Monthly Archives: June 2015

As referenced in last week’s blog,  the CCG are looking at urgent care services throughout the Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland areas.

We know that it is important to talk to local people and involve them in its work to make sure that the health services it develops and buys really do meet the needs of the people that will use them.

The CCG would like to ask your views on the management of urgent minor injuries and urgent illnesses in the local area, including:

  • Self-care
  • NHS 111
  • GP Practice
  • Pharmacy
  • Walk in centre
  • GP Out of hours
  • Accident & Emergency

Your views will help the CCG produce a strategy for urgent care developed in partnership with the public and key strategic partners.

The CCG aims to ensure all stakeholders are effectively engaged in the development of this strategy and a link to the  questionnaire will be available via the website shortly  for you to contribute and have your say. We are trying to ask the questions far and wide so you can also participate  in one of the many group conversations happening in community groups across the area. You can attend one of our open meetings or join in our on street surveys. Members of MY NHS will receive notification directly.

We look forward to receiving your feedback.



Transforming cancer services

Today I attended a Cancer Conference at the Riverside Stadium about the challenges of transforming cancer services and improving the patient experience.

The Cancer Conference is hosted by South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust and held annually, and this is my first opportunity to attend. With all the experts who are speaking it will help us to push forward the projects that many different parts of the NHS can contribute to, thereby improving cancer services for patients across the South Tees area and wider. I look forward to being able to share with you some of the projects that may impact upon you or your families.

Thinking of things that may involve you, at the CCG we are developing our urgent care strategy and we would like to ask your help with this. I am giving you an early heads up that next week  I will post on the blog more details about how you can contribute to this, share your view , thoughts and feelings about how we improve and simplify urgent care provision across South Tees. It is so important that we hear from you to shape our plans.

Annual Report for 2014/15

We are pleased to present our annual report which sets out who we are; describes our organisation and what we do; how we deliver on our duties and our priorities. It also describes the way we are working to deliver our priorities, engaging with partners and the public to make improvements in local services for the people of Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland highlighting our role in the communities we serve, as well as our role as a local employer.

Men’s Health Awareness

It’s Men’s Health awareness week from 15-21 June so fellas brace yourself this months’ column is for you!

One of my patients pointed out to me that as he is self employed every time he takes time off work to come for an appointment he may be losing money. This is a valid point and many surgeries have early morning, Saturday morning or late night surgeries that can help with this. But I do have to ask what value do we put on our health? How bad do things have to be before you’ll make an appointment? Your community pharmacist can give you advice about treating minor ailments without the need for an appointment. How can we tempt you into the surgery to have a healthy heart check, or a lung check if you are a smoker? Preventing illness could mean you need fewer appointments by keeping healthy. And it’s not just your physical health – what about mental health and wellbeing- Talking therapy, for help or support ,is available without seeing a GP just follow the link

Day to day life has so many demands and you may feel you are juggling lots of balls in the air and how can you manage to find time to think about your health? Let’s think of it another way though and ask how many of you have had a shower or bath today? As washing is something most of us do regularly why not incorporate a health check into your washing regime and check them as well as juggling them. To be clear, what I mean is testicular cancer can be found earlier by self examination, most lumps are benign, but if it was cancerous find it early and the outcome is better. If you notice anything different see your GP.

Thinking of being regular, we all use the toilet a lot too. Persistent changes in your bowel or bladder functioning or blood in either could mean something untoward and should be checked out. It is true that enlargement of the prostate gland in older men is very common but don’t just accept it as part of getting older. If you are having to pee more often , getting up to pee during the night, having difficulty starting to pee, having to strain, or have a poor stream see your GP to rule out anything sinister in your prostate.

For all ladies reading this, do what you can to support your men to keep healthy, nagging when needed!


Child Sexual Exploitation – ‘In the Wrong Hands’ Campaign

Across Teesside the 4 Local Safeguarding Children Boards are working together to raise awareness of children who may be at risk of sexual exploitation and the warning signs and behaviours to be vigilant for. The Boards have devised a campaign entitled ‘In the Wrong Hands’ which had local media coverage when the campaign began on the 20th May 2015.

NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is keen to promote the campaign both to the public and to professionals involved with children in order that any child who may be at risk or who is a victim of sexual exploitation can be identified quickly and the appropriate action taken.

Victims of sexual exploitation often don’t know they are being exploited.   This type of abuse can happen to any child or young person up to the age of 18 and from ANY background. The signs of which can vary, but it is important to be aware of the behaviours children often display. The campaign materials below provide further information and should be visible in a number of venues.

If you believe a child is in immediate danger call the police on 101 or if you suspect a child may be a victim of sexual exploitation call Childline on 0800 11 11.





CCG Receives Recognition for Community Pulmonary Embolism Pathway Trial

GP Dr Rashpal Singh, of the Endeavour Practice in Middlesbrough, along with colleagues Julie Bailey, Partnership and Innovations Manager at South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Martin Johnson, Commissioning Manager at North of England Commissioning Support, has been awarded runner up in the Bright Ideas in Health Awards, an annual competition organised by NHS Innovations North on behalf of the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria.

 A proposal entitled Community Pulmonary Embolism Pathway was submitted for the awards category of ‘CCG Innovation within Primary Care’, and Dr Singh, representing South Tees CCG, was announced as runner up at the awards evening on 21st May at the Hilton Hotel Newcastle Gateshead.

 Dr Rashpal Singh proposed a pilot scheme to target patients suspected of having a Pulmonary Embolism. A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the artery that transports blood to the lungs.

Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism can be difficult for GPs to diagnose due to the testing methods available, and this results in many patients being referred to hospital when a D-dimer blood test would be the most appropriate first step in diagnosis.

Dr Singh suggested a trial using verified testing tools, to determine if patients needed to be admitted to hospital for further radiological testing. The proposal was to initially see 30 patients with a possible pulmonary embolism, referred to the Endeavour practice from participating practices.

 The trial is planned to start later this year, and prize money awarded to the CCG will be used towards the scheme, which in turn will help ensure patients receive the right care, at the right place by the right person.

 For more information on the Community Pulmonary Embolism Pathway please contact Julie Bailey or Martin Johnson

The Mindfulness and Wellbeing Service at The Garth Surgery, Guisborough

Mindfulness, which was the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week in May, refers to the technique of paying more attention to the present moment, to our own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around us.

The practice of mindfulness is increasingly being employed in psychology to help treat a range of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, and has become a popular and distinctive method for handling difficult emotions.

Studies have found that mindfulness programmes, where participants are taught mindfulness practices over a number of weeks, can bring about reductions in stress, improvements in mood and a reduction in the recurrence of these problems over the longer term.

The Garth Surgery in Guisborough has launched a new service, entitled the Mindfulness and Wellbeing Programme, and is now available for NHS patients from the Redcar and Cleveland area to learn techniques which can be used in their daily life to manage stress more effectively.

The Mindfulness and Wellbeing programme (with an integral 8 week small group-based Mindfulness programme) was launched on 1st April 2015. The new programme is led by Dr Amanda Smith (GP and Clinical Lead), Dr Steve Williams (retired GP and CBT therapist) and Sister Amanda McGough (Nurse Practitioner, Garth Surgery), who sees patients for an individual wellbeing assessment as part of the programme. Every patient receives a written individualised wellbeing plan (including sleep and fatigue management) as part of the service.

Dr Steve Williams said: “This is a new NHS service for suitable registered patients from the Redcar and Cleveland area and will run for the next year. The Mindfulness and Wellbeing programme offers an initial, individual consultation and works with patients to jointly agree an effective wellbeing management plan to improve their health and wellbeing. Suitable patients are also referred to the integral 8 week small group-based Mindfulness programme. The team at The Garth Surgery is optimistic that mindfulness awareness will bring real benefits to these patients and deliver long term improvements to their mental health and general wellbeing.”

The Garth Surgery is one of eight successful applicants of Mental Health Innovation Funding in the South Tees area. The CCG identified a sum of money (£200,000) that was made available for innovative mental health schemes that support the CCG in delivering its primary purpose of improving the health and wellbeing of the population of Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland. The Garth Surgery was awarded over £18,000 of funding to support the Mindfulness and Wellbeing programme over the next 12 months by a panel including clinicians, commissioning mangers and a member of the public.

People can find out more about the Mindfulness and Wellbeing programme by visiting

Your view on the South Tees CCG Mental Health Strategy are welcome via the following online survey: