GP Surgeries open their doors to offer the flu vaccination

GP surgeries across Norfolk and Waveney are gearing up to provide special clinics to offer patients their annual flu jab.

Children aged between 2 and 10 years old will be offered the nasal spray vaccination. The adult flu vaccine is offered free to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications from flu. The groups being offered the adult flu vaccine are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those aged 65 or over
  • Those aged under 65 with long-term conditions
  • Carers

GPs are asking their patients to book a place in forthcoming flu clinics as soon as they are advertised. Alternatively, you can visit your nearest participating pharmacy.

GP surgeries are also testing atrial fibrillation in patients over the age of 65. Although flu vaccinations are available from other outlets it is only GP surgeries who are offering the additional check for abnormal heart rates at the same time.

In addition to the atrial fibrillation and flu vaccination applicable patients are able to receive Pneumococcal vaccines protecting patients against the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. The vaccine can prevent some cases of pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone. However, some people are at higher risk of serious illness and can be given the pneumococcal vaccination on the NHS.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, Chair of North Norfolk CCG and Partner at Stalham Staithe GP Surgery said: “Flu can be incredibly unpleasant for many people but for a select few it can be fatal. The best way for people to protect themselves and loved ones around them is to get the vaccination on offer especially those offered it for free on the NHS.”

Dr Louise Smith, Director of Public Health said: “If you have a bad cold or the flu, you are best to manage your illness from home, without seeing a doctor or visiting a hospital. You shouldn’t need to see your GP unless the symptoms become particularly severe, last far longer than usual or if you have a long-term health condition. If you think you might be suffering from flu and are concerned that your symptoms are worsening you can call NHS 111 for advice.”

A previous pilot programme showed vaccinating children had dual benefit; as well as protecting them from flu, it also protects others, such as parents, grandparents and siblings, as children are ‘super spreaders’ and are much more likely to infect others.

NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and Waveney vote to merge

The Governing Bodies of the five NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and Waveney, at their meetings in public this week, each agreed to submit an application to NHS England and Improvement to merge by April 2020.

Each considered the comments and feedback from about 250 people who responded to an online survey. In addition, the 105 GP practices which form the membership of the CCGs were also asked to formally vote on the proposal. 79 votes were cast and 72 voted in favour (91%), which is regarded as a very high ‘turnout’ and a high positive response.

If NHS England and Improvement supports the application in principle, the CCGs would begin the formal process to come together and create “NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group”, from the beginning of April 2020.

CCGs are responsible for commissioning most NHS healthcare, which involves planning what services are appropriate for the local area, holding contracts with organisations such as hospitals to provide treatment to patients and monitoring quality and performance.

Together the CCGs serve a population approaching 1.1 million people, and have a budget of £1.6 billion which pays for much of the health care that local people receive.

Chief Officer Melanie Craig, said: “Our CCGs have achieved much since they came into being in 2013 and we are absolutely determined that this will be strengthened and built upon, with locally-focussed commissioning of health services and strong leadership and guidance from doctors and nurses.”

The clinical Chairs of the five CCGs said: “We have been united in our belief that creating one large CCG will help us address some of the bigger issues in Norfolk and Waveney, such as demand on our hospitals and improving quality of services.

“Every CCG has delivered innovative and exciting improvements for our patients since 2013 and these are vital to our future as one strong CCG with distinct localities.”

Former health secretary Patricia Hewitt is the independent Chair of the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership of local health and care organisations. She said: “I strongly believe that as a system-wide CCG, it can make an even greater impact to transform services, improve care for patients and help them achieve better health and wellbeing.”

Papers relating to the Governing Bodies meetings held in public are on each CCG’s website.

The decision by NHS England and NHS Improvement on whether to support the application in principle will be made public as soon as it is known, expected towards the end of October.

NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to decide merger proposal

The five NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and Waveney will decide whether they wish to merge, in a series of meetings (week commencing 23 September 2019).

The CCGs’ Governing Bodies will each hold their routine meetings in public, and if they all choose to support the proposal they will jointly submit an application to NHS England. NHS England would then scrutinise the proposal and would normally be expected to offer a response by the end of October.

If this goes ahead, then the CCGs would come together to form one new NHS Clinical Commissioning Group for all of Norfolk and Waveney on 1 April 2020.

CCGs are responsible for commissioning NHS healthcare, which involves planning what services are appropriate for the local area, holding contracts with organisations such as hospitals to provide treatment to patients and monitoring quality and performance.

The Chief Officer of the five CCGs, Melanie Craig, said: “Our CCGs have achieved much since 2013 and we are absolutely determined that this will be strengthened and built upon, with locally-focussed commissioning of health services and strong leadership and guidance from doctors and nurses.”

Over the summer the CCGs held an online survey to gather feedback from members of the public, which will be summarised and presented to the Governing Bodies next week. There was also a formal request to vote on the proposal made to all of the 105 GP Practices in Norfolk and Waveney. 79 votes were cast and 72 voted in favour (91%), which is regarded as a very high ‘turnout’ and a high positive response.

Papers for the Governing Body meetings, which are available so far, are being published on the five CCG websites, with updates being added as soon as they are ready. All of the CCG meetings are being held in public.

Tuesday September 24th:

North Norfolk CCG - 9am-11am, Aylsham Care Trust, Aylsham.

Norwich CCG - 2pm-5pm, The Mancroft Room, City Hall. This will be preceded by the CCG AGM in the Council Chamber from 12.45pm.

South Norfolk CCG - 1.30pm, Bawburgh Village Hall, Stocks Hill, Bawburgh NR9 3LL

Thursday September 26th

West Norfolk CCG - 9.15am West Norfolk Deaf Association, 32b Railway Road, King's Lynn,

Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG - Beccles House, 1 Common Lane North, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 9BN. The CCG will hold its AGM in the same building from 6.30pm.

Exit from the European Union

Preparing for exit from the European Union

The NHS is making every effort to prepare for EU exit, with patient care and safety a priority. Although it is not current government policy to pursue a ‘no deal’ EU exit, no deal contingency planning has been stepped up.

Patients to benefit as GP surgeries work closely together across Norfolk and Waveney

GP practices across Norfolk and Waveney are working closely together as part of a new approach to improve access and services for patients.

There are now 17 primary care networks (PCNs) serving Norfolk and Waveney and each will typically look after between 30,000 and 50,000 patients.

Primary care networks are new groups of GP practices working closely together with other community, mental health and social care staff to improve services for local people.

By forming these networks surgeries and practices will be able to offer patients more convenient access to treatment and support from a variety of health, care and other professionals.

Extra funding has been made available to each group of surgeries to enable them to attract new staff to five specialist roles over the next five years. This will happen gradually with social prescribing link workers and clinical pharmacists attached to each network this year.  In the coming years they will be joined by community paramedics, physiotherapists and physician associates.

Across the country, around 7,000 GP practices have signed-up to the new model which is supported by billions of pounds of extra investment and forms part of the NHS Long Term Plan.                                                             

By offering extra care options to people locally, and by making more use of technology for online consultations and appointments, it is hoped to free up clinicians time to concentrate on more urgent cases.  

As well as more convenient access to treatment, GPs will be supported to do more to tackle conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, while also offering more support for people with conditions like depression and anxiety.

Sadie Parker, Associate Director of Primary Care for the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups of Norfolk and Waveney, said: “Primary Care Networks are essentially groups of GP practices working together alongside other health and care partners to deliver improved care for patients. This collaborative approach has the potential to have great benefits, particularly at a time when general practice is facing such intense resource and workforce pressures.

“PCNs are still in the very early stages of development but as we move forward patients will start to see the benefits with networks offering more convenient access to treatment and support from a wider range of healthcare professionals including clinical pharmacists, social prescribing link workers, physiotherapists and others.

“There will also be a greater emphasis on people’s social and emotional wellbeing with PCNs working closely with wider partners such as local authorities, the voluntary sector and community groups. Work is now underway to tailor health and care services to local need and identify who is best placed to deliver it.”

Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP and NHS England’s Acting Medical Director for Primary Care, said: 

“The extra investment, additional staff and more convenient care will be a game-changer for NHS patients as family doctors come together in networks which will not only deliver better care, but a more efficient use of vital NHS resources.”

Norfolk and Waveney on the road to setting up ‘Assembly’ for Voluntary Sector, Health and Social Care

In good health logo HIGHER resNorfolk and Waveney’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership has today announced plans to convene a Voluntary Sector Health and Social Care Assembly, a forum that will further strengthen crucial relationships between health and social care commissioners and providers, and the broad range of voluntary, community and social enterprise groups and organisations operating across Norfolk and Waveney.

All constituted organisations based and/or operating in Norfolk and Waveney are invited to express their interest in being part of developing the Voluntary Sector Health and Social Care (VSHSC) Assembly, which will provide a formal, collective interface between the voluntary sector and health and social care. The Assembly will work with and complement the existing established forums and communication channels across the voluntary sector, and will report to the Health and Wellbeing Board for Norfolk and Waveney.

Patricia Hewitt, Independent Chair of Norfolk and Waveney’s STP, says: “We have over 3000 voluntary and community groups in Norfolk and Waveney that play a vital role in supporting people locally, keeping them well and feeling safe and connected to the community they live in. As Norfolk and Waveney works hard towards developing an Integrated Care System, a keystone of its success is working closely with the diverse voluntary and community sector.”

“Agreeing to convene a VSHSC Assembly is an important step towards making voluntary and community groups and organisations of all sizes full partners in the Integrated Care System as it develops,” Patricia continues. “NHS and care staff do a wonderful job looking after us when we are ill or need care, but they can’t do it all. Helping people stay as healthy as possible, supporting people who are lonely and tackling disadvantage and inequalities needs all of us to get involved.”

Over coming months, Voluntary Norfolk will support the development of the VSHSC Assembly, working with local VCSE infrastructure partners Community Action Norfolk and Momentum (as part of Norfolk County Council’s Working Together framework), Community Action Suffolk and statutory partners within Norfolk and Waveney’s STP.

To support its development, Tony Osmanski, Chair of East Coast Community Healthcare CIC, has been appointed as Interim Chair of the VSHSC Assembly. Tony said: “I’m passionate about the difference that voluntary and community groups make to communities, and the value they bring in tackling our health and social care challenges. I ask all organisations and groups that are interested in being part of the developing Assembly to contact us and get involved.”

Voluntary sector organisations can sign up to receive information and become part of developing the VSHSC Assembly, and begin to receive the latest news and information from the world of health and social care.

To learn more about the work VSHSC Assembly, send your organisation or group’s name and contact details to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, visit