Kirklees senior health leaders say thank you ahead of NHS anniversary

Senior health leaders from Greater Huddersfield CCG and North Kirklees CCG have thanked local health care workers as part of marking the 72nd anniversary of the NHS and social care.

COVID-19 has created a number of challenges for health and social care staff, including new demands and a need to adapt quickly to deliver services and maintain a high standard of patient care, whilst dealing with the effects of a global pandemic.

Within Kirklees, GP practices and CCG staff have dealt with unprecedented changes and challenging conditions with commitment, passion and patience. As part of the NHS anniversary this weekend senior leaders have put the focus on their efforts by thanking their colleagues directly for all their hard work.

Carol McKenna, Chief Officer, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and NHS North Kirklees CCG, said: “This weekend, I’ll be reflecting on the hard work undertaken by CCG and local practice staff for adapting to changes with amazing speed, whilst ensuring Kirklees residents can still access the services they need.”

Dr Khalid Naeem, Clinical Lead for NHS North Kirklees CCG said “CCG staff and local GP practices have gone above and beyond the usual call of duty, keeping calm, providing clarity to patients, putting others first before themselves.”

Dr Steve Ollerton, Clinical Lead for NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG added “We do not underestimate the challenges everyone has faced and remain grateful for their passion and the commitment they are giving to the people of Kirklees as we continue to tackle COVID-19 together.”

Staff across both CCGs and practices will also take a moment this weekend to reflect on the help and support of keyworkers and local people who have adapted to changes in their lives to help protect the NHS and their communities.

The commitment, courage and sacrifice shown by so many will be recognised over the weekend nationally. Landmarks will be illuminated blue and the whole country is invited to join others in their street or neighbourhoods to say ‘thank you together’ on Sunday 5 July, the date the NHS was founded, for a collective round of applause.

Further information about how people can get involved with commemorating the NHS birthday is available at

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First patients treated at Pontefract Hospital cancer centre

The first people requiring inpatient surgery for cancer have been treated at a centre which has been created at Pontefract Hospital to enable people to receive care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance has been working with hospital trusts across the region to develop arrangements for people who are referred for tests for suspected cancer, or whose condition could deteriorate if treatment was delayed, to be seen at a hospital where the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus is kept to the absolute minimum.

A restricted access zone within Pontefract hospital came into operation on 8 June will mainly provide a service for the 550,000 citizens of Wakefield district and North Kirklees.

Careful zoning of the site has enabled the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pontefract Hospital, to successfully create a centre which is exclusively for patients who have has a negative test for COVID-19 following a period of self-isolation.

The cancer centre has separate entry and exit routes and access to and from other parts of the hospital have been closed off to anyone except patients attending for cancer tests or treatment, who have been confirmed as being COVID-free, and staff working in the cancer service. All corridors, waiting areas, clinic rooms, operating theatres and wards will only be accessible to patients who have tested negative for COVID.

To keep the risk of staff or patients being exposed to COVID-19 to an absolute minimum, all patients attending the cancer centre for appointments or surgery and anyone who lives with them is required to self-isolate for 14 days and be tested in line with clinical guidance.

Patients and people who live with them will also need to self-isolate for 14 days after surgery to keep them safe from exposure to COVID infection while they are recovering.

Many hospital outpatient services are already being provided remotely to prevent the spread of infection. The zoning arrangements mean that other outpatient services, antenatal and postnatal care and the Urgent Treatment Centre at Pontefract are all still being offered at Pontefract Hospital, with access to them via alternative entrances.

The medical ward has been closed to make way for the cancer service and stroke rehabilitation, which had moved temporarily to Pontefract from Dewsbury as part of the COVID response, is now being provided at Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals.

Day case surgery for people who had completed a 14 day period of isolation and had a negative COVID test began on 8 June and the first patents requiring inpatient surgery for breast, urology, gynaecological and colorectal cancers have been booked at Pontefract Hospital from 22 June.

Martin Barkley, Chief Executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The team have worked extremely hard to put in place this dedicated service so quickly. We know that many people have avoided seeking help from their doctor because of the fear of being exposed to the coronavirus and this meant we had far less patients referred to us with suspected cancers in April and May.

“We understand the requirement to self-isolate before surgery is a huge commitment for patients and their families to make at a very stressful time but it is vitally important that people needing tests or treatment for cancer can have confidence that they are coming into a safe environment.”

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you must stay at home (self-isolate) and get a test. Check the NHS website for more information.

Government advice is to:

Coronavirus promotion advising of symptom and to visit for information

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms

More information is here.

In relation to the outbreak in Cleckheaton, please refer to Kirklees Council website here.

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Local NHS resumes vital screening tests

Kirklees GPs are urging women to attend their cervical screening appointment as routine testing resumes across the borough.

Over the last few months, many tests have been postponed and invitations paused to help the NHS manage the COVID-19 pandemic.  The screening process is getting underway again and appointment letters are now being sent out to eligible women.

As part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, women aged 25-49 are invited for a smear test at their GP practice every three years, while those aged 50-64 receive an invitation for screening every five years.

Sarah Sowden, advanced nurse practitioner at Brookroyd Surgery in Heckmondwike said; ‘I know that some women are reluctant to come in for their test, but there really is no need to be embarrassed or worried, it only takes a few minutes.  Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect against cervical cancer. Spotting the signs early means that treatment is often more successful. ‘

Every year in the UK, around 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.  The best way to protect yourself from cervical cancer is by attending cervical screening when invited.

Julie Pieske, advanced nurse practitioner at Mirfield Health Centre said; ‘Women may be more worried than usual about visiting their GP surgery. I want to reassure them that we have put measures in place to ensure the safety of all our patients and staff.  This includes the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, and extra cleaning in waiting areas and treatment rooms.’

Many people worry about their smear test, but the nurses and GPs who carry out the test are there to support and make it as easy as possible for you.

Cervical screening aims to look for any changes to the cervix which could lead to cancer. Spotting the signs early means that treatment is often more successful.

If you are self-isolating, you should not book an appointment until you have finished isolating. If you are shielding, you will need to think about your individual situation and safety and discuss this with your GP or other healthcare professional.

Information about cervical screening is available on the NHS website:

For more information about Cervical Screening Awareness Week (15 – 19 June 2020), visit the Jo’s Trust website:

Smear Test Promotion

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GP practices in Kirklees receive Pride award

More GP practices in Kirklees have received recognition for meeting the needs of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients this Pride Month.

Six practices across Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees have received an award from the LGBT Foundation’s Pride in Practice programme for making services more accessible for LGBT people in their communities.

This follows the news in February, when Blackburn Road Medical Centre was announced as the first practice in Kirklees to complete the programme, achieving gold.

GP practices took part through a pilot funded by the Government Equalities Office, co-ordinated by NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), delivered by LGBT Foundation.

The CCGs aim to commission health services that give protected groups equal access, experiences and outcomes.  Supporting GP practices to achieve the Pride in Practice award is one way they are doing this.

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 to 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.

Practices that have achieved an award have made changes across the whole patient journey including from what people see when they enter the building to the language that is used.

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

“We’re really proud to see more practices in Kirklees complete the Pride in Practice programme. This shows their commitment to provide primary care services that are LGBT inclusive and understand the needs of our communities.

“Pride in Practice is important now more than ever as GP practices are making changes in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our practices have access to ongoing support and insight from the LGBT Foundation to help them to continue to provide inclusive healthcare.”

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.

GP practices that have achieved the Pride in Practice award:

  • University Health Centre, Huddersfield- Gold
  • Blackburn Road Medical Centre, Birstall- Gold
  • Cleckheaton Group Practice- Gold
  • Elmwood Family Doctors, Holmfirth- Silver
  • Kirkburton Health Centre- Bronze
  • Windsor Medical Centre, Dewsbury- Bronze

Photo caption: The Team at Blackburn Road Medical Centre presented with their gold award. Image was taken in February, before the Coronavirus pandemic

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It’s Men’s Health Week

This year, Men’s Health Week (15 – 21 June) is focusing on the theme of  ‘Take Action on COVID-19’.

Led by the Men’s Health Forum, a national charity with a mission to improve the health of men and boys, Men’s Health Week will encourage men to take action to protect themselves and avoid spreading the virus as well as advising them how to get the best out of the lockdown and the ‘new normal’.

A recent report by Public Health England highlighting differences in the risk and outcomes from COVID19 identified the risk of dying among those diagnosed with the virus was higher in males than females.

You can find more about Men’s Health Week, the Men’s Health Forum and COVID-19 here.

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important if you need to stay at home.  You’ll find useful resources, hints and links on the Every Mind Matters website.

Call our 24/7 mental health helpline on 0800 183 0558 for confidential help and support.

Andy’s Man Club  is a non-judgemental talking group for men

There’s more information about the signs and symptoms of coronavirus plus advice on what to do if you feel unwell on the NHS website.

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NHS North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) online event

NHS North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)  are holding an online engagement event on Wednesday 24 June at 12:00pm – 1:00pm.

We are holding the online event to give the public an opportunity to hear about the work that the CCGs have been doing, our priorities, challenges and plans for the future.

The event will be focusing on the CCGs response to Covid-19 in Primary Care. You’ll have the opportunity to hear about the impact on GP practices, the work that has been taking place, and hear Dr Steve Ollerton talk about how his role as a GP has changed.

The event will be held on Microsoft Teams Live Event and joining instructions will be sent nearer the time.

To receive the link to the event, please register here.

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Make caring visible this Carers Week

This year, Carers Week (8-12 June) is highlighting the role of the UK’s unpaid carers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health & Care Partnership has published a range of information designed to provide additional support to unpaid carers who may be experiencing additional pressures at this difficult time.    It covers topics including money worries, employee rights, looking after your own physical and mental health, and healthy eating.

Research by Carers UK showed that 70% of unpaid carers were providing more care for loved ones during the lockdown period, and that 55% felt overwhelmed and worried about burning out. Many have also experienced changes to their caring role during this challenging period.

Information for carers can be found on the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health & Care Partnership website.

Carers Count Kirklees is running a series of virtual events to mark Carers Week.  Find out more here.

Further information about Carers’ Week can be found here.


Making caring visible logo

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Pontefract Hospital to become dedicated cancer centre

Pontefract Hospital is to be temporarily developed as a dedicated cancer centre to care for people who need diagnosis or surgery for suspected cancers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance has been working with hospital trusts to develop plans so that people who are referred for tests for suspected cancer, or whose condition could deteriorate if treatment was delayed, can be seen at a hospital where the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus is kept to the absolute minimum.

The centre at Pontefract will mainly provide a service for the 550,000 citizens of Wakefield district and North Kirklees.

To keep the risk of staff or patients being exposed to COVID-19 to an absolute minimum, all other inpatient other services will be moved off the hospital site temporarily and the hospital would be zoned to enable separate access to the cancer centre. In line with clinical guidance, all patients attending the cancer centre for appointments or surgery will be required to self-isolate and be swabbed before they attend. Entry points will be restricted and only patients who have been confirmed as COVID-19 free will be able to attend for cancer related diagnostic tests and surgery

Many services are already being provided remotely. Alternative arrangements are being put in place for face to face services that will need to be moved from Pontefract Hospital.

Different options are being explored, including nearby hospitals, local health centres and GP surgeries.

At the moment, many outpatient appointments are taking place by telephone or video consultation to reduce the spread of infection and this will continue so the need to travel for appointments is reduced.

The Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) and GP Out of Hours’ Service which is based at Pontefract will remain open with patients and staff using the separate entrance to the UTC.

Dr Abdul Mustafa, GP lead for cancer care for NHS Wakefield CCG, said: “Clinicians working in cancer services know that patients are choosing not to have time-critical cancer treatment because of fear of exposure to COVID-19 so it is really important to make sure people can be treated somewhere where the risk of exposure to the virus is very low.”

Martin Barkley, Chief Executive of The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are really fortunate that we have excellent modern facilities at Pontefract Hospital, including consulting rooms and theatres, where we can really tightly manage the risk of infection, which means that we can reinstate vital cancer services.

“We have already restarted some procedures and hope to reintroduce other services over the next few weeks as we are able to free up space at the hospital and get essential equipment in place. These arrangements are likely to be needed for at least the next year to ensure people are able to get essential treatment while services are still stretched due to COVID 19.”

Professor Sean Duffy, Clinical Lead with the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance urged also urged anyone concerned about possible cancer signs and symptoms who have not yet contacted their GP for advice and support to do so as soon as possible.

“We understand that people have concerns at this time, but we want to reassure people that the NHS is still here and able to help those who need it. Early diagnosis saves lives, and it’s vital that people seek advice and support if they are worried.”


Pontefract Hospital Exterior Image

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24 hour mental health support available now

Facing an extended lockdown, unable to see friends and family, job uncertainty; many of us are finding times tough.

Statistically one in four of us will be affected by a mental health issue at some point in our lifetime and current uncertainty, pressures and concerns are exasperating this for many.

But help is at hand. A free helpline has been launched during Mental Health Awareness week, offering support to adults experiencing emotional distress

0800 183 0558

Offering confidential help and support 24 hours a day, the helpline will provide a listening ear, emotional support and guidance to adults with new or existing mental health conditions. It will also provide information, advice and support to carers.

The service is available now for anyone registered with a GP in Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield and Barnsley.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Greater Huddersfield, North Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield and Barnsley have worked together to commission the telephone helpline, investing almost half a million pounds into the new mental health helpline for local residents. The new service, awarded to NCHA Care & Support, will complement mental health services already available in the local area.

Vicky Dutchburn, Head of Strategic Planning, Performance and Delivery at NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “We are committed to supporting our local residents maintain a healthy mind by putting in place direct access to support which is available 365 days a year. The service was identified as a priority area by the NHS in the Mental Health Forward View, but comes at a time when more people are experiencing stress and anxiety due to the Coronavirus.”

Tracey Ward, Contracts Manager for Personalised Support and Assistive Technology, NCHA Care and Support:  “We are living in troubling times and know this is having an impact on many people’s mental health. More than ever people are going to need support and guidance to get the help they need. We are delighted to have been appointed by Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group to offer this new 24 hour helpline, to support anyone seeking support for their mental health needs and their carers.”

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