All posts by Neil Phillips

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NHS Buckinghamshire CCG 2019-20 Annual Report and Accounts

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group is pleased to present its 2019-20 Annual Report.

The report summarises the CCG’s achievements over the last 12 months and explains how its budgets have been spent. It also outlines future plans and the way the CCG is working with partner organisations to deliver its vision of everyone working together so that the people of Buckinghamshire have happy and healthier lives.

You can view the previous annual reports published by Buckinghamshire CCG and it’s predecessors,  Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern CCGs, by clicking here.

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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.

 

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 use the online 111 coronavirus service to get advice and find out what to do. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online, or need further advice. This will free up help for those who most need it.

Testing

  • Anyone with coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) can now ask for a test. Here are details on how to do this.

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. This useful guide can help you decide which services to use and when if your child should become ill or injured.

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

And remember:

  • Please always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

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Online Healthy Lifestyles video support available for people shielding or self-isolating

NHS Buckinghamshire CCG has recorded a series of Healthy Lifestyles online video sessions for people who are shielded and/or self-isolating.

These sessions provide an overview of the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, which can improve both physical and mental health.

They are designed to encourage patients to set achievable goals to help them to make healthy lifestyle choices. The videos contain key, evidence-based messages to help people improve their self-care, which is extremely important during the time of this current pandemic.

You can click on the links below to view the sessions, which cover managing anxiety and stress, eating for health, the importance of physical activity, and also shorter sessions covering simple movement and relaxation.

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Don’t hesitate – if you suspect heart attack, call 999

With the number of people in hospital with coronavirus now at less than half of those at the peak of the pandemic, people in Buckinghamshire are being reminded not to hesitate to use their NHS services if they suspect a medical emergency, such as a heart attack.

Nationally, there has been a steep drop in the numbers of people coming to hospital emergency departments with heart problems. The NHS ‘Help Us Help You’ campaign is urging people to make sure they know the symptoms of a heart attack so they know when to seek urgent help.

The common symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest pain – the chest can feel like it’s being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object, and pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling weak or lightheaded, or both
  • An overwhelming feeling of anxiety

Dr Raj Thakkar, Director for Planned Care and NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Since the Covid-19 crisis we have noticed a significant number of patients staying at home, when they should be calling 999. If you notice chest pain, leading up to your jaw, neck arms and back or shortness of breath you must call 999 straight away. This could save your life.”

Dr Tina Kenny, Medical Director for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “No one should ignore the signs of a heart attack, but recently some people have delayed that vital call to 999.  We’d like to remind people that no one who needs our help is ever a burden to our services, and that every effort is being made to ensure patients with coronavirus are treated separately to those without it, to keep people as safe as possible.

“The risk from having a heart attack and delaying treatment is greater than the perceived risk of coronavirus infection. So please help us help you, by acting quickly to get the right treatment.”

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Please be alert to signs of stroke and act FAST during coronavirus outbreak

Your NHS services in Buckinghamshire are asking you to please be alert to the symptoms of stroke in yourself and other people – and to Help Us Help You by urgently calling 999 to get the right treatment as quickly as possible.

There have been concerns that people may delay getting the help they need for serious, life-threatening conditions like stroke because they are worried about coronavirus or being a burden to NHS services. The number of hospital attendances for emergency treatment is down nationally from last year.

But time is a vital factor in treating stroke in patients – the sooner a patient gets medical help, the better their chances of recovery. If you suspect someone, or yourself, may be experiencing a stroke, you should call 999 immediately.

Wycombe Hospital’s specialist stroke unit was awarded an ‘A’ grade by the Stroke National Audit Programme run by the Royal College of Physicians, a rating given to around 1 in 5 units across the country.

Dr Matthew Burn, Stroke Consultant for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Stroke is a genuine medical emergency, and people should never delay seeking urgent help if they suspect they or someone they know may be having a stroke.  If someone is showing signs – one side of their face drooping for example, arm weakness or slurred speech – you should call 999 and ask for an ambulance as soon as possible. Acting quickly saves lives.

“We understand that people may think twice about using hospital services during the coronavirus outbreak, and we have made lots of changes at Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville hospitals to greatly reduce any risk of infection and make sure everyone is treated as safely as possible. If you have any concerns about stroke please don’t hesitate to ask for help – we have an excellent stroke unit in Buckinghamshire and we want to make sure people who need it are using it. Please remember, your NHS services are here for you for more than just coronavirus.”

Dr Raj Thakkar, GP and Director for Planned Care at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “GP practices and hospitals are now working in a way which means we can run life-saving tests at the same time as protecting patients and our own staff from Covid-19 using protective equipment. The risk of ignoring the early signs of a stroke can make a difference between being able to make a full recovery or living with serious disability or even death.”

More information about stroke can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke

If you think someone is having a stroke, remember to think FAST:

  • Face – Their face may have dropped on one side
  • Arms – They may not be able to lift both arms because of weakness or numbness
  • Speech – Their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all
  • Time – It’s time to call 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms

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Prescribing of gluten free foods to continue during COVID-19 emergency

Due to the COVID-19 emergency NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) has taken the decision to postpone plans to stop the routine prescribing of gluten free foods.

The decision was taken in recognition of the additional challenges patients may be facing as a result of government guidelines to stay at home – for example shopping for gluten free foods, accessing deliveries and self-isolation.

This is a temporary measure to support individuals formally diagnosed with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis during very difficult and unprecedented times.

The decision to postpone plans will be reviewed in August 2020, and following that on a monthly basis until an appropriate schedule for implementation can be put in place. At this stage we will share our plans with patients, GPs, Dietitians, Community Pharmacy’s and other stakeholders including Coeliac UK.

The decision to stop routinely prescribing gluten free foods in Buckinghamshire was originally taken by the Governing Body on 12 March 2020. This was with the exception that gluten free bread, bread mixes and flour mixes will only be available to prescribe for patients that meet the exception criteria of ‘dietary neglect’.

The Board acknowledged that some patients are vulnerable and therefore more at risk of dietary neglect. Examples of vulnerable patients who may be at risk of dietary neglect may include those with safeguarding concerns or presenting with malnutrition.

For further information please contact the Medicines Management Team at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning group by emailing bucks.mmt@nhs.net

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How to access NHS services in Buckinghamshire this Bank Holiday Friday (8 May)

If you need medical help or advice this bank holiday Friday (8 May), the NHS 111 service is here for you to offer guidance or arrange a consultation with a healthcare professional if necessary.  Most pharmacies will also be running across Buckinghamshire.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should stay at home. If your symptoms worsen, please refer to the NHS111 online coronavirus service.

If you have a medical problem which is not related to coronavirus, GP services will be available via NHS 111. If possible, please use the NHS 111 online service. But if you cannot access the internet, or need further assistance, you can call NHS 111 .You will then get a call back so you can get advice and guidance on your illness and injury, and further treatment can be arranged if necessary.

Most pharmacies will also be open on the bank holiday, although they will be operating reduced hours. Full details of pharmacy opening times can be found by clicking here, or you can go search for your nearest pharmacy by postcode at www.nhs.uk.

If you do go to a pharmacy, on Friday or at any time, please follow the social distancing guidelines and any other measures that may be being taken to protect both you and their staff.

Hospital A&E services will be running as usual, and if it is an emergency, please call 999.

Dr Raj Bajwa, GP and Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “GP services will still be operating for everyone in Buckinghamshire on the bank holiday Friday, accessible via NHS 111.

“So if you have any healthcare concerns, please use the NHS 111 online service first and this will guide you to the right service – for example, a GP consultation, the Urgent Treatment Centre or A&E.

“And remember, our pharmacies offer very helpful medical advice and over-the-counter treatments for many illnesses or minor cuts and scrapes.  If you are experiencing a genuine medical emergency, however, please always call 999.”

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Pharmacy opening times in Buckinghamshire for Bank Holiday Friday (8 May)

Most pharmacies in Buckinghamshire will be open on this Bank Holiday Friday, 8 May, although they may be operating reduced hours.

Full details of which pharmacies in Buckinghamshire will be open and when can be found by clicking here. You can also go to www.nhs.uk to check the opening times of nearby pharmacies.

If you do go to a pharmacy, on Friday or at any time, please follow the social distancing guidelines and any other measures that may be being taken to protect both you and their staff.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should stay at home.

If your symptoms worsen, please refer to the NHS111 online coronavirus service.

You can also click on the following links to view pharmacy times for Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

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Bucks parents and carers reassured over reports of coronavirus-related illness in children

Parents and carers in Buckinghamshire are being reassured that, despite recent reports of the possibility of an unusual presentation in children which may or may not be linked with coronavirus infection, the risks to children remain low.

But the NHS is reminding everyone they should not hesitate to get in touch with their GP or A&E services if they have concerns about their child’s health.

There have been reports of a small number of cases of a coronavirus- related condition emerging in children. This is because of some advisory information circulated to healthcare professionals in the UK. While these reports have understandably raised fears in parents and carers, the current evidence tells us that most children are not badly affected by the illness.

Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “We already know that a very small number of children can become severely ill with COVID-19 but this is very rare – evidence from throughout the world shows us that children appear to be the part of the population least affected by this infection.

“New diseases may present in ways that surprise us, and clinicians need to be made aware of any emerging evidence of particular symptoms or of underlying conditions which could make a patient more vulnerable to the virus.

“However our advice remains the same: parents should be reassured that children are unlikely to be seriously ill with COVID-19 but if they are concerned about their children’s health for any reason, they should seek help from a health professional.”

You can download this useful guidance for parents on symptoms and seeking advice – it aims to help parents choose the right service at the right time for their child’s illness or injury, whether that is pharmacy, GP, A&E or 999.

Dr Juliet Sutton, GP and Clinical Director for Children’s Services at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a worrying time and we are finding out more about coronavirus all the time. But all the evidence tells us that in the vast majority of cases, children are not badly affected by this illness. We are actually far more concerned that parents may be reluctant to use their GP or A&E services if their child has other serious concerns – fevers, abdominal pains or issues relating to existing conditions like diabetes, for instance.

“So please use this guidance on when to seek help and do not hesitate to use your NHS services if you become worried about your child. Contacting your health services at the right time could help prevent more far serious health concerns in the future.”

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Bucks NHS services are urging people to ensure they attend their regular vaccination appointments

Buckinghamshire’s NHS services are urging people to ensure they attend their regular vaccination appointments, both to prevent outbreaks of serious diseases and to reduce pressure on local health services.

Routine vaccination appointments are still going ahead during the coronavirus pandemic, so it is really important that people continue to attend them.

Vaccinations can prevent some very serious – sometimes fatal – diseases, such as meningitis, pneumonia, whooping cough, diphtheria and measles. It is especially important to make sure vulnerable groups are protected by vaccination, including children, babies and pregnant women.

As long as those with appointments do not have symptoms of coronavirus or are not self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, all scheduled vaccinations should go ahead as normal.

Measures are in place to keep people as safe as possible from coronavirus, at any setting that vaccinations may be taking place in. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust sent its immunisation team to Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham on 1 May. The immunisation team used PPE gear and observed social distancing as they did their work, taking care to make sure the children were not put at unnecessary risk of exposure.

There, out of 179 available places, 171 children were vaccinated – an impressive turn out that the team hopes to see in other sessions. There are currently a further 17 immunisation sessions booked in at schools across Buckinghamshire before the usual May half-term week (w/c 25 May).

Sam Smissen, Buckinghamshire Immunisation Team Lead for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We understand that coronavirus is at the forefront of peoples’ minds at the moment, but please do not underestimate the importance of getting routine vaccinations. They can protect you or your loved ones against some very serious, sometimes life-threatening, diseases. The great work done by our team recently at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School is an excellent example of how we can still carry out immunisations in a safe and careful way.”

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It would be worrying if some people did not get their routine immunisations because they are concerned about coronavirus. Immunisations are as vital to people’s health as ever, regardless of the current outbreak, and there may be serious health consequences if people don’t get the vaccinations they need. So please attend any scheduled vaccinations you may have. We are working really hard to make sure you and your children are as safe as possible at these sessions.”

More information about vaccinations is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations , or you can contact your GP surgery for advice.

Pictured – Immunisation Team at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School

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If you’re concerned about cancer symptoms, don’t delay – contact your NHS services

Your NHS in Buckinghamshire is urging anyone who is concerned they may have cancer symptoms not to waste a moment in contacting their health services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Identifying cancers as early as possible can make a huge difference to the success of treatments and recovery speeds.

And, since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a fall in the number of people GPs would normally refer into cancer diagnosis and treatment services.

Recent research, by Portland Research Group, suggests too many people are avoiding using their health services at the moment, even if they have serious concerns. The top reasons given for this are worries about getting coronavirus or passing it on to loved ones, and being a burden to the NHS.

But measures are in place at GP surgeries and hospitals to keep people as safe as possible from catching the virus, by keeping patients with coronavirus in separate areas. And your health services want to help you as soon as possible – not only does this improve the chances of effective treatment, but delays can ultimately lead to more complex treatments being needed and cause a greater burden on the NHS.

GPs are currently giving consultations over the phone and inviting patients in only when it is appropriate. And coronavirus-free cancer hubs have been set up to provide surgery where necessary, supported by cooperation from hospitals in the independent sector. Any decisions about referring patients for treatment will be carefully taken to keep people as healthy and safe as possible during the pandemic.

Dr Raj Thakkar, Director for Planned Care at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We understand this is a very concerning time for people, and we are all conscious of how important it is to avoid catching coronavirus. But it is also essential that anyone who suspects they have cancer symptoms should contact us as soon as possible. We have been working extremely hard to make sure patients can safely access essential services when they need to, like cancer diagnosis or urgent surgery. By delaying that vital call, people may be putting their lives at risk.”

Andrew McLaren, Cancer Lead for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It is really important people seek help as they always would. Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer saves lives every day, while ignoring symptoms can have very serious health consequences. We are still here to help all of our population, not only those with coronavirus. So please use your health services when you need to – making the right call now could save your life.”

Mrs Jennifer Graystone, Lead Clinician, Thames Valley Cancer Alliance, said: “In Thames Valley, it is important to know that cancer services are still here for people who need them. If you have any concerning symptoms, you should contact your GP who will be able to assess your needs. Across the Thames Valley, we are committed to providing cancer treatment to people who need it as safely and as quickly as possible.”

For more information on spotting signs of cancer, please go to nhs.uk/cancer

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Your NHS services are here for you and safe to use during coronavirus

NHS services across Buckinghamshire are reminding people that hospital Emergency Departments and GP services are still here for them and still safe to use, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Attendance at both hospitals and GP practices for non-coronavirus illnesses or injuries are lower than usual for this period.

This has raised concerns that people who should be getting medical advice or treatment may be nervous about using NHS services. The danger is that serious issues like strokes and heart attacks may not be treated quickly enough, which could lead to slower recovery rates and even prove fatal. A&E services are still open as usual and you can still call 999 in medical emergencies.

People also don’t seem to be using GP services as often as usual. This is especially concerning in cases where people may be living with long-term conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, or when vulnerable adults or children may need support. By not using GP services now, people may find themselves with more serious health concerns later on.

GP surgeries are closed for walk-in appointments, but you can call to arrange a telephone consultation or, if you are over 16, use the AskNHS app. In some cases – where clinically appropriate – people may be invited in for a face to face consultation.

Dr Tina Kenny, Medical Director at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We understand that sick or injured people may be avoiding coming to hospital, perhaps because they worry about burdening NHS services or being exposed to coronavirus. But we are very carefully managing the flow of patients with coronavirus symptoms so they are in separate areas to other patients, keeping everyone as safe as possible.

“So please use your NHS services if you or a loved one needs medical attention – getting the right help at the right time can save lives.”

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Your GP services are here for you during the coronavirus outbreak and we want you to keep using them.

“We know there are people out there who need our help and who are risking their long-term health by not contacting us. We’re particularly concerned about people with long term conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, as well as children, elderly or vulnerable people and adults with learning disabilities.”

National advice for people who think they may have COVID-19 remains to visit NHS 111 online and self-isolate for seven days.

For more information, please visit the NHS COVID-19 website

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Your NHS services – here for you and your children for more than coronavirus

Your NHS services in Buckinghamshire are reminding you during the coronavirus outbreak that we are here for you if you have any health concerns, illnesses or injuries.

Both GP and hospital A&E services are still open for non-coronavirus patients – this is especially important to remember if you have a baby or child who becomes ill or is injured.

During the current situation, with the NHS under pressure and people asked to stay at home, it can be confusing to know the right thing to do if you or your child becomes unwell. Please click here for a useful guidance sheet for parents on when to use different NHS services (produced by Barts Health and North-East London STP).

GP practices are currently working differently to stop the spread of the virus – you cannot book walk-in appointments and anyone with coronavirus symptoms is being asked to use the NHS111 service to get advice.

However, your surgery can discuss any concerns you may have about yourself or your child over the phone. In some cases they may be able to consult by video and, if clinically appropriate, you can still attend the surgery for an arranged appointment. Simply call the surgery by phone, or, for people 16 years and older, use the AskNHS app.

If your child has more alarming symptoms – severe, constant tummy pain, or rashes that don’t fade when pressed with a glass tumbler, for instance, then please attend A&E or call 999 immediately.  Every effort is being made to ensure patients using the hospital are shielded from coronavirus infection.

Dr Tina Kenny, Medical Director at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This is a difficult time for everyone and it is vital we all stay safe and well. We don’t want anyone who needs our care to stay away or avoid A&E. As ever, we ask that you use our services responsibly, but if you are worried you or your child has a serious illness or injury, we are here for you.”

Dr Juliet Sutton, Clinical Director for Children’s Services at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Many people may be trying to ease pressure on the NHS by not using our services. While we really appreciate your consideration, we want to assure you that your GP surgery is still very much here for you.  Your concerns will be taken seriously and listened to. Other illnesses have not stopped to make way for Coronavirus – if you are concerned that your child is poorly or has symptoms related to an ongoing condition like asthma or diabetes please just call us. If you are worried then we are here for you.  Please don’t be afraid to use our services.”

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GP practices and pharmacies to stay open for telephone appointments on Good Friday and Easter Monday

GP practices are going to be open for telephone appointments on Good Friday (10 April) and Easter Monday (13 April).

Pharmacies will also be open but may have different opening hours. You can check these opening times by clicking here (pharmacies are sorted alphabetically by town/village – list updated on Friday, 10 April).

Dr Raj Bajwa, GP and Clinical Chair of Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Due to the current coronavirus pandemic we are expecting the long Easter weekend to be a particularly busy time for the NHS.

“We hope that by keeping GP practices and pharmacies open in this way we will be able to continue to provide care to those who need it and alleviate some of the pressure on the healthcare system at this time.”

If you do have a medical problem that is not related to coronavirus please contact your GP. All GP appointments will initially be on the telephone. The GP will do all they can to help you over the phone – however, should they feel the need to see you face to face for an examination, you will be invited to the surgery for review. Do not go into your GP practice in person without prior agreement.

Please use these services responsibly and appropriately to ensure people with the most need receive care during the pandemic. If you have coronavirus symptoms you should stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. Others in the household should self-isolate for 14 days. You can visit NHS online and use the 111 coronavirus service to get support and advice. Only call 111 if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or you do not have internet access; if needs be you may be directed to a COVID-19 clinic in the community. This approach will free up help for those who most need it.

Pharmacy opening times will be published on the NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group website when they are available.

If you need health advice when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed call NHS 111 to get advice on local services which are open.

You can also visit NHS choices at www.nhs.uk

Emergency Departments (A&E) and the 999 emergency ambulance service provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attack or stroke, severe breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.  In these extreme cases call 999 immediately.

Choosing the right NHS service will help get you the best advice and reduces pressure on A&E and GP services, freeing them up to help those who need it most during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice

The NHS in Buckinghamshire and Public Health England are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to protect patients, our community and NHS staff while ensuring as many services as possible are available to the public.

  • Up-to-date NHS information on the COVID-19 infection, including symptoms and when people should stay at home, can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
  • For the latest advice and information about Coronavirus from Public Health England, please click here.
  • NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has information about changes to services at its hospitals (including Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe and Amersham) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • You can find local information and advice on council services (including schools, social care, transport), at this Buckinghamshire Council webpage. This page also explains how to get involved in Local Support Hubs to help vulnerable people, and how to access help if you are in need.

Please stay at home:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Do not meet others, even friends or family.

You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

 

And please remember:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

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Type 1 Diabetes Patients report – understanding why routine appointments are missed

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group has been working with colleagues and partners to identify ways to make it easier for people living with Type 1 diabetes to attend all the routine healthcare appointments which could benefit them.

In order to do this, it has been first important to understand what may prevent people from currently attending these appointments. We have worked to do this through our project Type 1 Diabetes Patients – Exploring barriers to attending appointments with the Local Diabetes Service. This has involved working with healthcare professionals and arranging interviews and feedback with patients, both in a face-to-face setting and online.

You can download our full report on this project by clicking here.

This project was undertaken as part of the Diabetes Transformation Programme, in collaboration with GP Practices across Buckinghamshire, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Buckinghamshire CCG, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and NHS England.

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Wash your hands to stop the spread of infections

Are your hands clean enough?

It’s the time of year when more infection bugs and viruses circulate, and keeping our hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

Dr Dal Sahota, local GP and Emergency Care lead for NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group advises:

“Washing your hands properly with soap and clean running water removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, leading to illnesses such as food poisoning, flu, colds or tummy upsets.

“Children are never too young to be taught how to wash their hands carefully, so make it part of their daily routine.

“The NHS recommends washing your hands for around 20 seconds – or the length of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Get your technique right by watching the NHS handwashing video:  https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/  

“It’s also a good idea to avoid touching your face or mouth with your hands especially when you have a tummy upset or cold.

“No one wants to spread nasty infections to loved ones. This is especially important for those at particular risk, such as: pregnant women; elderly relatives; babies or anyone with an existing health condition such as diabetes or cancer.”  

Follow these simple rules every day even if you don’t have any sign of a cold or other infection, and make sure you wash your hands:

  • after using the toilet or changing a nappy
  • before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
  • before eating or handling food
  • after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • before and after treating a cut or wound
  • after touching, feeding or cleaning animals
  • after manual work such as DIY or gardening
  • when you come in from work, shopping or travelling

Caroline Capell, Director of Urgent and Emergency Care for Buckinghamshire Integrated Care Partnership which brings together local health and social care services said:

 “If you sneeze or cough, make sure to catch it in a paper tissue, then immediately dispose of the tissue in a bin, and wash your hands. It’s the best way to deal with germs for any cold, cough or flu-type virus or other common infection like a tummy bug. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm rather than into your hands to help stop the spread of illness. 

“When travelling, if you don’t have immediate access to hot water and soap, use hand sanitiser instead. It’s useful to carry some with you when you are out and about. 

“But if you are concerned about being unwell why not check your symptoms on the free app – Ask NHS, or contact 111 by phone or online www.111.nhs.uk  – it’s the quickest way to get the right health advice or the appointment you need with the local NHS.”

 

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Cervical Cancer Prevention Week – please don’t ignore your screening invitation

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group is calling for women across the county to make sure they do not ignore their cervical screening invite letter – too many people are doing just that and are putting their lives at needless risk.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35, but is very preventable. Cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts.

However, uptake of cervical screening has fallen across all ages over recent years. In particular, women aged 25-34 are least likely to attend their screening of any age group.

During Cervical Cancer Prevention week (January 20 – 26), the CCG is asking women to make sure they don’t miss their next screening invitation. And, if you have already missed yours, then please book an appointment at your GP practice now.

Every day seven women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and two will lose their lives to the disease.

Cancer charity surveys suggest embarrassment and a lack of understanding of the causes of cervical cancer may be behind these falling numbers.

Dr Raj Thakkar, Clinical Commissioning Director for Planned Care, said: “Too many women are missing out on their cervical screening test across all ages, but particularly women aged 25 – 34. Unfortunately this puts lots of them at needless risk of developing cervical cancer. This quick, simple test is essential – it could save your life and help us stop cancer before it starts.

“The early warning signs of cervical cancer are very hard to detect yourself, so it is vital you don’t wait until you notice symptoms before booking a screening.

“The test is usually carried out by a practice nurse. It is quick, simple and nothing to worry about. In around 95% of cases the test comes back normal and most abnormal cases are easily treated and will never develop into cancer if caught in time.”

If you have received an invitation for screening, have missed your smear or are due to be screened, please get in touch with your GP surgery to arrange an appointment – it may well save your life.

For more information about cervical cancer screening, go to www.nhs.uk or the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity www.jostrust.org.uk

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Future commissioning arrangements in your area – engagement report published

An engagement report has been published, following the recent engagement exercise to gather views on future commissioning arrangements in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West.

Views were invited on three proposals:

  • The delivery of more joined up and integrated health and care through three, locally focused Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) – alliances of NHS and Local Government organisations working together to plan and deliver care through a joint approach
  • The streamlining of commissioning arrangements through a single Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – a more strategic organisation to support ICPs and also commission services at scale as appropriate, such as NHS 111 or specialised services
  • Changes to the current CCG management arrangements to create a single Accountable Officer and Integrated Care Service (ICS) Executive Lead role, supported by a shared management team working across the Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire West CCGs

Engagement activity was carried out at place level within Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) to gather the views on the proposals for the future of commissioning arrangements within BOB.

A BOB ICS survey on the future NHS commissioning arrangements was also made available through the platform Survey Monkey and was open for comment between the 10th of October 2019 and the 1st of December 2019.

Feedback was received through several channels including the survey, emails and letters from a numerous stakeholders including members of the public, NHS organisations, Health and Social Care Organisations and NHS Staff.

A wide range of responses and views were received. All feedback received will be taken into consideration as leaders within the BOB ICS develop proposals.

A full engagement report has been produced and is available on the BOB ICS website. Also available is the Board paper which is being considered by the three CCG Governing Bodies in January. The paper contains much of the content of the engagement report, includes summary of local engagement activities during the engagement period, a table setting out mitigating actions to address feedback relating to the proposed joint AO/ICS post, and the draft job description for this role.

In turn, the next steps regarding a possible single CCG will be informed by the views given to us – we expect Governing Bodies to consider any proposals about future CCG configuration in early 2020. Any options for future CCG configuration would be subject to consultation with CCG members later in 2020.

 

Public
New guide to explain what people can expect when they visit a pharmacy

The General Pharmaceutical Council  (GPhC) has produced a new online guide for patients and the public which explains what they can expect when visiting a pharmacy.

The guide summarises the standards that registered pharmacies and pharmacy professionals have to meet, and what these standards mean for people using pharmacies.

It also explains that the GPhC inspects pharmacies to check if standards are being met and encourages people to visit the new pharmacy inspections publication site to find inspection reports.

The online guide is available to download from the GPhC website.