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OCCG Connect January 2015 – Print All

A message from the Chief Executive

We started the year with the welcome news that OCCG has been given more money to spend on local health services in 2015/16 compared to this year, 2014/15. The money allocated by the government to pay for services in Oxfordshire increased by 6.4%, which included an additional £19.7m more than expected. How we decide to use this extra income will depend on our spending priorities for the coming year and beyond, which will be underpinned by our commitment to delivering high quality and effective health care in Oxfordshire.

You are probably aware that there has been very high demand for local NHS services over the past month. This is to be expected at this time of year when there are more cases of winter illnesses and flu around, but it is putting extra pressure on local hospitals especially at A&E. You can help by choosing the best service to treat your condition. If you feel unwell call NHS 111 for advice and support 24 hours a day, or make an appointment to see your local GP.  You can also talk to your high street pharmacist about over the counter remedies to treat coughs and colds. Remember, A&E is for life threatening emergencies only.

And, it is not too late to have a flu vaccination. This is important for people aged over 65 and for people ‘at risk’ from the complications of flu such as patients with conditions such as heart disease and diabetes or pregnant women. Please, contact your GP today to book a free appointment.

You’ll be pleased to know that we’ll be holding our Governing Body meetings in each of OCCG’s six localities this year. We want to give you the opportunity, wherever you live in the county, to join us and help shape local health services. Come along to the next meeting in Wantage Civic Centre on Thursday 29 January 9.30am to 12.15pm. You can submit a question beforehand; more details on how to do this are here


Nominations Open for Stroke Awards

You might want to take part in the Stroke Association’s annual awards to recognise the courage of stroke survivors and the dedication of their carers.

Nominations are open now for the charity’s Life after Stroke awards including the Professional Excellence Award and eight other categories for stroke survivors, carers and fundraisers.

The closing date for nominations is 28 February 2015. To find out more information, visit

Help Take the Strain Off Local Health Services: Contact NHS 111 or Your GP

You have probably read in the local press that there is currently very high demand for local health services especially at hospitals in Oxfordshire.

You can help us take the strain off NHS services by being prepared and choosing the right service.

What can you do?

If you need advice, phone NHS 111, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – all calls from landlines and mobiles are free;

  • You can also get health advice from your GP Surgery between 8.30am and 6.30pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays;
  • Visit your local high street pharmacist. They can provide treatments and advice for a wide range of complaints including  coughs and colds and can advise you on what to stock in your medicine cabinet;
  • If you sustain an injury, such as a sprain, broken bones or minor burns, there are Minor Injury Units MIU at Abingdon and Witney Community Hospitals that are open between 8am and 10.30pm, seven days a week in the winter months. The MIU at Townlands Henley Community Hospital is open between 9am and 8pm seven days a week;
  • Download the free Choose Well phone app which shows your nearest health services in Oxfordshire for more information on the app and which devices use it see here

Remember, Accident and Emergency/Emergency Department ED is ONLY for genuine emergencies. This includes life threatening conditions such as severe chest pains, breathing difficulties, choking, and serious bleeding injuries. If you attend the ED with a minor cut or a bad hangover you are using up valuable time when the emergency doctors and nurses could be treating those who are badly hurt or severely unwell.

You can also visit NHS Choices at to find the nearest health service to you.


Bicester Community Hospital Open to Patients

OCCG and their partners are delighted that the new Bicester Community Hospital is up and running and treating patients after opening its doors in December.

The hospital includes a minor injuries unit, imaging X-ray and physiotherapy suites, space for out-of-hours care, outpatient clinics and other therapies. There are 12 in- patient beds many with direct access to a central garden.

Dr Stephen Attwood, the Locality’s Clinical Director said: ‘These are excellent new facilities that provide us with a wonderful opportunity to develop care closer to patients’ homes. A big thank you to all the partners involved for their hard work to make this happen.’

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for providing clinical services at the hospital. The trust’s Chief Operating Officer, Yvonne Taylor said: ‘We are very pleased to have moved into this purpose-built building which gives us a safe clean environment to deliver community hospital services and care to local people.’

Other partners who were involved in the project included Kajima, Mansell, FES FM and South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. Land on the site has been sold and will now be developed for 14 homes – comprised of four three-bedroom houses, and eight two-bedroom houses and two flats.

James Wakeham, South Regional Director for NHS Property Services, said: ‘We are delighted to have been able to deliver this eagerly-awaited building project to the community of Bicester.

‘The new hospital will be easier to maintain, clean and manage, while being more adaptable to changing needs and technologies. Needless to say, it meets all modern statutory requirements, building regulations and NHS design guidance.’

Agreement to build a new hospital was given in 2011 and construction started two years later after OCCG with NHS Property Services took over the project. The hospital also incorporates rain harvesting, solar panel heating and a solar chimney.

Information About the Locality

There are 10 GP practices in the Locality with a population of just over 78,000. The locality Clinical Director is Dr Stephen Attwood, who is supported by Dr Will O’Gorman.



Charlbury People Speak Out on NHS Services

More than 70 people turned out to West Oxfordshire Locality Forum’s “Have Your Say” meeting in the Charlbury Memorial Hall on 15 November sharing wide-ranging views on Oxfordshire health services.

Much of the success of the event was due to the organisation and publicity undertaken by members of the Forum Steering Group.

People were invited to share their experiences with Steering Group members, and staff from a variety of organisations provided information stands, including; Age UK Oxfordshire, Carers Oxfordshire, Dementia-friendly Charlbury, the MS Society, the Lawrence Care Home, West Oxfordshire District Council and Healthwatch Oxfordshire.

Of those who attended – including families with children to young adults and older people – 31 chose to leave their contact details, 44 provided lengthy written submissions and 65 gave short comments. It was the best turnout at a West Oxfordshire Forum meeting to date.

Views included:

  • A very good level of satisfaction overall with health services, but some difficulty in accessing GP appointments;
  • Praise for minor injury units but concern that not enough people know what services they offer;
  • There was much praise for the level of treatment provided by consultants in all Oxfordshire hospitals, but some instances of less than ideal aftercare;
  • Concerns focused on delays in getting treatment following a referral leading to a worsening of a patient’s condition. Many people had experienced problems with getting a suitable appointment on time;
  • People felt they needed to arrive very early to find a parking space at local hospitals or had to make difficult journeys by public transport;
  • Treatment by NHS therapists was appreciated, but often they were difficult to access promptly.


Overall there was much local satisfaction with health services, but some instances of poor communication such as delays getting test results.  Some people felt that there were occasions when clinicians could not work effectively due to weaknesses in the NHS organisational systems. The Steering Group was satisfied that health messages on ‘keeping well’ and ‘prevention’ were well received at the event, with many people recognising the need to take responsibility for their own health.

We warmly thank everyone who took part in the event. Issues raised at the event will be considered by the Forum Steering Group. The results will be published locally, and sent to Healthwatch Oxfordshire and OCCG.

Further “Have Your Say” public meetings are planned to be held in Carterton and Eynsham.

Information About the Locality

There are nine GP practices in the Locality with nearly 80,000 patients. Dr Miles Carter is the Locality Clinical Director. 



Patient Urged to Play a Bigger Role in Health Care

The Locality’s Forum has been busy organising meetings to inform patients how health services are being developed and improved in the city. Last November, a workshop was run to highlight the benefits of patient participation groups PPGs. It was held during a locality Forum meeting attended by more than 30 people at the Kings Centre, Osney Mead. At the workshop there was a lively discussion to explain how PPGs can make a difference to help improve patient care.

Michael Leech, Chair of the Forum said: ‘Not all GP practices in the city have PPGs. Our aim is to encourage patients and GP practices to work together to set up PPGs as they allow people to share their views on health services they use. This feedback can help practices improve their services and facilities. I would ask anyone interested in joining a PPG to contact their local GP practice.’

The meeting was also an opportunity for Rosie Rowe, Head of Provider Development Out of Hospital Care at OCCG to update people on how the Primary Care Development Strategy was progressing. Rosie explained how commissioners were taking on a bigger role in shaping GP services in Oxfordshire. Rosie said this was necessary to enable GP services to cope with the increasing demand and to ensure that they develop services so patients can access care as flexibly as possible, such as looking at ways of making better use of technology like booking appointments online.


December’s Locality Meeting

There was a busy agenda at the City Locality Forum meeting held in December. There was an update on a pilot project to engage ‘hard-to-reach’ groups to help increase uptake of NHS health checks in some local surgeries. Maggie Dent, Equality and Access Manager said her team were working with seven practices and making telephone calls to people aged between 40 and 50 years old who lived in areas of deprivation to encourage them to take part in the checks. This was in addition to letters of invitation being sent out to them direct. The pilot is still ongoing and will be assessed in the next few months.

This was followed by a presentation on the commissioning cycle and the timetable for reviewing planned care with the involvement of patient advisory groups. The meeting also included a talk on the OCCG’s current financial position and the challenges facing commissioners over the next 12 months which sparked a lively question and answer session.

MSK Treatments Under the Spotlight

The Locality was delighted with the response from GPs who took part in the MSK Treatments Education event held in December at the Kings Centre, Osney Mead. The evening was attended by around 40 GPs and the majority were from across Oxford City, who through a Q&A session, discussed topics including exercise and current treatments for common MSK conditions like hip and back pain. The event highlighted the importance of patients taking vitamin D and calcium to reduce the risk of developing conditions like osteoporosis. At the event, GPs requested that self-referral be considered as part of the plans to integrate MSK services. They were told by Dr Rob Russ, Musculoskeletal Clinical Lead at OCCG said that this was already being explored under the plans.

Information about the Locality 

There are 24 GP practices in the Locality with a population of nearly 200,000. The Clinical Director is Dr David Chapman who is supported by three deputies, Dr Karen Kearley, Dr Merlin Dunlop and Dr Andy Valentine.



Jackie Takes on Co-ordinator Role

Jackie Masters has been appointed the new Locality Co-ordinator for both the South East and South West localities. For more information about Jackie’s new role please visit the South West localities page

Helping People Live Better with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The Locality is running a pilot scheme helping people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD which includes a range of lung conditions. The pilot is being managed by practice nurses from a group of South East locality practices targeting people with COPD. The nurses identify patients who might need more support and will ring them to check they are well and to ensure they have sufficient medication or to assess if there are additional measures which could help with the management of their condition. They will invite patients to see their nurse or GP if they think this is necessary and appropriate. The scheme might be extended to include other GP practices in both the South West and South East localities once the pilot has been assessed to demonstrate its effectiveness.

Information About the Locality

There are 10 GP practices in the Locality with a population of 89,984. The locality Clinical Director is Dr Andrew Burnett who is supported by Dr Amear Latif.


Locality – North Oxfordshire – January 2015

Forum Meeting in December 2014

On 16 December 2014 the Forum Steering Group met with representatives of local GP practice Patient Participation Groups PPGs in Banbury Town Hall.  This is part of a move by the Forum to build closer links with PPGs in North Oxfordshire to gain a better understanding of healthcare issues affecting local people. The Forum will be organising further meetings with PPGs in the locality this year.

For more information contact Fergus Campbell, Locality Co-ordinator email:

Share Your Views on Adult Mental Health Services on 28 January

You are invited to a discussion on adult mental health service provision and an upcoming briefing on OCCG plans to engage in joint commissioning of primary care at a locality patient forum in North Oxfordshire.

 The meeting will be held on Wednesday 28 January 2.30-4.30pm at the Dupuis Centre, St John Evangelist Church, Banbury OX16 9AF.

At the meeting people will be able to hear about the services adults with mental health conditions and their carers use to help them cope with their conditions, and then share their views.

Plans to engage in joint commissioning of primary care services for Oxfordshire will also be shared by OCCG, with an opportunity for people to give feedback on the plans.

Anita Higham, Chair of North Oxfordshire Public Forum, said: ‘We would welcome North Oxfordshire residents at this meeting. This is an opportunity for local patients to share their thoughts on services and plans to develop them so they can provide a quality service for communities in the north of the county.’

For further information about the event, please contact Fergus Campbell, Locality Co-ordinator, North and West, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Tel: 01865 336828 or email

Information About the Locality 

There are 13 GP practices in the Locality with 105,963 registered patients. The locality Clinical Director is Dr Paul Park, who is supported by Dr Judith Wright.



Jackie Takes on Co-ordinator Role

Jackie Masters has been appointed the new Locality Co-ordinator for both the South East and South West Localities.

Jackie’s job is to provide an effective and efficient two-way link between the localities – including their GP practices – with the commissioning work of OCCG. Jackie will also ensure that the localities’ priorities are fed into OCCG’s overall strategic aims of finding better and more innovative ways of delivering quality health services in Oxfordshire.

Jackie brings a wealth of experience to the post having worked in planned care projects in OCCG such as ophthalmology diseases of the eye and gastroenterology digestive disorders.

Jackie said:  ‘I am delighted with my new role. I’ll be working closely with the clinical directors in each locality to respond to the needs and concerns of GP practices. I will also link up with patient groups in each locality to keep them informed of on-going OCCG commissioning projects and to feed back their views.’

For more information about the post email:

Information About the Locality

There are 14 GP practices in the Locality with a population of around 140,000. The locality Clinical Director is Dr Julie Anderson who is supported by Dr Gavin Bartholomew.


On The Horizon – January 2015

Join Us for the Governing Body Meeting

The next OCCG Governing Body meeting will take place on Thursday, 29 January 2015 at 9.30am to 12.15pm at The Beacon, Portway, Wantage, OX12 9BX

You can submit a question beforehand to: or write to OCCG Business Manager, Jubilee House, 5510 John Smith Drive, Oxford Business Park, OX4 2LH.

For more details about our Governing Body meetings please visit the OCCG Governing Body pages here

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