All posts by Neil Phillips

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COVID vaccination sites open in Stoke Mandeville and High Wycombe as Buckinghamshire rollout continues

The COVID vaccination rollout continues in Buckinghamshire this week, with GP-led sites opening in Stoke Mandeville and High Wycombe to give vaccines to patients aged 80 and over.

These join the sites already up and running in the county – in Chalfont St Peter, Princes Risborough, Winslow and Chesham, along with another site in High Wycombe that went live last week.

Details of more GP-led sites will be announced soon, as the rollout continues in Bucks.
As well as people aged 80 and over, care home staff are also being prioritised in this first phase of the national vaccination rollout. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.

All patients who are eligible to have the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the NHS first. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is great to see these new sites in Aylesbury and High Wycombe joining the growing number of locations in Buckinghamshire to offer vaccinations to our most vulnerable residents. More vaccination sites will be up and running in the county soon.

“We continue to ask patients please not to contact their GP themselves to arrange vaccination appointments, but to instead wait for the NHS to contact them. We realise the growing cases of COVID are causing anxiety, but this vaccination programme is extremely complex. Our GP practice staff continue to work incredibly hard to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience and support.

“Other age groups and vulnerable patients will be offered the vaccination over the coming weeks and months, in line with the national priorities of this phased rollout. In the meantime, please follow all the safety guidance to protect yourself, your loved ones and your NHS services.”

Holders of concessionary bus passes in Buckinghamshire will be able to use them at any time when travelling for their COVID-19 vaccination. This includes prior to 9am on Mondays to Fridays.

Several national Vaccination Centres outside of the county have also been set up by the NHS. Some Buckinghamshire residents aged 80 and over, who live 30-45 minutes from the nearest of these sites, may get a letter from the NHS about these. The letter explains how to book a slot at a national site if they do not wish to use one of their local, GP-led sites.
If you get a letter but do not want to use a national vaccination site, you will still be able to arrange an appointment at a local site when contacted by your GP.

Currently, the Vaccination Centre sites closest to Buckinghamshire are:

  • Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
  • Excel Centre in London (London)
  • Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)

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Statement on NHS letters sent to residents (aged 80+) about vaccination sites

Letters from the NHS begun arriving this weekend as the national vaccination programme “rapidly accelerates”.

These letters have been sent to people aged 80 or over who live 30 to 45 minutes’ drive from one of the seven new sites, including residents who live in Buckinghamshire.

The sites closest to Buckinghamshire are:

  • Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
  • Excel Centre in London (London)
  • Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)

The letter explains how they can book a slot – over the phone or online through the national booking service.

Whilst residents who have received the letter can choose to book through the national booking system if they do not want to use the local system, we want to absolutely reassure them that it is our intention that all patients over the age of 80 will be offered a vaccination appointment locally through their GP Practice by the end of January.

All local Buckinghamshire local sites will be operating by 25 January with two additional sites going live next week in Aylesbury and High Wycombe and further sites to follow later in the month. We are also finalising the plans for the two mass vaccination sites in the county.

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Buckinghamshire’s COVID vaccination rollout continues in High Wycombe and Chesham

More COVID-19 vaccination sites are up and running in Buckinghamshire this week, as GP-led centres in High Wycombe and Chesham begin vaccinating local patients aged 80 and over.

These follow the first vaccination sites that went live in the county over December, in Chalfont St Peter, Princes Risborough and Winslow.

As well as people aged 80 and over, care home staff are also being prioritised in this first phase of the national vaccination rollout. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.

All patients who are eligible to have the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the NHS first. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is hugely exciting to see the vaccination programme continue to roll out in Buckinghamshire and to give some of our most vulnerable patients the best start we can to 2021.

“But while the vaccinations are a great cause for optimism, we also all know that coronavirus continues to spread at a worrying rate and that difficult times still lie ahead. We would ask that people please continue to be patient. This vaccination programme is very complex, and our GP practice staff are working incredibly hard to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected as soon as possible. Please do not contact your GP surgery yourself, but instead wait for the NHS to contact you.

“Other age groups and vulnerable patients will be offered the vaccination over the coming weeks and months, in line with the national priorities of this phased rollout. In the meantime, please follow all the safety guidance to protect yourself, your loved ones and your NHS services.”

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COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

The NHS has begun to deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination programme beginning with people identified in the priority cohorts by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

These vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people – they have been tested on thousands of people and assessed by experts.

Primary care, hospital and community teams are working with our county and borough councils and a wide range of other community partners and are doing an incredible job to deliver what is the largest vaccination programme in NHS history.

The public have an important part to play to help us do this:

  • please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
  • when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
  • and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

Please click here and scroll down to view a set of Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

And here is an easy read guide to the vaccine, produced by Mencap.

You can also click here to view a series of videos in different South Asian languages which address some of the concerns raised by people from ethnic minorities about the COVID-19 vaccine.

These videos, created by the UK Vaccine Taskforce and hosted on the BBC News web pages, are in GujaratiPunjabiSylhetiTamil and Urdu – as well as English.

 

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Live Life Well – free online healthy lifestyle workshops to get 2021 off to the right start

Live Life Well

The New Year is nearly here – and that means many of us will be thinking about making some lifestyle changes to improve our physical and mental health in 2021.

And now that Buckinghamshire is currently in Tier 4 restrictions, it is more important than ever that we take care of ourselves.

To help people make better lifestyle choices and make them stick, a series of free online sessions – Live Life Well – have been developed by NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group in partnership with Bucks Adult Learning.

Running in January, they are packed with healthy lifestyle information and tips – and you can secure a place on them now.

Each session will give useful advice on keeping well – through a sensible diet, physical activity, and by recognising stress and anxiety.  They also let you set personal goals to help you achieve these changes.

Dr Stuart Logan, Clinical Director for Long Term Conditions, Prevention & Supported Self-Care at NHS Buckinghamshire CCG, said: “Many of us want to make better lifestyle choices as part of our New Year’s resolutions, but sticking to them is easier said than done. These online sessions are designed to help people make better choices by giving them the right information.

“It has been a really hard year for all of us, and, although the COVID vaccine is being rolled out, we still have difficult weeks and months ahead. Making the right choices for our physical and mental health can make a huge difference, and we hope as many people as possible sign up for these online sessions to give them a better start to 2021.”

The sessions are listed below. They run during the day and the evening, and you can attend one or all three.

To enrol, click on the link below or call 01296 383582, stating which course code you would like to attend. More details are available on this flyer.

  • Recognising Stress & Anxiety
  1. Tuesday 12 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH05AHO) or
    Thursday 14 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH04AHO)
  • Reflect and describe the connection between stress and the body’s response to it
  • Give in your own words what triggers stress and find ways to manage it
  • Experience a relaxation session

 

  • Eating for Health

Tuesday 19 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH06AHO) or
Thursday 21 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH07AHO)

  • Recognise what constitutes a good diet
  • Summarise the important food groups and sources
  • Give examples of what makes a healthy diet

 

  • The Importance of Physical Activity for your Health & Wellbeing

Tuesday 26 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH08AHO) or
Thursday 28 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH09AHO)

  • Specify the benefits of being physically active
  • Recognise the detrimental effect on health by being physically inactive
  • Identify what is meant by ‘physical activity’

 

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Buckinghamshire’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues in Princes Risborough and Winslow

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination continues across Buckinghamshire this week (w/c 21 December), as GP-led Primary Care Networks in Princes Risborough and Winslow begin vaccinating local patients aged 80 and over.

These follow the first COVID vaccination site in the county on Monday, 14 December, at Chalfont St Peter, with more to come over the next few weeks and months.

As well as people aged 80 and over, care home staff are also being prioritised in this first phase of the national vaccination rollout. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.

All patients who are eligible to have the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the NHS first. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.

The new vaccination sites in the Princes Risborough and Winslow areas hope to be operating from Monday, 21 December, but this date may be subject to change.

More GP-led Primary Care Networks in Buckinghamshire  will be joining the vaccination programme in phases, and details of these will be provided when they are available.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see this first phase of the COVID vaccination rollout continue across Buckinghamshire as we reach the end of this very difficult year. We would ask that people please be patient, however. The vaccination programme is very complex and our GP practice staff are working incredibly hard to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected as soon as possible. Please do not contact your GP surgery yourself, but instead wait for the NHS to contact you.

“Other age groups and vulnerable patients will be offered the vaccination over the coming weeks and months, in line with the national priorities of this phased rollout. In the meantime, please follow the safety guidance to protect yourself and your loved ones, and please do take care over the Christmas period.”

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First patient in Bucks receives COVID-19 vaccine

 

Patient Brian Horne receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Helen Ellis.

Ninety-year-old Brian Horne will have some story to share with his friends at the luncheon club he volunteers at every month. The nonagenarian from Chalfont St Peter became the first patient in Buckinghamshire to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, on Monday 14 December.

Brian, a patient at the Hall Practice in Chalfont St Peter, was vaccinated as part of the national GP rollout of the vaccine which started that week.

Speaking afterwards, Brian, who has three children and six grandchildren said: “It is exciting, I feel most honoured. I got a phone call from the surgery on Friday, they asked me to come along today and here I am.”

One of the things Brian is looking forward to the most, other than being able to see his family, is going back to the ‘Friendship Lunch Club’ that he has been involved with for the past 10 years. The club, run by St James’ Church, provides a social way for the elderly who live on their own locally to meet up and enjoy each other’s company. Over the years Brian has been involved, it has grown and grown with more than 100 people attending lunches across the month. “I’ve been redundant since March”, Brian jokes, as the club had to stop running. “I’ve missed it, as you get older, you need to keep occupied so I am looking forward to going back.”

Having had his first jab Brian is delighted to be on his way to being protected from the virus and will be urging his friends to follow suit when they get the call to have their vaccine.

Nurse Helen Ellis, lead practice nurse of 23 years at the Misbourne Practice and part of the COVID-19 mobilisation team at the Chalfont Primary Care Network (PCN), gave Brian the potentially life-saving vaccine. She said: “It’s exciting to be part of this, we are making history. I’m really proud of the role we are playing in both in the network and in primary care as a whole. We are the end of a long line of people who have made this happen. I will remember this day for a long time. We are finally helping people to get their lives back after this devastating year.”

The phased national vaccination programme will see patients aged 80 and over amongst the first to receive the jab. The PCN has been given vaccines for the first wave of the programme, all of which will be given out to local patients over the coming days and weeks.

Dr Nicky Turner, Clinical Director of the Chalfont PCN and GP of 23 years at the Hall Practice, said: “This is a historic day for Buckinghamshire and for the whole country. We are delighted to be one of the first practices to be able to start vaccinating our patients against this deadly virus. We are really proud at the way the whole team has mobilised so quickly. It has been a huge team effort over just a few short days with everyone pulling together to make this happen.”

Patients will be invited to come for their vaccine on a person by person basis as part of the JCVI ( Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation) prioritisation programme with contact made directly from their GP surgery. Patients are asked not to make contact with their surgery but to wait for the surgery to contact them. In the meantime everyone should continue to follow Government guidelines to control the virus and save lives.

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Help available for young people experiencing mental health difficulties this winter

If you are aged 18 or below and are experiencing any difficulties with your mental health or emotional wellbeing this winter – or if you know any children or young people who are –a range of help and support is available online which could make a difference.

The Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) web page offers advice, information and useful tips aimed at young people aged 18 and under.

Whether it is moderate anxiety, depression, eating disorders or any number of other concerns, the web page has lots of guidance available.  There are also links to other support organisations and details of useful books and online apps that may be helpful. You can also contact the CAMHS team to arrange an appointment if needed.

To access the Buckinghamshire CAMHS webpages, which are run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, simply go to www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/bucks.

A 24/7 Mental Health Helpline is also available to support children and young people, as well as their parents, carers and adults, via NHS 111 (or online at 111.nhs.uk). The helpline is staffed by Oxford Health mental health professionals.

Dr Juliet Sutton, GP and Clinical Director for Children’s Services and NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This year has been incredibly difficult for us all because of the pandemic and children and young people have been hard hit. They have experienced school closures, missed out on social contact with friends, and many will have been unable to see grandparents or other vulnerable family members in the usual way. Lots of young people have also lost loved ones, whether due to COVID or other causes, in this confusing and worrying time.”

Dr Sian Roberts, GP and Clinical Director for Mental Health and Learning at NHS Buckinghamshire CCG, added: “All of these things impact on our mental health and emotional wellbeing. But help and support is out there, and it can really make a difference. If you are a young person experiencing difficulties this winter, or if you have any children or young people in your life who you are concerned about, please do visit the CAMHS webpage – it is a great first port of call for advice and support. And if you need more immediate help, there is also the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline available via NHS 111.”

Eleanor Rowsell, Head of Psychological Services at Buckinghamshire’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, said: “Young and old, we’ve all felt the challenges of 2020. Buckinghamshire CAMHS is here to support children and young people, their family and carers.

“Our website offers a wealth of information and simple steps families and young people can take to support their mental health.

“We know it can be hard to reach out for help and so also offer 11 to 19 year olds access to Kooth (www.kooth.com) who provide free online mental health support 365 days a year.  This includes chats (counselling) with a professional counsellor, reading self-help articles, and joining peer-to-peer forums.

“People can get in touch with our services directly through the website or, for urgent advice, they can speak to our mental health professionals at Buckinghamshire 24/7 Mental Health Helpline via NHS 111.”

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Wycombe GP surgery praised for patient care throughout pandemic

A High Wycombe GP surgery has been commended for the “exemplary care” it has offered its patients since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Riverside Surgery, in George Street, serves 9,875 registered patients.

Like all surgeries, the start of the pandemic meant that Riverside had to change the way it did things in order to keep patients safe and work to stop the spread of COVID-19.

One patient, and a member of the surgery’s Patient Participation Group, Tess Watkins, has extended her thanks for its good work.

Mrs Watkins said: “Riverside Surgery has been praised by the PPG and many patients that feed their opinions into it regarding the exemplary care and consideration they have given their patients in the past 9 months. They have obviously put their patients first, despite the risks to themselves.

“Every patient that needed to speak to a doctor got a call, a video call or a face to face appointment. This seemed to surprise some patients who thought the surgery might be shut due to the pandemic. Despite the heightened fear and anguish felt by many people, Riverside was always able to help. People that called in in the morning spoke to a doctor to determine what kind of help they needed and no one was turned away. Patients have been impressed with the responsiveness of the telephone and video consultation systems.”

Mr Watkins added that, with the new system freeing up time, patients with a greater need were able to see a doctor for 15-minute long face-to-face appointments. She said the pandemic meant that Riverside quickly got up to speed with new technologies to enable speedier appointment times and better communications between themselves and other healthcare professionals, to the benefit of patients.

Mrs Watkins said “Riverside’s COVID safety processes and the way they managed attending patients was reassuring. They moved and adapted very quickly to cope with the new situation the pandemic created. They were brave but careful, giving patients confidence. Many patients feel very well cared for and respected by all the medical and support staff and just want to say ‘thank you’.”

Dr Rashmi Sawnhey, GP Senior Partner at Riverside Surgery, noted that primary care has had to adapt quickly during the pandemic to continue to offer the best possible service to patients.

She said: “The success of this is due to our fantastic practice team (both clinical and non-clinical) and our patients who have been very understanding and patient. Technology has been very helpful in supporting these changes.

“We are very mindful that all patients don’t have access to smart phones and patients with complex medical problems, especially the frail elderly, need face-to-face reviews. During this time we have continued to offer face-to-face appointments after triage, as well as home visits for the housebound as appropriate.”

Riverside’s nursing teams have also been supporting district nurses to care for housebound and shielding patients. Dr Sawhney added that patient feedback has been essential to evaluate the success of these changes and to work to improve the service further.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group added his congratulations to the surgery. He said: “It’s always gratifying to hear that the hard work of our GP practices is being appreciated by patients and I would like to thank Riverside Surgery for their superb efforts in these extremely challenging times.

“I would also like to also extend my thanks to all the GP practices in Buckinghamshire who have worked so hard to serve their patients during this pandemic.”

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COVID-19 vaccine

What’s happening with the first approved vaccine?

Following extensive trials, the first safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 has been approved by regulators and is now available.

At first, the vaccine will be offered to people who are most at risk from coronavirus, specifically the over-80s, care home residents and health and care staff, before being offered more widely. As you can imagine this will be a long process and you will be contacted when it’s your turn, so please don’t call your GP.

What’s happening from 7 December?

The first stage of roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be managed via a limited number of hospital hubs. In our local region the the first hospital to offer vaccines is Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. More sites will follow and we will keep you informed here.

Is the vaccine safe?

The vaccine has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

Take a look on the Gov.UK or NHS websites for the most up to date information.

Useful leaflets and information

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Buckinghamshire exceeds flu vaccination target for people aged 65+

Buckinghamshire has already exceeded its target number for people aged 65-and-over to get their flu vaccination this year – and there is still time for others to get their jab to help them stay safe this winter.

So far 76.5% of the 65-and-over age group have been vaccinated across Buckinghamshire, exceeding the 75% target set by Public Health England. This means that around 82, 750 individuals in this age group has had a flu jab – and there is still time for more to join them.

People are being reminded that it is not ‘just’ the flu but is instead a serious illness that can cause severe complications. With flu and COVID both circulating this winter, it’s more important than ever that people are vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, friends and colleagues, and the NHS. Studies have shown that there can be very serious health consequences if people have both flu and COVID at the same time.

The flu vaccination programme is continuing throughout December and into the new year. If you are aged 65-and-over or are a pregnant woman and have not had your free jab yet, please contact your GP surgery as soon as possible. Children aged from 2-11 are also eligible for a flu vaccination, those children not of school age will be invited by their GP. Over 18, 000 flu vaccinations were carried out in schools in November alone.

This year, people aged 50-64 are also eligible for a free flu vaccination – please wait for an invitation from your GP practice to arrange this. Vaccinations are all being organised in safe and COVID-secure ways.

Caroline Capell, Director of Urgent and Emergency Care for Buckinghamshire Integrated Care Partnership, said: “It’s great news that our 65 year old and over programme has already exceeded its 75% target and I’d like to thank all those who have worked incredibly hard to make this happen in such challenging circumstances, in particular staff in GP practices, pharmacies and school immunisation teams
“If you haven’t been vaccinated against the flu yet this year and are eligible for a free jab, there is still time – appointments will continue throughout winter and are being scheduled by practices and pharmacies. Your GP will contact you to remind you to book – including people aged 50-64 this year – and we are grateful for your patience as new stocks arrive.”

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health at Buckinghamshire Council, said: “It is more important than ever for people over 65 to get a flu vaccination this year, especially as those with co-infection of COVID-19 and flu are more at risk of severe illness. The COVID-19 vaccine may also be on the way, but it will take time to roll it out to all those who need it. It is vital that in the meantime we still take all the precautions we can to stay safe ourselves, and to make sure our families and loved ones are protected.
“If you are eligible to have a free flu vaccine this winter, please do get one.”

To find out more about the flu jab and who is eligible for a free flu vaccination, please go to: www.nhs.uk/flujab

 

 

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50-64 year-olds to be invited for flu vaccinations from start of December

f you are aged between 50 and 64 you will be invited to get your free flu vaccine from the beginning of December and into the New Year as part of this year’s expanded flu vaccination programme.

GPs and pharmacies will be arranging appointments to coincide with delivery of new vaccine stock. Please be patient as they make plans for this and wait to be contacted. Please remember that vaccinations will continue throughout the winter season.

If you are in an at-risk group, you remain a priority for vaccination and should contact your GP or pharmacy as soon as possible for your free flu vaccine, if you have not already done so.

It is really important that anyone who is recommended to have a flu jab this year should get one. This is to reduce the risk of people catching flu and coronavirus at the same time, which studies have shown can have serious health consequences – particularly for the elderly and vulnerable.

Uptake of flu jabs has been good in all vulnerable groups in Bucks, except for pregnant women. If you are pregnant and have not had you flu jab yet, please contact your GP practice to protect your baby as well as yourself.

Caroline Capell, Director of Urgent and Emergency Care for Buckinghamshire Integrated Care Partnership, said: “We are really pleased to be able to offer free flu vaccinations to people between the ages of 50 and 64 this year and we are urging anyone who is eligible to get a jab. It can make a huge difference to your health this winter, as well as the health of your family and loved ones. Your GP practice should be in touch over the coming weeks to arrange a vaccination appointment – we appreciate your patience and cooperation over these challenging months.

“We should also remember that by having your flu jab you will be helping to keep people from being admitted to hospital, and supporting your NHS during this extremely challenging time.”

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health at Buckinghamshire Council, said: “For most people the flu is a very nasty illness, but for the elderly or vulnerable, it can be life-threatening. This year, it is more important than ever that we do everything possible to keep each other safe and well, both from the flu and from the coronavirus. So, if you are eligible to get your free flu jab, please do so to protect both yourself and your loved ones. This winter, more than ever, it could really save lives.”

You can find lots of advice and links to a range of local services at our ‘Ready for Winter’ information page, along with guidance on travel and how to be a good neighbour .

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Co-design engagement programme launches on Aylesbury Gardenway

Aylesbury Garden Town launches a 16-week programme of community engagement to co-design the look and feel of the Aylesbury Gardenway, an 18km orbital park that will encircle Aylesbury and link it with surrounding villages.

The Aylesbury Garden Town Masterplan was approved in July 2020 and the Gardenway is the first transformative project to come forward. It will be delivered over several years using a phased approach and the design team are keen to create a shared vision to deliver its full potential. The co-design process will launch on Wednesday 25 November and close on 26 March 2021 taking place online and by phone due to the Coronavirus.

People can take part by visiting www.aylesburygardenway.co and complete the online map survey, ‘put a pin in it’, and sign up to join online community conversations and online design workshops. The online platform is available throughout the co-design process for people to find out more about the project and to post feedback, share ideas and make comments. People can also call 01296 585315 to discuss their ideas.

The long-term vision for the Gardenway is to have a positive impact on the quality of life of Aylesbury’s residents by; encouraging play, active lifestyles, food growing and outdoor leisure as well as being a haven for wildlife.

Cllr. Steve Bowles Cabinet Member for Town Centre Regeneration and Aylesbury Garden Town Strategic Board Chairman said: “The Gardenway project is full of exciting potential and opportunities. We now want to hear from as many voices as possible as we engage our communities to co-design the Gardenway and create a destination point for residents and visitors alike providing fully accessible routes for walking, wheeling and cycling.”
“When completed the Gardenway will be a valuable future asset for Aylesbury which will bring about substantial environmental benefits whilst enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike for years to come.”

For more information on how to sign up to get involved visit: www.aylesburygardenway.co

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Buckinghamshire CCG shortlisted in Self Care Forum awards for supporting people during pandemic

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group has been shortlisted in the Self Care Forum Coronavirus Innovations Awards for its “inspiring and outstanding” work in supporting people during the pandemic.

The Awards focused on practice and innovations in self care that were put in place during the pandemic, which made a difference to people and the community.

The CCG was shortlisted with their ‘Patient Education for Long-Term-Conditions’ entry, and its work will be highlighted as an example of good practice to other healthcare organisations.

The CCG’s entries focused on three different initiatives:

  • The Live Life Well online education sessions, which are now being delivered in partnership with Buckinghamshire Adult Learning. These sessions were originally open to people who were shielding during the first lockdown to help support them with their self care. They gave healthy lifestyle information in an interactive form to help during those difficult times. These sessions have now been made available for any resident in Bucks, as the information covered is of benefit to all.
  • The CCG’s Long Term Conditions team designed a series of messages to be sent out to patients’ mobile phones, with information and links to advice to support them across a range of lifestyle and wellbeing topics. These included Type 2 diabetes education, physical activity, smoking cessation, alcoholism, and monitoring blood pressure at home.
  • As part of the CCG’s drive to encourage wellbeing, when colleagues started working remotely the ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ sessions were launched. The weekly session provides a ‘midweek pause’ through a gentle stretch followed by a different form of mindfulness each week and was made available for all staff in April and continue to run.

The CCG’s team was told “The judges felt your work in connecting people and targeting those most vulnerable was inspiring and outstanding”, and that other CCGs could benefit from their approach.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire CCG, said: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for these awards, and to have the hard work of our team recognised. We have some very dedicated and passionate members of staff who have been determined to support people in Buckinghamshire through some very tough times – particularly people who have been shielding and are living with long-term conditions.

“Helping people to understand ways they can make a few simple changes to their lifestyle can have a huge impact and help them to lead healthier lives for longer. We’re very proud that our work is being held up as a good example to healthcare organisations across the country.”

Helen Donovan, Self Care Forum chair and Professional Lead for Public Health at the Royal College of Nursing said “Self care has been an essential part of the nation’s response to COVID19. Hand washing, social distancing and mask wearing helps to protect ourselves and others against coronavirus.  But many people have needed more support and this has led to exemplary innovation as individuals and organisations have stepped up to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities.”

 

The messages sent to patients by the CCG’s Long Term Conditions team included links to the following information and guidance, which you may find useful:

  • One Recovery Bucks offers support to people affected by drugs and alcohol in Buckinghamshire.
  • Alcohol Change UK offers information and advice to support people dealing with alcohol related issues.
  • Sleepio is an online programme aiming to help improve your sleep.
  • Vitamin D is really important for staying healthy, particularly if you are not getting as much sunlight as usual – follow the link for more information and tips.
  • A 24/7 Mental Health Helpline is in place to support people in Bucks – more information on other mental health services is available by clicking the link.
  • Active Bucks gives great advice and tips on staying active, with special advice for keeping moving during the pandemic.
  • Live Well Stay Well is a free service that has helped thousands of people to lose weight, quit smoking, get more active, feel happier or manage their diabetes.

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Help your health and care services in Bucks by choosing them well this winter

This winter Buckinghamshire’s health and care services will be working hard to make sure you stay safe and well – and you can help them by using the right service at the right time.

You can find lots of advice and links to a range of local services at our ‘Ready for Winter’ information page, along with guidance on travel and how to be a good neighbour – www.yourcommunityyourcare.org.uk/ready-for-winter.

With coronavirus still spreading, some people may feel nervous or reluctant about using health services. It is vital, however, that they still seek care when they need it – delaying could have extremely serious consequences for their health.

The health and care options available in Bucks include:

  • A&E – remember, A&E should be used for serious and life-threatening conditions. If it is not an emergency, or you are not sure, please check with the NHS 111 service first. But if it is, don’t delay – call 999.
  • The 111 online service at 111.nhs.uk is a great source of information and advice, especially if you are not sure which service to use for your illness or injury.
  • The Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) in High Wycombe is accessible from 8am – 8pm via 111. Wherever possible ring 111 first to check if this is the best place for you to receive treatment, this will also save you a longer wait if you need to be seen there.
  • Pharmacies are staffed by healthcare professionals and offer excellent advice. At the first sign of illness, check to see if an over-the-counter treatment or medicine is suitable. Don’t wait until you are really unwell.
  • Contact your GP surgery for an appointment – this will probably be over the telephone or remotely at the moment, but your GP can still invite you for a face-to-face appointment when they think it is medically appropriate. And if you are concerned about possible cancer symptoms, don’t delay – contact your GP today.
  • Self-care – many minor injuries or ailments can be treated at home, with medicines or treatments you may already have. Make sure you keep some of these in stock.

Caroline Capell, Director of Urgent and Emergency Care at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Health and care services across Bucks are expecting a busy winter, but we want to make sure anyone who needs help gets it. Our priority is to ensure patients get the best care, in the right location, as quickly as possible. The coronavirus pandemic is, understandably, still at the forefront of our minds but there are lots of other illnesses and conditions that need treatment and it is really important people don’t delay in getting help.

“By making sure you use the right service at the right time you will help to ease pressure on your health services to make sure the people who need treatment most urgently get it sooner. It may also help you to avoid needless waiting times or travelling to use a service that may not the right one. So, please choose your services well this winter. By working together, we can help to keep each other safe and well.”

And remember, if you should develop one or more symptoms of coronavirus, no matter how mild, please book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Other advice on treatment of COVID-19 is also available at that website. Symptoms include a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

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Live Life Well – FREE online healthy lifestyle workshops

Leading a healthy lifestyle is not always easy at the best of times, so the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic have made it even harder.

Many of us struggle with sticking to a healthy diet, being active or dealing with low moods and loneliness. This can be even more difficult for people living with long-term conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

But there are some simple ways we can improve our general lifestyle and wellbeing, hopefully helping us to stay well over the winter months and beyond.

In partnership with Bucks Adult Learning, Buckinghamshire CCG has developed a series of interactive online sessions packed with healthy lifestyle information.

Each session offers useful tips about maintaining a healthy diet, physical activity, sleep and mental health. They will also give people the chance to set their own personal goals to help them make positive changes to their lifestyle.

All the information you need on how to enrol can be found by clicking here to view this poster – simply call the number at the bottom of the poster and quote the appropriate course reference number.

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Parents in Bucks urged to make sure eligible children get their flu vaccination

As flu season approaches, parents and guardians across Buckinghamshire are being urged to make sure all eligible children are protected against the virus by taking up the offer of a free flu vaccination. For most children the vaccine is given by a quick, painless spray up the nose.

With coronavirus still circulating, getting a flu vaccination is more important than ever this winter.

This year, children aged two and three, all primary school children, and children in school year 7 will be offered a free flu vaccination by the NHS.

Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children, causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness. This can last several days or more.

Some children can get a very high fever, sometimes without the usual flu symptoms, and may need to go to hospital for treatment. Serious complications of flu include a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis, and lung disease including pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

Dr Juliet Sutton, GP and Clinical Director for Children’s Services at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Many children get their free flu vaccination every year, but we want to ensure even more are protected this winter. Flu transmits more easily in children, so by making sure all eligible children are vaccinated we can really reduce the spread. This will not only avoid an unpleasant illness for your child, but will help protect any vulnerable people that they come into contact with. This is vital with coronavirus still spreading, as studies have shown that people who catch both viruses at the same time are at even greater risk – particularly the elderly and vulnerable.”

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health at Buckinghamshire Council, said: “For most people the flu is a very nasty illness, but for the elderly or vulnerable, it can be life-threatening. This year, it is more important than ever that we do everything possible to keep each other safe and well, both from the flu and from the coronavirus. So please make sure your child has their flu vaccination this year– my own children will certainly be having theirs. This winter, more than ever, it could really save lives.”

Some parents may be concerned that coronavirus and flu symptoms are similar. If your child has a continuous cough, high temperature or a loss or change in their sense of taste or smell, they should be kept at home and a coronavirus test should be requested by calling 119 or going to www.gov.uk/getting-tested-for-coronavirus.

Schools have received guidance on signs and symptoms of coronavirus, which should have been shared with parents.

Children with pre-existing health conditions, even if well managed, are at higher risk of severe complications if they get flu. It is especially important that these children are vaccinated. Parents can contact their GP surgery to arrange an appointment.

Vaccination sessions will be held at schools during the autumn term for primary school-aged children and those in Year 7 at secondary school. Children who do not attend school will be invited to an alternative local venue. Please wait until an invitation and/or consent form is received and follow the instructions provided.

Parents of two-and three-year old’s should receive an invitation to have the flu vaccination at their GP surgery before the winter. If they haven’t heard from their GP by early November, they should contact the practice they are registered with directly to make an appointment.

Please go to our Ready for Winter page for more information on what you can do to prepare for the cold weather ahead and stay as healthy as possible.

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Coronavirus: latest information and advice

For the latest national coronavirus advice, including information on symptoms, when people should stay at home and how to arrange testing, please go to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. This website also tells you how to download the NHS COVID-19 app.

  • For the latest guidance and support information about Coronavirus from Public Health England, go to gov.uk/coronavirus
  • NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.
  • For information about COVID-19 vaccinations, click here.
  • GP practices are open and providing advice and care to patients. But, due to the pandemic, the way you access services may be different at the moment – find out how by clicking here.
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has information about changes to services at its hospitals (including Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe and Amersham) during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • You can find local information and advice on council services (including schools, social care, transport), and plans for managing any local outbreaks on the Buckinghamshire Council website.
  • Advice for people at higher risk of coronavirus is available here.
  • Guidance is also available on face masks and coverings

 

 What to do if you think you have coronavirus

Do NOT leave your home if you think you have coronavirus

You do not need to contact your GP if you think you have coronavirus. 

  • You can click here to book a test, or arrange one by calling 119. Please only book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
  • You can also use the online 111 coronavirus service to get advice and find out what to do. Please only call 111 if you cannot get help online, or cannot handle your symptoms at home.

 

Babies and children

  • Call 111 for advice if you’re worried about a baby or child. If they seem very unwell, are getting worse or you think there’s something seriously wrong, call 999. Do not delay getting help if you’re worried.
  • This useful guide can also help you decide which services to use and when if your child should become ill or injured.

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Buckinghamshire residents asked to do their bit to stem rise in local COVID cases

Coronavirus cases in Buckinghamshire are currently rising and residents across the county are being reminded to follow the rules at all times in a bid to stem the increase before it gets worse.

The latest figures for the county stand at around 20 cases per 100,000 people, with the numbers rising more quickly in some areas than others. Cases are going up more rapidly in South Buckinghamshire and Wycombe, where both have a current weekly rate of around 25 cases per 100,000 people.

While these numbers are much lower than in some other parts of the UK, public health officials at Buckinghamshire Council are concerned about the rise and are asking everyone to do their bit to stop the virus spreading further.

The best way to halt the spread of the virus is to follow the current national rules at all times:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly
  • Wear a face covering to protect yourself and others, unless you’re exempt
  • Keep a 2m distance at all times from anyone you don’t live with or who isn’t in a support bubble with you
  • If you or someone you live with develops coronavirus symptoms, isolate immediately, which means staying at home
  • Try to book a coronavirus test for anyone in the home who has symptoms
  • If you meet up with others, follow the ‘rule of six’ and keep a distance at all times from anyone you don’t live with
  • Work from home if you’re able, in agreement with your employer

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health at Buckinghamshire Council, said: “We are pleased our numbers remain relatively low in Buckinghamshire, but we are concerned about rising cases in some of our local communities. We want to do everything we can to get these numbers back down. We also know neighbouring areas just outside Buckinghamshire are seeing larger numbers of cases so it’s more vital than ever that we’re all on our guard. If we all pull together and stick to the guidelines at all times, this is how we will protect our vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours. So please, stick to the rules and help us get on top of this rise.”

Councillor Arif Hussain, Chair of the High Wycombe Community Board, said: “We know cases are going up in our local area, and more quickly than in other places. So I appeal to everyone to follow the rules. This is about looking out for one another and making the right choices to protect the people around us who are more vulnerable to the virus. So please do your bit to help stop the virus spreading and play your part in looking after your local community.”

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of the Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “While cases remain lower in Buckinghamshire than in other parts of the UK, we also know things can change really quickly. It’s vital we all act when we see data that’s a cause for concern to stop things getting any worse. Please continue to do your part and keep up the basics – wash your hands, wear a face covering where needed and keep your distance from others. Above all, isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms. We have a chance to reverse the trend so let’s all do our best to achieve this.”

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Are you ready for winter?

We want you to help us help you stay safe this winter.

There are a number of things you can do to stay healthy, travel safely and look out for others. Please click here for local advice on a range of issues, including:

  • Flu vaccinations
  • General winter illnesses
  • Pharmacy information
  • Self-care guidance
  • Common childhood illnesses
  • Mental health concerns
  • Care homes and social care information
  • How to be a good neighbour, especially to the elderly and vulnerable
  • Gritters, travel and weather information