Monthly Archives: October 2013

A “Big Conversation” About the NHS

People in Teesside, County Durham and Darlington are being encouraged to take part in a big conversation about the future of the NHS.

‘Call to action’ is a national exercise to gather the views of patients, the public, NHS partners and staff, on how to meet challenges facing the NHS over the next 10 years.

Today’s NHS faces significant pressures, particularly in relation to an ageing population, a rise in the number of people with long-term conditions, the use of cutting edge treatments and drugs, and health problems linked with things such as poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption.

These elements, combined with rising costs and less money, place huge demands on current ways of providing services and care and threaten the long-term sustainability of the health service.

Health services in Teesside, County Durham and Darlington have some unprecedented challenges. There is a predicted 46 per cent increase, over the next ten years, in the number of people over the age of 85. The area has a greater number of people with two or more long-term conditions, placing increasing pressure on local health services to ensure that patients get the right treatment, whether at hospital, at GP surgeries or through other health services.

NHS representatives are organising a number of meetings and events in the area to share information about this changing environment and seek views and ideas about: GP services, prevention and diagnosis, improving health equalities, integration of services, putting patients in control and innovation in services and care.

Cameron Ward, director of the Durham, Darlington and Teesside area team of NHS England said: “The NHS nationally faces a potential £30billion funding gap between now and 2020. This financial situation, when combined with the health, age profile and lifestyle of the population, poses a significant challenge.

“We have some excellent health and social care services in the area. Our hospitals, GP practices, dental surgeries, optometrists and pharmacists provide very good services looking after patients and their families. We consistently meet waiting time requirements, carry out health checks, provide vaccinations and ensure speedy cancer diagnoses, amongst many other things.

“The NHS is relied upon and held in high regard by many people.

“We want to preserve the values that underpin our health service, so changing how we do things does not mean cutting core services or charging for care.

“But we urgently need to look at doing things differently, more efficiently and effectively to make sure we can provide the highest quality, safest and most efficient care for patients.

“We’re working with doctors, nurses and others, through clinical commissioning groups, to stimulate discussion about new ideas and solutions, get a shared view on how we can make progress and improvements. The ‘call to action’ is for everybody – patients, members of the public, local authorities, Health and Wellbeing Boards, and health and social care staff – to get involved and help us to make sure we continue to provide safe, high quality care well into the future.”

Feedback from a range of engagement activities will guide the development of three to five year local and national plans designed to safeguard the NHS into the future.

Amanda Hume, Chief Officer for NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group said, “Call to Action is about hearing the views of local people. We have set out a number of health priorities to tackle in our area. We are interested to hear what people think about how best to deal with these challenges, as well as any other views they have about local healthcare.”

Local information and further opportunity for discussion is available here:

Alternatively, visit and search ‘call to action’.

IMProVE – Have your say on the future of services for the elderly and vulnerable

NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is embarking on a public discussion about services for the vulnerable and elderly and those living with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Your local NHS needs YOU!

That’s the call to action from South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for planning and buying the majority of health services in the area.

The CCG is on a recruitment drive to increase the number of people in the area who sign up to its ‘My NHS’ service.

Signing up to My NHS means that local people can get involved in decisions about their health care, receive updates about local services and be invited to events held by the CCG.

In September, over 400 people signed up to My NHS at events at the Life Store, Middlesbrough Library, Rainbow Leisure Centre, Low Grange Health Village and Cleveland Health Centre. In Redcar and Cleveland, similar events were held at Redcar Primary Care Hospital, the leisure centre and library.

For those people who couldn’t attend the events, it’s not too late to sign up. Simply click here or call 01642 745046.

Dr Henry Waters, chair of South Tees CCG said: “The NHS belongs to us all and it’s vital that local people have the opportunity to have their say and find out more about the planning of health services in their area.

“By signing up to My NHS, people can be involved as much or as little as they like; from attending events on a regular basis and helping to shape how we plan our services, to reading about what we do in a newsletter there is a way of getting involved for everyone, no matter how busy they are.”

Delivering surgery on your doorstep

PATIENTS who need minor surgical procedures will be able to have their surgery at their local hospital – Redcar Primary Care Hospital – in future.

Providing treatment in the community is a positive development for patients enabling them to be treated closer to home and making it more comfortable and convenient for them and their families.

Up to seven minor surgical lists will be held every week at the Redcar hospital with a view to extending this in the future. Surgeons, Mr Lawrence Ajekigbe and Mr Chelliaya Ramanathan will be performing the first day surgery procedures at the hospital on Tuesday 8 October 2013.

The plastic surgery directorate is looking forward to being able to treat patients who need a local anaesthetic at the hospital in future. Patients with skin disorders – some who may need skin grafts – will be some of the first patients have their surgery at the new local facility.

Patients with more complex conditions will continue to have their surgery at The James Cook University Hospital. The move will free up a theatre suite in the accident and emergency department and help provide more capacity for emergencies at the Middlesbrough hospital.

Patients will receive the same high quality care as they would at The James Cook University Hospital or the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton.

Lucy Tulloch, associate divisional manager said: “We are delighted to take our theatre services into the heart of the community. Redcar Primary Care Hospital has first class facilities and provides a lovely environment for patients. We look forward to providing more services there in the future.”

Dr Ali Tahmassebi, Langbaurgh locality lead for South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “As commissioners of local health services for people in the Redcar and Cleveland area, we have been working hard with our colleagues in South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to ensure our services are cost effective and sensitive to the needs of people using them.

“This work ties in with the CCG vision of helping people receive care closer to home and will also help relieve some of the pressure on our busy accident and emergency departments.

“Redcar Primary Care Hospital is a fantastic resource, one that local people should be proud of. By working closely with local doctors, other clinicians and managers across the health service we are able to make real improvements to the lives of our local people.”