Coalfields Forum Minutes May 2015


Dorothy welcomed the two reps from the charity and asked them to outline their role. The charity had been established for 8 years and volunteers met in Hetton’s ecumenical church where activities such as exercise, bowls and a luncheon club were provided for the elderly. Gentoo had provided an electric car so that those with mobility problems could be brought in. A dementia club was held monthly together with a luncheon club at Eppleton Primary.
Margaret and Paul explained that the charity wanted closer links with health provision. Age UK signposted people with dementia to the group. The focus was in the Hetton/Houghton area. City start up funding and fund raising provided some finance but most activities were self-funded. As well as volunteer workers, befrienders come into sessions to sit with members. Margaret and Paul were thanked for their input.

These were agreed as a true record. Dorothy noted that Grangewood’s patient group had raised further issues about patient transport e.g. who determined whether or not a patient could be accompanied? How was a patient with unchanged circumstances and requiring a further hospital visit flagged up on the system? Aileen would be addressing the issues raised.

Marianne explained that Northern Doctors held the contract for urgent care centres at Bunny Hill, Washington and Houghton. Access was by walking in or with an appointment via NHS111. They were not an overflow for primary care. Brian Nelson asked why the change from ‘minor injuries’ to ‘urgent care?’ Marianne explained that followed a nationwide shift in thinking. It was intended to intercept patients who didn’t need to visit A and E.
The centres were open from 10am to 10pm on weekdays and 8am to 10pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. Brian wondered if the title ‘urgent care’ might put people off. Marianne explained that ringing NHS111 would give the patient advice on the appropriate place to attend for treatment. Dorothy noted that there had been issues about access.
There was concern from members that there was no triage in place. Marianne said that receptionists trained in ‘urgent’ criteria ensured that those most in need of urgent treatment were seen within two hours, with others being seen within four hours. Receptionists could seek advice from medical staff.
Receptionists were employed by City of Sunderland but trained to standards set by Northern Doctors. There were monthly meetings between Northern Doctors and SCCG regarding any issues about the running of the service. There were nurse practitioners at each site together with a doctor. From September 2014 there was only one three hour period when a doctor was not on site in one centre.
Marianne said there was a robust complaints procedure in place. The directory of services in the centres had been updated. Across the three centres most people were seen and discharged within an hour. At present Houghton was seeing 50 to 60 patients a day. Members felt more publicity was required so that residents knew what was on offer.
Dorothy thanked Marianne for her input.

Sue explained that the North of England Commissioning Support Unit was currently in Sunderland, working on the managing of the process of My NHS and patient engagement.
N.B. the Local Engagement Boards were now called the Sunderland Health Forums. Citywide meetings were advertised in the Echo, My NHS and via a list of contacts. These were bi-monthly, informative and interactive. The next agenda would address urgent care.
Sue explained that My NHS was a database of interested patients whose views were sought on services. Patients could apply using leaflets provided by Sue and also could identify areas of health provision in which they had a particular interest. Contact would be made by email, text and letter. Currently there were about 800 members in our area. It was hoped to expand this to get a better representation across the City. The SSCG website showed all activities.
Sue said the aim was to bring the Health and Wellbeing Board and the SCCG together to engage with patients. Dorothy felt it was important for members to pass on this information to our patient groups. It was noted that Aileen Sullivan and Dr Jackie Gillespie were serving the group very well. Sue was thanked for her input.

This was an issue raised by Grangewood PPG. Dorothy explained that each GP practice had methods in place to help patients to help themselves. Might these successful approaches be spread across the Coalfield area? NAPP had advice…Malcolm would send the latest newsletter to members. Mary noted that at Kepier practice, patients on entering the surgery could see a notice board which helped them to make informed choices when seeking health advice/treatment. Malcolm added that Westbourne provided advice on a website and by telephone.
Mike wondered if members had used NHS Choices (provided by NHS England). This was a website listing ailments and up-to-date advice. He said there was a wealth of information and providing one’s postcode released a list of local services. Also provided was monitoring information on local services and a chance to feedback on experiences. Members felt such a useful facility could be better broadcast.

Mary noted that patients were being involved in signing off PPG reports. Mike wondered if, when prescriptions were held in advance at a pharmacy and an update was given after a hospital visit, were members having problems getting the revised script from the pharmacy. Members suggested that the problem probably lay with the pharmacy in question!
Malcolm relayed information provided by Jackie Gillespie. The SCCG was restarting joint meetings with the Local Authority and currently planning how to use this year’s innovations funding. At the next locality meeting on May 22nd there was to be a ‘Dragons’ Den’ approach with interested parties putting forward a pitch and then it would be decided who would receive allocations.
Also, Sunderland in the past had a Career Start scheme which offered two year contracts for young GPs to enter general practice and have mentorship in host practices before embarking further on a career. Sunderland has restarted the scheme and ten places are on offer starting in August. It is hoped to attract young GPs to the City with a view to their remaining at the end of their contract and assisting with our recruitment and retention problems.
Mike raised the issue of carers’ emergency cards. A contact would be enacted should a carer go into hospital. The contract was now with Telecare which was unwilling to continue the service, blaming cost. Mike offered to do the artwork for a new and improved card if funding could be found. Sue offered to look into possible funding streams and get in touch via Malcolm.
Paul (treasurer for Hetton New Dawn) noted some funding was available for lonely and vulnerable people (he attended the Area Network Committee). The aim was to intervene in the early onset of dementia. He noted that Age UK and the Carers’ Association worked together in this area of need. ESSENCE was a programme of help and support for patients/carers. Members agreed to take this information forward to a later meeting. Mike noted that identify carers could be very difficult. He asked members to encourage referral to GP practices and the Carers’ Association.
Dorothy gave an example of very good practice by the Urgent Care Team. Gladys noted another positive experience from the service.

NEXT MEETING: Monday 27th July. Venue to be determined.
These minutes remain confidential until agreed as a true record at the next meeting.

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