Author Archives: Matt Thompson

Help us help you this winter

Health professionals in Kirklees have issued a reminder about the help and support available to help people get the care they need this winter.

With people asked to follow local restrictions for West Yorkshire this will be a winter like no other as we work together to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.  Regular hand washing, wearing a face covering and keeping a safe distance from others remains the best way to keep protecting each other.

This winter it’s more important than ever to get the flu jab. Flu is serious, and kills around 11,000 people and hospitalises tens of thousands more in England each year. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu virus. Flu can cause severe complications, particularly for high risk groups. If you are pregnant, have a long term health condition such as asthma or diabetes, are over the age of 65, or are the main carer for someone, you are eligible for a free flu vaccine. Contact your GP practice as soon as possible.

For the first time, people aged 50-64 will be invited by their GP practice to also get a free flu jab from December.

If you have a repeat prescription please check you have enough supply to last over the bank holidays. That way you don’t risk getting ill if you run out, or have to take up an emergency GP appointment. You can manage your repeat prescription through the NHS App or your GP’s online services.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair of Greater Huddersfield CCG said “The NHS is still here to help you and your family this winter. GP practices are open. If you have concerns about a medical condition or need advice you should contact us as soon as possible.  A delay in treatment can pose a risk to longer term health. We’ve made changes to the way we work, to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus. Please call or contact us online first. If you need a face to face appointment you will be offered one.”

Community pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals that can offer advice and the best treatment for common health conditions such as colds, sore throats and tummy aches, many pharmacies have private consulting rooms.  People are advised to think ahead and check their first aid kits and medicine cabinets so that minor injuries and common health problems can be treated at home. Pharmacy opening hours and contact details can be found on the NHS website.

There will be people who need urgent and emergency care this winter. Healthcare professionals throughout Kirklees want to make sure those people get the right advice and treatment at the right time.

Dr Khalid Naeem, Chair of North Kirklees CCG said: “Please help us, help you this winter by making the right choice. If you have an urgent medical condition, but it’s not an emergency, you should contact NHS111 by phone or go online 111.nhs.uk. You should call 999 when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, such as severe bleeding, head injury or you think it could be a heart attack or stroke.”

In North Kirklees, the walk in centre based in the emergency department of Dewsbury and District Hospital and is open Monday to Friday 9am – 8pm and Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 10am – 6pm, which can provide health support and advice for minor illness or injury.

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‘Think self-care for life’ this Self-Care Week

We are asking local people to ‘think self-care for life’ this Self- Care week.

Self-care is all about looking after yourself, managing any long term health conditions you may have and knowing how to get help or advice when you need it.

Together with local health and care services, we will be sharing tips and advice each day on Twitter and Facebook.

There’ll be a focus on mental health, diabetes, the role of antibiotics and essential items to have in your medicine cabinet at home.

You can also find out more about accessing health services from home and the latest public health advice around Covid-19 and flu.

You are encouraged to join the conversation by using #selfcare4kirklees.

Further information

COVID-19

The symptoms of COVID-19 are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell. If you have any of these get a test by calling 119 or by visiting the NHS Coronavirus website.

How to access health services from home

GP surgeries in Kirklees have remained open throughout the pandemic. They have made changes to the way they work, limiting face-to-face contact where possible, to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

If you have concerns about a medical condition or need advice you should contact your GP practice as soon as possible.  A delay in treatment can pose a risk to longer term health, so don’t put it off. Find out how to contact your practice safely.

There are lots of NHS services that you can access from home, including ordering a repeat prescription, find out how at the NHS Health at Home website

Mental Health

If you need mental or emotion health support, help is available in Kirklees.

  • A 24 hour confidential helpline is available for people experiencing mental distress. They’re on hand 7 days a week to offer support and guidance. Available to anyone registered with a GP in Kirklees. Call free 0800 183 0558.
  • a grief and bereavement and support line to support you if you’ve recently lost someone close to you. You can call them 8am -8pm, 7 days a week on 0808 1963833 or chat online.
  • Children and young people can access an anonymous, online counselling and support service from Kooth
  • Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) provide a choice of services for adults experiencing common mental health problems such as depression, stress, panic and obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • More information about local mental health services is available from Kirklees Council. (NOTE: some of these services may be working differently due to COVID-19. Please contact them online or by telephone before attending in person)

Physical Health

The Kirklees Wellness Service can help you live a healthier life. If you want to get more active, lose weight or stop smoking find out how they can help.

You can also find more ways to kick start your health with Better Health and the NHS Fitness Studio.

Type 2 diabetes

Every two minutes someone finds out that they have Type 2 diabetes, a potentially serious health condition that can cause long-term health problems.

It can lead to sight loss, kidney failure, loss of a limb, and makes you at least twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

It’s very important that you find out if you are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes so you can get support to lower your risk. You may even be eligible for the local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

The Diabetes UK risk tool can help you find out if you’re at risk of developing the condition. It takes just a few minutes s and could be the most important thing you do today.

Flu Jab

Flu is a serious condition that kills thousands and hospitalises thousands more in England each year. The flu vaccination is the best protection for you and those around you which is why it is offered for free for those most at risk.

Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19 and the free vaccine is more important than ever, to help protect the nation from a double threat this winter.

That’s why this year, the free flu vaccine is being offered to a record number of 30 million people to help protect as many as possible from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services.

Ask your pharmacist or GP if you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine.

Community pharmacy and managing medication effectively

Community pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines to effectively and safely manage a range of minor illnesses. Find out more about how they can help you.

Antibiotics aren’t always needed. Earache and sore throats can often get better by themselves. Talk to your pharmacist about which medicines help. If you are prescribed antibiotics, always follow your doctor’s advice about taking these.

At home you should keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet to help with common health problems and a first aid kit so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries.  Your local pharmacy can help if you’re missing something. Remember to follow Government guidelines when attending the pharmacy.

Graphic. Blue background. A red bag is in the centre with the words ‘first aid kit’ written on. This is being held by an arm. There are lines drawn out of the bag to a range of items and a graphic of each item. Clockwise these are: Painkillers such as paracetamol, asprin and ibuprofen. Bandage. Plasters. Scissors. Safety pins. Tweezers. Sticky tape. Insect bite relief. Sterile dressing. Cleansing wipes. Eye dressing. Skin rash cream. Antiseptic cream. Sterile gloves. Distilled water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pharmacies are still open to help and can recommend over the counter medications for minor injuries and illnesses. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including a new cough, loss of sense of taste or smell or a high temperature please do not visit your pharmacist. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need help, please call 111.

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Report on tackling health inequalities for BAME staff launched

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP) Review into the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities and support needed for Black Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and colleagues has published its report setting out the critical next steps today (Thursday 22 October).

The review panel sessions, chaired by Professor Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, a leading figure in national health and care policy, included WY&H HCP leaders, members of the WY&H HCP BAME Network and voluntary and community sector partners.

All worked tirelessly through the summer to investigate and understand the disparities in the risks and outcomes of COVID-19, as well as learn from the experience of the organisations and colleagues that make up WY&H HCP.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every child, adult, family and community in West Yorkshire and Harrogate, with some of the biggest impacts seen for the most economically disadvantaged and those from BAME communities.

The review’s original work themes, such as population health inequalities and workforce were refined into four distinct themes, via panel member contributions, initial review of the evidence and further discussion by the panel. The review themes are:

  • Improving access to safe work for BAME colleagues in West Yorkshire and Harrogate
  • ​​​​​Ensuring the Partnership’s leadership is reflective of communities
  • Population planning (using information to make sure that services meet different groups’ needs)
  • Reducing Inequalities in mental health outcomes by ethnicity.

Report recommendations include:

  • Delivery of co-designed ethnically appropriate advice and support for people working in high risk roles to mitigate risk to their heath, their families and communities.
  • Equality of opportunities for BAME groups in all economic development and recovery plans, including work on apprenticeships, job creation and start up grants.
  • The coproduction of an anti-racism campaign. Recognising and appreciating that BAME is not one homogenous population.
  • Inclusive leadership standards which leaders pledge to personally uphold within their organisations, starting with recruitment and selection processes.
  • Development of independent discrimination panels with BAME representation to review all cases of racial discrimination in disciplinary and complaints cases.
  • All organisations in West Yorkshire and Harrogate engage in positive action to actively seek out local, ethnically representative talent with local recruitment targets for senior level roles.
  • Ensure that ethnicity recording is 100% in all settings and that this data, coupled with local insight, is used across WY&H HCP to inform the design and delivery of care.
  • Monitoring of service access, uptake and outcomes by ethnicity to identify inequalities.
  • Demonstration that services are culturally competent and are contributing towards reducing inequalities.
  • Work to address the determinants that lead to ethnic inequalities in mental health. This includes using procurement and employment opportunities to create community wealth among BAME populations, improving housing conditions for people from BAME communities, and equity in skills opportunities.
  • Work together to co-ordinate, lead and measure progress on reducing inequalities in mental health by ethnicity, including sharing good practice, improving use of evidence and coordinating training.
  • Support the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to provide ongoing mental health support to Black, Asian and minority ethnicity communities.  Colleagues from this sector should receive additional specialist emotional and practical support to continue this work.

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘Despite historic events and the stark reality of the compelling evidence before us, I like many others want to know why people from BAME communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and continue, yet again, to be impacted by health inequalities and an unjust society. Being involved in this important review has given me both the opportunity to learn more about West Yorkshire and Harrogate’s cultural vibrancy, strong diverse communities and identities, and to facilitate a much needed conversation which builds on the work already well underway by the Partnership. There is much to be proud of and it gives me genuine hope for current and future BAME generations. I was honoured to be invited to chair the BAME review sessions for the Partnership’.

Rob Webster (CBE), WY&H HCP CEO Lead and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust said: ‘Our Partnership has big ambitions to tackle health inequalities and support Black Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and colleagues. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these issues into even sharper focus, with people from BAME communities more likely to be affected and more likely to die from coronavirus. This report shows we were right to bring fresh eyes and external challenge to our plans. We will make the implementation of the recommendations a clear priority for the Partnership and ask our Partnership Board and BAME Network to hold us to account in the future. Together we can genuinely change the experiences of our communities and staff for good’.

Robin Tuddenham, CEO for Calderdale Council, Chief Officer for Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group and Co-Chair for WY&H HCP Improving Population Health Programme said: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the impact of deep-seated and long-standing health inequalities faced by our BAME communities and colleagues. This review gives us a powerful set of actions, building upon our focus and determination to deliver on this. The time to change and the opportunity to act is now’.

Dr Sohail Abbas, Chair of the WY&H HCP Health Inequalities Network added: ‘West Yorkshire and Harrogate has a diverse population which has a complex profile across the region as a whole and within the six local places (Bradford district and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield). Therefore activity in this arena should be locally-led and driven in order to address the nuances and differences of each area and to have the greatest impact. Integral to this review is the impact of interpersonal, institutional and structural racism on inequalities in health outcomes for the BAME population. Only by working together at both a West Yorkshire and Harrogate and local level can we really make a positive difference’.

Alison Lowe, CEO for Touchstone (Leeds) and Chair of the Voluntary and Community Sector Review Sub-group said: ‘Current events, such as COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter Movement, have brought into focus inequalities in health outcomes that disproportionately affect people from BAME communities. This makes the review carried out and the subsequent findings extremely important if the Partnership is to improve BAME people’s health and ensure a fairer society for all living across the area.’

An action plan will be developed to support the implementation of the recommendations. This will be considered and approved by the WY&H HCP Partnership Board in December 2020, who will periodically review progress against these recommendations. All information is and will be made available to the public. The action plan will be accompanied by a set of indicators to measure progress over time.

Kez Hayat, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and member of WY&H HCP BAME Network added: ‘I am pleased the Partnership is taking a proactive approach in engaging and involving members of BAME staff. It is crucial that such networks have the opportunity so that they can actively influence the big ambitions through their lived experiences and intrinsic knowledge in tackling the wider health and workforce inequalities. It will be crucial for the Partnership to continue to focus on ensuring visible diversity on decision making boards and in our wider organisations at all levels so it is truly reflective of the communities we serve’.

Cllr Tim Swift Chair of the WY&H Health and Care Partnership Board said: ‘I would personally like to thank everyone for their hard work and involvement in this report. This includes the WY&H BAME Network and community partners who have given their time freely without hesitation to do what is right for all communities across our area. My thanks also to Professor Dame Donna Kinnair for her leadership in challenging us all to think differently. As Chair of the WY&H Partnership’s Board I will be asking the Board to formally accept and commit to the recommendations, and to monitor the progress made carefully to ensure positive outcomes are delivered’.

You can access the report, which is also produced in alternative formats, the insight used to inform the recommendations and other supporting information at https://www.wyhpartnership.co.uk/publications from the 22 October 2020 at 10am.

Follow on Twitter @WYHPartnership and join the conversation using #WYHtacklinginequality

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My Pregnancy Journey digital care planning tool now available for women in West Yorkshire and Harrogate

Women living in West Yorkshire and Harrogate can now use a new digital tool, My Pregnancy Journey, to help them make choices about their care in pregnancy, in labour and following the birth of their baby.

Better Births (2016) provides the blueprint for maternity transformation, which is driven locally by the Local Maternity System (LMS). Our LMS is transforming maternity services so that every woman can access information to enable her to make decisions about her care, and where she and her baby can find support that is centred around their individual needs.

Choices available to all women include the place of birth and choice begins as soon as a woman makes initial contact with maternity services and continues throughout her journey. In 2018, our LMS co-produced with women and families a booklet entitled My Journey, outlining the choices available to women at that time. We have now updated and re-created that booklet into a digital tool, My Pregnancy Journey, that can be accessed on a variety of platforms, such as laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Carol McKenna, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Maternity Programme and Chief Officer for NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and NHS North Kirklees CCG said:

“There is no better time than now for our Local Maternity System to bring this innovation to women living in West Yorkshire and Harrogate. We know that people need to be able to find the information they need quickly and easily, and for many of us that means using a handheld device or a computer.

The My Pregnancy Journey tool is easy to use, offers a function that allows women to find out about services close to and convenient for them and is available round the clock. We believe that this flexibility is at the heart of personalised care and hope that women and families will use it to help them get the right care for them in the right place at the right time.”

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Your GP practice is here to help

GPs in Kirklees are reminding people to get in touch if they need medical help.

Surgeries have remained open throughout the pandemic, although they have made changes to the way they work to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Dr Steve Ollerton, GP and Chair of Greater Huddersfield CCG said: “If you have concerns about a medical condition or need advice you should contact your GP practice as soon as possible.  A delay in treatment can pose a risk to longer term health, so don’t put it off.   Appointments are available from 8am to 6.30pm on weekdays, in the evenings and at weekends.

“Face-to-face appointments are available to all patients, but you may be asked to discuss your conditions over the phone or online first to assess what would be most appropriate for you.”

There were over 189,000 appointments provided by primary care across Kirklees in July 2020. 59% were carried out face to face, compared to 39% by telephone[1].

Catherine Wormstone Head of Primary Care for Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs said: “Coronavirus is still in our community and we must continue to do everything possible to reduce its spread. This includes making changes to how GP services operate. We also need to be clear that these new ways of working will be in place for some time to come. I would urge people to continue to support our efforts to keep patients and staff safe during this challenging time.”

Patients are being asked not attend their surgery unless they have an appointment.  Instead, they should contact the practice by phone or online through their GP practice’s website. Reducing the number of people who visit their GP practice helps to protect patients and staff from the risk of infection.

To avoid having to wait on the phone, patients are also encouraged to use online services to order repeat prescriptions or access their medical record. This can be done at any time of the day or night, even when the practice is closed.

[1] NHS Digital https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/appointments-in-general-practice

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Take control of your blood pressure

NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are telling local residents they’re in control of their blood pressure as part of ‘Know Your Numbers Week.’

Every year during “know your numbers week” people are encouraged to get a blood pressure check as part of Blood Pressure UKs annual campaign. Unfortunately, due to COVID 19, this year community events are not able to go ahead and community pharmacists are not able to offer their usual free service. However, there are still ways for you to get involved and know your risk.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts website is a good place to start www.westyorkshireandharrogatehealthyhearts.co.uk/blood-pressure. Answering six questions about your lifestyle will help you to understand if you are at risk of high blood pressure.

Using a simple and reliable blood pressure monitor at home can also help you to find out whether your blood pressure numbers are under control. The readings are often more reliable than getting it checked at a hospital clinic or at your GP practice, as people tend to be more relaxed in their own surroundings. There are helpful tips about how to check your blood pressure at home on the Healthy Hearts website, along with advice on understanding the readings.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Healthy Hearts clinical lead for Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs said: “Home monitoring offers a way for you to take control of your health and feel confident. It gives you a practical way to Know Your Numbers without visiting your GP or pharmacist, and it really can save lives.”

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.

Dr Khalid Naeem, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “High blood pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable conditions but if untreated, increases your risk of serious problems such as stroke, heart attack or heart failure. If you have any doubts or concerns about your readings at home please contact your GP surgery.”

If you are asked to attend the GP surgery for a face to face appointment please follow the social distancing guidance in place and wear a face covering if you are able to.

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How to get help this bank holiday

If you, or someone you live with, has coronavirus symptoms (high temperature and / or a new continuous cough and/ or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)

  • Get a test to check if you have Coronavirus by calling 119 or request online.
  • Stay at home.
  • Please do not go to your GP practice or community pharmacy.

If your symptoms get worse or you feel that you cannot manage at home, please refer to the NHS111 online coronavirus service. Only call 111 if you can’t get online or you’ve been instructed to.

Find out where the local testing sites are in Kirklees.

If you, or the people you live with, think you need advice from a GP or Practice Nurse for a health concern:

  • GP practices in Kirklees will be closed on Monday 31 August.
  • Appointments with a GP or practice nurse are available over the bank holiday weekend, including Bank Holiday Monday, through the extended access service.
  • This is not a walk in service. Appointments can be booked in advance through your GP practice.
  • If you have an appointment at the extended access service please wear a face covering if you able to.
  • You can contact your GP practice through online consultation. Visit your practice website to find out how.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you take regular medication?

  • Check you have enough medication to last over the bank holiday.
  • Order repeat prescriptions in your usual quantities at the usual time. Over ordering of your medicines may mean someone else has to go without their medicines.
  • Order your usual prescription online or by an app. Do not go to your GP practice or pharmacy to order prescriptions and only phone them if you cannot order online or by an app. You can order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through your GP surgery or pharmacy’s online service, where available. You can find out about ordering medicines online at nhs.uk

Community pharmacy services over the bank holiday

  • Some community pharmacies will be open on Monday 31 August. They may have different opening times.
  • Always check the NHS website or your pharmacy’s own website for details.
  • Community pharmacy opening hours on Saturday 29 August will be the same as normal.
  • Pharmacists and their teams are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the coronavirus pandemic. Please always treat staff with respect; they are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need.
  • Please wear a face covering if you are able to when attending a pharmacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urgent health concerns

  • NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including the entire bank holiday weekend for more urgent health concerns. The service is now available online at https://111.nhs.uk/, as well as by phone (dial 111) and should be accessed when your GP surgery is closed. You will receive a phone or online based assessment, and they will be able to refer you to the correct service as required.

Dental Services

If you think you need urgent dental treatment, do not go to a dentist.

Instead:

  • call your dentist
  • use the NHS 111 online service if you cannot contact your dentist or you do not have one

They can give you advice, help you contact an urgent dental service or arrange treatment if needed.

Do not contact a GP. They cannot provide dental treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emergency medical help

For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.

Try to avoid going straight to A&E instead of calling an ambulance.

Mental health

Mental health support and guidance is just a phone call away, 0800 183 0558 for anyone registered with GP practice in Kirklees.

Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and people don’t have to have used mental health services before.

Carers, or those concerned about a loved one or friend, can also call for advice

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New resources to help people talk about end-of-life care

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership has produced a new resource pack designed for patients, their carers and families, and professionals to help them to have conversations about their future wishes and to record these in the form of an advance care plan. It will help people to have what can be quite difficult conversations in a supportive and compassionate way.

The guide includes easy-to-navigate sections on why advance care planning is important and when and how these conversations should be started.  It includes top tips and links to a wide range of other resources, including videos and e-learning.

Recording future wishes can be empowering and a way for people to feel more in control when the future seems uncertain. If at a future time, the person is no longer able to make their wishes known, they will have the assurance that their wishes will still be heard.

Dr Andrew Sixsmith, GP Partner and Clinical Advisor to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said:

“Often people are not given the opportunity to consider and express their future wishes in a timely way and this can lead to regret on behalf of both families and professionals.  Starting these discussions early gives the opportunity for conversations to evolve over a period of time without any pressure on the individual or family to make rapid decisions.”

With this in mind, alongside the new Advance Care Plan resource, the Partnership has updated the material for people living with a long term condition, including those with dementia.

Dr Sara Humphrey, GP Partner with a Special Interest in Older People; Associate Clinical Director Frailty/Dementia and GP Advisor to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said:

“It’s particularly important for people living with dementia that they are offered these opportunities in a timely way.  This ensures that, if they choose to, people with dementia are able to make their wishes known regarding future care, helping the people who care for them and about them  to understand what they would have wanted if they are no longer able communicate this themselves.”

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New films aim to help pregnant BAME women recognise risks from coronavirus

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Local Maternity System has created a series of films in community languages, delivered by clinicians,  that aim to raise awareness among pregnant BAME women about risk factors, signs and symptoms of coronavirus infection and how to protect themselves.

The films advise women that if they, or a member of their household, develop any of the coronavirus symptoms it is important that they stay isolated at home and call their midwife or doctor. Local maternity units are open 24 hours a day to give advice and make care plans for affected women, which may include coming in to hospital.

Carol McKenna, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Maternity Programme and Chief Officer for NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and NHS North Kirklees CCG said:“Most pregnant women who contract Coronavirus will experience only mild or moderate symptoms and will recover quickly. But we know that some women, especially those with BMI over 25 or who have diabetes or some other health conditions and women from Asian, Black African Caribbean, Black African and some other ethnic groups are more likely to become very unwell if they contract coronavirus and might need to be cared for in hospital.

Maternity staff across West Yorkshire and Harrogate are fully aware of the extra risks that women from BAME backgrounds face. We want women to know that if they have any concerns about their health or that of their baby they can and should make early contact with their midwife or doctor so that they can be quickly assessed and given all the care that they need.”

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Patients attending GP practices in Kirklees asked to wear face coverings

People attending their GP practice in Kirklees are asked to wear a face covering and attend appointments on time and alone.

The recommendations will help to support local efforts put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

GP practices have already changed the way that they provide services to make it safer for patients. The use of face coverings and limiting the number of people in surgeries will help protect other patients and staff.

Most appointments with a GP or practice nurse are continuing to take place over the phone or by video consultation. People are still asked not to go to their GP practice unless advised by a member of the practice team.

GP practices are following national infection control guidance. Staff are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks. Protective screens have been installed in many waiting areas and wherever possible social distancing guidelines are maintained.

Dr Steve Ollerton, GP and clinical chair, NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our GP practices safe. If you have been asked to attend your GP practice it is important that you wear a face covering that fits around, and covers your nose and mouth at all times. You should clean your hands before wearing your face covering and before and after you remove it. Hand sanitiser can be used when hand washing facilities are not available.”

Face coverings should not be worn by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary school age children unassisted, people with reduced mental capacity or those with respiratory conditions. Wearing a face covering does not replace the need to maintain social distancing and regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds on a regular basis, especially when returning home from a public place.

Dr Khalid Naeem, GP and clinical chair, NHS North Kirklees CCGs added: “Appointment times have been scheduled to minimise contact between people. If you arrive too early, you may be asked to wait outside and return at your appointment time. To help maintain social distancing we are asking people to attend their appointments alone wherever possible. If a carer usually supports you at your appointments they can still attend, but will be asked to wear a face covering where possible.”

GP practices will offer patients a face mask in special circumstances if they are unable to provide their own face coverings.

Further information about wearing face coverings and how to make your own is available on the gov.uk website search ‘face coverings.’ This also includes exception card templates for people who may feel comfortable having something to show when shopping or using public transport.

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