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:  

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

B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability Transformation Plan published

Health and care organisations across Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire have today (14 December) published their Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). 

The STP sets out an initial framework of how health organisations, local authorities and other key stakeholders will work together over the next five years to deliver a shared vision to improve service quality, improve the health and wellbeing of population across B&NES, Wiltshire and Swindon, and deliver financial stability.

The emerging priorities outlined in the plan include:

  • More focus on prevention of ill health and earlier intervention
  • Transforming Primary Care
  • Making best use of technology and our public estate
  • A modern workforce
  • Improved collaboration across our hospital trusts
James Scott, Senior Responsible Officer for the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire STP said:
“We are still at a relatively early stage in the planning process, and together we have identified the key areas we need to address to allow us to continue to provide high quality and sustainable care. Our shared aim is to ensure that everyone can continue to receive excellent high quality care whenever they need it, both now and in the future.

“Over the coming months there will be opportunities for service users, their families and carers, and other members of the public to get involved to help us to shape and build on these priorities, help us to transform services and co-design solutions to meet the challenges we face with the resources we have available to us. Standing still is not an option.”

Overall, across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) the standard of health and care services compare well to other areas of England.  However, as our population continues to grow and people are living longer, often with long-term health conditions, the increasing demand being placed on our health and care services is falling out of line with the amount of available funding. At the same time, health inequalities are widening.  Certain groups of people are more likely to develop particular diseases and more likely to die from them early. We also know that the way people experience their care can be different, with some areas benefiting from better quality health services than others.

Dr Ian Orpen, a GP in Bath and Clinical Chair of BaNES Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Our plan sets out our emerging priorities to improve health and care services for the 874,000 people who use our services.  It proposes new ways for NHS, local authority and other key organisations to work together in order to meet the many challenges facing the health and care system and provides the framework within which detailed proposals for how services across B&NES, Wiltshire and Swindon will develop between now and 2020/21”.

A key theme throughout the STP is an increased focus on preventing ill health and promoting peoples’ independence through the provision of more joined up services in or closer to peoples’ homes.

The BSW Sustainability and Transformation Plan summary is available to download at: 

A series of public events will be published soon – please keep checking websites for more information.


Stoptober – the 28-day quit smoking campaign – is back.

Based on research that if you stop smoking for 28-days you are five times more likely to quit for good, England’s seven million smokers are being encouraged to take part in this year’s Stoptober campaign, starting on 1 October.

Visit the Stoptober website to find out about a range of free and proven support available to help you start your quitting journey for 28 days and beyond.

From the app, email and social media support including Facebook Messenger, to more information about the expert face to face support that your local Stop Smoking Service (LSSS) can offer, as well as the different types of stop smoking aids available to you; including medicines and e-cigarettes – Stoptober is here to help you. 3

Everyone’s quitting journey is different, but you will not be alone. Nearly a million people have taken part since Stoptober began five years ago, so join in with the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search Stoptober and find the right support for you.

For more information, visit our campaigns page.

More than 4,700 missed GP Practice appointments for Wiltshire – in one month

In July 2016 more than 4,700 GP, nurse and healthcare assistant appointments were missed across Wiltshire’s 58 GP Practices, an equivalent of around 156 days of general practitioner time.

Known as ‘Did Not Attend’ appointments they have a huge impact on the health economy, prevent other patients from being seen and waste the time of ever-stretched doctors and nurses.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is urging patients to take a few minutes to cancel their appointments if they are no longer required, or if they are unable to attend. Practices will then be able to offer those slots to other patients who require them and help to reduce appointment waiting times.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG said:
“For every missed appointment it is a missed opportunity for practices to see another patient. Simply by cancelling unwanted appointments, even if it is a few minutes before, it means that other patients have an opportunity to be seen more quickly and perhaps see their own GP. We were aware that most practices experience several DNAs each day but 4,700 missed appointments in the course of one month is, quite frankly, shocking.”

On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July 2016, this is the equivalent of 156 days of general practitioner time that has been lost.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP at Market Lavington Surgery explains on behalf of Wiltshire Practices:
“As doctors, we understand that people lead busy lives, that plans often change and quite often many people feel better by the time of their pre-booked appointment, so needing to change or cancel it is not a problem – please just let your surgery know. 

“At a time when NHS resources are stretched to the hilt, 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 when they don’t need the appointment so that those most in need are able to be seen more quickly”.

New Accountable Officer to join Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Following the departure earlier this year of Deborah Fielding, the Governing Body of Wiltshire CCG have asked Tracey Cox, the Chief Officer for neighbouring BaNES CCG, to take on the additional responsibility of interim Accountable Officer at Wiltshire CCG from 26 September 2016.  It is envisaged that this arrangement will be in place until March 2017.

Agreement from BaNES CCG and endorsement from NHS England means that Tracey will provide a joint Accountable Officer role across her existing CCG, as well as covering the role for Wiltshire.

Tracey will be taking over from Simon Truelove who has held the role of Accountable Officer on an interim basis since Deborah Fielding left earlier in the year. Simon is due to take up the new post of Director of Finance at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust at the end of this month.

The Chair of Wiltshire CCG, Dr Peter Jenkins said:
“This is an excellent outcome for Wiltshire. It will allow the organisation time to consider potential future arrangements such as closer integration between the CCG and Wiltshire Council and greater collaboration with other CCGs in line with the principles agreed within our emerging Sustainability and Transformation Plan, with particular attention on urgent care, planned care and primary care commissioning.”
Tracey Cox said:
“I am looking forward to working more closely with the committed and hard-working team at Wiltshire CCG. Both organisations share many of the same priorities and challenges across B&NES and Wiltshire and this interim role will enable us to pool our insight and expertise so we can improve everyone’s health and wellbeing, drive up standards of care and achieve financial stability across the wider area.”

To support this arrangement Wiltshire CCG will move quickly to employ an interim Chief Operating Officer who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the CCG and be accountable directly to Tracey.

Tracey Cox joined the health service in 1990 as a management trainee. She started her career working for a number of London hospitals before moving to the South West in 1997 to take up a role at the Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Foundation Trust managing general surgery and orthopaedic services.  Tracey began her commissioning career with BaNES Primary Care Trust and transferred to BaNES CCG in April 2013.

Feeling unwell?  Choose the right healthcare

Simon Truelove, Acting Accountable Officer

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

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

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


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

NHS 111

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


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


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

A&E or 999

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

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

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

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

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

Our community teams

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

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

Current challenges are of real concern

An ageing population, increasing health care costs and a professional shortage in the health industry are all challenges faced by Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Tasked with buying health services across Wiltshire, the CCG needs to make substantial savings in order to continue to provide the best health services for the people of Wiltshire.

Simon Truelove, Interim Accountable Officer at Wiltshire CCG comments:
“People are living longer which is a good thing, but they are not always living well. In Wiltshire, over 22% of our population is over 65 and there are 75,000 people in the county living with long term health conditions.

“A significant proportion of our annual budget is spent on helping older people and those with long term health conditions to live well. This does have an impact on our ability to provide services elsewhere in the system as we only have one pot of money available to us.”

Dr Richard Sanford-Hill a GP at Market Lavington Surgery said:
“Meeting the challenges of providing health care for an increasingly ageing population is difficult. In my own practice a majority of my routine appointments are attended by people aged over 65, and those people often have complex long term needs.

“Having a lot of people registered with our practice we are struggling to keep up with demand and are looking at ways that we can continue to support our patients by doing things differently. Our Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs), are one example of how we are changing the way people access healthcare in the area. Our ECP’s are based in the community and provide health advice and support to people in their own homes. The fantastic service delivered by our ECP nurses means that we can free up GP capacity to review the care and support of people who are more vulnerable and at much greater risk of going into hospital.”

Simon Truelove continues:
“It is not only our ageing population that is of particular challenge, across the Wiltshire, BaNES and Swindon health and social care economy there is likely to be an annual funding gap of £100m by 2017 unless we can find ways to save money right across the system. In addition, a shortage of health and social care professionals, when demand is outstripping capacity, means that we are facing some very real challenges over the coming years.”
Dr Richard Sanford-Hill adds:
Financial pressures and an ageing population are not new issues but ones that we must address with some urgency. Key to relieving these pressures is by providing healthcare in or as close to home as possible and here in Wiltshire we are making good progress towards achieving this.

“I have been a GP in Market Lavington for over 20 years and over that time have seen considerable changes in the NHS. Compared with some areas of the country Wiltshire is doing relatively well retaining and recruiting GPs. However, some practices in the county are struggling to recruit and attract locums which does increase the workload for the remaining GPs. Unfortunately allied to this there is a big problem recruiting other health care workers, such as nurses and carers. This gap in resourcing places greater strain on the services we provide and means that we are continuously looking for ways in which we can provide services more efficiently.”

Simon Truelove continues:
“It’s not all doom and gloom though, we have made some great strides forward to help address some of the issues we are facing. Working together with Wiltshire Council through the Better Care Fund and the CCG’s Transforming Care of Older People programme is making a real difference to the lives of people in the county. Our joint approach has enhanced the support people receive in or as close to home as possible and we are tackling head on the issue of social isolation which can have a big impact on someone’s health and wellbeing.”

“We know that we face a tough road ahead, but by working with our health colleagues across the county we can carve the right path through. This will ensure that we continue to provide the best health services for the people of Wiltshire now and in the future.”

With a population of over 480,000 spread throughout a mainly rural county, delivering on its core objective of providing quality health services as close to home as possible is a challenge, but one that the CCG has defined as essential in order for health care provision in Wiltshire to remain sustainable.

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New campaign launches to encourage those with a persistent cough or breathlessness to go to their doctor

On Thursday 14th July, a new Be Clear on Cancer campaign is launching across England. The campaign highlights that a cough for three weeks or more could be a sign of lung disease, including cancer and that if you get out of breath doing everyday things that you used to be able to do, like mowing the lawn, it could be sign of lung or heart disease, or even cancer.

While it may well be nothing serious, the campaign makes it clear that if you have either of these symptoms you should go to your doctor. Finding these conditions early makes them more treatable.

The campaign will be live until 16th October and will see adverts running on TV and radio, in magazines and online. Click here to find out more.

People asked to be mindful of drinking too much this summer

With the holiday and festival season upon us, local residents are being asked not to drink excessive amounts of alcohol and risk damaging their health this summer.

As part of their Stay Well this Summer campaign, Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are reminding people that excessive drinking in a short space of time can have lasting damaging effects.

Unit guidelines are now the same for men and women with both advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week, the equivalent of six pints of four percent beer or six glasses of 13 percent wine. People are encouraged not to save up their 14 units for one occasion and try to spread evenly across the week and have regular drink-free days.

People are also advised to limit the total amount of alcohol in one session, drinking more slowly and alternating with food and/or water.

The Stay Well this Summer campaign will also highlight a number of other summer-related issues over the coming months including water safety for children, safe outdoor eating and protecting yourself from excessively high temperatures.

Frances Chinemana, Wiltshire Council associate director for public health said:
“We want people to have a safe, happy and healthy summer and we hope our campaign will help with that.

“People will no doubt have a few drinks over the summer, especially if they go on holiday or attend one of the many festivals that take place, but we just want to gently remind people that drinking too much in a short space of time can have a negative knock-on effect to their health.”

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of NHS Wiltshire CCG, said:
“Most people enjoy a sensible social drink without it having any negative effect but at times lots of people will go out for a good time and have a few more drinks than they’re used to.

“Drinking more than the recommended limit is a habit that we can all fall into easily but drinking just a little too much alcohol puts people at greater risk of developing serious illnesses including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

“That’s why we’re urging everyone to take a sober look at their drinking over the summer and resolve to drink sensibly.” 

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The Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up with Disney campaign is back

The Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up with Disney campaign is back and encouraging families to ‘Just Keep Moving’ as they kick off a summer of activity, inspired by this year’s Disney·Pixar film, Finding Dory.

Families can once again take part in the 10 Minute Shake Ups as well as enjoying Finding Dory inspired family swim sessions at local pools across the UK, all approved by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). The swim sessions provide an interactive hour of storytelling fun and activity for the whole family.

Too much inactive time is bad for a child’s physical, social and mental wellbeing, yet just 21% of boys and 16% of girls currently meet the daily national recommended level of activity of 60 minutes Being active helps children to build social skills, boost self-confidence, improve bone and heart health and maintain a healthy weight. Every 10 minute burst of exercise can make a real difference in helping children reach the 60 minutes they need each day.

Make this a non-stop summer of fun activity and search Change4Life online now for Disney and Finding Dory inspired 10 Minute Shake Ups and don’t forget to book your swim session at