Monthly Archives: April 2014

Local NHS launches public consultation on services for the elderly, vulnerable and those with long-term health conditions

NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging local people to have their say about proposals to improve services for the elderly, vulnerable and those living with long-term conditions as part of a formal consultation, which launched today (30 April).

The consultation follows two years’ of discussions with GPs, hospital professionals and local authority partners to consider a more responsive and joined-up approach to caring for the growing population of older patients with long-term conditions and other care needs. In the South Tees area, the number of people aged over 65 will increase by 20 per cent by 2021.

As part of this process, the CCG also talked to over 400 stakeholders, patients and carers to find out more about the type of services they need and how they should be organised in the future.

Dr Henry Waters, Chair, NHS South Tees CCG said: “It’s really good news that people are living longer. However, older people have more ill health than other groups and that presents us with a challenge. We have to put the right services, in the right place to meet people’s needs into the future.”

At the moment, elderly and vulnerable people in the South Tees area are admitted to hospital more frequently than those in other parts of the country and spend longer there than they need to because we do not currently have enough support available in the community. The CCG and its partners would like to provide more care close to home or in patients’ own homes.

Dr Vincent Connolly, consultant at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Too many of our most vulnerable patients end up in hospital when they could have remained independent and in their own homes. We need to ensure that health and social care services work together in a more joined-up way to provide more help for elderly people in their own communities.”

Working with the Foundation Trust, the CCG also plans to develop stroke rehabilitation services to ensure that they meet national best practice guidance.

Dr Ali Tahmassebi, local GP and CCG lead said: “We know that stroke patients recover much better if they receive rehabilitation in their own home. Those who need hospital care should be treated in a specialist stroke rehabilitation unit. This does not happen in South Tees at the moment.   Local patients should have access to the same quality and standard of care as other areas of the country.”

As part of its proposal the CCG will invest in a range of community-based services including:

  • stroke rehabilitation and community stroke teams to provide more support in patients’ own homes or in community locations
  • a single point of contact for all community and social care services
  • more rehabilitation, outpatient and diagnostic services
  • consolidation of minor injury services

By implementing these proposed changes and delivering more care in patient’s homes, our community estate needs will change including less dependency on community beds. We know that many of our current community buildings are not sustainable for the future and require significant capital investment to bring them up to a standard which could support the delivery of our model of care. Last year, nearly two million pounds was spent on empty space across our four community hospitals. We continue to incur high maintenance and repair costs for some of our estate.

The CCG and partners considered a wide range of factors in developing the best option for meeting the needs of elderly and vulnerable people, as well as those with long term conditions. These included national best practice guidance, capacity and use of existing services, the skilled workforce available, the standard, location and running costs of our current hospitals and transport issues.

People are being urged to have their say by filling in the CCG’s questionnaire, which is available online here or by coming along to one of five public drop-in events (details below).

Notes to editors

NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working in partnership with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and with Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland local authorities to improve services for the vulnerable, elderly and those with long-term conditions in our area.

This improvement programme is the Integrated Management and proactive Care for the Vulnerable and Elderly (IMProVE). NHS South Tees CCG are now proposing to make some changes and improvements at local community hospitals, including changes to minor injury services provided from these.

A formal public consultation to seek views on the proposals begins on Wednesday 30th April 2014. No decision will be made until the end of the consultation which will close on Thursday 31st July 2014.

Public drop-in events

Time 5.30pm – 7.00pm

4 June 2014
Eston – Civic & Learning Centre, Normanby Road, Eston, Middlesbrough  TS6 9AE

11 June 2014
Brotton – Freebrough Enterprise Centre, Linden Road, Brotton, Saltburn-by-the-Sea  TS12 2SJ

18 June 2014
Guisborough – Methodist Church, 67-69 Westgate, Guisborough, North Yorkshire, TS14 6AF

2 July 2014
Middlesbrough – Acklam Green Centre, Stainsby Road, Middlesbrough, TS5 4JS

9 July 2014
Redcar – Sacred Heart RC School, Mersey Road, Redcar, TS10 1PJ

Our proposals at a glance

Development of Community Infrastructure

  • To implement a Community Stroke (Early Supported Discharge) Team to support patients to regain independence following a stroke
  • Working with local authority colleagues to increase capacity of re-ablement and support services
  • Working with all of our partners to develop an assessment hub which provides rapid assessment, diagnosis and treatments for elderly and vulnerable people
  • Strengthen existing community based teams to deliver more health and therapy support in patient’s homes, including providing appropriate training for staff
  • In order to ensure health and social care services are joined up and co-ordinated, we will implement a single point of contact for accessing community care
  • Deliver more out-patient, diagnostics and treatment therapies in the community.

Redcar Primary Care Hospital

  • Centralise all stoke rehabilitation and support services, e.g. physiotherapy, occupational therapy and dietetics at Redcar Primary Care Hospital. This

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon celebrates Life Store success

Mayor Ray Mallon visited Middlesbrough’s Life Store on Friday 11th April to see how the Store’s successful programme of initiatives is tackling health inequalities across South Tees.

Based in the Cleveland Centre shopping mall in Middlesbrough, NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group’s Life Store, staffed by health trainers and advisors, provides health advice and information on a range of health conditions and local services helping people to make informed choices about their health and well-being.

Combatting weight loss, smoking, drug and alcohol misuse, obesity and stress, as well as offering some sexual health services such as C Card, the Life Store acts as a one stop shop for health advice. It also offers a carer’s coffee morning and has recently launched breast feeding classes as well as running events and health promotion activities.

The Mayor spent over an hour talking to staff and members of the public whilst learning about the how the Store has become a regional success story and developed a reputation for delivering services that make a difference.

Life expectancy in Middlesbrough is significantly lower than the average for many parts of the North East and England as a whole and tackling health inequalities is part of Middlesbrough’s joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

Its aims, reducing poor health, improving children and young people’s health, reducing preventable illness and early death and providing quality health care are also on the agenda of the Life Store.

Ray Mallon, Mayor of Middlesbrough said, “The Life Store is a great example of how health services can work together to really engage with the public. It’s location in one of busiest shopping centres in the heart of the town centre enables people to just drop in when they out shopping and get advice for themselves of members of their family from trained staff – I was really impressed.”

Commissioned by NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and managed by Pioneering Care Partnership (PCP) the Life Store also provides blood pressure tests, healthy heart information, alcohol advice, women’s and men’s health and mental health and well-being advice. It also works with partner organisations such as Healthwatch, MIND, Talking Matters, and Dementia Awareness amongst others.

Lynne Blackburn, Manager of the Life Store said, “It was a great honour for the Mayor to visit the Life Store and see what we do. We are constantly looking to improve and strengthen our services and build on our success.

“Our aim is to really help the people of Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and its surrounding areas take control of their own health – all the help and advice they need is here we just want as many people as possible to know about it. The Mayor had heard of our reputation as a success and we hope he will act as an ambassador for the work we are trying to do to improve the lives of everyone in our community.”

The Life Store is open Monday 9.30 – 5.00 and Tuesday through to Saturday 9.00 – 5.00 and you can contact them on 01642 737884.



Mental health

GPs help many people with various mental health issues.  About one in four of us may experience some kind of mental health problem in our lives.


Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health disorders but others include eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, addiction to drugs and alcohol, personality disorders, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and it is important to remember that there are really effective treatment options for mental health and psychological disorders.


One of our priorities is to ensure mental health services meet the needs of the local population (including children and young people) through early intervention and quality longer term services for those with more complex mental health issues.

Positive national changes to mental health services include giving people the right to choose where they receive care, the introduction of minimum waiting times and an extension of ‘talking therapies.

‘talking therapies’ is a cornerstone of the IAPT ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ NHS programme. The programme’s aim is to ensure that every adult that requires it should have access to psychological therapies to treat anxiety disorders or depression. It recognises that talking in sessions and monitoring the outcomes is one of the most important innovations in psychological therapies and can really help a person’s recovery.


The government mental health campaign ‘Time to Change’ is worth taking a look at. It aims to end stigma around mental health and recognises how difficult it is to talk to family and friends which can be one of the hardest parts of having a mental health issue. It can lead to the loss of friendships, feeling isolated and by not seeking help you recovery may be not be as quick as it could be. On the other hand, talking about mental health can strengthen your friendships, help your recovery and break down stereotypes. Please have a look at the site


If you are experiencing stress, anxiety or feel low and have done for some time or are concerned about a family member of friend please see your local GP or visit our website where you will be able to see contact details for a number of organisations and services that can help.


I wish you well and hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing Easter break!