Monthly Archives: October 2015

Learning disabilities fast track transformation programme

Local NHS and social care leaders draw up plans to transform the care of people with learning disabilities and / or autism in Cumbria and the North East.

The region is one of six national ‘Fast Track’ sites tasked to deliver plans to transform support for people with learning disabilities and/or autism over the next 3-5 years.

The North East and Cumbria has received £1.4 M from the Transformation Fund to support the initial implementation of the plans.    Following the recommendations from Sir Stephen Bubb’s report “Winterbourne View – Time for Change”, NHS England called for radical changes to the way people receive support involving a significant move away from relying on the use of inpatient beds.  This involves boosting community services and building upon an already highly skilled, confident, and value driven workforce to ensure people get what they need when they need it.

Local health and social care leaders got together over the summer with people with learning disabilities as experts by experience, service providers and others such as specialised service commissioners in NHS England.  Their challenge was to come up with an overall plan for the region to make sure choice and control will be at the heart of ALL service planning and provision in this transformation.   Each area also has its own local plan.  A ‘Confirm and Challenge Group’ of people supported by Sunderland People First and  Inclusion North – a not-for-profit organisation supporting people to make inclusion happen – have been involved at an early stage to make sure that plans continue to meet the wants and needs of service users and their families.

Dr David Hambleton, Senior Responsible Officer for the Transformation Programme and Chief Officer for NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said “The regional plan reflects our starting point where we have too many people in NHS inpatient beds, but also the innovative work we have already been developing in the North East and Cumbria.    “We are all passionate about making sure people receive high quality services, that they are supported much earlier than is sometimes the case and that their quality of life is all that they wish it to be.  There is a lot to do, but everyone is strongly committed to it.  We know that if we can improve the care and support that we offer in the community and intervene early, we will need far fewer beds in the future.

“The ambition for the North East and Cumbria is to be as good a place as anywhere in the world for people with a learning disability and /or autism and a mental illness or behaviour that challenges, to live. “

Lesley Jeavons, Head of Adult Care at Durham County Council and chair of the North East Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Learning Disability Network said “Across the North East and Cumbria there are a number of different arrangements in place for the commissioning and provision of services to people with a learning disability and their carers.  This is a real opportunity for all key stakeholders to work in partnership and to review existing arrangements, so ensuring we provide services that are of a high standard and meet the needs of people in their local areas.”

Samantha Clark, Chief Executive of Inclusion North said, “Only by working in true partnership with people with learning disabilities and their families can the right changes be made to services and  good community support built.  We are working with local commissioners and providers on this programme to make sure that people and families are part of checking how the work is going, and setting up a wider network of local groups.”

Standing together

I’m a relative newcomer’ to Teesside only living here since 1995, but even I associated the iconic landmark of the steelworks on the seafront with being back ‘home’ .

I am not sure that any of us know quite what it will be like for the site workers, the contractors, the wider businesses that will feel the impact of the loss of the local steel industry and of course all their families too over the weeks, months and years to come? As a GP in the last few weeks I have had contact with patients and staff  whose lives have already been affected.

Pulling together as a community must be the right thing to do and from a health perspective at the CCG we need to link in to play our part.

The CCG will stand together with other public organisations in responding to the health and wellbeing needs of our community now and in the forthcoming months

New HQ

NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has moved headquarters – to the other side of the Health Village at North Ormesby in Middlesbrough.


The short move to 14 Trinity Mews will bring many benefits for the CCG’s GPs, staff, partners and the local community.


In line with the CCG’s IMProVE Programme of delivering care closer to home, the move will see the Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy teams move their base and clinical services into the CCG’s vacated premises at 11 Trinity Mews.


The relocation will mean that all CCG staff, including GPs, will be based in one location for key meetings and day-to-day business.  The extra space will not only allow staff to work more efficiently and have guaranteed desk space, but will also reduce the need to book external meeting venues.


The new offices will have meeting rooms which will be available to local voluntary and community groups to make use of.  Groups wanting to make use of this space can contact the CCG on 01642 263030 to book or email


Dr Janet Walker, Chair of South Tees CCG and local GP said, “We wanted the CCG offices to remain in the heart of our community.  Our previous offices were short on desk space for our staff and we had limited meeting room facilities.  The aim is for our new premises to be an asset to the local community as well as functional and flexible for our staff.”


The new address for NHS South Tees CCG is: 14 Trinity Mews, North Ormesby Health Village, Middlesbrough, TS3 6AL.  You can contact the CCG on 01642 263030.

Making healthier lifestyle choices

I can’t believe it is October! Or should that be ‘Stoptober or ‘Go sober for October’? I look forward to the time when we all make healthier lifestyle choices and you don’t need someone like me bothering you about smoking and the like. On the plus side, fewer of our new mums are smoking at the time of the birth than just two years ago. Now that smoking is banned in cars when a child is present, I think everyone will benefit. My husband has many unhappy holiday memories of hours spent in a car with a mix of travel sickness and smoke. Of course, it’s been banned because of the proven damage of passive smoking in a confined space, not because it feels unpleasant. Despite the many measures to reduce smoking, 25% of adults aged over 18 in South Tees continue to smoke and increase the risks to their health

Smoking is expensive and you might be surprised at how it all adds up. On average, most people who quit save around £250 each month. That’s nearly £3,000 a year going up in smoke. Just think what you could spend that money on!

Stopping smoking or reducing alcohol intake not only saves you money but saves money for the health service too.

Our job at the CCG is to plan and buy healthcare services that meet the health needs of the population of Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland. The estimated cost to the NHS for treating smoking by South Tees residents is about £11.3 million every year. Our South Tees Health pound could go a lot further if we weren’t having to treat as many smoking-related diseases that are completely preventable.

If you feel ready to make those changes, you can contact the Tees NHS Stop Smoking Service on 01642 383 819 for more information about local services for support