Preferred provider selected for Urgent Care Services across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire

Medvivo has been selected to the preferred provider stage of a procurement process to run integrated urgent care services across Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire.  The healthcare provider, which has very recently been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by CQC, will be the lead provider, working in collaboration with Vocare and Banes Enhanced Medical Services (BEMS+). 

The preferred provider status is not an award of contract and does not confer a contractual commitment from the commissioners at this stage.  The award of the contract to Medvivo and its partners will only be made if they are successful through following further robust assessment, intensive testing and planning stage.  Once completed the award will need to be approved by the Boards of B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups and Wiltshire Council later in the summer.  There will then be a transition and mobilisation period before the new services commence on 1 May 2018. 

The new provider will be responsible for running the NHS111 service across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire, developing the service model so callers can be put through to a ‘clinical hub’ of experienced health professionals who can make assessments, advise and arrange urgent care if required.  The provider will also be responsible for a number of other urgent care services, including the GP out-of-hours service in B&NES and Wiltshire and telecare monitoring and urgent care and response at home for Wiltshire Council.

The CCGs and Wiltshire Council are following a detailed and robust procurement process, with sharp focus on the requirement for innovation and continued development of services.  

Currently the NHS111 service is provided by Care UK in B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire. The GP out of hours service in Wiltshire is currently provided by Medvivo, with Vocare the current provider in B&NES.  Great Western Hospitals Foundation Trust will continue to provide GP Out of Hours service in Swindon (that particular service has not been part of this procurement). 

Joining up a number of urgent care services across the region will help ensure everyone has access to the same high quality, personalised and responsive service.

Are you feeling the burn this summer?

It’s natural to want to get out in the sun during warm summer days and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding people to take steps to protect their skin from the sun when they go outside and avoid being burnt this summer.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Sunburn pain can be at its most intense around 12 hours after exposure, but may continue to develop for a further 24 hours. Sunburn is usually mild and short-lived but it’s important to try and avoid it. Keeping a high factor sun cream in your medicine cabinet and applying it before you go out in the sun is advisable”

The length of time it takes for skin to go red or burn varies from person to person, as everyone who is exposed to the sun is at risk of getting sunburnt. You can help safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of the sun by following these simple steps.

  • Cover up when you are out in the sun – wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible and protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and at least 4-start UVA protection and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming
  • Seek shade and limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 11am and 3pm when UV rays are strongest
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps – both cause serious long-term damage and contribute to skin cancer
Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group continued:
“It can be easy to underestimate the strength of the sun when you’re outside and you may not realise you’re getting burnt. If you or your child has sunburn, you should get out of the sun as soon as possible by heading indoors or into a shady area.”

How to treat sunburn

If you do get burnt, you can treat mild sunburn at home, which may help to relieve your symptoms until your skin heals.

  • Cool the skin by having a cold bath or shower, sponging it with cold water, or holding a cold flannel to it
  • Use lotions containing aloe vera to soothe and moisturise your skin
  • Applying over the counter hydrocortisone cream for a few days may help reduce the inflammation – you can get this from your local pharmacy
  • Drink plenty of fluids to cool you down and prevent dehydration.
  • Take painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve any pain

If you are feeling unwell, or you are concerned about your sunburn, particularly if you are burnt over a large area call NHS 111 or visit you nearest Minor Injuries Unit.

You should see your GP if a young child or baby has sunburn, or you have signs of sever sunburn which include:

  • Blistering or swelling of the skin
  • Chills
  • A high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • Dizziness, headaches and feeling sick – signs of heat exhaustion

Eating for a healthier you

NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging Wiltshire residents to eat healthier as part of Public Health England’s ONE YOU campaign.

What you eat, and how much, is very important for your health, and most of us are still not eating enough fruit and vegetables which should make up over a third of the food we eat each day. 

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said,
“Give yourself a chance of enjoying a longer, healthier life by simply making some small changes to your eating habits. Introducing more fruit and vegetables into your meals and trying to eat more freshly prepared food will make a positive difference to your health.  It‘s never too late to change your eating habits and eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated, boring or expensive, it’s an important part of maintaining good health.”

The recommendation is that you should be aiming to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day and cut back on eating foods that are high in fat and sugar.

Making better choices on what you eat can have a huge influence on your health and help prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and can reduce your risk of suffering a stroke or living with dementia, disability and frailty in later life.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill GP in Market Lavington added,
“Our lifestyles can be unhealthier than we think and without knowing it, many of us will have dramatically increased our chances of becoming ill later in life because of bad eating habits.  Eating the wrong things combined with drinking more than we should, or just not being active enough, can all add up to an unhealthy you.”

Find out more about the small changes you can make to help you eat more healthily and take the ‘how are you’ quiz on the NHS One You website: www.nhs.uk/oneyou.  

Act F.A.S.T. campaign returns to empower people to call 999 at any sign of a stroke

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups is supporting the annual ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ stroke campaign.

On 2 February 2017, Public Health England will relaunch the national “Act FAST” stroke campaign, working closely with the Stroke Association. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and to encourage people who recognise any single one of the symptoms of stroke, in themselves or others, to call 999 immediately.
Running from until 31 March 2017 the campaign includes TV, radio, social media and outdoor advertising and is supported by PR.

The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym has featured in the advertising for a number of years and is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and to emphasise the importance of acting quickly by calling 999. F.A.S.T. teaches people what to look out for in themselves and in others:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999

There are some of other symptoms that people should be aware of as these may occasionally be due to stroke. These include:

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms

Acting F.A.S.T. as soon as stroke symptoms present themselves can not only save lives but potentially limit long-term effects.

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’, caused by a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. It’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. So recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial.

Approximately 110,000 people have a stroke each year in England. It is the third largest cause of death, and the largest cause of complex disability; over half of all stroke survivors are left with a disability.

The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.

One of the main objectives of the campaign is get people who witness somebody showing stroke symptoms to overcome any initial reluctance to call. They are being asked to ‘Make the Call’ and dial 999.

Act FAST. Make the Call. Dial 999.

Visit our campaign page for more information.

Missed appointments in Wiltshire top 31,000 in just five months

Between July and November 2016, more than 31,000 GP, nurse and healthcare assistant appointments were missed across Wiltshire’s 55 GP Practices – the equivalent of over 1,033 days of general practitioner time.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“We are urging patients to cancel their appointments if they are no longer required, or if they are unable to attend. Practices will then be able to offer these appointments to other patients who need them and will help to reduce waiting times.

“The number of missed appointments across Wiltshire averages around 6,000 every month, a shocking statistic that is exacerbated during the winter months when practices typically face an increase in patient demand for appointments.”

Known as ‘Did Not Attends’, missed appointments have a huge impact on the health economy, prevent other patients from being seen and waste the time of ever-stretched doctors and nurses. In Wiltshire, this boils down to a potential 6,000 patients missing out on an opportunity to be seen each month.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP from Market Lavington Surgery, explains:
“On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July – November 2016, that’s the equivalent of 1,033 days of general practitioner time that has been lost.

“It’s no secret that NHS resources are stretched to the hilt, which is why it’s really important that people understand the impact they have if they simply do not turn up. Everyone has responsibility to look after the NHS – it’s tax payers money after all – and we urge Wiltshire people to cancel their unwanted appointments so that those most in need are able to be seen more quickly”.

Health bosses warn public to think twice before attending A&E

Health bosses in Wiltshire have issued a stark warning to members of the public who are misusing emergency NHS services, putting unnecessary pressure on hospitals and putting more seriously ill patients at risk. 

Between 31 December and 8 January 2017, just over 5,000 people attended A&E departments at Royal United Hospital, Bath, Great Western Hospital in Swindon and Salisbury District Hospital, yet only 33% of those people actually needed urgent or emergency treatment.

Over the last month, people have attended A&E departments with minor ailments which are not serious or life-threatening, including examples such as:

  • Coughs, colds and sore throats
  • Toothache
  • Sickness and diarrhoea
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Backache
  • Broken finger nails
Speaking on behalf of NHS Wiltshire CCG, Tracey Cox, Acting Accountable Officer said:
“Emergency departments right across the region are extremely busy and people must start taking accountability for their actions and the impact this has on the NHS. 

“Our message is very simple: if it is not a serious or life threatening emergency then please do not waste the time of busy hospital teams or 999 services who are there to look after patients who are very sick and who do need immediate medical help.

“Many of the attendances the region’s hospitals are seeing are for common winter illnesses such as bad colds, viruses or stomach bugs which always circulate in the community at this time of year. These are best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation – they certainly do not need a trip to A&E.” 

The NHS always sees a rise in emergency admissions to hospital at this time of year, particularly amongst older people, who are much more susceptible to serious illness or injury during the cold winter months.  For every inappropriate A&E attendance the attention of hospital staff is pulled away from caring for those who really do need immediate and potentially lifesaving help.

Mrs Cox added:
“Our emergency system is without doubt the best in the world but we need to keep it that way and keep 999 and emergency care free to do what the NHS does best.  The system is under extraordinary pressure, so we are appealing to the public today and for everyone to really think about how to use services.  All our staff are working really hard to get back on track, but people can help us to ease the pressures by, for example, offering friends and family members a lift to and from appointments, and supporting their loved ones at home with extra care and attention to ensure they can be discharged from hospital when medically fit.  This will help hospitals to free up beds so that the NHS is able to admit and treat the most vulnerable people who need our care the most”.

“We appreciate that, regrettably, some patients are having elective operations and appointments cancelled during this period of sustained escalation. We completely understand that this is likely to cause additional inconvenience and distress but patients should be assured they will have their operation or appointment rebooked as soon as possible, and will be contacted directly”.

Dr Peter Jenkins, GP and Chair of NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Your GP should always be the first port of call for most medical problems unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency.  If in doubt, the free NHS 111 number is available 24/7 for medical advice. 

“If you have made a GP appointment which you don’t need any more, we urge you to cancel.  If you don’t, you prevent other patients from being seen and waste the time of ever-stretched doctors and nurses. In Wiltshire, this boils down to a potential 6,000 patients missing out on an opportunity to be seen each month.  So please make sure you let your practice know if you can’t attend – practices will then be able to offer these appointments to other patients who need them”.

“The number of missed appointments across Wiltshire averages around 6,000 every month, a shocking statistic especially at a time when practices are struggling to meet patient demand for appointments.  It’s really important that people understand the impact they have if they simply do not turn up. Everyone has responsibility to look after the NHS – it’s patients’ money after all – and we urge Wiltshire people to cancel their unwanted appointments so that those most in need are able to be seen more quickly”.

Healthcare leaders in B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire are also backing the national Stay Well This Winter campaign which encourages people to look after themselves well www.nhs.uk/staywell.