June 2015

June 2015

Take care in the hot weather, say local doctors

30 June 2015

The Met Office has predicted a heatwave for most of the country this week- and doctors in Devon are reminding people to take care of themselves and others.
 
The hot weather is set to start today (Tuesday 30 June) and last until at least Thursday morning (2 July), with temperatures in Devon expected to reach as high as 25 degrees Celsius on Wednesday afternoon.
 
Dr David Jenner, a GP from Cullompton and chair of the Eastern locality of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG), said: “We all enjoy nice weather but it is important to remember to stay safe and not risk falling ill and missing out on having fun.”
 
Some of the danger signs to watch out for during this week’s hot weather include feeling faint and dizzy, shortness of breath and vomiting or increasing confusion.
 
Wearing light, loose-fitting cotton clothes and a hat, and staying out of the sun when it is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm are all ways of keeping cool.
 
“If you are planning to stay out in the sun for a long period of time, it’s worth making sure you have plenty of cold drinks to hand and avoid drinking alcohol or too much caffeine, which can be dehydrating,” Dr Jenner added.
 
Protecting yourself from the sun’s rays by using the right sunscreen is also important. There are almost 250 cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and 40 related deaths every year in Devon. The county has some of the highest rates of melanoma in the country.
 
Dr Jenner said: “Sunscreen needs to have both UVA and UVB protection, as these are both rays that can cause skin cancer.

“On sunscreen bottles, UVA protection is shown by a star rating and UVB protection is shown by the Sun Protection Factor number, or SPF.

“Cancer Research UK suggest we should look for a minimum UVA protection of four stars and a minimum UVB protection of SPF 15 when buying sunscreen.

“It is also really important to reapply sunscreen regularly, especially after swimming.”
 
People who are planning to stay at home are being advised to take precautions too.
 
“Even if you aren’t heading out, you should try to make sure your living space is cool and this is especially important for young children and babies, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions,” Dr Jenner said.
 
“Keep an eye on your family and neighbours as well, especially if they are elderly or vulnerable.
 
“We can all help each other to stay safe so we can enjoy the nice weather.”
 
For further advice about heat exhaustion or heatstroke, visit the NHS Choices website here.
 
For advice and information about sun protection, visit Cancer Research UK’s Sun, UV and cancer pages here

NHS staff in Devon go the extra mile to respond to national appointment booking issue

30 June 2015

Patients in Devon continue to be booked for appointments thanks to the local NHS temporarily redeploying staff from some of its offices.
 
This follows a series of teething problems with the new national software that led to the appointment booking process taking longer than usual.
 
Although the Health and Social Care Information Centre, which operates the national software, is working to fix the problem, the local commissioning group made up of local doctors has put plans in place to deal with the national ‘go slow’.
 
Staff have been working extra hours, including at evenings and weekends, to make sure patients aren’t affected by the issue. Trained staff have also been drafted in temporarily from other roles within the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.
 
Patients who need urgent appointments, such as those with suspected cancer are being prioritised to make sure they are seen within the national waiting time of two weeks.
 
Routine appointments are being booked in the order that referrals are sent in.
 
Karen Barry, who manages the service on behalf of the Devon Referral Support Service (DRSS), said she was pleased with the excellent response from NHS staff in Devon.
 
“It has been very heartening to see the response of our dedicated staff. They really have been going the extra mile to make sure patients get their appointments without delay.
 
“We have been told by the national team that a fix to the software may be in place this week but we aren’t resting on our laurels and instead are making sure we have contingencies in place.
 
“We are writing to all patients who have been referred to reassure them and will give them details of how to contact us if they have any concerns.”
 
Some hospitals and GP practices are starting to use the national system again as it has begun to stabilise over the last few days.
 
Karen said: “As every day passes we are finding we are able to book more appointments as the system gets quicker and we temporarily draft in extra booking staff.”

Devon nurses shortlisted for prestigious national awards

23 June 2015

The Nursing Times Awards 2015 shortlist has been announced- and nurses and projects from NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG) feature in four categories.
 
The awards celebrate nurses and projects which put patients at the centre and ensure patient outcomes, safety and experience are paramount.
 
Vanessa Crossey, lead practice nurse for the CCG, and Carol Green, the CCG’s head of quality and assurance in nursing, have both been recognised for their work in bringing patients’ needs to the forefront.
 
Nurse of the Year: Vanessa Crossey
 
Vanessa Crossey has been shortlisted for nurse of the year, an award which aims to recognise an individual who has gone above and beyond what is expected of them in their day-to-day role.
 
Before joining the CCG in October 2014, Vanessa treated soldiers on the front line for 21 years as an army nurse.
 
Now Vanessa is putting Devon service personnel in the front line of NHS thinking as the CCG’s link for the Armed Forces Network.
 
Vanessa said: “I am most grateful for the recognition and I’m very pleased to have been shortlisted.
 
“I love nursing and am privileged to have been involved in people’s lives during happy times and sad. 

Vanessa believes nurses should put patients at the centre of everything they do.
 
“In all aspects of nursing, particularly as practice nurses, we are often in the unique position whereby we can affect change in our patients’ lives,” she said.  
 
“Nursing is after all a vocation and not just a job.”
 
Vanessa also leads on the proposal for student nurses to work with the CCG and links with Plymouth University.

Nurse Leader of the Year: Carol Green

Carol Green has been shortlisted for nurse leader of the year. The award recognises nurses who lead by example, and who demonstrate compassion and a commitment to ensuring the delivery of the highest quality and safest care possible.
 
Carol has more than thirty years’ of nursing experience. Since joining the CCG in 2013, she has led the way on making significant changes to improve the quality of care for individuals.
 
Since December 2014, Carol and her team have focused on raising the profile of continuing healthcare (CHC), those it affects and its impact on the wider health and social care system.
 
Carol said: “I am delighted to have been shortlisted and to represent the real strength of all nurses working with our most complex patients in the NHS.
 
“I wish to thank patients and their families, as well as multidisciplinary teams past and present, for inspiring me with their commitment and passion, enabling me to continue to develop as a leader and to affect change to improve quality.”
 
Emergency and Critical Care: Robin Community Assessment Hub
 
Also making the shortlist is the Robin Community Assessment Hub, a joint project which has been designed to take pressure off A&E by offering acute care in the community. The project has been shortlisted in the Emergency and Critical Care category.
 
Dr Dafydd Jones is the CCG’s clinical lead for urgent care in Western Devon. He said: “We are delighted that Plymouth Community Healthcare, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and the CCG have been shortlisted for this award. 
 
“It is a real testament to the local leadership, innovation, drive and ambition to swiftly deliver new models of care for patients. 
 
“It confirms that what we are doing in Plymouth and South Hams and West Devon in terms of service integration, and wrapping care and support around patients, is the right thing to do.”

Learning Disabilities Nursing: Providing Services in the Community
 
The Beyond Limits initiative, which aims to provide individually designed services to people with very complex needs in the community, has also been shortlisted.
 
The project, which has made the shortlist for the learning disabilities nursing category, has already been praised in a report by the Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform, Dr Simon Duffy.
 
The project has been developed in partnership with the CCG, Plymouth Community Healthcare and Beyond Limits, the independent community sector provider it takes its name from.
 
Helen Toker-Lester, joint commissioner of learning disability services for the CCG, said: “I am delighted that the Plymouth Community Healthcare learning disability nurses have been shortlisted for this award.
 
“Their tenacity and dedication in getting people individually designed services has enabled people who have spent many years in hospitals far away to get better lives in the local community.
 
The initiative has involved working closely with families, individuals and providers to design and deliver sensitive and compassionate support.
 
In addition to bringing people home, the team has also stopped any out of area long term placements over the last two years through anticipating need and delivering the right clinical support.
 
Helen added: “The nurses’ nomination and success in being shortlisted is well deserved.”
 
The project has been piloted in Plymouth, but the CCG is now looking at how this learning can be applied more widely across the NHS NEW Devon CCG area.

What happens next? 

Vanessa Crossey, Carol Green and the teams behind the Robin Community Assessment Hub and the Beyond Limits initiative will now be interviewed by the Nursing Times Team.
 
They’ll then have to wait for the award ceremony at Grosvenor House in London on the 12 November 2015 to find out if they’ve been chosen as the winners in their categories.

Committed NHS staff vow to ensure no delays to outpatient appointments as new computer booking system slows

22 June 2015

NHS staff who book outpatient appointments at hospitals in Devon and East Cornwall are pulling out the stops to ensure no delays to treatment after problems were identified with the new national software.
 
Teething problems with the electronic referral service since it launched last week mean that it is still running slowly.
 
Staff who use the system to book referrals at hospitals throughout Devon report that it is taking much longer than usual to handle each booking.
 
And with up to 7,000 bookings a week to make, a backlog has started to form.
 
But Karen Barry, who manages the service on behalf of the Devon Referral Support Service (DRSS), said that staff are working hard to ensure there are no delays to treatment.
 
“The national system is up and running but very slow,” she said.
 
“We are taking no chances and immediately put in place contingencies so that people who need a rapid referral, such as those patients with suspected cancer, continue to be seen within two weeks.
 
“All referrals are being prioritised too and we have drafted in staff from other teams at the CCG to help us to work through the backlog.
 
“All GP practices in Devon are helping us to manage this and we are keeping patients regularly updated with telephone messages.
 
“Patients are our number one priority and we are committed to ensuring that they do not suffer as a result.”
 
Staff and managers worked over the weekend to tackle the backlog.
 
Managers say that they are working very closely with acute hospital trusts and have local arrangements in place as part of contingency plans.
 
“We are determined that this national IT problem will not affect local appointment times,” Karen said.
 
“Everyone who needs an appointment will get one.
 
“For now though I would just like to thank people for their patience.”

Statement regarding Torrington model of care

19 June 2015

A spokesman for the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) and Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
 
“We are pleased that councillors on the Devon Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee listened to the evidence we gave about the success of the Torrington model of care.
 
“We welcome the committee’s decision to have further discussions about the model of care before deciding how to proceed.
 
“In November 2014 GPs and clinicians on the respective boards of the CCG’s Northern Locality and NDHT gave unanimous support for the proposals to rebalance community services, recognising the positive impacts for the community in terms of safety, experience and effectiveness.
 
“At the moment, we have too few local community services and too many community hospital beds; some beds are used for services that should properly be provided to patients at home and other beds are incorrectly used for social care instead of nursing or medical problems. The balance is not right and we need to address this.
 
“People have told us they would like to be cared for in their own home, rather than in hospital, if it is clinically safe to do so. This is no different to what people have said in the rest of Devon and in the rest of England. Most importantly, people tell us that when they are near the end of their life they would like to be in their own home, close to their family, and not in a hospital bed.”

Learning Disability Week - CCG ‘Beyond Limits’ project commended by The Centre for Welfare Reform

16 June 2015

An NHS NEW Devon CCG project that aims to move people with learning disabilities out of specialist hospitals and back into their communities has been commended in an independent report.
 
‘Getting There’ is the second of three reports about the CCG’s ‘Beyond Limits’ project written by the director of the Centre for Welfare Reform, Dr Simon Duffy.
 
The Centre is made up of a group of independent fellows who support research and innovation to promote human rights.
 
The report has been published ahead of Mencap’s Learning Disability Week (15-21June 2015), which aims to raise awareness and understanding of learning disabilities.
 
‘Getting There’ covers the progress of people who have moved patients back into the community as part of the ‘Beyond Limits’ project, which uses a unique approach of offering bespoke services and personalised budgets.
 
The project has been developed in partnership with the CCG, Plymouth Community Healthcare and Beyond Limits, the independent community sector provider it takes its name from.
 
Dr Simon Duffy commends the three-way working to deliver effective support to those who have spent too long in institutional settings in the past and to end the practice of sending people away from their communities.
 
“It is heartening to see the level of commitment and intelligence being invested in NEW Devon.
 
“There has been a real commitment to take this problem seriously and to innovate in order to solve it.”
 
Helen Toker-Lester, joint commissioner of learning disability services, said: “In the past, very institutional models of care did not fully engage the person or those who love them in the care and support that was provided.
 
“Not surprisingly this often fell short of what was needed to ensure people lived good lives, achieving outcomes that mattered to them.
 
“This model actively engages individuals and their families in designing and adjusting services to fit the person and we have seen some real success as outlined in the report.”

Dr Duffy added: “The Beyond Limits project is a great example of excellence in commissioning, but it also demonstrates that excellence here is driven by a commitment to values, partnership working and respecting the expertise of others.”
 
The next steps for the CCG are to look at how this learning can be applied more widely across the NHS NEW Devon CCG area.

Monitor reports interim findings on services in east Devon

5 June 2015

The health regulator, Monitor, has published its interim findings in its investigation into the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (NHS NEW Devon CCG) procurement process for community services in eastern Devon.
 
The findings support the CCG’s procurement process as being in line with Regulations, as well as Monitor’s own procurement guidance.
 
Monitor launched the investigation in January 2015, following a complaint raised by Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) over the CCG’s decision to name the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&EFT) as its preferred provider of community services in eastern Devon.
 
Dr David Jenner, the Eastern locality chairman of NHS NEW Devon CCG, said: “The findings in the interim report reflect our determination to do the right thing for patients, in line with what they told us they want.
 
“It is fantastic news for patients and public alike and means that, subject to the final report, we can now press ahead with integrating our services to bring huge benefits to people, providing care as close to home as is clinically possible.
 
“In practical terms it will make it easier for patients to be treated in all parts of the pathway into and out of hospital and remove confusion in the system for patients and the public alike.
 
“Investigations such as this do require a huge amount of administrative and managerial time to comply with information requests from Monitor.  We would have preferred for this time to be focussed on the very real challenges of improving health and care services.
 
“Today’s report vindicates our procurement approach to identify a provider who will improve the quality and efficiency of services while also meeting the needs of the public who use those services.
 
“We are extremely pleased that Monitor has backed what patients and public told us. It’s a good decision and will undoubtedly be helpful to other CCGs in the country as they try to improve and integrate services in future.
 
“We are also grateful to Monitor for producing such a comprehensive report providing invaluable advice as we progress to contract award.”

There will now be a three-week consultation period, during which the CCG, the providers, other stakeholders and interested members of the public are invited by Monitor to comment on the interim findings. Monitor will then review the responses it receives and is expected to publish its final report in July 2015.
 
The CCG will now proceed with its transition process within eastern Devon, undertaking a period of due diligence on the RD&EFT to determine if a contract can be awarded for adults with complex needs services. The CCG will also oversee the transitional work between the RD&EFT and NDHT to ensure the safe transfer of services.
 
The CCG continues to work closely with colleagues in RD&EFT and NDHT to ensure patient quality is not affected as a result of this process and will continue to co-operate with Monitor until the investigation concludes.
 
For more detail and to read Monitor’s report in full please click on the link below.
Monitor’s report

Devon welcomes Success Regime announcement

4 June 2015

Dr Tim Burke, chairman of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, welcomed the announcement of additional support for the health community in most of Devon.
 
“Devon has already made significant inroads to address the challenges of increasing pressure on NHS services in our area.
 
“We recognise that only by putting organisational boundaries aside can we truly deliver the change we need and today’s announcement helps us to continue this important work.
 
“We welcome the commitment of the NHS England, Monitor and TDA to help us in this.
 
“Commissioning decisions must always be based on the needs of people living here, ensuring  patients remain at the centre of our decision-making especially when there are times of financial difficulty.”
For further information on the Success Regime in Devon please click here

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