In-touch Commissioning news for practices
  Chair's update  

I am delighted to inform you that NHS South Tyneside CCG has passed its authorisation by the NHS Commissioning Board.

Now of course our work will start in earnest, and I look forward to continuing to work together with our partners and stakeholders to make sure we continue to plan and purchase the best possible healthcare and health services for the people of South Tyneside.


Our visit from the North East Commissioning Board resulted in several areas of notable practice being cited including our innovative MAGIC Programme, which is about shared decision making, excellent relationships and engagement, as well as sound systems and processes around quality and safeguarding.

I am delighted to let you know that our new management structure is close to completion, following the appointment of Dr David Hambleton as our Chief Officer (designate).

We have recruited a range of skilled people to the team who are looking forward to working with clinicians, practices, patients, carers, key partners and stakeholders across South Tyneside.  This puts us in a good position to drive the clinical commissioning agenda forward.  We have also made several recent appointments to our governing body.

Stephen Clark - Deputy Chair\Lay member with a lead role around quality  

Jeff Gosling - Lay member with a lead role around PPI 

Paul Morgan - Lay member with a lead role around governance and audit 

Dr Tarquin Cross - Secondary care consultant

Dr Vis-Nathan - GP member

We are now well positioned to take over full responsibility from NHS South of Tyne and Wear in April and the remaining time will be focussed on ensuring the safe transition of commissioning and other responsibilities.

I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year from all at South Tyneside CCG and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Dr Matthew Walmsley

Shared Decision Making

There is often more than one way to improve or treat health problems. 

We want to help you to understand your choices and support you to make better decisions about your healthcare.


What is shared decision making?

Shared decision making is a process where you can expect:

  • Support from your GP or practice nurse to understand the choices available.
  • That your GP or practice nurse will understand what is important to you.
  • That your practice team will work with you to decide which treatment option is best for you.
  • To make an informed choice that’s right for you

What is the MAGIC Programme?

MAGIC stands for MAking Good decisions ICollaboration and is a programme that is being run by Newcastle University, funded by the Health Foundation. South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (STCCG) is working in partnership with MAGIC to roll out Shared Decision Making across all of its 29 practices in South Tyneside. All our GPs are now trained in Shared Decision Making and want to involve you more in decisions about your care.

What can patients do?

Ask the questions they need to about your’s ok to ask.

  • What are my options?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of these options?
  • How do I get support to help me make a decision that is right for me?

The programme encourages patients to be pro-active in their care plan and helps inform the patient to work with the GP or practice nurse to make decisions.

Local Engagement Board

Our Local Engagement Board meetings takes place quarterly and provide an opportunity for local people to find out about new initiatives and developments in health in South Tyneside. 

The next meeting is on Thursday, 28 February, 1.30-4pm following a light lunch available from 1pm at The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields. 

If you would like to attend please email Jenna Easton or call on 0191 283 1903.

Research to improve carer policies

A new research project in South Tyneside and Gateshead is focusing on grandparents and children who are in kinship care arrangements due to parental substance misuse or addiction.

The research will help to develop carer policies based on the needs of family and friends.

To get involved in the research please email Lindsay Henderson or call 0191 427 4711.

Be Clear on  bladder and kidney cancer  
Be Clear on bladder and kidney cancer

The Be Clear on Cancer campaign – bladder and kidney (Blood in Pee) – began this recently and will continue through March.

The campaign is targeted towards men and women above the age of 50 and their key influencers.


Blood in urine is a key symptom in over 80% of bladder cancers and over half of kidney cancers. Yet, when asked to name cancer signs and symptoms, fewer than three in 10 people mention unexplained bleeding.

The campaign aims to increase awareness so that people know that if they have this symptom they should see their GP as soon as possible.

If kidney and bladder cancers are diagnosed at the earliest stage, one-year survival is as high as 88–95%.  At a late stage, it drops to just 22–35%.

Update on NHS 111  
Update on NHS 111

NHS 111, the new non-emergency telephone number that will make it easier for the public to access local healthcare services, was launched last month in South Tyneside.

The service is part of the government’s wider changes to the urgent care system to deliver a 24/7 urgent care service that ensures people receive the right care from the right person in the right place at the right time.

£5.45 billion budget for local public health services announced

A £5.45 billion two-year ring-fenced public health budget for local authorities has been announced by the Department of Health. 

From April 2013, when local authorities take the lead for improving the health of their local communities, public health budgets will be protected for the first time.  This will help drive local efforts to improve health and wellbeing by tackling the wider determinants of poor health.

In 2013/14, the total budget for local public health services will be just under £2.7 billion. In 2014/15, the budget will be just under £2.8 billion. Every local authority will receive a real terms increase in funding.

For further information click here

Choose Well to access the right NHS services and stay well

The regional Choose Well campaign, which got underway before Christmas, has been extended and will continue to run over the next few weeks.

The campaign is designed to encourage people to get the best possible treatment by choosing the service that's right for them.

Hospitals across the north east region and the ambulance service are currently very busy.  People using these services with minor conditions can add to this pressure and take up valuable time needed to treat critical cases.


The NHS is encouraging the public to consider other options when they are ill and it’s not an emergency such as taking care of themselves at home, phoning the new free NHS 111 number, visiting a local pharmacist for advice if they’re unsure about their symptoms, or making an appointment with their GP.

Only call 999 or attend A&E if it is an emergency or people are critically ill, for example with conditions such as chest pain, trouble breathing or loss of consciousness.   

Choose the right services for your needs:  

  • Self-care - for minor illnesses, combine over-the-counter medicines with plenty of rest
  • NHS 111 - is a new, free telephone service that you can call when you need medical help but it’s not a 999 emergency.  NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.  The number is available across Sunderland, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Durham and Darlington
  • Pharmacist / chemist - for advice on a range of minor conditions and  illnesses
  • GP - for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions for illnesses you can’t shake off
  • NHS walk-in centre - for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries, without an appointment
  • Accident and emergency or 999 – only for critical or life-threatening situations.
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