CCG News Bulletin - December 2017

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Walsall CCG News - December 2017

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

In this issue:

Winter readiness

With the winter here we all know this is traditionally a busy time for the NHS and social care services, with 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 its doors is increasing, especially during these winter months.

walsall manor hospitalWalsall CCG is working with health and social care partners, including Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Walsall Council, voluntary sector organisation and our local GPs to ensure robust plans are in place to manage demand.

The Walsall Urgent and Emergency Care Improvement Board has been established with membership from the organisations above, with the role of monitoring and managing overall performance.

Plans to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and the length of time people who are admitted to hospital need to stay there include:

  • More same day, evening and weekend GP appointments for patients (see Extra GP appointments to be made available in Walsall)
  • More nurse and doctors in the two Urgent Care Centres in Walsall.
  • More doctors and consultants in the A&E department, including weekends
  • 24/7 psychiatric liaison and mental health crisis response to support A&E
  • Additional funding for care packages for those patients who are ready to be discharged from hospital, who may need support in their own home or a care facility.
  • More patient education supporting patients to choose the most appropriate services for their needs. (see ‘Stay well article’)

In addition, we are:

  • Working with partners in social care and the voluntary sector to better integrate care and utilise the Better Care Fund to improve out of hospital care for people
  • Continuing to work with GPs and matrons on  enhanced ward rounds to support deteriorating patients in care homes to ensure appropriate care plans are in place and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions or ambulance calls
  • We also have a Quality Improvement Facilitator working with all nursing homes to drive improvements in recognition and communication of deteriorating patients and also reducing avoidable harms (e.g. falls, pressure ulcers etc.).

Health and social care organisations have been working tirelessly to improve patient experience to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place to provide high quality and responsive services not just for the 2017/18 winter period but for future years.

These programmes of work collectively aim to meet the national requirements of reducing delayed transfers of care, Primary Care Streaming, reducing variation in best practice and reducing A&E attendances. Performance against each project is monitored closely through the comprehensive governance systems in place across the Walsall health and social care system.

Our performance

The challenges to NHS performance nationally during 2017/18 has been felt locally, particularly in A&E and Referral to Treatment (RTT) where targets are not currently being achieved.

Walsall CCG remains committed to meeting these requirements for all users of NHS services and will continue to work closely with local providers to ensure these standards are achieved and improvements made where this currently is not the case. Our performance during 2017/18 against the requirements of the NHS Constitution is summarised below.

Our Performance Table

Extra GP appointments to be made available in Walsall

Walsall residents will benefit from additional GP appointments over the Christmas period and during the winter months.

The CCG has been working with local GPs to create a pilot scheme, which will see out-of-hour GP appointments available to all patientsGP Access pic across Walsall at Darlaston Health Centre in Darlaston, Pinfold Health Centre in Bloxwich and Broadway Medical Practice in Broadway.

Walsall patients who need to see a GP urgently can book an out-of-hours appointment from Saturday, December 23 which is when the scheme launches.

The out-of hours GP appointments will be available between:

  • 6.30pm – 9pm weekdays
  • 10am – 3pm weekends
  • 11am – 1pm bank holidays (including Christmas Day)

The service is for patients who have a pressing illness or injury or are unable to attend their GP practice during normal opening hours. However, the Hubs are not walk-in centres and patients will only be seen by a GP if they have booked an appointment.

A dedicated phone number has been set up for people to call to book an out-of-hours GP appointment. To book an appointment patients should call 01922 501999 during the following time:

  • 8am – 9pm weekdays
  • 10am – 3pm weekends
  • 11am – 1pm Bank Holidays

NHS 111 telephone advice service will also be able to book an appointment on a person’s behalf if they feel the patient needs to see a GP. 

Play Your Care Right this winter

Emergency departments can be extremely busy during Christmas, New Year and the winter period so it’s important to remember that A&E is for serious and life-threatening emergencies.

You can help your local NHS and ensure you get the treatment you need when you need it if you think carefully about where to go forPlay Your Care Right advice and treatment.

Many common winter ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throat, tummy ache and sprains can be treated at home. Pharmacists can also offer advice and treatment for a number of minor illnesses and injuries.

If your condition is more serious, you can make an appointment to see your GP or if you need to be seen right away, you can visit a walk-in or urgent care centre.

If you have a life-threatening condition, serious accident or need emergency treatment, you should go to A&E or call 999. If you need help urgently but are unsure where to go you should call 111.

To find out how to access the right service, watch our Play Your Care Right show.

Stay Well Walsall Health Bus

Right side bus group shotThe Stay Well Walsall Health Bus rolled into Walsall to give residents advice on how to stay healthy this winter. Amongst the venues was Walsall Arboretum during the annual Bonfire and Firework Display and Gallery Square, in Walsall town centre.

Staff on the bus spoke to over 1,000 people, answering queries as well as giving a range of information and advice on how to keep well this winter, how to spot the first signs of illness and who is most at risk of becoming ill. Chief Officer at NHS Walsall CCG Prof. Simon Brake and our urgent care lead, Andy Rust took a trip down to the bus to help spread the word.

New community services for Learning Disability service users in 2018/19

doctor 563428 340Across the Black Country Transforming Care Partnership, Learning Disability commissioners have been working together with social care and Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust colleagues to develop new services for adults with learning disabilities. These services will support people in the community to help avoid any admission to acute settings or rehabilitation hospitals.

The services will support independent providers to help meet the needs of people with a learning disability and up-skill providers where necessary to ensure that placement breakdown is avoided and providers are supported to meet individuals’ needs outside of a hospital setting.

This will result in more personalised service delivery for users and clearer pathways of support. To find out more please contact Head of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Commissioning, Marcus Law on

Farewell SallySally

Sally Roberts, Chief Nurse and Director of Quality is moving onto pastures new at the end of January. Sally has played a significant part in shaping health services within the borough; her wealth of experience has been of enormous value to the CCG and she will be greatly missed. We wish her the best in her new role at NHS Wolverhampton CCG. 

A successor has been appointed and is currently going through the necessary HR process before taking up the post early in the New Year. 

Changes to Governing Body Jim Oatridge

Jim Oatridge has been appointed on an interim basis as the Lay Member for Audit and Governance. Jim is an experienced director in public, private and third sectors and is a lay member for governance on Wolverhampton CCG’s governing body. 

The CCG is also recruiting an additional Lay member for Public and Patient Involvement. Interviews for the post took place on December 13, 2017.

GP practices sign up to Domestic Violence Support

A programme to help GPs identify and refer domestic violence and abuse victims has launched in Walsall. Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) developed by researchers at the University of Bristol, provides a training program and support to GPs, practice nurses and other primary care clinicians to help them identify and refer women with experience of domestic violence and abuse to specialist domestic violence services. It also provides information and signposting for male victims and perpetrators.

pexels photo 271418Funding from Walsall CCG, the Safer Walsall Partnership and NHS England has enabled the CCG to commission the IRIS project, through Black Country Women’s Aid. The training will empower general practice staff to identify and support those at risk and with experience of domestic violence and abuse. The project is supported by two clinical leads through the CCG and a number of GP practices across Walsall have already signed up to the training and a number of others have expressed an interest.

Domestic abuse is a major public health concern and is responsible for more ill-health and premature death for women with a significant number of cases resulting in physical injury and mental health issues such as depression.

Evidence shows that the programme significantly increases the number of victims identified therefore ensuring that more victims are referred to specialist domestic violence services to receive the care and support they need.

To find out more about the programme or to register your interest if you are a GP in Walsall please email Adult Patient Safety Manager, Andrew Colson on

Self-care competition for schools

Young people across Walsall are being encouraged to take part in a self-care competition by becoming community champions. A competition was launched last month (November 13) giving primary and secondary schools across the borough the chance to promote health and wellbeing amongst their communities. 

Schools Champion brighterSchools taking part in the competition are being asked to create a campaign that promotes self-care in their local community, whether that is within their school, a nearby care home or even a community centre.

Self-care can be defined as the actions that people take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness. By empowering young people with the confidence and information to look after themselves when they can, and visit the GP when they need to, it gives them greater control of their own health and encourages healthy behaviours that help prevent ill health in the longer-term. 

The campaigns will then be judged by the CCG, with four primary school finalists and four secondary school finalists being announced in early 2018. The finalists will then be given £50 each to make their campaign a reality.

The event put on by the school will then be judged with the winners from both categories being announced on March 31, 2018 where they will be presented with a trophy.

For more information contact the CCG Medicines Management Team on

Public consultation feedback

You will be aware that the CCG has been undertaking public consultations in relation to a number of proposed changes in health services. The consultations ran for a six-week period from 14th August, 2017 to 22nd September, 2017. These have now come to an end. We have received a significant response and would like to thank those who participated by either completing a survey or attending one of the events.

Acute Stroke Services

NHS Walsall CCG carried out a consultation which asked local people to give their Andy Rust UCCview on hyper-acute services for Walsall residents to be transferred to the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (New Cross Hospital). A total of 360 surveys were completed with support from Healthwatch Walsall, from respondents living in Walsall. This was in addition to the 34,863 impressions from the #HaveYourSay social media campaign. Around 60 venues were visited during the consultation period to promote the opportunity to participate in this consultation and complete a survey.

Walsall CCG is taking into account the findings and issues raised from the public consultation to inform the plans going forward with regards to hyper-acute stroke services.

Urgent Care Services

The focus of the consultation on the future of Urgent Care Services was on proposed options. A total of 892 survey responses were collected, with support from Healthwatch Walsall, from respondents living in Walsall and the neighbouring boroughs. This was in addition to the 34,863 impressions from the #HaveYourSay social media campaign, people who attended the CCG public meetings and other correspondence in the form of letters and telephone enquiries.

The findings and recommendations have been shared with Walsall Health Overview and Scrutiny and the West Midlands Clinical Senate for consideration. Walsall CCG will consider the feedback from the public consultation when it makes a decision. Any change in service is also subject to an ongoing assurance process with NHS England.

Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) - GP services

Contracts with several GP practices were due to come to an end and Walsall CCG looked at them and decided how future services could look. GP services are provided on a General Medical Services (GMS) or Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contract and APMS contracts are time limited.

A broad range of consultation methods were used to promote and facilitate feedback from patients, the public, local stakeholders - including elected representatives - and staff. These included public meeting, social media, community outreach and focus groups with seldom heard groups. The CCG worked closely with Healthwatch Walsall to engage with effected patients. Over 1,000 surveys were completed.

Walsall CCG's Governing Body met on November 7, 2017 and agreed the recommendations from Primary Care Commissioning Committee. No changes will take place until July 2018. The full report including the recommendations is available to read on the CCG website.

Changes to our Policy for Procedures of Lower Clinical Value

Earlier this year Healthwatch Walsall was commissioned to undertake a public listening exercise on behalf of the CCG to seek the views of members of the public about its Procedures of Lower Clinical Value Policy (PoLCV).

Simon Brake Consultation picProcedures of Lower Clinical Value are procedures which evidence suggests have only limited or temporary benefit, and which are not felt to be necessary to maintain good health. The main reason for having PoLCV policies is to ensure:

  • Patients receive appropriate health treatment, in the right place and at the right time
  • Treatments with no, or a very limited, evidence base are not used
  • Treatments with minimal benefits to health are restricted

Thank you to everyone who participated and gave their views. The findings have now been analysed and as a result the CCG's Procedures of Lower Clinical Value Policy has been updated.

The main conclusions from the public feedback are as follows; the majority of the respondents agreed with the principles set out in Q1, that the CCG should;

  • Have policies based on robust clinical evidence that meet the latest national guidance.
  • Offer procedures consistently and fairly to patients
  • Stop using treatments that do not have any benefits for patients, or have a very limited evidence base
  • Prioritise treatments that provide the greatest benefits to patients
  • To stop offering cosmetic treatments.

The revised policy is available to view on the CCG's website.

Dates for your diary

Tuesday 09 January 2018 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Governing Body Public Meeting

Tuesday 06 March 2018 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Governing Body Public Meeting

Tuesday 13 February 2018 1.30pm – 3.30pm                                                                                

Patient Participation and Liaison Group meeting: (a networking meeting, open to those who Chair a PRG/PPG across Walsall)

Contact us

We would love to hear your views on the services we commission so please do get in touch in one of the following ways:

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