Offers to help you join Energy Switch and Funding opportunities are just two of many subjects in the numerous news updates Essex County & Colchester Borough Councils issue every week, the following are extracts that might be of particular interest.
An energy-saving initiative which has already saved Essex residents almost £1 million has reopened for new applications. Register now for the Essex Energy Switch to potentially save hundreds of pounds on your energy bills.
Registration is open till 1 February 2016. After this, energy providers will bid against one another in an auction with the winning bidder being the company offering the lowest price to all applicants. Following last year’s Switch, residents saved approximately £263 per household.
Anyone who pays for energy is eligible to take part. Signing up takes just a few minutes online. Visit www.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch for more information and to find out how to take part.
Colchester’s Big Choice funding application process is now open! Bid for a share of £200,000 to fund new or existing community projects in Colchester. Finalists will be entered into a public vote at the end of February 2016 to decide on the winners.
If you have a project that could be eligible CBC needs to know more about it. Not all applications will go through to the final vote but in order to qualify CBC needs to know who you are, what you do and how your idea will benefit the residents of Colchester Borough.
Completing this online application form will guide you through the information CBC needs so please complete it carefully and take note of the deadlines as CBC has to stick to them. The online application form needs to be completed and received by CBC by 12 noon on the 15th January 2016. Click here to find out more
What best describes Essex culture to you? Is it some of our buildings and architecture; our artwork and theatres; local street and contemporary social culture; or perhaps there’s an iconic image you think sums up the county? Whatever it is, the #InstaEssex campaign wants to capture it with a photography competition that’s open to both amateur and professional photographers.
15 winning images will be displayed at London Liverpool Street station and at branch line stations across Essex. From these winners the top three will be awarded cash prizes of £1,000 (first prize), £500 (second prize) and £250 (third prize).
If you don’t fancy submitting a photo but still want to share your thoughts, you can join the discussions on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #Instaessex. The competition is open until Mon 15 February 2016 so there’s plenty of time to get snapping!
Free “No Cold Caller” stickers are now available at Essex libraries to help vulnerable people protect themselves from rogue traders.
Taking place twice a month in various parts of the North East Essex area, these meetings are free to attend without prior booking and give you an opportunity to discuss matters of concern or interest to you regarding Local Health matters. The minutes of the recent meeting in Colchester will give you an idea of what they are about:
If you were fortunate enough to receive a new smartphone, tablet or PC at Christmas and you’d like help to get online, then why not brush up your IT skills for free at CBC’s digital bazaar events and online drop-in sessions beginning this month and running throughout 2016.
At CBC’s digital bazaar events and online drop in sessions, you are encouraged to bring your own device where you will receive professional help with setting it up.
Computers are available at all of the events and staff are there to support and teach you and undertake tasks such as setting up email addresses. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of CBC’s dedicated multi-skilled Zone Teams who have in-depth knowledge of local areas.
CBC also offer one-to-one support at any of the library hubs across Colchester. To book a free one hour session please complete CBC’s online form or call 01206 282222.
The unseasonal mild spell is coming to an end. Are you ready for wintry conditions on the roads? Keep up to date with road conditions via Essex County Council’s website or Twitter accounts.
Visit ECC’s winter travel web page for useful information about salt bins, salting (gritting) routes and links to other winter-related advice about school closures, flooding alerts and health. Follow @Essex_Travel and @EssexGritters for all the latest winter road updates from Essex County Council on Twitter. ECC does not manage the A12, A120, M11 and M25. Visit the Highways Agency website for information about these roads.
At midday every day during winter a weather report comes in to Essex County Council and the decision is made whether to send gritters out onto the Essex roads. Essex County Council has 59 gritters which grit 2,500 miles of roads in the county using a mixture of salt and brine. Find out how the gritting service works in a feature which appeared in the East Anglian Daily Times this week.
Remember to always drive to the weather conditions to keep safe on the roads this winter.
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:
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:
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:
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.
|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 –
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.firstname.lastname@example.org or write to PALS, North East Essex CCG, Primary Care Centre, Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JR.
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.
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:
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.
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 email@example.com or call them on 01206 286500:
|Colchester||Tuesday 13 January||4pm-6pm||United Reformed Church, Lion Walk Colchester CO1 1LX|
|Colchester||Tuesday 13 January||7pm-9pm||United Reformed Church, Lion Walk, Colchester CO1 1LX|
|Harwich||Wednesday 14 January||4pm-6pm||Long Meadows Community Centre, Long Meadows, Dovercourt CO14 4US|
|Harwich||Wednesday 14 January||7pm-9pm||Long Meadows Community Centre, Long Meadows, Dovercourt CO14 4US|
|Walton||Friday 16 January||4pm to 6pm||Columbine Centre, Princes Esplanade, Walton on the Naze CO14 8PZ|
|Clacton||Friday 23 January||4pm-6pm||Clacton Golf Club West Rd, Clacton CO15 1AJ|
|Clacton||Friday 23 January||7pm-9pm||Clacton Golf Club West Rd, Clacton CO15 1AJ|
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!
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:
Included in the recommendations were:
Many 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.
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:
We 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.
The 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.
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%:
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.