Across our pharmacies in the North East and North Cumbria we are developing more services that people would have traditionally gone to their GP surgery for - helping our communities to get faster and easier access to advice and treatment.
Community pharmacists across the region will soon be able to offer 'over the counter' medication for many common health conditions including earache, sinusitis, shingles and sore throats as well as providing flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, blood pressure checks and medication reviews.
Thousands of women, in the North East and North Cumbria ICB region, have already benefited from an innovative new pharmacy pilot scheme enabling those aged 16-64 to be offered immediate advice and treatment for minor urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Backed by a regional wide public campaign, #OUCH ByeBye UTI, the scheme ran in 435 community pharmacies, and has to date treated more than 16,000 patients.
Not only did the project improve access to advice and treatment but also reduced demand on GP surgeries and other unnecessary visits to services such as urgent treatment centres and emergency departments.
The scheme has also reduced UTI antibiotic prescribing rates by 47 per cent, supporting efforts to slow down antibiotic resistance.
The region's UTI pilot scheme has played a key part in NHS England's Primary Care Recovery Plan and has now been adopted nationally.
The #OUCH Bye Bye UTI communications campaign was recognised with three national Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence Awards, winning Best Public Sector Award, Health and/or Wellbeing Award and Low Budget Campaign Award, read more here.
Watch our UTI animation and film below.
About the programme
Waiting Well is a programme offering targeted support to certain groups of patients waiting for surgery in the North East and North Cumbria. The programme has been developed by the NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), in collaboration with partners across primary and secondary care, local councils, the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE), and patients.
Our region has some of the starkest health inequalities in the country and it's a situation that has been being exacerbated by the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis which is having the greatest impact on those living in its most deprived communities.
This picture is reflected in the patients we care for too. In the North East and North Cumbria, we have:
- more than 263,400* waiting for planned care
- around 60,000* of these patients are classed priority 4**.
- around 17,700* of these are from the most deprived areas in the country (Index of Multiple Deprivation - IMD - deciles 1 and 2).
* Figures correct as of June 2023
** Waiting longer than 3 months but often wait for longer.
There is lots of evidence to show that by taking some simple steps before surgery or treatment to improve fitness, diet and mental health, helps patients make a better and quicker recovery. It also reduces the risk of their treatment being cancelled because of them not being well or fit enough to have the operation.
Waiting Well brings together partners with a range of expertise to help us to deliver an offer underpinned by RAIDR, a smart ‘digital dashboard’ that enables identification of patients, based on risk factor profile, at GP practice level across our region.
How it works
Co-ordinated by a Central Hub, eligible patients will be contacted and offered help to prepare them for their surgery.
Depending on a patient’s needs, there are tiered levels of support offered ranging from access to online resources to more bespoke and holistic offers such as social prescribing for those patients who require more complex support due to their health and social circumstance. A personalised needs assessment looking at what matters most to the patient will establish what help is needed.
Some of things the Waiting Well Team can help with include:
- healthier eating
- stop smoking
- finding appropriate exercises
- drinking less alcohol
- support to help with anxiety and sleep
- and much more.
If the offer is accepted, the patients will be referred to Waiting Well Teams, local to where they live, where they are receiving their care.
Not all patients who are waiting for surgery will be offered support from the Waiting Well team as this is determined by the level of help that a patient may need.
Patients cannot refer themselves for the Waiting Well service. Patients who are eligible for support from Waiting Well will be contacted directly.