Fit for the Future engagement begins

Starting on Tuesday 20 August, and for the next two months, the NHS in Gloucestershire is engaging with the public on a range of ideas and potential solutions for how...

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New estimates show 5,000 five-year-olds in SW not fully immunised against MMR

As thousands of parents across the South West prepare their children to start primary school in the next few weeks, Public Health England (PHE) South West is warning that 5,000...

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FFTF Forest hospitalStarting on Tuesday 20 August, and for the next two months, the NHS in Gloucestershire is engaging with the public on a range of ideas and potential solutions for how community urgent ‘same day’ care and specialist hospital services could be provided across the county.

Under the title Fit for the Future, discussions will centre on ideas to support faster and more convenient urgent same day advice and care, and a centres of excellence approach at Gloucester and Cheltenham hospitals.

As part of this, we are also asking people who live or work in the Forest of Dean, our colleagues, and others who have an interest in the future provision of services there, to continue to help develop ideas for the services to be provided in the new community hospital.

This follows extensive engagement and consultation with people in the Forest of Dean between September 2015 and July 2018, after which the NHS supported the recommendations of a Citizen’s Jury to build the new hospital in the Cinderford area.

Decisions have not yet been made about what services will be provided in the new hospital in the Forest of Dean, or how many beds there will be. The views of residents, colleagues and wider stakeholders will continue to shape the way plans are developed.

To support this engagement process two publications have been developed:

• Fit for the Future: Developing urgent and hospital care in Gloucestershire
• Fit for the Future: A new hospital for the Forest of Dean

As well as information to support the discussions, a survey and public ‘drop in’ events across the county, we will be holding internal events, local workshops, a public hearing, locality workshops and a Citizens’ Jury.

Through sharing information and exchanging views, the engagement period will provide a wealth of feedback to inform future planning. Both you and the public would be consulted on any significant changes that follow on from this engagement programme. 

There are a number of ways you can get involved and share your views:

• Read the booklet and complete the survey about urgent and hospital care here
• Read the booklet and complete the Forest of Dean hospital survey here
• Locality Development Workshops will be held in the Forest of Dean on various dates. To express an interest in attending, please email by Friday 6 September 2019

MMRAs thousands of parents across the South West prepare their children to start primary school in the next few weeks, Public Health England (PHE) South West is warning that 5,000 five-year-olds in the region may not be fully up to date with some routine immunisations.

These worrying estimates, released as part of PHE’s Value of Vaccines campaign, show that some four and five-year olds are starting school at unnecessary risk of serious diseases, compared to the majority of their classmates, prompting a call for parents to check their children's Red Books to ensure they are up to date with scheduled immunisations.

In the UK, dose one of the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, is usually given to infants at around 12 months of age. A second dose is given before school, usually at three years and four months of age, to ensure best protection. Two doses of MMR in a lifetime are needed for a person to be considered fully protected. The 4-in-1 pre-school booster is also usually offered at three years and four months of age and protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio.

Around 680,000 five-year-olds start school in England each year according to Department for Education figures. Based on percentage uptake from latest vaccination coverage figures * PHE estimates that:

  • More than 30,000 (around 1 in 19) five-year-olds may still need to receive their first dose of MMR, leaving them significantly more at risk compared to pupils who are fully vaccinated. Around 2,000 of these children are in the South West

  • Around 90,000 (around 1 in 7) five-year-olds in England may still need to receive their second dose of MMR vaccine. Around 5,000 of these children are in the South West

  • Around 100,000 (around 1 in 8) five-year-olds in England may still need their 4-in-1 pre-school booster that protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio. Around 6,000 of these children are in the South West.

This means more than five per cent of five-year-olds are starting reception year having not received any MMR. This leaves them at high risk of measles at a time when outbreaks of the disease are occurring across the country.

Parents are advised to check that their children have received all their vaccinations on schedule by visiting the NHS website and referring to their Red Books. If in any doubt, they can contact our Immunisation Team or GP practice.

It’s never too late for a child to be immunised

PHE’s catch-up call for primary school starters follows the issue of a new GP contract from NHS England and Improvement, which also encourages 10 and 11-year-olds to catch up with any missing MMR vaccinations prior to reaching secondary school age.

For further information about vaccinations, visit

* Vaccination Coverage Report, January to March 2019

Exciting new opportunities in research in Gloucestershire are being explored thanks to the launch of a new research arm of the county’s Integrated Care System (ICS).

Research4Gloucestershire (R4G) will see health and social care providers join forces with the University of Gloucestershire and Cobalt Health. Under the R4G name, they want to create a platform to bring together people across the county with an interest or involvement in research, as well as those able to drive the research agenda within their own organisations.

To mark the launch, R4G: Research Matters 2019 will take place on Tuesday 10 September at the University of Gloucestershire. As well as keynote speakers, the event will also provide opportunities for networking and to influence the potential for the county to become a centre of excellent to deliver educational research.

Keynote speakers include Professor Brendan McCormack, Head of Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh. He is internationally renowned for his work in person-centred practice development and research.

Also speaking is Dr Sean Elyan, who will be focusing on educational research, looking at how health and social care organisations can overcome workforce challenges and plan for the future.

As well as question and answer sessions, which is it hoped will generate interesting and challenging discussions, there will also be a marketplace with stands and networking opportunities.

Peter Lachecki, Chair of Research4Gloucestershire, said: “We believe Gloucestershire truly has the potential to become a centre of excellence for research and we’re delighted to be launching Research4Gloucestershire to deliver on this goal.

“We want to shape a bright future for research in Gloucestershire over the next five to 10 years. Working together, we have produced a broad vision statement, want to further recognise the great work that is already taking place across the county and decide on key research priorities. 

“Research Matters 2019 will be a truly collaborative event and we are excited to be working with attendees to drive the research agenda in the county. There will be the opportunity for plenty of interaction, ideas generation and sharing of best practice, as well as identifying ways we can work together.”

Research Matters 2019 will take place at the School of Business & Technology, on the Oxstalls Campus, University of Gloucestershire.

The organisations involved in Research4Gloucestershire are 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Care Services, Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Gloucestershire and Cobalt Health.

DSC 0712Crisis workers Ava Carpenter and Dave Howe, and former service user and member of the SARC Steering Group, Matt Burnett

The team at Hope House Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is celebrating the news that it has received Lime Culture Accreditation – a quality standard awarded to services which support male victims and survivors of sexual violence.

Based at Hope House, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, the SARC provides male and female victims of rape or sexual assault, their friends and families, access to emotional, psychological, medical and practical help.

Explaining the significance of a Lime Culture Accreditation, SARC Manager Emma Twydell says: “The award of this quality mark demonstrates the team's commitment to improving the quality of support for male victims and survivors of rape and sexual assault. It recognises that we fully understand and appreciate that men can be victims of sexual violence too, and that we are here to support them just as much as female victims and children.

“We provide a personal, bespoke service for male clients. Our team receives ongoing, specialist training geared specifically toward helping and supporting male victims of rape and sexual assault - most recently, the Lime Culture Training Programme, which led to us earning this accreditation.”

The SARC started its own male steering group late last year. “We thought that the most effective way of finding out what male victims and survivors want is to talk to them,” explains Crisis Worker Ava Carpenter. “The panel members use their experiences and share their thoughts to help drive the service forward.”

Former service user Matt Burnett was instrumental in the steering group’s formation. “I first contacted the SARC when I made the decision to disclose something that happened to me years ago when I was still living in Scotland,” he says.

“With it being an historic rape case, I didn't require the SARC's forensic medical service. But the emotional support I received was fantastic; they were so supportive. That’s what motivated me to become involved with the steering group.

“Soon after its formation we realised that we didn't want to hear the voices of male survivors only; we wanted to hear those of all survivors. So the steering group now comprises both male and female members.”

“And it's not only survivors who form the panel,” adds Ava. “We have people from the NHS, Victim Support, the Police – lots of different agencies - all coming together to share their experiences and talk about what they find really useful.”

“The steering group helped us put together our male wash bags and aftercare packs. We asked male survivors, 'If you came to the SARC and wanted a shower, what would you like in your wash bag?' Just little details like that are really important to the people who use our service.

“The steering group is also working with the SARC Team to help raise awareness and let people know of the centre's existence.”

“Until I accessed the service three years ago, I didn't know the SARC existed,” says Matt.

“Increasingly we’re seeing its colourful logo and posters in the street and on social media. Its presence is definitely becoming more visible; which means more victims of rape and sexual assault are being made aware of the SARC and the services it provides.”

Ava concurs: “We are definitely seeing a rise in self-referrals. Recent appearances on BBC Radio Gloucestershire and a growing social media presence have helped. We are planning engagement events across the county and work closely with the University of Gloucestershire, so more people are coming through to us than beforehand – particularly male clients.

“This year the number of men seeking our service has risen - not just for medical examinations. Many are historic cases where they call us because they have Googled us or seen us on social media, and we're the first number that they want to call.”
Male Crisis Worker Dave Howe joined the SARC in February last year. “The key thing is about giving people choice,” he says. “Following my appointment we can ask people if they would prefer to have a male or a female crisis worker.

“My role is to provide that immediacy, that support, when a person first arrives at the SARC. It's a case of being with them, sitting down and explaining the process to them and making sure their well-being is catered for.
“Bearing in mind everything that has happened to them, they are in trauma. It's about giving them a bit of control and making sure they do exactly what it is that they want to do; that they're not being pushed into anything.

“My job is to make sure that they're comfortable; that they understand everything. We just need to let them know that they can come to us with any queries they may have and that we are here to support them.”
Those seeking the SARC Crisis Team’s help and advice can do so by using the dedicated helpline which is available at all times out of hours for advice or self-referral, or they can get in touch via email.

To find out more about Hope House SARC, visit the website at

How to get in touch
  • Call the Hope House SARC Crisis Team 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year on 0300 421 8400

nhs strokeunit dursley 0064
The Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire received a warm welcome yesterday (Tuesday 18 June 2019) when he arrived at Vale Community Hospital in Dursley to perform the official opening of its brand-new specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Unit.

The inpatient facility, located within Peak View Ward, first opened its doors in February this year. With 14 specialist stroke beds and six general community beds, the unit offers care and support to stroke patients no longer in need of specialist medical care in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), but who still require stroke rehabilitation that cannot be delivered at home.

It is staffed by a multidisciplinary team including nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, doctors, a psychologist, rehabilitation assistants and hotel services.

When performing the unveiling of the commemorative plaque, Lord-Lieutenant Edward Gillespie, said: “I am enormously impressed by the vision of the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit, and how this special facility bridges the gap in post-stroke care in Gloucestershire; enabling people who have suffered a stroke to have the best possible recovery, receiving rehabilitation in a specialist unit.

“My congratulations go to everyone who has brought this valuable project to a successful reality. This is an outstanding example of collaboration between Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, community organisations and patient representatives.”

Plans for the Specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Unit came about following the findings of an NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group review which examined the stroke rehabilitation pathways in Gloucestershire. The report concluded that although there were lots of elements of really good service provision within the county, there wasn’t a seamless pathway for stroke rehabilitation.

Angela Dodd, the Therapy Lead for the new unit, said: “This specialist facility is a centralised, co-ordinated unit where we can focus our resources.

“By providing a community bed-based service here at Vale Community Hospital, we aim to continue the rehabilitation journey for patients following a stroke in a suitable, fit-for-purpose environment.”

If it is safe and effective to do so, a person no longer requiring inpatient specialist rehabilitation will receive ongoing support in their own home from community stroke specialist nurses, or the Early Supported Discharge (ESD) community team. This comprises community stroke specialist nurses, specialist therapists and rehabilitation assistants.

Ingrid Barker, Chair of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, which manages Vale Community Hospital, said: “The opening of the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit here at Vale Community Hospital means Gloucestershire now has its own dedicated community stroke rehabilitation service for the first time. This will be an invaluable and welcome resource for the people of Gloucestershire.”

  • For a picture round-up of the official opening, visit our Facebook page here.

Gloucestershire Care Services and 2gether NHS Foundation Trust will be holding a joint Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday 23 July.

The combined event, which is open to all, takes place from 4pm to 7pm at the Friendship Café, Chequers Bridge Centre, Painswick Road, Gloucester, GL4 6PR.

“This is the second joint AGM we have held as Trusts,” Ingrid Barker, Joint Trust Chair, explained.  

“We are working towards merging our Trusts from October, in order to transform physical health, learning disability and mental healthcare services for our communities.

“By holding our AGMs in tandem, we can provide an overview of the performance and achievements of each individual Trust, but also highlight our merger programme and the exciting future we have ahead of us as Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.”

Everyone is welcome to attend, including Trust colleagues, service users, carers, partner organisations, and anyone with an interest in learning more about or influencing health services in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

The meeting will feature presentations as well as an opportunity to visit information stands and ask questions. Copies of the annual reports and accounts for 2018/19 for both Trusts will also be available.

For further information or to confirm attendance, please email or phone Lisa Evans on 0300 421 7113.

Colleagues at Cirencester Hospital are celebrating the news that one of their team has been nominated for a Pride of the Cotswolds award.

Rhondda May, who has been a healthcare assistant for 33 years, is up for the Health Carer Award.

She has been nominated for being ‘a truly exceptional, caring lady, full of empathy and love’.

This is not the first time Rhondda has been recognised for her work - last year she was shortlisted for an NHS70 Award.

Reacting to the news Rhondda, who works on the Coln Ward, said: “To get another nomination is quite touching. It just makes you feel that you are doing a good job.”

The Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard's Pride of the Cotswolds Awards, held in conjunction with Ecotricity, are returning for a second year, to recognise the outstanding achievement of men, women, children and organisations across the Cotswolds.

You can read more about Rhondda’s nomination by viewing/downloading the Wilts and Glos Standard article here.

Hannah Millar
Hi all. My name is Hannah, and I work in the Programme and Change Management Team. In light of Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May 2019), I have been asked to share my own experiences as a deaf individual. 

I was born with a ‘severe-to-profound’ hearing impairment, with around 90 per cent hearing loss. To communicate I rely on lip reading and a hearing aid. I consider myself very lucky, as I have always had a great support system - from peripatetic teachers to great friends and, most of all, my brilliant parents/family. But, being ‘deaf in a hearing world’ does have its challenges and, despite the availability of different equipment and support, I’ve always found the thing that makes the biggest difference is whether or not somebody is 'deaf aware'.

Deafness is an invisible disability, and this is a challenge in itself. Just because a deaf individual ‘talks OK' or ‘seems like they know what’s happening’, doesn’t mean they do. In my own experience, lip reading is very energy consuming, especially in group and work environments. This means a lot of information can be lost on me. Workwise this doesn’t just apply to meetings, but also socially - things like ‘office banter’ or small talk.

Having had conversations with other deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, I know this is a common occurrence. Quite often people have been labelled as ‘rude’, ‘disengaged’ or ‘incompetent’, simply because they have been quiet and not contributed to a discussion, or have said something wrong/totally unrelated. In reality, it’s usually because they haven’t heard what’s going on and may feel too embarrassed to say anything - or feel it’s ‘easier’ not to. Someone being 'deaf aware' and having the necessary knowledge and understanding makes a real difference - particularly in terms of making a deaf or hard-of-hearing individual feel more comfortable and confident!

I think this week is also a perfect opportunity to start the conversation about how we can help deaf people in terms of their healthcare. Did you know that the deaf community has a lower life expectancy, due to inaccessibility of healthcare services? Why in a world where technology is such a big part of our lives and advancements are made every day, are so many services still without the appropriate equipment and support to aid the deaf community?

Did you know, for instance, that due to a lack of appropriate communication methods in place, many deaf people often have to travel in person to their GP surgery, simply to make an appointment in person? Once there, they also have the added challenge of communicating their concerns and requirements to the people who work there.

Have you considered that English may not be a deaf/BSL user’s first language? That reading and writing is more difficult for them, and that they may not understand online information or that which is sent to them? Why are professional BSL interpreters not used enough? Are you aware that there is a big difference between having a friend/family member interpreting and having a professional interpreter in place? Deaf individuals too often miss out on crucial information about their health because the support isn’t in place and, shockingly, handwritten notes are still being used too often. Don’t members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community deserve to receive information fully and in the same compassionate way as others? We can make a difference!

To conclude, I can’t speak for every deaf or hard-of-hearing person, and that’s really important to remember, because deafness is so varied. Please just take the time to find out what works for that particular person. There’s also a lot of information out there, so try and utilise Gloucestershire Deaf Association’s presence at EJC this week.

Additionally, I’m always happy to talk, so if you have any questions or would just like to chat, please do come and see me. And remember to take care of your own ears!