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Essex Healthcare

Mainly local, North Essex, Healthcare reports and updates

Quality Care Commission Visit Colchester

Something to say about NHS Care?

care-quality-commission
tell-us-about-your-care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and social care in England.  They have powers to register, monitor and inspect all health & care services and, in September, they are visiting Colchester to find out what you have to say about local services, in particular those provided by the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust. Taking place on Monday 7th September between 6pm – 7:30pm, at Colchester Town Hall (in the Grand Jury & West Committee rooms), you are invited to meet with the CQC’s inspectors and share your experiences with them.  Of course, if you can’t wait until then, you are able to share your experiences anonymously at any time by contacting the CQC on:

The CQC’s inspection method when reviewing a hospital or other service is focussed around 5 key questions:

  1. Are they safe? Are you protected from abuse and avoidable harm?
  2. Are they effective?  Do they provide your care, treatment and support achieving good outcomes, helping you to maintain quality of life and based on the best available evidence?
  3. Are they caring? Do staff involve and treat you with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.
  4. Are they responsive to people’s needs?  Are  services organised so that they meet your needs?
  5. Are they well-led? Does the leadership, management and governance of the organisation make sure it’s providing high-quality care that’s based around your individual needs, that it encourages learning and innovation, and that it promotes an open and fair culture?

   

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Green Living – Food and Volunteering

Green Living – Food and Volunteering

Amongst other topics Food and Volunteering feature in Colchester Borough Council’s latest Green Living newsletter:

Save big on tasty food this summer

Are you planning tasty garden BBQs and picnics out?  Make your money go further – get the most from the food you buy, store and cook.  Find easy tips, recipes and more to help you Love Food and hate waste. Over the year it could save you £hundreds – perhaps enough to enjoy a family holiday!  Visit the Love Food hate waste website to find out more.

Share your Green Home experiences

If you’ve already started greening your home through heating, lighting or power initiatives, big or small, why not show it off to others wanting to save £££ on energy bills?  Register as a Green Open Home host for the forthcoming September event. A great way to share tips, techniques and experiences of green technologies, and discover new sustainable living ideas.  You can see homes in the Colchester have already registered on the Green Open Homes website which also gives you the opportunity to register your own home.

Fresh air, new friends, feel great

This summer and year-round there are lots of ways to enjoy Colchester’s great outdoors, while giving a little back too. Whether you’re a budding gardener, enjoy walking or want to get stuck in to something practical there’s a volunteering opportunity for you!  From the town to the countryside and however long you’d like to be involved including:

  • Volunteering as a Countryside Volunteer Ranger,
  • Health walk leader,
  • The Big Garden – organic community garden (pictured right),
  • Castle Park volunteers,
  • Conservation volunteers.

Find out more on the CBC website.

Go green – go online

Did you know? Going online for services is better for the environment and can save you money on travel, postage and through online discounts! Switch to take up core Council services online – whether you need to find information, make a payment or provide us with your details, its easy and secure with an online account. Plus if you need to, enjoy free friendly help at events borough-wide to brush-up your internet skills for shopping, finding local events, services and more.

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NHS Consults on Restricting Services

ne-essex-ccgClinicians want to hear local views on plans to restrict services

Clinicians at North East Essex CCG are seeking local people’s views on their plans to restrict IVF services in the future – and they are inviting everyone to give their feedback.  Under the plans, they are proposing restrictions to the current IVF service as it does not provide sufficient benefit to the overall health economy.

Certain groups of patients would still be able to access IVF: for instance, those patients who are undergoing medical treatment that would leave them infertile.

They also propose that couples experiencing difficulties in conceiving could still seek medical advice through their GP in the first instance.

Dr Hasan Chowhan, Clinical Director at the North East Essex CCG, said:

We recognise that infertility is a very difficult issue for those affected by it and we have not taken this proposal lightly or without engagement with other clinical professionals.  We fully intend to review this decision in the near future.

Between 2013/14, the CCG paid for 107 fertility procedures which amounted to £386k – the equivalent of:

  • 25 drug treatment courses available for breast cancer;
  • 15 community nurses;
  • 104 hip replacements;
  • 108 patients being admitted to an acute stroke unit at Colchester General Hospital.

Samantha Hepplewhite, Acting Chief Officer at the North East Essex CCG, said:

We have managed to achieve around £35m savings over recent years.  However this challenge will continue as we need to find a further £14m savings each year for the next four years.

We have a requirement to stay within budget and if we do not implement these decisions and further proposals then we would have to select other services to restrict.  Current local demands for healthcare services are costing more money than is currently available.

In addition, the CCG is also intending to restrict the following services:

  • Any Qualified Provider – Spinal Service – The CCG would control activity and expenditure for manual therapy and spinal services, ahead of these services moving to the lead provider arrangement in April 2016.
  • Clinical Priorities Policy – The purpose of this policy is to provide a mechanism for deciding whether referral of an individual patient for a specific assessment and treatment should be funded, based on clinical effectiveness. We are reviewing this policy to bring it in line with other NHS commissioners.
  • Continuing Healthcare – We believe that new patients requiring NHS continuing healthcare care at home, should be entitled to up to 10% above what it would cost for the same care in a residential or nursing home setting.
  • Gluten free – The CCG is restricting the prescribing of gluten free foods to young people, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and stopping prescribing these products altogether to all other adults.  These products are now available in shops and there is a variety of alternatives widely available.
  • Threshold for elective procedures – All patients being referred for non-urgent elective surgery and who are smokers should be referred to smoking cessation services at the initial referral/assessment/appointment.  Meanwhile, overweight and obese patients should be strongly encouraged to lose weight before their operation.  Failure to attend smoking cessation or weight loss programmes may have an impact on whether individuals could undergo their procedure.
  • Vasectomy and female sterilisation – The community vasectomy and female sterilisation services are being reviewed by the CCG as these services have no or limited clinical value – rather they are considered as one of many forms of contraception.  Both vasectomy and female sterilisation will however be available in cases of complex health needs.

Please see our consultation document with further details at www.neessexccg.nhs.uk

The CCG is holding a number of engagement events over the coming weeks aimed allowing local people to find out more about its plans.

DateVenue
Friday 26 June (3pm)Clacton – Sam’s Hall, CVST, Rosemary Road, Clacton CO15 1NZ
Tuesday 7 July (6pm)Colchester – Room 12a, Primary Care Centre, Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JR
Friday 10 July (2pm)Clacton – Princes Theatre, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton CO15 1SE
Thursday 16 July (6.30pm)Clacton – Princes Theatre, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton CO15 1SE

Please email to confirm your attendance at any of the above events –

NEECCG.enquiries@nhs.net

The closing date for feedback on our IVF proposal is Monday 7 September 2015.  If you have any feedback in relation to these changes, please email your comments to NEECCG.enquiries@nhs.net or write to PALS, North East Essex CCG, Primary Care Centre, Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JR.

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Local Health Forums

The Health Forum

The NEE Health Forum is a largely enthusiastic and committed body of people who are interested in health matters.  They are all people who have registered as public members of North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Health Forum is not formally part of the Clinical Commissioning Group, but members of the Health Forum Committee are invited to be part of all decision-making meetings within the CCG so that they can obtain and reflect the views of people from North East Essex to the group in a timely way.  The Clinical Commissioning Group wants the Health Forum to be as inclusive as possible, and so the criteria for eligibility are very broad.  There is more detail on the Join the Health Forum page of their website.

Members of the Health Forum are able to vote for the Health Forum Committee.  The Health Forum Committee has a number of sub-groups which are looking at specific health related issues.  The Health Forum does not have any legal powers, but has been given local powers by the CCG.  It works very closely with Essex HealthWatch, who do have legal powers.

Their important reports, including local Health Forum meeting dates, agendas and minutes and similar material relating to the Health Forum Committee can be found on their site in the Library.

Get Involved at Local Health Forums

The Health Forum holds local meetings which any public member of the CCG  can attend, regardless of where they live.  The 3 local meetings are held at Colchester; Harwich; (rest of) Tendring – this is usually held in Clacton.  

The next meetings are being held on 2nd, 3rd & 4th February (2pm – 4pm) respectively.  The agenda vary slightly both from meeting to meeting but also by location, but will typically include items such as those due to be discussed in the February meetings:

  • NE Essex Community Pharmacy Scheme
  • CHUFT Cancer Services (Clacton & Harwich only)
  • Borough GP Care Advisory Service (Colchester only)
  • Carer Strategy Consultation
  • General Q&A

These meetings give Health Forum members a chance to receive presentations and ask questions relating to key health care issues and services in their area.  They are also to raise concerns with the NEE CCG staff directly and Health Forum Committee members.

The Agendas for the local meetings are set by the Health Forum Committee who request speakers on the subjects they believe local people want to hear more about.  The CCG supports the Health Forum Committee by finding suitable speakers and health professionals that are in a position to answer relevant questions.

All three local meetings are usually held within a week of each other and they occur bi-monthly (every other month).  The dates of future meetings can be found on their events page

The agendas and minutes of the Local Engagement forum are published in their Library under Health Forum.

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NHS Consulting on Care Closer to Home

Care Closer to Home and Urgent Care consultations:

The North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, with its partners, has started a 10 week consultation aimed at finding ways to provide effective and safe care within the community – known as Care Closer to Home.  Have your say on plans to provide health and social care closer to peoples’ home. Please read the NE Essex CCG’s consultation document. Local people across north east Essex are being asked for their views on how health and social care services could be provided closer to their homes in the future.

The consultation is also suggesting a redesign in the way emergency and urgent care might be provided too, as part of its urgent care strategy.  Their aim with both of these service redesigns is to ensure patients are at the centre of their care which will allow individuals to be seen in the right place, at the right time by the right expert.

These proposals follow a series of engagement activities, known as the Big Care Debate, in which many people called for services to be based around the individual needs of the patient as close to their home as possible.

Please give your views via an online survey.

If you prefer to download, print and post your response, please click the survey document here to download.

For further background, please see the CCG’s strategies published earlier this year:

 

 

Please come to one of the public meetings being held to hear a presentation and give your views, to book your place, please email neeccg.enquiries@nhs.net or call them on 01206 286500:

ColchesterTuesday 13 January4pm-6pmUnited Reformed Church, Lion Walk Colchester CO1 1LX
ColchesterTuesday 13 January7pm-9pmUnited Reformed Church, Lion Walk, Colchester  CO1 1LX
HarwichWednesday 14 January4pm-6pmLong Meadows Community Centre, Long Meadows, Dovercourt CO14 4US
HarwichWednesday 14 January7pm-9pmLong Meadows Community Centre, Long Meadows, Dovercourt CO14 4US
WaltonFriday 16 January4pm to 6pmColumbine Centre, Princes Esplanade, Walton on the Naze CO14 8PZ
ClactonFriday 23 January4pm-6pmClacton Golf Club West Rd, Clacton CO15 1AJ
ClactonFriday 23 January7pm-9pmClacton Golf Club West Rd, Clacton CO15 1AJ

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NHS Rehabilitation Service

ne-essex-ccgNew rehabilitation service to open at Clacton Hospital

More help is now available for people who need rehabilitation after illness or injury to get back to living at home. A brand new service, the Durban Rehabilitation Centre, has just opened at Clacton Hospital.

Generally those who need the service will be people over 65, but any adults who may need more time and more support and who do not need nursing care will be welcome. People will be looked after in a bed at the Durban Rehabilitation Centre so they are safe while they work with staff at their own pace to re-gain their skills and abilities to live safely in the community. Some people will need rehabilitation after they have been in hospital at Colchester, but others may be admitted directly from home after a referral by their GP or the new Rapid Assessment Service.

NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group agreed the project, and colleagues from Essex County Council, our local NHS community service provider Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) and the Clacton Hospital site’s owners have worked rapidly to get the new service ready in time for winter. Their efforts mean the service has opened ahead of schedule – new handrails, doors, practical aids, a kitchen for patients’ use and re-decorating has just been finished, to provide a much brighter, homely look to help people get their physical abilities and their confidence back, after an injury or illness.

ACE’s trained rehabilitation staff will run the Centre, supported by a GP and ACE’s community nurses. The Centre has 15 beds and will have a minimum of three staff on duty at any time. The Centre will care for people from both the Colchester and Tendring areas, and will run until at least April 2015, when it will be evaluated and compared with other ways of providing similar care, to ensure the NHS can offer the best quality and most efficient service to local people in the future. The unit is very much welcomed as an extra resource over the winter period, when the whole NHS health “system” is traditionally under greatest pressure.

Lisa Llewelyn, Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality at the CCG said:

This innovative new unit is a really important service for our community, and shows how joint working across organisations can bring real benefit for local people.  It will offer high-quality rehabilitation to people from Colchester and Tendring who might otherwise face real problems in getting back to good health in their own home. It’s very much part of our drive to help people stay out of acute hospital beds and remain safe in their own home. The improvements to the Durban Centre environment should prove a desirable option for people with these particular needs. It’s always amazing how much detailed effort goes into making a new service work, but each and every person who is helped to get back to a good quality of life makes that all very worthwhile!

http://antibioticguardian.com/

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NHS Maternity Review

ne-essex-ccgExternal Review of Maternity Services provided by Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust

An external review of maternity services across North East Essex has been published by North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust).  The review by the NHS England Strategic Clinical Network, which was jointly commissioned by the Trust and the CCG, noted much good practice and commended the enthusiasm and commitment to women and their families. Out of a total of 19 recommendations in the report, there was just one major concern requiring immediate action. The report recommended that the Trust should ensure the delivery suite at Colchester General Hospital should have an extra (supernumerary) senior midwife on duty in line with a previous recommendation by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). Work is already underway to ensure the Trust meets this recommendation.  The report also comments on the small number of women giving birth at the midwife-led units at the community hospitals in Clacton and Harwich, stating there are insufficient births to warrant a 24 hours a day 7 days a week service. It adds that the need to cover three sites is part of the difficulty in meeting the midwife to birth ratio recommendation from the RCOG. Lisa Llewelyn, Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality at the CCG, said:

The report gives the CCG external assurance about the service and supports us in preparing for consultation with the public on a sustainable and safe service. We note the comments around the number of births at the midwife-led units at Clacton and Harwich but are also conscious of the need to provide choice of birth location as recently proposed in draft guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Amanda Hallums, Divisional Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at the Trust, said:

We are grateful to the Peer Review Team for carrying out a very thorough review. We welcome the findings of the report as it identifies many strengths and areas of good practice. We will be working jointly with the maternity multidisciplinary team and CCG colleagues to address the recommendations.”

Commissioned to assess opportunities for improvement in and to assess the viability of births from three sites across North East Essex (Colchester, Clacton and Harwich), the report’s 19 recommendations were grouped under the following headings:

  • Clinical governance
  • Operational efficacy
  • Clinical  leadership

Included in the recommendations were:

  • An urgent review of midwifery staffing together with clinical pathways, patient information, communication, quality and governance
  • Annual review of staffing to ensure resources match demand
  • A wider Essex review of maternity services
  • Build on good practice to ensure continuous improvement including reviewing risk management structures and clinical governance
  • Boards of both organisations need to ensure they have sight of outcomes as well as performance
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Antibiotics Crisis

ne-essex-ccgMany may have heard about super-resistant bugs able to thrive despite antibiotics, the NE Essex CCG has issued advice that will help reduce the problem.

Antibiotics crisis – we can all do our bit locally

Patients and doctors together can help keep antibiotics effective.  NHS NE Essex CCG is asking both doctors and patients to support each other locally to do our bit in the battle to keep antibiotics effective for us. The prime minister said:

If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine where treatable infections and injuries will kill once again.

Dr Hasan Chowhan, clinical lead in this area for the CCG said:

bacteriaWe have known about the growth of resistance for some years, but it is getting rapidly worse.  Research continues to look for more antibiotics to counteract bacteria that cause serious diseases in humans, but many bacteria are becoming more resistant to medicines currently available.  What this means is that now around 5,000 people a year in Britain die because of antibiotic-resistant infection.  If current trends continue, major life-saving surgery will become extremely risky, as post-operative infections may not be treatable.  Even smaller, less serious operations of all types will become hazardous, as the risk of serious, even fatal illness from resulting infections will be too high.  This is a major problem facing all of us and our families.  The prime minister and the Chief Medical Officer are absolutely right to sound the alarm.

Dr Chowhan is calling on local doctors and patients to support each other:

We know that in too many cases locally, doctors prescribe antibiotics for patients when it is very unlikely they will do any good.  Coughs, colds and various other usually minor illnesses caused by viruses cannot be cured or even helped by antibiotics.  Indeed often antibiotics will cause other problems for the patient, such as very unpleasant digestive disorders, because the antibiotics kill the stomach and intestinal bacteria that manage our normal digestion.

Doctors can sometimes play it “safe” by prescribing just in case the patient might be aggrieved and complain if they didn’t.  Sometimes the patient will insist on getting “some pills” or “some antibiotics” as they are sure that will hasten their recovery.  Dr Chowhan and his colleagues in the NHS are appealing to patients to listen carefully to the doctor, and not to insist on antibiotics when it has been explained that these may not help, and may indeed produce harm.  The CCG is working with local doctors to support them to understand where unnecessary prescribing is happening and to reduce it.  We know from the recent “Big Care Debate” that local people in general strongly support any reduction of waste in the NHS. When people take antibiotics that are not necessary, bacteria present can develop resistance.  The more antibiotics that are taken by more people, the more resistance develops and can then spread to others, so that the patient concerned and perhaps other contacts develop resistant bacteria.  The end result being that the next time they are treated, the antibiotics don’t work.  Over-use in farm animals and lax regulation in some other parts of the world are also known contributors to the problem. Dr Chowhan concluded:

This is one problem where each and every patient, as well as our doctors and nurses and pharmacists, can make a real contribution to the safety and effectiveness of our medicines now and for our families in the future.  The government’s review is good news, but we don’t have to wait for that, we can do our bit now.

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New Baby?

ne-essex-ccgThe NE Essex CCG, which is responsible for planning and buying local healthcare services for the Colchester and Tendring areas of Essex is always keen to obtain feedback from users of NHS Healthcare services in their area.  They are now asking recent parents in North East Essex to help with a local survey about maternity services.  They have issued the following:

If you or your partner has given birth recently – how was your experience of pregnancy and birthing services? North East Essex MSLC (Maternity Services Liaison Committee) wants to hear from recent parents about their experience of having a baby in Colchester, Clacton or Harwich hospitals or at home. Please help us by responding to the online survey at:

… or go to the news section of the CCG website at www.neessexccg.nhs.uk This news release is issued on behalf of the MSLC, which is made up of local parents and health professionals and advises the local NHS about the care they provide to women, their partners and their babies during pregnancy, birth and in the weeks after the baby’s arrival. Their role is to help the NHS listen to and take account of the views and experiences of people who use their maternity services. The MSLC is hoping for a significant number of responses by the end of July.

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Best place to have a stroke

The local NHS CCG has issued the following news update reporting on the success rate of Colchester General Hospital, which has one of the largest stroke units in the East of England, with stroke patients, admitting over 70% of patients within 4 hours compared to the national average of below 60%:

Local stroke patients get best care in country, latest figures show

The quality of stroke care coordinated locally by Colchester Hospital is again in the top two hospital trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, according to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). This makes us the best over the last six months, nowhere else having been in the top two consistently. The RCP clinical audit of stroke patients who were admitted to hospital in the three months from October last year shows Colchester was the second best-performing out of the 175 hospital trusts that admit stroke patients directly for acute stroke care. Dr Shane Gordon, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS NE Essex CCG said:

This result is a credit to several organisations, including voluntary organisations who work together to provide not only emergency and acute care at the hospital, but also vital recovery care in the community when patients are safe to leave the hospital. Specially-trained nurses from ACE, the NHS community organisation, help patients to recover as much function as they can in the days, weeks and months after a stroke.

The figures show that whereas on average nationally 58% of people who have had a stroke were admitted to a stroke unit within four hours, in NE Essex it is over 70%.  Perhaps most remarkable is that locally over three-quarters of people are helped by the dedicated Early Discharge Team to get quick, dedicated support to go home or to rehabilitation out of the acute hospital, whereas nationally on average just one quarter of patients are helped in this way. Dr Gordon added:

These figures are the results of a shared determination to get higher standards of care for our patients resulting in less death, disability and better quality of life. But we are very far from having a perfect service, there is much more we can do together to give stroke patients here even better treatment and recovery. Rapid and thorough treatment and recovery for patients can make all the difference to otherwise more serious outcomes for patients and families.

Recently published by the RCP, the audit was welcomed by Dr Ramachandran Sivakumar, consultant stroke physician at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust and its clinical lead for stroke. He said the aim of the comparative information is to improve the quality of stroke care by auditing stroke services against evidence-based standards. Dr Sivakumar said:

Stroke care is very much teamwork and our success is down to a multidisciplinary approach that involves therapy staff, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and dietitians, besides doctors and nurses. While these figures show we are performing extremely strongly, we are certain we can do even better and that is what we are focusing on.

Moira Keating, nurse consultant for stroke services, said:

In my opinion, the entire Colchester stroke team takes ownership of each and every patient and pulls out all the stops to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and achieve their goals.

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