Monthly Archives: October 2019

Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Groups confirm merger plans

With effect from 1 April, the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across Tees Valley will merge into one CCG.

A single NHS Tees Valley CCG will be created, replacing CCGs NHS Darlington CCG, NHS Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees CCG and NHS South Tees CCG.

At the same time NHS County Durham CCG will also replace NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG and NHS North Durham CCG.

The two neighbouring CCGs will work closely together under a joint leadership team which has been in place since October 2018. Dr Neil O’Brien will remain as the single Accountable Officer, supported by two chief officers (Nicola Bailey focusing on Tees Valley and Stewart Findlay focusing on County Durham).

Working together as two closely linked CCGs will help us to make the best use of our resources, ensuring high quality services are equally available to all local residents across County Durham and Tees Valley.

Whilst the new CCGs will retain a focus on local people and local services, the benefits of working across a larger population base with a shared management resource are already being realised and will continue to grow under the new arrangements. This includes:

  • Improvements to the quality of health and care services provided for local people
  • Working with local partners to align health and wellbeing priorities which support the needs of local people
  • Primary Care Networks delivering local clinical leadership and improved health
  • Efficiencies and cost savings which allow for improvements to services

The new CCG Governing Bodies, which will continue to have representation from GP practices, lay membership for public and patient involvement, local clinical leaders and senior managers.

These mergers have been approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement, and sit within the framework outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.


Supporting documents

Frequently Asked Questions

Redcar Minor Injury Unit changing to an Urgent Treatment Centre

THE Minor Injury Unit at Redcar Primary Care Hospital is changing to an Urgent Treatment Centre from Monday 28 October.

Currently Redcar Minor Injury Unit (MIU) only sees patients with minor injuries, but the new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) will also treat minor illnesses.

Opening times will remain as 8am to 9.30pm, 365 days a year – including bank holidays, with access to x-ray facilities. Pre-bookable appointments will be available via NHS 111.

The change is part of a national drive to introduce UTCs across the country by December 2019 to ensure patients have the same experience of urgent services regardless of where they are in the country.

Urgent and emergency care service manager Julie Suckling said: “We know that patients generally understand when something is serious enough to go to the emergency department or call 999, however when they have a less serious condition they are not aware of where they can access the care they need closer to home.

“The new standard ensures these urgent services are standardised and provide a clear and comprehensive service to patients.”

It is hoped this new standard will reduce any confusion around which part of the NHS offers which service, in turn reducing the number of people who attend emergency departments when they could be treated more appropriately – and faster – elsewhere.

Redcar UTC will be able to treat adults and children for:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Suspected broken limbs
  • Minor head injuries
  • Cuts and grazes
  • Bites and stings
  • Minor scalds and burns
  • Ear and throat infections
  • Skin infections and rashes
  • Eye problems
  • Coughs and colds
  • Feverish illness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea

New signage will be installed at the site to demonstrate that the service has changed in line with national UTC standards.


25 million to be offered free NHS flu jab this winter

The health service in England has prepared for its largest ever flu protection drive to help keep people well and ease pressure on urgent care services over the colder months.

The number of people eligible has topped 25 million this year as the offer of the vaccine is now extended to all primary school aged children – an extra 600,000 children. NHS commissioned school vaccination teams, maternity services, general practices and local pharmacies are all now gearing up to deliver vaccines to primary school aged children, two and three-year olds, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and older adults (aged 65 years and over).

Employers of frontline health and social care workers also have a responsibility to ensure their staff can get the free vaccine. A record number of NHS staff – almost three quarters of a million, or 70.3% of frontline workers – took up their workplace jab last year.

Eligible adults are encouraged to get their free vaccine from their GP or pharmacy to help protect themselves and their families before flu reaches its seasonal peak.

As well as getting the vaccine, practising good hand hygiene by catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throwing it away and washing your hands after can help limit its spread – catch it, bin it, kill it.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England national medical director, said:

“People might think that flu is just a cough or cold, but actually this serious illness can have devastating effects on people including causing death in some cases.

“NHS services across in England have been working hard to prepare for the winter season, including staff in every part of the country getting their flu jab in the coming weeks, so now we’re appealing to the public to Help Us, Help You by ensuring that you, your children or relatives take up the free and convenient flu vaccine as soon as you can.”

Special needs provision given OFSTED and CQC green light

SERVICES for children with special needs in Middlesbrough have been given the all-clear following an Ofsted inspection.

The move follows concerns over weaknesses in areas including leadership and planning highlighted in 2017.

As part of the SEND inspection process Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a follow-up revisit in July, concluding that sufficient progress had been made in all key areas.

During their visit, inspectors spoke to young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), their parents and carers, the Council, school leaders and local NHS.

Outlining the team’s findings, Lead Inspector Nick Whittaker said the Council’s partnership with the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had been ‘strengthened significantly’, with improvements in education, health and care services.

While further work is needed, he states: “The fundamental weaknesses in the strategic leadership and governance of the SEND reforms are being tackled effectively.”

Children and their families had greater involvement in discussion and decision-making, the inspectors found, with a significant improvement in education, health and care plans.

Strategic evaluation has been improved allowing for better planning, while a clear and ambitious strategy is paving the way for ‘sustaining improvement’.

Councillor Barrie Cooper, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Children’s Services, said: “This revisit report makes for reassuring reading, and reflects a considerable amount of hard work over the last two years.

“I’m grateful to all involved for their passion, commitment and dedication to the support of the some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“We can never be complacent, however, and we will endeavour to drive forward improvements to ensure the needs of children, young people and their families continue to be met.”

Alex Sinclair, Director of Programmes & Primary Care Development at NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted our improved partnership with Middlesbrough Council has been recognised and we will continue to work closely with the council to ensure further progress is made.

“Meeting the needs of children with special needs and their families is of the utmost priority.

“Thank you to the dedicated staff who all have worked tirelessly over the last two years and continue to do so to help make this happen.

“I echo Councillor Cooper’s view that we must not be complacent and strive to develop our services further in the future.”