Huge investment in ambulance service

An extra 330 staff and 160 ambulances will be sought over the next three years thanks to an increase in funding announced this week.

The consortium of 19 clinical commissioners in the east of England have agreed a six-year contract with the ambulance service, following recommendations in a wide-ranging report. It will see funding rise from the £213.5m spent in 2017/18 to £225m in 2018/19. Subject to activity remaining as predicted, it will then rise again to £240m in 2019/20. This follows increases in funding over the past two years.

Regulators NHS England and NHS Improvement instigated the report, called an independent service review, after talks last year with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) and the Consortium.

Deloitte and ORH Ltd, the report’s authors, were charged with looking at the operational and financial needs of the trust and to also support the development of a more sustainable contracting framework to commission the services.

Ed Garratt, Chief Officer for Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is lead commissioner for the 19 CCGs which pay for EEAST services, said: “The ambulance service, commissioners and regulators have worked closely on this review to ensure we have a long-term plan for sustainable and safe 999 services.

“Commissioners have committed significant additional investment over the next two years to increase both staffing and ambulance vehicle levels. One of the key recommendations from this review is that a six-year service contract is agreed from 2018/19 to provide stability and certainty to EEAST, with two-year intervals to review key aspects of the contract around quality and performance.

“Everyone involved is determined to make the necessary lasting improvements to enable well-supported staff to deliver the very best urgent care services for patients.”

Robert Morton, EEAST Chief Executive, said: “This is an excellent step forward as we aim to ease the strain on our existing staff who work incredibly hard for patients. That strain has been evident particularly over the last few months, during the increased demand which winter pressures always brings to the NHS.

“As a system, we are looking after more people with complex long-term conditions than ever before.

“This will take time to do. Extra funding will mean the ambulance service can expand to meet the demand. We are committed to working with partners to improve services for patients, particularly in delivering more community care so they can stay in their own homes, where they want to be.”

The estimated core service cost requirements are c£225m for 2018/19 and c£240m for 2019/20*. Increased capacity estimates are for circa 330 new whole-time posts and an extra 160 double staffed ambulances (DSAs) on the road by Q4 2019/20. This is on the basis that the ARP standards would be met from Q1 2019/20. These estimates were based on a detailed set of assumptions that were agreed by the Project Steering Group as part of the review. These assumptions are set out in the report, and changes to these assumptions would affect the overall estimates.

Dying Matters event returns to Norfolk

The Lord Lieutenant's Palliative Care Forum is working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to host an information fair at The Forum in Norwich as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2018.

This year’s event is due to take place on Tuesday 15th May between 10.00am - 2pm and will feature talks from St Joseph’s Hospice, the Cancer Alliance, Broadacres Care Home and Macmillan Cancer Support. There will also be over 20 stalls with a range of charities and organisations on hand to talk through any issues about death, from funeral options to advance care planning.

Order regular medicines in time

Make sure you have your regular medicines ordered in time for the Bank Holiday

With the May Bank Holiday fast approaching doctors and pharmacists are reminding people to plan ahead and make sure they have the right medicines to see them through.

Those who take regular prescription medication should make sure they have ordered enough to last.

Planning ahead like this is very important to help stay well and it also helps the NHS at a time when services are busy.

Wensum Valley Medical Practice celebrates Good rating from CQC

We're Good staff at Wensum Valley celebrate CQC ratingThe Wensum Valley Medical Practice in Norwich is celebrating after a resounding ‘thumbs up’ from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The CQC has just rated the practice Good in every category it inspected. The CQC asks ‘are services safe, caring, effective, responsive and well led?’ And their answer for Wensum Valley is yes, in every respect.

The partners at Wensum Valley Medical Practice said: “We are thrilled to receive this rating from the CQC and we are enormously proud of our staff who have worked so hard to achieve it.


Use health services wisely this Easter

People living in Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to help the NHS to help them by using healthcare services wisely over the Easter weekend.

The area’s five NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – Norwich, South Norfolk, North Norfolk, West Norfolk and Great Yarmouth and Waveney – are reminding people that going to the right place for treatment and advice will mean they get the help they need more quickly.

Anyone who needs a repeat prescription is being encouraged to order and collect it in advance of the bank holiday weekend.

For minor injuries and illnesses, people should self-care at home using a well-stocked first aid kit containing antiseptic cream, plasters and painkillers.

A wide range of healthcare advice on minor illnesses, infections, headaches, emergency contraception and coughs and colds, is also available from pharmacies, many of which are open over the weekend.

If it is urgent but not an emergency, you can call NHS 111. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the freephone number is manned by trained advisors, supported by clinicians, who can offer advice or arrange for you to see a doctor or nurse if appropriate.

The NHS walk-in centre at Rouen House in Rouen Road, Norwich, is open between 7am and 9pm every day. A nurse-led centre, it can help with a range of issues, including minor cuts and wounds, strains and sprains, flu-like symptoms, skin complaints and stomach problems. You can simply walk in, without an appointment.

The minor injuries unit based at Cromer Hospital in Mill Road is also open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm. Patients can turn up without an appointment and receive treatment for minor injuries such as minor wounds, burns or simple fractures.

Pharmacist Ben Ampomah said: “Over Easter, we are asking people to make sure they have their tablets in stock and order early. But if you have a problem during the Easter weekend, then go to your pharmacist who will help you to get medication until the surgeries open again rather than heading into A&E.

“We are also able to offer advice on a range of minor ailments, such as coughs, colds, hayfever and rashes. People don’t need to make an appointment but can just pop into their local pharmacy who will provide immediate advice or ensure they have an onward referral to the right service.”

Dr Liam Stevens, interim chairman of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, said: “There are a wide variety of NHS services available for anyone who becomes ill or injures themselves over the Easter break. We are urging people to think about the help they need and choose the right service to meet their needs.

“By choosing well, not only will you get treatment more quickly but will also leave urgent care services free for people in greater need.”

A list of pharmacies open over the Easter weekend are here. Please double check for any changes by calling the pharmacy before you travel

Flu - still time to get vaccinated

NHS England figures have shown a sharp increase in cases of flu in the last week of December. If you are eligible for a free flu jab from the NHS but still have not had it, you should ask at your GP practice. If you are not eligible for a free vaccination from the NHS, then flu jabs can be bought cheaply from most high street pharmacies.

More GP appointments over winter

All sections of the NHS are always under great pressure during the winter, which is why members of the public are asked to choose services wisely.

  • Many common ailments can be managed at home with over the counter medicines from your pharmacist, for example coughs, colds, norovirus and dry skin. Please ask your pharmacist.
  • You can often treat the flu without seeing your GP and should begin to feel better in about a week. Most people who have flu can look after themselves safely with rest, painkillers and plenty of fluids. People may need to seek medical advice if symptoms do not ease after a week, or if they are pregnant, over 65 or have a long term illnesses, for example heart/breathing complaints,
  • Ask your GP practice for an appointment if you really do need to see a doctor or nurse.
  • If you are unsure, or if it is urgent and you cannot get a GP appointment, you can call 111
  • The walk-in centre in Norwich is open 7am-9pm, 7 days a week.
  • Cromer Minor Injuries Unit at Cromer Hospital is open 8am-7.45pm, 7 days a week.