CCG News Bulletin - December 2016

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Walsall CCG News - December 2016

Welcome to the December 2016 issue of CCG News. This bulletin provides you with the latest news from NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). If you have any questions about any of the news items please get in touch with us at

In this issue:  


Anand Rischie

Hello everyone, it’s amazing how quickly time flies by – another Christmas approaches fast, the New Year is nearly upon us. So much has happened since our September issue.

We have made good progress in a number of key areas, some of which you can read about below. But there are obviously many challenges ahead which we are determined to meet head on as part of our main objective, which is to commission safe, high quality, sustainable health services for local people.

Winter is traditionally a busy time for the NHS and social care services, meaning that there is greater than usual demand on local services. Reducing the number of emergency admissions to hospitals is one of the key challenges facing the NHS.  Emergency departments are under greater pressure as the number of patients coming through the doors is increasing, especially during these winter months.

Many of the cases that present in our busy A&E department could be seen in another, much quicker health care setting, saving residents precious time and allowing the doctors in A&E to treat those who really need it.

If you need help when your GP practice or pharmacy is closed and it is not life threatening, call NHS 111 and a trained adviser will be able to offer you advice or book an appointment with an out of hours GP.

If you need more urgent help but it isn’t life threatening, such as burns, minor fractures or rashes you can go to one of our Urgent Care Centres. It is important that people familiarise themselves with these options so that they know what to do if they become unwell.

And don’t forget if you have an elderly friend, relative or neighbour, please take some time to make sure that they’re feeling fine. This time of year, flu bugs can be challenging for many older people.

On behalf of the governing body, may I wish all of you, your family and loved-ones, a very happy Christmas and a very healthy New Year.

Clinical Chair, Dr Anand Rischie

Stay Well Walsall

The CCG together with local health and social care partners at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and Walsall Council have launched a campaign to encourage communities across Walsall to Stay Well this Winter.

The ‘Stay Well Walsall’ campaign aims to encourage people to keep well by looking after themselves and having the flu vaccine. It also raises awareness of the local NHS services that are available.  By making the right choices at the right time, patients will receive the best possible treatment in the most appropriate place. It also allows busy A&E departments to help the people who need them most.

Information about the range of local services that are available can be found on the CCG website. A ‘Guide to local health services’, that contains useful information and health advice has been produced and been delivered to households across Walsall. We have been out and about across Walsall over the last few weeks talking to people and giving out information. 


Pharmacies open over the Holiday Period

There are a number of pharmacies open across Walsall over the holiday period. The information is also available on our website and in your local GP practice.  

Please share this information with your friends, family and wider networks. 

(Click here to download)

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Our Performance

We are continuing to work with our providers (Walsall Healthcare Trust and Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust) and closely monitoring their performance and improvement plans.  Agreed recovery plans are in place for both the A&E 4 hour waits target and the 18 weeks referral to treatment time (RTT) target. The table below outlines our current performance as set out in the NHS Constitution

our performance 2016 pic

The Big Conversation

logo big convoLike much of the NHS, with an ever increasing demand for services we need to consider local needs yet balance this with the money available to us.

The Walsall health and social care system faces unprecedented challenges. Walsall CCG is facing financial challenges, both this year and beyond and we have to find efficiency savings of £23 million this year at  the same time as making sure essential services are protected for the future.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated some services at our main health provider, Walsall Health Care NHS Trust as ‘inadequate’, including maternity and emergency care services, and in need of rapid improvement. Alongside Walsall Council, having reduced its spending by £84m over the last four years, and needing to save a further £86m.

The CCG is working hard with partners to implement our finance recovery plan, however this is not without needing to make some changes in the way we commission services in the future so that we make the right decisions about the services we commission we recognise that we need to better involve local people, patients and our partners and this will be a key priority for us during 17/18.  

To help us do this we will be launching the ‘Big Conversation’ on the 24th January 2017. We want to listen to patients and the people of Walsall and also share our ideas for future healthcare delivery.

The CCG Patient Advisory Group, which is made up of representatives from Healthwatch Walsall, Walsall Disability Forum, Carers centre, Walsall Council and members of the local community, will be working with us to help shape a series of listening events over the coming months.

To book your place on the Big Conversation event being held on 24th January 2017. Walsall Town Hall, 10am email . More details will be sent out nearer the time.

Sustainability and Transformation plan

stp image v3

The Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) has now been published. Partners from across 18 health and social care organisations locally have been invited to participate in the development of the plan, which begins to set out how we will  transform health and social care services over the next five years.

The STP is a collaboration of 18 organisations across primary care, community services, social care, mental health and acute and specialised services across the Black Country and the west of Birmingham.

These organisations retain their individual responsibility and decision-making powers, but recognise the opportunity and benefits of coming together for people who use our health and care services.

Walsall CCG have been active partners in developing the STP. Paul Maubach, our Accountable Officer, chairs the local place based work stream with the aim of developing new models of integrated care across the Black Country. Sally Roberts, our Director of Governance, Quality and Safety, is leading the maternity STP work stream with Richard Kirby CEO from Walsall Healthcare Trust.

The STP reinforces the importance of our local development of the Walsall Together programme as the basis for local delivery of care for the future. The STP also adds value to Walsall by developing the benefits of Black Country-wide working on areas such as secondary acute care.

An STP public briefing event was held on Tuesday 6th December at Bethel Convention Centre in West Bromwich. Over 200 people attended the event which was hosted by Andy Williams, Accountable Officer for Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG and the Black Country STP lead.  He presented the context and background to the STPs and explained how CCGs and their partners we will continue to deliver high quality health and care services to people across the Black Country. Members of the public and partners in attendance also explored how they would like to get involved in a series of workshops.

Simon Fogell, from Healtwatch Walsall, also presented and set out the important role Healthwatch play in ensuring local people have their say on any changes that may affect them.

Engaging with local communities and staff is a key part of the plan and more opportunities to give your views on the STP will be available in the coming months.

You will find the full plan and a public facing narrative which summarises the plan on our website.

New Lay Representative for Public and Patient Involvement

Gulfam WaliGulfam Wali  has recently been appointed as the CCG Lay Member of Patient and Public Involvement. Gulfam’s role is to ensure the views and experiences of Walsall people feature strongly in healthcare planning. He also ensures the CCG is open, well governed and financially adept, with strong NHS values and has a responsibility for quality and safety.

Gulfam lives in Walsall, and has a career of more than 16 years in the healthcare sector.  

He has been involved in patient representative groups over the last 7 years and has an education background in Pharmacology. Gulfam has been involved with local community health awareness programmes across Walsall.

As well as this, he is also a volunteer for the homeless outreach project in Walsall and bereavement service and former Governor of a local Walsall school. Gulfam has a commitment to improve health and wellbeing across Walsall and address the health inequalities to improve health outcomes for Walsall patients and public.

You can contact Gulfam via email

National Recognition for Walsall Healthcare Model

care home picOn Tuesday 6th December, the CCG presented at King’s fund conference in London. Sally Roberts, Director of Governance, Quality and Safety at NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Katie Welborn, Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, were among the guest speakers at The King’s Fund’s  Enhanced Health in Care-Homes conference.

Sally and Katie presented Walsall’s Enhanced Healthcare Model for Care Homes, which is being hailed by The King’s Fund as a best practice approach to reducing avoidable hospital admissions. 

Despite only being launched at the start of last year, the model has already started to have a positive impact, with a 67 per cent reduction in admissions being reported in Walsall between January and June 2015.

For more information about the initiative please contact Sally Roberts, Director of Governance, Quality and Safety,

Join our Patient Voice Panel

pvp light picOur Patient Voice Panel launched last month and membership is building fast.  We have been out and about with information stands in Tesco, Walsall College, Walsall Gala Baths and various other voluntary and community venues encouraging people to sign up.

The Patient Voice Panel is another opportunity for Walsall patients to have their say on health care in the borough as well as the chance to shape services for the future.  Panel members will play an important part of our engagement activity in the coming year as we seek patient feedback on a range of key services. 

Anyone who signs up at one of these events will be entered into a prize draw for cinema tickets and all members who sign up will be given access to health service discounts.  Please help us to spread the word among patients about this great opportunity by sharing this with your networks and by re-tweeting.  If you have an opportunity for the panel to become involved in please contact the Communications Team at

It is free to become a member, anyone aged 14 years or over and registered with a Walsall GP is welcome to join.  Members can become involved as much or as little as they like. People can join the Patient Voice Panel by visiting the website or by picking up a leaflet and application form from their GP surgery.

Medicines waste initiative TV feature

bbc anand pic 2A CCG initiative to reduce the waste of medicines will be features on the BBC Inside Out programme. The team will showcase its Pharmacist Led Repeat Prescribing Service, which is aimed at improving the safety and appropriateness of repeat prescribing within local GP practices by ensuring patients’ notes and blood tests are reviewed before prescriptions are issued.

Since its implementation in 2011, the service has attracted widespread interest from other CCGs across the UK and has been published as a quality and productivity best practice case study on NICE’s website.

Dr Anand Rischie, CCG Chair is featured and talks about the importance of not issuing medicines that aren’t required – either because patients are no longer prescribed them or because they have sufficient amounts at home.

NHS Walsall CCG’s Medicines Management Team provides advice to local prescribers on the appropriate use and management of medications and monitors the volume of medications prescribed in the area to ensure NHS funds are appropriately utilised. The team also works closely with Walsall Manor Hospital clinicians to develop local prescribed medicines and guidance for new and existing medications.

The feature will be aired on BBC, Inside Out programme on 16 Janaury 2017.

Supporting Self-Care Week 14-21 November

self care week posterSelf-care week took place between 14- 21 November and colleagues across different departments have been out raising awareness in Walsall. The week began with Jyoti Saini delivering some key messages to children at a local Walsall primary school. The children really enjoyed the session and were given a certificate to take home so that they could share some key messages with their families.

An awareness event was also held at Walsall College, with help from our three apprentices, Rachel Wellington, Ryan Beckett and Jack Jones along with our work experience student, Zyra Khan. 

It was an exciting morning, and very encouraging that students are keen to know how to look after themselves, what trusted resources to use, and knowing when it is appropriate to seek medical attention. Willing volunteers were also took part in the “Mannequin Challenge” which you can see on our YouTube channel.

For further information on self-care, please visit or the CCG website Stay Well section.

Dementia diagnosis improving

dementiaThe CCG is improving its dementia services and its diagnosis rate with a range of helpful services.

A responsive Memory Assessment Service now assesses people within four weeks of referral from GPs, where the national ambition is six weeks. This has helped to increase the borough’s diagnosis rate for dementia which is above the England average.

The latest figures from NHS England for September 2016 show that 67.8 per cent of people aged over 65 who are believed to have dementia have been diagnosed. This represents over 2,000 people.  This places Walsall fourth in the Birmingham and Black Country area made up of 14 clinical commissioning groups.

Early diagnosis is a key factor in ensuring older people and their families get the right support and treatment and are able to make decisions for themselves at an early stage. Early symptoms of dementia are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. This means you might not notice if you have them and put it down to normal ageing. For this reason, it's important to talk to your GP sooner rather than later if you are worried about memory problems.

Early diagnosis and partnership working with Walsall GPs is part of a borough wide programme to raise awareness of and increase support for those who are diagnosed with dementia and their family members and carers.

Supporting Patient Groups in Walsall

IMG 1145As a CCG we work closely with practices to support their Patient Representative Groups (PRGs)  or Patient Participation Groups (PPGs).

PRGs/ PPGs are made up of volunteers interested in healthcare issues and can also include members of practice staff. They meet regularly to decide ways and means of making a positive contribution to the services and facilities offered by the surgery to its patients.

The CCG facilitates regular meetings which allow the representatives of all the PRGs in Walsall to meet up, network and discuss ideas and share best practice. These meetings allow the CCG to update patients on healthcare services in the area and also get the views and experiences of the members and the patients they represent.

On Tuesday 13th December a speaker from the National Association of Patient Participation was invited to attend the meeting. They provided the group with useful tips on how to run successful groups, encourage new membership and how they can reach out to the local community. There was also a question and answer session for attendees.

If you are interested in joining a Patient Participation Group contact your local GP practice. 

Walsall CCG Leads the way for Apprentices

DSCF0553NHS Walsall CCG is giving back to the local community with its successful apprenticeship programme.

Since 2013 Walsall CCG has been developing its apprenticeship scheme in partnership with Walsall College supported in part by funding from Health Education England.

The scheme is part of a firm commitment throughout Walsall CCG to support local people by helping them to develop skills that will allow them to either grow within the organisation or move on to further employment opportunities.

This year the organisation has taken on three apprentices in various teams and it is clear to see that both the organisation and the apprentices themselves are seeing the within the CCG in partnership with Walsall College. It not only benefits the apprentices, but also the organisation, as it offers a great opportunity for work-based learning, whilst at the same time helping to develop in-house talent. Ryan Beckett took on the role of Digital Communications Apprentice in February 2016.

In July 2016, Rachel Wellington joined as Commissioning Administrative Apprentice and Jack Jones began in his role as Quality and Safety Apprentice.

The opportunity to learn new skills and develop as individuals were the main attraction for all three apprentices who receive regular one to one sessions as part of a structured programme of development based around their specific needs. They also attend college courses to supplement their learning on the job.

This approach ensures that Walsall CCG apprentices develop greater confidence, a broader skill set and a better understanding of the business.

Dates for your diary

  • Big Conversation Launch event is being held on Tuesday 24th January 2017, Walsall Town Hall. To book your place email
  • Primary Care Commissioning Committee, Thursday 26th January at 9.30am, Jubilee House.
  • Governing Body meeting is being on Thursday 26 January 2017, 2pm - 4pm. Papers will be available on the CCG website nearer the time.

For more information about any of the stories in this bulletin please email