More pupils in the future across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will have access to specially trained mental health practitioners thanks to funding for a new programme.

Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group successfully bid for funding to be part of NHS England’s Mental Health Support Team (MHST) Trailblazer programme.

The programme is already being implemented in Swindon and has been successfully rolled out in a number of other areas across the country. Now pupils across B&NES and Wiltshire will benefit from the second wave once the scheme starts in January 2020.

The scheme will see MHSTs working directly in selected schools and colleges across the region by providing on-site access to early mental health support.

The teams will provide early intervention for mild to moderate mental health issues, such as exam stress, low mood or friendship difficulties as well as providing support to staff. They will also act as a link with local specialist children and young people’s mental health services ensuring, if appropriate, that pupils can access more intensive support.

The funding for the scheme comes as recent public engagement driven by local health and care organisations has found that young people would prioritise better and faster access to mental health services.

One in nine young people aged 5 to 15 had a diagnosable mental health condition in 2017 and teenagers with a mental health disorder are more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder in adulthood. This package of measures is part of the Government’s plan to improve mental health support for children and young people, including identifying mental health issues before they become more acute.

Wiltshire Council Cabinet member for children, Pauline Church said:
“Now more than ever young people are under pressure, stress and social anxiety can cause real problems which affect their wellbeing and mental health”. “We know there is some excellent support out there already. This Trailblazer programme will build on that and provide even more support, earlier and where young people tell us that they want to receive it – in schools. The programme will help young people to improve their emotional health and wellbeing and get back on track.
Lucy Baker, Acting Commissioning Director for Maternity, Children and Mental Health at Wiltshire CCG said:
“It’s fantastic news that we’ve received funding for this important scheme. We know children, young people, their parents, supporters and carers want to be able to access mental health services quickly and easily and the Trailblazer scheme is a significant step forward in enabling that to happen.”
Dr David Soodeen, Clinical Director for the South West Mental Health Clinical Network, said:
“The process of growing up can lead to a number of issues which can impact upon the mental health of children and young people – exam stress, behavioural difficulties or friendship issues to name just a few. We believe that if intervention can take place early on, it may help stop worries becoming much bigger mental health issues. “By putting mental health support teams in to schools and colleges, the Trailblazer programme offers a really exciting opportunity to work differently with young people, supporting their mental health needs at an earlier stage and in a familiar setting. “Improving access to mental health support is a key theme of the NHS’ Long Term Plan and our congratulations go to everyone involved in securing this funding  – this will make a real difference to the local population and we look forward to working with both them, and colleagues in education, on delivering their plans.”

Wiltshire Council Press release: People asked to feedback on key health plan

Views are being sought on a strategy which sets out how people’s health and wellbeing will be supported in Wiltshire, giving them the best opportunities to thrive.

A consultation on the draft Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2019-2022 is underway and people have until 5 August to provide their feedback.

The strategy has been put together by Wiltshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board and their aim is to achieve the best outcomes for Wiltshire’s population through good quality housing, education, employment and safe communities.

The strategy is broken down into four main areas; prevention, tackling inequalities, localisation, and integration.

The role of Wiltshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board is to lead on work to improve the health and happiness of Wiltshire, specifically focusing on reducing health inequalities. It also considers the impact of health on the wider local authority and partnership agendas including housing, education, employment, crime, vulnerability and safeguarding.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council and co-chair of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“This key document will underpin all our work to support health and social care in Wiltshire; which is of course relevant to so many people in the county.

“I welcome people to provide us with feedback to help inform our decision making so that the delivery of services in these areas are reflective of local needs. I appreciate everyone taking the time out to support us with this vital work.”

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and co-chair of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board said:
“I’ve been a doctor in Wiltshire for 25 years and during that time I have seen the positive impact of effective medicine on life expectancy. However for us to live long, happy and healthy lives it relies on the combination of a healthy environment, supportive communities, housing, education and employment to have a positive impact and make the biggest difference.”

“It is therefore really important to us that we get this Health and Wellbeing strategy right for people and communities across Wiltshire. I encourage you to have your say and share your ideas with us.”

The consultation and associated strategy can be found at https://wiltshire.objective.co.uk/portal/public_health_and_public_protection/wiltshire_health_and_wellbeing_strategy_2019-2022_consultation

Medvivo has again, been given the highest rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after it was first declared ‘outstanding’ in April 2017 for its GP Out of Hours service in Wiltshire.

Medvivo has been providing the Integrated Urgent Care service for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire since May 2018. This brings together GP Out of Hours with NHS 111 and a new Clinical Assessment Service.  This second consecutive outstanding rating for an urgent care provider is unprecedented.

Following the CQC visit in January 2019, a full report based on the evidence gathered throughout the inspection has been published. Specific areas singled out include:

  • Clear vision and person-centred approach
  • Strong governance processes
  • Well-coordinated patient care
  • Best in class safeguarding
  • A “unique commitment” to public and patient engagement 
  • Rigorous monitoring of performance 
  • Exemplary use of data to support the whole health economy

Medvivo’s Managing Director, Liz Rugg, is immensely proud of the Medvivo team and comments: “This rating is recognition of the hard work and dedication demonstrated by our personnel in their provision of care services. To receive this rating twice, is a fantastic achievement, and testament to everyone’s commitment here to patient care.”

Chief Operating Officer, Michelle Reader adds: “The area we cover and the number of service users has increased massively since our last inspection. Everyone here should be congratulated for ensuring that we continue to deliver care of the highest quality. It also means that the residents of BaNES and Swindon can now enjoy outstanding urgent care, just as their neighbours in Wiltshire have done for a number of years”. 

The CQC Inspection Team comprised of a Lead Inspector, with a GP Specialist Adviser and two Inspection Managers.

In the report, Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Service and Integrated Care highlighted several areas of outstanding practice:

Working collaboratively with external stakeholders
“The provider worked collaboratively with external stakeholders on a range of initiatives to improve access to care and patient experience for those who were vulnerable, had a disability or were from a minority group. An example of this was the use of the Streetlink Homelessness App and delivering care for refugees being repatriated to the UK.”

Innovative approaches to providing integrated patient-centred care
“For example, the provider delivered an Urgent Care @Home service. The service ensured an integrated rapid health and social care response for service users in a health or social care crisis in their own home to avoid inappropriate admissions and expedite hospital discharges. This had not only improved patient outcomes but it has also supported the whole system in terms of increased capacity and financial savings.”

A strong emphasis on staff wellbeing
“The interventions initiated by the provider had led to a decrease in turnover of over 6% in the last 12 months. Examples of initiatives taken were a Health and Wellbeing Charter developed with staff, the introduction of Mental Health First Aiders, resilience workshops and self-awareness campaigns.”

The full report can be accessed at www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-347335038 or on the Medvivo website: www.medvivo.com/news/2019/outstanding-cqc-rating-retained

Survey launched during Mental Health Awareness Week

Young people, parents and professionals are being asked for their views on how we can improve mental health and wellbeing in Wiltshire. The online surveys for Mental Health Awareness Week will help shape how services are provided in the future. They are one of a number of initiatives the council and partners are involved in to help improve services to support young people’s mental health.

Other initiatives include:

  • Kooth – an online counselling for pupils at all secondary schools. In April this was extended for young people aged from 11 to 25.
  • Youth mental health first aid – an internationally recognised programme designed to promote awareness of psychological and emotional well-being and mental health for eight to 18 year olds.
  • On Your Mind website –which signposts young people to local and national sources of support and provides positive health messages.
Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children’s services, said:
“We all have to look after our mental health but it is particularly important to ensure our young people have support.

“Exams, growing up and the myriad of pressures on young people can make life very difficult. We want to work alongside our young people to ensure they have the right support when they need it.”

In April 2018, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust launched a new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

James Fortune, Head of Service, said:
“We are really delighted to be implementing a modern child and adolescent mental health service and want to ensure that children and young people remain at the heart of everything we do.

“Their experiences and opinions, as well as the views of parents, carers and professionals, ensure we can continue to drive forward service transformation and improvements. That’s why surveys like this are so important.

“In Wiltshire we receive over 2,000 referrals a year and offer a range of support, interventions and treatments.”

Catherine, a young person based in Wiltshire, said:
“Seeking support for mental health difficulties is a very important thing to do. It’s by no means easy, but with support from others things can and really do get better. Having just one person who you can talk to, reach out to, offload to and brainstorm with makes facing difficulties so much easier to manage.

“Having someone there as a shoulder to cry on, but also there to share laughter with can help with making sense of your thoughts, give a new perspective on issues and help with moving forward.”

Lucy Baker, Acting Commissioning Director (Maternity, Children and Mental health), Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Wiltshire CCG is working together across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) to transform how we deliver mental health support to better meet the needs of our local population including children and young people. There is a shared enthusiasm to enhance lives and wellbeing with a shared commitment that no-one should be left in need. We really want to hear what people think of our services and how we can make things better.”
The surveys are available at:

Young people https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/speakupcyp

Parents and carers https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/speakupcarers

Professionals https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/speakupprofs

 

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust –
Health Based Place of Safety survey

Due to quality issues identified by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) in 2016 and 2017, NHS England authorised the temporary consolidation of two of three Health Based Place of Safety (HBPoS) Suites in Swindon and Salisbury to a third site in Devizes for 12 months from 26 March 2018.

This will provide an opportunity for organisations to address the CQC’s improvement requirements, particularly around assessment times following a change to the law which states how long a person can be detained for. Further information about the service can be read here.

Have your say via the online survey

As part of the review, members of the public have been asked to complete the online survey:  www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/7024O  

All responses to the survey are anonymous and will be taken into consideration during the ongoing discussions regarding the future of the Place of Safety Suites in Swindon and Salisbury.

The survey will close on Monday 31 December 2018.

Salisbury Walk in Centre moves to Millstream Medical Centre

From 1 October 2018, Salisbury Walk in Centre will be co-located with Millstream Medical Centre, just seven metres away from its previous setting in the Central Health Clinic.

The move, which does not affect the services offered by the walk-in facility, means that the Salisbury Walk in Centre gains more space to see patients who need to use the service.

Anna Morton, Managing Partner at Millstream Medical Centre explains:
“The decision to move the Walk in Centre to Millstream Medical Centre was an easy one. We have the space and it’s a bigger area, so there’s more room available for clinicians to run the service. And for those people who need to use the Walk in Centre it’s still really accessible, just a few metres away from the Central Health Clinic and has the large central car park close by.”

Patients of Millstream Medical Centre are not affected by the co-location of the Salisbury Walk in Centre, which will operate when the Practice is closed. People can use the walk-in service from 6.30-10pm on week days and from 8am-8pm at weekends, including bank holidays.

Anna continues:
“We’ve made some modifications to Millstream Medical Centre to accommodate the Walk in Centre, including new signage to help people know where to go when they arrive, a separate waiting area and dedicated consultation rooms.”

The walk-in service provides convenient access to flexible health services and is run by a team of experienced clinicians. It is run on a first-come first-served basis unless someone is acutely unwell and needs immediate medical attention.

For more information about the Salisbury Walk in Centre, visit www.salisburywalkincentre.co.uk

New flu jab will provide best protection to over 65s this winter season

People aged over 65 years living across Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire will receive a new type of flu jab this year, which is considered to be more effective than other available vaccines.

The new vaccine is one of three flu jabs that are available for the different groups of individuals who are eligible for a free vaccination, to make sure as many people as possible get the right jab to protect them against flu this winter.

Children aged from two years and up to school year five, pregnant women, anyone who is the main carer for another person or who is in receipt of carer’s allowance and those with long-term health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are also eligible for a free flu jab.

The newly available vaccine for the over 65s is expected to significantly boost effectiveness by improving the body’s immune response. This is important because older adults’ bodies typically do not respond as well to the flu vaccine due to their naturally weaker immune systems. Older adults are also more likely to suffer complications from flu.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a Wiltshire-based GP and a Clinical Board member of the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership - which is working to join up and simplify health and social care provision for people across the region - said:
“Flu vaccinations are free for those who need them most, and they really do offer the best protection against catching flu. This year, those who are eligible across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire will be given the best type of vaccination for their individual needs. “Flu is potentially a very serious illness and adults aged over 65 are more likely to catch it and suffer from the complications it causes than anyone else. The new enhanced vaccine for this age group will offer better protection as well as helping to reduce the spread of flu to those around them.”

This year’s NHS flu programme will also offer vaccinations to a larger group of children and all individuals aged under 65 years who fall into eligible groups will receive a vaccine that protects against four strains of flu.

The new vaccine for the over 65s is expected to reduce the number of GP consultations by 30,000, the number of people admitted to hospital by over 2,000 and prevent more than 700 deaths from flu across England, helping to reduce some of the health burden that flu can place on the NHS, workplaces and the wider population.

The flu vaccine will be available from early October. Eligible adults are encouraged to get their free vaccine from their GP or a pharmacy before the end of November to protect themselves and their families before flu reaches its seasonal peak. It is the safest and single best way to protect against a potentially very serious illness. 

If you are eligible or want to check whether you or someone close to you is, contact your GP, midwife or usual healthcare provider. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information.

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

Sexual assault and abuse are serious crimes which continue to have a significant impact on our society. The devastating consequences for any victim can often be misunderstood and neglected.  Despite this, the vast number of victims remain hidden due to a fear of coming forward or a lack of faith in organisations.

To help address this issue and develop improved services for the victims of sexual assault and abuse, work is progressing between a range of partners, which include the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Education, Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Police and Crime Commissioners, National Police Chiefs Council, the Care Quality Commission, Local Government Association, NHS providers and commissioners, Public Health England, Directors of Adult Social Services, victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse and third and charitable sector survivor organisations.

In support of this, the Strategic direction for sexual assault and abuse services has been produced, which sets out what is needed by 2023 to improve service provision and consequently patient experience for those who have experienced sexual assault or abuse.

A key focus of the Strategic direction is considering how pathways of care need to change to ensure those who have experienced sexual assault and abuse have appropriate and timely access to services throughout their lifetime.  It also outlines how services need to evolve to ensure that as much as possible can be done to safeguard individuals and to support them at times of crisis and in particular, at the point of disclosure.  Underpinning this are six core priorities, which are:

  • Strengthening the approach to prevention
  • Promoting safeguarding and the safety, protection and welfare of victims and survivors
  • Involving victims and survivors in the development and improvement of services
  • Introducing consistent quality standards
  • Driving collaboration and reducing fragmentation
  • Ensuring an appropriately trained workforce.

The Strategic direction has been informed by an extensive period of engagement with providers, commissioners, victims, survivors, and in some cases their families and carers, as well as the extensive evidence base.

These findings, along with support from partner organisations and the victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse, have informed the co-development of the Strategic direction, which provides a framework of guidance to deliver improved services now and in years to come.

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.

The survey is open from until noon on Tuesday 3 July 2018 and can be accessed here: Your Wiltshire Vision 2018

Alternatively click here to access the printed version of the survey which can be completed and returned via email or post.

 

Joint corporate director post – health and social care – update

The 70th anniversary of the NHS is being widely publicised and will include the publication of a Government green paper in July to coincide with this anniversary. Whilst the contents of the paper are currently unknown, it is likely that the focus on collaborative working to integrate health and social care services will continue. 

It is also anticipated that the green paper will provide clarity on the future direction for NHS commissioning; particularly commissioning by CCGs of health services. On the basis of the anticipated change, Wiltshire Council and CCG have discussed and agreed that it would be sensible to reconsider the appointment of a joint accountable officer. 

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for adult social care said:
“Our aim to integrate health and care services remains a priority for the council. It is extremely disappointing that the council and CCG cannot proceed, as planned, with a senior joint accountable officer post. We had viewed this role as vanguard in driving integration to improve health and care services. We will, however, continue to look at an alternative joint post with Wiltshire CCG so that we can build on what we have already achieved in integrating services for the benefit of Wiltshire residents.

“With the growing pressures on these services and the rise in the number of older people, partnership working and the delivery of joint services will be vital if we are to manage the increasing demand. Whilst we have a strategy and plan for this, the joint post was viewed as key to its delivery. We are working with our health partners to deliver changes that will help to manage the pressures and this work must and will continue.”

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman of Wiltshire CCG said:
“Although we do not know the contents of the paper, we are confident that our proposals for closer, collaborative working with Wiltshire Council will not be compromised. We have made great strides towards a single, overarching Health and Social care strategy, and are looking forward to a third workshop this month to continue developing our combined ambitions for integrated, seamless services for Wiltshire people”.

Strategy launched to support carers

Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working with partners in health, social care and the voluntary sector to support the thousands of Wiltshire carers who look after vulnerable loved ones.

In the last census more than 47,000 people in Wiltshire said they provided unpaid care – that’s about 10% of the population. One in five of those devote more than 50 hours every week to caring. Research suggests that there are many more who do not identify themselves as carers formally, particularly young carers and those who care for people with needs relating to mental health or substance misuse. 

This week is Carers Week (11-17 June) with individuals and groups across the country organising events to raise awareness of the vital role that carers play.

Wiltshire Carers’ Action Group (WCAG) has recently launched a five-year strategy to make sure that carers get the support they need when they need it. The joint Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire CCG strategy was co-produced with WCAG members including the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Support, Healthwatch Wiltshire, Wiltshire Parent Carer Council, Spurgeons Young Carers, Wiltshire Citizen Advice and Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living, Wiltshire People 1st and Wiltshire carers.

The strategy aims to ensure that: ‘Carers are identified and accepted as expert partners in care; are well informed; and maintain a good quality of life and healthy lifestyle outside of their caring responsibility.’

There is a detailed implementation plan to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Carers have improved physical health, mental health and wellbeing
  • Carers are empowered to make choices about their caring role and to access appropriate support and services for themselves and the people they care for
  • Carers have the best financial situation possible, and are less worried about money
  • Carers’ needs, and the value of carers, are better understood in Wiltshire
  • Carers influence services

If you are a carer and would like to be involved in how the strategy is implemented you can contact the Carer Engagement Manager at Carer Support Wiltshire on 0800 181 4118 or email admin@carersinwiltshire.co.uk

Carer Support Wiltshire chairs the Wiltshire Carer Involvement Group and coordinates carer involvement in the development of a range of services which support carers and those they care for. Carer Support Wiltshire also runs groups across the county facilitated by Community Connectors who will help to implement the strategy at a local level.

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for adult social care, public health and public protection, said:
“One of the most important duties we have is to protect vulnerable people in the community. Without the devotion of carers in the county that task would be incredibly difficult and costly, and place enormous strain on the resources of the council and the health service.

“Our carers do so much for the community, and it is right that the community helps them in return.”

Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning for NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Everybody who works in health and social care understands the vital contribution that unpaid carers make. Looking after a person that you care about is something that many of us want to do, however, we need access to timely advice and support. Our new strategy builds on the great support that is available across Wiltshire, so that carers have the help they need when they want it.”

The strategy can be found at https://www.yourcareyoursupportwiltshire.org.uk/wiltshire-home-page/content/health-and-social-care-in-wiltshire/carers-information-advice-and-services/what-is-a-carer

For more information about Carers Week please visit www.carersweek.org and https://carersupportwiltshire.co.uk/2018/05/11/celebrate-carers-week-with-csw/

Improved access to Wiltshire Children’s Community Services

Virgin Care is making it easier to access Wiltshire Children’s Community Services, enabling children and their families to get the help they need more efficiently.

The new Single Point of Access (also known as SPA) – a single website, telephone number, email and postal address for all referrals and questions about the services Virgin Care runs on behalf of the local authority and the NHS – launched this week.

The SPA will be the first point of contact for children, young people, families, GPs and health and social care professionals to reach and access child health guidance and support from Wiltshire Children’s Community Services.

People can contact the team on 0300 247 0090, via email vcl.wiltshirespa@nhs.net or by visiting wiltshirechildrensservices.co.uk.

It’s the culmination of two years’ work improving services – developing clearer referral criteria and completing moves to four new, purpose designed hubs dedicated for both colleagues and children and families in Wiltshire – and also delivers another milestone on the organisation’s plans in implementing its five year roadmap to deliver improvements in patient care.

During this process a group of colleagues were recruited to join the team and trained in identifying referral routes across all services, to provide expert support and advice to the parents, carers and health and education professionals across Wiltshire.

 Val Scrase, Head of Operations for Wiltshire Children’s Community Services, said: “Our new Single Point of Access will help us provide a truly integrated referral and advice system, enabling our expert team to process referrals more quickly so people can begin their treatment sooner in the services they need.

“In setting up a SPA, we’re fulfilling one of the key requests made by parents and carers when the service was recommissioned. Children and families will now find services more accessible, with service delivery remaining the same with no changes made to the way they’re run.”

Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning for NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are committed to ensuring that all children and young people with additional needs are identified early.  This new way of delivering integrated services is to enable children and their families to have easier access to care and support when they need it most.”

 

Drink wisely this weekend

There are plenty of excuses to have a few drinks this weekend – with a royal wedding and the FA Cup Final, and Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are asking people to enjoy the festivities safely.  

The Government’s guidelines state that men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week, and with just three standard glasses of wine, or three pints of normal-strength beer amounting to seven units – half the recommended weekly maximum intake for an average adult it’s very easy to drink more than you realise.

Regularly exceeding the limit,  known as ‘binge drinking’, places an individual at greater risk of harming their liver, stomach, heart and brain function, and also increases the chances of you contracting several kinds of cancer.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, GP at The Orchard Partnership said:
“We know that people can tend to drink more than usual when they are enjoying festivities, like the Royal wedding as everyone likes to let their hair down and enjoy the socialising that comes with it, but it’s easy to get carried away and have one drink too many.  We are not saying ‘Don’t drink’, but we are encouraging people to consider their health when consuming alcohol and to drink sensibly.“

To reduce your risk of binge drinking and allow you to celebrate the weekend’s events sensibly, we have some useful tips and advice on how to drink safely:

  • drink more slowly
  • drink with food
  • alternate with water or non-alcoholic drinks
  • plan ahead to avoid problems, such as making sure you can get home safely or have people you trust with you.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website

Many people forget that alcohol is also high in calories, and seven units of wine or beer can be the equivalent of eating a couple of burgers –  which takes almost an hour of running to burn.

Alcohol is known as ‘empty calories’ as it provides no nutritional value; do you know what’s in your drink? Visit Drink Aware to find out more.  

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for public health said:
“It’s a great time of the year to arrange a get-together, whether it’s indoors with the TV tuned to the football or events at Windsor Castle, or outside with cold drinks.”

“But it’s also a good time to remember that heavy drinking carries consequences for health, and the best advice is to celebrate well – but celebrate wisely.”

If you would like free, confidential advice about your drinking, please contact the Swindon and Wiltshire Active Recovery Service here.

For more useful information please visit the alcohol concern website.  

 

 

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.