Author Archives: Matt Thompson

North Kirklees GP practice strikes gold

Blackburn Road Medical Centre has become the first GP practice in Kirklees to be awarded a gold award under a national pilot that brings the ‘Pride in Practice’ programme to the district.

The scheme, part of a pilot funded by the Government Equalities Office, co-ordinated by NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups and delivered by LGBT Foundation, aims to strengthen the relationship between GP practices and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) patients.

Pride in Practice is a service, co-produced by communities, clinicians and commissioners. Pride in Practice works in partnership with practice staff to better meet the needs of their LGBT patients and empowers LGBT community members to work with health professionals and find shared solutions to barriers, ensuring patient voice and lived experience is at the centre of the programme.

The programme includes myth-busting training, support to deliver effective active signposting and social prescribing for LGBT communities, and ongoing support.

12 GP practices in Kirklees have registered to undertake the programme and are progressing with their training.

Nick Gwatkin, Business Manager for Blackburn Road Medical Centre said: “We’re delighted to receive the gold award. I’m incredibly proud of the whole team who have embraced the training. The NHS is by us for us, and it’s important we take the time to educate ourselves so that we can better support our community.”

Kelly Collins, Practice Nurse added: “Completing the training has given us confidence when we do assessments and consultations with LGBT patients. We want our patients to feel at ease with us and know that we understand their needs.”

Pride in Practice supports the CCGs shared equality objectives which include improving access to GP practices for LGBT patients. The priorities have been developed with local people and health and social care partners in Kirklees.

Penny Woodhead, Chief Quality and Nursing Officer, for the CCGs said:

“We’re really pleased to see Blackburn Road Medical Centre achieve gold accreditation. Their commitment to effectively and confidently meet the needs of LGBT patients now leads the way for other practices in Kirklees.

“As a CCG we aim to commission health services that give protected groups equal access, experiences and outcomes.  Supporting practices to achieve the Pride in Practice award is one way we are doing this.”

Claudia Carvell, Business Development Manager for Pride in Practice said: “We are proud to have supported Blackburn Road Medical Centre to achieve the first gold accreditation in Kirklees, and to welcome them into a community of practices nationally who are working with us on LGBT inclusion and access in primary care.”

The Pride in Practice programme is endorsed and informed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Royal College of General Practitioners, Care Quality Commission, and the Government Equalities Office.

Photo caption: Nick Gwatkin holds award with members of the practice team, CCG staff and Claudia Carvell from LGBT Foundation.

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Batley GP selected as new chair for CCG

NHS North Kirklees CCG has announced the appointment of Dr Khalid Naeem as their new clinical chair of the governing body from 1 May 2020.

Khalid has been a GP in Batley for over 15 years and is a partner at Mount Pleasant Medical Centre. He has also been a member of the CCG’s governing body since it was first established in 2013 as the clinical lead for medicines management.

Dr Naeem will replace Dr David Kelly who announced he would be stepping down from the role last year. David has held the position since April 2013 and has helped shape the future direction of health and social care in North Kirklees.

On his appointment Dr Naeem said: “I am delighted to be taking on the challenge of this role and look forward to working with local GPs, practice staff, patients and the CCG to ensure we continue to build on our vision for the population of North Kirklees.”

Carol McKenna, CCG Chief Officer said: “I’m pleased to welcome Khalid to the role of clinical chair of North Kirklees CCG. I know he has a great deal of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to bring to his new role and I look forward to working alongside him.

“I’d like to express my thanks to David who has made a huge contribution to the CCG. As one of the founding members of North Kirklees CCG David has led us through some often challenging times and has worked to deliver our ambitions of high quality care and sustainable local services.”

Dr Naeem was selected through a formal recruitment process followed by membership endorsement. Dr Kelly will continue to work as a GP at Brookroyd Surgery, Heckmondwike.

Dr Khalid Naeem

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Healthy Hearts initiative helps people in Kirklees think about their blood pressure

In the UK, high blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for heart disease after tobacco, smoking and poor diet.¹ Not many people know that high blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases the risk of developing serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

GPs across Kirklees are supporting the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts initiative to ensure people with high blood pressure receive the care they need. The initiative aims to identify patients who may have high blood pressure but are not yet diagnosed, and those who have been identified as having high blood pressure to achieve better control.

In our area, Healthy Hearts is starting to show very encouraging results with just over 1,500 new patients added to their GP practice’s hypertension register since Jan 2019.  These patients can now be more closely monitored with the aim of reducing their risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Healthy Hearts clinical lead for Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs, said: “There isn’t always an explanation for the cause of high blood pressure, but not doing enough physical activity, being overweight or obese, eating too much salt, regularly drinking too much alcohol and having a family history of high blood pressure can all play a part. It’s never too late to start looking after your heart and we’re working with the Healthy Hearts initiative to help patients make the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to stay healthy”.

Dr Youssef Beaini, Clinical Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate said: “We’re working with GPs and local NHS clinical commissioning groups to help reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes. In West Yorkshire and Harrogate alone, more than 600,000 people are affected by high blood pressure.²  We’re are really encouraged by the results we’re seeing and that’s all down to the hard work of GPs and their clinical staff on the front line”.

For more information about the West Yorkshire and Harrogate’s Healthy Hearts initiative, please visit

  2. *Exact figure 616,636, taken from ‘Hypertension prevalence estimates, 2017 – National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network’ and published in British Heart Foundation packs – Blood pressure: How can we do better?

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice

The NHS in Kirklees and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.  The risk to the general public is moderate.

If you have arrived back to the UK from an affected area, follow the specific advice for returning travellers which is available on and nhs.ukDo not go to a GP surgery or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.

Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands. The risk of being in close contact with a person with coronavirus or contaminated surfaces is very low at the current time. Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at


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Kirklees to benefit from community-based urgent care service

Kirklees will receive new funding to develop a community-based urgent care service for some of some of the most vulnerable patients, including those who are frail, elderly or have multiple long-term conditions.

Local NHS, council and community service teams will work together to develop the service, which will ensure urgent health and social care support is available within two hours to help the elderly and those with complex needs remain well at home and avoid hospital admissions.

The service will also ensure people receive tailored packages of care designed to restore independence and confidence after a hospital stay, within two days.

Kirklees is one of seven national ‘accelerator’ sites which will receive a share of a £14 million national investment.  The funding is part of a commitment set out in the NHS Long Term Plan to help keep older people well at home and reduce pressure on hospital services.

Carol McKenna, Chief Officer for NHS Greater Huddersfield and NHS North Kirklees CCGs said; “We’re delighted to have been selected as one of the national accelerator sites.  This reflects the integrated approach being taken in Kirklees, where the CCGs are already working closely with partners including GP practices, Kirklees Council and community service providers.

“The additional funding will help us to deliver more care and support closer to home and reduce pressure on local hospitals.   It also means that Kirklees will be amongst the first areas in the country to meet a new NHS standard for urgent community health services. “

Councillor Musarrat Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Kirklees Council, said; “I am really pleased that Kirklees has been announced as one of seven pilot sites in England to be an Urgent Community Response Accelerator Site.  We already work closely with our partners in the NHS, Locala and with social care providers to enable people to remain in their own homes.  This announcement enables us to take this work to the next level and test out ways in which we can enhance our work to avoid people needing to be admitted to hospital by providing a rapid health and care response.  We look forward to being able to share our learning nationally as part of the pilot as well as gaining insights from elsewhere in the country.”

Helen Carr, Lead Provider of Kirklees Provider Alliance, said; “Kirklees Provider Alliance is delighted to be working with partners across the borough to develop and deliver this new service.   It will be a fantastic opportunity to transform urgent community response health and social care services for the Kirklees population and affords the opportunity for sharing developments across a wider footprint”.

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, said; “This investment in Kirklees as one of seven national accelerator sites is good for Kirklees and for West Yorkshire and Harrogate. Improving the lives of people through ageing well and supporting more people to remain independent at home is a priority to us all.

“This investment will support the testing out of new approaches, including faster access to community services for older people with an urgent need. Any learning will be adopted by the Partnership to support thousands more people and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. This is linked to the other ‘ageing well’ programmes across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and demonstrates the power of partnerships.”

Ruth Holt, responsible for the Ageing Well Programme for the NHS in North East and Yorkshire, said; “It’s fantastic to see services in the community getting the attention they merit. This initiative in Kirklees provides a genuine opportunity to do something different when caring for people facing a health crisis at home.

“The NHS Long Term Plan commits to ensuring we work collaboratively so that all people in England get the right community care, in a timely manner when they need it most.”

Case Study – Rapid Response Service, Kirklees

Mrs Clough was unwell in hospital and after being discharged to go home, cried when she saw her front door as being back at home was such a comfort. Her family were anxious about how she would manage as she was unsteady and would struggle going up and down the stairs.

Mrs Clough eventually contacted Kirklees Council to enquire about the support available. She was referred to rapid response and within hours, had the support she required. “It was wonderful.  I was assessed and given equipment to help me such as a walking aid. Rapid Response staff came three times a day and helped me with personal care, meals and preparing for bed on an evening. They gave me so much reassurance and confidence,” she said.

To aid her, the therapist arranged for a hand rail to be fitted within a week which gave Mrs Clough confidence when going up and down the stairs.  She also had a bath lift put in place which was a massive help.  “As I felt better I was asked what my ambitions were. I told the therapist that I wanted to get back on the bus to Leeds,” she said.

She later received some reablement and mobility practice.  She walked each day and eventually managed to get to the end of the road where she could see her mum’s old house, the house that she had grown up in.  She cried as she never thought she would see it again.  From there with practice, she finally got on the bus.  She is now back to her full independence and going to Leeds.

“The staff were lovely, kind and caring people who always had a smile. They were so cheerful and made me feel better every day. They were wonderful!” Mrs Clough said being at home made such a difference, she had wanted to be at home and not in hospital or in care.

“There are no words to describe the difference the team has made to me being able to live independently in my own home.”

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Local people are the stars of our winter health messages campaign

People living and working in Kirklees are supporting the local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) by sharing some important messages to help people stay well over the Christmas and New Year period.

The messages include a reminder about ordering and collecting any medication that is required before the holidays, using community pharmacies for advice and accessing NHS 111 by telephone or online for urgent medical problems.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of North Kirklees CCG said: “We know at this time of year people are busy, and no one wants to be ill, particularly at Christmas. Our winter messages films are just a simple way of reminding people what is available in the local community such as pharmacists, and GP practices that are open for longer. I’d like to thank everyone who has taken part.”

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair of Greater Huddersfield CCG added: “Like many parts of the country we are seeing a high number of people attending our local accident and emergency departments and suffering with winter related illnesses such as diarrhoea, vomiting and flu-like symptoms in our local community.  We want people to be able to get the care they need, when they need it.

“It’s important if you are unwell to take the necessary steps to help us help you. Whether that’s collecting your medication on time, seeking advice early before things get worse, or contacting NHS 111 if you have an urgent medical problem.”

Many of the students from the University of Huddersfield who appear in the films are training to be the future workforce of the NHS.

Bethany Woodcock, Community Officer at Huddersfield Students’ Union said: “A lot of students have been on placements in GP practices or hospitals this year as part of their training. Students are a big part of the local community and were keen to support the local NHS with this campaign.”

The films are available to view on the CCG’s winter health pages.  Here you can also find advice on if you have flu or the norovirus (winter vomiting bug) and pharmacy opening hours for over the bank holiday.

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New Suicide Bereavement Service

A new service to support people bereaved or affected by suicide goes live on Monday (2 December) across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. The service is a response to the fact that people bereaved by suicide are more likely to suffer from severe depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, or even adopt suicidal behaviours themselves.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Suicide Bereavement Service will provide support through one to one peer support, peer support groups and advocacy.

The new service, an extension of the Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service, is central to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership’s plan to improve bereavement support, while it works to reduce the numbers of suicides too.

Support on offer, which will enhance suicide bereavement support services across the region, will include practical advice and signposting to other much needed services, for example counselling or financial advice.

A number of workshops are running throughout December and are open to all, irrespective of a coroner’s conclusion. People will be able to self-refer to the service or be referred by other people such as funeral directors, police, coroners, or NHS staff across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

Additional support will also be available to staff affected by suicide in the course of their duties; for example health, social care or emergency service staff. Help will also be available to people who have been bereaved historically yet feel they may benefit from peer led support.

Yorkshire and Humber has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership is driving a collaborative approach to reduce suicide and improve services. It is working towards reducing suicide by 10% across the region and by 75% in targeted areas.

Referrals can be made by visiting or by calling 0113 305 5800. Practitioners will be based in Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield and Leeds but meeting locations will be flexible. Support groups will begin in December at the following locations:

  • Kirklees group: Thursday, 5 December, 6pm-7.30pm at Support to Recovery – S2R CREATE SPACE, Brook Street, Huddersfield, HD1 1EB
  • Bradford group: Friday, 6 December, 6pm-8pm at Mind in Bradford – KenBurgh House, 28 Manor Row, Bradford BD1 4QU
  • Calderdale group: Wednesday, 18 December, 6-8pm at Halifax Fire Station, Skircoat Moor Road, King Cross, Halifax, HX1 3JF
  • Craven group: Wednesday, 18 December, 6-8pm at Settle Victoria Hall, Kirkgate, Settle, BD24 9DZ
  • Harrogate group: Monday, 9 December, 6pm-8pm at Mind in Harrogate – Acorn Centre, 101A Station Parade, Harrogate HG1 1HB
  • Wakefield group: Wednesday, 11 December, 6-8pm at Lightwaves Leisure Centre, Lower York St, Wakefield WF1 3LJ


People bereaved by Suicide in Leeds are able to access the linked Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service, funded by Leeds City Council. Referrals can be made by visiting or by calling 0113 305 5803. Leeds drop in group is first Tuesday of every month, Civic Hall in Leeds City Centre, 6-8pm.

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘As someone personally affected by suicide, I understand the impact it can have on individuals, families and other people too. This service will provide essential help to those facing one of the hardest issues to face. This is something that I hope becomes less needed as we reduce suicides through our other work to help more people’.



West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership focuses on the health and care needs of local people across Bradford District and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. The partnership is made up of a number of organisations who work together to help 2.7 million people in the area including the NHS, councils, Healthwatch, voluntary and community organisations. You can find out more at

You can read our Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Annual Report here.

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Think Self Care for Life

Local NHS organisations are encouraging people to ‘Think Self Care for Life’ this self-care week by making small changes that can make a big difference to physical and mental wellbeing.

Follow these small steps to a healthier you:

  • Get active. Exercise for at least twenty minutes a day, it’s ideal if you can incorporate this into your day. Ditch the car, walk to work, take the stairs or even dance around the kitchen table to your favourite songs!
  • Eat well. Swap unhealthy snacks for healthier options such as nuts, seeds and fruit. Ask your pharmacist for advice on managing your weight.
  • Make positive changes! Take steps to stop those bad habits that don’t serve you well. This Self Care Week make a plan to stop smoking, reduce alcohol intake or get active! Your pharmacist can help with lifestyle changes such as weight management and stop smoking.
  • A good’s night’s sleep is as essential to our health and wellbeing as eating healthily and exercising so, make sure you get the recommended 7-8 hours a night!
  • Stop! Busy lives mean we sometimes forget to slow down and stop.  Find time in your day to just quieten your mind. Mindfulness or yoga might be helpful.

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: ‘’It’s never too early, or too late, to think about protecting your health. Often, one small change will make a big difference to your wellbeing.

“For instance, choosing to become more active will not only improve your physical health, it will also boost your mood, particularly if you choose to exercise outdoors in the fresh air.”

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG adds: “Thinking self-care for life is also about safely managing long term conditions and, understanding how to self-treat common conditions, such as coughs, colds and sore throats. Pharmacists can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses as well as lifestyle advice.”

During Self Care Week, and everyday choose Self Care for Life and make self-care your life-long habit.

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Join the fight against antibiotic resistance

NHS organisations in Kirklees are encouraging local people to join them in tackling antibiotic resistance by following the advice of their doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

NHS Greater Huddersfield and NHS North Kirklees CCGs are supporting the national campaign from Public Health England – “Keep Antibiotics Working”.  The campaign warns that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant, meaning antibiotics may not work when you really need them. Taking antibiotics for everyday viral infections, such as colds or flu, are not effective. Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.”

As antibiotic resistance increases, common procedures such as caesarean sections and hip replacements could become life-threatening without antibiotics to ward off infections. Cancer patients are also much more vulnerable if antibiotics don’t work; both cancer and the treatment (chemotherapy) reduce the ability of the immune system to fight infections and antibiotics are critical to both prevent and treat infections in these patients.

Dr Steve Ollerton local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said: “To help prevent antibiotic resistance, antibiotics should only be taken as prescribed and never saved for later, or shared with others.  It’s important that, when it comes to antibiotics, you always take your doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice.”

Community pharmacies are a good place to start for advice and treatment for minor health conditions such as coughs, colds and aches and pains and you don’t need an appointment to speak to the pharmacist.

For further information on antibiotic resistance visit

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We’re moving …

NHS Greater Huddersfield and NHS North Kirklees CCGs are moving to new, shared premises in Huddersfield town centre at the end of the month.

The CCGs have been working closely together for some years and share a Chief Officer and senior management team.   Moving to a single HQ is the next logical step. The relocation will deliver financial savings in the region of £100,000 across both organisations.

Around 190 staff will be moving from existing bases in Empire House, Dewsbury and Broad Lea House Huddersfield, when leases on existing premises come to an end. Some staff will be based in Kirklees Council offices to support more integrated working between local health and social care organisations.

We remain committed to working closely with the local communities we serve and will continue to hold our Governing Body meetings and public engagement events at venues across Kirklees.  Staff will also be able to work from a number of ‘hubs’ across the area.

The move will be completed during week commencing 9 December 2019.

Our new address is:

2nd Floor
Norwich Union House
Market Street

Further information and contact details will be published on our website in due course.

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