Better access to GP appointments

Patients are now able to book routine GP and nurse appointments during evenings and weekends as part of a national drive designed to improve access to primary care.

Surgeries are offering patients the chance to book appointments outside of traditional office hours to improve convenience for those who work or have other commitments. This could include appointments with a GP, practice nurse or to help people manage long term conditions.

The appointment may not be at the patient’s usual surgery and may be with a clinician from a different practice. This is because in many areas, GP practices are sharing arrangements.

Dr Liam Stevens said: “We understand that people cannot always see their doctor during working hours, so are expanding local services to make it more convenient for everyone to access the right care to meet their needs.

“We are really pleased that patients from across the whole of Norfolk and Waveney can now book routine appointments outside of traditional office hours. The appointment may not be at your usual practice, but will be at a convenient time, which we hope will improve everyone’s experience of accessing care.

“The appointments come in addition to our usual GP surgery opening hours, and will complement existing healthcare services across Norfolk and Waveney, which include pharmacists, NHS 111, Norwich walk-in centre and the Cromer minor injuries unit.”

Patients should contact their own surgery for more information about arrangements in their area or to book an appointment.

All to Play For shortlisted for top award

An innovative group which helps men to tackle mental health issues by giving them “All to Play For” has been shortlisted for a top national award.

The initiative, which is spearheaded by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) in partnership with Active Norfolk and the Premier Foundation, has been shortlisted in the “innovation in mental health” category of the Health Business Awards.

The awards celebrate excellence and improvement projects across the NHS, with the winners announced at a ceremony in London in early December. The latest shortlisting comes after All to Play For was named as ‘community project of the year’ in the Norfolk FA Grassroots Football Awards during the summer.

The news comes as project leads appeal for new players to join in their newest session, which takes place every Thursday from 10am to 11am at the Goals Centre on Hall Road in Norwich. Designed to build confidence and self-esteem, it is open to any men – both in and out of services – who feel they need extra support with their wellbeing, and gives them the chance to take part in a game led by a qualified coach while socialising with others.

After the kickabout, they can attend informal drop-in sessions where they can get information and advice from different support services on subjects such as finance, gambling and housing.

The project is part-funded by NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group’s “Healthy Norwich” small grants programme, to promote better mental health and wellbeing and physical health. £20,000 was provided to scale up the project across the Norwich area after a successful pilot in 2017.

Andy Fisk, Community Mental Health Nurse with NSFT who helps run the sessions, said: “We're delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious national award, which is a reflection on just how successful the project has been so far.

“We’ve been blown away by the popularity of the sessions which have taken place so far. Feedback shows they are helping to improve wellbeing, boost low mood and reduce anxiety, while they also offer a valuable opportunity to meet other people and help tackle social isolation.

“The morning session in Norwich will give us the chance to offer vital support to even more men, and we would encourage anyone who feels they need extra help with their wellbeing to come along and give it a try.”

Sam Watts, Project Officer at Active Norfolk, said: “I’m delighted to see the impact the project has had locally is being recognised nationally by being shortlisted for this award. The project continues to support more men in Norfolk by tackling social isolation, increasing accessibility in to support services and uniting like-minded men. The Norwich morning session will only increase the opportunity for more men to get involved.”

Four All to Play For sessions are currently available for men who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. They take place at:

• Great Yarmouth Town FC, Wellesley Stadium, Sandown Road, Great Yarmouth – every Wednesday from 10am to 11am
• FDC in Bowthorpe, Bowthorpe Park, Norwich – every Wednesday from 1.30pm to 2.30pm
• Heartsease, Open Academy, Salhouse Road, Norwich – every Thursday 8pm to 9pm
• Goals Centre, Hall Road, Norwich – every Thursday from 10am to 11am

The latest group comes following the success of similar initiatives in Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

For more information or to join a session, contact Sam Watts from Active Norfolk on 01603 731 564 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Changes to NHS Norwich CCG Governing Body

There are some new faces on the Governing Body of NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group.

Joining the CCG are Joanna Hannam who has been appointed Lay Member with responsibility for public and patient involvement, and John Plaskett, who has kindly offered to assist Norwich CCG as an interim measure.

Joanna Hannam replaces Irene MacDonald, who served with the CCG as Lay Member with responsibility for public and patient involvement since 2013 and who has moved away from Norwich. Joanna is a member of the Board for Age UK Norwich and an associate non-Executive Director working with the Board of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn. Until 2014 Joanna was Head of Customer Services and Commuications at Norfolk County Council and prior to that held senior roles with Norfolk Health Authority.

John Plaskett is a long-standing NHS non-Executive in the NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney area. He will be stepping in to assist Norwich CCG as lay member for governance and audit, in place of Paul Fisher who is currently unable to undertake Governing Body work for health reasons.

Both Joanna and John join the CCG Governing Body from 1st December 2018.

The Chair of Norwich CCG, Queen’s Nurse Tracy Williams, said: “I am delighted to welcome both Joanna and John to our Governing Body. They will each bring a considerable amount of experience of public services to our CCG, they both have a wealth of knowledge from past and current roles in the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system which really will add great value, as we continue to develop our New Model of Care for the people of Norwich.”

The next meeting of the NHS Norwich CCG Governing Body is on Tuesday, 27th November at 2pm in the Mancroft Room of Norwich City Hall.  

Review of adult mental health services in Norfolk and Waveney

A review of mental health services is underway that will inform the development of a 10 year mental health strategy. We want local people and service users to help us by completing an online survey to share their thoughts. You are welcome to contribute.

We have also arranged a number of public events which you are welcome to attend:

2pm-4.30pm on Wednesday 7 November at the Orbis Centre in Lowestoft https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/developing-norfolk-and-waveneys-10-year-mental-health-strategy-tickets-50693953981

10am-12.30pm on Wednesday 14 November at King's Lynn Town Hall https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/developing-norfolk-and-waveneys-10-year-mental-health-strategy-tickets-44347559745

6pm-8.30pm on Monday 19 November at The Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich NR2 1RQ https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/developing-norfolk-and-waveneys-10-year-mental-health-strategy-tickets-50683819669