Head of Communications and Engagement
Welcome to your latest newsletter in which we aim to keep you updated on the work of the Clinical Commissioning Group that covers Stoke-on-Trent and how you can get involved in shaping the decisions that affect the services you receive.
I joined Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs on 8 August. I am a Chartered Marketer and my background is in policing. I worked for Cheshire Constabulary for 14 years in communications and engagement so I have a good understanding of the public sector, the financial challenges that face us, the need to be open, honest and transparent in all that we do.
I passionately believe that public service cannot be delivered efficiently and effectively without the involvement of service users.
Over the coming months, I will be working to introduce processes and opportunities for commissioners to better embed patient and public involvement in every step of the decisions they take. Especially when they change policies, practices or make decisions about local services. I will also work hard to make sure that we tell you about the difference you have made.
This newsletter includes several surveys and ways to get actively involved, please take these opportunities as they are your chance to have your say.
I am looking forward to finding new ways to communicate with you and will be writing to you later this month about how we can keep our records updated and how we can best keep you informed.
I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at our next Community Conversation.
Stoke-on-Trent membership reaches milestone
Fenton resident Joy has become the 2000th member to join the membership scheme when she signed up at Fenton Community Centre.
Representatives from Stoke on Trent CCG joined other organisations at the Stoke City Council Tenant and Leaseholder Fun Day event on 19 August to chat with local residents about the services available in Stoke on Trent.
Sally Parkin, Clinical Director for Partnerships and Engagement, said: “We're so pleased to have reached this important milestone, and I’d like to thank all those who have signed up so far. We would still like to see this number increase, and will be continuing to reach out to sign up new members throughout the year.
"The membership scheme is one of the ways in which both individuals and organisations can get involved in shaping local healthcare, and I’d encourage local residents and organisations to take a look at this and the other ways in which they can get involved by visiting the CCG website.”
If you know someone who would like to get involved please send them this link so they can join the membership scheme - http://www.stokeccg.nhs.uk/get-involved
Patient Participation Group (PPG) Spotlight
Congratulations to Alton Surgery!
Huge congratulations to Alton Surgery who were rated as the best in the country in a NHS Patient Survey.
The practice beat almost 8,000 other surgeries in England for overall experience, with an astonishing 100% of patients saying they had confidence and trust in their GP, felt their doctor listened to them and gave them enough time and that they would recommend the practice to people moving to the area.
Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer at North Staffordshire CCG said to the practice "It is testament to your hard work and dedication that from hundreds of thousands of questionnaires filled in by patients across the country, your surgery was rated highest based on the seven key indicators in the NHS GP Patients Survey."
This is a great achievement for Alton Surgery and shows how important it is to listen to and act on the feedback we all get from patients.
A spokesperson from the Alton Surgery PPG said 'Congratulations to Dr. Brown and his team for providing a high standard of service to the patients at Alton surgery. While we all recognise the excellent service we receive it is good that this has now been nationally recognised'.
Q&A with Five Towns Surgery
This month we’d like to welcome Practice Manager Di Adams, to share her experiences of working with PPGs….
Who is part of your PPG?
The PPG is made up of community members (including 2 local councillors). The PPG members work in partnership with the practice team, including our GPs.
What sorts of things does your PPG get involved with?
We felt that we didn’t do particularly well on the GP survey, due to the language barrier (96% of our registered patients are from minority ethnic groups). From this we decided to carry out our own annual survey. The findings were brought back to the practice, and changes were then put into place. Changes have included adding an extra phone line and extra clinic times, as well as adjusting clinic times around Ramadan.
That sounds great. Are there other things that the PPG get involved with?
Yes, we run events together in the community, through which we provide education as well as having fun.
One of our big events in the community is the post Eid fun day. We have lots of fun activities for both children and adults, and the same time we invite local organisations along to provide support and education. We encourage mums to sit down and have henna painting, or enjoy a massage, to help them relax while the children play. Children are given a ‘passport’ in which they have to collect stamps through activities which they can exchange for a treat at the end. We encourage healthy eating, and have healthy food cooking on the day.
Wow, it sounds like you have a lot going on! Is there anything coming up that you’d like to share with our membership?
Yes, this year we became one of the first practices to be dementia friendly trained, and also part of the Dementia Action Alliance. In November we will be holding a dementia awareness day, on Friday November 18th. If you’d like to get involved please contact Gill Bell on 01782 222920.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before I let you get back to work?
In our CQC inspection we were rated as good across the board, along with some outstanding features. Our PPG members were an important part of this, and were interviewed as part of the process. I’d like to say thank you to our PPG members for all their hard work, and I’d like to encourage anybody reading this who has an interest in local health services to get involved with their PPG.
If this article has got you interested in becoming part of your local PPG, please speak to your GP practice for more information.
PPG Survey Launched
North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs recognise the unique and important contribution that PPGs can make to the local NHS. This is why they have developed a survey in order to support and develop a network of strong PPGs across our area.
This survey has been sent to practice managers and PPG Chairs to complete and insights from the survey will be published in the October edition of this newsletter.
Share your PPG news.....
If your PPG has a story to tell, please let us know and we will include it in the next edition of our newsletter.
New patient surveys launched!
North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent CCGs have launched four new surveys.
These surveys aim to gather patient and carer experiences of the following services:-
- Community Nursing (e.g. district nursing and community matrons)
- Long Term Conditions
For more information and to take part in the first four surveys, please click here: http://tinyurl.com/ns-sot-your-experiences-survey
Gluten Free Prescribing
North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs are also seeking the views of patients, the public and stakeholders on the prescribing policy for gluten free foods.
An online survey is now live and will run until 12 noon on Friday 30th September. A background briefing and survey can be found below:
Gluten Free Background Briefing.pdf [pdf] 244KB
Gluten Free Pescribing Survey
If you would like further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Launch of Antibiotics Campaign 2016/17
Dr Manir Hussain, Associate Director - Medicines Optimisation for North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups, urged people to take extra care of themselves as the nights draw in and more fall victim to seasonal colds, coughs and flus, but not to assume a course of antibiotics was the cure they required.
"Some people still believe antibiotics are the cure for winter colds and even flu," said Dr Hussain. "When people are struck down by a runny nose, headache, sore throat or sneezing, they often head straight to their GP to ask for antibiotics, not realising antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and will not work on colds of flu, which are caused by viruses.
Dr Manir said over and above the fact antibiotics are simply not effective against colds and flu, there were now a number of very good reasons GPs were trying to limit the prescription of antibiotics.
- Resistance – different bacteria adapt to find ways to fight antibiotics – the more antibiotics are used the greater the opportunity for bacteria to adapt. This may eventually mean the antibiotic becomes ineffective against certain bacteria
- Side effects – the side effects of antibiotics can include sickness, diarrhoea, stomach pains, headaches and even thrush.
“Doctors are growing increasingly aware that care must be taken by patients using antibiotics," said Dr Hussain. "Unfortunately very few new antibiotics are being developed, so we have to make sure that the ones we have continue to work.”
Dr Hussain said there were a number of ways patients could tackle seasonal conditions like colds and flu themselves. “Winter colds are what’s known as self-limiting conditions – in other words they will get better by themselves," he said. “Often the best thing is to take medicines like paracetamol to control your symptoms and keep well hydrated. "Or visit a pharmacist, who will be able to advise on common illnesses like the cold and how best to manage them.”
Here are some useful hints & tips:-
Community Conversation Event -
Save the date
North Staffordshire and Stoke-on Trent CCGs in partnership with the Older People's Engagement Network will be holding a Community Conversation at the King’s Hall from 10am to 1pm on Thursday 20 October 2016.
The theme of the event is to gather your views on older people’s health and how the NHS can better support people to stay well and live independently.
We will also be interested in the experiences and opinions of patients and carers and give attendees the opportunity to pose questions to a panel of people who are responsible for making sure that the right services are in place.
As well as this, there will also be information from service providers that support older people, such as how to prevent slips, trips and falls which can have a sudden and challenging impact on health and well being.
Insights from this event will be used to influence how services are provided in the future.
Further information and booking details will be circulated to members in the coming weeks.
North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs make a move
Staff at North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are packing up their boxes as they prepare to make the move to new offices in Hanley.
Over the coming weeks teams from both CCGs will be moving to new shared office accommodation on the third floor at the Smithfield 1 Building in Leonard Coates Way, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 4FA. The move will be complete by Monday, September 12 and the new telephone number will be 01782 298002.
CCG staff will be relocating from their previous separate offices at the Herbert Minton Building in Stoke and Morston House in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Dr Alison Bradley, Clinical Chair of North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The teams from the two CCGs already work very closely together, but this move will help us to improve communication and allow us to offer better joined-up care for all the people of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, especially as our partners at Stoke City Council will have teams in the building.
“The move also reduces operating costs for both CCGs, with immediate cost savings from working in a modern efficient building, and also savings from travel time and expense incurred from operating across two sites.”
Dr Ruth Chambers, Clinical Chair of Stoke-on-Trent CCG, added: “More than 160 NHS staff will now be based on the same floor of the same building, working in a co-ordinated fashion to provide better integrated services for all our patients. This is a great symbol of the increasing co-operation which is taking place between services across the Stoke and north Staffordshire region.”
Please note, whilst the CCGs will be sharing many functions they will remain independent organisations with separate governing bodies.
Your feedback can make a difference
As an independent organisation Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent
provides you with an opportunity to share your experiences (good or not so good) of health and social care services in the city.
Their website Feedback Centre
enables you to share your stories about services you have been using, like GP services, pharmacists, hospitals, care homes, dentists and opticians. You can also read other peoples’ experiences of particular services. You can review as many services as you like, and if you use a service on more than one occasion you can leave feedback each time you visit. We will ask you for a little information about yourself when you leave a review, but if you prefer you can leave a review anonymously.
The more feedback and experiences they receive the more accurate a picture we can be built of what is working well, and what needs improving in your community. This will encourage health and social care providers to reward good practice, as well as identify and rectify any problems you may encounter.
Your voice really could make a difference.
For more information visit http://www.healthwatchstokeontrent.co.uk/
Falls Awareness Week 2016
Falls are the leading cause of injuries, deaths and hospital admissions for trauma. Falls can take a serious toll on an adult’s quality of life and independence.
During Falls Prevention Awareness Week, local authorities, health care providers and voluntary agencies will be holding roadshows to raise awareness among adults, their families, carers and the general public about the seriousness of falls and ways to reduce fall risk. At the heart of this initiative is the message that falls are preventable.
Age UK South Staffordshire have a range of videos below showing independent living aids:
For further information, guidance and prevention tips please visit www.stokeccg.nhs.uk/falls-awareness-week-2016
New campaign launches to encourage those with a persistent cough or breathlessness to go to their doctor
A new Be Clear on Cancer campaign has launched 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.
For further information click here
We're all having too much sugar. Our kids might seem fine on the outside, but too much sugar can lead to the build up of harmful fat on the inside that we can't see. To download the consumer campaign resources click here
or visit www.nhs.uk/sugar-smart/home
to learn more.
Cut down on your calories
Many of us are eating too much, and not being active enough. That's why nearly two-thirds of the adult population in England is overweight or obese.
Find out how much you should be eating and how to cut the calories.
How much should you eat?
How much are you eating?
How you can eat less
Latest figures show that more than half of the UK population – 65% of men and 58% of women – are overweight or obese. When we eat and drink more calories than we use up, our bodies store the excess as body fat. If this continues, over time we may become overweight and can become obese. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
, heart disease
and some cancers
Many adults in the UK need to lose weight, and to do this they need to eat and drink fewer calories. Combining these changes with increased physical activity is the best way to achieve a healthier weight.
Click here to read more and access a calorie checker
Health Awareness Days
World Alzheimer’s Month
1 - 30 September 2016
The theme for World Alzheimer’s Month 2016 is Remember Me
. Alzheimers Disease International are asking you to get involved by sharing your favourite memories, or memories of a loved one, on social media this September with the hashtags #RememberMe #WAM2016.
The impact of World Alzheimer’s Month is growing, but the stigmatisation and misinformation that surrounds dementia remains a global problem. To find out how to share your memory click here.
Local advice about Alzheimer's Disease and dementia
Know your numbers week
12 - 18 September 2016
Blood Pressure UK is the UK’s leading blood pressure charity, dedicated to lowering the nation’s blood pressure to prevent death and disability from stroke and heart disease. Know your Numbers! is their flagship awareness campaign. It encourages adults across the UK to know their blood pressure numbers and take the necessary action to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure. It is designed to educate about the health complications associated with high blood pressure. It’s also about encouraging us to monitor our blood pressure – in short, to get to know our numbers!
While the condition may be without symptoms, it is the underlying causes of serious problems such as heart attack, stroke, and is one of the main factors in heart and kidney disease. Each year 125,000 adults in the UK have a heart attack or stroke due to high blood pressure – its something you cannot afford to ignore and the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure check.
How to get your free healthcheck
Sexual Health Week
12–18 September 2016
FPA is a sexual health charity who give straightforward information and support on sexual health, sex and relationships to everyone in the UK
FPA Sexual Health Week informs the public, influences service providers and supports health professionals. This year they will be focusing on sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Read more at
Find out where you can get local advice