Chair’s blog: Dr David Kelly

Find out more about our plans for primary care

Following engagement with patients, members of the public, our member GP practices and other local stakeholders our Primary Care Strategy 2016-2021 was signed off at our Governing Body meeting yesterday, (Wednesday 3 February 2016).

This strategy focusses on the key challenges for primary care locally and details the outcomes that need to be achieved over the next five years in order to ensure that our patients receive seamless, integrated care and that primary care remains a sustainable service.

Our overall objectives that have been identified to deliver the overarching vision for transformation of health in North Kirklees have been identified as:

  • Easily accessible primary care services for all patients
  • Consistent, high quality, effective, safe, resilient care delivered to all patients
  • Motivated, engaged and integrated workforce with the right skills, behaviours and training, available in the right numbers
  • Premises and infrastructure which increases capacity for clinical services out of hospital and improve 7 day access to effective care
  • Effective contracting models which are fairly and properly funded to deliver integration and positive health outcomes.

These overall objectives stem from the key areas for improvement identified as part of the case for change through engagement with our member practices, stakeholders, patients and the wider public.

We recognise the need to be linked with the community, acute, mental health, social care and public health strategies, so that patient pathways are seamless and the health economy works well together.

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This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week we are urging all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives

Every year in the UK, over 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer which is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.

This year across Kirklees only 75% of eligible young women had a smear test compared to 81% of women aged 50-64.  The research from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) also shows that the number of women of all eligible ages having a smear test in Kirklees is steadily decreasing year-on-year. In 2014 76.9% of women attended and in 2015 76.8% of women attended.

We really want to increase the understanding about cervical screening and how vital it is for women to have regular smear tests because these tests really can save lives.  Women have no need to be embarrassed by the tests which are quick and painless. A simple smear test enables women to receive treatment before it is too late, preventing unnecessary deaths. So our message is clear: don’t ignore your smear test.

Cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer; it’s a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix (the entrance to the womb). Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s very important that women attend all of their cervical screening appointments. In most cases, vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer. It usually occurs after having sex. Bleeding at any other time, other than your expected monthly period, is also considered unusual. Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include pain and discomfort during sex and an unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge.

You can find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (24 – 30 January 2016) by visiting the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website www.jostrust.org.uk. For more information about cervical cancer and the NHS Cervical Screening Programme you can also visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-cervix

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Tips on how to stay well this winter and access the most appropriate services for you

There are many NHS service options that you can choose from if you or a family member fall ill this winter – from support from the NHS 111 service to walk in centres and of course A&E.

The majority of colds and flu like illnesses will be over in a few days and your pharmacist can help you manage the symptoms and give you practical advice.  Pharmacies offer a wide range of services; many also have private consultation rooms if you would like to speak in confidence.  Remember to take prescribed medicines as directed and pick up any prescription medicines before Christmas Eve.  It’s never pleasant falling ill, especially over Christmas and the new year, but there are a number of pharmacies in Kirklees open on the bank holidays and these can be found here.

Don’t forget that the flu vaccination is offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.

Winter, and the build up to the festive season is a busy time of year and it is very easy, when you are ill or dealing with someone who is ill to call the number everyone remembers: 999, but there is a very important alternative with NHS 111.

NHS 111 makes it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services in England. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help; it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

The simple rules are call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

There is also a walk in centre based in the emergency department of Dewsbury and District Hospital which is open 9am to 8pm (Mon-Fri) and 10am to 6pm (weekends & bank holidays), which can provide medical support and advice to anyone who comes through the door.

You can also be prepared by making sure you have plenty of medical supplies in the house, for example some simple pain-killers, a paediatric paracetamol mixture for children and an adequate supply of any regular medications you or your family are being prescribed by your doctor.

It’s also really important that we do what we can to help others stay well. Older people make up the largest group admitted to hospital in the winter.  Half live alone and one third never or only occasionally socialise with family or friends.  They can sometimes delay asking for help when they become unwell and so become more ill as a result.

The NHS website contains information from the NHS on conditions, treatments, local services and healthy living and can be accessed at www.nhs.uk .  A dedicated website has also been set up as part of the national Stay Well This Winter campaign – visit www.nhs.uk/staywell/  for more information.  Kirklees Council also has a dedicated area on their website which provides a wealth of information to help you prepare for the colder weather www.kirklees.gov.uk/winter

We hope that you enjoy a happy – and above all healthy – Christmas and New Year.

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Have your say on Musculoskeletal (MSK) community services in North Kirklees

We would like to know your views about our proposed new MSK community service.

MSK services are for people with bone, ligaments, muscle or joint problems. This includes conditions like knee pain and a bad back, as well as other more complex conditions such as rheumatoid or osteo arthritis.

The deadline for completion of this survey is Friday 18th December 2015 and you can find out more here.

Please take a few minutes to find out more about our proposals and have your say – your feedback is really important to us.

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Tips on how to stay well this winter

A national Stay Well This Winter campaign has started and provides advice to help everyone to stay well this winter.

This campaign covers the following guidance:

  • Seeking immediate advice and help from a pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell, before it gets too serious
  • Getting prescriptions before 24 December
  • Completing the course of prescription medicines
  • Keeping as warm as you can
  • Getting a flu vaccination
  • Stocking up on winter food supplies
  • Keeping an eye on elderly or frail friends, neighbours and relatives

You can find out more this guidance on our website or by visiting the national Stay Well this Winter website.

This campaign is particularly aimed to help those with long-term health conditions, those over 65, pregnant women and parents of under-sevens, but contains useful advice to help everyone to stay well over the winter months.

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Pledge to become an ‘Antibiotic Guardian’

Antibiotics are essential medicines for treating bacterial infections in both humans and animals, but they are increasingly losing their effectiveness.  Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic so that the antibiotic no longer works. The more you use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it.

GPs in Kirklees are making a stand in the battle against the increasing resistance of diseases to antibiotics and the implications to health. You can sign up to become ‘Antibiotic Guardian’ by choosing one simple pledge about how you can make better use of these vital medicines at http://antibioticguardian.com/.

Please get behind this important campaign.  You can find out more about becoming an ‘Antibiotic Guardian’ here.

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Find out more about the work of the CCG

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be taking place this month and is where we share our annual report and accounts and highlight some of our key activities from the past year.  There will also be an opportunity to find out more about the work of some of our community and voluntary sector partners, ask questions and take part in a round-table discussion.

This year the AGM is being held at Cleckheaton Town Hall on Wednesday 23 September between 2.00pm – 4.30pm. The meeting is in public and anyone who wants to reserve a seat can register online at:  http://northkirkleesccgagm.eventbrite.co.uk.  Alternatively you can contact Charlotte Allen, email: charlotte.allen@northkirkleesccg.nhs.uk tel: 01924 504916 to book your place as seating will be limited.

We hope the people we plan and buy health services for will join us to find out more about the progress we’re making with improving health care and creating care closer to their homes.

We have tried to make the AGM as interesting and informative as we can and it will also include a ‘marketplace’ where you can find out more about local community and voluntary sector partners.  All are welcome to attend.

At this event there will be a video performance from Hoot Creative Arts and the marketplace will include displays from Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance, Volunteering Kirklees and others.

We hope to see you there.

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Health advice for the bank holiday weekend

Being ill is never fun, especially over a bank holiday; that’s why it is important that you order any repeat prescriptions you will need ahead of your GP practice closing on Monday (31 August).

Forgetting to get repeat prescriptions puts a lot of extra work on GP out-of-hours services over bank holidays when people realise they have run out of their regular medication and need to get more supplies urgently.

It’s often easy to overlook the bank holiday when it comes to ordering repeat prescriptions, but forgetting to get enough supplies can put a lot of strain on out-of-hours services which are there to deal with urgent health problems – not to issue repeat prescriptions.

If you have a repeat prescription, please check that you have enough to last over the three days that your GP practice is closed. That way you don’t risk getting ill if you run out or have to take up an out-of-hours GP’s time to issue another prescription.

As well as making sure you have enough repeat prescriptions, people are also being urged to only call 999 for an ambulance or go to hospital A&E departments in a medical emergency.

The NHS 111 telephone service is available when you need medical help fast, but it’s not a 999 emergency.

When you call 111 you will be assessed, given advice and directed straight away to the local service that can help you best – that could be an out-of-hours doctor, walk-in centre or urgent care centre; community nurse, emergency dentist or late opening chemist.

NHS 111 is available 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones.

Many patients who attend A&E or call 999 could be treated more quickly by their GP, their local pharmacist, or even by themselves with basic self-care, first aid or telephone advice from NHS 111.

An essential medicine cabinet should include:

  • pain relief, such as paracetamol and aspirin (aspirin should not be given to children under 16 or to people with asthma)
  • paediatric paracetamol oral suspension or ibuprofen syrups for children
  • mild laxatives to relieve constipation
  • cold relief products
  • rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting, to use if feeling dehydrated after a bout of sickness or diarrhoea
  • indigestion remedy
  • travel sickness tablets for family trips
  • tweezers and sharp scissors to remove splinters and cut bandages
  • a thermometer to check for fever
  • a range of bandages, plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings for minor cuts, sprains and bruises.

With prescribed medicines and those bought over-the-counter, follow the advice of the pharmacist, doctor or nurse. You should always read the instructions and never go over the suggested dose.

Pharmacy opening times for 31 August 2015

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We would like to hear from you – Personal Health Budgets and Adult Hearing Services

There are currently some opportunities for you to get involved and have your say.  We would really like to hear from you as your input can make a real difference and help us to shape services and policies.

Adult hearing services in North Kirklees
The CCG is looking at adult hearing services that are currently provided in North Kirklees.  The service sees over 800 new patients a year and runs over 700 follow-up appointments a year. The current contract for the service is due to end on the 31 March 2016.

The CCG is running a survey to find out what individuals, families and carers, clinicians, other health providers and voluntary groups think would be important in the new adult hearing service.

You can give your views by completing a short survey by Monday 7 September 2015.

This is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AdultHearingServices

If you would like more information or to discuss this survey, please contact Amanjot Aujla on Tel: 01924 504938 or email: Amanjot.Aujla@northkirkleesccg.nhs.uk

Patients views on our policy for Personal Health Budgets
We would like your feedback on the draft Personal Health Budgets policy we have developed which promotes choice and control for individuals.

We are asking patients to read the policy and provide feedback about what they think of it. Any feedback will be considered to make sure local needs are met, where possible, in line with the national policy expectations. The policy is available here and a short feedback form here. The deadline for completion of feedback form is 1 September 2015.

We do hope that you get involved and have your say.

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Improving patient care

Dementia Friends

There’s some really good news in North Kirklees as all 29 GP practices have now signed up to become ‘Dementia Friends’. Dementia Friends learn a little bit about what it’s like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. Representatives from GP practices and other healthcare professionals in North Kirklees have attended information sessions in partnership with the Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance.  The Alliance was formed with the aim to involve as many people as possible to secure a “Kinder Kirklees” for those people living with dementia.

Last month, the CCG also received an award from the Alliance recognising us as a membership organisation working towards becoming dementia friendly.

We would encourage everyone to support the Dementia Friends initiative.  For more information, or if you would like to become a Dementia Friend visit the Alzheimer’s Society web pages at www.alzheimers.org.uk

In the vanguard

We’ve had some really good news as the West Yorkshire Urgent and Emergency Care Network has been selected as one of eight new vanguards that will launch the transformation of urgent and emergency care.

The West Yorkshire Urgent and Emergency Care Network will oversee, with local partners, the improvement of urgent care for more than three million people in West Yorkshire.

Building on the recent success in improving trauma survival rates, the urgent and emergency care vanguards are tasked with changing the way in which all organisations work together to provide care in a more joined up way for patients.

Urgent care is delivered not only in hospitals but by GPs, pharmacists, community teams, ambulance services, NHS 111, social care and others, and through patients being given support and education to manage their own conditions. A key aim of the vanguards is to not only improve the access and delivery of these services but to break down boundaries between physical and mental health services to improve the quality of care and experience for all.

You can find out more about the West Yorkshire Urgent and Emergency Care Network and the vanguards here.

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