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main copy.qxdWith Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s time to think about your heart.

NHS Medway Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging people to consider their lifestyles during February’s Healthy Heart Month. Making simple changes to diet and exercise can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease. In Medway there are 7,500 people diagnosed with the disease, but it’s thought to affect many more.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries that surround the heart. This can make coronary arteries narrower and restrict the flow of blood to the heart which increases the risk of heart attack. People are at higher risk if they:

• Smoke
• Have high blood pressure (hypertension)
• Have a high blood cholesterol level
• Do not take regular exercise
• Have diabetes

Other risk factors include being obese or overweight and having a family history of CHD. This risk is increased if someone has a male relative with CHD under the age of 55 or a female relative under the age of 65.

People from an African Caribbean background have a higher risk of high blood pressure than all other ethnic groups in the UK. Coronary heart disease rates are at their highest in South Asian communities.

The CCG’s clinical lead for long-term conditions, Dr Chris Markwick, said: “We’re urging everyone to think about their lifestyle and their heart in February.

“Are there things you can change to help you have a healthier heart? Can you quit smoking, lose weight, or be more active? How about trimming the fat from meat or grilling instead of frying? If so, there’s no better time to do it than now.”

Things you can do to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels include:

• Eating a balanced and healthy diet – and going easy on salt
• Avoiding eating too much food that contains saturated fat, such as cakes and biscuits, cream and hard cheese
• Being more physically active
• Keeping to a healthy weight
• Quitting smoking
• Reducing alcohol consumption and sticking to recommended guidelines
• Keeping blood pressure under control
• Cutting down on sugar – too much sugar in the diet can increase the chances of diabetes which will, in turn, increase the chances of developing CHD.

Healthy Heart Month runs from 1 to 28 February. For more information about heart disease, visit the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk or the British Heart Foundation website www.bhf.org.uk.

If you’re concerned about your heart, visit your GP.

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health appAn innovative new NHS service is helping to put Medway people more in control of their own health and find the right treatment quickly when they need it.

The web app Health Help Now advises people on the best treatment for different symptoms, and helps them contact the best service for them, whether that is a pharmacy, their GP practice, NHS 111 or many other services.

In the first month since its launch on 13 December 2013, Health Help Now has been used more than 3000 times by more than 2100 people.

Dr Chris Markwick, Urgent Care GP at NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Health Help Now has useful information and advice for people of every age. By using Health Help Now, people should be able to find the service in Medway or Kent that can help them, whether they are at home or out and about.

“We know that it can be confusing to know where to get help. People who are unsure often just go to A&E, even if they only have a minor injury or ailment.

“Health Help Now can help these people to get the right treatment without having to wait in a busy A&E department.

“That will help them and, by keeping A&E free for those who really need it, it will also help the NHS focus lifesaving care on the most seriously ill and injured patients.” Now, everyone who lives, studies and works in Medway and Kent can have details of local health help at their fingertips, whatever the time and wherever they are.

Health Help Now shows the user where their nearest services, such as GP practices, minor injuries units, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists are. It also suggests support phone lines for mental health worries, and contains a wealth of information on common health conditions, and links to reliable resources.

The web app is available via the website www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net and can be saved to your phone, tablet or computer for easy use. Why not save it so you have it readily to hand when you need it?

Statement from NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group

The Care Quality Commission today issued the report of an unannounced inspection into maternity services at Medway Maritime Hospital. While noting examples of good practice and that the staff were dedicated and caring, the inspection found that actions were needed to improve care in all six of the areas inspected. The CQC has issued three warning notices under section 29 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

The inspection comes at a time when Medway NHS Foundation Trust continues to be in ‘special measures’ as a result of the findings of the review led by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s team, a review that was triggered by poor mortality rates. NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group welcome the arrival of the trust’s new Medical Director and new Chief Nurse.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and by Monitor, the two national regulators of foundation trusts. They are the organisations that can impose warnings or undertakings on the trust, as the CQC has done here, to require change.

The CCGs’ role is to commission healthcare that is safe and meets the needs of our population, and to work with providers of healthcare to assure the public on the quality of services. In our response to the Keogh review, we made it clear that it is the responsibility of the trust’s board to ensure that services are safe, that the necessary monitoring is in place to provide that assurance and that any necessary rectification plans are implemented.

We will continue to work with Medway NHS Foundation Trust to improve the quality of care patients receive. NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group plans and buys healthcare for the people of Medway.

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is holding it’s next governing body meeting on Wednesday 23 October. The meeting is at the CCG offices at 50 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime between 1pm and 5pm and is open to the public.

The agenda and papers will be available on the CCG website (www.medwayccg.nhs.uk) this Friday (18 October) and any questions should be tabled in advance where possible although they will also be taken on the day.

Visitors’ parking is available in the CCG overflow car park at Dickens World. Permits should be obtained in advance. To table a question or request a parking permit, contact Sharon Davies by email sharon.davies6@nhs.net, by phone 01634 335177 or in writing to Executive Support and Governance Assistant, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, 50 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4EL.

Medway has 25,000 carers according to the last census and Medway Council and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) believes many more people are caring for friends or family but not recognising the extent of their role. More

Death is a certainty that we all face and can be a time of distress for not only the person whose life is ending, but the loved ones they are leaving behind. When asked, most people express preferences about their end of life such as wanting to die at home. But few people currently have conversations about this. A short film hopes to change that, and encourage people to let loved ones and health professionals know their wishes. Read More

Last 48 hrs to table your questions.

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body will be holding its monthly meeting in public next week.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commissions health services in Medway. The meeting will take place at the CCG offices at 50 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime on Wednesday 2 October from 1.30pm to 4.30pm and will include a slot at the end when the public can ask questions or make comments on the work of the CCG.

Further meetings are scheduled for Wednesday 23 October and Wednesday 27 November. Questions should be tabled in advance by contacting Sharon Davies by email (Sharon.davies6@nhs.net), by phone (01634 335177) The agenda and papers are available online on the Friday before each meeting at http://www.medwayccg.nhs.uk.

Around 40,000 people across Medway are diagnosed with high blood pressure, and the NHS believes many more may not know they suffer.

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) predicts there may be as many as 65,000 people in total with high blood pressure across the Medway towns and is urging people to get tested and ‘know their numbers’. Read More

Medway Council is expressing its concerns over planned changes to mental health inpatient services in the area.

Cllr Wendy Purdy (Con), lead Medway Councillor on the Joint Kent and Medway Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, fears it will place vulnerable people at risk. “Medway needs local in-patient services, and across Kent and Medway all the indications are that we need more not less beds. This is a matter of serious concern.” said Cllr Purdy. More

The NHS wants to hear your views on fertility treatment. National guidance on the assisted conception services has been reviewed nationally and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is keen to hear what local people think. The survey, which covers Kent, Medway and Sussex, will run until 12 August.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently reviewed its clinical guidance on fertility, which was last published in 2004. As a result, CCGs need to review decisions about how best to meet the assisted conception needs of people across the local area. As part of the review, CCGs will consider the new NICE recommendations, local capacity and resources, population needs and the views and experiences of local clinicians and patients.

The survey asks respondents for their views on:
• treatment referral
• options for same-sex couples, people with physical disabilities or psychosexual problems, and
• fertility preservation for patients undergoing treatments which may affect their future chance of conception, such as chemotherapy.

The questionnaire is open to people across Kent, Medway and Sussex. To take part in the survey, visit: http://www.medwayccg.nhs.uk. The questionnaire is available until 12 August 2013.

To open the survey click HERE

Summer months are a busy time for the NHS, with soaring temperatures leading to increased numbers of patients suffering heat exhaustion, sunburn and allergic reactions from insect bites. More

LEADING BEAUTY BRANDS LAUNCH EXCLUSIVE PINK RANGES FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Shop with a conscience and shop pink this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Beauty favourites, Avon and ghd, have joined forces with leading charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, to launch exclusive pink products which carry a minimum 10% donation to Breakthrough’s life-saving work.

Avon and ghd, along with many more leading retailers, will all be doing their bit to help the nation turn pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More women than ever before are being diagnosed with breast cancer so it’s crucial that everybody gets involved and helps raise vital funds to stop women dying from the disease.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to saving lives through improving early diagnosis, developing new treatments and preventing all types of breast cancer. With 1,000 women dying from the disease each month in the UK alone, every penny raised is vital in order to help us create a world freed from breast cancer. Do your bit, do it pink.

1. Avon Pro Viva Pink Nail Varnish, RRP £4, 25% donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, available from your local Independent Avon Representative or online at avonshop.co.uk
2. ghd pink styler and paddle brush gift set RRP £135, £10 donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, available in the finest salons and at http://www.ghdhair.com. ghd has been supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer for 10 years.

Statement from Dr Peter Green, Chief Clinical Officer, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in response to the publication of the Keogh report.
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The people in charge of planning and buying NHS healthcare services for Medway are due to meet on Wednesday 24 July, 1.30pm at Fifty Pembroke Court, Chatham, ME4 4EL.

Local people are invited to observe the monthly governing body meeting, to find out about decisions being made on NHS healthcare services in the NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.

There will be an opportunity for people to ask questions at the end of the meeting. Anyone who would like to submit questions in advance is encouraged to contact the CCG executive support team by email: sharon.davies6@nhs.net or by calling 01634 335177.

For further information, and to view the agenda and meeting papers (published on Friday 19 July), visit the CCG website: http://www.medwayccg.nhs.uk.

(L-R) Lee Broadhurst, Pat Maltby, Sam PearceA woman from Chatham who suffered a heart attack at a phlebotomy (blood testing) clinic has returned to thank the phlebotomists who saved her life. On 2 May 2013, Pat Maltby, 70, who regularly attends the blood testing clinic at Lordswood Healthy Living Centre, suddenly collapsed. Pat explained: “I managed to walk to the lift to go up to the clinic but felt absolutely dreadful. My chest felt really tight and I couldn’t catch my breathe. More

Health teams in Medway are asking anyone who’s had a persistent cough for three weeks or more to see their GP, in support of a national campaign to raise awareness of lung cancer. The national lung cancer campaign which started on 2 July and runs until 11 August, is part of Public Health England’s Be Clear on Cancer campaign, which aims to raise public awareness of symptoms of cancer and encourage people with symptoms to see their GP earlier. More

Cake bakers of the Peninsula take one step forward, wooden spoons and Kenwood Chefs at the ready. Send us pictures of your cakes and we will put them on our website for the world to see.

RAISE SOME DOUGH AND HELP BEAT BREAST CANCER, BREAKTHROUGH BREAST CANCER LAUNCHES THE VERY FIRST GREAT PINK BAKE OFF

This year leading charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer is recruiting an army of bakers to fire up their ovens, hit the kitchen and give breast cancer a good beating in the first ever Great Pink Bake Off.

More women than ever are being diagnosed with breast cancer so Breakthrough Breast Cancer wants local communities to whip up some support to help fund their life-saving research. More

School’s almost out for summer! And Medway Council and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are encouraging parents to make sure their children have had the full MMR vaccination before the school holidays begin. The long summer break involves travel, days out and contact with lots of people for many families. With a high number of cases of measles reported nationally this year and last, Medway Council and NHS Medway CCG say parents should make the vaccination a priority if their child has not had two doses. More

Local people are invited to meet specialist nurses from Medway Community Healthcare to get advice about problem skin conditions.

The team will be at Hempstead Valley on Thursday 18 July 2013 from 9am to 4pm. More

A new committee that will play a major role in ensuring Medway residents have the access to the best possible health and social care will meet for the first time on Tuesday (18/6) afternoon.

Nationally Health and Wellbeing boards have been established in all County Councils and Unitary Authorities. Read More

Kate Browning volunteer Wisdom HospiceTo mark National Volunteers’ Week (1 to 7 June 2013) health teams at Medway Community Healthcare are celebrating the vital support local volunteers give every day.

In Medway and Swale, 280 community volunteers support 47 teams by giving more than 4,000 hours of their own time each month. Their roles are varied and include offering complementary therapy at the Wisdom Hospice; supporting new mothers with breastfeeding; helping at exercise rehabilitation groups and assisting with administrative tasks.

Kate Browning is one of the longest-serving volunteers at Medway Community Healthcare, having been at the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester in a variety of roles spanning twenty years. Kate, who is 74, began volunteering at the hospice in 1993, inspired by the ‘wonderful care’ the team gave to her mother-in-law.

Kate explained: “I started out as a volunteer driver, helping people living in Medway and Swale to get to the Day Hospice once a week. The conversations you have during each journey are very important, people feel comfortable with you and safe. It’s about giving them the most pleasant journey you can.”

Having been a driver for many years, Kate decided to volunteer within the Day Hospice.

Kate continued: “I saw how much the day of relaxation and support helped people and I wanted to be part of it. I made tea, helped people at lunchtime and was on hand for anything that people needed allowing staff time to concentrate on nursing and running the activities.

“I now work on the hospice ward as a spiritual care volunteer, talking to and comforting very ill patients and their families. The days are varied, I even recently helped a husband to bring his pet spaniel to visit his wife; I enjoy bringing a smile to people’s faces.

“I admire the wonderful care the hospice team provide, they are exceptional at what they do. To be connected with them even by putting in a small bit is a huge privilege.”

Natalie Taylor, voluntary services manager, explained: “Our volunteers, aged from 17 to 83, volunteer with us for a number of reasons. Some wish to remain active after retirement, others are healthcare students looking to gain experience and we also have some of our former patients volunteering as their way of giving something back.

“Medway Community Healthcare would like to say a huge thank you to our many inspiring volunteers for the support you give to staff, patients and their families during National Volunteers’ Week and beyond.”

If you would like to become a volunteer with Medway Community Healthcare please call 01634 830456 and ask to speak to a voluntary services manager or visit http://www.medwaycommunityhealthcare.co.uk/volunteer

Residents of all ages are being urged to use a new health watchdog to get more involved in how health services are run in Medway. Healthwatch Medway, set up as part of national government NHS reforms, has been set the task of championing the views of local people using the NHS and social care services. A new website – http://www.healthwatchmedway.co.uk – set for launch this summer, will provide residents with more information on the services it provides, how to get in touch and what it is doing to represent their views. More

Local people have given the thumbs up to their community health services.

More than 3,000 people (96% of respondents) in Medway and Swale completed a survey rating the quality of care they received from teams at Medway Community Healthcare as good or very good. More

Fiona Stephens, Medway Community Healthcare

Fiona Stephens, Medway Community Healthcare

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has praised the care given to local people by the teams at Medway On Call Care (MedOCC), run by Medway Community Healthcare.

MedOCC provides urgent care for people in Medway 24/7 when their GP surgery is closed. Appointments are offered at Quayside, Chatham Maritime, as well as at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham. Doctors and specialist nurses also visit people at home if they are too unwell to travel to an appointment. More

Families of children in Medway who may have missed out on their measles jabs are being urged to make sure the youngsters are protected against the disease. More

You could save a life by simply checking a pulse. That’s the message from NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as it launches the PACT campaign to encourage people to check their pulse once a year. As well as checking your own pulse, think about checking that of loved ones as well, says GP Dr Peter Green, NHS Medway CCG’s Chief Clinical Officer. A good tip is to pick a month – perhaps the month before a birthday – and check it every year during that month. By checking your pulse you may be able to pick up heart rhythm disorders that can cause strokes. More

Don’t spend your bank holiday in A&E – that’s the advice from GPs, who are inviting patients to ensure they use the medical service that can help them best over the bank holiday weekend. More

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group held its first governing body meeting in public this week, and emphasised that its agenda is all about quality and improving outcomes for people.

The clinically led organisation is responsible for deciding how and where an annual budget of £315million is spent on hospital, community and mental health services for the 283,000 people in the Medway area. More

A new service providing care for older people with dementia will be introduced later this year at Platters Farm Lodge in Rainham as part of an exciting new joint project between Strode Park Foundation and Medway Council. More

Nurses at Medway Community Healthcare are celebrating being short listed for the Nursing Times Awards for Student Placement of the Year (Community).

In the last year, over 218 nurses have undertaken a placement with Medway Community Healthcare across a range of services including *specialist nursing, palliative care and community nursing in clinics, hospitals and people’s homes across Medway. More

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