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Happy New Year
Welcome to the January 2016
Canock Chase CCG Newsletter


Cannock Chase CCG would like to wish you a Happy New Year and welcome you to the January 2016 newsletter.

In this edition your will find articles on:
doctor with car
The Acute Visiting Service which tells you about some extra steps we are taking to try and keep people out of hospital

Pharmacy First - Common ailments that can be treated by your pharmacist 

Getting Help - where should you go?

depressed ladyStafford Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service which has been identified as having one of the highest recovery rates for patients treated for mental health disorders in the country

HEALTH bosses in the area receiving national recognition for improving patient care
The Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline - Brighter Futures

And finally there are a few national health awareness days in February that you may be interested in getting involved in.

Acute Visiting Service

GP leaders in Cannock Chase are helping patients to keep on track this winter.

The Clinical Commissioning Group is funding an extra car for the Acute Visiting Service, to try and keep people out of hospital.

The Acute Visiting Service provides urgent afternoon visits for patients unable to wait for a GP to visit after evening surgery who would go to A&E or call an ambulance in the meantime.

It is ably steered by Cannock Chase and Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning (CCG) and GP First, a federation of all 41 GP practices in the two areas.

The third car will be based at Penkridge, but can be available for home visits for both Stafford and Cannock.

The service will also operate for an extra hour, from 1.30pm till 6.30pm, until 31st March 2016 and is also being rolled out to Nursing Homes and the Community Intervention Service.

Stay Well - Think Pharmacy First

If you normally get your prescriptions free of charge and you’re feeling unwell, visit your pharmacist first. They can give you advice and treat a range of common ailments without the need for a doctor’s appointment. If you want to talk in private ask to use the consultation room. All pharmacies operating the scheme have them.

Pharmacy First is a scheme available for children and people who don’t have to pay for their prescriptions and are suffering from a common ailment.
Your local pharmacist can offer you expert advice and medicines for a wide range of common ailments without the need to visit your GP. No appointment is necessary but you will need to give the pharmacist your NHS number, or your child’s NHS number to receive advice and, where appropriate, medicines free of charge.

If you do not know your NHS number you can contact your GP practice and ask them to look it up. To protect your privacy, they may ask you to show them a passport, driving licence or some other proof of who you are.
A common ailment can be an illness or condition that affects your health but can easily be treated with over the counter medicines. Ailments covered by the scheme include:
  • man with coldbites, stings, allergies and hay fever
  • constipation, diarrhoea
  • earache
  • teething
  • sore throat
  • vaginal thrush
  • athlete’s foot
  • acute bacterial conjunctivitis
  • haemorrhoids
  • threadworm
  • warts and verrucas.
The list of common ailments may differ slightly in some areas, so speak to your local pharmacist to check what medicines are available to you.

The pharmacist isn’t required to give you brand named medicines and may choose a suitable alternative.

A common ailment can also last longer than you might think:
  • an ear infection can last at least four days
  • sore throat - one week
  • acute bacterial conjunctivitis - seven to 14 days
  • diarrhoea - a few days to a week. 
Think Pharmacy FIrst

Getting Help

Call 111If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111.  An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straight away to the best service for you in your area.
Pharmacy signAsk your pharmacist - Pharmacists are expert in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughscolds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.
stethascopeSee your family doctor - GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it. 

Visit a walk-in centre - NHS walk-in centres offer quick access to treatment for a wide variety of minor illnesses and injuries, including infections, vomiting and stomach aches. Most are managed by nurses and some also have doctors. Walk-in centres are open outside office hours and you don’t need an appointment. 

Accident and Emergency - A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.  

Highest Psychological Therapy Recovery Rates for Cannock Chase CCG

The Chase Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service has been identified as having the highest recovery rates for patients treated for mental health disorders in the country.

The service, which is funded by Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Group came out top in a report recently published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Although the data highlighted markedly different outcomes across the country, the report shows that the CCGs with the highest recovery rates were Cannock Chase CCG at 69.4 per cent (470 of 68011 referrals), and NHS Stafford and Surrounds CCG at 67.3 per cent (415 of 620 referrals).

Psychological Therapies: Annual Report on the use of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) 4 services, England, 2014/15 looks at referrals received and outcomes from therapies such psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, couples therapy and other treatments.

The full article can be found at:


National Recognition for Improving Patient Care

HEALTH bosses in Stafford, Cannock Chase and the surrounding areas have received national recognition for a programme of work which supports GPs to distinguish between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), without the need for patients to attend numerous hospital appointments.
Representatives from Stafford and Surrounds CCG and Cannock Chase CCG presented the project at the Commissioning Live conference in November as well as being put forward for a Shared Learning Award with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
doctor and patient
The pilot for the project, which has also attracted the attention of the Department of Health, has seen the test, called CalScreen, introduced across all GP practices in Stafford and Cannock and could bring an end to the need for patients to attend numerous hospital appointments just to receive a diagnosis.
CalScreen measures the levels of calprotectin in patient’s faecal matter and can help doctors distinguish between inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and non-inflammatory bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Dr Holmes and Dr Free (Clinical Lead of Stafford & Surrounds CCG / Cannock Chase CCG) said: "Before we had this test in primary care, patients would have to be referred to hospital for outpatient appointments and diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopies.”
lady with stomach ache
"Consultants we spoke to at the local hospital supported the national evidence that approximately 32% of patients they saw in hospital were often diagnosed with IBS and could have been managed by their GP in Primary Care." 
"The new test gives us results in 10 minutes, so patients get their diagnosis much quicker at their GP practice, rather than having the added worry of a hospital appointment, undergoing the procedure itself and then having to wait a few more weeks for the results."
Dr Holmes and Dr Free said during the pilot, which ran between July 2014 and August 2015, 833 tests were carried out, with 467 resulting in a negative diagnosis, meaning 467 patients were managed quickly and efficiently at their own GPs rather than needing to attend appointments in hospital.
This also means patients who did need to be referred to secondary care could be seen more quickly and additionally results in a financial saving for the local health economy in the region of £280,000. 

Team GP

In October 2015, a group of staff and friends including Patient Participation Group representatives and a few four legged friends carried out a six mile sponsored walk across Cannock Chase to raise funds for people with dementia. The total raised for the Alzheimers Society so far is £1,560.

The GP Practices involved were Moss Street Surgery, Chadsmoor and Wardles Lane Surgery, Gt. Wyrley. The walk was organised by Tina Taylor, Practice Manager at Wardles Lane and Assistant Practice Manager at Moss Street Surgery.

photograph of the team

Around 225,000 people develop dementia every year – that’s the equivalent to one person every three minutes. Memory Walks were taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland during September and October to raise money for a world without dementia. Arm in arm, step by step and pound by pound, we will get there. 

The Wardles Lane Surgery also raised £50 for the Wear it Pink campaign on Friday 23 October.



The Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline offers support to people who have concerns about their mental health or that of someone they know.

The helpline is available to those over 18 years old, living in Staffordshire, who may be going through a difficult time and feel that there is no one else to talk to. The service operates evenings and weekends, 365 days a year, when most other mainstream mental health services are closed. It is free to contact from landlines, call boxes and major mobile networks. Customers can contact the helpline during opening times by phone, text, email or instant messaging through Brighter Futures website (please see below).

Person feeling helplessThe service is essentially a listening service where people can talk through their concerns safely and confidentially, exploring the options available to them, and offering emotional support where needed. The service can also offer guidance about where to find other locally based support services. The duration of the call is up to 20 minutes per call, per day.

In addition, the Helpline operates a ‘Ring-Out’ service from Friday to Sunday inclusive (professional referral required) where the helpline calls the customer at an agreed time. For people who would benefit from further support we now also offer a ‘Support Call’ service, which is a short term (one week) service offering a call each evening for up to a week for a person who is experiencing difficulties, stresses or worries at present (professional referral required).

The helpline is open:  
  • Weekdays 7pm - 2am
  • Weekends 2pm - 2am (Every day of the year)
Contact the Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline:
The Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline is funded by:
  • Stoke-on-Trent City Council
  • Staffordshire County Council
  • CCGs within Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent
The Helpline also manages and maintains the Staffordshire Mental Health Directory:

Health Awareness days February 2016
Tinnitus Awareness Week  
8-14 February 2016

The week was created by the British Tinnitus Association to raise awareness of this problem which affects so many people.  Tinnitus affects sufferers by creating a ringing or humming noise in the head with no external source.  Prolonged exposure to loud music is often the cause.  It can affect all age groups, and it's thought that about 10% of the population have it all the time.

The aim of Tinnitus Awareness Week is to keep people informed about the condition and the support services this great charity offers to help you deal with it.  The British Tinnitus Association will be highlighting the valuable support service it provides and raise awareness of the UK freephone helpline, 0800 018 0527.

You can find out loads more about this condition, as well as ways to help prevent it, by visiting the Tinnitus Awareness Week website.  And, you can also give donations to this great cause there too.


alcoholicChildren of Alcoholics Week 
13-19 February 2016

Children of Alcoholics Week is recognised internationally each year during the week in which Valentine’s Day falls. Did you know that one in four children are in an environment where alcohol abuse or alcoholism affects their day to day life? The problem often goes unsolved or ignored while children living with an alcohol-dependent parent suffer in silence.

It must be really difficult dealing with this problem during your formative years - particularly when you have no idea what's in store when you get home from school each day. This is why the National Association for Children of Alcoholics hold 'A Celebration of Hope and Healing' in February. Hope will also be offered to children of alcoholic parents who are still struggling. So how can you help?

Be an advocate for those children and parents who need alcohol abuse help. Alcoholism is a family disease and affects everyone in the household. If you're interested in helping out, find more ideas at the Children of Alcoholics Week website. Are you a child living with an alcoholic parent? If so, you don't have to be brave - it's ok to ask for help and receive it.

Finally, if you are a parent with a drinking problem, you can take that first step by finding out the facts, and there's more helpful information to be found about treating alcoholism at