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More York patients than ever taking part in clinical research

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s member practices have recruited more patients into clinical research than ever before, contributing to an overall national record for research participants.

1589 people registered with a Vale of York GP took part in primary care research projects during 2018/19 ranging from questionnaire to interventional studies including adults and children – a 45% increase from the previous year.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supported studies which collectively reached over eight hundred and seventy thousand (870,250) people – a number which marks a significant step towards the NHS Long Term Plan’s goal of one million people taking part in clinical research by 2023/24

Michelle Carrington, the CCG’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing said: “Promoting research to our population is increasingly important to improve health and social care services and improve quality of life.

“1589 people signed up for research is an amazing achievement for the Vale of York and a significant contribution to the overall national figure. Research is vital to the local population and we encourage more people to get involved.”

Anyone interested in taking part in clinical research can find more information on the CCG’s website:

The full NIHR Media release can be accessed here:  

GP Surgeries in York offer dementia advice clinics

Three GP surgeries across NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group have united with the Alzheimer’s Society to provide a dementia support service for people living in York.

The monthly dementia advice clinics are open to anyone who is worried about their memory, has a diagnosis of dementia, cares for someone with dementia or who would like to find out more about dementia in general.

The clinics are run by Dementia Support Workers and anyone can attend; you don’t need to be registered with the GP practice where the clinics are held:

  1. East Parade Surgery, 89 East Parade, Heworth, York, YO31 7YD. Phone: 01904 423666
  2. York Medical Group, Tower Court Health Centre, Oakdale Road, Clifton Moor, York, YO30 4RZ. Phone: 01904 439100
  3. Dalton Terrace Surgery, Dalton Terrace, York, YO24 4DB. Phone: 01904 658542

Dr Lloyd, a GP Partner at Dalton Terrace Surgery said: “The dementia advice clinics are available for all people with dementia living in the Vale of York, and also for their relatives and carers, who may sometimes prefer to come alone. Our support worker from the Alzheimer's Society can signpost to many locally developed activities as whilst medication can help, staying active physically, mentally and socially, has all-round health benefits.

“Planning for the future can be so important, and our staff have the knowledge, time and dedication to offer a wealth of advice. Patients deserve the benefits of their experience and care.”

The service works on an ‘appointment only’ basis with direct referrals from practice staff, nurses and GPs; there is also a self-referral option.

Alison Wrigglesworth, Services Manager at Alzheimer’s Society York said: “We want to ensure people with dementia and their carers are better supported and so the service offers an opportunity to gain advice if needed, discuss concerns and provide signposting to a range of local support options.

“The clinics embedded within the three GP practices will address an increasing number of patients with dementia or people affected by dementia in a positive and pro-active way.”

For more information speak to the Alzheimer’s Society on 01904 929444 or speak to your GP about a referral.

Prescribing of over-the-counter medicines is changing in the Vale of York

GPs in the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group will no longer usually prescribe medicines that patients can buy over-the-counter for a range of minor health concerns, including hay fever, coughs and colds, aches and pains and sunburn.

Patients are instead encouraged to visit their local pharmacy for advice and treatments. There’s no need to make an appointment to see a pharmacist, making it quicker and easier for patients, and helping to free up GP appointments for those who need them most.

Some of the products to treat minor, short-term illnesses can be purchased over-the-counter at a lower cost than that which would be incurred by the NHS.

Some medicines are also available from other retail outlets such as supermarkets, convenience stores and health food stores. These are usually general sales list items and can be purchased without advice from a pharmacist.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Humber, Coast and Vale have adopted new guidance issued by NHS England last year following the results of a public consultation on the prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for minor, short-term health concerns.

The guidance does not affect the prescribing of over-the-counter treatments for long-term conditions or more complex conditions, or where minor illnesses are a symptom or side effect of a more serious condition.

The NHS spends around £136 million a year on prescriptions for medicines which could otherwise have been bought over-the-counter. By reducing the amount of money the NHS spends on over-the-counter medicines, the NHS can give priority to treatments for people with more serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes and mental illness.

Dr Nigel Wells, a local GP and the CCG’s Clinical Chair said: “Our NHS services are precious and by buying medicines over-the-counter for minor health concerns from your local pharmacy or supermarket, rather than obtaining them on prescription, we can make more efficient use of NHS resources and free up more GP appointments for people who need them most.

“Having home remedies to hand ensures people can self-manage minor illness or injury. Medicines to keep in stock include pain relief tablets, antiseptic cream, cough remedies and antihistamines.” 

Alex Seale, Senior Responsible Officer for Planned Care at the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, said: “CCGs in Humber, Coast and Vale are working in partnership to ensure their populations are aware of the prescription changes happening nationally within the NHS. Empowering the public to self-manage minor conditions or injuries by buying products over-the-counter is a positive behavioural change we need to embed into our communities to ensure NHS resources are used effectively.” 

Visit for more information about the prescribing changes and for a full list of conditions for which over-the-counter medicines will no longer be routinely prescribed.

NHS award CCG ‘Good’ rating for public engagement

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been nationally recognised as involving patients and the public in their work with an awarded ‘Good’ rating from NHS England.

The rating is prepared for annually as part of the national CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework (IAF), using the Patient and Community Engagement Indicator to assess how well a CCG has involved the public and demonstrated a commitment to supporting continuous improvement in public participation.

The 2018-19 rating has been awarded after scores were collated from five assessment criteria including equalities and health inequalities, feedback and evaluation, day-to-day practice, annual reporting and governance.

Phil Mettam, the CCG’s Accountable Officer said: “Receiving this rating of ‘good’ from NHS England is well deserved and really important to us, we continue to try and find meaningful and authentic ways of involving patients and local communities in our work. We want to do more of this with our partners in the year ahead so we can join up our approach to meet the different needs of local people.”

Some of the work has contributed to the ‘Good’ rating includes our work:

- to engage and involve rural communities;

- to address health inequalities;

- with local authorities, the voluntary sector, MPs and health trusts to improve health and wellbeing;

- with patients, service users and providers to coproduce clearer information and develop services;

- to develop regular opportunities for patients and service users to talk at CCG meetings which about their experiences of health and care services.

All details on the CCG’s engagement and involvement of patients, partners and other stakeholders is available on the CCG website:  

For more information on the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Improvement and Assessment Framework (IAF) visit:


CCG launch End of Life Strategy to support patients and their families

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local organisations have developed a new strategy to ensure that patients receive tailored and coordinated care when approaching the end of life.

The 2019-2024 End of Life Care strategy details the collective ambitions for palliative and end of life care in the Vale of York which have been guided by feedback from local communities and NHS England recommendations.

Maximising the comfort and wellbeing of a patient approaching the end of life, taking account of their preferred place of death and ensuring each person gets fair access to care are all detailed within the strategy and explain how health and social care staff and communities will put these into practice.

Michelle Carrington, the CCG’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing said: “Our vision is for everyone requiring end of life care to have access to high quality, responsive services that meet their needs, at the time and place where they are needed. Working together with health and care providers across the Vale of York will ensure coordinated delivery of care tailored to support each patient and their family.

“In developing the End of Life Care strategy we gained an understanding of what matters to our patients, our local communities, our staff and our partners through a range of engagement and involvement opportunities.”

Fourteen healthcare partners including York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Macmillan, Marie Curie and St Leonards Hospice have come together to support the strategy.

Emma Johnson, Chief Executive Office, St Leonards Hospice said: “St Leonard's Hospice was delighted to have been asked to be a part of this work and we are very much looking forward to working with commissioners and providers of health and social care services to improve quality, co-ordination and access to care in the future. 

This vision for end of life care is the result of many months of collaboration between partners. It has, for the first time, also involved patients and those closest to them, ensuring that the ambitions we have described and are committed to delivering are aligned to the needs of people who will use the services.

The scale of increased demand on services in the future is huge.  People are living longer and developing more complex needs and this will only increase over the next 10-15 years.  We will only be able to meet the needs of our patients and their families by working collaboratively and this strategy provides a framework that we can all work within to improve care at the end of life.

The CCG has also created a Citizen’s Charter, which sets out the commitment to the End of Life Strategy in a brief, easy to read document more accessible to the public:

The Vale of York End of Life Care strategy 2019-2024 can be viewed in full on the CCG’s website:


CCG urge people in York to stay safe in the heatwave

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging people to follow their ‘top tips’ for staying safe in the heatwave to avoid feeling unwell.

The Yorkshire and Humber region is currently under an alert level with temperatures looking to increase throughout Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th July. Some ways to reduce the health risks associated with a heatwave include:

  1. Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  2. If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat
  3. Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle especially infants, young children or animals
  4. Keep indoor spaces cool by closing curtains and opening windows at cooler times of the day
  5. Avoid physical exertion
  6. Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  7. Drink plenty of cold drinks

Nigel Wells, a GP and the CCG’s Clinical Chair said: “Look out for others, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children, babies and those with serious illness as they’re more likely to be effected by the heat. If you see someone struggling, offer them water and help them into the shade.”

Too much time spent in the sun can cause heat exhaustion which is not usually serious if a person can cool down within 30 minutes. NHS England suggest ways to cool down include; taking a cold shower, cooling the skin with cold packs around the armpits and neck, drinking water, moving to a cool place and lying down with feet slightly raised. If you are concerned for yourself or someone else then call NHS 111 for advice.

It is expected that the high temperatures this week will break all-time records and that overnight temperatures will also be notably warm. Conditions are expected to feel more comfortable by the end of the week but people are encouraged to keep an eye on the weather forecast and prepare for the weather accordingly.

Information from health professionals on treating heat rash, sunburn and hay fever can be found here:

Millfield GPs set an example at the local Parkrun event

Millfield Surgery in Easingwold has helped initiate a local Parkrun event to encourage their patients to be more active and improve wellbeing.

Representing Millfield Surgery last weekend at the fourth Millfield Parkrun – as either a volunteer or participant – was GPs Dr Helen Iredale, Dr Dariush Saeedi, and Dr Sarah Watson, retired GP Dr Lorraine Boyd, practice nurse Marianne Doyle, dispenser Louise Clark and the surgery’s Chaplain in residence Rev Elizabeth Cushion – not to mention a husband, children and Titch the dog.

Dr Helen Iredale said: “As a surgery we are proud to have been involved with the setup of a brand new Parkrun in the parkland behind our practice on the edge of Easingwold. The local community has pulled together with support from the local running club to raise the required funds, gain support from local businesses – including ourselves – and of course support from the runners/walkers and volunteers alike who are needed to make a Parkrun successful.”

“We hope to promote participation in the event to our patients who may need encouragement to be more active or who may benefit from the improved wellbeing that can come from exercise and community spirit.”

Parkrun is a worldwide initiative which can be adopted by local communities to organise weekly 5km timed runs which are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.

The Millfield 5km course takes in field, path and woodland every Saturday at 9am with a post Parkrun coffee in the Olive Branch in Easingwold. To register for free or to find more information visit the Parkrun website:

You can stay updated with Millfield Surgery news by following @MillfieldGPs on twitter:

York Patients provide positive feedback for Integrated Care

Patients in York are benefitting from a central point of access to health and social care services delivered by The York Integrated Care Team (YICT) thanks to joined up services and the delivery of comprehensive care packages.

YICT is a multidisciplinary team working with eleven GP practices to support the population of York. Their main aim is to help keep people out of hospital and independent which has proved very successful by working directly with each individual patient to see if alternative solutions can be found.

In feedback about the care they received from the team, one patient said: “The knowledge that someone will be paying a visit to see if help is needed with an everyday task like washing, dressing, preparation of a meal, help with medication and a chat alone makes this day seem brighter, particularly if you live alone and do not get out due to a variety of reasons (age being one reason, mobility etc)”

Another patient said: “I was impressed by the joined up service from A&E onwards. The whole visit was done at my pace. No pressures”

The scheme covers all City of York practices totalling 207,000 patients and work is continuing with partners across the Vale of York to expand the service further.

Dr Nigel Wells, a local GP and the Clinical Chair at NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The team’s work has delivered some very positive outcomes and good levels of satisfaction for local patients for its innovative approach to ensuring that local patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time. The team thoroughly deserves to be recognised for its high praise.

Lesley Godfrey, Clinical Lead for YICT and Partner at Priory Medical Group said: “The York Integrated Care Team is delighted with the positive feedback we have received especially as we have just celebrated our 5th year of service. We aim to provide a seamless integrated approach to care and have made a person centred approach a core value of the team. We work widely with the third sector as well as health and social care teams to enable people to make their own choices and maintain independence.”

For more information please visit: