In-touch Commissioning news for practices

Welcome to our latest bulletin to keep you up to date with the activities of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the body responsible for planning and buying local healthcare and health services.

In this edition we have an update from the integrated care team, information on a smoking cessation campaign and an article on some work that we have carried out with Mortimer Community College.

Dr Matthew Walmsley

Local Engagement Board update

The next Local Engagement Board (LEB) will be held on Thursday 9 July, 6.00 - 7.30pm at Jarrow Community Association.

Topics of discussion will include the South Tyneside Cancer Strategy and Musculoskeletal Services. There will also be the opportunity to ask members of the CCG any questions that you may have about healthcare in the borough.

If you would like to attend the LEB, please contact Jenna Easton on 0191 2831903, or email


LEB – 14 May 2015

Topics of discussion at the May LEB focused on out of hours services, Integrated Care Teams and the Healthwatch GP survey report.  Feedback was also provided on some questions raised at the February LEB, regarding the urgent care consultation.

Attendees were able to give their views on the current out of hours services – what they like about them, and what they feel could be done to improve the services. All feedback given at the LEB has been added to the Engagement Report, which includes feedback from other groups and surveys.  This report will be considered by the Out of Hours Project Group and the CCG Executive Committee.

Update from the Integrated Care Team

The prototype team was launched in November 2014, with a single team of health, social and voluntary sector representatives working in an integrated team to provide support to three general practices in Hebburn. Following on from its successful introduction, a second delivery was subsequently rolled out in Jarrow, providing support to an additional four practices.

The success of the service is being evaluated in a number of ways, not only in terms of the quantitative impact on the number of patient contacts and admission to acute care, but also qualitatively through staff and (most importantly) patient satisfaction with the service.


To date, feedback from the team members and GPs have demonstrated a significant increase in the satisfaction levels since the implementation of the new service. Dr Kelly Staples said: “Feedback from patients and staff is that morale is up. This really does work.”

Focus has now turned to the borough wide roll out of the service, which will take place across summer 2015. This will see the introduction of an additional four delivery teams split into two delivery hubs. 

Warning to smokers as NHS costs mount

A campaign is highlighting the tragedy smoking inflicts on thousands of North East families and the burden it places on the region’s NHS.

The “Don’t be the 1” campaign from Fresh highlights that long term smokers face a 1 in 2 chance of dying prematurely due to smoking, losing an average of 10 years of life.


Despite falls in smoking rates during the last decade, over 460,000 adults in the North East still smoke, and there are 5,500 smoking related deaths  every year. For every death, another 20 people are living with smoking-related diseases, and the strain on the NHS is considerable. NICE’s Tobacco Return on Investment tool conservatively estimates that smoking results in:

  • 527,000 GP appointments each year?
  • 109,700 hospital admissions and outpatient visits each year
  • an overall cost to the region`s NHS of £93m per year?

Most smokers vastly underestimate their risks of smoking related disease, making the role of healthcare professionals vital, especially given that 64% smokers would like to be able to stop.

Local NHS Stop Smoking Services give people the best chance of quitting, and many GP practices provide this. Recent guidance from Public Health England also states electronic cigarettes carry an estimated 5% of the risks of tobacco for smokers considering switching to a safer alternative.

Visit or email if you would like to become more involved.

Pupils help NHS leaders tackle health issues

Persuasive pupils from a South Tyneside school have joined forces with local NHS leaders to tackle some of the thorniest health problems facing the country.

The pupils from Mortimer Community College in South Shields were challenged to find new ways to raise awareness of key health issues like alcohol, self-care and mental health – and stepped up to the mark with a series of proposals.


Supported by Business in the Community, the scheme brought together ten 12 and 13 year-olds with leaders from NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and buys most healthcare services for the NHS in the borough.

And the budding communicators impressed leading NHS figures with their range of creative ideas when they came together at the CCG’s Monkton Hall base.

Dr Matthew Walmsley, a local GP and Chair of NHS South Tyneside CCG, said: “The pupils came up with some excellent ideas to spread the word about some of the most difficult issues facing the NHS and patients alike.

“This was a tough challenge for the students to take on, but it was good to see them getting to grips with some of the issues the NHS is facing.”

The pupils, aged between 12 and 13, developed a range of ideas to raise awareness of the options people have to improve their own health.

Stan Smith was part of a group of students looking at how to promote self-care. Stan, 12, of Westoe, said: “I suggested some health messages and posters so that elderly people know how to get help if they can’t get to a GP.”

Caitlin Merry, 13, of Simonside, said: “It was good to learn about different illnesses, take a tour of Monkton Hall and see what the CCG does to keep the NHS running locally.”

Liam Maxwell, 13, of Temple Park Road, said: “I enjoyed learning about all the facts and statistics so that we could come up with creative things to do with health issues.”

Dr Walmsley added: “The CCG is led by local doctors and nurses, who are close to their patients and well placed to see how local services can be improved. With an ageing population, changing expectations and more people with long-term conditions, the NHS needs to find new ways to deliver services, so it is useful to involve the next generation in finding solutions for the future.”

Lynne Jobling, Senior Teacher at Mortimer Community College, said: “The students rose to the challenge as we knew they would. They showed initiative, creativity and excellent team work skills as well as a maturity beyond their years.

“We invited their parents to the final presentation as well as representatives from the STCCG and our head teacher Claire Mullane.  The CCG has done some excellent work in our school and it’s lovely that they are taking the time to support young people in this way.”

Tell us your patient stories

The most complete story of a person’s treatment comes from the patient and their relatives or carers.

Operations and Engagement Manager, Helen Ruffell, said:  “We need to hear first-hand experiences of patients’ treatment in South Tyneside to help us learn from the good work that is happening and help us identify where the services are not working so well.”

“By sharing their stories of involvement with local health services people can help us develop patient-centred care for residents across South Tyneside.”

If you have a story you would like to share please contact Helen on 0191 283 1903 or email

  Monkton Hall, Monkton Lane, Jarrow NE32 5NN
Telephone: 0191 283 1903 email: Visit:

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