Have your voice heard by joining an NHS patient group

Sefton residents interested in getting involved in how local health services are delivered are invited to two public events next month.

The special events, organised by the two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Sefton and  Healthwatch Sefton, are open to anyone wanting the chance to support their local NHS to improve and develop services by joining their local Patient Participation Group (PPG).

Helen Graham is chair of a local PPG group and says: “I joined our PPG group over four years ago and now chair the meetings. For me, it’s important that we think about all patients at the surgery rather than just those present at the meetings so we’ll think about all age groups and different health needs to help the practice support its patients.

“The meetings are a chance to get involved in changes and have your say, for example our practice has recently developed a new website, which we were all able to feed into and make suggestions on that were then taken forward.

As a result of discussions in the group, the practice also set up social media accounts and we’ve recently had a new PPG member join as a result of seeing our Facebook page. It is so worthwhile being a part of your PPG and making changes for the better in your local practice.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “PPGs support GP practices and are a way for you as a patient to have a voice about services at your surgery, as well as the wider health sector in your area.”

HW Sefton and CCGs
Colleagues from both Sefton’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups with Healthwatch Sefton at a Practice Managers PPG event in May

Dr Craig Gillespie, GP and chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “By coming along to these special events, you will gain a better understanding of what PPGs do and how you can become a part of the one at your GP practice.”

Diane Blair, manager of Healthwatch Sefton, added: “As a local Healthwatch,
we recognise the importance of the patient voice being heard when local health services are being delivered or developed. That is why we want as many people as possible to come along to the events to hear first hand the difference being a member of a PPG can make.”

At the events there will be a marketplace of health and wellbeing stalls at both events giving people the chance to chat with health professionals as well as representatives from the CCGs and Healthwatch. People can hear from current PPG groups and how they engage with their patients.

A light lunch will be served during each event, the first of which is on Tuesday, November 12 at SING Centre, Cambridge Road, Seaforth, L21 1EZ and the second is at Lord Street West United Church, off Lord Street, Southport, PR8 2BH on Tuesday, November 19.

Both events run from 10am until 2pm.

To book on for the south Sefton event on November 12, please register by calling: 0151 317 8456 or emailing: southsefton.ccg@nhs.net

For the Southport event on November 19, please register by calling 01704 395785 or emailing: southportandormby.ccg@nhs.net

Increasing breast awareness

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, local health commissioners are encouraging women to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of breast cancer and to be aware of how to check themselves for these symptoms.

Dr Debbie Harvey, clinical lead for cancer and end of life at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with about one in eight women being diagnosed with it during their lifetime.

“It’s really important to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to be breast aware. Being breast aware means getting to know how your breasts normally look and feel. This may change at different times of the month. This then increases the chances of you noticing any unusual changes which might be a sign of breast cancer”

Being breast aware means that you:

  • know what is normal for you
  • look at and feel your breasts
  • know which changes to look for
  • see your doctor about any unusual changes.

Symptoms which should then be checked out with your GP can include any of the following:

  • a new lump or area of thickened tissue
  • a change in the size, shape or feel of your breast
  • swelling in either of your armpits
  • a change in the position of your nipple e.g. turning inwards
  • skin changes in the breast such as puckering, dimpling, a rash or redness of the skin
  • unusual discharge from your nipples especially if you are not pregnant or breast feeding
  • constant pain in your breast or armpit.

Dr Graeme Allan, clinical lead for cancer at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“The vast majority of women who see their GP with unusual breast symptoms do not have cancer. For those who do, early diagnosis and treatment have really good outcomes. I would urge women to see their GP if they are at all concerned.”

Watch Breast Cancer Now’s video for a guide to for how to check your breasts.

For more information on breast cancer, visit the NHS website and CRUK

Healthwatch Sefton is looking to recruit a leader

Sefton’s local NHS health and care consumer champion is looking to recruit a chairperson and is asking: “Do you share our passion to ensure people’s voices are heard by health and social care service providers and commissioners? If you do, then we want to hear from you!”

Healthwatch Sefton makes sure local people have a say in influencing the design and delivery of local health and care services for those who use them now and those who might need them in the future.

Diane Blair, manager of Healthwatch Sefton, explained: “There are changes happening within the NHS and these are having an impact locally. We are looking for a chairperson to lead us through these changes to ensure we carry out our aims for the benefit of Sefton residents.

“Our chairperson will champion the patient’s interests as well as influence decision makers and ensure our organisation is effective.”

The role requires knowledge of the health and social care system across Sefton and whoever is recruited will be expected to maintain strong working relationships with Sefton Council, NHS, the voluntary sector and will take a seat on the Sefton Health and Wellbeing Board.

This is an unpaid role which runs for three years but out-of-pocket expenses will be covered. There will also be access to office accommodation (Burlington House) and administrative support.

Maureen Kelly is the current chairperson and has served two terms in this role since Healthwatch Sefton was formed six years ago. During that time she has overseen its development including the launch of the two Community Champion Networks and Independent Complaints Advocacy service.


Chairperson recruitment pack (Word/PDF)

Application form (Word/PDF)

Diversity Monitoring form (Word/PDF)

Criminal Convictions Declaration (Word/PDF)

Closing date: 5pm on Monday 4th November 2019.

Interviews scheduled: Week commencing 18th November 2019

All completed applications and for any enquiries, please email recruitment@healthwatchsefton.co.uk

For an informal chat, call Diane on 0151 920 0726 ext 236 or email: diane.blair@healthwatchsefton.co.uk

Collective Encounters at Bootle Library

Theatre group Collective Encounters have taken up a twice-weekly residency at Bootle Library with the aim of creating a new piece of theatre for social change.

The workshop will explore the issues that are important to you, your community and society.

Collective Encounters is a professional arts organisation specialising in theatre for social change through collaborative practice. It uses theatre to engage those on the margins of society, telling untold stories and tackling the local, national and international concerns of our time.

They have been recipients of the Community Resilience Grant managed by Living Well Sefton which was used to work jointly with Stepping Stones on a project to raise confidence and communication skills for people with mental health issues and learning differences.

The project resulted in a performance for an audience of local community groups, councillors and health and support workers.

Collective Encounters will be at Bootle library every Tuesday and Thursday between 10am – 12 noon and 2pm – 4pm.

For more information contact Abi on 07849 094903 or abi@collective-encounters.org.uk

collective encounters
Stepping Stones who worked with Collective Encounters on a theatrical project to increase confidence

Sefton4Good Paint It Pink week

Sefton4Good is asking local Sefton residents to Paint it Pink from 21-25 October to help raise money for local good causes.

Paint it Pink is the annual drive from Sefton4Good to encourage local residents and businesses to donate their time and resources for charities and good causes in the borough.

Sefton4Good are asking local businesses to fundraise on their behalf during this week, through activities such as raffles, bake sales, or wearing pink to work!

All money raised from the events will go to local charitable organisations within Sefton. Over the last two years, Sefton4Good has distributed more than £25,000 to Sefton-based causes, including Bootle Action Group, Girlguiding Sefton, and the Orrell Trust.

Rachael West, who is a member of the Sefton4Good team, says: “Paint it Pink week is a great chance for local people and businesses to find out more about Sefton4Good and the work we do in the borough.

“It is a fantastic cause to raise money for, as we only distribute our funding to local causes, ensuring your money stays in Sefton.”

The latest round of grant funding is due to be launched on 24th October.

For more information on how to get involved visit; sefton4good.org.uk/paint-it-pink-week/

For fundraising ideas, please contact the Sefton4Good team at info@sefton4good.org.uk or call 0151 920 0726.

Donations to Sefton4Good can be made by texting SEFTON(amount) to 70085.

Take the Stoptober challenge

Health commissioners in Sefton are encouraging residents to challenge themselves by taking part in Stoptober, a month-long challenge to quit smoking.

Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK – killing around 78,000 people every year and leaving many more with life-altering illnesses. Serious illnesses such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease have all been linked to smoking. Quitting will make a huge difference to your overall health and you will notice improvements almost instantly.

Dr Craig Gillespie, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “Stoptober is a great opportunity to stop smoking. It sets you an achievable short term goal but who knows, you may be able to keep it up past October.

“We understand that giving up smoking is extremely difficult – that’s why the NHS provides several different types of support services. These include the Smokefree app and one-to-one or group stop smoking sessions.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG chair, said: “Once you stop smoking you will notice a change in your pulse within minutes and your breathing will become easier within 72 hours. Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. I would encourage all smokers to give Stoptober a go.”

There are several options to help you quit smoking. Chewing gum, receiving daily support with the new Stoptober app, as well as using a number of nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches and E-cigarettes are all great ways to help you quit.Colette oct 2019 cropped

Colette Kearney, Service Manager at Smokefree Sefton (pictured right), said: “Smokefree Sefton is a free programme commissioned by Sefton Council, which provides behavioural support combined with up to 12 weeks’ worth of products to help you quit smoking.

“By taking advantages of resources like ours you will be supported throughout your journey of quitting and will have a better chance of being successful with it.”

For more information on Smokefree Sefton, a partner of Living Well Sefton, visit their website.

To find out more about the services available to help you quit smoking, visit the NHS website.

To find out more about Stoptober, visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/be-healthier/quit-smoking/stoptober

Owning a dog ‘may increase length of life’

*article taken from NHS Behind the Headlines

“Dogs could be a heart’s best friend,” reports The Times, after two studies showed people who own a dog seem to live longer than those who do not own one.

The possible beneficial effect – thought to be from a combination of increased physical activity and social support – seemed stronger in people who lived alone with their pet.

One study looked at length of life overall, while the other looked at length of life after a heart attack or stroke.

The article says: We know that physical activity, such as walking, can help people recover from a heart attack or stroke. Owning a dog may encourage people to be more active by taking their dog for a walk.

Social support is also important for health, especially when recovering from an illness. A dog provides companionship and may be a way of getting to know other dog owners in the neighbourhood.

However, the studies do not prove that dog ownership has a direct effect on health, only that it seems to be linked to longer life. While people who enjoy the company of dogs may benefit from exercise and companionship, the study does not show that people who are happily social and active without dogs should get one.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please click here.

Slow walking at 45 ‘a sign of faster ageing’

How fast people walk in their 40s is a sign of how much their brains, as well as their bodies, are ageing, scientists have suggested.

Using a simple test of gait speed, researchers were able to measure the ageing process.

Not only were slower walkers’ bodies ageing more quickly – their faces looked older and they had smaller brains.

The international team said the findings were an “amazing surprise”.

Doctors often measure gait speed to gauge overall health, particularly in the over-65s, because it is a good indicator of muscle strength, lung function, balance, spine strength and eyesight.

Slower walking speeds in old age have also been linked to a higher risk of dementia and decline.

In this study, of 1,000 people in New Zealand – born in the 1970s and followed to the age of 45 – the walking speed test was used much earlier, on adults in mid-life.

The study participants also had physical tests, brain function tests and brain scans, and during their childhood they had had cognitive tests every couple of years.

“This study found that a slow walk is a problem sign decades before old age,” said Prof Terrie E Moffitt, lead author from King’s College London and Duke University in the US.

To continue reading the BBC News article click here.

However, to balance this the government has released guidelines saying that even a small amount of exercise is beneficial. Read more about this here.

And plenty of our partners offer walking groups as well as general exercise classes and other activities. Why not ring the Living Well Sefton team on 0300 323 0181 to find what’s happening near you?

Community Café kicks off in Crosby

Marine in the Community has opened a new Community Café based at Marine FC’s small function room on College Road.

The café takes place every Wednesday from 12pm to 2.30pm and all are welcome.

In addition to the usual café delights, the Community Café will also play host to musical performances, dancing, karaoke, card games, dominoes, board games, quizzes, bingo and more.

Guests are also encouraged to bring along their own hobbies to enjoy or share with others such as knitting, sewing, jigsaws or reading.

There will also be the opportunity to meet with other agencies to find out more information on things like home security, fire/smoke alarms, welfare and benefits, scam letters and phone calls, wellbeing, healthy eating, mindfulness and even local history.

During Sefton’s Year of Friendship, events like this are a great way to get out and about to meet new people. There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day and enjoy.

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