Monthly Archives: June 2018

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Young adults urged to check they’ve had MMR vaccine before summer travel

Young people are encouraged to make sure they have had both doses of the MMR vaccine before going on holiday to Europe where there are large outbreaks of measles.

Cases of measles also continue to rise across England in unvaccinated people of this age.

The vaccine is available free to anyone who has not received both doses as a child. It protects against measles, mumps and rubella – all of which can be very serious diseases and are highly infectious.

While vaccine uptake levels in the UK in young children are currently very high, coverage levels dipped to a low of 80% in 2003. This means that there are significant numbers of unprotected teenagers and young adults who could catch measles both in England, particularly in environments of close mixing such as summer festivals and when they travel abroad for the summer holidays.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious complications and can be fatal in very rare cases so getting protected by taking up the offer of vaccination is crucial.

Between 1 January 2018 and 31 May 2018 there have been 587 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (213), the South East (128), West Midlands (81), South West (62), and Yorkshire and Humberside (53) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that to prevent outbreaks of disease, 95% of people need to have received the MMR vaccine.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “In the early 2000’s there was a fall in MMR vaccination coverage in children and as a consequence we are now seeing measles cases in young adults. Measles can be more serious in adults with a higher likelihood of hospitalisation and complications arising.

“Measles is circulating in England and the rest of Europe. We often think about what travel-related vaccines we might need before going on holiday, but it’s also important to check that we are up to date with routine vaccinations like MMR.

“If you are unsure if you have had two doses of MMR call your GP practice to check and catch up if needed.”

Parents are also urged to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children at 1 year of age and as a pre-school booster at 3 years and 4 months of age.

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Buckinghamshire CCG and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust joint AGM and Open Day – 28 July

Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT) and are celebrating the NHS’s 70th birthday by inviting the public, staff, friends and family to an open day festival and joint annual general meeting (AGM) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on Saturday, 28 July, from 11am-3pm.

The open day will let people go behind the scenes at the hospital and enjoy live entertainment, food and free fun activities for the whole family.

A central health fair will feature information stands by many of the Trust’s clinical departments as well as other health and care partners, such as Healthy Minds Bucks, giving the public a closer look at what services are available to them locally. There will be mini-health checks available alongside information on how people can keep themselves and their families fit and healthy.

Visitors will be able to go behind the scenes by booking onto tours, including tours of the mortuary and day surgery at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. There will also be a number of activities for children including a teddy bear trail through the hospital, with prizes to be won. Festivalgoers can also enjoy a variety of performers including local band OMJ who will be playing jazz through ages, transporting people from the 1940s through the past 7 decades to the present.

The joint AGM is planned to run from 11.45am to around 12.30pm. This is also open to the public who will be able to hear about BHT and the CCG’s work over the last year.

For more details please go to: www.buckshealthcare.nhs.uk/BucksNHS70

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Improved access to your GP? Please let us know your views

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group is improving access for patients who need to book routine appointments with their doctor.

From October 2018, some surgeries in the county will be offering extra appointments. Although it will not be practical to offer these at every surgery, we will ensure they are available in your local area.

Dr Rebecca Mallard-Smith, Clinical Director for Unplanned Community Care, said: ”We are working to improve routine access to general practice and the wider primary and community services  within Buckinghamshire”

“We would like to adapt this service so as to offer greater choice for patients, with fast, responsive and high quality care tailored to individual needs.

“We believe that by helping people to make informed lifestyle choices we can work with patients to maintain their health and wellbeing so that they can lead the most independent and fulfilling lives possible.

“As part of these improvements, we would like to offer additional appointments at local GP practices but we would like to know what we need to consider when deciding where and when these appointments should be.”

For us to be able to improve the access patients have to General Practice we would like to hear the views of the public and patients. Please let us know what you think by 30 June by completing our short survey – click here to take part.

 

 

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Learning Disability Week – Access All Areas

 

An estimated 1,200 people with a learning disability die from preventable illness every year. On average women with a learning disability die 18 years sooner, and men with a learning disability die 14 years sooner than the general population in England.  That’s why this Learning Disability week (18-24 June) events are happening across the country to focus on improving healthcare for people with a learning disability.

As part of the county’s ‘Transforming Care Partnership’ group; GP’s, the County Council, Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and many other health and social care professionals in Buckinghamshire are backing Learning Disability Week by encouraging anyone with a learning disability or autism to register with their GP for an Annual Health Check.

Dr Sian Roberts, Mental Health and Learning Disability Clinical Director, said: “Annual Health checks are one way of making sure that people with a learning disability stay as healthy as possible. The checks can pick up early signs of a problem, and even prevent problems arising in the first place. It’s easy to arrange just contact your surgery and ask how you can make an appointment for this important health check.

“We know that there are over 6,000 people in Buckinghamshire that have a learning disability, yet around only 2,000 are accessing services. So if you, or someone you know has a learning disability – even if you are not already receiving health or social care – please make sure you stay that way by looking after your health and registering for a FREE Annual Health Check.”

The Transforming Health Partnership Group have arranged their own event for later in the year called [Access All Areas], to help address health inequalities in the county. Access All Areas is FREE to attend and will take place on Thursday 13 September 10.30am-4pm at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury. With over 30 health, fitness, social  care and wellbeing exhibitors and plenty of hands on demonstrations the event is a must for anyone with a learning disability. Register your interest as a group or individual and get tickets by emailing communications@buckscc.gov.uk

Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “People with a learning disability get worse healthcare than people without. Every single year hundreds of people with a learning disability die when their death could have been avoided if they had got good healthcare.

“Access All Areas is a chance for anyone with a learning disability or autism, their carers, family and support workers to find out exactly what is on offer to keep them fit and healthy. We want to encourage them all to attend, especially those 4,000 people who do not seem to be accessing services. Save the date [September 13], coming to Access All Areas could save a life.”

For an easy read guide to getting a health check, please click here.

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New Bucks film shows value of creativity for people affected by dementia

A new film has been launched in Buckinghamshire to show how people affected by dementia can use creative pursuits and activity to help improve their quality of life.

The locally made film, entitled ‘I Am Still Me’, forms part of ongoing work by NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Buckinghamshire County Council to raise awareness of the condition. It focuses on the importance of supporting people living with dementia and their carers by helping them find new ways to communicate and enjoy memories through creative and social activities. These can include singing groups, artistic activities or watching performances. It also considers the difficulties experienced by carers of people living with dementia, and how vital it is that they find lifelines to relieve the pressure on them.

Click here to view I Am Still Me .

A number of local groups and activities which people can get involved with are featured over the course of the film.

It was produced by Dr Mahuya Kanjilal, who has extensive experience of working on films highlighting health and social care issues as they impact the BME community. The project was also supported by NHS England South Central.

The film was screened at a special event earlier this year, followed by a Q&A session with a panel of key members of the project, including GP Dr Sian Roberts, who gave advice and insight into the challenges surrounding dementia and caring for someone with the condition.

Dr Roberts, Mental Health and Learning Disability Clinical Director for Buckinghamshire CCG, said: “This film aims to show that people can still lead meaningful and fulfilled lives when they live with dementia, and activities like the ones highlighted can make such a positive difference to them.

“As hard as this condition may be to accept, life does not have to stop with the onset of dementia – there are still many ways to enjoy time with your loved ones and create warm new memories. And we must always remember how important it is for the carers of people with dementia to have the kind of support that these creative groups can offer. They really can serve as an invaluable lifeline and we hope people will watch this film and be inspired to explore them further.”

Two other films focusing on dementia were launched in Bucks last year:

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How to handle hay fever – advice from Buckinghamshire CCG

Dr Shona Lockie is a GP at Water Meadow Surgery in Chesham and Clinical Director for the Medicines Management Team at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Every year it feels like it might be getting worse, as too many of us sneeze and sniff our way toward the summer months…

So, what is hay fever? It’s a common condition in the UK, affecting one in five, caused when the body overreacts to allergens, like pollen, from grass or flowers. It usually hits in the spring and early summer (now is a prime time), leaving people with symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, runny or blocked noses. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person.

This year the situation is worse than usual, thanks to the so-called ‘pollen bomb’ – a simultaneous release of pollen from various sources, including birch, plane and oak trees, which seems to have been delayed because of the erratic weather we’ve had.

The good news is, in most cases there is no need to visit your GP as your pharmacist has a range of effective treatments to recommend. Antihistamine tablets can ease eye or nasal symptoms; eye drops can also help. Over-the-counter steroid sprays like beclomethasone and fluticasone can treat all symptoms (but are best started a month before hay fever season begins). If you are worried about the cost, ask about ‘own brand’ labels, which may be cheaper than branded products but are still effective.

Some people must take extra care with hay fever if they have a condition affecting their breathing, like asthma for example, or Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COPD). Make sure you always have your reliever inhaler (usually blue) handy for emergencies, and if you also have a preventer inhaler, please use that as prescribed. If you experience breathlessness which your inhalers can’t relieve easily, contact your GP.

Here are some dos and don’ts to help you through hay fever season:

DO:

  • Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to keep pollen from your eyes.
  • Shower and change clothes after going outside to wash pollen off.
  • Stay inside when the pollen count gets bad, especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Keep windows and doors shut where possible.
  • Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth.
  • Keep car windows shut and get a pollen filter for the air vents.

DON’T:

  • Cut grass or walk on grass.
  • Smoke or be near it – it worsens symptoms.
  • Spend too long outside.
  • Let pets carry pollen indoors
  • Dry clothes outside
  • Keep fresh flowers in the house.