In-touch Commissioning news for practices
  Introduction from Dr Matthew Walmsley  

This issue includes key information on 'the Path to Excellence', which will see us working in partnership with local councils and NHS partner organisations across South Tyneside and Sunderland to create the best possible improvements for health and care.

We are delighted to be involved in the regional roll out of a new app to help parents get timely information to help look after the health of their child.

We also look at a new initiative which means patients can now book GP appointments online, our HealthPathways launch and, as always, a request for you to let us know about your patient stories.

It's never too late decide to quit smoking but as we're still in October why not make your 28 day pledge to kick the habit as part of Stoptober?

We're also proud to share information on our continued partnership with Mortimer Community College and our recent visit to the school.

Finally there's also information on the flu vaccination programme. If you're in one of the at risk groups please look in to getting your flu jab as early as possible.

  Introduction from Dr Matthew Walmsley
Path to Excellence  
Path to Excellence

The Path to Excellence will see us working together to create the best possible improvements for health and care in South Tyneside and Sunderland

The way that health and care is provided has dramatically improved over the past fifteen years thanks to the commitment of NHS staff and the advancements in medicines, medical technologies and medical training.


But some challenges remain. The quality of care that people receive can vary, preventable illness is common and growing demands on the NHS means there is financial pressure on local organisations at a level never seen before.

The needs and expectations of the public are also changing. We are living longer and often require different, more complex care. New treatments and medicines are emerging and the public want better care closer to home, and less care in hospital settings.

NHS guidance outlines how local health and care services will work together, as well as engaging and involving patients, carers and the wider public to develop and deliver a five-year plan based around the needs of the local population. This is to allow us to give patients the best clinical care, so they have the best chance of recovery and quality of life.

In South Tyneside and Sunderland, as part of our five-year ‘Path to Excellence’ programme of transformation and reform, we’re finding new more collaborative ways of working together with South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils, partner NHS organisations, local CCGs and the voluntary and community sector to secure high-quality, safe, sustainable NHS healthcare for the people we serve.

Despite the challenges facing our NHS, we strongly believe the people of South Tyneside and Sunderland deserve the very best hospital and community services to deliver the very best health outcomes possible for patients, and we are positive and optimistic that together we can achieve this.

The Path to Excellence highlights how we must protect our most precious resource - our staff -  and the training of our nurses, doctors and consultants. It also shows how we are involving clinical leaders in a programme of service reviews where they have a key role in developing better ways to organise services and care.

The joint aims are:

  • to provide a wide range of high quality, safe and accessible healthcare services
  • to ensure financial performance provides value for money
  • to recruit, retain and motivate skilled and compassionate staff who are proud to act as ambassadors of the services they provide
  • to be the employer of choice in the North East of England
  • to listen, learn and innovate. 

We now need the input of wider clinical staff across the hospitals, the GP community, other NHS organisations, the community and voluntary sector and, most importantly, patients and carers with experiences of the areas under review to get involved in generating ideas and helping to shape solutions.

As set out in the NHS Constitution, access to health care is a right of everyone in the UK, and we are very clear that local people will continue to have locally accessible district hospitals in both South Tyneside and Sunderland, with a wide range of acute and emergency services and have access to a comprehensive, free, national health service.

However, we need to recognise that in the very near future the NHS will need to change the way some key clinical services work across the two areas in order to ensure their sustainability, and in some cases protect them from becoming vulnerable.

Any future changes to the way services are organised would only be made in order to improve the safety, care and future sustainability of those services. In many cases some of these changes will be small scale, only noticed as an improvement in patient experience. However, some changes such as to stroke and potentially maternity, could result in bigger changes to the way these services could be organised.

It is very important to note that any large scale changes will only happen after public consultations when local people will have the chance to review proposals in detail and then comment on them.

We will make any future proposals clear and make it easy for people to feedback their views – it’s really important to us that as many people as possible take the opportunity to understand the issues and get involved – this way we have the best possible information to help us make informed decisions.

How to get involved

Over the coming months we will have lots of ways that you can get involved and opportunities to give your views.

The easiest way to ensure you don’t miss out on future opportunities is to sign up to MY NHS. By joining MY NHS you will:

  • receive regular updates about the work of the local NHS
  • receive invitations to events
  • have opportunities to give your views about areas of healthcare that interest you
  • be able to participate as much or as little as you like.

You can register for My NHS via our website or by calling us on the number below. We have also developed a dedicated website:

The website will host links to surveys and registration for events once these become available.

Community and voluntary sector organisations will be running events for service providers and holding focus groups for service users and carers.

If you would like to get involved in these activities then please contact us.

Call us: 0191 217 2670 

Follow us: twitter @NHSexcellence and facebook.


Progress is well underway to localise hundreds of clinical pathways which, when complete, will be used within general practice to assist with the care and management of patients within South Tyneside.

The HealthPathways resource is accessible to GPs during clinical consultations with patients and will provide an up to date, step by step resource for the management of numerous clinical conditions. The project was launched in August with 80 pathways. Please click the video below for more information.

These pathways represent a combination of those frequently used in Australasia, where the initiative originated, and those identified by primary and secondary care colleagues as the highest priority for South Tyneside, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure and diabetes.

Each pathway will include information on self-care, social prescribing, available third sector support and referral processes to specialist services appropriate to the individual pathway.

Following the initial launch, focus has turned to the development of the next phase of pathways with a further 50 priority pathways being identified.

Flu immunisation 2016/2017  
Flu immunisation 2016/2017

The flu vaccination programme began earlier this month as part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign, aimed at keeping vulnerable people well through winter and reducing pressures on the NHS.

The aim of the national flu immunisation programme is to offer protection against the effects of flu to as many eligible people as possible, particularly those most at risk.  

Please get the jab as soon as possible if you have a condition listed on this page, or you are:

• aged 65 years or over

• living in a residential or nursing home

• the main carer of an older or disabled person

• a household contact of an immunocompromised person

• a frontline health or social care worker

• pregnant 

• children of a certain age (more details on page six here)

There are more details on flu here.

Child health advice at your fingertips

Parents and carers can now find NHS advice at their fingertips to help them look after their children’s health.

The app gives easy to understand guidance on childhood illnesses, helping to identify when a child is unwell, and advice on when and where to seek further treatment.

The app is also available as a 115-page booklet. It has been created by healthcare professionals across the region as part of the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Network.

The booklet and app contain everything from oral health, upset tummies and diarrhoea to advice on bumps and bruises.

You can download the app from Google Play and the App Store by searching for NHS child health, or view the booklet online here or click here to view a short video.

South Tyneside patients can now book appointments online  
South Tyneside patients can now book appointments online

Patients in South Tyneside now have online access to health services, providing greater convenience, choice and control in how they access GP services.

The new Patient Online system allows patients to order repeat prescriptions, make appointments and access their GP records.

For more information please visit

Mortimer Community College partnership continues  
Mortimer Community College partnership continues

NHS staff recently attended a health morning for year seven pupils at Mortimer Community College.

The event was one of several organised throughout the year by the CCG as part of the Business in the Community programme.

Three lessons were held: 
  • how to be a Health Olympian with the school nurses - where students looked at what makes us healthy and what has a negative impact on our health
  • healthy relationships and Mental Health with teams from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust (FT) - where the students looked at what makes a good relationship and what makes a bad relationship and what makes us happy or unhappy
  • community nursing and oral health, again with teams from the FT - where the students learnt the importance of hand hygiene and how to clean their teeth correctly, and what happens if you don’t clean your teeth

The partnership with the school is now in its third year.

Chair of NHS South Tyneside CCG, Dr Matthew Walmsley, said: “The health professionals involved always enjoy coming along to the school and passing on key health messages to pupils."

Lynne Jobling, senior teacher at Mortimer Community College, said: “The partnership with the CCG has been rewarding from the offset and it is always valuable for students to experience professionals sharing their expertise.” 


Stoptober is back for 2016 to encourage smokers across England to make a quit attempt during October. Stoptober has driven almost 1 million quit attempts to date, with thousands more likely to take part this autumn, and this year there are plenty of ways for people and partners to get involved.

Launched in 2012, Stoptober is the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England that encourages and supports smokers across England towards quitting for good. Stoptober is based on the insight that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good. 

The campaign chunks down the quitting process, presents it as a more manageable 28 days and rallies people around a specific date to get started.

For more information follow Stoptober on Twitter or visit the Facebook page. 

Tell us your patient stories  
Tell us your patient stories

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

The CCG's operations 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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