Monthly Archives: May 2017

Cyber Attack

I need to extend thanks to all those who were impacted by the Cyber Attack last week. We can reassure the population of South Tees that the virus did not infect any of the computer systems in general practice or any of our local hospitals nor the mental health trust. There was however some disruption whilst the computer systems were offline whilst they were being screened and patch protected by our Information Technology teams to make sure that your patient medical records were kept safe.

We are grateful to the public for responding to the messages to only use services when really needed, for their understanding about the difficulties with no computer access in your general practice on Monday 15th May2017 and restricting services to urgent issues rather than routine care provision.

The disturbance to the phone lines  that run from the computer systems did cause some difficulties at some practices who were not able to answer the phones to let patients know they were open as their weekend out of hours telephone messages continued to play on Monday directing patients to 111.

Understandably 111 and A+E were busier on what has been referred to as Manic Monday. We also therefore would like to extend our thanks to these emergency level front line services for their sterling work.

Community pharmacy worked to respond to the need for urgent medication supply problems, so thanks to them for that.

I finally need to thank practices for working so well together with the CCG to help us keep the systems safe and get things back up and running as soon as they were able.  Many at the CCG and in practice gave up their weekends whilst they put into place their business continuity plans and that was much appreciated.

Of course the events in Manchester this Monday also remind us that there are many global issues that challenge the things that we all take for granted as part of life in the UK. Standing together against these threats is what we will continue to do.


North East and North Cumbria NHS thanks patients and staff for their support over the cyber attack

As NHS organisations across the region start to return to normal services, NHS leaders want to thank patients, NHS staff and their families whose combined efforts has meant the impact on patient care has kept to a minimum.

 

Patients have been understanding and supportive of the NHS by using services wisely, which allowed local organisations to deal with the cyber-attack and protect their computer systems and therefore recover more quickly.

 

GP practices across the North East are continuing to ask patients to consider delaying contacting their practice unless they really need to for the rest of the week, so to allow time to clear backlogs caused by the cyber-attack and bring services back to full capacity.

 

Speaking on behalf of NHS organisations, Dr Neil O’Brien, who is chair of the Northern Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Forum said:

 

“Across the region’s NHS we’ve heard countless stories of NHS teams and individuals who have gone above and beyond to help deal with the cyber-attack. From NHS frontline staff in hospitals, IT and support staff, GP and practice staff, community pharmacists, out of hours doctors and their teams, NHS 111, paramedics and emergency call teams – our staff response has been nothing short of superb.

 

Dr O’Brien continued: “I’d like to particularly thank the families of our staff also, they have supported their relative at home to allow them to come to work and respond in the way they did.

 

“I would also like to thank our local and regional journalists and media organisations, who have played an important role in getting essential messages out. This without doubt played a critical role in helping public and patients understand the situation and what they needed to do for their own health needs.

 

“We do need to understand why this has happened and it is important that work to gain insight is carried out in a co-ordinated way with all NHS partners and this will take some time.”

 

Dr O’Brien concluded: “How we have responded to this situation just shows how our whole NHS community is greater than the simple sum of its parts, and makes us all proud to serve our patients and public together, making sure they get the best and safest healthcare possible.”

 

Although the NHS is starting to return to normal, the public is still asked to think before using A&E, GP practices or calling NHS 111 and to use services wisely.

 

 

 

 

 

What you can do to help

 

The public are being advised that this continues to be a busy week for all NHS services in the region and to support the NHS in the following ways to help services to return to normal.

 

Remember many common illnesses can be best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation – and no need to visit A&E

 

Pharmacies are open and can help if you start to feel unwell with a cough, cold or other minor ailment or injury – details of your nearest pharmacist can be found at urgentoremergency.co.uk

 

Parents and carers of children under five can get medical advice on a range of common childhood illnesses from the ‘NHS Child Health’ app available from Google Play or the App store.

 

People should continue to access emergency services in the usual way if there is a genuine need for urgent medical help that cannot wait.

 

Please continue to keep A&E and emergency 999 service free for those with serious or life threatening needs

 

For all NHS appointments including GPs and hospital services please bring with you any medications, letters or paperwork you already have.

 

If you already have a GP appointment, please attend as usual

 

If you feel unwell then contact

  • Your GP or
  • Community Pharmacist or
  • NHS 111

Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week

Guest blog by Simon Gregory, director of finance

It’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week and as the Equality and Diversity Strategic Lead for NHS South Tees CCG I’ve been allowed a guest spot on the CCG Blog.

I wanted to share why promoting equality and diversity is important to myself and the CCG. We commission health services for the entire local population and we need to be completely aware of the diversity our residents. This means that all of our strategies and plans must always consider how all groups will be affected.

As a CCG we recognise the problems that people offered protection under the Act could face including language barriers, support to access services or stigma regarding accessing mental health services. Understanding people’s needs helps us as commissioners ensure we can tailor our commissioning to be accessible and safe.

Celebrating and promoting Equality and Diversity Week is important, but it also shows that we are not quite as accessible and inclusive as we should be. Equality isn’t something we should switch on and off as it fits. So as the Equality lead for the CCG I will continue to champion equality and diversity and ensure we progress in achieving our equality objectives as a CCG. I am passionate about the fact that nobody in our local community should be disadvantaged because of their gender, race, age, sexuality or any disability. There is no place in healthcare for prejudice or discrimination.


North East GP practice computer systems are back on-line

The North East and North Cumbria NHS continues to ask the public to avoid using hospital and GP services for minor illness and ailments

 

The North East primary care computer network was switched back on yesterday afternoon (Monday 15th May) and GP practices opening this morning have access to their clinical systems.

 

However, practices across the North East are still asking patients to consider delaying contacting their practice unless they really need to for the next few days to allow time to clear backlogs caused by the cyber-attack.

 

There were no computers in North East GP practices infected and the priority through this international malware incident was to protect the NHS computer network, clinical systems and patient data – and this was done very successfully.

 

While all GP practices will have access to their clinical systems, not all computers in each practice may yet be back in full operation, however it is anticipated they will by the end of Tuesday.

 

GP practices will be working to get back to full operational capacity and concentrating on prioritising patients with the greatest needs.

 

Other NHS organisation across the region are still extremely busy and the message remains – think twice before using A&E, GP practices or calling NHS 111

 

Accident and emergency services and other walk in services are continuing to report high numbers of people attending, many of those have minor illness and conditions which could be treated easily at home or with advice from a pharmacist.  Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and can diagnose and offer treatment for a range of minor illness and ailments.

 

The NHS continues to appeal to the public to help the NHS again and relieve pressure on the system to allow services to focus on those with the greatest needs and allow time for NHS staff to bring services back to full capacity in the next few days.

 

Please do not attend A&E or dial 999 unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency

 

The NHS 111 service is under pressure so please think carefully before accessing urgent medical help

 

Remember many common illnesses can be best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation – and no need to visit A&E

 

Pharmacies are open and can help if you start to feel unwell with a cough, cold or other minor ailment or injury – details of your nearest pharmacist can be found at urgentoremergency.co.uk

 

Parents and carers of under fives can get medical advice on a range of common childhood illnesses from the ‘NHS Child Health’ app available from Google Play or the App store.

 

The region’s NHS is keen to reassure people that the majority of services are running, however there has been disruption for some planned patient care.

 

People should continue to access emergency services in the usual way if there is a genuine need for urgent medical help that cannot wait.

 

Those attending the region’s emergency departments or calling 999 for an emergency ambulance and have minor health problems should expect to wait given the current pressures as clinical teams must prioritise those with time critical needs.

 

NHS staff in the region are being thanked for their tremendous efforts to continue providing safe patient care in these difficult circumstances – and brining ICT systems back on-line in a planned and safe way to protect patients and the public.

 

 

 

What you can do to help

 

The public are being advised that this continues to be a busy week for all NHS services in the region and to support the NHS in the following ways:

 

Please think carefully if you feel you need to book a GP appointment and consider if it can be delayed to later in the week.

 

Please continue to keep A&E and emergency 999 service free for those with serious or life threatening needs

 

For all NHS appointments including GPs and hospital services please bring with you any medications, letters or paperwork you already have.

 

If you already have a GP appointment, please attend as usual and please bear in mind that your practice may not be able to access information required to meet all of your needs and you might be asked to return at a later date.

 

 

If you feel unwell then contact

  • Your GP or
  • Community Pharmacist or
  • NHS 111

 

For advice and treatment

 

Local pharmacies are open, and pharmacists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of common illness and injury and can provide help, advice and treatment

 

The NHS 111 service can offer help and advice


Public urged to avoid using NHS services if they have minor illness or ailments

NHS services across the region are extremely busy and are asking the public to think twice before using A&E, GPs practices or calling NHS 111.

While GP practices have been open as usual on Monday, many in the North East have been unable to access IT and clinical systems which have meant practices have taken longer to see and treat patients.

Accident and emergency services and other walk in services are reporting high numbers of people attending, many who have minor illness and conditions which could be treated at home or with advice from a pharmacist.

Now the NHS is appealing to the public to help the NHS again and relieve pressure on the system at this time:

  • Please do not attend A&E or dial 999 unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency
  • The NHS 111 service is under increased pressure so please think carefully before accessing urgent medical help
  • Remember many common illnesses can be best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation – and no need to visit A&E
  • High street pharmacists are open and can help if you start to feel unwell with a cough, cold or other minor ailment or injury
  • Parents and carers of under fives can get medical advice on a range of common childhood illnesses from the ‘NHS Child Health’ app available from Google Play or the App store

The region’s NHS is keen to reassure people that the majority of services are running however there has been disruption for some planned patient care.

People should continue to access emergency services in the usual way if there is a genuine need for urgent medical help that cannot wait.

Those attending the region’s emergency departments or calling 999 for an emergency ambulance and have minor health problems should expect to wait given the current pressures as clinical teams must prioritise those with time critical needs.

NHS staff in the region are being thanked for their tremendous efforts to continue providing safe patient care in these difficult circumstances.

What you can do to help

The public are being advised that this is a busy week for all NHS services in the region and to support the NHS in the following ways:

Please think carefully if you feel you need to book a GP appointment and consider if it can be delayed to later in the week.

Please continue to keep A&E and emergency 999 service free for those with serious or life threatening needs

For all NHS appointments including GPs and hospital services please bring with you any medications, letters or paperwork you already have.

If you already have a GP appointment, please attend as usual and please bear in mind that your practice may not be able to access information required to meet all of your needs and you might be asked to return at a later date.

If you feel unwell then contact

  • Your GP or
  • Community Pharmacist or
  • NHS 111

For advice and treatment

Local pharmacies are open, and pharmacists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of common illness and injury and can provide help, advice and treatment.

The NHS 111 service can offer help and advice.


Public asked to think carefully about using GP services as the NHS brings its IT systems back online

GP practices across the North East and North Cumbria will be open as usual on Monday, but many are still bringing their IT and clinical systems back on-line following the cyber-attack which took place on Friday 12 May 2017 and affected many organisations around the world.

Some practices will not yet have full access to patient records, prescriptions, appointment systems and in some cases telephone systems.

As a result the NHS is asking patients to consider carefully if they need a GP appointment on Monday or Tuesday, and if it is something that can be delayed to a later date then to do so.

People who have GP appointments should turn up as normal but please bear in mind that your practice may not be able to access information required to meet all of your needs, you might be asked to return at a later date and things might take longer than usual.

If you have booked an appointment using the GP online system, it may be that the GP practice has not been able to update their appointment information.

If your appointment is non-urgent, you may want to consider cancelling the appointment and rearranging at a later date.

However, if you feel unwell then contact
• Your GP or
• Community Pharmacist or
• NHS 111

If you need an emergency supply of medication please visit your usual community pharmacy where the pharmacy team will do all they can to help you.

Other NHS services in the region are running effective business continuity plans to ensure safe patient care at all times.

NHS staff across the region have been working incredibly hard over the weekend to ensure IT systems which have been directly affected can be restored as safely and effectively as possible.

Hospitals are working hard to return to normal services, however they are still likely to be very busy so please only use Accident and Emergency services and 999 only when there is a genuine emergency.

Those attending planned hospital appointments in Northumberland, North Tyneside and North Cumbria may well experience some disruption tomorrow and should attend as usual unless they are directly advised otherwise later on today.

Patients receiving community nursing services and adult social care support in Northumberland are also being advised to expect some delays on Monday morning as services get back to usual following the major IT disruption.

Mental health services across the regional are operating largely as usual.

What you can do to help

The public are being advised to expect a busy week for all NHS services in the region and to support the NHS in the following ways:

Please think carefully if you feel you need to book a GP appointment and consider if it can be delayed to later in the week.

Please continue to keep A&E and emergency 999 service free for those with serious or life threatening needs.

For all NHS appointments including GPs and hospital services please bring with you any medications, letters or paperwork you already have.

If you already have a GP appointment, please attend as usual and please bear in mind that your practice may not be able to access information required to meet all of your needs and you might be asked to return at a later date.

If you feel unwell then contact
• Your GP or
• Community Pharmacist or
• NHS 111

For advice and treatment:

Local pharmacies are open, and pharmacists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of common illness and injury and can provide help, advice and treatment.

The NHS 111 service can offer help and advice.


Region’s NHS reassures public following global cyber attack and asks for help in using services wisely

NHS providers in the North East and North Cumbria are reassuring patients and the public following the cyber attack which took place on Friday 12 May 2017 and affected many organisations around the world.

 

A number of NHS organisations in the North East and North Cumbria have been directly affected by the virus and had to completely shut down IT systems yesterday. These include:

 

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust; Primary care providers (GP services) across the region

 

Those NHS organisations in the region who were not directly affected by the virus also closed their external servers yesterday as a precautionary step to ensure the virus could not spread. NHS staff in the region who work remotely are being reminded not to switch on NHS laptops or computers until confirmed by their line manager.

 

All services in the region are running as usual with effective business continuity plans in action to ensure safe patient care at all times. NHS staff across the region are working incredibly hard to ensure IT systems which have been directly affected can be restored as safely and effectively as possible.

 

The public are being asked to help the NHS to relieve pressure on the system at this time:

 

Please do not attend A&E or dial 999 unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency

 

The NHS 111 service is under increased pressure so please think carefully before accessing urgent medical help

 

Remember many common illnesses can be best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation

 

High street pharmacists are open this weekend and can help if you start to feel unwell with a cough, cold or other minor ailment or injury

 

Parents and carers of under fives can get medical advice on a range of common childhood illnesses from the ‘NHS Child Health’ app available from Google Play or the App store.

 

The region’s NHS is keen to reassure people that all services are running and people should continue to access emergency services in the usual way if there is a genuine need for urgent medical help.

 

Those attending the region’s emergency departments or calling 999 for an emergency ambulance with minor problems should expect a longer wait than usual given the current IT pressures and as clinical teams must prioritise those with time critical needs.

 

NHS staff in the region are being thanked for their tremendous efforts to continue providing safe patient care in these difficult circumstances. NHS organisations have been overwhelmed with messages of support from off duty staff – any staff who are able to help this weekend should contact their line manager in the first instance.


Coping with exam stress

It’s that time of the year again where students are revising and sitting exams.  This can be a stressful time for students and parents alike but remember it’s normal to feel a little bit of stress, some level of stress can help you focus; though too much of it can make you feel overwhelmed or out of control and can make it harder for you to take in information.

 

When we feel stressed, the fight or flight response is activated. This may cause fatigue, difficulty in getting up, poor appetite and increased irritability if maintained for long periods of time. I would like to offer some useful tips to help you cope with exam stress …

 

1.)  How and where you work

Think about the time of the day that you feel most alert and the place that makes you focus most and where you feel calmest. You could even alternate your work space to keep revision fresh and to avoid boredom.

 

2.)  Have an early night’s sleep

Revising late at night can make it very hard for you to get up for the actual exam, not to mention that it isn’t good for your health! Ensure you have done some revision before tea and stop revising 1 hour before you go to sleep, so that your brain has a chance to switch off.

 

3.)  Try not to compare

Avoid comparing your knowledge with friends before or after the exam. Just because they appear to know more, does not mean that they actually do, or that they will do better in the exam. Comparing will only make you or your friends worry more about things you can’t change

 

4.)  Eat well

A quick fast food fix may look tempting when you are up late revising. However, your body and brain need proper fuel for revision. Eat fresh fruit and veg, swap chocolate snacks for high protein nuts, and try not to consume too much caffeine to ensure good quality sleep.

 

5.)  Treat yourself

Make sure you plan in revision breaks to rest your brain. Treat yourself with something you enjoy, go for a walk or 20 minutes of your favourite TV show. It will motivate you to concentrate on your revision.

 

6.)  Exercise

It can seem like you don’t have the time to exercise when you are revising, but it actually makes you more productive afterwards! It helps you to de-stress and releases feel-good endorphins. Try walking, going to the gym, or going for a jog.

 

7.)  Recognise stress signals

If you are feeling stressed, take a break and talk to someone. If you feel yourself starting to panic, stop what you’re doing and try a breathing technique; breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth gently and regularly letting your breath flow as deep down into your tummy as possible without forcing it. Do this for a few minutes until you begin to feel calmer.

 

Most important to remember is that you have worked hard and that you can’t change anything after you have sat the exam.  Yes, it’s great to do well in exams, but exams aren’t the only thing that will help you succeed in life, equally important factors include your attitude, work-ethic or ability to communicate well.

 

Find out more about ways of managing stress at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/understanding-stress.aspx


International Nurses’ Day

Friday 12 May marks International Nurses’ Day and South Tees CCG is showing its support for nurses across Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

Nursing is a rewarding and challenging career.  Do you have what it takes?

You can find out more about a career as a Learning Disability Nurse by watching the video below:

 


Stakeholder newsletter – May 2017

Our latest Stakeholder Newsletter is now available!

Stakeholder Newsletter May 2017