Your CCG newsletter

This edition includes information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme as well as other useful updates and information.
COVID-19 updates
Keep safe from COVID-19 and flu with these three tips

We are encouraging people in Sefton to keep COVID-19 and flu in check with three tips to ensure you and your loved ones keep safe:
  1. Get your COVID-19 and flu vaccines as soon as they are available to you
  2. Test yourself regularly for COVID-19, support contact tracing and self-isolate for 10 days if you test positive
  3. Continue to follow hands, face, space guidance
The best way to protect against COVID-19 and flu is to get your vaccines as soon as they are available to you, and if you’ve yet to have yours, it’s never too late.

Over 183,000 people in Sefton, who are eligible to have two COVID-19 jabs, have received them and anyone over 18 can still make arrangements to get their vaccines via the NHS website. 

The flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster jabs are being offered to anyone over 50 as well as to those in high-risk groups, with the booster being offered at least six after from your second vaccine. GPs in the borough are contacting those who are eligible for these vaccines, as well as those who had a weakened immune system when they had their first two doses, to provide them with a third dose.

As well as getting your vaccines; testing, tracing and self-isolating remain effective ways of stopping COVID-19 from spreading and preventing new variants of the virus from emerging. We're also urging residents to continue to follow ‘hands, face, space’ guidance to help control the spread of COVID-19 and flu, even if you are fully vaccinated.
Get the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds

The NHS in the North West has launched a new campaign to help parents and young people get the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds.

#RealVaxxFacts provides information about the vaccine, side effects and benefits, to help people make an informed decision about having it.

The 12-15 COVID-19 vaccine programme is currently being delivered in schools by School Aged Immunisation Service providers, and appointments are also now live on the NHS booking site for 12-15 year olds. Eligible young people can receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine to be protected from the virus and reduce the risk of spreading it to family and friends.

While COVID-19 is typically mild or asymptomatic in most young people, it can be very unpleasant for some. Vaccinating 12-15 year olds should help to reduce the need for young people to have time off school or miss social and sporting commitments, which will help to keep them both emotionally and physically well and happier.

In line with standard practice for vaccinations in schools, consent letters are being sent out to parents and guardians, along with information about the vaccine for parents and young people. Having the jab is a personal medical choice for children and parents or carers to discuss.

Find out more here.
Latest news
Five top tips for Ask Your Pharmacist Week

During National Ask Your Pharmacist Week (1-8 November) we're sharing five top tips for healthcare help that you can get directly from your local pharmacy:
  1. Advice and treatment for minor illnesses such as coughs, colds and earache
  2. Advice on staying well and preventing disease
  3. Support to maintain good sexual health
  4. Help to quit smoking
  5. Personalised support to get the most from your medicines

Susanne Lynch MBE, head of medicines management at NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “As well as providing easily accessible over the counter advice, you may be referred for a consultation with a community pharmacist by NHS 111, your GP or another healthcare professional.

“Anyone can access expert advice and buy a range of medicines for minor illnesses from a local pharmacist, without needing a prescription from their GP.

"Care at the chemist is a local scheme for patients registered with a GP in Sefton, which enables the pharmacist to provide the recommended minor illness medicine for a number of conditions free of charge to patients who do not pay prescription charges. Details of the pharmacies offering care at the chemist are available here."

Accessing your GP practice

All GP practices in Sefton are open and continuing to provide services, as they have done throughout the pandemic. They are also seeing a rise in demand which is higher than ever before, meaning they are treating and dealing with a record number of patients - please be patient and kind to staff.

Please contact your practice by phone or online to begin with. You will be assessed and offered a phone or video appointment, or a face-to-face appointment if there is a clinical need and it is safe to do so.

Receptionists are there to help get the right professional to see you as soon as possible. To help them do this they may need to ask questions about your condition. Please be assured they treat your information in the same strict confidence that medical professionals do.

The majority of common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your doctor by telephone or video consultation. We understand that these ways of being seen can be unfamiliar but they are necessary to keep you safe.

Everyone accessing or visiting healthcare facilities must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules to keep our most vulnerable patients and staff safe.

Do not visit your GP if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating. Follow the advice on the NHS website here.

GP practices are seeing a rise in demand for their services more than ever before and are working hard to help everyone in Sefton, so please be kind and patient with your GP staff. We ask for your support during this very busy time for practices.

You can read our FAQs on accessing your GP practice here and find out more in the video below. 

How to access your GP practice
NHS 111 Online 

This November, NHS England and NHS Improvement has launched the next phase of the latest ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign which focuses on NHS 111 online.

If you have an urgent but not life threatening medical need, make sure you visit NHS 111 online first.

NHS 111 online will help you right away and, if needed, a healthcare professional will call you. NHS 111 online can direct you to an urgent treatment centre/walk in centre, emergency dental services, GP, pharmacy or another more appropriate local service.

If you or your loved one have a life-threatening illness or injury then you should always dial 999.
We’re improving healthcare with a Greener NHS

Last week saw the launch of the Greener NHS 'Healthier Planet, Healthier People' campaign, and at the same time the UK is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, shining a light on the climate crisis and what can be done to tackle it. 

The purpose of the 'Healthier Planet, Healthier People' campaign is to raise awareness of the work already being done in the NHS to reduce emissions across medicines, transport and hospitals, and what needs to be done to reach our target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. 

Healthier planet. Healthier people.
Climate change poses a major threat to NHS staff, patients, and their communities. This is because there is a direct link between the health of our planet and the health of our people. The NHS is acting to reduce the harmful gases it puts into the atmosphere. Fewer emissions will mean fewer patients with asthma, heart disease, and cancer. It will also reduce any disruption to the delivery of the care we provide.

Change has already begun
Since 2010, efforts across the health service have resulted in NHS emissions being cut by 30%. This is already improving care, as well as the health and wellbeing of our patients. Decisions have been made to invest in greener medicines, greener transport, greener buildings, and greener energy consumption.

The challenge ahead
Despite such brilliant progress, there is still more to be done. Together, with the help of staff across the NHS, we hope to achieve even more. With more people involved, we stand every chance of meeting our target of becoming a net zero health service by 2040. We were the first health service in the world to make the commitment and intend to be the first to reach that status.

Discover how you can help
Everyone can do their bit. No matter how small. The more of us who introduce small actions into our everyday routines, the more we can lessen our impact on the environment, and the more we can improve health.

The Greener NHS programme hopes to deliver long-term positive change for the planet and the health of its people. Be part of that legacy. Find out more and show your support today by visiting
Baby Week Cheshire and Merseyside is coming 15-21 November 2021
Baby Week Cheshire and Merseyside is taking place on 15-21 November 2021.

This campaign brings together cross-sector organisations, families and caregivers to promote the importance of women’s health and giving all our babies the best possible start in life.

The week is all about sharing useful information and top health tips, with a wide range of resources, events, exhibitions, talks and more available. Find out more and get involved on the Improving Me website here.
New mental health text service launched following success of Cheshire and Merseyside’s 24/7 mental health crisis lines

Provider Trusts across Cheshire and Merseyside have teamed up with the mental health charity ‘Shout 85258’ to provide a free 24/7 text messaging service.

The service will provide support for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or is struggling to cope. Working directly with patients, the service will help take the next steps towards feeling better. Patients can text to talk about issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.

You can read more about this here.
Walton Centre launches 24/7 thrombectomy service
The Walton Centre is pleased to announce the start of its 24/7 thrombectomy service at its site in North Liverpool. This will dramatically change the lives of stroke patients across Cheshire and Merseyside.

Thrombectomy is the surgical removal of a blood clot in an artery. It is used to treat some strokes caused by a blood clot and it aims to restore blood flow to the brain.
Currently, patients who present at hospitals across the Cheshire and Merseyside region between 8am to 8pm seven days a week, and are eligible for thrombectomy treatment, are brought to The Walton Centre for this life-changing service. Outside of these hours, the service is not available anywhere in the region, leading to a potentially significantly altered outlook for patients.
However, with the round-the-clock service now available at The Walton Centre, patients will be able to receive this procedure which is well recognised as significantly improving outcomes following acute stroke.
As the UK’s only specialist neuroscience Trust, The Walton Centre has long sought to pioneer the very latest techniques and treatment, in collaboration with its partners across the region, to save and change the lives of patients with neurological and neurosurgical conditions.

Visit The Walton Centre website here.
Mersey Care introduces student health line across Merseyside

Mersey Care has introduced a new student health line for anyone studying in Merseyside who has physical, sexual or mental health concerns that require same day urgent care.
The line is staffed by clinicians and is available to all students across Merseyside, who can call 0151 295 9900, seven days a week from 8am until 8pm.

Where necessary, the clinician can signpost to an appropriate service or arrange video consultations and face-to-face appointments at a nearby walk-in centre.

Find more information here.
Get involved
Find a career like no other - We are the NHS 
Now in its fourth year, the ‘We are the NHS’ campaign is back to champion the extraordinary work of nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare support workers and inspire a new cohort to consider a career in the health service and be part of the NHS’ future.

Recruitment for the NHS has never been more vital. ‘We are the NHS’ showcases some of the most in-demand roles in the NHS; all varied, exciting and challenging in equal measures. Treating people from all walks of life, you become part each of patient’s story. Whether these moments are big, small, joyful, or sad, you see life from all angles.

This year, applicants to nursing courses as well as those studying toward a qualifying degree for allied health professions will benefit from additional NHS funding to support their studies.

Healthcare support worker roles, accessible without a degree, are also in demand and a great entry point into the NHS. Click here for more information on available roles.
Health and wellbeing
Reading Well: Books on prescription

The Reading Well programme, delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with Libraries Connected, is available to Sefton residents via Sefton Council. The programme supports people to understand and manage their health and wellbeing using helpful reading. The books are all endorsed by health experts, as well as people living with the conditions covered and their relatives and carers. 

The Reading Well Books on Prescription reading list means that you can self-refer a title that can help you. Your GP or other health professionals can also refer you to the list and recommend books that they feel will help and support you. Currently there are five self-help lists available in Sefton - children's reading well, mental health, young people's mental health, long term conditions and dementia.

You can find out more about the scheme on The Reading Agency website here and on the Sefton Council website here.
Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder

With the evenings drawing in earlier and the clocks about to go back, it's important we all take steps to look after our mental health and wellbeing. If the change of the seasons affect you or if you experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), there are a range of things you can do yourself to ease the symptoms.

These range from trying to get as much natural sunlight as possible, to making your work and home environments as light and airy as possible, taking plenty of regular exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet and light therapy. 

What is light therapy?
Light therapy involves sitting by a lamp called a light box which simulates the sunlight that's missing during the darker winter months. It's thought the light may improve SAD by encouraging your brain to reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood). Sunrise alarm clocks, which gradually light up your bedroom as you wake up, may also be useful.

You can read more about SAD and how to treat it here.

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