Will you be part of Europe’s biggest healthcare survey?

More than two million people are being given an opportunity to tell the NHS about their experiences of using services at their GP practice. The GP Patient Survey invites a sample of people aged 16 and over from over 7,000 practices across England to take part.

The survey provides detailed information about different ways people interact with primary care staff and how good that experience is. It is key to help the NHS understand what’s working well and what needs to change. Results of the 2018 survey showed 90% of patients in Southport and Formby and 83% of patients in South Sefton rated their overall experience of their GP practice as ‘Good’ (national average: 84%).

NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) either matched the national average or performed better than average for most other questions, such as helpfulness of reception staff, easy-to-use website, and experience of booking an appointment.

Results for NHS South Sefton CCG were a little below the national average for most of the questions about access and overall experience of booking an appointment. However, they performed above average for questions such as ‘Did you feel that your mental health needs were understood?’ (89% yes; national average: 87%) and ‘Have you had enough support to help you manage your long-term condition(s)?’ (80% yes; national average: 79%).

For the question ‘How was your last experience of NHS services when you wanted to see a GP but your GP practice was closed?’, 72% of South Sefton patients and 68% of Southport and Formby patients said ‘Good’ (national average: 69%).

If you have been randomly selected to take part, you will receive a letter over the next few weeks, along with a questionnaire. You can complete it by post or online until the end of March. There is a range of options to make it more inclusive for people who need support to help them take part. All the information gathered is handled securely and no-one is identified when the findings are published.

Dr Craig Gillespie, GP and acting chair for NHS South Sefton CCG said: “We want to hear about your experience of seeing all the different healthcare professionals at your GP practice. This includes on-site pharmacists, mental health specialists and practice nurses – not just GPs.”

The survey also aims to find out more about people’s experiences of using online services, telephone services as well as face-to-face appointments. It also looks at how much support people get with managing long-term conditions and medication.”

The GP Patient Survey is also a way to see how recent changes such as extended opening hours have helped. Some of these initiatives were prompted by patient feedback in previous years’ surveys.

Dr Rob Caudwell, GP and chair for NHS Southport and Formby CCG explained: “In October 2018 we launched ‘7 Day GP Service’ – for patients registered with a GP in Southport or Formby to be able to book routine, non-urgent evening and weekend appointments with a doctor, practice nurse or other healthcare professional at 107 Liverpool Road, Birkdale. South Sefton patients can do the same through ‘GP Extra’ at Litherland Town Hall, Liverpool.”

Read more about these services at www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services/7-day-gp-service/ and www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services/gp-extra/

Patients who are not invited to take part in this year’s survey can still provide useful feedback by filling in a Friends and Family Test form at their practice any time. It is open to everyone, any time – and every practice is involved. More than 1.2 million pieces of feedback are given through this form every month, with nine in 10 rating their experience positively.

The feedback helps NHS leaders across England to understand the current picture of healthcare, and to see where any improvements are needed.

Keep a close eye on Sefton’s furry friends

Among Sefton’s most beloved residents are its beautiful red squirrel population, found mainly in Formby.

Their role in Sefton should not be taken for granted and special care is taken to sustain their numbers.

An important part of this is observing and recording both red and grey squirrel numbers. Lancashire Wildlife Trust is hosting a squirrel monitoring workshop at Coronation Park in Crosby, tomorrow (January 19), 10.30am – 12.30pm for those who want to volunteer for this important role.

If this sounds like it could be right up your tree, visit the Lancashire Wildlife Trust Facebook page

animal animal photography blur close up
Help to monitor Sefton’s red squirrel numbers

Two-child benefit cap due to be scrapped

Plans to scrap extending a benefits cap on families of more than two children has been cautiously welcomed by Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, Cllr Trish Hardy – but she believes the move doesn’t go far enough.

The Government has announced that those with children born before the Universal Credit system began in April 2017 would remain exempt, which means a number of families will no longer face having their benefits capped.

Cllr Trish Hardy said: “While I believe this is good news, it’s only a small number who will benefit from this announcement because it will only be scrapped for some claimants, not all. How is that fair? It will cause nothing but confusion.

“We know that hundreds of thousands of people are suffering every day as a result of a benefits system that is not working – it needs to change.

“In Sefton, we are seeing so much hardship in some of our most disadvantaged areas and more and more people, including those in work, are relying on foodbanks and other donation schemes – it’s heart-breaking.

“The Government needs to do something more to help those struggling to cope with welfare reforms, including the roll out of Universal Credit. Our communities are suffering as a result of a poorly thought out and executed reform programme and it can’t go on like this.”

Still time to give views about same day healthcare in south Sefton

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding people that there is still time to give their views and experiences about using and choosing different urgent care services when they need immediate or same day health advice or treatment.

The commissioner, which plans and buys the majority of healthcare for south Sefton residents, has been out and about encouraging people to get involved as part of a review of ‘urgent care’ services since early December 2018.

Urgent care includes services for physical and mental health problems ranging from pharmacies, GP practices, GP out of hours services, the NHS 111 phone line and website, walk-in centres, accident and emergency (A&E) departments and 999.

Up until 31 January 2019 the CCG is asking people to complete a questionnaire about these services for adults, children and young people. The information gathered will be used to help develop proposals for how urgent care could look in the future.

Dr Craig Gillespie, GP and acting chair for NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “From our conversations with residents over the past few years we know that some find the current range of urgent care services difficult to choose from and confusing. Sometimes when people don’t know which service to choose they use accident and emergency, which puts extra pressure on hospitals, and means that people might have to wait longer for their treatment.

“This review is the first step towards making sure that our services really meet local needs, so we have been encouraging as many people and NHS staff as possible to get involved and tell us what it’s like to use or work in these services and how they could be better and easier to choose from in the future.

“We’ve been out and about across south Sefton encouraging people to take part and would like to thank the organisations who have helped us reach residents so far, also a big thank you to those who have filled out a survey already.”

The review will also consider how new NHS national guidelines for urgent care services and the introduction of ‘Urgent Treatment Centres’ might be put into place in south Sefton.

NHS South Sefton CCG is carrying out its review with partners across north Merseyside as patients often use urgent care services across this wider area. So, the CCG is also encouraging residents in Southport and Formby who use urgent care services in north Merseyside to complete a survey.

Complete an online questionnaire and find out more on the CCG website: www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk

Healthwatch Sefton is helping us to make the questionnaire available to anyone who may find it difficult to take part online. So, for help to complete a questionnaire, request a paper version, or for another format call Freephone 0800 206 1304, email info@healthwatchsefton.co.uk or text 07434 810 438.

local providers support urgent care review

Friendship Fridays

At the end of the month, The Orrell Trust will be starting a new dementia cafe called ‘Down Orrell Hey’ (Memory Café).

Held on the last Friday of every month from 10 till 12pm, the first Down Orrell Hey on Friday, 25 January is a chance for people to get to know one another.

Mary Carr, Older Persons Development Officer/Volunteer Coordinator with The Orrell Trust, explains: “We don’t need any formal diagnosis of dementia and we will accept people with memory loss and there is no age restriction.

“However, we do however expect a carer, friend or relative to attend with them.”

The Orrell Trust is based at St John & St James Church and Community Centre, 71 Bailey Drive, Bootle. For more information on the Memory Cafe contact Mary on 0151 933 2116.

Memory Cafe jan 2019

Keep warm, keep well event

Sefton OPERA and Sefton Council’s Affordable Warmth teams are inviting you to The Atkinson, Southport on Monday 28 January 2019 (10.30am-3.30pm) for another of the popular Keep Warm, Keep Well events for Sefton residents over 50.

Information stands for local residents will be available between 10.30am-12.30pm, followed by a free tea dance from 1.30pm.

There will be free goody bags, massages and a chance to take part in some chair-based exercises.

For more details contact 0151 330 0479 or 07452 867 648. Or you can email: admin@seftonopera.org.uk

keep warm keep well event 1 jan 2019


Down Orrell Hey is new dementia cafe

The Orrell Trust is launching a new dementia cafe, called “Down Orrell Hey”, later this month to help support people living with dementia or memory loss and their carers.

The group will enable people who are living in similar circumstances to meet on a regular basis to take part in gentle exercise, games, sing-alongs, arts and crafts and memory box workshops.

As Sefton begins its Year of Friendship, groups like this are a great way to provide social interaction and the chance to make new friends.

The group will begin Friday, January 25 and will run on the last Friday of every month from 10am-12pm at St John and St James Church and Community Centre, Bailey Drive, Bootle. There is no age restriction but it is expected that a carer, friend or relative should attend with them.

The Orrell Trust also runs a number of other Over 55s projects:

  • The Wednesday Club (every Wednesday 1.45pm-3.45pm)
    A weekly group to meet new friends, take part in gentle exercise, learn new skills and most importantly have fun!
  • Soup in a Basket (the last Thursday of the month 12pm-2pm)
    A monthly luncheon club where you can enjoy homemade soup, sandwiches and cake, socialise with friends and play traditional board games.
  • Bootle Buddies befriending service
    This project supports people living in Bootle. Volunteers can visit you at home offering a friendly ear and chat, or support you to get out and about.

All projects are delivered from St John & St James Church and Community Centre, 71 Bailey Drive, Bootle, L20 6EX.

New Flicks and Friends film

Age Concern Crosby is pleased to kick off its Flicks and Friends programme for 2019 at Plaza Community Cinema with the newly-released ‘Stan and Ollie’ for next Tuesday (15th).

Film details:

Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes

Director: Jon S Baird

Screen writer: Jeff Pope

Starring: John C Reilly, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson and more..

Synopsis:  Laurel & Hardy, the world’s favourite comedy double act, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As they set out, crisscrossing the country, attendances are disappointingly low.

The tour becomes a hit, but Laurel & Hardy can’t quite shake the spectre of Stan and Ollie’s past and long buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages begins to unfold as the duo, aware that they may be approaching their swan song, try to rediscover just how much they mean to each other.

The screenings, aimed at those aged over 60, have become so popular that people are advised to arrive at the cinema for no later than 12.30pm to secure a seat ready for the film to start at 1pm.

It costs £1 for entry and this includes tea/coffee and biscuits.

There is no need to book,  tell your friends and bring them with you!

‘Make a swap when you next shop’ campaign launches

Change4Life has launched a new campaign to encourage families to ‘make a swap when you next shop’ to help them cut back on sugar.

Children in England are having around 2,800 sugar cubes more than they should each year, more than double the maximum recommended amount. Too much sugar is bad for children’s health and most of the sugar children are having comes from sugary drinks, confectionery, biscuits, cakes, desserts, higher-sugar breakfast cereals and higher-sugar yoghurts.

Change4Life is showing families how easy it is to cut back on sugar by making a few simple swaps to their everyday food and drinks. swap when you shop

Lots of retailers and manufacturers will be highlighting healthier options in store and in their own advertising and many will be using a new Change4Life ‘good choice’ badge to make it even easier for families to make healthier choices.

Make a swap when you next shop. Sign up to Change4Life today for great prizes, easy tips and meal ideas.

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