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Local NHS organisations are supporting the next phase of the national winter campaign – “Help Us, Help You” before it gets worse

The main aim of the ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign is to raise awareness and encourage people to take responsibility for managing their own health, by visiting trained pharmacists for minor health concerns before it develops into something more serious.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair, NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GP added: “Make your pharmacy the first place you go for help and advice. Many pharmacies are open long hours including evenings and weekends and you don’t need an appointment to speak to the pharmacist.”

With approximately 11,700 locations around England, pharmacies are staffed by qualified healthcare professionals and experts in medicines, who can offer a medical assessment, advice, reassurance and over the counter medicines for a range of minor health conditions including coughs, colds, sore throats, stomach troubles, aches, pains and more, as well as a private consultation room if needed. Being seen in a pharmacy doesn’t need an appointment and can provide a faster and more convenient service.

Pharmacists train for five years in the use of medicines, managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice. Pharmacy technicians are also highly trained, registered health professionals to ensure that they can help the NHS treat more people safely, conveniently and well. If your health concern is more serious, they can also refer to GPs and A&E where necessary.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “Pharmacies in England provide a service to around 1.2 million people every day. If you are suffering from a minor health concern, don’t wait for it to get worse. Speak to your local pharmacist for the right advice, right away. Help us, help you, before it gets worse.”

Visit nhs.uk/pharmacyadvice for more information.

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We’re Proud to be ‘Looking out for our Neighbours’

We are excited to announce that we are supporting a brand new community campaign from West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership.

‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ is a new campaign that aims to help prevent loneliness in our communities by encouraging people to do simple things to look out for one another.

Although lots of people in North Kirklees are already doing great things to help those around them, there is still more we can all do to positively impact on the wellbeing of others.

A Health Foundation report (December 2018) highlighted how living alone can make older people 50% more likely to find themselves in A&E than those living with family. Pensioners living alone are also 25% more likely to develop a mental health condition. ‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ aims to change this – by inspiring people to do small things to reach out to the people around them.

The campaign will launch on the 15th March across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and has been co-created with over 100 residents in these areas, drawing on their neighbourly experiences.

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust says:

“People of all ages can feel alone for a variety of reasons, especially in winter. This important campaign is a helpful reminder that it’s often the smallest acts of kindness that make the biggest difference to a person’s life. As neighbours, we could all look out for each other a bit more and local organisations can also help bring people together in shared endeavours. That’s why our Partnership has allocated £1m to support voluntary and community organisations in our local areas – Bradford District and Craven, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield – bringing greater connection and happiness to our communities.”

As part of the campaign launch 30,000 households across West Yorkshire and Harrogate will receive a hand-delivered ‘neighbour pack’ that will include a range of different resources to inspire and encourage residents to champion togetherness in their area and look out for a neighbour in need. The pack will focus on the simple acts of kindness that will make a huge difference to the people around them – such as meeting for a cuppa, offering a lift or even just saying ‘hello’.

“A simple introduction can go a long way in starting a human connection and striking a conversation. We live in a very diverse society and it is everyone’s responsibility to look out for other people and be kind and considerate.”

Says Chris Pointon, Co-founder and Global Campaign Ambassador for the #hellomynameis initiative.

The key message of the campaign will also be promoted across supporter’s social media channels and through advertising in each of the areas.

Carol McKenna, Chief Officer for North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“Tackling loneliness is something we can all very easily take part in. It doesn’t need to be much – a simple hello, a smile or asking how someone is feeling can make a huge difference to a person’s life. I’m fully supportive of this campaign – it’s a great example of how the smallest of actions when done together can go a long way towards creating a real impact on those around us”.

As well as ourselves, the campaign is also being backed by a number of other high-profile supporters including organisations such as Jo Cox Loneliness Foundation, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Healthwatch, hospitals, councils, housing organisations, rugby clubs and many community and voluntary groups.

Kim Leadbeater, Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation says:

“I am delighted to support the ‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ campaign. In my role as an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation I feel passionately about creating well-connected, compassionate communities where everyone is happy and healthy and has a sense of identity and belonging. I believe that if we all work together to prevent loneliness and its associated health risks, we can reduce the demand on health and care services and have a positive impact on the wellbeing of everyone”.

A campaign website will be promoted from 15th March. Here, anyone in the region can sign up to the movement, get a personalised helpful neighbour pack and download campaign resources.

Chris Pointon sums it up well, as he concludes:

“This campaign is a gentle reminder for us all to look out for others – a simple ‘hello, my name is…’ or ‘can I help you in any way’ goes a long way to making someone feel included and cared for. I am more than happy for both myself and the #hellomynameis campaign (that my late wife and I started) to support the Looking Out for our Neighbours campaign.”

If you’d like to help tackle loneliness in the community you live and/or work in then please let groups organisations know about this work and ask them to pledge their support here.

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Free lung MOT for high risk smokers in North Kirklees

High risk smokers in North Kirklees are to benefit from a £4.5 million targeted lung health check scheme, designed to identify a range of health problems and speed up access to potentially life-saving treatment.

People in parts of North Kirklees aged between 55 and 74, who currently smoke or who have ever smoked, will be offered a free lung health check in the community close to their home, along with access to specialist stop smoking advice and appropriate follow-up, including CT scanning, if needed.

One of 10 NHS England schemes being launched around the country today (February 8) – North Kirklees is part of the £70 million national Targeted Lung Health Checks project – one of the first to be rolled-out following the recent publication of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Plan sets out an ambition that by 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 – at which point treatment leading to cure is more likely – will have risen from the current 50 per cent of patients to 75 per cent.The lung health check programme is part of how NHS England is planning to deliver the required improvements.

Lung cancer kills more people in West Yorkshire and Harrogate than any other cancer, with high levels of the disease diagnosed at late stage. There is now robust evidence that earlier diagnosis can be effectively encouraged through a combination of targeted lung health checks in high risk areas, public awareness, clinician education and better access to diagnostic testing.

Professor Sean Duffy, Clinical Lead with the WYH Cancer Alliance, welcomed the additional investment in North Kirklees and encouraged all those targeted for the health check to take up the invitation.

“The lung health check schemes bring huge benefits in spotting a wide range of illnesses, including bronchitis and emphysema – not just cancer – and it’s an opportunity to access support, advice and potentially treatment much earlier than might otherwise be the case.

“We understand that it’s not always easy or convenient for people to access health services, which is why these checks will be delivered on the doorstep, in local communities, close to home. It’s a great opportunity for people to get checked out and take advantage of the free service.”

Dr David Kelly, GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG, said: “Being included in this project is really great news. It means that people who are most at risk can be offered checks and will be able to get help earlier if they need it. Early detection of lung conditions means that NHS treatment is more likely to be successful. After today’s confirmation, we look forward to working with our partners on the detailed plans for the project, to ensure we bring maximum benefit to those people who are targeted.”

Cllr Musarrat Khan, Kirklees Council Cabinet member for Health and Social Care, said: “We are hugely committed to helping people in Kirklees stay well for as long as possible. We strongly encourage people to take advantage of the free lung check programme – early diagnosis can save lives.”

Rob Webster, Chief Executive Lead West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, also welcomed the announcement:“Lung cancer claims more lives than any other cancer across WY&H and we know this is directly related to smoking.

“There are around 351,000 smokers across our area and we are working with our public health colleagues to help people to quit, raise awareness and prevent other forms of cancer wherever possible. Working with our hospital partners to create smoke free zones to reduce tobacco use is also a priority as are these very welcome lung health checks’.

You can read the related NHS press release by following this link.

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Engagement Reports – February 2019

As part of our calendar, NHS Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs have recently released the findings of three/two engagement events (in which the public are approached to get involved in identifying and giving opinions on what we need to do to ensure a good standard of healthcare through commissioning).

The three engagement reports are outlined below:

Mental Health Rehabilitation and Recovery Engagement 

NHS Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs, who buy (commission) healthcare for local people, want to improve local mental health services. As you may be aware engagement took place between August and October 2018 so that local people could tell us what else we need to do to ensure that we can support people in the local community with complex mental health needs. The CCGs worked with Kirklees Council to gather views on:

– The type of Rehabilitation and Recovery services, including supported accommodation, people would like to see (this would include looking at the current service based at Enfield Down); and

– What good community services for mental health could look like, including helping to keep people well and the type of support that needs to be in place

The CCGs, along with Kirklees Council and current providers will work together to develop future services using the views of local people. The report and findings can be found in full here.

Joined Up Yorkshire and Humber

This involved a series of surveys, case studies, focus groups and workshops that looked at how the NHS and other care providers access patient data. The proposal is for a digital care record which enables clinical and care staff to access real-time health and care information across health and social care providers, and between different systems.

The proposed system would allow providers to access a core of information about patients who have used services provided by their GP, local hospitals, community healthcare, social services or mental health teams. Better data sharing also has the potential to improve preventative health services and to help vulnerable people in our communities to remain living independently at home for as long as possible by providing appropriate support. The research was targeted at a wide and diverse range of people, with the participants being asked questions including:

  • Should health and care information be shared at all?
  • What should that information be used for?
  • How much do people trust organisations with their information?
  • Are people willing to be engaged in their own health management?
  • What concerns do people have about their information being used?

The Yorkshire and Humber Care Record conducted the above research and have published the findings here.

North Kirklees CCG Engagement Event 

NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is committed to hold regular engagement events to give the public and representatives of the voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations an opportunity to hear about the work that the CCG has been doing, our priorities, challenges and plans for the future. As well as hearing the presentations, attendees are able to take part in discussions and share their views. At the event held in December 2018 we discussed what sort of information should be used to improve the health and social care services people receive. A copy of the report from the event can be found here.

We would like to thank everyone who gave their time to share their views and supported the engagement activities.

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One You – New Year, New You

New Year is the perfect time to make some positive changes to your health and ‘One You’ can help you make small changes today which can have a big impact on your health. One You provides tips, tools, support and encouragement every step of the way, to help improve your health right away.

One of the tools available is the One You health quiz where you can find out your personalised score, free health tips and advice. Take the quiz now www.nhs.uk/oneyou/how-are-you-quiz/

Dr David Kelly, Chair of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GP said: “Making better choices today can have a huge influence on our health, and could prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and reduce our risk of suffering a stroke or living with dementia, disability and frailty in later life.”

Another place where you can get lifestyle help and advice is your local pharmacy.  Pharmacists are experts in medicines and use their clinical expertise, together with their practical knowledge, to advise you on minor health concerns, such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as healthy eating and stopping smoking.  Pharmacists can also help you decide whether you need to see another medical health professional.

Further information about the range of services on offer at pharmacies can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/pharmacies/

Some pharmacies also offer additional services such as blood pressure testing – a simple way of checking if your blood pressure is too high or too low.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and local GP said: “High blood pressure (hypertension) can put a strain on your arteries and organs, which can increase your risk of developing serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.”

Low blood pressure (hypotension) isn’t usually as serious, although it can cause dizziness and fainting in some people.

A blood pressure test is the only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high or too low, because most people won’t have any obvious symptoms. Having a test is easy and could save your life.

Beverley Thornton, Pharmacist and Branch Manager at the Well Pharmacy, Heckmondwike said: “Prior to carrying out a blood pressure test, we will ask the individual some questions about themselves for example, such as whether they have any other medical conditions, or if they have a family history of stroke or high blood pressure.”

“Dependant on the outcome of the blood pressure test, we will advise the patient on lifestyle changes, whether any further action is required, such as returning to the pharmacy for another check in a month, or signposting to their GP.”

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Ambulance Trust awarded integrated urgent care contract

NHS Commissioners in Yorkshire and the Humber have today announced that Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has been awarded a contract to provide integrated urgent care services across the region for the next five years.

The contract, worth £17.6 million in 2019/20, has been developed in line with a new national service specification to provide the region’s population of 5.4 million with access, where appropriate, to clinical advice and treatment when they have an urgent healthcare need.  The contract incorporates the NHS 111 call handling service with core clinical advice and will feature a range of developments, including being able to issue prescriptions and increasing the number of bookings into GP and urgent care appointments.

Agencies across the Yorkshire and Humber region have worked together to commission NHS 111 telephony, a call handling service and core Clinical Advice Service (CAS). The contract award follows a nine-month long procurement process undertaken on behalf of the region’s twenty-one Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) along with NHS England North Region – Yorkshire and the Humber.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service currently provides the NHS 111 service across Yorkshire and the Humber. The Trust is now working with commissioners to implement the new service, which will start on 1 April 2019.

Martin Pursey, Head of Contracting and Procurement at NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, which is the lead commissioning organisation for the service, said: “I have confidence that by working together with the ambulance service, we will be in a strong position to meet the ongoing and developing requirements in respect of integrated urgent care across our region and through this, ensure that more people receive care and support out of hospital”.

Rod Barnes, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Having provided the region’s high performing and well regarded NHS 111 service for the last six years, the opportunity for the Trust to transition to the new Integrated Urgent Care service is warmly welcomed.

“In line with our Trust’s strategic ambitions to ensure patients and communities experience fully joined-up care responsive to their needs and with excellent outcomes, we are excited to have the opportunity to develop our NHS 111 service to deliver integrated urgent car through collaboration with primary care colleagues, other providers and commissioners.”

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Women in Kirklees urged to have their smear test

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (21 to 27 January) NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) want as many people as possible to know how they can reduce their risk of the disease and urge all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives.

Cervical cancer can be prevented and there are steps that women can take to reduce their risk of the disease and look after their health:

This means:

  • Attending cervical screening when invited
  • Knowing the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if experiencing any
  • Taking up the HPV vaccination if aged 11-18
  • Knowing where to find support and further information

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.  Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina). It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45.

For some people the thought of going for a cervical smear test can be embarrassing, often people think it’s painful, or it can seem a scary or daunting prospect for other reasons. However, the test takes five minutes, it’s painless, and you really can’t put a price on taking the right steps early on to protect your health.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and local GP said: “It is crucial that you attend your cervical screening appointment. One of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer is not going for a cervical screening test. So our message is clear – don’t ignore the invitation letter!”

Cllr Musarrat Khan, Cabinet Member – Health and Social Care, Kirklees Council added: “We all lead busy lives and it’s easy to put aside a letter to sort out later, and then forget about it. I would urge all women who are due a test to make an appointment and attend, don’t let anything put you off, as this test could save your life.”

The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women from the age of 25.  You should be sent a letter confirming when your screening appointment is due. Contact your GP practice if you think you may be overdue for a screening appointment.

Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “Cervical screening provides the best protection against cervical cancer yet sadly attendance is at an all-time low. Going for a test can be difficult for some women and we want to ensure every woman knows where they can find support and information to enable them to book a test if they want to. No question or concern is too big or too weird and your nurse is there to make your test as comfortable as possible.”

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).  Nationally, Between 90 and 94% of all screening results come back normal, with no abnormalities found.

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.

If you do have symptoms, the most common is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which can occur during or after sex, in between periods, or new bleeding after you have been through the menopause.  Abnormal bleeding doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer, but you should see your GP as soon as possible to get it checked out.

Other symptoms include unusual vaginal discharge, discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse and lower back pain.

If your GP thinks you might have cervical cancer, you should be referred to see a specialist within 2 weeks.

Dr David Kelly, Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “We 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.  Smear tests are quick and painless. This simple test can highlight women who need early treatment and can, therefore, prevent unnecessary deaths.”

To find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week visit the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website www.jostrust.org.uk. For more information about cervical cancer and the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-cancer/

Ends.

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Will you be part of the GP survey?

More than two million people are being given an opportunity to tell the NHS about their experiences of using services at the GP practice they are registered with.  The GP Patient Survey invites a sample of people aged 16 and over from over 7,000 practices across England to take part.

The survey, which started this month, provides detailed information about the range of ways people interact with primary care staff and how good that experience is.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair of Greater Huddersfield CCG said: “The patient survey plays a key role in understanding what’s working and what needs to improve.  It is a key source of information for understanding the impact of recent changes introduced in primary care, such as extended opening hours and other initiatives, which were carried out in response to what patients said in previous years’ surveys.”

Patients who are randomly selected to take part will receive a letter over the next few weeks, along with a questionnaire.  They can complete it – by post or online – until the end of March and there is a range of options to make it more inclusive for people who need support to help them take part. Their information is handled securely and no-one is identified when the findings are published.

The questionnaire asks not just about the care provided by GPs, but also about seeing other healthcare professionals such as on-site pharmacists, mental health specialists and practice nurses.

Dr David Kelly, Chair of North Kirklees CCGs added: “The survey aims to find out more about people’s experiences of using online services, telephone services and face-to-face appointments.  It also looks at how much support people get with managing long-term conditions and medication.”

Patients who are not invited to take part in this year’s survey can still provide useful feedback to their GP practice teams by filling in a Friends and Family Test (FFT) form at their practice any time.  It is open to everyone, any time and every practice is involved.  More than 1.2 million pieces of feedback on NHS-funded services are given this way every month and they help to continuously improve and take the pulse of healthcare across England, with nine in 10 patients who give feedback rating their experience positively.

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Clinical Commissioning Group is a mental health trailblazer

NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield CCGs are among 25 trailblazer sites that will see the development of new mental health support teams for children and young people.  The teams will build on support already in place from school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and the voluntary sector to treat those with mild to moderate mental health issues in school and will help children and young people with more severe needs to access the right support and provide a link to specialist NHS services.

Full details were released today and you can find out more here.

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Top health tips for over Christmas and the New Year

The local NHS in Kirklees is reminding people of some tips to help them stay well over the Christmas and New Year period.

If you have a repeat prescription, please check that you have enough to last over the 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.  Remember that you can now renew your prescriptions without having to telephone or visit the practice. You can order your medication at a time to suit you via your computer, smartphone or tablet when you register for GP online services.  Ask your GP practice for further details.

The cold weather sees a rise across Kirklees in health problems such as coughs, colds and flu.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Many of us will get a cold over the winter as the virus spreads very easily. Colds are spread by germs from coughs and sneezes which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

Cold symptoms are usually at their worst during the first two to three days, this is when you are likely to spread the virus. A cough in particular can last for two or three weeks.”

Cllr Musarrat Khan, Cabinet Member, Health and Social Care, Kirklees Council said:  “There are some easy things you can do to help prevent you getting a cold.

“These include washing your hands regularly, not sharing towels and household items like cups with someone who has a cold and avoid touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with the virus.

“The catch it, bin it, kill it method will make a huge difference in the fight against the spread of common colds and the more serious flu virus:

  • CATCH IT – Always carry tissues and use them to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • BIN IT – Dispose of used tissues as soon as possible
  • KILL IT – Clean your hands with soap and warm water as soon as you can and make sure you wash them frequently.

“Following these steps will also help prevent the spread of flu, which is much more serious.”

An easy way to also prevent the spread of flu is to also get the flu vaccination. People aged over 65 years, children aged from two years and up to school year five, pregnant women, anyone who is the main carer for another person or who is in receipt of carer’s allowance and those with long-term health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are eligible for a free flu jab this year.

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said “GPs don’t recommend antibiotics for colds because they won’t relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.

Colds are self-limiting illnesses which means that given enough time you will recover without needing to receive medical treatment.”

Should you develop a cold (or even flu), there are a few ways you can help yourself feel better more quickly, including making sure you:

  • Rest and sleep
  • Keep warm
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

A pharmacist can also provide treatment, advice and recommend flu and cold remedies.

Bank holiday pharmacy opening information, and winter health advice, can be found at the following links: 

For more advice visit https://www.nhs.uk/staywell

Ends

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