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NHS News

  • Rethink over Battle Site in Reading

    NHS Berkshire and local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) leaders are still committed to improving health services in Reading even though a plan to develop a health and wellbeing centre on the site of the former Battle hospital won’t be taken forward.

    Factors that have led to this decision include financial constraints and changes around health needs. The primary care trust is talking to its partners on how to make best use of section 106 developer contributions to help improve GP practices in the area.

    Charles Waddicor, the Chief Executive at NHS Berkshire said:

    ‘A lot has changed since the ideas for a health and wellbeing centre were first put forward eight years ago. Health needs are different and other local services such as the Reading Walk-In Centre have opened. We are also facing the biggest financial pressure the NHS has ever faced. The combination of all these factors means we have to consider very carefully how we make the best use of the funding available to us.’

    Chares added: ‘It does mean that we can’t take forward our original plans for the Battle site. We have had to consider the multi-million pound investment that would need to be found to complete the centre and also consider the fact that frontline services would be affected by us having to fund the centre’s running costs. The viability of the centre was also affected by Reading Borough Council’s decision that it would no longer require part of the building to house social services staff.’

    Dr Rod Smith, GP Lead for North and West Reading Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

    ‘Having looked at alternative solutions for the Battle site, we recognise that going forward with a health centre is no longer a viable proposal. We are committed to working closely with NHS Berkshire to find ways of how we might improve local health services in the area.

    ‘We are very aware that GP practices within the locality need help to improve their premises and enable them to provide more services to patients. We are talking to our colleagues at Reading Borough Council on how to make the best use of the section 106 developer contributions for Health Services in the local area.’

  • Day of Industrial Action, 30th November

    Patients should still be able to access the full range of primary care services from their local GP surgery. Each GP practice will have made arrangements to ensure that surgeries remain open.

    If you have any queries or concerns, please contact your GP surgery or NHS Berkshire’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0118 982 2829 or 01753 635615 Email: pals.berkswest@berkshire.nhs.uk or pals.berkseast@berkshire.nhs.uk.

  • What Can Your Pharmacist Do For You?

    With autumn now setting in and coughs and colds circulating, NHS Berkshire West is reminding local people what services are available from pharmacists.

    Did you know that your local pharmacist can sometimes give you the fastest and most appropriate advice and treatment on health matters?

    Carol Trower, Chief Executive Officer for the Berkshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: ‘Pharmacists can dispense your prescriptions - including repeat prescriptions. And now they’ve set up a new medicines review service to help patients with long term conditions.

    ‘We’ll also be encouraging people in the at risk groups to visit their GP toget their seasonal flu vaccination, and get them to make the best choice when selecting health services through the winter months.’

    Carol added: ‘Many pharmacists are open at weekends and evenings - this may be particularly important to help people when their only option is to call the local GP out of hours service or visit A&E. A pharmacist can help advise if this is necessary or an easier solution is available.

    ‘There is no need to make an appointment to see a pharmacist, and you can talk to them in confidence, even about symptoms that are very personal. Many pharmacies now have a consultation room or area to provide privacy.

    ‘They may also provide a range of additional services including:

    Health and life style advice, prescription collection and delivery, providing treatments for many minor ailments, as well as help with stopping smoking, reviews of medicines use and tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose. ‘

    Isn’t it time you found out what’s available at your local pharmacy?

    For further information please visit: www.berkshirewest.nhs.uk/pharmacist

  • Shaping Neurological Care

    To help improve services for people with long term neurological conditions three focus groups are being held on the 3rd and 4th November at the MS Therapy Centre, Bradbury House, Reading RG30 2JP.

     

    The events are being organised by Neurological Commissioning Support and NHS Berkshire for patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, acquired brain injury, epilepsy and motor neurone disease.

     

    Helene Raynsford, Locality Public Health Lead at NHS Berkshire West, said: ‘The focus groups are an opportunity for patients to give their views on the care and services they receive, and to help us shape future service design that is most suitable for their needs.’

     

    The focus groups will take place on Thursday 3rd November (5.30pm-7.30pm); Friday 4th November (10am-12pm); Friday 4th November (2pm-4.30pm).

    For more information please view here

    People who wish to take part should email: deborah.matthews@csupport.org.uk

    or helene.raynsford@berkshire.nhs.uk phone: 07795 044409.

     

    Refreshments will be served but attendees must notify the organisers if carers are going to attend for catering purposes. Travel costs will be reimbursed with proof of receipt.

  • NHS South of England launched

    NHS South of England officially came into effect today, made up of three former strategic health authorities – NHS South Central, NHS South East Coast and NHS South West.

     The new “cluster” organisation held its first Board meeting in Newbury, confirming Dr Geoff Harris as Chair  and Sir Ian Carruthers OBE as Chief Executive, as well as all other Board members.

    The four strategic health authority clusters are NHS South of England, NHS London, NHS North of England and NHS Midlands. They have been formed from the previous 10 SHAs in England in order to ensure the organisations are well-placed to continue to improve NHS performance and deliver the NHS reforms during this period of transition. . 

    From 31 March 2013 the strategic health authorities will be succeeded by a new NHS Commissioning Board, working with local clinical commissioning groups, led by GPs.  

    The first Board meeting of NHS South of England approved the appointments of executive and non-executive directors, and agreed corporate business and priorities.  

    Dr Geoff Harris said: “I am delighted to confirm the appointments of the new directors to the Board of NHS South of England. There are many challenges ahead but I am confident we will be able to meet these given the exceptional calibre of the people who have been appointed to lead the organisation for the next 18 months.”

    Sir Ian Carruthers OBE said: “This is an exciting phase for the NHS.  The number one priority is to keep our focus on improving the quality of care and NHS services for the benefit of the 13.4 million people who live in the south of England.

    “We also need to make sure services are delivered in a timely and efficient way, so that the taxpayer receives value for money.

    “A further important role will be to ensure we facilitate the organisational changes required for a modern NHS, so that the reformed service will be in the best possible position to continue meeting patients’ needs and improving care for the future.”  

    The executive team was confirmed as follows: 

    • Chief Executive – Sir Ian Carruthers OBE
    • Chief Operating Officer – Andrea Young
    • Director of Finance – Bob Alexander
    • Medical Director – Dr Mike Durkin
    • Director of Nursing – Liz Redfern CBE
    • Director of Commissioner Development – Dominic Hardy
    • Director of Public Health – Dr Gabriel Scally
    • Director of Workforce Development – Sue Webb
    • Director of Corporate Affairs – Olga Senior
    • Director of Private Offices and Communications – Andrew Millward

    The team of non-executive directors was confirmed as follows:  

    • Dr Geoff Harris – Chair
    • Charles Howeson -  Vice-Chair
    • Kate Lampard - Vice-Chair
    • Terry Butler CBE
    • Joe McLoone
    • Neil Churchill
    • Stephen Tinton
    • Alison Ryan
    • Professor Steven West

    The next meeting of the NHS South of England Board will be on Thursday, 1 December 2011 at South West House in Taunton.

  • Flu Vaccination – Have You Had Yours Yet

    Make sure you get vaccinated against flu if you are in one of the risk groups.

     People with long term medical conditions are more at risk from flu and should be vaccinated against it.  This includes people with chronic liver or kidney disease, neurological conditions such as stroke, muscular sclerosis or cerebral palsy, a weakened immune system due to disease or treatment, respiratory disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic heart disease and diabetes.

    Pregnant women should also have the flu vaccination as they are at increased risk of severe disease and admission to hospital if they catch flu. The vaccine is safe for both mother and child anytime during pregnancy, and can help protect babies after birth.

     People over the age of 65 should also be vaccinated.

     Janet Maxwell, Director of Public Health at NHS Berkshire West, said: ‘GP practices in Berkshire will be offering seasonal flu vaccination from 1st October onwards. We would encourage everyone in the risk groups to contact their GP practice for details of their seasonal flu vaccination programme.

    ‘These people are at higher risk from flu which can result in serious complications, hospital admission or more devastating consequences – this risk can be reduced dramatically by having the vaccine. GPs also routinely offer flu jabs to patients aged 65 and over and you should also have a flu vaccination if you live in a residential or nursing home or are a main carer.

    We have recorded a short video to explain which patients with long term conditions should have the vaccination, and you can download leaflets and posters from  www.berkshirewest.nhs.uk/flu

  • Influence local Health Services

    For the first time any member of the public can take part in a survey that will help shape local NHS priorities around equality and diversity in the near future.

    The survey, which is part of the national Department of Health Equality Delivery System benchmarking process, will examine to what extent local health bodies including commissioners and NHS service providers, have made progress around improving equality of access to services.

    The survey will be available to complete online until 1st November 2011 and will focus on the work of NHS Berkshire (includes both East and West primary care trusts), Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (mental health, learning disability and community services) and the Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

    Bev Searle, Director of Joint Commissioning at NHS Berkshire, said: ‘I encourage everyone to take part in the survey as it provides a chance to influence improvement of local health services. The results of the survey will help us to make changes to the way we run health services across Berkshire, helping to break down barriers to health and wellbeing linked to equality and diversity issues even further.’

    The results will be presented as evidence to the Berkshire Equality Panel currently being set up. This panel will meet in December to grade local NHS performance against the Equality Delivery System benchmark. The panel will also advise on key equality priorities required by legislation for 2012 – 16.

    If you require this survey in another format, please email equalityfeedback@berkshire.nhs.uk or call 01344 415647/ 01753 633918.

    Please take part in the survey here.

  • Shedding Light on Visual Impairment

    A free event to support people with visual impairment has attracted top academics and experts.

    Berkshire Vision Daywill take place on Wednesday 12th October, Hilton Hotel, Reading (10am-5pm), and the public are welcome to attend.

    Activities will include:

    • Exhibits showing the latest advances in the home and at work to help the blind and partially sighted;
    • A talk by Peter Constable, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Royal Berkshire Hospital about glaucoma and current treatment for patients;
    • Workshops including safety in the kitchen for the visually impaired, and selecting the best aids for low vision;
    • Updates on the latest academic work around visual loss.

    The day has been organised by Berkshire West Low Vision Service Committee (LVSC) following the success of its inaugural event held last year – the event also coincides with World Sight Day, and has the support of NHS Berkshire’s Eye Care Forum.

    Stephen Abery, Chair of the Berkshire West LVSC, said: ‘We’re hoping to attract the public, GPs, the visually impaired, their carers and families to this free event. It will be packed full of activities that will raise awareness of the work being carried out to help the visually impaired better manage their conditions.’

    He added: ‘Talks from leading clinicians will highlight the advances being made in treating conditions like glaucoma, and the latest work to help children and the elderly with visual loss.’

    Other speakers include Dr Dominic Ffytche, a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, who’ll discuss Charles-Bonnet syndrome which causes older patients with visual loss to hallucinate.

    David Buckle, Chair of NHS Berkshire’s Eye Care Forum, said:

    ‘This event has the full support of the primary care trust as it ties-in with our aim of improving services for people with visual loss. It is also an opportunity for local GPs and other clinicians to broaden their knowledge in this field, and they are welcome to attend any of the discussions.’

    The event will include the resources exhibition (10am-3pm); workshops (10am-12pm); and continuing education programme (1.30pm-5pm). Peter Constable will make the key note speech at 12.15pm.

    For further information please contact Stephen Abery, email: steveabery@gmail.com.

  • Balanced Budget and Better Health Care

    ‘The key to NHS Berkshire West’s success over the past year has been maintaining high quality services coupled with prudent management of NHS funds.’

    That’s the message from Charles Waddicor, Chief Executive at NHS Berkshire who will highlight twelve months of achievements for the primary care trust at its public Annual General Meeting on Thursday 29th September, The Oakwood Centre, Headley Road, Woodley (2pm-4pm).

    Charles Waddicor commented: ‘Our priorities over the past year have been to put the needs of patients first by maintaining and developing high quality, cost effective health care in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire.

    ‘The opening of the purpose built GP premises in Woodley, the launch of the Telehealth Heart Failure service, and improved access to dental care; shows our commitment as commissioners to high quality value for money services that deliver improved patient care closer to home.’

    He added: ‘The dedication and commitment of hard working staff has played a big role in our success over the past twelve months, and I would like to thank them for helping us to provide a five-star health provision.’

    Penny Henrion, the Chair at NHS Berkshire West, said: ‘I would like to thank our staff for maintaining high standards and a quality service during what has been an unsettling year with a lot of change on the horizon. I know they always put the patient first.’

    During the meeting there will be several presentations including a talk from local Reading man John Done, who has been one of the first patients to use the innovative Telehealth remote monitoring system. This pilot service commissioned by NHS Berkshire earlier this year not only enables community nurses to check vital signs from a distance it also means patients can stay at home and don’t have to travel unnecessarily.

    And, with an eye on the future Dr Rod Smith, GP Commissioning Lead for the North and West Reading Consortium, will explain the role of Clinical Commissioning Groups in Berkshire West; and how they have begun to make great progress with the new ways of commissioning.

    The Annual General Meeting will be an opportunity for local people to attend and ask questions or to find out more about services. The public are advised that seats will be limited and they should reserve a place in advance by contacting Millie Rust Clarke email: millie.rustclarke@berkshire.nhs.uk tel 0118 982 2760.

    Copies of the Annual Report will be available at the meeting and you can download one here.

  • Views sought on proposed changes

    VIEWS SOUGHT ON PROPOSED CHANGES TO STROKE, MAJOR TRAUMA AND VASCULAR SURGERY SERVICES

    Members of the public are being asked their views on proposed changes to three major services in the NHS South Central region.

    The proposals are to concentrate these services in places where there are specialists and support services available around the clock. National clinical experience shows that this approach saves lives, improves patient recovery and reduces the likelihood of patients suffering long-term disabilities.

    NHS Berkshire and the other primary care trusts in the region are carrying out engagement work on all three services at the same time because they are interconnected. Each requires a range of specialist support services including access to specialist theatres, X-ray, scanning and intensive care.

    The main change will be that stroke, major trauma and vascular surgery patients will be treated by specialist staff concentrated in a smaller number of hospitals. This may mean some patients will travel further than their local hospital to be treated, but in the majority of cases treatment will be significantly improved and could save lives.

    Specific arrangements proposed for different areas are set out in a document entitled Developing Safe and Sustainable acute services in South Central - stroke, major trauma and vascular surgery engagement. For details of the proposed changes and how to give your views are available at this link

    We are engaging stakeholders and local people for the next six weeks to seek views on the proposals by 30th September 2011. A report on the feedback received will be considered by primary care trust boards before deciding next steps.

    Write to: NHS Berkshire, Freepost RRLX-SZAY-LTKX, 57-59 Bath Road, Reading, RG30 2BA

    Email: ppi.team@berkshire.nhs.uk

    Online: http://www.berkshirewest.nhs.uk/

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