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In this issue...

Community Conversation/ OPEN Forum

PPG Spotlight

New Surveys Launched

Together we're better Ambassador Programme

Healthwatch Conversation Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

Healthwatch Stoke - While we were waiting

Are you eligible for a free flu jab?

Can you read between the lines?

Caring Across Generations Campaign

Health Awareness Days


Welcome from ......

  Margy Woodhead                        Peter Dartford
Lay Member for PPI                Lay Member for PPI
Stoke-on-Trent CCG        North Staffordshire CCG

Margy Woodhead & Peter Dartford

As Lay Members for Patient and Pubic Participation, we wanted to give you a joint update on the work we have been doing together to make sure that we are representing patient experiences in our roles in scrutiny and governance of both CCGs. We were delighted to get involved with the development of the new Quality strategy which was co-produced with patients and partners and really demonstrated to us the benefits of patient involvement. The strategy was restructured and re-worded as a result of folks getting involved early.
The CCGs have also established a new group called the Local Equality Advisory Forum (LEAF) at which representatives from the nine protected characteristics defined in the Equality Act, who are  critical friends on the development of new policies and advise us of any barriers to accessing services that we may not have considered from an equality perspective. It’s a great group which is about to meet for the second time and has really made us look at the services we provide from a different perspective.
We both held our respective Patient’s Congress meetings last week, unsurprisingly, one of the issues debated was community hospitals. Both groups were telling us that they agree with the principle of care provided in the community rather than in a hospital bed but that the public need to be reassured that those community services are in place. We share this view and as your representatives, we have asked that communication with the public about the investment made in community based care be improved. This will happen as soon as NHS England have finished their assurance process of the CCG’s proposals. On this very subject, we attended a meeting with representatives of the Pensioner’s Convention to discuss their concerns about community beds with them. We talked about patients’ experiences which we will be feeding back into the CCG’s decision making processes.
Also at the Patient’s Congress meetings, we received a report which evaluated this newsletter’s membership and Patient Participation Groups. We were really pleased to see the level of local participation and interest in health matters and will be making sure that this is further improved over the coming months.
We both attended the Community Conversation on Older People’s health which you can read more about below. It was a great event and we gathered lots of feedback that will help to change future services and the way we communicate with older people.
We are both firmly committed to representing public and patient views in the work that we do for the CCG and want to reassure you that patient quality and safety will not be compromised.

Community Conversation/OPEN Forum 


community conversation event image

The Community Conversation /OPEN Forum joint event which took place on October 20th was a great success. 

The event was organised by Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups in partnership with Saltbox Christian Centre's Older People Engagement Network (OPEN), to allow people to meet health commissioners and share their views on frail and elderly care.

People could also speak to 40 representatives of 19 community groups and charities, including Changes Health & Wellbeing, Action for Blind People, Healthwatch, the Slips & Falls service at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Action on Hearing Loss.

Presentations were given by Dr Mark Williams of Leek Health Centre, John Larkham of Age UK North Staffordshire, Sally Parkin from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs and Tracey Preston from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

In a workshop session, people were asked for their views on what services should be available to better support patients aged 50+ to stay healthy, independent and out of hospital. There were also discussions on how patients could be helped to prevent slips, trips and falls and how local organisations could work together to help reduce falls for older people. The CCGs also asked how they could best communicate with patients to let them know about what services were available to them and how they could best access them.

Feedback from the event will be analysed and used to help make future decisions about providing health services for older people.

In the Spotlight
Patient Participation
Group Spotlight  

During September we carried out a survey to find out more about our local PPGs, and to find out what (if any) support PPGs felt that needed. Currently we have had responses from 27 of our 50 practices in Stoke on Trent. The survey has told us that:-
  • All respondents have a PPG
  • Respondents included PPG Chairs, Vice Chairs and members, as well as Practice Managers and other practice staff
  • Almost all PPGs have a Chair (although a couple are currently run very informally)
  • All the PPGs met on a face to face basis, with around half also having virtual members
  • On average PPGs have between 6 and 12 members
  • The majority of PPGs meet either bi monthly or quarterly
  • The top 4 areas PPGs would like support with are 
    • Getting the most out of your PPG (including new ideas, sharing best practice and useful resources)
    • Recruitment (including getting better representation from your practice population)
    • Promoting self care
    • Understanding health challenges locally
If you’re not sure if your PPG has taken part, please contact Nikki on 0300 404 2999 extension 1530 or e-mail

In each edition we will feature the work of PPGs.  If you would like to share the experiences and activities of your PPG please contact Nikki using the details above.

New surveys launched   Survey image

This week, the CCG has launched two surveys to seek the views of patients and carers with experience of the community podiatry service and the community physiotherapy service across the area.

We would like to find out more about people's experiences and expectations when accessing these services.

Community podiatry service survey
Community Physiotherapy service survey 

The closing date for the surveys is Friday 11 November 2016.

Together We're Better Ambassador Programme 

Local healthcare providers and commissioners, including Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs, are working in partnership to develop plans for future health and care services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.  The programme is known as the Together We’re Better programme and will help to ensure the CCGs deliver the five-year Sustainability Transformation plans required by NHS England.
We are working in partnership with Healthwatch in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to ensure that the messages from Together We’re Better are going out far and wide into communities and that we are getting feedback from patients and the public. We are planning to do this, in part, by recruiting Ambassadors to help us spread the word.
A number of training sessions will be taking place during November to explain the ambassadors programme in more depth and to share an ambassadors toolkit.

More information about the ambassador programme, including a role description and some frequently asked questions is available here - ambassador role.

If you would like to become an ambassador, or would like more information, please contact Marie Wardle by emailing  

Healthwatch Conversation Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

Join the conversation
Community Conversation Page 2

Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent - While We Were Waiting

Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent is undertaking a project entitled ‘While We Were Waiting”. 

WWWWaiting logoThe aim is to better understand the experiences of young people, as well their families, friends and communities when waiting long periods for appointments for young people’s mental health services.  

We need your stories about this issue. We'll then share them with health providers and other so that they can be used to improve services.

There is a website that people can access to learn more about the project, share stories and read our reports. -

Are you eligible for a free flu jab?

Have you still not had your flu jab?
Winter is coming. Have you had your flu jab yet? Check if you’re eligible for a free jab here: If are eligible for free flu jabs, make sure you have them every year. Did you know that some pharmacists also offer the flu jab? Go in store and ask now.  Book your vaccination with your GP or pharmacist now.  
Over 65:
You are eligible for a free flu vaccine this year, if you are aged 65 and over on March 31 2017.  Do you know someone over 65?  Check whether they have had their flu jab
Catching flu while pregnant can lead to complications. Book your vaccination now and stay protected.  Having a flu jab while pregnant helps reduce the risk of serious complications, a miscarriage and helps protect your baby. Book now

got a child aged 2, 3 or 4?
Children under 5:
Children aged 2, 3 or 4 or who are in Year 1, 2 or 3 are eligible for the free flu vaccine. Find out more
Many people with underlying health conditions are eligible for a free flu vaccination. Find out if you’re among them:

Can you 'Read Between the Lines' and save lives?

Launched locally on World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September, the ‘Read Between the Lines’ campaign aims to encourage people to ask others directly about their feelings – because it can help to save their life.

The research suggests that, because they are in regular contact with them, family and friends of people at risk may be best placed to recognise signs of distress and be able to help by encouraging them to talk about how they feel.

The campaign recognises there is a tendency for people not to notice the warning signs when someone says they’re okay and seem to be leading a normal life, so it’s important to ‘read between the lines’ and ask them.

Anyone who is concerned about someone they know should contact the Samaritans on 01782 116 123.  To find out more about the campaign and how to support it, please visit:

Care Quality CommissionCaringAcrossGenerations campaign

caring across generationsA growing number of people are now caring across generations – having caring responsibility for young children or grandchildren and older loved ones.   We polled people with caring responsibilities and found that 9 in 10 (92%) felt that choosing care for a loved one is ‘very’ or ‘quite’ stressful – ranking it higher than selling or buying a home and getting divorced.

CQC want people who make care decisions for loved ones to know that our reports and ratings can help them to make informed choices about care. To raise awareness of the resources available to them when choosing adult social care, and to educate them about the standards of care they have a right to expect, we launched a multi-channel public engagement campaign on Monday, 17 October.

Choosing Adult Social Care
caringWe want to make sure you have all the information you need to make decisions about your or someone else's care.  Use our map of care home ratings in England to search for care homes in your area, compare ratings and read inspection reports.  Read our guides on what to expect from a good care home or a good home-care agency.  

We've also got some useful information and tips to help you.

Tell us about your care
Your information helps us decide when, where and what to inspect. Let's make care better together.  Poor care? Good care? Tell us now...

You can find more information on our webpage at:

Health Awareness Days

National Stress Awareness Day - 2nd November
Healthy Minds Stoke-on-TrentThe theme this year is "Employee wellbeing as a worthwhile investment in your business".  Do you know the main reasons for stress at work?   There are increasing redundancies taking place in our current climate for one thing.  Inevitably this leads to a lot of worries arising where people might wonder how they'll get by or provide for their families.

Relationship conflicts between colleagues, a build up of accidents caused by a worker and problems linked with the overall upkeep of the organisation's image could also contribute to elevated stress levels. Depression and issues from work are one of the main causes of stress reported by patients in the doctor's surgery.  If you need help or advice please go to HealthyMindsStoke-on-Trent website

Ask Your Pharmacist week 7th - 14th November
Ask at your pharmacy firstPharmacists play a key role in providing quality healthcare. They are experts in medicines and will use their clinical expertise, together with their practical knowledge to advise you on common problems such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as healthy eating and stopping smoking. Pharmacists can also help you decide whether you need to see a health professional. They can help you consider the alternatives next time you are thinking of making a doctor's appointment.

Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals. Before becoming a pharmacist they will have completed a four year university degree and have worked for a year under the supervision of an experienced and qualified pharmacist, usually in a hospital or community pharmacy (such as a supermarket or high street pharmacy).

PharmacistYou can talk to your pharmacist in confidence, even about the most personal symptoms, and you don't need to make an appointment. It is possible to walk into any community pharmacy and ask to speak with the pharmacist. Most pharmacies now have a private consultation area where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard. Alternatively you can arrange a consultation over the phone.
Find a local pharmacy in your area
Comment on a pharmacy service

Other Health Days in November:-
World Diabetes Day 14th November
Alcohol awareness week 14th – 20th November
Self Care Week 14th - 20th November
Carers Rights Day 25th November

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