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Newsletter - 19th July 2019

Healthwatch Torbay Feedback Centre

5 reviews for a 5 Star service

We had five reviews last week about Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening. This service is a way of checking if there's a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your tummy.  Read the 5 Star ratings for this important screening service.

If you have used a health or social care service recently please tell us about your experience via our Feedback Centre, by calling us on freephone 0800 052 0029 or email info@healthwatchtorbay.org.uk.
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If you would like to become a Healthwatch Torbay Champion click here for more information

Torbay and South Devon News

Patient Participation Groups in Torbay

A great way to have your say and help improve services offered at your GP surgery is to get involved in the Patient Participation Groups (PPG).

The work of each group is slightly different.  For example, earlier this year the Compass House PPG worked with the Brixham Fisherman's Mission and this led to a new policy to support members of the fishing community.  The policy enables patients (even those not registered with the surgery) to get an appointment at short notice to fit in with when they are ashore.  The surgery has added a pop-up note to their medical records so that the receptionists can accommodate them in line with the new policy.

To find out more about Patient Participation Groups and how to join them, just ask at your GP reception or visit your surgery's website.  If you need help or are not happy with the way your PPG is working, contact Healthwatch Torbay.
Link to contact Healthwatch Torbay

Keeping well during the summer

Health and care staff are advising on the importance of staying hydrated in the hot weather.  As the summer heat persists staying hydrated becomes more important to health, especially for older people, advises Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Among the risks to health of not drinking enough fluids is the possibility of contracting urine infections and which could, in turn, lead to complications.

When the weather is hot it is easy to become dehydrated and elderly people can be at higher risk because not all of them feel thirsty during hot weather, so do not drink enough fluids.

We have provided a link below to more information which includes a short video from the health and care video team
Link to more information which includes a short video

New County wide engagement programme

People across Devon are being asked to help shape the future of health and care in the county by sharing their views as part of a major eight week, engagement programme.

Devon is developing a local version of the NHS Long Term Plan, called Better for you, Better for Devon.

The research will involve focus groups, face-to-face discussions and surveys.

1,700 members of the public who form a Citizen’s Panel will be involved as well as surveys of GP Practice Participation Groups (PPGs) and phone questionnaires with patients.

Local people will be asked a range of questions including:
  • How can we work more closely with volunteers and the voluntary sector to better support people to live healthier and for longer?
  • How can we better support people in their communities and in their own homes?
  • What could we do to promote careers in health and social care (e.g. working with schools and young people)?
More details about opportunities to help shape these plans will be shared shortly. In the meantime, you are being invited to complete an online survey which can be accessed by following the link below.

You can also download our new report which looks at what over 1,000 residents in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay said about the NHS Long Term Plan
Link to the Better for you Better for Devon survey
Download the Healthwatch Torbay Long Term Plan report

Are you starting to struggle with mobility?

 A 12 week programme of strength and balance classes designed through research, to improve and maintain your independence, balance and mobility is being delivered in Torbay and South Devon.

This programme is suitable for those who are beginning to struggle with their mobility or have experienced falls. 

You can self-refer by contacting the Healthy Lifestyles Team on 0300 4561006 who will then check with your GP that this class is right for you.  Feel free to talk to someone at your GP practice first, if you have any concerns about exercising as it may be appropriate to see a physiotherapist in the first instance. 

These classes are a starting point for increased physical activity, strength, balance and independence. The progress made in these classes can then be continued in other local classes to maintain all you have gained.
 
Once referred for the programme you will be sent an assessment appointment so that the programme can be appropriate to your needs.

You can download a poster which contains more information and we have provided a link below to the Healthy Lifestyles website which has a wealth of health and wellbeing tips and support.
Link to the poster
Link to the Healthy Lifestyles website

How did your surgery do in the latest GP Patient Survey?

NHS England has released the latest official statistics from the GP Patient Survey. The annual survey looks at people's experience of healthcare services provided by GP practices.

By clicking on the link below you can view the details for your surgery.  Just enter the surgery name in the search box and click on go.  The results provide a summary of what is working well and what needs to improve.  

Commenting on the national picture Healthwatch England said, "While over 80% of patients reported a good overall experience of their local GP surgery, many people still face difficulty getting an appointment".

The figures show that:
  • Just under two-thirds of patients (64.7%) were satisfied with the appointment times
  • Just under half of the patients (48%) who have a preferred GP said they saw them always, almost always or a lot of the time
Responding to the latest GP Patient Survey, Healthwatch England Chair Sir Robert Francis QC, said:

“It is good to see that the majority of people are happy with the standard of their GP surgery when they get to see a GP.  People up and down the country tell us how much they value the relationships they have with their GPs and the hard work that they do.

"However, they also tell us that there is still room for improvement in accessing those services. The results reflect the everyday realities of visiting a GP."

You can compare these result with those of our Feedback Centre and we encourage you to give feedback each time you use a health or social care service.
Link to survey results for your surgery
Torbay Over 50's Assembly have arranged the first meeting of their Torquay membership which will take place at the Central Church, Tor Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 5RF on Thursday 1st August, 2.30-4.30pm.

The group are encouraging as many people as possible to attend and get involved.  The meeting will include a number of 10 minute presentations from local organisations as well as focus groups on specific areas such as housing, environment, employment, communication, social activity, health and transport.

You can reserve your place by following the link below - you do not have to be a member to attend.
Link to register for the event

Children’s community nurse wins top accolade

A community children’s nurse who has developed guidelines for weaning babies off oxygen has won a prestigious UK award for innovation.

Joanna Broderick, who works for Children and Family Health Devon (CFHD), won the Child Health category of the RCNi Nurse Awards marking nursing excellence.

Her work, which is transforming care for families in Devon, has devised a safe, structured oxygen-weaning guideline for ex-premature babies with chronic neonatal lung disease and built a business case for new equipment.

This has halved the time taken to wean babies off oxygen, reduced the number of community nurse visits, enabled families to get back to normal life sooner and improved CFHD efficiencies.  Mrs Broderick, who works in Exeter and lives in Sidmouth, said: ‘Winning such a prestigious award consolidates and confirms everything I have done to develop this work in the last four years. It inspires and gives hope to nurses to push innovations forward. Don't take knockbacks, keep pushing!
Read the full story

Zero Suicide Ambition

Of the 1 million people who live in Devon at least 100 people take their own lives every year, most often without having approached anyone for help and often without anyone realising anything is wrong. Only about a third of people who take their own life are in touch with mental health services.

Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT) has recently developed a Zero Suicide Ambition Plan that brings together a wide variety of partners and actions to address the issue of suicide. The trust will also be establishing a Safe from Suicide team to take forward the implementation of the plan, alongside a Zero Suicide Ambition Working Group that will include representation from people who use services, carers and family members.

We will bring you more information about the plan when we have it.  We have provided a link to useful information from the NHS Devon Partnership below.
Link to further information

Services from Age UK Torbay

Did you know that Age UK Torbay provides an advice and information service for older people in Torbay and that they are part of the Ageing Well Torbay programme and the FAIR Project?

Their information and advice service is available to all older people, their family, friends, carers, and those who represent them, throughout Torbay.

The service provides information and advice on a wide range of issues. They provide you with the facts so that you can make choices and decisions about the best way forward.

The service can be accessed by phone or you can go to one of their drop-in surgeries (you do not need an appointment).

Contact details and opening times

Age UK Torbay, 12 Dendy Road, Paignton, TQ4 5DB
Tel: 01803 841832
email: reception@ageuktorbay.org.uk

The office is open Monday-Friday 09:30am-5pm
Drop-in advice surgery, Monday-Friday 9.30am-1pm
Telephone Advice Line 01803 841832, Monday-Friday 09:30am-1pm and 2-4pm
 
Factsheets and information sheets:

As well as local information, the organisation provides a wealth of excellent fact sheets.  We have provided a link below to their website.
Link to Age UK Torbay
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Healthwatch Reports

Maternity and Mental Health in Torbay

Our latest report "Maternity and Mental Health in Torbay" was commissioned by Healthwatch England to engage with our local population and service providers to explore mental health support, during pregnancy, throughout the perinatal period and up to 3 years beyond.  The work looked at:
  • the impact of deprivation issues on the experience of maternity, identified in the Public Health Local Authority Health Profile for Torbay
  • the experience of maternity for people (including partners) where English is not their first language
  • Interviews with staff, including both mental health and maternity professionals, to understand their challenges and aspirations for the Long Term Plan in maternal mental health
Our conversations highlighted some critical success factors for providing support for mental health to mothers and families. These are:
  • A universal offer of a perinatal mental health service with locally based Mother and Baby Unit.
  • A strong primary care and community multidisciplinary infrastructure including Health Visitors and Midwives wrapping around the whole family
  • The choice to access mental health focussed Peer Support organisations in the community, working in partnership with the statutory sector to support both the mother and father at this time.
  • Children’s centres in the community with excellent links to Health Visiting and the capacity to innovate in response to the needs of parents and others caring for the child.
  • We also questioned the current method of information provision to mothers and fathers. This does not seem to be timely or in the right format resulting in key “red flag” messages missing their mark.
The report has just been published and can be read in full by clicking on the link below.
Download the full report

Did you know?

Our work last year highlighting your concerns regarding the ‘deterioration’ in the quality of social care provided at home in Torbay led to a further Care Quality Commission (CQC) investigation into the home care service in question. This resulted in a further CQC inspection, where they rated the provider ‘Inadequate’ and have taken serious action, with a promise to cancel the service if immediate improvements do not happen. Following our work, the commissioner has agreed to fund a Quality Improvement Team Lead for domiciliary care, a first for Torbay. We remain committed to escalating any further concerns directly with the relevant organisations.

You can download the full annual report by clicking here  We would really appreciate your feedback

Other Healthwatch Reports

The primary role of Healthwatch is to gather feedback from service users, collate that information at a local and national level and to present findings to providers and policy makers.  By doing this we encourage and support better health and social care services.

Our latest reports:
Click here for a full list of Healthwatch Torbay reports
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Open Consultations

We need your feedback on the Health and Social Care Video Library?

Healthwatch Torbay are working with the Bay’s health trust to find out how their self-help video library benefits residents and whether any improvements can be made.

If you have not yet used the service, you will find helpful videos on everything from Acute Medical Units (AMU) to Women's Health and the good news is that you can now access all the videos by downloading a new App to your phone.

We have also created a new promotional video which can be viewed by clicking here

When you have watched one or more of the videos please take just 30 seconds to complete our survey.  Your help will mean we can continue to improve the quality and scope of these videos.
Link to the video library
Link to the feedback survey
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National News and Issues

Alexa will see you now

A new partnership between the NHS and Amazon Alexa will bring verified health information to people’s homes.

It’s hoped the first collaboration of this kind will empower people to take greater control of their health and care.

Through simply asking Alexa questions about symptoms or treatments, the technology can provide qualified advice to users in the comfort of their own homes.

Amazon’s algorithms trawl information on NHS websites to provide answers to questions like: “How do I treat a migraine?”, “What are the symptoms of flu?” and “What are the symptoms of chickenpox?”.

By providing better access to advice on common illnesses, particularly for elderly or blind patients who are unable to access the internet on a smartphone or computer, it’s hoped pressure on GP services and A&E will be relieved.
Link to Digital Health news

NHS England, in partnership with Age UK, Public Health England, and the Chief Fire Officer’s Association and older people themselves, has published a Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing.

The guide helps people to stay physically and mentally well by providing hints and tips on how to keep fit and independent. It recognises, as we all should, that there is always something we can do to improve our health and wellbeing. For older people who may be starting to find things more difficult to do, it is particularly important to take active steps to slow down or reverse some of the health challenges we are all likely to face.

To help people understand their potential risk of living with frailty, the guide includes a simple, walking speed test. Taking more than five seconds to cover a distance of four metres is highly indicative of frailty, with the proviso that there is no obvious alternative reason for walking slowly such as a previous stroke or knee/hip arthritis. This is not meant to be a diagnosis, but it can provide a good indication that someone should consider making changes to their daily lives so that they can better manage their frailty or reduce the chance of it becoming more serious.

Download the guide

HPV vaccine could prevent over 100,000 cancers

From September 2019, boys in school year 8 will be offered the free Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for the first time, (girls have been offered this vaccine since 2008).

Worldwide, about 5% of all cancers are linked to the HPV virus. This includes cervical, penile, anal and genital cancers and some cancers of the head and neck – all of which the vaccine helps to protect against. Cervical cancer is currently the most common cancer in women under 35, killing around 850 women each year. HPV is thought to be responsible for over 99% of cervical cancers, as well as 90% of anal, about 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers and more than 60% of penile cancers.

Modelling produced by the University of Warwick estimates that by 2058 in the UK the HPV vaccine currently being used may have prevented up to 64,138 HPV-related cervical cancers and 49,649 other HPV-related cancers.  This would be 50 years after the introduction of the HPV vaccination programme, when people who were vaccinated as teenagers have reached the age groups that they would typically be affected by HPV-related cancers.

The Public Health England website are encouraging parents of girls and boys aged 12 and 13 to look out for information from their children’s school about the vaccine and timings for the jab. If they miss out on the vaccination for any reason they should talk to their school nurse or immunisation team about getting the vaccine at a later date.

You can find more information about HPV vaccination by clicking on the link below.

Link to NHS information about the HPV vaccinations
An alternative guide to mental health care in England
We recently provided a link to an excellent video from the Kings Fund which illustrated how the complex systems and organisations which make up the NHS work.  

The above video was also produced by the Kings Fund in 2015 and we would be keen to hear your feedback about whether people in Torbay feel they get the level of integrated mental health support that is illustrated in this short animation.

Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. The experience will be different for each of us, as will the type of support we need.  But what mental health services are there and how do they fit in with other health and public services? 

You can use our Feedback Centre to tell us about your experience or you can use the link below to contact us by email or telephone.
Link to Healthwatch Torbay
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Stories in the Media

Groundbreaking research on anorexia nervosa

On 15th July the BBC reported on new research which challenged the view that Anorexia is a psychiatric disease.  Instead doctors at King's College London have shown that changes hardwired into some people's DNA altered the way they processed fats and sugars and may make it easier to starve their bodies.

Reflecting on the research the eating disorder charity Beat said the findings were groundbreaking. 

The researchers looked at 16,992 people with anorexia and 55,525 people without the disease, from 17 countries.  All their DNA was analysed to find mutations in genetic instructions that were more common in anorexia patients.

The study found some mutations also presented in other psychiatric disorders such obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

But they also found mutations in the instructions that control the body's metabolism, particularly those involving blood sugar levels and body fat.

Researchers say "Anorexia should now be considered a "metabo-psychiatric disorder" as it is a disease of mind and body".

You can read the full report by clicking on the link below.  We have also provided a link to the NHS website which provides an overview, symptoms and treatments for Anorexia nervosa
Link to BBC Report
Link to the NHS anorexia nervosa page

Sugary drinks linked to cancer

Last week, most of the main media outlets ran a story on the impact of sugary drinks including a higher risk of cancer.  Some of the headlines implied that drinking a third of a fizzy drink a day 'increases the risk of breast cancer by 22% – and fruit juice is just as dangerous'.

The headlines are based on a large ongoing study that assessed sugary and artificially sweetened drink intake in more than 100,000 adults in France.

All drinks with high levels of sugar were considered, including 100% fruit juices and sugary fizzy drinks.

The researchers followed-up the participants over time to see whether those who drank more of these drinks were more likely to develop cancer.

They found that each additional 100ml of any sugary drink a person drank a day increased cancer risk by 18%.

An increase in cancer risk was also found with 100% fruit juices, but not with artificially sweetened drinks.

But the NHS Behind the Headlines website considered the research and articles and concluded that, "It's important to understand exactly what the 18% increase in cancer risk found in this study means. It's relatively small: about 22 out of every 1,000 people developed it.

Based on the findings, if everyone in the study consumed an extra 100ml of sugary drink per day (but everything else stayed the same), they might have expected this to increase to about 26 out of every 1,000 people developing cancer during the study.

Of course, this would only be the case if the sugary drinks were directly causing the increase in cancer risk, which is uncertain.

Making healthy lifestyle changes is the most effective way to reduce your cancer risk. These include regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and not drinking too much alcohol".

Link to the Behind the Headlines article
Click here if you would like us to highlight a particular media story
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External Health and Social Care Reports

Impact of Health and Wellbeing Boards

A new report from the Local Government Association, "What a difference
a place makes - The growing impact of health and wellbeing boards", looks at the impact of Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWB) since their introduction seven years ago.

Health and wellbeing boards were established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to act as a forum in which key leaders from the local health and care system could work together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population. They became fully operational on 1 April 2013 in all 152 local authorities with adult social care and public heath responsibilities.

The report draws on evidence from 22 Health and Wellbeing Boards, Including Plymouth and takes a very positive view about their role.  The report has a number of key messages for local HWBs as well as national and regional bodies.  These are:

Key messages for health and wellbeing boards
  • Each Health & Wellbeing Board, and all its members, is collectively and individually responsible for ensuring that its board is working effectively and doing all it can to develop integration and prevention, providing the shared vision, principles and outcomes needed to improve the health and wellbeing of the population.
  • Each Health & Wellbeing Board should review its way of working and consider if its Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy are still fit for purpose in the new landscape of system, place and neighbourhood working.
  • Where more than one Health & Wellbeing Board falls within a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership or Integrated Care Systems footprint, partners should consider what can be achieved by working together strategically. 
Key messages for national and regional bodies
  • Continue to support the development of Health & Wellbeing Board so that all are supported to operate at the level of the best.
  • Integrated Care Systems should work with local government as equal partners in health, care and wellbeing; they should also involve major stakeholders from all sectors, including representation from people who use health and care services and the public.
  • As Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships evolve into Integrated Care Systems, ensure that Health & Wellbeing Board are anchored into system architecture and are equal partners in the development of Integrated Care System plans.
  • Support the ‘primacy of place’ and the principle of subsidiarity in health, care and wellbeing planning, commissioning and delivery.
  • Address the funding deficits in adult social care and public health and establish the future funding of adult social care on a sustainable footing.
The link below will download a copy of the report.  Healthwatch Torbay are members of a Health and Wellbeing Board and would welcome your feedback on the report.
Download the report

Baby food industry needs better products and clearer labelling say Public Health England

Public Health England has produced a new report, "Foods and drinks aimed at infants and young children: evidence and opportunities for action", which shows clear inconsistencies between national infant feeding advice and how some commercial baby food and drink products are presented:
  • some foods marketed as healthy snacks are amongst those with the highest sugar content
  • sweet snacking is being encouraged
  • misleading product labelling and marketing encourages the introduction of solid food before official advice recommends
  • some product names don’t reflect the balance of ingredients
  • products do not always provide clear feeding instructions
Snacking foods account for more than one third (34.5%) of the total market, and the highest sugar content is found in processed dried fruit snacks which shouldn’t be marketed as suitable for children to eat between meals. Growth in the finger food/snacking market, by 11% in 2017 to 2018, indicates that these foods are increasingly considered an expected and appropriate part of an infant’s diet. However, some sweet snacks, can contain as much sugar as confectionery. The highest average sugar levels are seen in fruit and vegetable-based (47.5g), and sweet finger foods (17.0g) per 100g.

Of the 1,120 baby food and drink products reviewed for the report, more than 1 in 4 (28.1%) are targeted at 4 month olds despite advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) that introducing solid foods should not happen until around 6 months of age.

To push change in the products, the review recommends that the food industry and government:
  • improves the nutrient content of products
  • ensures clear, consistent and honest labelling and marketing of products
  • ensures that products high in sugars are labelled as not being suitable for eating between meals
  • restricts the use of implied health claims on baby food products
It also recommends:
  • putting in place a recurring survey of early years feeding practices to further the evidence base
  • prioritising consumer awareness campaigns around early years feeding
We have provided a link to the full report below:
Link to Public Health England report
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Featured events and useful links
Visit Healthwatch Torbay's events page
Community Events in your area
Events for the Visually Impaired
Contact Healthwatch Torbay if you would like us to feature your upcoming health and social care event.
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Healthwatch Torbay
Paignton Library & Information Centre
Great Western Road
Paignton
TQ4 5AG
Telephone: (Freephone) 0800 052 0029
Text Message: 07469 244112
Email: info@healthwatchtorbay.org.uk

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