, said:
“People often think of whooping cough as an illness from days gone by – but it is a real threat to babies and young children right now and can lead to pneumonia, brain damage and even death.  

“The number of infections increased by 25% across the South region in 2015, but despite the risk, on average just 60% of women receive the vaccination, meaning many are putting their baby at risk.   

“As we are also approaching the winter flu season, I also urge pregnant women to receive their free flu vaccination, which they can have at the same time as whooping cough. This way they will protect themselves and their baby from both potentially fatal illnesses.”

Find out more on the NHS Choices website and search ‘whooping cough’

Taking your health seriously

Simon Truelove, Acting Accountable Officer

Not salisbury (4)

Luckily, many of us don’t have to worry about our general health on a day to day basis.  But  making sure we stay healthy and live as well as we can is our own responsibility.

We’ve all heard it before.  But eating a healthy diet, not smoking and being more active really is vital when we want to avoid potentially life threatening illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke. Together with the Public Health team at Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire’s GPs are encouraging and recommending Wiltshire people to make small changes to our lifestyles to help us all feel healthier and live well for longer.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin GP at The Avenue Surgery in Warminster comments: “An unhealthy lifestyle has a huge impact on your health. Some pretty serious diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers can all be directly linked to a poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking.

Issues with joints, especially the knees and back, can be made much worse if you’re overweight.  Even carrying out your daily routine, such as putting your socks on, can be a challenge for some people.”

Give yourself a chance of enjoying a longer, healthier life by just making small changes.  The smallest changes to your habits can have a surprising effect – in your diet, perhaps by eating freshly prepared food and eating more fresh fruit and vegetables each day, or doing some form of exercise, no matter what it is, every day for just half an hour – can all help make a huge difference to our physical and mental health.

Walking is a great way to stay active, so instead of taking the car for short journeys, why not walk instead?

We all have busy lives. Health services are there to help you if you become unwell, but it’s important to remember that you also need to do what you can to ensure that you stay as healthy as possible, and only you can change your attitude towards your health.  Don’t wait until your health starts deteriorating;  take action now!

Simon Truelove, Interim Chief Officer for Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group says: “NHS budgets are continuously being stretched and we need to find ways to provide quality health services within a limited budget and to reduce the financial impact avoidable illness has on the health system in our county.

Making the right choices and taking personal responsibility for your health, means you become healthier and less reliant on our doctors, which in turn frees up valuable GP time to focus on those people who are most in need.

It also reduces the financial pressure on local NHS services and allows us to reduce the amount we spend treating those illnesses that are almost entirely avoidable”.

Keeping active, eating well and good weight management are the key to a healthy lifestyle. There’s lots of helpful advice and information on smoking, drinking, eating, moving, sleeping and stress on the NHS One You website.

The website also includes a quiz – have a check to see how healthy you are right now. It also provides tips on how you can start to live a healthier lifestyle.

Visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou and start your journey on living a healthier lifestyle.

Feeling unwell?  Choose the right healthcare

Simon Truelove, Acting Accountable Officer

Not salisbury (3)

In Wiltshire, there are numerous ways to get the right health care advice and treatment you need.  But when you’re feeling unwell it’s not always easy to understand which service is the best for you to use.

Because it’s so confusing, people very often go straight to hospital or to a GP.  But more times than not, that’s not the sort of treatment you need, and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to consider the range of options available before attending A&E or booking a GP appointment if you think you need treatment.

We have a range of services to choose from so that you don’t need to have to go to hospital or see a GP.

Self-Care

Many illnesses or symptoms – such as coughs, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated yourself at home if you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet and if you get plenty of rest.

NHS 111

NHS 111 is a free-to-call telephone service you can ring when you need medical or dental help and advice quickly, but when it’s not an emergency. 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Pharmacy/Chemist

Your local pharmacist is a highly trained healthcare professional, who is able to give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them.  Most pharmacies have a quiet area or consultation room where you can have private conversations, and many are open during the evening and weekends.

Doctor

If you have an illness or injury that won’t go away, make an appointment with your GP.  They provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.

A&E or 999

Accident and Emergency departments and the 999 ambulance service are to be used in serious or life-threatening situations.  A&E provides immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or who are badly injured.

Dr Chet Sheth, GP at St Anne’s Street Practice in Salisbury, said: “We often see people in the surgery with colds and sore throats and, unless the patient is particularly young or old, they can often be treated by a local pharmacist with over-the-counter medicines. Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge about a range of health issues and they’re experts in medicines – they can also help you to decide whether it’s necessary for you to see a doctor – or not – if you’re unsure.”

For sprains, dislocations, minor cuts and burns or minor eye injuries then one of Wiltshire’s two minor injury units, or the walk-in centre in Salisbury, will be able to help you. If you’re not sure about whether you need to go, then call the 111 service.  They’ll talk through your symptoms with you and advise you on the most appropriate place to go for treatment. If you need urgent medical assistance for a serious or life threatening condition, then always telephone 999 straight away.”

When we’re able to make the right decision on the type of treatment we need, we not only help keep ourselves healthy, but we help to free up time to allow doctors and health care professionals to focus on those people who need their services the most.

That way we all ensure we make the best use of the money we receive for health care and treatment in Wiltshire. Treating people in, or as close to people’s homes as possible, is fundamental to providing NHS services which truly meet Wiltshire people’s needs.

Our community teams

We have community teams working right across our county.  The nurses and healthcare professionals working in each team provide personal, seamless care for people living in our towns and villages, visiting patients in their own homes or at clinics in local buildings.  Your GP will refer you to a community team if you need the sort of treatment they provide, without you having to go into hospital. Every team cares for a number of people across an area of Wiltshire, linking into groups of GP practices.  Community team members have close relationships with other services, such as social care, mental health, domiciliary and voluntary services, to make sure that you get the right sort of care you need.

Our aim is for Wiltshire people to receive efficient, personal and joined up care which allows everyone to continue to live in their local community as long and as well as possible.  With the increasing costs of medicines and treatments, and a national shortage of GPs and other health professionals working in the health sector, the NHS is facing one of its biggest ever challenges.  But in Wiltshire, we’re carving the right path for patients, continuing to give people really good health care services and allowing you to have the right healthcare, for you, with you, near you.