Monthly Archives: November 2016

Community Innovation Fund 2016/7

Due to pressures within the health care system and the financial impact of this on the CCG, we are unable to commit to a Community Innovation Fund this year. Every year we assess whether we are able to release any resource through the fund and unfortunately this year we have to take this difficult decision.

We realise this might come as a disappointment to new groups, and groups that have previously received funding which have delivered some valuable services to local people.

We hope to continue to work with local groups and organisations into the new year to ensure we remain connected to the needs of local people.  Working closely with the voluntary and community sector, collectively we have begun to establish new relationships to ensure that we can maximise our efforts to benefit South Tees communities.

Middlesbrough Ageing Better



You may be aware that Middlesbrough Ageing Better are doing some fantastic work on volunteering and the benefits volunteering brings to health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who volunteer their time feel more socially connected, helping people to stay connected, reduce loneliness and depression.  Ageing Better have some great stories about how local people are staying connected.  Find out more about what they have done with dementia bikes and silver surfers .

Draft Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) published

NHS organisations across Durham, Darlington, Tees, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby have published their draft Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which was submitted to NHS England in October.

This is in response to NHS England which has asked NHS commissioners and providers to work together to develop STPs as improvement plans for their area, and to work with local authorities and other partners to deliver these.The STP identifies four areas for improvement: 

  1. Preventing ill health and increasing self-care – helping communities to be more healthy and resilient by preventing ill health and increasing self care and helping them to manage their long term conditions effectively.
  2. Health and care in communities and neighbourhoods – supporting people to stay well and independent for as long as possible by improving health and care services within their area.
  3. Quality of care in hospitals – “Better Health Programme” – minimising travel for routine care but making sure that people get the best treatment when they need more specialist care.
  4. Use of technology in health care – using technology to improve diagnosis and treatment, and to make care more convenient for people.

Clinical lead for the STP, Dr Stewart Findlay said: “There are financial pressures on the NHS locally, but for clinicians, the important thing about this plan is that we provide an improved service for patients.

“The view of our clinical staff is that more care should be provided outside of hospital, in the community, or in a patient’s home where this is safe and effective, supported by GPs, NHS community services, and with the NHS working together with social care and the voluntary sector.

“For serious emergencies and life threatening situations patients should be treated where senior consultants and experienced teams of staff are available, 24/7, seeing high numbers of patients with similar problems.  Where this already happens, patients have much better results, and our doctors believe this approach needs to be extended to other potentially life threatening situations.”

Over the next few months, more work will be done to develop the draft STP plan, working with local councils and other partners including the voluntary sector. There will also be more public engagement sessions.

The Draft Sustainability and Transformation Plan 2016-21, and a summary version is available to download from all local NHS clinical commissioning group websites as well as the Better health Programme website.

To find out more about the Drat Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) please email

Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme

So, you’re out and about with your baby, and you need to stop and breastfeed. Of course, you should be welcome to feed in public anywhere, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way of knowing that a cafe, restaurant or other venue really welcomed breastfeeding mothers?

The Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme is here to help you.

By searching the map you can see all venues that have signed up to welcome breastfeeding mothers.


Come along to find out what the scheme is all about.

Find information and contact details on the next meeting in Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland

Self care week and European Antibiotic awareness week


There are two really important events this week. 14-20th November is NHS self care week and on the 18th November it is European Antibiotics Awareness day, a Europe-wide annual event that raises awareness about how to use antibiotics in a responsible way that will help keep them effective for the future.

There is a significant overlap between the two and they both fit in very nicely with the winter health campaigns that you will be continuing to see more of on the telly and in the public  press as the winter progresses.

We hear and read about how the NHS  is under pressure with increasing demands, and this is the reality. For us all to get the best out of our National Health Service we need to use it well. Part of that is us taking responsibility for our own health , trying to make those healthy lifestyle choices to prevent us becoming ill, and being more aware about how we can look after ourselves with  simple illnesses like coughs, colds, sore throats, ear aches.

Chatting to a community pharmacist about your symptoms and getting over the counter medication to ease your symptoms can be much quicker and easier than making an appointment at your GP surgery.  Most coughs, colds , sore throats, sinusitis and earaches will get better without antibiotics. As and when I may have grandchildren, I would like them to still have antibiotics available that work for those occasions when they are needed and can  be life saving. The more we use antibiotics when they are not needed, or start courses and don’t finish them the more we increase antibiotic resistance, and create bugs that the antibiotics no longer work against.

So, pop along to your community pharmacist, stock up your medicines cabinets with simple medicines such as paracetamol, or ibuprofen and be prepared to look after yourselves.

Find out more advice about self care

North East doctors warn of antibiotics danger

We need to think differently about antibiotics, or face major risks to our health from antibiotic-resistant bacteria – that’s the message from doctors in the North East this week.

Overuse of antibiotics means that harmful bacteria can adapt and become antibiotic-resistant. This means that in future, there could be no treatment for infections that become resistant to antibiotics.

Friday 18 November is European Antibiotic Awareness Day, a Europe-wide annual event that raises awareness about how to use antibiotics in a responsible way that will help keep them effective for the future.

“Many people see antibiotics as a ‘perfect solution’, and feel that a prescription for antibiotics makes their visit to the doctor ‘worth it’, but the fact is that antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate,” said Dr Graham Syers, a local GP and locality director for NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic, and the more we use them, the more bacteria become resistant. That’s a very real risk to everyone’s health in the future, especially as very few new antibiotics are being developed.”

The message will be shared through digital and social media in the North East by Carol and Eric, the first two members of a family of ‘plasticine people’ who were introduced to the North East public for the first time this week through a new NHS winter advertising campaign.

The characters will spend the next five months helping the region’s NHS through the challenges of winter, by encouraging people to make the best use of stretched NHS services – as well as raising issues like antibiotic resistance and self-care.

“Antibiotics aren’t always the answer, and GPs can often feel they are under pressure to prescribe them,” added Dr Syers. “But they don’t work for winter viruses or colds, while most coughs and sore throats will also get better without antibiotics as the body can usually fight these off on its own.

“Antibiotics have a vital role to play, but it’s worth remembering that they can also have side effects as they upset the natural balance of bacteria which can cause diarrhoea, thrush, rashes or stomach pains.”

Antibiotic facts

  • Antibiotics don’t work for winter viruses – and your body can usually fight these off on its own
  • Antibiotics should be taken as prescribed, never saved for later or shared with others
  • Many antibiotics are prescribed and used for mild infections when they don’t need to be. All colds and most coughs, sinusitis, otitis media (earache) and sore throats get better without antibiotics
  • Your local pharmacist can help – they are experts in the use of medicines and are able to diagnose and offer treatment for a range of minor illnesses and ailments immediately
  • Antibiotics are important medicines and should only be taken when prescribed for you by a health professional
  • Antibiotic resistant bacteria don’t just affect you, they can spread to other people (and animals) in close contact with you and are very difficult to treat

Look out for the campaign online and on social media including Facebook and Mumsnet, plus information in GP surgeries, pharmacies and newspapers

NHS unveils family of ‘plasticine people’ for winter advert campaign

Meet Carol and Eric, part of a new family of ‘plasticine people’ who will be introduced to the North East public for the first time this week through a new NHS advertising campaign.

The characters are the first of nine friendly faces who will help the region’s NHS through the challenges of winter, by helping people to make the best use of stretched NHS services – as well as taking better care of themselves and their health.

The charming clay friends, who will be gradually unveiled over the coming weeks, will appear in web and social media advertising sharing a series of helpful messages around NHS services and how to take control of your health needs.

“We know that people value the NHS, but they often find it confusing and hard to navigate,” said Dr Stewart Findlay, joint chair of the North East Urgent Care Network and Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical CCG.

“Over the past year we have carried out detailed research into the way people use services, how they decide which to use, and what has the most impact in influencing those choices. We all have a role to play in safeguarding the NHS by using the right service for our needs, and the plasticine people provide a friendly way to get that important message across.

“We wanted to create a campaign that people could relate to, and these characters have an instant appeal and warmth about them. The characters make it possible to address difficult issues in a direct way, and we hope people enjoy getting to know them over the coming months.”

Carol and Eric make their first appearances through Facebook and targeted web adverts from Monday 14 November, to coincide with National Self-Care Week, with further plasticine pals making a bow during the winter, the NHS’s busiest time of year.

People in the region will be able to follow the plasticine people through linking with local NHS bodies on social media, as well as helping to name the new characters as they are unveiled.

The plasticine people will help to highlight good self-care, raise awareness of the expert advice available free at every pharmacy in the region, and promote the new NHS Child Health app, which helps parents of under-fives look after their children’s health.

The campaign has been developed by the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Network, with funding from the NHS New Models of Care programme and the region’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

The network, which is supported by NHS bodies across the region, is working to improve urgent and emergency care services in the North East.

Its initiatives so far include improving the NHS 111 service through extra clinical support, new ‘flight deck’ technology for more sophisticated management of emergency care capacity across the region, and the new child health smartphone app. To download the app, search for ‘NHS child health’ in Google Play or the App Store.

Flu and You

As we’re fast entering the winter months, it’s really a good time to think about getting your flu jab, if you haven’t already.

You are advised to get the jab this winter for free at your GP surgery if you:

  • Are a pregnant woman
  • Are aged over 65
  • Have a long term health condition such as diabetes, asthma, a heart condition (this includes children with serious health problems)
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Care for people in these ‘at risk’ groups
  • Children aged 2,3,4

The flu jab changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe.

Flu is not just a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people.

Read the ‘All about flu and how to stop getting it’ easy read document or visit for more details.

Breast Cancer Screening – Take up your offer

Women with Learning Disabilities are as likely to get Breast Cancer as the general population. However, the take up of women with learning disabilities accessing Cancer Screening services is considerably lower than the general population.

Learning Disability uptake of Breast Screening in Middlesbrough is 36.8%. In England, 39% of women with learning disabilities accessed Breast Cancer Screening compared to 55.9% of the general population.

Around one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, and research shows there’s a good chance of recovery if it’s detected in its early stages.

Middlesbrough Council have worked in partnership with Health, Social Care and Middlesbrough 1st to raise awareness and promote take up of Breast screening among women with learning disabilities.

The ultimate aim is to reduce the inequalities in cancer screening for all people with a learning disability.

Breast cancer screening – easy read article.

Local born star raising awareness of mental health

At this time of year it’s often a topic of conversation around who you support: ‘X Factor’ or ‘Strictly’. I am in the X factor camp- my daughter would not have it any other way!

When the CCG were going through our journey to authorisation, James Arthur was hitting our screens and then won X Factor in  December 2012.  My family and I were certainly voting for him and those of us getting ready to  start up the CCG did get a boost from a South Tees local raising the area’s profile- well, OK I went on about it a lot and did try to get them to vote too!

I can’t believe that I was washing up when James was on X Factor performing his latest single so I missed him promoting awareness of Mental Health rather than his new album.

This was not lost on my daughter and her mates who could tell me about him being an ambassador for SANE and knew about the #Glitch campaign. For those of you that are Strictly fans or were doing  something else that night, SANE is a charity that works to raise awareness of mental health and reduce the associated stigma. Check out the website for the #Glitch campaign.