Every year, many people share their views with us – attending events or forums, completing surveys or just getting in touch.
We’re grateful to everyone who gets involved with our work in this way, because their feedback helps us to improve local services.
In our Your voice, your health publication, we outline some of the things we have done to listen to people’s views about NHS services in Newcastle and Gateshead – and how they have influenced the decisions we make.
Urgent care in Newcastle
Urgent care services in Newcastle saw a number of changes in late 2019, with the city’s three walk-in centres upgraded to become Urgent Treatment Centres. This followed a major engagement programme the previous year, in which we listened to comments and views from more than 1,200 people.
Local people’s comments influenced our decisions in a number of ways, from the decision to maintain all three centres (at Westgate Road, Molineux Street in Byker and Ponteland Road) to the large-scale promotion campaign to help people understand how to choose the right service for their needs.
In Lemington, it was clear that people value the 14 hours-per-week urgent care service at Lemington Resource Centre highly, because of limited access to GP services in the area.
We therefore decided to improve the service by providing access to a GP as well as nurses, and offering booked appointments. As a result, it’s now easier to get a same-day appointment with a GP in Lemington.
To find out more about how local people’s views helped to influence urgent care in Newcastle, hear the thoughts of local GP and clinical lead Dr Steve Summers in this short video.
The Little Orange Book
After local parents told us that they often weren’t sure where to get the right care for their children, we launched the Little Orange Book, which is packed with expert advice for parents and carers of under-fives.
Keen to find out how the book was being used by parents and healthcare professionals, we listened to over 200 parents and carers through an online survey and feedback cards at GP practices. Over 100 healthcare professionals also commented.
Among the parents and carers who responded, over 90% felt better able to self-care and seek appropriate healthcare thanks to the Little Orange Book. 75% of those who had a copy of the Little Orange Book said that they refer to it when their child is unwell – with four out of five following its advice.
Around one-third of those parents and carers changed their behaviour and therefore did not need go to A&E or a walk-in centre.
To hear more about how local people influenced the Little Orange Book, hear the thoughts of local GP and CCG Chair Dr David Jones in this short video.
Supporting young people’s wellbeing
Newcastle Gateshead is one of only 25 CCGs chosen to provide an extra mental health support team in schools as part of the national Trailblazer programme. The team supports children with mild to moderate mental wellbeing problems, as well as linking with other agencies to promote emotional awareness and resilience.
This builds on support already in place from school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and voluntary organisations, to treat pupils with mild to moderate mental health issues and help those with more severe needs to access the right support. It is currently being expanded to cover a wider range of schools locally.
Young people played a leading role in developing the service’s name – Rise – and its logo. Parents and carers are also playing a key part, by hosting their own forum.
We listened to young people, parents, carers, school staff and other agencies to explore how the team are working, and how they can best provide support in the future.
This work suggests that the service is already making an impact for children whose concerns would previously have been at too low a level to access mental health services, and that schools value this preventive approach.
It has also shown some areas where we could make improvements, for example around training, communication, and the way different agencies work together. A number of these changes are already underway, including a review of training and some new information leaflets for parents.