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.

Today’s NHS – it’s a challenging time

Simon Truelove, Acting Accountable Officer

Not Salisbury (2)

The good news is that as a nation we are living longer – but what impact does our ageing population have on the amount of money we have available to spend on healthcare?

With increasing costs of medicines and treatments, and a national shortage of GPs and other health professionals working in the health sector, the NHS is currently facing one of its biggest challenges.

In Wiltshire we are definitely living longer, but not all of us are living well in our older years. A significant proportion of our annual budget is spent helping older people and people with a combination of lots of conditions like Diabetes and COPD to live well. In Wiltshire, over 22% of our population is aged over 65 – and 75,000 of us are living with long term health conditions.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP at Market Lavington Surgery, says: “Providing medical care for an increasingly ageing population is difficult. In my own practice a majority of my routine appointments are attended by people aged over 65, and those people often have complex long term needs”.

The NHS is used to doing as much as it can with ever-stretched budgets.  The shortage of people working in social care means that together with Wiltshire Council, we’re doing our very best to make sure we can support people.  And it’s not all doom and gloom – we’re making some great strides forward to make sure we can properly deal with some of the issues we are facing.

Our number one priority is to make sure that older people can get the care and treatment they need either in their own home, or as close to home as possible.  Wiltshire has an overall population of over 480,000 and the geography of our county is a challenge.  But by working with Wiltshire Council, using a specially-allocated budget called the Better Care Fund, our GPs have established new ways of supporting people to receive care, stay independent and keep well without having to go into hospital.  We’re making a real difference to the lives of people in the Wiltshire by tackling head-on issues such as social isolation which can have a big impact on someone’s health and wellbeing.

We know that we face a tough road ahead, but by working in collaboration with our health colleagues right across Wiltshire we can carve the right path through, and continue to give people really good health care services.

For more information about the current challenges we’re facing, visit our campaigns page.

Let’s work together to solve Wiltshire’s prescription problem

Alex Goddard, Deputy Head of Medicines Management

There are lots of people who, like me, like to stock up on the essentials; with a family of six, I’m never without baby wipes or a cupboard full of washing powder and I’m very keen to take full advantage of the supermarket buy one get one free deals. But, I also see this ‘just in-case’ attitude every single day in my job as Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Deputy Head of Medicines Management, when it comes to ordering repeat medication.

In Wiltshire, almost 1 in 4 people are on a repeat prescription. In fact, well over half (62%) of all prescriptions in Wiltshire are repeats and each month we dispense around 450,000 items on these prescriptions.

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However, we’ve found that 1 in every 15 repeat prescription items are not required because people already have stock. In other words that’s 360,000 items every year that aren’t needed. With each repeat prescription item costing Wiltshire £7.58, these unused medicines are wasting £2.7million every year. Just to put that into perspective, each of the following treatments also cost £2.7 million:

Wastage comparison

We’re dedicated to ensuring people have the right medication at the right time to help them stay well, however to continue to provide high quality health services in Wiltshire, we need your help:

Only order what you need

I know how comforting it can be to keep a stock of medication in the cupboard, for when you need it. However medicine does expire and your stock may be unusable by the time you get to it, or your prescription may have changed if a dose goes up or down. So when ordering your prescription, double check what items you already have and then only order what you need.

With most GP practices in Wiltshire now offering patients the choice to order repeat medication online or via email, it’s even easier to select just the items that you need at the time you need it.

Check your prescription before you take it home

When receiving your prescription from the Pharmacy/surgery, it’s easy to just pick up the bag and take it home without actually looking at what’s inside. Once you leave the Pharmacy/surgery we have to incinerate any medicine you return – even if it’s unopened. Each year in Wiltshire we spend around £42,000 to collect and incinerate unused medicine, and that doesn’t include the cost of the medicine! Quickly checking your prescription before you leave the Pharmacy could literally help us to save thousands of pounds.

Talk to your Pharmacist

Pharmacists are experts in medicine and can give you lots of advice and information about your prescription. If you’re:

  • not sure what a certain medicine is for
  • taking a different dose from what you’ve been prescribed

Have a chat with your Pharmacist; they may be able to carry out a medication review with you and make sure you are making the most of your prescriptions.

Who’s ordering for you?

Lots of people in Wiltshire have a friend, family member, carer, or pharmacy ordering their prescription. If you’re one of these people, have a chat with the person ordering your prescription and make sure they only order the medicines you need.

By working together and following these  simple tips, not only will we ensure that you continue to receive the right medication but it will also help us to save a considerable amount of money which will enable us to continue to provide high quality health services for the people of Wiltshire.

Find out more facts about Wiltshire’s repeat prescriptions in our infographic.

Malmesbury Medical Partnership rated outstanding following inspection

A Wiltshire GP practice, Malmesbury Medical Partnership has been rated ‘Outstanding’ following a recent inspection on 3 March 2016, by the Care Quality Commission.

The practice, which looks after more than 15,000 patients, is awarded an outstanding rating for effective services, services that are responsive to people’s needs and services that are well-led. They are rated as good for safe and caring services and the practice is rated as outstanding overall.

Commenting on the rating, Dr Geoff Payne, Medical Director for NHS England, South (South Central) said:
“The CQC inspections ensure that every patient receives consistently high quality care and we are delighted that Malmesbury Medical Partnership has been recognised as delivering an outstanding service to their patients.

“The practice was found to use innovative and proactive approaches to improve patient outcomes and work with other local providers to share best practice. For example the practice worked with other stakeholders to collaborate and then introduce an in-house frail elderly service. The practice also works proactively with its patients and was found to make changes to services following feedback from patients and its patient participation group.

“This outstanding rating is a great achievement for staff at Malmesbury Medical Partnership.”

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair , Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“This is a fantastic outcome for Malmesbury Medical Partnership and we are very pleased to see the Practice achieve an Outstanding rating in the CQC’s latest report.  All member practices are encouraged to look for new and innovative ways of working which place the patient at the heart of practice decisions and we are delighted to see Malmesbury Medical Partnership recognised for its hard work and dedication. Well done to the whole team.”
Mr David Grogan, Managing Partner at Malmesbury Medical Partnership said:
“We are very pleased to receive this outstanding rating from CQC and would like to thank our staff and patients for their continued help and support. It is really heartening to see both our services and our proactive work such as the initiative with the local council to introduce an in house art programme, being recognised in this way. We are committed to ensuring the primary care service we provide is of the best possible quality and will continue to work hard for the benefit of our patients.”

The CQC particularly highlighted the following areas of outstanding practice at Malmesbury Medical Partnership:

  • Staff were found to raise any concerns, incidents or near misses and all learning opportunities from internal and external incidents were maximised
  • Staff used innovative and proactive approaches to improve patient outcomes. For example working with other stakeholders to introduce an in-house elderly frail service.
  • The practice also works with the local community to plan how services can best meet patient’s needs. For example, they worked with the local council to introduce an in house art programme. They also worked with the local wildlife trust to develop opportunities for patients with mental health issues.
  • The practice was found to work proactively with its patients and patient participation group (PPG), making changes to services following suggestions from patients and its PPG.
  • The practice was also found to actively review complaints and ensure they are responded to and changes are implemented where appropriate leading to improvements.

To read the full CQC quality report into Malmesbury Medical Group visit http://www.cqc.org.uk/

Single point of contact to keep people warm and safe

Wiltshire residents now have a single point of contact to provide support, help and guidance to people living in cold homes and those struggling to keep on top of bills.

Funded by the British Gas Energy Trust, Wiltshire Council will work with the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Centre for Sustainable Energy, to build on the council’s existing Warm and Safe energy advice service which is run jointly with Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. People are being encouraged to contact the service now to reduce household energy costs for the year ahead and get homes prepared for next winter.

There will be an improved referral system and even more people will be able to benefit from the service. People who are on low incomes, elderly, disabled and suffering in a cold home will get the support they need – quickly and efficiently.

A number of health conditions can be exacerbated by living in cold, damp homes. These include asthma, hypertension and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The Warm and Safe Wiltshire advice service provides information and support to all residents across Wiltshire who are looking to make their homes warmer and more comfortable as well as providing advice on how people can reduce their energy bills, home fire safety advice and sign posting to other relevant services. Warm and Safe Wiltshire can search for funding for heating and insulation improvements as well as providing home visits to those who need advice and support the most.

Maggie Rae, Wiltshire Council corporate director, said:
“Winter can be a tough time for many but this enhanced joined-up service means that more people will get vital support to help keep them warm in their homes.”
Keith Humphries, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, said:
“We are pleased to be part of this partnership helping provide vital support to those who need it most. We want people to feel comfortable, safe and warm in their own home and this partnership will help more people do that.”
Phillip Morris, Senior Development Manager at the Centre for Sustainable Energy said:
“It is great to be working so closely with the council and in particular the public health team on this project. The project is an excellent example of how well a number of different organisations can work together to provide support to those people who are struggling to heat their homes to a healthy level.”
Dr Tim Ballard, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:
“As GPs, we look at the physical, psychological, and social factors affecting a patient’s health before we make a diagnosis – and the conditions someone lives in can be key to their overall health and wellbeing.

“If people are living in cold homes, then it makes sense that they will be more susceptible to health problems associated with cold weather, for example respiratory problems such as COPD. It has been frustrating during my career, when my clinical opinion has been that a patient’s health might improve if they lived in a drier, warmer and potentially safer home, but the relevant support has been lacking.

“Pilot schemes have shown a link between initiatives that address fuel poverty and cold homes and a decrease in both GP appointments and hospital admissions, so I am delighted that the College is involved in this important advice and referral scheme in Wiltshire, where I practise.

“This Warm and Safe Wiltshire scheme will not only help the patients concerned, but it may well lead to a decrease in workload for GPs and our teams, who are currently facing intense resource and workforce pressures. We look forward to an evaluation of this pilot scheme in due course to assess the benefits and see if there is scope to roll this out further.”

For more information about the service and how they can benefit people are encouraged to visit www.warmandsafewiltshire.org.uk for all the information they need.

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Planned industrial strike action by junior doctors – 10 February 2016

Acute hospitals in our area (Great Western Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust; Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust) have plans in place to minimise disruption during the industrial strike action scheduled to take place on 10 February 2016, by junior doctors in England. Patients who are affected by the strike action will have been notified directly by their health care provider. If you have not been contacted directly, you should attend your routine health appointments as usual.