Monthly Archives: March 2014


As March 12th was ‘STOPPING SMOKING DAY’ it is worthwhile to put the effects of smoking on our community as a whole into some context.

A document released by Public Health England ranked early deaths or premature mortality in Teesside against rates in 150 other local authorities.

Out of these 150 local authorities with number 1 being the best,  Middlesbrough came in at 146 in the rankings with regard to premature death. It ranked 148 in the table for early deaths related to cancer, 116 for heart disease and stroke, 128 for early death related to liver disease and 143rd place out of 150 for premature death related to lung disease. As you can see the figures are quite stark.

Smoking rates are a very significant factor together with levels of deprivation in explaining the variation between local authorities across the UK, but it is important to note the disproportionate number of people on Teesside and their families who suffer as a result of smoking.

One bright spot is the improvement in the ranking for heart disease and stroke, which has been striking over the last few years.

I should add that smoking in pregnancy is a particular health hazard because of adverse effects on the unborn baby; it is pleasing that over the last two years smoking rates in pregnancy have been falling but there is still a lot of room for improvement and we should not give up until this rate is zero.  Help is available via antenatal clinics if you are pregnant and finding it difficult to give up.

Long gone are the days when as general practitioners our approach to smokers  was to either avoid the subject of smoking altogether or try and warn of the dire consequences of continuing smoking  with very little to offer in terms of help.  Thank goodness.

Over the last ten to fifteen years, patients are becoming more health conscious and now in a GP’s surgery it is a common experience for patients to request help with stopping smoking.  This is great.  I find these consultations potentially the most worthwhile of the day; there are massive health benefits for the patient and their family and friends and to put the icing on the cake we now have some very effective drugs to help.   In just ten minutes the prospects for better health in the long term are dramatically improved.   Expert counselling from the Smoking Cessation Service will further improve the prospects of success for people across our region.





Get involved, have your say!

Patients and the public are at the heart of the NHS.  We want to ensure that more people than ever before get involved with their local NHS.  One of the best ways to do this is via MY NHS.    By Joining MY NHS you will receive regular updates about the work of NHS South Tees CCG as well as invitations to take part in events, surveys and consultations.

To sign up to MY NHS please call 01642 745046 or visit  

Local community groups benefit from Community Innovations Fund

Thirteen local projects from Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland have received  funding from NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The CCG asked local community services to submit innovative applications aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people from across Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland.

We received over 60 applications which we then shortlisted with the help of a patient reference group. The following groups benefitted from the Community Innovation Fund;


Pioneering Care Partnership, (Offender health project), £24,500


Royal Voluntary Service, (Home from Hospital Service – James Cook Hospital), £34,272


Relate North East, (Preventing long term relationship problems), £9,000


Cleveland Fire Brigade, (Safe & Sound campaign) £33,650.36


The Prince’s Trust, (The Prince’s Trust Mental Health Programme), £30,000


Redcar & Cleveland Voluntary Development Agency, (Vital Health Volunteers), £32,680


Bentley Medical Practice, (Promoting self-care of minor ailments – 1 year pilot, £2,480


Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, (Iron Valley Works), £3,000


Middlesbrough Council Libraries Service (Memory Loan Service), £7,200


South Tees NHS Foundation Trust, Physiotherapy Dept, (Increasing exercise adherence and performance though a group cohesion intervention), £5,500


South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Partnership with Carer’s Together, (Sharing Core Assets, Training Brokerage and Train the Trainers Scheme), £5,500


Living Sober CIC, (Oxford House), £40,000


The CCG worked closely with both Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland Voluntary Development Agencies to promote the fund.

Mark Davis, Strategic Development Manager for the Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency said, “From supporting young people with mental health problems to a ‘Home from Hospital Service’, providing practical support for older people when they are discharged from hospital, we have a fantastic range of voluntary and community groups in and around Middlesbrough.


“These groups work hard to improve the health of local people and the Community Innovation Fund will enable them to support more  people over the coming year.”

Dr Vaishali Nanda, local GP and Middlesbrough Locality Lead for South Tees CCG said “It is very important that this funding was used to deliver health improvements at a local level, one of the best ways of doing this is to support local voluntary and community service groups.”

Living Sober CIC, one of the successful projects selected by the CCG, was launched over a decade ago and continues to go from strength to strength offering on-going support to those suffering from alcohol addiction. 

Unhappy with local support services at the time, a group formed to support each other through their shared experience of alcohol addiction.  Finding that peer support worked well, Living Sober was born.

Following a model of learning operating in the United States for 38 years, the group is built upon the shared values of respect, honesty and integrity. Taking a tough approach to beating addiction, they work with users to address underlying problems such as unemployment, family and relationship breakdown and lack of housing, treating the causes as well as the symptoms of alcoholism.

Many of those who have attended Living Sober have been supported back into work and to remain in work.  They have helped people to set up their own business and given support to build bridges with their families.

In partnership with Coast & Country, Living Sober manages six flats in Ormesby which are available to users who find themselves homeless or find it difficult to find somewhere to live as a result of their alcohol use. Surrounded by their peers in this way has proved to be hugely positive and no one living in the supported housing has been back in the criminal justice system or been admitted to A&E as a result of their alcoholism. This in itself is a huge success story.

The group received £40,000 which they are using to employ an outreach worker. Recognising that their model works, they want to spread the word and build relationships with organisations that currently work with people addicted to alcohol so they can help more people across Teesside.

Tony Brown, Founder of Living Sober said “When people become victims of alcohol abuse it is not only them that suffers but their whole family. We provide a safe and secure environment in which users can come for support, not just to help them beat their addiction but look at the underlying causes of their addiction.


“Providing peer support works, at Oxford House users can see positive results all around them, people who were in exactly the same downward spiral as themselves who are now beginning to turn their lives around, build relationships with their families and return to work, contributing positively to society.”

To find out more about the other projects that were selected for funding please visit












Thank you for answering our call!

NHS England has been calling on patients, the public and staff to join in a discussion about the future of the NHS so it can plan how best to deliver services, now and in the years ahead and NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) would like to thank all members of the public who got involved and had their say.

The NHS needs to be able to deal with a range of challenges such as an ageing population, a rise in the number of people with long-term conditions, lifestyle risk factors in the young and greater public expectations. Combined with rising costs and constrained financial resources, these trends threaten the long-term sustainability of the health service.

There have already been changes to make savings and improve the way services are delivered. Whilst lots of us are trying to be healthy – eating well and being active, as a South Tees population, we still have some of the poorest health in the country.  We have high levels of health inequalities within our area and, high levels of obesity, depression, coronary heart disease and premature death.

We have been talking to local people about their experiences and expectations of local health and care services on what we can do locally to improve health and wellbeing.   A local public engagement event, and distributing information within our GP practices and by sending out information to members of MY NHS.

A number of key themes arose from the public discussion ranging from the need for better management of medicines to more screening, patient information, more integration with the community and voluntary sector and greater support for those with mental health problems. There was a good response and all suggestions will be explored as part of the CCGs ongoing commissioning plans.  Our plans will be published on our website. Please visit

Although the main part of the work is now finished we are still asking the public to get involved and have their say about their local pharmacy.

Members of the public can share their thoughts on what services they would like to see in their local pharmacy by taking part in a short online questionnaire on the NHS England website (simply type ‘pharmacy questionnaire’ into the search box).



NHS Change Day

change-day-web-banner-thanku4-pcp_UPL_20143314523731_amUmkgsqThe first NHS Change Day on March 13th 2013 was unprecedented. It was a ‘game changer’ that provided the amazing grassroots momentum so many staff, patients and people working with the NHS needed.

NHS Change Day served to harness the passion, drive, commitment and innovation that we see every single day from NHS staff. It used the power of shared purpose to give us the boost to challenge the status quo and try something simple but different to improve patient care.

As one frontline staff member put it: ‘What was different about Change Day and the reason I was inspired to get involved is that it used the passion and drive of staff to make a difference’.

Last year a single tweet sparked a staff-inspired social movement that saw people take collective action and in doing so make 189,000 pledges. It was a proud moment. This year the goal is for 500,000 pledges.

At NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group we too make our pledge as part of NHS Change Day.  We pledge to:

‘stay true to the core values of the NHS whilst applying creativity and innovation to transform and continuously improve services for local people working closely with our local partners.’

Have a look at this short video here, clipped from a 1948 film by the British government introducing the original aims of the National Health Service (NHS).

Frontline services work together to help those most affected by welfare reform

The latest reforms to the welfare system under The Welfare Reform Act 2013  introduced last October saw a new Universal Credit replace most existing benefits as well as a limit placed on the total amount of benefit a household can claim.

Recognising that welfare reform is hitting many of our most vulnerable communities hard, The South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with a range of partnership  organisations across the region to support local people and their families with a wide range of issues relating to welfare reform.

The Tees Valley Strategic Partnership (welfare reform subgroup) invited frontline staff from a range of local services including the police and fire services as well as local housing organisations to an event on Tuesday 28th January at the Middlesbrough Teaching and Learning Centre on Cargo Fleet Lane in Middlesbrough to look at how they could work together to promote awareness of the recent reforms.

One of the key aims of the event was to establish a network of local champions amongst frontline staff who can promote awareness of welfare reform in their organisations as well as ensuring every contact counts. The aim is that whether you are a policeman or a housing officer you will easily be able to signpost members of the public to a range of available support services from housing advice to credit unions.

Dr Paul Williams, a GP in Stockton who chaired the event said, “The reforms to the welfare system and the way people receive their benefits, introduced last October, has resulted in benefits to many of the most vulnerable people, notably sickness and disability claimants, being affected.

“An integrated approach between frontline organisations is needed so that staff understand the reforms and how they may affect those they come into contact with on a day to day basis. Being able to talk about where vulnerable people can get help and advice will help in what is a difficult time for many families.”

NHS South Tees CCG Commissioning Plans 2014/15

Commissioning involves planning and buying services by assessing the needs of the population; deciding what to prioritise; purchasing ; quality monitoring of the organisations providing services; measuring impacts and planning steps.

What and Who Informs the Commissioning Intentions?

 Supporting Tool’s

  • Joint service needs assessment (JNSA) web link JSNA – 3-5 years refreshed annually. The JSNA supports the strategy of the Health and Well Being Boards
  • NICE guidance
  • Clear and Credible Plan- aims ,values, vision, challenges, what is going to change
  • Joint Health and Well Being

The Commissioning Intentions/ plans have been developed within the CCGs workstreams which are: 

  • Health and Well Being
  • Planned Care
  • Unplanned Care (Urgent Care)
  • Medicines Optimisation
  • Care Closer to Home
  • Quality in Primary Care
  • Mental Health and Learning Disability


To tell us what you think of our plans, please email by 31 January 2014.

Commissioning Intentions South Tees CCG