Monthly Archives: April 2015

Centre of excellence for stroke rehab

Stroke rehabilitation services have been brought together under one roof to create a centre of excellence at Redcar Primary Care Hospital.

The new specialist stroke unit brings together community inpatient stroke beds with specially trained nurses and rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.

Stroke patients of all ages can benefit from the excellent range of facilities at Redcar Primary Care Hospital and patients can now get home from hospital faster thanks to the launch of the stroke early supported discharge (ESD) team.

Up to 40% of patients are expected to benefit from the ESD service which gives patients the option of receiving stroke specialist rehabilitation in the comfort of their own home.

Stroke patients who would previously have been sent to Carter Bequest and Guisborough Primary Care Hospitals are now being admitted to the specialist unit at Redcar.

Director of integrated therapies Barbara Stoker said: “We are delighted to welcome the first stroke patients to the new unit at Redcar Primary Care Hospital. The move enables nursing staff and therapists to work closely together and gives patients access to a wide range of experts on one site.”

Stroke rehabilitation has been highlighted as a priority area for South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group which is working hard to improve health services for the elderly and vulnerable through its IMProVE programme (Integrated Management and Proactive Care for the Vulnerable and Elderly).

South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group’s clinical lead for the IMProVE programme, Dr Ali Tahmassebi said: “It is really heartening to see our plans to improve services for our stroke patients come to fruition.  We now have an excellent special unit to care for our patients who have had a stroke and need to be looked after in a hospital.

“This facility, along with the introduction of the new Early Supported Discharge team delivering care at home, will ensure that patients living in South Tees receive expert timely support and rehabilitation in the right place.”

In 2013, 426 people from the South Tees area were treated for stroke at The James Cook University Hospital and the number of people experiencing a stroke in the locality is projected to grow by around 12% by 2020.

Stroke team Redcar

Bowel Cancer Awareness

We are getting to the back end of April but it is not too late to talk about bowel cancer awareness month. It may not be the easiest topic for people to talk about but we need to try to get over this.

Bottom, bum, backside whatever we call it we all have one. As a GP I have to ask all sorts of questions about all sorts of delicate things but for me talking ‘bowel habits’ is just like any other part of the job. Telling your doctor when you have noticed a change to how often you open your bowels when that change lasts for 3 weeks or more, or bleeding from your bottom and or blood in your poo is really important and well worth doing.

Bowel cancer is very treatable, but like most cancers, the earlier it is diagnosed the more effective treatment is likely to be. People whose cancer has not spread beyond the inner lining of the bowel have a much higher chance of successful treatment compared to those whose cancer has become more widespread. So don’t be shy tell a doctor if you’ve noticed those changes.

Other things to watch out for unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness for no obvious reason, or a pain or lump in your tummy, don’t keep it to yourself tell someone. For the slightly older ones among us the National NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69. People over 70 can request a screening kit by calling the freephone helpline 0800 707 6060.

Don’t ignore the test kit, be brave, collect your poo and send it off, it might just be one of the best things you do for your health this year.

Primary Care Co-Commissioning Committee

NHS South Tees CCG first Primary Care Co-Commissioning Committee will take place on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 at 11.00am in the Board Room, North Ormesby Health Village, Middlesbrough, TS3 6AL

Should you wish to attend please confirm your attendance in advance of the meeting by calling 01642 511868 or via email to

Papers for the meeting can be found here: Primary Care Co-Commissioning Committee

Working Together

I have been led to believe that the health of a population can be influenced by the success of their football team. After Middlesbrough’s success on Tuesday night and the chance of moving closer to a place in the Premiership the CCG would like to wish the ‘Boro’ all the very best for their match against Norwich tonight! I will be willing the lads on and hoping for a direct move up or success in the play offs to get back into the Premiership. It is no secret that I am not a regular football fan but I do know how important it can be to be part of a team.

At the CCG we are a small team with a big mission to ‘Improve Health Together’. We know that we need to work closely with lots of other agencies across health and social care, the voluntary sector and communities to allow us to make that difference. All of us living across South Tees could have a role to step up to the mark and become part of the NHS team. It has been said patients are the great untapped resource of the NHS. During this year we are promoting patient empowerment, education and self- care. We will be working with newly diagnosed patients with diabetes to ensure they have the skills to take control of their condition, working with patients with chronic respiratory conditions to understand their condition and have the knowledge and skills to manage the flare ups of the condition.

Many of our local GP practices have patient participation groups (PPG) as an extension of the practice team. We have been meeting with the Langbarugh and Eston PPG, and Middlesbrough PPG and will develop these relationships to continue to learn from the collective experiences and knowledge these members have of local services.My NHS

If you are interested in becoming part of the NHS team and would like to get involved in the work the CCG do to develop and improve local health services then join MY NHS and we can send you updates about events, CCG updates ,and give you opportunity to give your views about aspects of health care that interest you.

And finally, good luck Boro!

Stroke Early Supported Discharge

I am delighted to announce that our newly commissioned Stroke Early Supported Discharge(ESD) service received its first patient in March.  Improving stroke rehabilitation is a priority for us and as part of our IMProVE programme (Integrated Proactive Management of the Vulnerable and Elderly, we have invested in a stroke early supported discharge team to help patients return to their own home from hospital more quickly following a stroke. The team will provide a range of services in patients’ own homes or a local community setting.

Michael Paranics of Redcar was the first patient to take advantage of the new service.   The retired ICI worker suffered a heart attack while on holiday in India in February. Following his return home and admission to The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough he was also treated for a stroke which has affected his peripheral vision. A week later he was discharged and he is now receiving rehabilitation therapy in the comfort of his own home thanks to the new stroke ESD scheme.

Michael was only too happy to be the first to take advantage of the service: “I’m proud to be a pioneer,” he said. “Everything is familiar here and we are not limited to walking 50 yards down a busy hospital corridor. Plus I feel more at home! His wife Anne said having him back at home had certainly helped to speed up his recovery: “I think familiarity gives you confidence.”

The service is supported by reablement teams from the Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland local authorities, psychology, community nursing services and the Stroke Association. The service which is expected to benefit up to 40% of patients admitted to hospital with a stroke, will complement the newly centralised in-patient rehabilitation service at Redcar Primary Care Hospital. From 1 April 2015 stroke services and rehabilitation teams were centralised at Redcar Primary Care Hospital, making it a centre of excellence for stroke rehabilitation with dedicated beds, specialist staff, excellent facilities and the added support of the ESD team.

The Improve programme is a partnership programme with the CCG working with Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland local authorities, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust along with the voluntary sector to improve services for the vulnerable, elderly and those with long-term conditions in our area. More information is available on our website.

IMPROVE stroke smaller

Get involved with our Patient and Public Advisory Group

NHS South Tees CCG is looking to recruit 6 members of the public onto the CCG’s Patient and Public Advisory Group (PPAG).

As a core member of this group, you will be able to share your experiences of using local health services.  You will be supported to develop a good understanding of clinical commissioning to influence local services and have the opportunity to share other people’s experiences.

We are committed to involving patients at all levels of our work and as a member of this group you will be helping to make sure that this happens. By sharing your experiences you will be contributing to the development of services that are high quality, safe and meet the needs of our local population.

The aim of the group is to have patient, carer and public input into our work programmes including commissioning plans, engaging with our local population alongside sharing views and comments on the CCGs plans and future service changes or improvements.

It is expected that the group will meet every 2 months and the chair of the group, our Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Lay Member, will report the work of the group to the Governing Body.

As a member of the core group you will remain independent and will not be employed by the CCG.


If this is something that you are interested in, please apply using the simple expression of interest form.  This form should be completed and returned to

If you need help or advice completing the application form, please phone either Julie Bailey or Phillipa Poole on 01642 511868. We will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements for registering your interest.

Whilst we would welcome applications from those already contributing to patient involvement through local patient groups, voluntary organisations or other initiatives, if you are a member of a board or hold a senior role in another organisation, this may present a conflict of interest.

We are looking forward to hearing from you. Please see the documents below.

Closing date for applications is Friday 17th April 2015. Shortlisted applicants will be notified by 1st May 2015 and invited to an informal discussion about the role.

Alternatively, if you would like to be involved with the CCG but not have the time to attend the bi-monthly meetings you could join MY NHS. 

MY NHS is a membership scheme to keep local people informed of the CCG’s work.  By joining you will receive invitations to engagement events and have the opportunity to work with the CCG.  When you register with MY NHS you can choose from a list of topics/special interests.  For example if you are interested in Back Pain, you can tick this box on the form and in the future we may contact you to see if you would like to work with the CCG in developing a Back Pain service.

The MY NHS registration form and more information is available here or call 01642 745046.


Changes to minor injury units

Patients are being reminded that the way they access minor injury units will change this April.  Click here for further details.

A good friend of mine died last week. Even during her last illness she would have a smile on her face and still enjoyed a good laugh. It is often said that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter therapy is being used up and down the country. I don’t know enough evidence about this to be sure it works, but it has certainly served my friend well for a lot of years.

To be able to get the most out of something funny you need to be able to see or hear what’s funny. My dad’s hearing aids spend a lot of time sat on the top of the freezer and that in itself does lead to all sorts of often humorous misunderstandings between my parents. Dad admits that in company he really needs them so he doesn’t miss out, although being unable to hear my mum at home can have advantages!

As a health professional so much of what we do relies upon being able to communicate so you would think we would always remember to get the a basics right. To my shame it took until my second visit to realise that my friends’ hearing aid was at home and not at the hospital with her. At a recent Healthwatch event in Redcar the point was made very well that all of us in any caring role, across health and social care, should take the time to communicate better. Hearing aids need to be asked about, then found, have working batteries inside and be correctly fitted into the ear and turned on! Glasses need to be worn. Sometimes doing the simple things can make a big difference.

My friend told me that one of the things she’d always wanted to do was to see the Panama Canal. It’s good to have dreams. At the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) we have pledged to ‘Improve Health Together ‘ – and that involves ‘YOU’ as well as your GP practice and the health and social care agencies that we work with. It might be one of those small steps that make the difference. Putting your glasses on so that you can see where you’re going and don’t fall, or as April is bowel cancer awareness month it may be returning your bowel cancer screening test. As a CCG we need to know that our aspirations are shaped by what you say. Learn more about how you can have your say at our website