Mental health help and support services
If you’re experiencing mental health problems or need urgent support, there are lots of places you can go to for help. (more…)
If you’re experiencing mental health problems or need urgent support, there are lots of places you can go to for help. (more…)
Avian influenza (or bird flu) has recently been confirmed in wild birds in Dorset and Warwickshire, with an ‘avian influenza prevention zone’ now declared covering England.
It is vital that we all remain vigilant and report any wild birds found dead without obvious cause (especially wildfowl such as swans, geese and ducks) to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.
Any unexplained deaths amongst captive birds, such as poultry or gamebirds, should also be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 20 03 01.
For further information please contact Tony Harwood (Principal Resilience Officer)
Email Tony Harwood
For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact: Citizens Advice consumer service
Kent County Council 18 January
Public Health England advise the risk to public health from the H5N8 strain of bird flu is very low.
Some strains of avian influenza can pass to humans, but this is very rare. It usually requires very close contact between the human and infected birds. There have never been any recorded cases of H5N8 in humans.
The Food Standards Agency has said the disease poses no food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
If you employ people who work with poultry or work with poultry yourself, you can also read Health and Safety Executive advice on protecting workers from avian influenza
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Animal and Plant Health Agency
advice for people keeping just a few birds (more…)
Further details about a proposal to establish three new ‘hyper acute’ stroke units in Kent and Medway have been announced today (Thursday 18 January 2018). The proposed shortlist of potential options for the location of these units, which is still subject to final assurances and approval, is1:
Unlike current services, these hyper acute stroke units would operate with a multi-disciplinary team of stroke specialists, providing expert care round the clock with consultants on the wards seven days a week. The new units will allow people to get the best possible care in the vital first few hours and days immediately after their stroke – saving lives and reducing disability. The units would care for all stroke patients across Kent and Medway and from some neighbouring communities, in the critical first 72 hours after a stroke. We don’t currently have any hyper acute stroke units working in this way in Kent and Medway, patients are currently cared for in general stroke units. Each site would also have an acute stroke unit where people may go after the initial 72 hours for further care until they are ready to be discharged, and a transient ischaemic attack (TIA or ‘mini stroke’) clinic.
These proposals would mean significant changes to the urgent stroke care currently provided in six hospitals across Kent and Medway. The proposed changes would affect every hospital in our area, residents in every part of Kent and Medway, and some beyond our boundaries. The proposed three new hyper acute stroke units would ensure all residents get consistently high-quality hospital-based stroke care regardless of where they live or what time of day or night a stroke occurs. However, under these proposals urgent stroke services would not be available at the other three hospitals in Kent and Medway.
The proposed changes are focused on ensuring the best care and outcomes for people who have a stroke, meaning faster diagnosis and treatment, fewer deaths, and less disability. To make these proposed changes we would need to invest up to £40million in hospitals and recruiting more staff across the county, but we expect a reduction in costs over time, mainly due to better recovery for patients who wouldn’t then need as much long-term care, and shorter hospital stays.
A Joint Committee of the ten clinical commissioning groups in Kent, Medway, Bexley and High Weald Lewes Havens is meeting to discuss the shortlist on 31 January 2018. The joint committee meeting is held in public and will take place from 13.00-16.00, in the Council Chamber at County Hall, Sessions House, Maidstone ME14 1XQ. It is a meeting in public, but places are limited by the venue so if you would like to attend this meeting, please book your place and register in advance at https://strokejcccg.eventbrite.co.uk. For those without access to the internet, places can be booked by calling the Joint Committee admin office on 01892 638331.
If the shortlist above is approved, a wide public consultation will begin in February on the future shape of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway. The consultation will provide further opportunity to help design the best stroke services and to continue to engage staff, stakeholders, patients and local communities in the issues important to them about stroke services.
When the consultation begins we will publish our consultation document. The consultation document will set out the reasons why we believe Kent and Medway needs three hyper acute stroke units and a range of potential options for where they could be located. It will also summarise the issues we have considered to select the shortlist – from travel times through to staffing issues and how long it would take to establish hyper acute stroke units at different hospitals across the area.
We recognise that people have concerns when hospital services change, but we strongly believe change is needed to improve care. These proposals represent a major investment in stroke services and a commitment to making consistently high-quality care available for all stroke patients, regardless of where you live or when a stroke happens.
We will update this information with further details of our formal public consultation once it starts, and how to get involved and share your views, if the required assurance processes are met, in early February.
Background to the stroke review
We started reviewing our stroke services in started 2015. We did this because whilst staff in our stroke services are working extremely hard to provide the best care that they can, we know that things would be better, for both patients and staff, if we developed our stroke services further. We want our stroke services to meet the latest national best practice standards so that patients get have the best chance of the best outcome after a stroke. These new ways of working have been introduced in other parts of the country and are bringing significant benefits to patients. In London, hyper acute stroke units have reduced deaths from stroke by nearly 100 a year.
There has been a detailed process to consider potential options for the future shape of hospital-based urgent stroke services. Over the course of the review we looked at:
Our proposed shortlist has been through a rigorous process and takes account of other work, particularly in east Kent, around changes to acute hospital services.
Find out more about the stroke review here
Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway 18 January 2018
1 The order is not a ranking and we are not identifying a preferred option until we have fully and carefully considered all the evidence and data available
Before signing up for that expensive diet plan or gym membership call at the One You shop in Park Mall for free advice and support.
ONE YOU delivers a variety of free health services, support and advice including:
With the right support and motivation you can make small changes to improve your health right away and double your chances of staying healthy as you get older.
Offering a friendly and unintimidating environment, people visit ONE YOU to ask questions and take advantage of the free health services on offer. You can drop in unannounced or arrange a scheduled appointment.
You can also get advice online at https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou
If you do decide to try a diet plan or gym membership check the terms and conditions before signing and know your rights on cancelling payments:
Stopping a future payment on your debit or credit card
Cancelling a gym membership
Opens: 08 November 2017
Closes: 03 January 2018
Healthwatch the independent national champion for people who use health and social care services, launched in 2012. Since then, in partnership with local Healthwatch, they have worked hard to understand what people want from care services and make sure that those who run services hear these views.
Between June and September 2017, they asked the public, professionals and local Healthwatch a number of questions to help shape their future focus. They invite you to take part in the next phase of their strategy.
The ideas people shared largely focussed on the following areas:
People’s feedback has helped inform the development of three aims for their future.
We want to make sure people can access the information they need to take control of their health and care, make informed decisions and shape the services that support them.
We want to support a consistently high quality Healthwatch service for people who want to share their views or find information about health and social care. We also want to help local Healthwatch to champion people’s views effectively and make sure that local health and social care services truly reflect people’s needs.
We want people’s views to drive health and social care – ensuring you get access, on an equal basis with others, to support that works for you, as well as helping to shape future services for your community.
Download “Shaping our Future”
They would like to hear your views on these aims.
Have your say via the Healthwatch website
A new set of ambulance response standards, aimed at delivering the quickest response possible for the most critically-ill or injured patients, will be introduced in South East Coast Ambulance Service from tomorrow (22 November).
The new nationally-determined standards have been introduced across the country in recent months.
Changing the performance standards, which were introduced in 1974, will improve efficiencies and free up ambulance crews to respond to emergencies. Vehicles are often dispatched to respond to patients in less than eight minutes but most patients do not need this level of response. The new standards will enable the Trust to send the most appropriate response to each patient, first time, while continuing prioritise those in the greatest need.
For example, stroke patients will receive an ambulance response at the first allocation, to ensure they can be conveyed to hospital as quickly as possible to receive the clinical intervention they require.
The availability of a transporting resource will also be improved, reducing the length of time single responders wait for back up. (more…)
The changes focus on making sure the best, high quality, most appropriate response is provided for each patient first time.
Historically ambulance services are allowed up to 60 seconds from receiving a call to sending a vehicle. They told us this isn’t long enough.
So from now on call handlers will be given more time to assess 999 calls that are not immediately life-threatening, which will enable them to identify patients’ needs better and send the most appropriate response.
Ambulance services are measured on the time it takes from receiving a 999 call to a vehicle arriving at the patient’s location.
Life-threatening and emergency calls, under the current standards, should be responded to in eight minutes. We know that most patients do not need this level of response.
So, in future there will be four categories of call.
Category 1 – Calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries
This short animation explains more about these calls:
Category 2 – Emergency calls
Hear more about these types of calls:
Category 3 – Urgent calls
Watch this short animation on what an urgent call is:
Category 4 – Less urgent calls
Learn more about what this means:
Kent County Council
Opens: 25 November 2017
Closes: 22 January 2018
How often do you use your local pharmacy? Does your town need more? These are some of the questions being put to Kent residents in a new consultation.
Pharmaceutical Needs Assessments (PNAs) are used by commissioners such as Kent County Council and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to identify local health needs that could be addressed by these services, and by NHS England to decide whether to approve applications for new pharmacies in an area.
Residents and health professionals are being urged for their views in a brief questionnaire. KCC Deputy Director of Public Health, Allison Duggal said: “We have a statutory responsibility to look at the need for pharmaceutical services in Kent and the essential services they currently provide, including dispensing, providing support and advice on health and medicines, collection of medicine waste and supporting public health campaigns. We’d like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in this consultation so we can shape the future of pharmaceutical services in the county.”
The important role that pharmacists can play is highlighted in the NHS England ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign which KCC supports, urging people feeling under the weather this winter to avoid A&E, and to instead consider visiting their local pharmacy for quick, early advice. This is especially important over the winter months – when people are more likely to become ill or feel poorly.
Going to the pharmacy early will give you access to medication and advice on common ailments, but they can also:
During Self Care Week we want remind you to choose well when accessing local health services.
Some health conditions such as sprains, colds and coughs can be treated without a trip to the GP. Treating self treatable conditions at home, and using the right health services for your needs will help take pressure off the NHS.
The NHS constitution, which is the NHS handbook, says ‘please recognise you can make a significant contribution to your own and your family’s good health and wellbeing and take responsibility for it.’ It is important to take some time to understand how you may be able to help yourself before accessing health services.’
There are 3.7m visits a year to A&E for self-treatable conditions such as colds, flu and colic, which puts the NHS under unnecessary strain. This means less time for people with life threatening conditions such as severe bleeding or heart attacks who vitally need A&E services.
Before visiting A&E, consider whether there is a service better suited to your needs. Think about using information on NHS choices, calling NHS 111 or visiting your local pharmacist for advice. Don’t spend four hours waiting for an A&E appointment for something you may be able to treat at home.
Feel confident in looking after your health, help our NHS and embrace Self Care for Life.
To mark Self Care Week 2017 (13 – 19 November) we want to highlight your health expert on the High Street – the community pharmacist.
Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals who can give advice and recommend treatments for self treatable conditions such as coughs, colds, sprains and strains.
Many people still visit the GP or A&E for conditions that could be treated at home or with pharmacists’ advice. Using the wrong health service increases the strain on our NHS, so it is important to think about what is the best service for your health needs.
People go to the doctor with common ailments because they are unsure how long symptoms last and need reassurance that it isn’t anything more serious. Instead of waiting for an appointment at your surgery, consider going to your local pharmacist first. Pharmacists will help you choose the right treatment for your ailment and can explain the normal duration of symptoms. They can also offer you help to stop smoking, manage your weight, as well as providing flu jabs and blood pressure checks. Many pharmacies even have private consulting rooms. If you have a cold or flu it is worth remembering that antibiotics won’t help. In fact, taking them can reduce their effectiveness when taken for ailments they can help with.’
In the UK most people are only 20 minutes away from an expert on the High Street. If you have a long term condition and are worried how common ailments may be affecting you, or just want some advice on managing your medicines, visit your pharmacist first. Save yourself the time and hassle of booking a GP appointment or visiting A&E. Choose to feel confident about managing your health and take a trip to your local pharmacist.
Embrace self care for life.