Health

Cycling is better for the environment

Cycling lowers pollution, reduces congestion, increases property pricesCycling is also much better for the environment than driving. More than a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by cars and other vehicles,6 whereas cycling is generally considered to be a zero-emissions form of transport. Even when emissions from production and maintenance of bikes are taken into account, the emissions associated with cycling are significantly lower. And if UK citizens cycled to work with the same frequency as people do in the Netherlands, for example, where more than a quarter of journeys are made by bike, carbon dioxide outputs could reduce by more than 1,500 tonnes per year.

Estimates suggest that around 12,000 premature deaths could be prevented over the next 10 years if the UK and Scottish governments meet their targets for increasing the number of journeys made on foot or by bicycle. 

Choosing to ride a bike instead of driving can also help to reduce congestion in urban areas – almost four in ten people acknowledge that many of the two-mile journeys they currently make in a car could instead be made by bike.

 

Brake, Cycling -The facts 2018

#BikeSmart

Cycling is one of the healthiest forms of transport

Cycling improves fitness, boosts brainpower, increases wellbeingCycling is one of the healthiest, cheapest and most environmentally friendly forms of transport available, with the benefits to public health, congestion and the economy widely acknowledged.

Cycling is an excellent form of exercise and can help with both weight loss and physical fitness. It also reduces the risk of serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease later in life, and can contribute to higher overall personal wellbeing. Cycling can boost brain power too, by increasing blood flow to the brain by around 30–40%.

Even cyclists in busy cities report better lung health. Riders can experience five times lower pollution levels than drivers, because air is more able to circulate around them when they are riding, compared with being stuck in a vehicle. Cyclists who use quieter routes away from busy traffic see even greater benefits.

Brake, Cycling -The facts 2018

#BikeSmart

Options for changes to hospital and local care services survey

Following our post regarding listening events to discuss potential options for changing hospital and local care services in east Kent, alongside the public meetings and other engagement activity, Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway have a survey open until 25 November for you to share your views on the current proposals. Please read this information about the potential changes before completing the survey.

If you are attending one of the listening events, information given may help you to complete the survey.

The survey link is: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/EastKentNHS2018/

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Events to explore potential options for health services change in east Kent

The NHS is holding eight public events to discuss potential options for changing hospital and local care services in east Kent.

At these events, between 30 October and 20 November, doctors and other NHS leaders will discuss with local people:

  • the benefits change could bring
  • how services outside hospitals are developing to maximise the care people get locally
  • how the two options for hospital services might affect people across east Kent
  • the next steps towards public consultation.

Caroline Selkirk, Managing Director of the four NHS clinical commissioning groups in east Kent*, said: “This is the next step in conversations we’ve been having with staff, patients and the public over recent years about why change is needed to health and care services in east Kent and how services could be improved.

“We have done a great deal to respond to what people in east Kent have told us they need, such as access to more appointments with GPs and nurses, including in the evening and at weekends; joining up care for people with the most complex conditions; and starting to hold more outpatient clinics in local communities.

“We have also been looking in depth at two potential options to improve hospital services in east Kent.

“These informal meetings with local communities, ahead of any formal public consultation next year, are a chance for local people and organisations representing patients to hear more about our work so far, and to help us understand the potential impact of the options we are currently looking at. We want to continue to gather a range of insights on the latest phase of our work.  What people tell us will be considered by the joint committee of east Kent clinical commissioning groups, before it decides whether both potential options for changes to hospital services go forward to public consultation.”

If you cannot make it to the events, there will be more information about the proposals added to www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/eastkent shortly and an online survey will be open from mid-October.

You can register for one of the events online at www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/eastkent. Alternatively, you can email info.eastkent@nhs.net or call 01622 211940 to reserve a place.

Date & time Venue
Wednesday 31 October

9.30am registration
9.45am – 12.45pm

Club Room, Elwick Club, Church Road, Ashford TN23 1RD
Thursday 15 November

6.15pm registration
6.30pm – 9.30pm

Holiday Inn (Ashford Central), Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford TN24 8QQ

 

NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group  04 October 2018
www.ashfordccg.nhs.uk/news/blog/?blogpost=10939

Extra appointments at GP practices

Ashford Clinical Commissioning GroupFrom 1 October, extra evening, weekend and bank holiday appointments are available in east Kent to help patients get the care they need, when they need it.

This is part of a national drive to improve access to GP practice services and give people the opportunity to have an appointment at a time that suits them.

The extra appointments, which may be provided by a GP, nurse, physiotherapist, paramedic practitioner or other health professional, are for routine, non-urgent care. The extra slots are available between 6.30pm and 8pm each weekday.  There are also appointments on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

They will not necessarily be at patients’ usual GP practice, but the health professionals treating them will be able to see their full medical records, with their consent.  Patients who need an appointment will be allocated the most suitable clinician for their need.

Dr Navin Kumta, chair of NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:  “We know that people sometimes have to wait to see a nurse or doctor and we believe the new longer hours will be of particular help to commuters, parents with young families, and other people who find it difficult to get to their practice during normal working hours.

“Anyone wanting to make an appointment should contact their GP practice in the first instance.  Trained reception staff will know where and when appointments are available, and with which healthcare professional, and will be able to book the patient in. Patients should advise the receptionist if they particularly want an evening or weekend appointment.

“These extra appointments will be available for pre-booked care.  It’s important to remember that anyone who needs medical assistance when their practice is closed should continue to dial NHS 111.”

To make sure that the new appointments system works well for patients, the CCG would like to encourage people to tell us about their experiences of them. Anyone with comments or queries can email the patient experience team:nelcsu.engagement@nhs.net

NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group  02 October 2018
http://www.ashfordccg.nhs.uk/news/blog/?blogpost=10929

Preferred option for stroke services

The NHS in Kent and Medway has today published the preferred option for three new specialist ‘hyper acute stroke units’ to be introduced across the county. This is part of an ongoing review of urgent stroke services led by local doctors and other clinicians. The aim is to reorganise services so that specialist stroke staff can more consistently deliver high quality care around the clock, and in so doing reduce deaths and long-term disability from stroke for local people.

The preferred option is to have hyper acute stroke units, alongside acute stroke units, at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Maidstone Hospital and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

Currently stroke services do not consistently meet best-practice standards across the whole of Kent and Medway. The identification of a preferred option brings the NHS a step closer to improving stroke outcomes and reducing deaths and disability because of stroke. The preferred option was identified following careful consideration of the responses to a public consultation, all the evidence and data gathered during the four-year review, and further detailed evaluation of five shortlisted options including trust proposals for implementation.

The next stage in the review process is to develop a decision-making business case – a detailed document that will describe how the preferred option was selected and set out an implementation plan that will cover areas such as workforce, estates and capital requirement. A Joint Committee of the ten local NHS clinical commissioning groups that ran the consultation will examine this and then make a final decision on the future shape of urgent stroke services in January 2019.

Over the next few months the NHS will be gathering views and feedback on the proposed new approach to rehabilitation from stroke survivors, their families and carers, front-line staff, local councillors and the public to help inform detailed implementation plans. Look out for further information on the Kent and Medway NHS website www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/stroke.

Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway  17 September 2018
https://kentandmedway.nhs.uk/latest-news/identification-of-preferred-option-is-a-step-closer-to-improving-stroke-outcomes-in-kent-and-medway/

Sale of energy drinks to children consultation

Department of Health and Social Care

Opens: 30 August 2018
Closes: 21 November 2018

Energy drinks are soft drinks that contain higher levels of caffeine than other soft drinks, and may also contain a lot of sugar (though low- or zero-calorie energy drinks are available). Evidence suggests that excessive consumption of energy drinks by children is linked to negative health outcomes such as headaches, sleeping problems, irritation and tiredness.

Under current labelling rules, any drink, other than tea or coffee, that contains over 150mg of caffeine per litre requires a warning label saying: ‘High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women’. Despite the warning labels, however, children are still consuming these drinks; recent evidence shows that more than two thirds of UK children aged 10-17, and nearly a quarter of those aged 6-9, are energy drink consumers.

We are hearing strong calls from parents, health professionals, teachers and some industry bodies and retailers for an end to sales of high-caffeine energy drinks to children. Many larger retailers and supermarkets have voluntarily stopped selling energy drinks to under-16s. While we recognise the efforts of retailers who have already acted, there are still many retailers who continue to sell these drinks to children. Legislating to end the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children would create a level playing field for businesses and create consistency, helping ensure that children do not have access to energy drinks in any shop.

We are therefore consulting on ending the sale of energy drinks to children, but we are aware that the evidence base around these products and their effects is complex. We want to use this consultation to gather further views and evidence on the advantages and disadvantages of ending the sale of energy drinks to children, and on alternative options, before making a decision.

Documents

Consultation on ending the sale of energy drinks to children PDF, 269KB, 12 pages

Impact assessment: ending the sale of energy drinks to children PDF, 644KB, 46 pages

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. 

Give Your Views

Online Survey

Department of Health and Social Care 30 August 2018
https://consultations.dh.gov.uk/obesity/sale-of-energy-drinks-to-children/

Evidence-Based Interventions Consultation

Evidence-Based Interventions programme

NHS England

Opens: 4 July 2018
Closes 28 September 2018

Overview

Research evidence shows some intervetions (medical procedures and treatments) are not clinically effective or only effective when they are performed in specific circumstances. And as medical science advances, some interventions are superseded by those that are less invasive or more effective.

At both national and local levels, there is a general consensus that more needs to be done to ensure the least effective interventions are not routinely performed, or only performed in more clearly defined circumstances.

NHS England has formed a new national collaboration with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), NHS Clinical Commissioners and NHS Improvement’ GIRFT (Getting It Right First Time) programme to turn this consensus into action – the Evidence Based Interventions Programme. This programme is counterpart to the items that should not be routinely prescribed in primary care programme launched in early 2018, www.england.nhs.uk/medicines/items-which-should-not-be-routinely-prescribed/.

The proposals have been jointly developed by NHS England, NHS Clinical Commissioners, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, NICE and NHS Improvement’s GIRFT programme in collaboration with the Royal Colleges and patient groups such as Healthwatch.

The proposals aim to reduce avoidable harm to patients, save precious professional time, help clinicians maintain their professional practice in line with the changing evidence base, create headroom for innovation and maximise value and avoid waste for patients and taxpayers.

NHS England are publicly consulting on the design principles of the programme, the interventions we should target initially and proposed clinical criteria, the activity goals we should set and delivery actions, including proposed new terms in the NHS Standard Contract.

During the consultation period NHS England are also hosting face to face events and a series of webinars (online meetings), to gather further clinical, professional and patient views. This will include patient and public events, webinars for CCGs and providers, an event co-hosted by Healthwatch England for their members, events jointly run with Age UK, NHSCC, the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, The NHS Youth Forum and Choices. Please contact NHS England at england.ebinterventions@nhs.net to learn more about these events.

You can read more about the Evidence Based Interventions programme on the NHS England website, www.england.nhs.uk/evidence-based-interventions/.

Initially targeted interventions

17 interventions are proposed to targeted initially:

Interventions that should not be routinely commissioned

  1. Snoring Surgery (in the absence of OSA)
  2. Dilatation and curettage (D&C) for heavy menstrual bleeding in women
  3. Knee arthroscopy for patients with osteoarthritis
  4. Injections for nonspecific low back pain without sciatica

Interventions that should only be commissioned or performed when specific criteria are met

  1. Breast reduction
  2. Removal of benign skin lesions
  3. Grommets for Glue Ear in Children
  4. Tonsillectomy for Recurrent Tonsillitis
  5. Haemorrhoid surgery
  6. Hysterectomy for heavy menstrual bleeding
  7. Chalazia removal
  8. Arthroscopic shoulder decompression for subacromial shoulder pain
  9. Carpal tunnel syndrome release
  10. Dupuytren’s contracture release
  11. Ganglion excision
  12. Trigger finger release
  13. Varicose vein surgery

Consultation documents

What happens next

Responses will be taken into account and considered fully before deciding the final approach. Any wording which, following consultation, we determine should be added to the NHS Standard Contract will be included in the 2019/20 version of the Contract, to be published later this financial year.

Give Your Views

Online Survey