October 2015

Devon’s NHS helps patients with learning disabilities return to their local communities

30 October 2015

People from Devon with learning disabilities are now getting additional support to help them to stay in their local communities.
This is thanks to a new initiative called Beyond Limits where services are designed to meet the often complex needs of individual people.

It means that people with severe learning disabilities who previously were only able to get placements far away from home can now get the best possible support to live closer to their family and friends.
The initiative has been developed in partnership with NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG), Plymouth Community Healthcare and Beyond Limits, an independent community sector provider that specialises in tailor-made support for people with learning disabilities.
The project is also up for a national Nursing Times award.
A wide range of agencies are involved in Beyond Limits, from the Ministry of Justice and police, to hospital trusts and housing departments. This ensures they all fully understand each person's needs and can positively support them to live safely in the community.
The Beyond Limits initiative was praised by the national director of The Centre for Welfare Reform, Dr Simon Duffy.
Dr Duffy commended the way the three organisations worked together 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 Devon,” he said.
“There has been a real commitment to take this problem seriously and to innovate in order to solve it.”
Helen Toker-Lester, NHS NEW Devon CCG’s joint commissioner of learning disability services, said: “In the past, people who were resident at large institutions outside their local area were not fully engaged in the care and support that was provided, and nor were their families.
“Not surprisingly this meant their care often fell short of what was needed to ensure they lived a good life, achieving outcomes that mattered to them.
“The Beyond Limits initiative really has helped change people’s lives. We’ve seen a reduction in distressing behaviours, such as self-harm, and seen more people blossom as individuals, contributing and taking part in their own communities.
“Some people we have supported have even taken part in shared ownership of their homes, giving them long term security.” 

Doctors in Devon embrace digital technology

26 October 2015

A project which aims to make all patient and care records in Devon digital is underway.
It means clinicians and other health and social care professionals will be able to see all of the information about a patient before making a decision, which will enable better, safer decision making.
It’s the result of a national drive for all patient and care records to be digital, interoperable and real-time by 2020.
Having digital records means all the clinicians and services that come into contact with a patient will be able to view the information and add to it. Patients will also be able to add relevant information to their own records by logging onto the NHS website.
This will allow patients to take more control of their own care.
It should also avoid duplication of appointments and allow services to take a more joined up approach to care.
Dr Tim Chesworth is a GP in North Devon and has been involved with the first stages of the project. Dr Chesworth said: “Delivering digital patient records is really important if we want to make the radical changes that are needed in health and social care.
“Using technology will allow us to raise standards, improve personalisation of care, and manage long-term conditions more effectively.”
The CCG has been asked to develop a ‘roadmap’ by 31 March 2016, which will set out how it will deliver the project across the system in the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon area by 2020.
The roadmap is due to be completed at the end of March 2016, and this will be followed by an outline business case. We will then expect to bid for any available funding from NHS England.

"Stay well this winter," say doctors in Devon

16 October 2015

Doctors in Devon are reminding people to take care of themselves and others as we get closer to winter.
This week, Public Health England and NHS England launched a campaign to help the public, and in particular those with long-term conditions and those over 65 prepare for winter and ward off common winter illnesses so they do not require a visit to hospital.
One of the most important things you can do to look after yourself this winter is to get your flu vaccination if you are eligible.

Although flu symptoms are usually quite mild, they can be very serious. Healthy people usually recover in two to seven days, but the disease can lead to hospitalisation, disability, or even death.
As in previous years, the adult flu vaccine will be offered for free to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications from flu. The groups being offered the adult flu vaccine are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those aged 65 or over
  • Those aged under 65 with long-term conditions
  • Carers

There will also be a national flu vaccination programme for children, which this year seeks to help over three million two to six year olds, as the programme has been extended to children in school years one and two.

For the first time, all our youngest primary school children will be eligible to receive the free nasal spray vaccine, making this the largest school-based vaccination programme involving children in 17000 schools.

Dr Paul Hardy, a GP in Plymouth and a clinical chair for NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you are eligible for a free vaccination, it is because you need one and therefore it is really important that everybody who is eligible for a free flu vaccination has one.

“Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and the people around you from catching the flu.”
In addition to getting the flu jab if you are eligible, doctors in Devon have suggested the following steps to stay well this winter:

  • Keep yourself warm - heat your home to least 18 degrees C or (65F) if you can. In significantly cold weather, if it is not possible to keep the whole house warm, people should try to keep one main room and the bedroom warm. The best way to stay warm is to wear several small layers of clothing rather than a few thick clothing items.
  • If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious.
  • Always take your prescribed medicines as directed, or speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you have stopped taking them or started taking them differently.
  • Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter. People who are over 65 and live on their own are advised to arrange for someone to call to their house or to telephone at least once a day.
Dr Hardy added: “Looking after yourself and others in colder weather is the best way to prevent illness.”
If you do become unwell, doctors have issued the following advice to help you choose the right NHS service for your needs:
The following handy tips have been reissued by NEW Devon CCG:
  • Try your family or self-care - for minor illnesses, combine medicines for coughs, colds or flu with plenty of rest.
  • Pharmacist/chemist - pharmacists are trained to help people with minor illnesses and can advise on medicine that can be bought over the counter. Your nearest pharmacy can be found here: www.nhs.uk.
  • NHS minor injuries unit (MIU) - for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries, without an appointment. For details of your nearest MIU, go to www.nhs.uk.
  • GP- Your local GP surgery provides a wide range of family health services, including: advice on health problems, vaccinations, examinations and treatment, prescriptions for medicines, referrals to other health services and social services. Your surgery will make sure you get to speak to a healthcare professional on the same day if you have an urgent condition.
  • NHS 111 – Call 111 if you are feeling unwell, unsure, or if you want health advice and guidance for non-emergency health needs, 24 hours a day, as well as help to find services. You can also visit www.nhs.uk
  • Hospital emergency departments or 999 – please only attend hospital emergency departments if you have an immediate and serious problem that cannot be dealt with by the other services. 999 only for critical or life-threatening situations.

Position statement on 62 day cancer waits

13 October 2015

A spokesperson for NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG), said:

“Meeting cancer targets for our population is important and this is reflected in the action we have taken.

“The CCG is currently withholding a percentage of the contract value from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, in line with the contract, until a remedial action plan is agreed.

“Once a remedial action plan has been produced which the CCG can support, this money is repayable to the RD&E.

“The CCG and RD&E continue to work closely to agree a plan to achieve the performance standard for 62 day cancer waits at the earliest opportunity.

“The CCG levies fines where necessary in accordance with the national contract guidance.
“The money generated from the fines is reinvested in healthcare services in Devon.”

World Mental Health Day: Direct support for depression and anxiety in Devon

9 October 2015

With World Mental Health Day taking place on 10 October 2015, doctors in Devon are reminding people that direct support is available for depression and anxiety.
The support services are completely free to access and in most cases people can self-refer by contacting services directly by phone or online, instead of going through their GP.
Support is available to people all over Devon through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.
The programme provides a range of free support and therapies for conditions including depression, anxiety, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder and phobias.
One to one sessions, group sessions and guided self-help are all available.
Dr Stephen Miller, a GP from North Devon and a clinical lead for mental health for NEW Devon CCG, said: "My GP colleagues and I have been delighted with this additional support for our patients with depression or anxiety.
“Many of those with long term conditions such as diabetes and chronic breathing problems also become depressed and this service can be of benefit to them as well.
“When supporting people with mental health problems, services need to be as accessible as possible, so it is great to offer completely free services where people can self-refer.”
Services are available to people all over Devon through the Devon Depression and Anxiety Service and Plymouth Options.
The Devon Depression and Anxiety Service is recognising World Mental Health Day 2015 by joining forces with Exeter City Football Club for a football match with a focus on mental health.
The One Game One Community match is at home against Stevenage and takes place on 11 October 2015 (kick-off 12:15pm).
The Devon Depression and Anxiety Service team will be on hand to raise awareness of the service and to hand out information about how they can help people who are feeling low, stressed, anxious or depressed.
The players and officials will also be warming up in Kick It Out t-shirts with the slogan ‘Lace your boots for mental health’.

More information about the event can be found on the Devon Partnership NHS Trust website, here.
Plymouth Community Healthcare, which runs the Plymouth Options Depression and Anxiety Service, is hosting a series of events in and around Plymouth throughout October, to promote and celebrate mental health and wellbeing, arts and creativity.
For more information, visit the Livewell Arts Festival website here.
Devon Depression and Anxiety Service

Anyone over the age of 18 can contact their local Depression and Anxiety Service direct, in confidence, via the online self-referral form on the website here, or by phone or email, as follows:

Telephone: 01392 675 630 email: dpn-tr.ExeterDAS@nhs.net

East and Mid Devon
Telephone: 01392 385 170 email: dpn-tr.EastandMidDevonDAS@nhs.net

North Devon
Telephone: 01271 335 041 email: dpn-tr.NorthDevonDAS@nhs.net

South and West Devon
Telephone: 01626 203 500 email: dpn-tr.SouthandWestDevonDAS@nhs.net

Telephone: 01803 696 600 email: dpn-tr.TorbayDAS@nhs.net 
More information is available on the Devon Partnership NHS Trust website, here.

Plymouth Options
Plymouth Options is a free service to anyone over 16 and registered with a Plymouth GP.
To access the service, you can self-refer through the website here, or contact the service on 01752 435419 for a self-referral form.
You can also be referred through your GP or by any other health and social care professional.
More information is available on the services’ websites: 

Devon Depression and Anxiety Service: www.devonpartnership.nhs.uk
Plymouth Options: www.plymouthcommunityhealthcare.co.uk/services/plymouth-options

Plymouth-based employers recognised for being Dementia Friendly

8 October 2015

Dementia Friendly employers in Plymouth are being recognised for their commitment as the city becomes more dementia aware.

All local organisations that have signed up to Dementia Friendly status are being recognised at a special event at the Reception Room, Council House on Monday 12 October.

In addition Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet will receive an update report on all the work that is taking place in the city at its meeting on Tuesday 13 October. This will include an update on the Dementia Strategy and Action Plan that was approved by the Cabinet in September 2014 and the Western Locality of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG) in 2014.

A range of organisations have signed up – from Barclays to Drake’s Circus to Sainsbury’s and a number of local schools including Stoke Damerel Community College which won the national Dementia Friendly School award from the Alzheimer’s Society in 2014.

Dr Shelagh McCormick, a GP in Plymouth and clinical lead for mental health in the Western locality of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG), said: “Being diagnosed with dementia can be a very worrying and upsetting time and we know how difficult living with dementia can be for people and their families.

“That’s why it is really important that people get the right support to deal with their diagnosis and to help them live with dementia.

“NHS NEW Devon CCG has a joint strategy together with Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council, Torbay Council and NHS South Devon and Torbay CCG to enable people to live well with dementia."

Ian Sheriff, Chair of the PDAA, said: “The Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance is seen nationally as a beacon in the world of Dementia friendly communities. Communities from around the UK, Japan and the Netherlands have used the knowledge and experience gained by members of the P.D.A.A. to implement their own dementia friendly Towns and Cities.”

Councillor Ian Tuffin, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care for Plymouth City Council, said: “As a council we are committed to working with our partners to help Plymouth to become a more Dementia Friendly city.
The PDAA has an ever-growing membership of organisations from a wide variety of sectors across the city, such as: healthcare, emergency services, transport, education, defence, legal services, charities, faith groups etc. In the last few months, it has welcomed new members from the retail, finance, health and leisure sectors.

The ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ idea was first formed in Plymouth by the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance (PDAA) in 2011, originally a partnership between Plymouth University and Plymouth City Council. The concept was then adopted nationally and in the summer of 2013, Plymouth was invited by the Alzheimer’s Society to join the ‘early adopter’ group for the recognition process of dementia friendly communities, and at an event in August 2013, Plymouth City Council and its partners launched the Dementia Friendly City initiative, making Plymouth one of the first in the UK.

Plymouth City Council has a Dementia Friendly Toolkit to provide organisations with guidance and information on how to become more Dementia Friendly. This can be downloaded from the Council website at: www.plymouth.gov.uk/dementia

If you would like to find out more about the Dementia Friendly work in Plymouth and how your organisation can get involved, contact the Dementia Friendly City Co-ordinator, Claire Puckey, on 01752 398922 or email claire.puckey@plymouth.gov.uk

You can also sign up to be a Dementia Friend. The Alzheimer’s Society aims to create 4 million dementia friends by 2020. For more information visit: www.dementiafriends.org.uk

NHS NEW Devon CCG position on Northern Devon community hospital inpatient unit closures

7 October 2015

To be added

CCG app shortlisted for prestigious national award

5 October 2015

Chat conversaA mobile app developed by NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG) has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
A mobile app developed by NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG) has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
The Devon Formulary and Referral app gives doctors the most up to date prescribing guidance at their fingertips. It has been shortlisted for the Health Service Journal Awards in the Using Technology to Improve Efficiency category.
The awards received more than 1600 entries from more than 600 organisations across 23 categories.
The app can be downloaded onto smartphones and tablets and allows doctors in Devon to access up to date prescribing guidance wherever they are, which greatly benefits patients and means GPs can spend their time more efficiently.

The app can be used offline - it simply updates itself once an internet connection becomes available.
Chris Roome, a pharmacist and the CCG’s head of clinical effectiveness, said: “It is great that this important work has been recognised nationally.
“We developed the app because we know that rapid, easy access to up-to-date, evidence-based guidance is essential for clinicians.
“This project really makes use of what technology has to offer to make sure patients get the best outcomes.”
Dr Tom Debenham, a clinical lead for the CCG who was involved in developing the app, said: “The app is fantastic because it allows me and my colleagues to access up to date information wherever we are.
“Clinicians can carry all of this information around with them, whether they are in clinics or visiting patients out in the community.”
The tool has integrated clinical guidance for doctors, with advice on treatments and referral to specialists, replacing previous stand-alone systems at a smaller cost.

The much increased usage figures demonstrate how this tool is proving more useful to clinicians.
On average, website users look at 58,000 pages each month compared to around 40,000 pages on the old websites. The app has been downloaded more than 1500 times so far since it became available in March.
The CCG will find out if it has won the award on 18 November 2015.

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