Latest News

Listen to your own beat this Heart Rhythm Week

Local health chiefs are asking the Vale of York community to tune in to their own beat this week to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF), one of the most common heart rhythm problems and a major cause of stroke.

Dr Nigel Wells, a local GP and Clinical Chair at NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s is raising awareness of the Healthy Hearts programme – a local project that aims to reduce the number of people that die prematurely from heart disease or other circulatory disease – by at least 10% in the next five years.

More than a quarter of all deaths in England in 2017 were caused by cardiovascular diseases with coronary heart disease and stroke accounting for the majority of those deaths and this is why the Vale of York Healthy Hearts focuses on three main areas - reducing cholesterol, detecting high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

Dr. Nigel Wells said: “Circulatory disease is one of the main causes of death in the Vale of York, with more than 880 deaths each year and that is why one of the CCG’s main priorities is to reduce the number of deaths caused by heart attack and stroke.

“Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. An irregular pulse is a sign that you may have AF but some people have no symptoms at all so they are completely unaware that they have the condition.”

More than 46,000 people in the Vale of York are affected by high blood pressure, but around 34,000 people are undiagnosed; 7,000 people have an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and more than 6,000 people have experienced a stroke or mini-stroke.

Dr. Wells added: "But once it is diagnosed it is very simple to treat with most cases simply requiring medication that could prevent a stroke.

“Taking just five minutes to measure your blood pressure and check your pulse could save your life so I am encouraging everyone, regardless of their age, to log on to and check to see if they are at risk of high blood pressure. The website provides tons of information about how prevent high blood pressure and how to get it checked.”

Heart Rhythm Week runs from 3 to 9 June 2019.

Pressure ulcers reduced in York care homes thanks to CCG’s approach

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has initiated NHS England’s ‘React to Red’ pressure ulcer prevention training with care staff to reduce the number of elderly people experiencing pressure ulcers primarily in care settings. 

Residents in care homes often have complex care needs, are increasingly frail and are therefore at high risk of developing pressure ulcers.

An intensive face-to-face training programme - delivered by the CCG’s project team - has resulted in a 75% decrease in the incidence of reported pressure ulcers in care homes within the Vale of York, contributing to increased quality of life for residents.

Michelle Carrington, the CCG’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing said: “Whilst recognising 95% of pressure ulcers are preventable, they remain a significant healthcare problem for the most vulnerable with implications such as pain, reduced mobility, social isolation and increased dependency on health and social care services.

“Care home staff in the Vale of York are applying knowledge and skills from the React to Red training programme to effectively promote skin integrity and recognise early signs of damage.

“Many care homes have recognised the benefits of the programme, each embracing the programme wholeheartedly and with compassionate care and embedding the work into induction and annual refresher training and we hope this will enable the positive impact to be sustained.”

Thanks to the programme other health issues have been identified relating to nutrition and hydration, and mobility and continence. These were able to impact on the reduction of other harms in the elderly such as falls, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and Acute Kidney Injury (AKI).

Getting the right care, first time this Easter

People across the Vale of York looking forward to enjoy the Easter break with their families are being encouraged to choose the right NHS service should they suffer a minor illness or injury.

Local health and care services want to make sure that people know the best place to go in order to get the most suitable treatment so choosing the right service will help patients to receive the best possible treatment, while freeing up busy NHS services to help the people who need them most.

Dr Nigel Wells, a local GP and NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Chair said: “A&E departments are often seen as the first place to go, when in fact there are other NHS services that may be more suitable, such as your local pharmacy or an urgent care centre.

“If you need medical help fast but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 which will quickly direct you to the right service. It also ensures that the 999 number and emergency departments are kept free for very serious emergency medical cases.”

“Pharmacists are experts in their field and can help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries. Many pharmacies are open at times over the Easter break.

“Having home remedies to hand is very useful for minor illnesses and injuries, so ensure that your medicine cabinet is stocked up with these.”

Examples of items to have at home include:

Pain relief – paracetamol and ibuprofen are the most common painkillers and are available in tablet and liquid form. Ibuprofen also reduces inflammation.

Anti-diarrhoea medicine – make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquid for the first 24 hours when symptoms appear in order to keep hydrated. Your pharmacist can also recommend rehydration drinks.

Sore throat remedies – ask your pharmacist about sprays to ease soreness. Adults can also gargle with soluble aspirin to ease the pain.

Cough remedies – ask your pharmacist about different types of linctus which will aid different types of coughs.

Plasters and bandages – it always pays to be well-stocked in the event of minor cuts and scrapes. Anti-allergy plasters are available too.

Thermometer – this can be useful if someone in the family develops a cold or if a young child becomes ill. As a general rule a temperature of over 37.5 (99.5F) is a fever.

Antihistamines – these are useful for allergies and runny noses. Ask your pharmacist about the types available.

Antiseptic cream – this is a medicine cabinet essential in the event or cuts and scrapes, as well as bites and stings.

Dr Wells added: “Our local NHS services are precious, please make sure that you get the right care, first time.

“Information about treating common conditions is available on the NHS Choices website at The CCG also provides a raft of help and advice on its website at”

Work continues to improve mental health services for new and expectant mums

Mental health services for new and expectant mums in the Humber region and parts of Yorkshire are continuing to be developed courtesy of NHS funding worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

Having secured a share of a £23 million nationwide investment announced by NHS England in 2018, the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership - a collaboration of 28 health and social care organisations - is working to deliver specialist community perinatal mental health services in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, Scarborough and Ryedale, and the Vale of York.

The funding is part of a £365 million plan by NHS England to ensure 30,000 more women in all areas of England can access specialist perinatal services by 2021.

Perinatal mental health problems are those which occur during pregnancy or during the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects one in five (20%) women, and covers a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, it can have significant and long lasting effects on the woman and her family.

Examples of perinatal mental health conditions include:

Moderate to severe postnatal depression

Anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorder

Eating disorders

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Severe mental illnesses including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar affective disorder

Postpartum psychosis

Severe self-harm

Suicidal thoughts

Late last year, pre-existing perinatal services began to be developed further, while new ones were created to ensure women in all parts of the Humber, Coast and Vale area who experience complex mental health needs have access to treatments and support as early as possible. Providing support for families and signposting to relevant services has also been part of the service improvements.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust has strengthened its already established specialist community perinatal mental health services in Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire. 

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust is also introducing new specialist community perinatal mental health services across the Vale of York and Scarborough and Ryedale.

Michele Moran, Chair of the Humber, Coast and Vale Mental Health Partnership Board and Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, said: “So many new and expectant mothers experience mental health problems and we’re proud to work with our partners to extend the perinatal service into underserved areas and hopefully help hundreds of women and their families.”

Michelle Thompson, Perinatal Mental Health Lead for the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership said: “Having a baby is a major life event for mums and dads, and it's natural to experience a whole range of emotions and reactions during and after pregnancy.

“But if these problems start to have a big impact on day to day life, it might be a sign of a mental health problem and this service will provide some much needed specialist support for local families who are experiencing difficulties during or after the birth of their child.”

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about might be experiencing perinatal mental health problems you can speak to health professionals involved in your care, such as your GP, midwife or health visitor, who will be able to offer support and refer you to an appropriate service.

For more information, please go to 

Ambulance Trust awarded integrated urgent care contract

NHS Commissioners in Yorkshire and the Humber have announced that Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has been awarded a contract to provide integrated urgent care services across the region for the next five years.

The contract, worth £17.6 million in 2019-20, has been developed in line with a new national service specification to provide the region’s population of 5.4 million with access, where appropriate, to clinical advice and treatment when they have an urgent healthcare need.  The contract incorporates the NHS 111 call handling service with core clinical advice and will feature a range of developments, including being able to issue prescriptions and increasing the number of bookings into GP and urgent care appointments.

Agencies across the Yorkshire and Humber region have worked together to commission NHS 111 telephony, a call handling service and core Clinical Advice Service (CAS). The contract award follows a nine-month long procurement process undertaken on behalf of the region’s twenty-one Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) along with NHS England North Region - Yorkshire and the Humber.  

Yorkshire Ambulance Service currently provides the NHS 111 service across Yorkshire and the Humber. The Trust is now working with commissioners to implement the new service, which will start on 1 April 2019.


Local community encouraged to take up suicide prevention training

#TalkSuicide campaign encourages people in the Vale of York to complete short online suicide prevention training

Humber, Coast and Vale Mental Health Partnership urges people in the Vale of York to complete a free suicide prevention online training programme, and improve support for those suffering from suicidal thoughts

The Humber, Coast and Vale Mental Health Partnership has launched the #TalkSuicide campaign to encourage people in the Vale of York to complete a free 20-minute online suicide prevention training programme.

The #TalkSuicide campaign urges people to visit to complete the video-based training, so they can learn life-saving skills and improve the support network for those struggling with suicidal thoughts.  

The Zero Suicide Alliance - a group of NHS Trusts, businesses and individuals committed to suicide prevention - has created the training to help people spot signs in people experiencing suicidal thoughts, and equip them with the information and skills to help them help these people.

There were 5,821 registered suicides in the UK in 2017 – more than one death every two hours – with the Yorkshire and Humber region having some of the highest suicide rates in England. Mental health issues and financial problems are some of the biggest contributing factors to suicide.

National statistics show that suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 50. Men accounted for three quarters of suicides registered in 2017, while those aged between 45-49 are considered to be most at risk.

Anyone can undertake the training, which only takes 20 minutes to complete, at

Completing the training will help you to:

Spot signs in people experiencing suicidal thoughts

Feel comfortable speaking about suicide in a supportive manner

Signpost individuals suffering from suicidal thoughts to the correct services or support

Visit to complete the video-based suicide prevention training and learn more about the #TalkSuicide campaign.

Michele Moran, Chair of the Humber, Coast and Vale Mental Health Partnership Board and Chief Executive at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Each death by suicide is a terrible loss and a tragedy for everybody involved. By taking just 20 minutes to complete the online training, you could help save someone from taking their own life. The training will help you to be better in identifying suicidal thoughts and behaviour and give you the information to direct them to the most appropriate support services.”

Jo Kent, Humber, Coast and Vale Suicide Prevention Lead said: “The #TalkSuicide and Zero Suicide Alliance websites have plenty of material to help businesses and organisations incorporate this training into their workplace. We’re calling on individuals and businesses alike to encourage their friends, family, colleagues or employees to complete the online training - because knowing what to do and say in the right situation really can help to save a life.”

If you need urgent help, or if you’re worried about the mental or emotional state of yourself or someone you know, help is available from the following services:

Samaritans offer a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123 or e-mail

CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably – for men call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day - Visit the webchat page

PAPYRUS (support for young people) Freephone 0800 068 4141 or email





Public invited to attend CCG’s January Governing Body meeting

Members of the public are invited to attend NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s January Governing Body meeting in York.

The meeting in public will take place at West Offices, Station Rise, York, Y01 6GA from 9.30am on Thursday 3 January 2019.

The CCG’s Governing Body consists of local GPs and other healthcare professionals and is responsible for monitoring the performance and quality improvement of healthcare providers in the Vale of York area.

Governing Body meetings are one of the ways that patients and members of the public can get involved and have their say.

Members of the public are invited along to observe and hear about the work the CCG is doing to improve services, quality and the experience of patients in the local area.

Agenda and papers:

You can view the papers for each Governing Body Meeting by clicking here.

Raise a question:

If you wish to ask a question or raise a matter at the 3 January meeting you must submit your enquiry by no later than 5pm on Monday 31 December 2018.

Please send your enquiry by email to

Alternatively, you can send your enquiry by post to NHS Vale of York CCG, West Offices, Station Rise, York, Y01 6GA.

Please note that you will not be able to ask a question at the meeting if you do not submit your question before the deadline.

Use pharmacies and NHS 111 services for minor illnesses during the Christmas holidays

Vale of York residents are being encouraged to use pharmacies for minor illnesses or ailments over the Christmas holiday period.

While the region’s GP surgeries will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, some pharmacies will be open and are the place to go for treatments and advice on common illnesses and ailments, including colds, flu, and minor rashes.

Below is a timetable detailing when certain York and Selby pharmacies will be open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals who can provide many of the same services that GPs do, but you don’t need to book an appointment to see them.

They can also answer questions you might have about any medication you’re taking and, if they can't help, they'll let you know whether or not you need to see a doctor or where else you could get the best treatment.

These videos, featuring GPs from the Vale of York, explain how to treat a number of common  winter illnesses and ailments using over-the-counter remedies from your local pharmacy:

NHS non-emergency number 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When you call 111 free of charge you will speak to a highly trained adviser who will direct you to the most appropriate medical care.

Vale of York residents can now access the NHS 111 service online as well as over the phone at if they need urgent healthcare or health advice.

Dr Kevin Smith, NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group Executive Director of Primary Care and Population Health, said: “We are all preparing for Christmas and the New Year but time at home can often bring coughs, colds and rashes. GP surgeries will be busy over these next few weeks and will be closed on bank holidays. Pharmacists across the Vale of York have trained for at least five years and can offer expert advice on these winter illnesses.

“Many Vale of York pharmacies will also be open on Sundays and Bank Holidays. They are the ideal place to go for treatment and advice for colds, flu, upset stomachs and many more conditions.

“While pharmacists can help with less serious health concerns, the NHS 111 phone or online service is there if you require urgent medical help or advice for a non-life-threatening condition. Call 999 if you have a medical emergency, such as breathing difficulties, chest pains or if you’ve been in a serious accident.”

For more information about how to stay well this winter, visit