All posts by Ed Lewis

One Care support BNSSG practices with booster rollout

Some One Care staff have temporarily stood down from normal duties in recent weeks to provide extra resourcing for the accelerated booster programme in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG). This support has been offered in addition to One Care’s usual role in coordinating elements of the PCN Covid-19 vaccination programme.

From the week commencing 13 December, staff have been offering their services to Primary Care Networks (PCNs), helping with various administrative, marshalling and reception tasks. To date, 56 shifts have been covered by One Care staff at 14 venues.

Eighty per cent of eligible patients have now received their booster jabs across BNSSG. Just shy of 200,000 vaccinations were given between 12 December 2021 – 4 January 2022, with more than half administered by PCNs.

One Care’s Chief Operating Officer Scott Godley, said: “It’s been fantastic seeing so many of our staff volunteer with the booster rollout programme.

“The feedback we’ve received from practices about our staff has been fantastic and similarly, members of the team have enjoyed going into the surgeries and vaccination centres, meeting new people, gaining new experiences, and witnessing first-hand the demands of the booster programme.”

“The vaccination figures are truly remarkable, particularly in the last few weeks, so a huge thank you and well done to everyone involved,” he continued.

“One Care will continue to make its staff available to volunteer at practices across BNSSG for the next couple of weeks, when it will then be reviewed, and I would encourage practices to take up the offer of support as it’s proven to make a positive difference.”

If your PCN would like to request additional help, please click here.

All adults are reminded they are eligible for their booster jabs, with 12-15 year olds able to receive their second doses.

If you’re yet to receive your first, second or booster vaccination, please visit grabajab.net or call 119. Vaccinations and boosters are the best way to protect you, your friends and family.

Get healthier this New Year

The Department of Health and Social Care have today (4 January) launched the latest instalment of the Better Health campaign to offer support and guidance to those working towards a healthier lifestyle.

Running until the end of March, the campaign looks to motivate and encourage adults across the nation to lose excess weight, eat healthier and get more active.

Better Health is working in partnership with 15 weight management and physical activity partners who are providing both free and discounted offers and the website will also signpost to local weight management support.

The new campaign highlights some of the benefits a healthier weight can have on an individual’s life:

  1. Decreased risk of common cancers (colon, liver, pancreas, kidney)
  2. Reduced risk of increased blood pressure
  3. Lowered risk of heart disease
  4. Less chance of developing diabetes
  5. Reduced strain from chronic back and joint pain
  6. Decreased risk of being hospitalised or becoming seriously ill with Covid-19

For more information and to get involved, visit the Better Health website to access a wealth of material on exercise, mental wellbeing and meal prep. The NHS weight loss plan and various fitness Apps are also available for free download.

Bristol City support Covid-19 booster programme

One Care and our local vaccination programme teamed up with Bristol City Football Club today (20 December) as the Sky Bet Championship outfit visited Tyntesfield Medical Group’s Brockway Medical Centre.

 

City’s players and staff arrived in Nailsea on their branded team coach to receive their Covid-19 boosters and lend their support to the vaccination programme, helping encourage people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) to have their Covid booster as soon as possible.

 

In BNSSG – as with the rest of the country – there’s a real drive to scale-up booster vaccinations in response to the Omicron variant by increasing the capacity of booked appointments in existing vaccination sites.

 

With 65% of total vaccinations administered through Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in BNSSG to date, Brockway Medical Centre’s lead GP Dr. Jon Rees said: “We’re delighted to have boosted the Robins today. We hope the team making such a strong public statement about having their boosters, will help encourage others to have their Covid-19 booster vaccination as soon as possible.

 

“Bristol City and other local sports teams have been fantastic advocates since the start of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign. It’s great that our local sports teams are encouraging vaccine uptake in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.”

 

Bristol City’s Chief Executive Offer Richard Gould added: “I’m really pleased that so many of the team have had their booster today. A lot of football games were cancelled over the weekend, and we wanted to come down today to help keep football going. I’d like to give credit to the NHS and to our players for being so informed and making the choice to have their Covid-19 booster.”

 

If they haven’t already, your GP surgery will be in touch very soon to offer you an appointment. It’s extremely important to accept your invitation to receive the booster, rather than wait.

 

 

Alternatively, you can use the online National Booking Service, call 119 or visit www.grabajab.net for more vaccination options in your area.

 

Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, friends, and family from this dangerous virus. Do not put it off until the New Year. Getting your booster is a quick a pain free process.

 

With focus being on vaccinations in the coming weeks, general practice staff are focusing on delivering booster appointments. While you may need to wait until the New Year to get a routine appointment, please be assured that practice teams are still available to look after your urgent care needs, including symptoms that may indicate cancer.

‘We’re showing war time spirit’ with the Covid Vaccination Programme  

It’s one year to the day since the first Covid-19 vaccination was administered by a Primary Care Network (PCN) in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.  

In that time, NHS staff and volunteers have united across the country to deliver over 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, with more than 1.7 million coming from our local vaccination programme in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).  

There have been more than 5000 staff and volunteers involved in 53-GP run clinics, providing our local community with first, second and booster jabs.  

Eighty-one per cent of the BNSSG population, aged 12 and over, have now received their first dose, with a 108-year-old taking the crown for the oldest person to be vaccinated. 

In an interview with BBC Radio Bristol, Kingwood Health Centre’s Dr. Neil Kerfoot reflected on the past year saying: “In December we started to design how we would get vaccinations at pace into our population. There were lots of regular meetings and the staff were amazing – everyone came forward and offered to join us. We had volunteers coming out the woodwork, asking to help, and it was a real team effort.  

“In my Primary Care Network, we’ve done 60,000 vaccines now and it takes one-minute to input the vaccination on to the computer once it’s been administered. That’s 41 days of admin time our team has done in the last year so that we can keep track of who has had their vaccine.   

“To have over 80% of the population in Bristol vaccinated is amazing. There’s been some great work from staff in general practice, local pharmacists, community and outreach teams, along with the mass sites.” 

Kingswood Health Centre’s Practice Manager Robyn Clark added: “We often refer to it as our war effort. This is the closest to that war time spirit we’ve ever felt. We’ve all been working long hours in this combined effort to bring about an end to what has impacted so many lives for so long.” 

Care home residents were one of the first cohorts eligible to access Covid vaccinations and praising the work of the programme is 105-year-old Deerhurst care home resident Edna: “It is absolutely marvellous. All the carers around me are good – I don’t know how they work so hard. I’ve had my two jabs and booster and I was a lucky one. I felt so pleased. I’ve not had vaccinations before – it was different, but it was all soon done.” 

Claudia, who works at Deerhurst, followed up by saying: “The success of the vaccination programme has meant a lot more freedom. The residents were more protected, and we were able to look after residents in the same way, while wearing PPE.  

“We had the doctors come in and everyone was vaccinated. Because everyone was vaccinated at the same time, we could open up a little quicker and families could start to visit again.” 

With increasing numbers of confirmed Omicron cases across the country, vaccination is critical to bolster our defences against this new variant.  

Subsequently, our local NHS is working on plans to quickly scale up our Covid-19 vaccination programme, including through GP surgeries. 

Your GP surgery will be in touch very soon to offer you an appointment. Please do not contact your surgery about making a vaccination appointment before you hear from them. 

From today (Wednesday 15 December) everyone aged 18 and over can book a booster vaccine appointment online here.  

NHS England and the government have asked general practice to focus on vaccinations in the coming weeks. This may mean you will be waiting longer for non-urgent appointments and as always, practices will be working hard to prioritise those who are most in need. Please be kind and treat staff and volunteers with respect. 

Remember, vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, friends, and family from these dangerous viruses, so everyone aged 12 and over are urged to take up the vaccine.  

One year milestone for the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

8 December 2021: Today is the one-year anniversary of the first Covid-19 vaccination to be given in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) at Southmead hospital. The milestone comes on the day that people aged over 40, along with frontline health and care staff and those in high risk groups, are able to have their life-saving Covid booster vaccination three months after their second dose, brought forward from six months.

Since 8 December 2020, our local vaccination programme has delivered 1,700,299 vaccinations, including 21,312 to our most vulnerable populations through our Maximising Uptake outreach programme. Our teams have worked tirelessly to vaccinate people against Covid-19 at 53 GP-run clinics, two large scale vaccination centres, 14 community pharmacy sites, three hospital clinics, in parks, in shops, at their place of work and in their homes.

Geeta Iyer, Clinical Lead for the BNSSG Vaccination Programme, said: “I am awed by the progress we have made in the Vaccination Programme in such a short space of time. In the past 12 months our programme has evolved from a highly clinical process with early vaccinations being administered in hospitals and GP surgeries to our position, today, with teams regularly vaccinating in workplaces, on the street and in community settings across BNSSG.

“It’s been quite a journey for everyone involved across our healthcare system and I want to say a huge ‘thank you’, on behalf of the BNSSG Vaccination Programme, to everyone who has been involved in this life-saving Programme. You really have made a difference.”

99-year-old Jack Vokes from North Somerset was the first person to receive his Covid-19 vaccination in BNSSG at Southmead hospital. One year on from being vaccinated, he said: “I can’t believe it’s been a year. I feel very lucky. I’d like to thank everyone involved very much for what they’re doing. God bless you all and have a very happy Christmas.”

With increasing numbers of confirmed Omicron cases across the country, vaccination is critical to bolster our defences against this new variant. Please have your first, second or booster jab, without delay. People can get their vaccine by booking online through the National Booking Service or by calling 119, at a local clinic (visit www.grabajab.net for details) and GP practices are also inviting those who are eligible.

To mark the anniversary, Dr. Neil Kerfoot and Practice Manager Robyn Clark from Kingswood Health Centre featured on BBC Radio Bristol this morning to discuss the past 12-months and highlight how well everyone has united to achieve such a high level of vaccinations.

Radio Bristol also caught up with 105-year-old care home resident Edna, who spoke about her experiences of getting her first and second vaccinations, along with her booster jab, and the positive difference they’ve made on her life.

You can listen back to the full show on BBC Sounds.

‘It’s not OK’: healthcare staff stand together against unacceptable behaviour

Local NHS health and care organisations are repeating calls for people to be kind and respectful, following a rise in violent, aggressive and abusive behaviour towards staff.

Whilst the majority of patients and visitors to healthcare settings are respectful and appreciative, there has continued to be a worrying rise in abusive behaviour during the pandemic.

Healthcare staff know and appreciate that there will be occasions where patients, due to the nature of their condition or through cognitive impairment, may become confused or stressed in unfamiliar environments; which can lead to challenging behaviour. Staff are offered de-escalation training to help deal with these kinds of instances in an appropriate manner.

However, there are many violent, aggressive and abusive incidents which do not involve such patients and can have a lasting impact on NHS staff who deserve to be able to feel safe when they come to work.

A campaign called ‘It’s not OK’ is under way, which features healthcare staff sharing their experiences and urging the public to respect healthcare staff and remember that they’re people, too, following the rise in incidents.

Lizzy Hooper, deputy matron at Yate’s Minor Injury Unit (MIU) says: “I shouldn’t have to be fearful for my team’s safety, yet this is a large part of what I am facing at the moment. We work very hard to ensure people in our care can be safely assessed and supported with their health care needs. It can be very challenging when individuals expect us to be able to see conditions we are not able to treat; we can only see minor injuries less than two weeks old. Some people visiting the department are reluctant to accept there are more appropriate options available to meet their needs. We would ask people to be kind and understand the pressures that we are all facing in these challenging times.”

Hannah Walker, a sister in the children’s emergency department at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children which is part of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), said: “Unfortunately, we have seen a significant increase in the number of incidents of violence and aggression displayed towards staff by members of the public. This is not acceptable. It impacts on how staff feel at work and can also be really challenging for other families to witness. Please remember our staff are people too, please treat us with respect.”

Donna Walker, receptionist for Yate’s Minor Injury Unit (MIU), says, “I can feel quite vulnerable while working at the front desk and not knowing who I may deal with every day, particularly when it is really busy. It can also feel very unsettling and demoralising when trying to help a person, only to be yelled at and sworn at along with negative and quite mean comments made towards me and my colleagues.”

Michaela Winkworth, a call handler for the outpatient appointment centre at UHBW, said: “I absolutely love my job as a call handler and find it very rewarding to help patients. Unfortunately, there have been many occasions when patients call and can be verbally abusive and use abusive language. This can make me feel deflated and drained and can be quite stressful.”

Robyn Clark, practice manager at Kingswood Health Centre, said: “There is enormous pressure on the healthcare system at the moment and surgery staff are doing their best to support and assist patients wherever possible. Sadly the amount of abuse being directed at them is still continuing and I have had to write to more patients regarding unacceptable behaviour in the last six months than in the previous four years. Many reception staff are now leaving their roles as a result, making it even harder for patients to get through and obtain the help they need. We want to reinforce that healthcare staff are people too, and patients should treat staff how they would like to be treated in the same scenario. We are all in this together.”

Dr Katrina Boutin, GP at Old School Surgery in Fishponds, says: “Unfortunately, we are still seeing too many cases where patients become violent and aggressive with our clinical or reception staff, which is extremely distressing for them. Staff in GP surgeries are working harder than ever to see and speak to as many patients as we can in the face of extremely high levels of demand.

“We want to make sure that you see or speak to the person who can best help you with your concerns and that we prioritise those who have the greatest clinical need. We understand that this can be frustrating at times if you have to wait longer than you’d like for an appointment, but aggressive or abusive behaviour makes things even more challenging for us. We would really appreciate your patience and understanding.”

There are a number of measures in place to support healthcare staff when experiencing violent or aggressive behaviour from patients; ranging from warning letters and acceptable behaviour contracts to patients being excluded from the premises and, in some circumstances, involving the police.

NHS staff should be able to carry out their work free from the threat of aggressive or abusive behaviour, while being treated with respect and remembering they are people, too.

Supporting new practice staff

A popular programme One Care offers to practices across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) is new staff support.

Launched in April 2020, the new staff support programme consists of six one-hour meetings to new staff joining key roles in the practice – such as a practice manager, partner or lead nurse. These sessions are delivered by our practice support team (PST) and are designed to introduce One Care and the expertise we offer in business intelligence, practice finance, practice operations and more.

Furthermore, the team also offers expertise on working in general practice in BNSSG for those that are new to the area, or are new to the healthcare sector.

One Care have provided ten new staff support programmes to date and a further 15 are currently running across practices and Primary Care Networks (PCNs).

A practice employee who completed the new staff support programme said: “Talking to the One Care experts about practice business, operational and finance management has really helped me to make sense of quite an overwhelming amount of information.”

As well as helping with many different aspects of running practices and offering mentor support to employees, these discussions help One Care to understand the reality and day to day challenges that practices are facing which helps inform and shape the services we offer.

Our One Care Senior Delivery Manager Linda Ruse (nee Buczek) said: “The new staff support programme is very popular and participants consistently tell us how worthwhile they find the support sessions.

“We monitor practice vacancies and contact practices when positions are filled to see if we can help.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to learn about the individual and their respective practice. We develop a positive and ongoing relationship with staff members to ensure One Care helps wherever it can.

“Our practice support team have supported all bar one practice and one PCN in BNSSG, providing more than 300 hours of time and expertise.

“It’s hugely satisfying to help an individual and practice with something they are unsure of, or need more of an insight into, so I would encourage practices to get in touch to see if we can help.”

The new staff support meetings can be virtual, or in-person. The frequency and agenda is very much led by the individual who often has a list of things to discuss. We can also update and answer questions on current BNSSG initiatives.

If you would like more information, please email practice.support@onecare.org.uk.

Resource Publisher improving efficiency

One Care is giving general practices access to the latest referral forms through Resource Publisher (RP).

One Care is responsible for ensuring standardised referral form templates are available to practices and kept up to date, saving time for individual practices as they don’t need to maintain these templates themselves.

RP is a piece of EMIS software, and as a publishing organisation, One Care uses this package to create, update, and share templates and protocols centrally with practices.

To publish resources to a practice, technical data sharing agreements (DSAs) are needed and in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG), One Care have DSAs with 99 per cent of practices. One Care also has agreements that allows sharing to Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and each geographical locality.

Reflecting on this achievement, One Care’s Senior Digital Consultant Colette Buckley said: “We are delighted to have reached the milestone of having 99% of practices signed up to receive resources from One Care via Resource Publisher. This will enable us to share a wider range of EMIS resources to practices and PCNs across BNSSG in an efficient and standardised way.”

EMIS-friendly referral form templates are the most commonly published item. However, One Care also creates and shares data entry resources via RP to assist record codes correctly and efficiently, helping improve data quality in BNSSG.

For more information, visit the TeamNet page for RP.

Number of GP appointments rising across BNSSG

Patient contact with GPs in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) continues to increase.

Last week (8-12 November), there were a total of 112,031 appointments across the 77 general practices in BNSSG.

The number of patients to see a GP was 60,237, which is higher than at any point in 2018/19 or 2020. This equates to 54% of all the appointments that took place over the course of the week.

Meanwhile, there were 19,074 appointments with nurses (17% of total appointments) and a further 32,720 with other clinicians (29% of total appointments).

Click here to enlarge the graph.

GPs, their teams, and patients have faced an extremely challenging time during the pandemic and face-to-face contact has been limited across all NHS services to protect patients from the risk of infection.

As the data suggests, not everyone needs to be seen by a GP. All practices offer appointments with a range of other healthcare professionals, and this ensures patients see the right person for their condition as quickly as possible. The general practice team continues to grow, and practices may offer patients an appointment with a physiotherapist, mental health nurse or pharmacist, among others.

To view the latest data around telephone calls, urgent appointments and flu and mass vaccination programmes representing practices across BNSSG up to 12 November, click here.

Receptionists continue to be a key part of the practice team and the questions they ask are to ensure you are seen by the right person at the right time.

This week is national self-care week and doctors and pharmacists in BNSSG are encouraging people to get ‘self-care aware’ by practicing a healthy lifestyle and familiarising themselves with how to treat minor ailments and illnesses at home.

The national campaign aims to help people to better look after their own health – including self-treating very minor illnesses or injuries with help from pharmacists and the NHS website, taking steps to manage long-term health conditions and making healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising and eating well.

Race to Zero campaign

One Care has signed up to the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Climate Hub to join the global united national Race to Zero campaign, committed to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

Small and medium sized enterprises account for 90 per cent of business worldwide and affect the livelihood of two billion people. However, in the global effort to mitigate climate change, large businesses and governments have largely been the focus of the discussion. The SME Climate Hub aims to bring all businesses on board to net zero.

The SME Climate Hub mobilises and supports small and medium sized businesses to commit to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero emissions before 2050 – a milestone aimed at avoiding the worst effects of climate change while ensuring business viability.

By taking climate action through the SME Climate Hub, businesses can better navigate the shifting expectations of consumers, large corporations, and governments.

Climate action gives SMEs a competitive advantage and enables them to future-proof their business by:

  • Improving efficiencies and reducing costs
  • Managing business risk
  • Enhancing access to capital and affordable insurance
  • Providing unique growth opportunities
  • Building supply chain resilience and
  • Strengthening marketing and branding efforts.

To date, over 2600 SMEs across 84 countries have made the commitment.

For more information on tackling climate change through SME Climate Hub, click here.