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OCCG Connect Newsletter – March 2015 – Print all

A message from the Chief Executive

We’ve launched a new Choose Well campaign to explain where you can get urgent health advice and treatment in Oxfordshire. And we’ve made it easier for you to access this information via a phone app which you can download for free. The app contains useful information on your nearest pharmacists, GP practices, and minor injuries units and when they are open. We want to raise awareness of all health services available locally especially over holiday periods when demand for services increases. There is more information on the app and how to download it in this newsletter.

I’m pleased to report that our work to introduce a new way of commissioning older people’s services through outcomes based contracting is progressing well. We’re likely to start contract talks with our health partners soon to discuss how best to develop this way of buying services for older people, and I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

We’ll be discussing outcomes based contracting for older people at the next OCCG Governing Body meeting which you are welcome to attend on Thursday 26 March at at the John Paul II Centre, Henley House, The Causeway, Bicester OX26 6AW. You can submit a question beforehand and details on how you can do this are on our website.


Download a Free Choose Well App to Find Your Nearest Health Service

An education campaign, known as ‘Choose Well’ was launched earlier this month to help people understand where to go for urgent health advice.

The OCCG campaign features a number of different people with a variety of health conditions highlighting which health services they should turn to for urgent health advice and to ‘Choose Well’.

Further support is available via an app, which signposts people to local health services with information about when the services are open and how to find the service closest to you. Visit the app store to download the app for Android or iOS operating systems.  See or

The campaign also advises you how to use services effectively especially over bank holidays like the forthcoming Easter weekend when health services – particularly emergency departments – often come under increased pressure.

Dr Andrew Burnett, Urgent Care Clinical Lead for OCCG, said: ‘It’s not easy to choose the right health service when someone you care for is unwell. We want to help people be aware of what services are there for Oxfordshire residents, when to turn to which service, where those services are and when they are open.  There is also a Choose Well app developed by OCCG, so people can find all this out using their smartphone.’

For further information, visit the OCCG website here

Promoting Equality and Diversity

You can read our 2014-15 Annual Equality Publication which shows how we are making health services more open and accessible to patients from minority and equality protected groups.  A snap shot of this work includes:

Our Equality and Access Team visiting diverse groups in Oxfordshire to encourage them to share their views on ways to improve health services;

Helping to identify over a thousand unknown carers in Oxfordshire and signposting them towards the advice and support that is available to them;

Working with GP practices to improve access to services such as uptake of immunisations and cervical screening for people from black and minority ethnic communities;

Commissioning interpreting services so patients with alternative communications needs such as language interpretation or BSL (British Sign Language) can access GPs, dentists and optometrists in Oxfordshire;

Organising a patient and public forum event for young people aged under 25 years who gave their feedback and experiences of adolescent mental health services.

Dr Paul Park, the Governing Body Lead for Equality and Diversity at OCCG, said: ‘The population of Oxfordshire is very diverse and in each of our localities there are different health needs. It is important for us to understand these needs in order to ensure health services are planned properly and provide equal quality in terms of access, experience and outcomes for everyone.’

See here to view the Annual Equality Publication


Make May Purple for Stroke

The Stroke Association is calling on everyone to sign up to and get involved in Action on Stroke Month 2015. During the month of May the charity aims to raise awareness of the impact of stroke and provide prevention advice to communities around the country. The charity now needs your support to Make May Purple for stroke while raising funds for its work.

You can get involved by hosting a ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ event, arranging awareness of the campaign in your reception area, or dressing in purple and letting people know it is for stroke. It’s a great opportunity to bring the stroke community together and to help get stroke noticed by being creative with purple.

Money raised during the month will help ensure that we can be there for the thousands of stroke survivors and their families and carers who need us. To find out more please visit


Have Your Say on Hospital Discharge in Oxfordshire

HealthWatch Oxfordshire is gathering people’s experiences of being discharged from hospital and they want you to take part to discover what’s working well and what’s not working so well and could be improved.

They will be using their Enter and View powers to visit local hospitals, care homes, and people’s homes to interview patients about their experiences.

What they will do with this information

During the summer they will be publishing a report which will be sent to the hospital trusts, OCCG and Oxfordshire County Council to ensure your views will influence and inform future service development in Oxfordshire.

How to Take Part

You can get involved by completing an online survey (until 12 April) or by talking to them. See here for more information


On The Horizon – March 2015

Join Us for the Governing Body Meeting

The next OCCG Governing Body meeting will take place on Thursday, 26 March 2015 from 9.30am to 12.15pm at the John Paul II Centre, Henley House, The Causeway, Bicester OX26 6AW.

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



Locality – North Oxfordshire – March 2015

Emergency Care Practitioners Being Trialled in the Locality

A pilot service that supports the work of GPs and further improves patient care has been rolled out in the locality. Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs) are being trialled at nine GP practices in the Banbury area to allow patients who need home visits to be seen more rapidly.  ECPs are fully trained paramedics who assess the needs of patients in their homes and will treat them if necessary; or assess their health needs and decide if patients require admission to hospital. An aim of the service is to help reduce the number of unnecessary visits to local emergency departments.

The service is available at times of peak demand on Mondays and Fridays. It is being managed by the North Oxfordshire GP Federation, a new organisation made up of local GPs who will be providing more health services in the locality.

Dr Paul Park, OCCG North Locality Clinical Director, said: ‘This pilot will support local GPs in their work and help patients get even better health care. We’ll assess the success of the scheme when it finishes to see if it can be extended across the locality.’

For more information contact Fergus Campbell, Locality Co-ordinator 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.


Locality – West – March 2015

Thumbs Up for Witney’s Emergency Multidisciplinary Unit (EMU)

Local GPs are delighted with the way the EMU provides services since opening 12 months ago, a poll has revealed. The unit is attached to Witney’s community hospital and was launched in March 2014 to treat patients – mainly the elderly – with urgent but non-life threatening conditions closer to home. The aim of the EMU was to reduce the number of people having to visit local emergency departments for care.

In response to a survey carried out by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (who manage the EMU) most GPs said they were very satisfied with the unit’s same day assessment of patients, ease of referral to services and how patients have access to a multi-disciplinary team. This includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, GPs and nursing staff.

GPs from the West Oxfordshire Locality Group discussed the findings of the survey at a meeting last month, and gave suggestions to develop services at the EMU further. This will be considered jointly by the provider’s, the locality and OCCG.

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

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.

 Locality – South East – March 2015

Patients Give Nettlebed the Thumbs Up

Congratulations to the Nettlebed Surgery near Henley-on-Thames whose patients are very satisfied with the services at the practice, a poll revealed.

This follows the results of the latest GP Patient Survey which is run by NHS England and involved all 7,929 doctors’ surgeries in the country.

Patients were asked about their experiences of using GP services, and the Nettlebed Surgery scored well in all categories. This included:

         Trust and confidence in their GP (100%)

         Satisfied with waiting times (85.8%)

         Satisfied with the opening hours (93.6%)

         Recommend the surgery (98.2%)

         ‘Good’ amount of time with GP (97.8%)

         ‘Good’ experience of making an appointment (97.2%)

Dr Lisa Silver, a Partner at the Nettlebed Surgery, said: ‘I’m delighted with the findings of the survey. They reflect all the hard work carried out by GPs and staff at the practice to ensure patients receive high quality care. We always encourage patients to share their views on the services we provide to make further improvements if needed.’

Ginny Hope, Head of Primary Care, NHS England, said: ‘It is encouraging to see such a high level of patient satisfaction.  The overall results in the GP Patient Survey are excellent. We work closely with GP practices to help ensure the delivery of high quality patient care.’

Dr Andrew Burnett, the South East locality Clinical Director at OCCG, said: ‘Congratulations to this practice for scoring very well in their survey. It demonstrates the high levels of care and commitment patients can expect from GPs and staff at the surgery. Praise must also be extended to Morland House Surgery, Wheatley; and The Watlington and Chalgrove Surgeries which both also demonstrated a high level of patient satisfaction in this survey.’

For the full results of the GP Patient Survey see here

For more information contact Jackie Masters, Locality Co-ordinator email:

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 Amar Latif.


Locality – South West – March 2015

Better Care for Skin Conditions

GPs in the South East and South West localities are set to pilot a new service using dermatoscopes, which are devices for taking well-lit, magnified images of skin growths known as lesions. Images will be emailed securely to specialist hospital consultants who will advise GPs on treating the conditions, and whether the patient needs to be referred to hospital.  This will save trips to hospital for many patients. GPs taking part in the pilot will be given training on using the new equipment this month, and the service is expected to be launched in April.

For more information contact Jackie Masters, Locality Co-ordinator 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.

Locality – North East – March 2015

Bicester Garden City Growth

Due to the population growth in Bicester, a master plan is being developed. A workshop for clinicians is planned for late April to discuss the transformation of primary care services in the area to cope with increased numbers of patients, and a rising complexity of need.  Discussions continue with Cherwell District Council planners around the pace of change, and wider community issues which will impact on people’s health and wellbeing.

For more information contact Julie-Anne Howe, Locality Co-ordinator email:

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.

 Locality – Oxford City – March 2015

Dermatology and Cardiology GP Education Session

The locality organised a GP education event in January attended by around 50 doctors from both inside and outside the city. The session was held at the Kings Centre in Oxford and focussed on cardiology and dermatology and the most effective ways of using these services.

Dr Richard Turner, a Dermatology Consultant at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUHT) discussed the symptoms in different types of skin cancers and the best treatments available for tackling them in primary care.  This was followed by a question and answer session with the participation of community based GPs with a specialist interest in this area, Dr George Moncrieff and Dr Martyn Chambers.

Dr Iain Jordan, a Consultant in Psychological Medicine at OUHT, discussed high healthcare utilisation and how to manage a patient with recurrent chest pain.  Dr Jeremy Dwight, a Cardiology Consultant at OUHT gave advice on heart failure and breathlessness; he was supported by Dr Heather Salt, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Take part in the Skin Club and Improve Your Skills

The OUHT’s Dermatology Department organises the ‘Skin Club’ at the Churchill Hospital (Seminar Room) in Oxford each month. These are led by Dr Richard Turner and Dr John Reed, Dermatology Consultants and are aimed at clinicians to improve their knowledge and understanding of skin conditions and treatments. GPs are welcome to attend to discuss their case studies. For further information about the dates of future meetings email:

Locality’s Patient Participation Group (PPG) Forum Meeting – 5 March

More than 45 people attended the forum event at Oxford’s Town Hall and heard about developments in joint commissioning of primary care between OCCG and NHS England’s Thames Valley Area Team from Rosie Rowe, Head of Provider Development (Out of Hospital Care) at OCCG. Rosie explained how plans were progressing to develop joint commissioning in primary care and heard views from patients about increasing the involvement of them in this area. Following this feedback a patient involvement plan for primary care activity is being jointly prepared by OCCG and patient representatives.

There was also an update on the review of musculoskeletal services by Colin Sullivan, Senior Project Lead, Planned Care, at OCCG. Colin explained that patients have been involved from the beginning of the project, including around twenty patients taking part in a patient advisory group. Three joint patient and clinician events have also been held to develop a single integrated MSK service model, with follow up focus groups and a patient experience film used to objectify and map patient experience in order to refine the areas of focus. Issues with current service provision and the redesigned service model were explained, with answers to questions from the forum. Feedback from members of the forum was extremely positive about the project.

Dr Merlin Dunlop, Deputy Clinical Lead, Oxford City Locality explained the changing role of GPs and their increasing function as co-ordinators of healthcare in the community. A lively question and answer session followed as forum members asked questions around issues such as the evolving role of IT in patient care, particularly in patient records.

Michael Leech, the Chair of City Patient Locality Forum, said: ‘I’m pleased with the turn out from patient groups in the locality. The event updated people on how OCCG plans to further improve patient care not only in Oxford City but across the county.’

For more information contact Julie-Anne Howe, Locality Co-ordinator email:

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.

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