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.

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.