Monthly Archives: November 2018

New App Available For Teesside Lung Patients

Patients suffering from long-term lung conditions in Teesside are set to benefit from the arrival of a free new app.

Called ‘myCOPD’, the app has been created to support any patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

COPD is the name for a group of chronic lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties, which can become gradually worse over time and limit normal activities.

The specialist app is currently the only app approved by the NHS on the new NHS App store and helps patients perfect their inhaler technique, get expert advice and complete rehabilitation from the comfort of their own home.

The app has been developed with clinicians and is offered to patients through GP practices, respiratory nurses within South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation or as part of a pulmonary rehabilitation programme.

Dr Janet Walker, Chair of South Tees CCG, has urged any COPD patients to download the app, which has been developed by mymhealth.

She said: “I hope this will be a useful tool for some of the thousands of patients with COPD in Teesside.

“It’s simple and easy to use and can help patients to improve their symptoms, reduce breathlessness and improve quality of life and well-being.

“Many patients struggle with how to use their inhaler and often the drugs never reach the right place in the lungs to work effectively. The app has been shown to allow 90 per cent of patients to get more benefit from their inhalers.

“Like most respiratory conditions, there are times when COPD gets worse. The app should help patients spot the signs of a flare up and mean they are able to deal with it better.

“My patients want to be in more control of their condition, keep well and most importantly stay at home and avoid having to go into hospital. The app will help many achieve this.”

Find out more on the myCOPD app by visiting or emailing

World Antibiotics Awareness Week

World Antibiotic Awareness Week this year is between 12th – 18th November 2018 and aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance.

You may have seen the advert with the catchy song warning of the dangers of using antibiotics when they are not needed such as for cold or viral symptoms.

Spread the word about #KeepAntibioticsWorking using the hashtag.

Taking Antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk. Always take your doctor’s advice on antibiotics.

Are you accessing the appropriate level of care?

Are you accessing the most appropriate level of care? It is vitally important you are this winter to ensure services run smoothly.

In the South Tees area, there are a range of options available when you need medical help. We urge you to take the time to make the right choice.

Have you had your flu jab? If you have a long-term health condition or are pregnant, contact your GP practice to book an appointment. It is very important you are protected.

A lot of illnesses can be self-treated at home by making use of a well-prepared first aid kit and getting plenty of rest. Visit for more health advice.

For weather-related advice on health and travel, with tips on how you can protect your home and property, visit

Your local pharmacist can also help with any minor concerns, did you know 98 per cent of the South Tees population live within a 20 minute walk of a pharmacy? Your local pharmacist is a highly trained health professional and can offer advice on a wide range of ailments and conditions.

If you have an illness or injury that won’t go away, make an appointment to visit your GP. South Tees CCG has 37 GP practices available as normal from 8am to 6pm, five days a week. You can now also book urgent and routine appointments at extended hours GP hubs on evenings and weekends via your GP surgery.

For cuts, sprains and strains, Minor Injury Units (MIUs) can help. There is an MIU at Redcar Hospital.

If you need urgent medical advice but it is not life-threatening, call NHS 111 for free. If you experience a mental health crisis, contact your GP surgery or 111 who can refer you to an assessment.

Remember, A&E is for emergencies only! In serious and life-threatening situations, call 999 or go to A&E.

By making the right choice, you can help us help you.


Update for Teesside patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

It’s your choice

If you’ve been diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneration (‘wet AMD’), the NHS can offer a range of treatments for your condition.

Following a recent case at the high court in London, the NHS in our region can now offer a wider range of drugs for wet AMD.

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is caused by changes to the macula, which is the central area of the retina, at the back of your eye. It usually occurs in people over 55 years old, and in later stages of the disease it causes vision impairment.

‘Wet’ AMD is caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina. These vessels can leak, causing damage to the macula.

The macula is important for your central vision, and damage to this area leads to difficulty with things like reading and writing.

Treating wet AMD

Wet AMD is treated by injections into the eye, with medicines called anti-vascular endothelial growth factors, or anti-VEGFs.

These prevent the growth of new blood vessels and therefore any damage to the macula.  With this treatment, most people maintain vision at their current level, and up to a third see an improvement. Unfortunately, about one in ten patients do not respond to treatment.

The NHS can now offer you a choice of three drugs for these injections. In the past, we have offered drugs called Eylea® and Lucentis®, and these are still an option for you.

Your local NHS can now offer you a drug called Avastin® (bevacizumab), following a judgement by the high court. Avastin® is already widely used to treat wet AMD both in Europe and the United States, is commonly used in private medical practice in the UK and is much cheaper than the other two drugs.

It’s your choice

Studies have shown that all three drugs are as safe and effective as each other. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Royal College of Ophthalmology agree that all three medicines are equally safe and effective for treating wet AMD.

If you are treated with Avastin®, you may be able to start your treatment earlier than the other two drugs. Earlier treatment may mean a better outcome for you as a patient.

Avastin® is up to 20 times cheaper for the NHS to buy – and every penny that we save can be invested in more treatments for NHS patients. Using Avastin® could save our region’s NHS up to £13.5 million a year to spend on healthcare.

But this is your choice as a patient, and all three drugs are available to you, except when a clinician feels there is an advantage with one drug over another.

Making your choice

It’s your choice – and we want you to know all the facts. As a patient, you can discuss your options with your ophthalmologist before you decide which treatment is right for you.

Whatever you decide, you will receive the same high quality care as other patients. If you have started treatment with one of the medicines and decide that you want to switch to a different drug, you are free to do so at any time.

To find out more, please speak with your ophthalmologist or visit