Monthly Archives: October 2016

NHS South Tees CCG to receive a share of £1.75m investment.

NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group is one of five CCGs in the country to be selected to receive a share of £1.75m investment.

Shared Lives Plus and NHS England have joined forces to help more people be cared for in a family home, instead of a hospital.


Shared Lives Plus, the UK network for Shared Lives and Homeshare has today announced which local areas have been chosen to receive a share of the £1.75m investment from NHS England to take forward an innovative family-based initiative to help more people to be cared for in a home, not a hospital.


The successful bidders were formally confirmed at the House of Commons on 19th October alongside MPs and other key figures.


Shared Lives Plus is a unique approach which brings together the NHS, social care, people, communities and families.


Rachel Lucas, Development Manager for NHS South Tees CCG attended the reception and commented:

‘It was a fantastic day. The money the area has been awarded will greatly benefit local people’


NHS South Tees CCG will be working in partnership with local charity, The Avalon Group, who themselves have over 20 years’ experience delivering and developing Shared Lives schemes.


In Shared Lives a trained and approved Shared Lives carer shares their home and family life with an adult who needs care or support to help them live well.  This is part of NHS England’s commitment to transforming health so that people can keep well and live independently in the community.


The Shared Lives model will support people who have needs which make it hard for them to live on their own, by carefully matching them with a carer to share their family and lives, giving care and support in the community.  The schemes will focus on people with a learning disability and/or autism,
those with mental health problems, people with dementia and patients in acute hospital settings with physical health needs.


By working directly with the NHS, it is expected that the many benefits of the Shared Lives approach to a person’s health and to health services can be developed even further.  These include a reduction in how long people need to stay in hospital, improvements in hospital discharge and reduced unplanned admissions and/or trips to A&E in addition to improved outcomes for people using the services.  Projected savings are expected to be more than £130m over the five year life of the project.


Mark Burdon, Commissioning Manager for Mental Health, NHS South Tees CCG added:


‘The national match funding will help set up the scheme, including recruitment and training costs for carers. CCG and local authority partners will then be able to offer Shared Lives placements as an optional alternative to traditional ‘packages of care’ where a more family-style arrangement would be beneficial for the individual needing support. This is particularly welcome as the North East area has historically had a lower availability of this kind of scheme than most other areas. There is also the potential for Shared Lives carers to offer short ‘respite’ placements to allow other full-time carers and parents to have a break overnight.’


Alex Fox, CEO of Shared Lives Plus said: “We are delighted to be working with five local health organisations and their partners to bring Shared Lives to hundreds of people. In the future, this could enable health services to offer community-based alternatives to traditional health provision much more widely.”


“By partnering with NHS England we are able to build on the fantastic foundations laid by the 150 existing schemes which provide regulated social care. People living in Shared Lives households or visiting them regularly for short breaks say that they live happier, healthier lives. Councils also save significant sums and this initiative will bring these savings to the NHS for the first time.”


Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “The five Shared Lives areas announced today have the chance to be at the forefront of delivering the kind of community and people-centred approach that will be a key part of NHS services in the future.


It is vital that people with complex needs, including those with a learning disability and/or autism have the opportunity to benefit from the care, comfort and sense of independence that comes from living in a real family home.”


Shared Lives has grown nationally by 27% over the last two years, and has received praise from NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.


Following confirmation of their success, the five new schemes will be match funding a new approach to Shared Lives either in partnership with an existing scheme or in some cases setting up a brand new one.


It is expected that the first matches will take place in 2017.

Have you heard about ‘Shelf Help’?

Have you heard about Shelf help? Reading Well can help you cope with the pressures  of life, feel better about yourself and boost your confidence using books.  Books on prescription for young people will shortly be winging their way over to some local GP surgeries and the selected books have been chosen by young people and health experts to help with difficult feelings and experiences that can affect your wellbeing. The books have information and advice as well as personal stories about dealing with  feelings such as anxiety, depression or stress and experiences such as bullying. The books will also be available in local libraries and are free to borrow. Find  out more at

Flu jab time.

Many of you will by now already have been given your flu vaccination.

One small prick in the arm can make a really big difference to reduce your risk of becoming more seriously unwell with the flu especially if you are over the age of 65 or have a chronic respiratory, heart , kidney or neurological condition or are immunocompromised.

Pregnant women should be vaccinated against flu as should anyone with a learning disability. They are also at greater risk of being much more poorly with the disease. I still remember when a pregnant lady was being ventilated in intensive care after catching the flu.

As a health professional I  will also be receiving the vaccination so that I don’t catch it and spread it to my patients. We also recommend that carers should be vaccinated to keep them well but also to reduce the risk to who they care for.

I’ve  got my appointment to have mine, my parents  and in-laws have had their’s.  If you need yours please don’t delay, tell your friends to have it too.  Contact your surgery and get it sorted.

World Mental Health Day

Do you know that on Monday 10th October it is World Mental Health Day?

This is promoted by the World Health Organisation every year as an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.

On a local level there are all sorts of things happening, from a Turning the Tide event that happened today in Redcar on 7th October  to the Alright Middlesbrough event on Saturday 8th October. Follow the links to find out more about the day locally, regionally and nationally.



As a GP I know how important it is to raise awareness and make it easier for people to talk about mental illness and we should not miss any opportunity to break  down the barriers that stop people getting the help and support they need.

Better Health Programme – Public events!

The Better Health Programme is about how your local NHS can provide you and your families with the best possible services over the next five years, and beyond.

Health leaders, including doctors, nurses and other care professionals in County Durham and the Tees Valley are looking at how we do this, in discussion with their colleagues, their patients and their representatives.

The Better Health Programme would like to invite you to come along to one of their public events in October 2016, so you can find out more about the programme and have your say.

Please note the programme is still at the engagement stage – no decisions have been made – and a formal public consultation will begin in 2017. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact The Better Health Programme communications team on 01642 745401.

View a full list of events or book online.

Medical advice for parents at your fingertips

Parents and carers can now find NHS advice at their fingertips to help them look after their children’s health.

The app gives easy to understand guidance on childhood illnesses, recognising when your child is unwell, and advice on when and where to seek further treatment.

The app, which is also available as a 115-page booklet, has been created by healthcare professionals across the region as part of the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Network.

The booklet and app contains everything from oral health, upset tummies and diarrhoea to advice on bumps and bruises.

Download the app now, available on Google Play and the App Store by searching for NHS child health or download a PDF version of the Childhood Illness Advice Booklet

Cancer Screening Services for females with learning disabilities

Data from NHS England shows that people with learning disabilities are as likely to get cancer as the general population.

The South Tees Improvement Group recognise Cancer Screening Services for females with learning disabilities aren’t accessed in the same way as females without a learning disability.  For example, uptake of attendance at Breast Screening appointments for females with a learning disability living in Middlesbrough is currently 36.8%.  This figure is considerably lower than other areas across England – 39% for females with learning disabilities and 59.9% for the general population.

The aim of the DVD is to dispel myths, encourage females with learning disabilities to attend Breast Screening appointments thereby reducing inequalities in Cancer Screening Services.

The South Tees Improvement Group plan to share this valuable resource with GP Surgeries across the South Tees area as well as Learning Disability Providers.  We will ask that the DVD is used as a tool to raise awareness of screening which hopefully will increase the take up of Breast Screening appointments, not only for members of the learning disability community but for the female population living in South Tees.