Protect your unborn baby this winter with a free flu jab

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Health experts are urging pregnant women to get their free vaccination before the flu virus starts circulating this winter.

East Staffordshire CCG is warning that flu can cause many complications during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages, such as premature births or low birth weights. In some cases, it can lead to stillbirth or even death in the first week of life.

However, getting your free flu vaccination can help prevent difficulties and keep mother and baby safe.

East Staffordshire CCG calls on parents to act on flu vaccine letter

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Parents with young children are being urged to get them vaccinated against the misery of flu as winter approaches.

Children who will be aged two, three and four on or before 31 August 2016 will be eligible for a free flu vaccination and East Staffordshire CCG is urging parents and guardians to look out for a letter offering their child the opportunity.

Heather Johnstone, Chief Nurse at the CCG said: “We know coughs and colds are already starting to spread which means flu season is right behind. Children aged two, three and four are more vulnerable and can be hit hard by flu. In addition, they spread infections easily.

Stoptober has launched!

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Launched in 2012, Stoptober is the 28-day stop smoking challenge 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.

Nearly a million people have taken part since Stoptober began five years ago. Smokers across the country are being urged to take part in the challenge and to visit the Stoptober page on the One You website to find the support that's right for you.

From the app, email and social media, to more information about the expert face to face support through local stop smoking services, as well as the different types of stop smoking aids available – Stoptober is here to help.

What's more, former England cricketer and Question of Sport captain Phil Tufnell; singer, songwriter and actress Natasha Hamilton; dancer, choreographer and theatre director Craig Revel Horwood and former footballer and TV pundit Chris Kamara are supporting this year’s Stoptober campaign.

Stay Well This Winter - Now’s the time to book your free flu jab!

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Even though we’ve just said goodbye to the summer holidays GP practices are gearing up for winter and those in at risk groups are being reminded to book in for their free flu jab.

Adults over 65, those with long term health conditions, children aged 2 - 7, carers and pregnant women may all be eligible.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people see their GP and tens of thousands are hospitalised because of flu.

Symptoms of flu can be debilitating and last for several weeks. It can lead to more serious complications like middle ear infections in children and pneumonia or bronchitis for those with underlying health conditions - and in some cases it can be fatal.

Dr Charles Pidsley, Chair of East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly through the population.

"It can cause serious complications for at risk groups, such as the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long-term health conditions.

“This year more children are being vaccinated because we know that they can very easily pick up germs and spread them amongst friends and family members. This vaccination programme helps protect the population.

"My advice for anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination is to get it early before flu starts to circulate in the community.”

Although it’s not possible to know which strains of flu will circulate each winter, the flu vaccination is still the best protection against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths amongst vulnerable groups.

Throughout the last decade, there has generally been a good match between the strains of flu in the vaccine and those that subsequently circulate, so it’s important that we do all we can to ensure vulnerable people are not discouraged from having flu vaccination now, or in the future.

Vaccines are available from September so contact your local GP or pharmacy now – it’s free because you need it.

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

Burton upon Trent GP practice rated outstanding by watchdog

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A Burton upon Trent GP practice has been rated as ‘outstanding’ for the standard of its services by the Care Quality Commission.

Peel Croft Surgery, in Lichfield Street, received the top rating from the Government watchdog following an inspection in May 2016.

It was rated good for safe and effective services and outstanding for services being caring, well-led and responsive to people’s needs. The overall rating was outstanding.

Inspectors particularly praised a system to detect patients who could be victims of human trafficking - which identified nine cases that had been referred to the health visitor since October 2013 - and outreach services provided for vulnerable patients.

They also said there was a clear management structure in place that supported staff and added that the practice proactively sought feedback from workers, patients and other groups and encouraged education and learning to boost patient care.

The report said: “Patients spoke of a very high level of service that was supported by a large quantity of complimentary written patient feedback from 318 patients out of a list size of 3,250. The national GP patient survey scored the practice in the top 4% of practices in England.”

It added that the practice had achieved an overall 23% reduction in accident and emergency attendances and hospital admissions in 2015/16 and that the GPs and practice manager had pioneered the co-location of counselling services to allow patients to be seen at the practice.

Peel Croft had achieved the highest take-up of flu vaccinations in over 65s for 2015/16 in the CCG area, the report found, and the practice had built up strong links and co-working arrangements with local community services.

Practice manager Debbie Melling said: “We really want to acknowledge the support of our patients which has helped us to achieve this rating. We get a huge amount of feedback which we are very grateful for and which helps us to constantly improve the service we provide.”

She also praised the work of Staffordshire health and wellbeing charity Changes, which had operated a mutual support group for patients with social needs at the practice since February 2015, and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, who meet patients at the surgery fortnightly.

Leon Knowles, secretary of the surgery’s patient participation group, said: “The doctors are very supportive and always attend our quarterly meetings, which gives us a great insight into developments at the surgery and the wider NHS.

“We are very fortunate that we get such excellent care, treatment and communication and it is very gratifying that Peel Croft has been recognised in this way.”

Dr Charles Pidsley, Clinical Chair of East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are delighted that Peel Croft Surgery has received this accolade. Everyone at the surgery has worked extremely hard for this rating and it is well deserved.

“They are certainly outstanding and have always been very supportive of CCG initiatives to improve patient care. Last year Peel Croft had the best reduction in A&E attendances and they were the first practice to introduce the Changes initiative in support of this.”