Category Archives: Health

Blackpool’s new £8m GP centre in ‘area of town suffering with premature death’

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool Council is set to fund a new £8million health centre to treat patients who are ‘amongst the highest users of A&E services across the Fylde Coast’

 

Artist’s impression of the new Adelaide Street health centre
Artist’s impression of the new Adelaide Street health centre (Image: LDRS)

An £8million health centre is set for construction in Blackpool town centre after council chiefs agreed to front up the cash for the project..

The scheme, which got planning permission back in February 2019, will see a three-storey medical centre constructed on Adelaide Street, replacing the Adelaide Street Surgery and South King Street Surgery.

The new facilities will serve around 20,000 patients in one of the most deprived areas of the resort where many residents end up in A&E when their health reaches crisis point.

The council will fund the investment through borrowing and has agreed a 32 year lease with the NHS.

Steve Thompson, director of resources at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the executive that the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) could not own assets.

He said: “So we have worked with them towards building this £8m scheme.”

A report to the executive, which agreed the recommendations, says it will serve an area with “some of the most deprived populations with extremely complex health needs”.

The report adds: “A significant number of patients come into the area transiently and suffer with isolation, loneliness, mental health, drug and alcohol issues.

“It is an area with health inequalities where people suffer from premature death in comparison to other towns in the United Kingdom.”

Part of the site was previously occupied by the former Comrades Club which has been demolished.

The three-storey facility will have a ground-floor pharmacy, GP consulting rooms, treatment rooms, facilities for trainee consultants, staff offices, and change and meeting rooms.

It is also hoped it will help in the recruitment of GPs by offering better facilities.

 

 

Go ahead for £8m new Blackpool GP surgery

Home | Blackpool Gazette

An £8m new health centre will be built in Blackpool town centre after council chiefs agreed to fund the proposals.

 

The scheme, which got planning permission in February 2019, will see a three-storey medical centre constructed on Adelaide Street to replace the Adelaide Street Surgery and South King Street Surgery.

The new facilities will serve around 20,000 patients in one of the most deprived areas of the resort where many residents end up in A&E when their health reaches crisis point.

The council will fund the investment through borrowing and has agreed a 32 year lease with the NHS.

An artist's impression of the proposed surgery

An artist’s impression of the proposed surgery

Steve Thompson, director of resources at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the executive that the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) could not own assets.

He said: “So we have worked with them towards building this £8m scheme.”

A report to the executive, which agreed the recommendations, says it will serve an area with “some of the most deprived populations with extremely complex health needs.”

More space is needed to treat patients who are “amongst the highest users of A&E services across the Fylde Coast.”

The report adds: “A significant number of patients come into the area transiently and suffer with isolation, loneliness, mental health, drug and alcohol issues.

“It is an area with health inequalities where people suffer from premature death in comparison to other towns in the United Kingdom.”

Part of the site was previously occupied by the former Comrades Club which has been demolished.

The three-storey facility will have a ground-floor pharmacy, GP consulting rooms, treatment rooms, facilities for trainee consultants, staff offices, and change and meeting rooms.

It is also hoped it will help in the recruitment of GPs by offering better facilities.

The report says: “One of the aims of this project is to make this new building into an area of educational excellence for upcoming doctors, providing teaching and training for students and trainees for years to come.”

 

 

Blackpool council leader slams The Sun article calling resort ‘drug death capital’

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

“It’s headline grabbing, but if they were interested, they would find out about what we are doing to resolve issues.”

 

Blackpool from above
Blackpool from above (Image: Charlotte Graham photography)

Blackpool Council leader Coun Lynn Williams has hit back at a national media report depicting Blackpool as being riddled with drug users.

An article by The Sun newspaper branded the resort a ‘drug death capital’ and claimed heroin was being ‘cooked at school gates’.

It came after recently published government figures showed 42 drug related deaths in Blackpool last year – giving it the highest drug related death rate in England and Wales.

But Coun Williams said schemes such as the ADDER project, which brought police and treatment services together, were being used to tackle addiction.

She said: “We know it’s an issue and we have to resolve it. It’s highlighted unfortunately in seaside towns and a lot comes back down to the health issues associated with living in sub-standard accommodation.

“But articles like this one are lazy journalism if they are produced without having a conversation with people like our director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura about the work which is being done.

“It’s headline grabbing, but if they were interested, they would find out about what we are doing to resolve issues.

“And national government is taking notice of what we are doing, but that doesn’t make a good headline.”

The latest approach revolves around the Drugs-Related Death and Non-Fatal Overdose (DRDNFO) Review Panel which brings together services inlcuding the police, public health, NHS and North West Ambulance Service which most frequently interact with drug users.

The aim is to pool knowledge from drug-related deaths and identify and support people who are most at risk.

People in Blackpool are, however, the most likely locally, and nationally, to die due to drug poisoning.

The area saw 106 deaths between 2017 and 2019, a rate of 27.5 per 100,000 people – almost four times higher than the England rate of 7.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

It also had the highest rate of drug misuse deaths at 18.9 per 100,000, quadruple the England rate of 4.7 per 100,000.

 

 

Blackpool hospitals braced for surge in disease among kids due to lockdown

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) NHS Trust, warned this winter would be particularly challenging

 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital (Image: MEN MEDIA)

Doctors are expecting to see a surge in respiratory diseases this winter among young children because lockdown meant they were not exposed to the usual germs.

The threat is among factors taken into account in a £2.2m Winter Plan which has been prepared by health chiefs at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

It is proposed to recruit 110 new full-time equivalent staff to help cope with increased winter pressure on the NHS.

Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) NHS Trust, warned this winter would be particularly challenging as medics juggled the potential impact of flu and Covid with trying to restore routine treatments.

She told a meeting of the hospital board: “We need to recognise the potential impact that Covid, flu and Norovirus could have this year.

“We also have a predicted RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) surge which we have already seen in children and paediatrics saw that peak in August.

“But we also expect a similar surge again throughout winter.”

It has been predicted cases of RSV could increase by up to 50 per cent with children aged under two at most risk.

A report to the board says: “As a result of national lockdowns to manage the Covid 19 pandemic there is an increasing cohort of pregnant women, young infants and children who have not been exposed to respiratory viruses which is now posing a risk to surge infections.

“Public Health England suggests an increase in RSV cases of circa 20-50 per cent, peaking in November, although early presentations have been noted.

“RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in children under two years, although often causing mild infections, it may be severe.

“Typically, RSV circulates during winter, from September, peaking in December.

“Regional teams and the Paediatric Critical Care Network (ODN) have developed regional and supra regional plans to support increased paediatric critical care capacity.”

Ms Hudson added vaccinations for flu and Covid boosters would continue to be rolled out to staff and care homes, with this due to start in September.

All school aged children will be offered the flu vaccine from BTH’s School Aged Vaccination and Immunisation Team, with an expected uptake rate of 70 per cent.

Plans are also being made to convert more wards to medical wards, while a new medical high care unit could be created for patients needing enhanced care but not poorly enough to require intensive care.

But Ms Hudson warned it was key to get staff in place and recruitment was beginning earlier this year to ensure everything was in place.

The Trust holds £5.4m in reserves to fund winter 2021/22. £2.2m, of this is locally funded by BTH and the other £3.2m is commissioner funded.

 

 

Blackpool A&E under immense pressure with ‘no sign of respite’ as patients told to ‘think twice’

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Pressure on Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E department is showing ‘no sign of respite’ according to its chief operating officer

 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Thousands of Lancashire residents have been told to ‘think twice’ before heading to Blackpool A&E, with ‘immense’ pressure on its services showing no signs of stopping soon.

That is the message from Natalie Hudson, Chief Operating Officer, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Approaching all staff on Wednesday (August 8), Ms Hudson said she hoped patients would “think twice” before heading to Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s emergency department.

In an email to all colleagues, Ms Hudson said there is “no sign of respite” when it came to pressure alleviating.

But she noted that there are “still a number of attendees who could have been treated elsewhere”; hinting that the triaging of patients was not as effective as it could be.

As a result, Ms Hudson is asking all staff to share Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust social media messages asking people to only head to A&E with ’emergency conditions’.

She is also asking staff to escalate delays as soon as they are recognised.

Of these, 80.7% were seen in under four hours.

This was down on July’s numbers, where 19,017 visited The Vic’s emergency department.

In June, 17,332 turned up to A&E in Blackpool.

The email to staff from Ms Hudson, which has been seen by LancsLive, reads: “As you may be aware, our Emergency Department has been under immense pressure recently and unfortunately, there is no sign of respite.

“The pressure is a culmination of many factors, but I would like to ask all colleagues around the Trust to help where you can to ensure the flow of patients around the hospital is as smooth and as safe as it can be.

“Although ED has treated many very poorly people, there are still a number of attendees who could have been treated elsewhere.

“You may have noticed we now have messages on the digital screen outside of ED that displays the average waiting time, number of ambulances arrivals in the last hour, the number of patients in the department and the longest time to be triaged.

“We hope that people will think twice about choosing to be seen in A&E when their symptoms are minor and instead contact NHS 111 first.

A recent tweet from Blackpool A&E on when you should and shouldn't go to its emergency department
A recent tweet from Blackpool A&E on when you should and shouldn’t go to its emergency department (Image: Twitter)

“In order to support our ED colleagues, can I please ask that you help by:

“Sharing any Trust social media messages to help ensure that attendees arrive at ED with emergency conditions only.

“Escalating any delays as soon as possible to your matron/manager of the day.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff for their hard work and dedication under particularly difficult circumstances.”

Speaking to LancsLive, Ms Hudson admitted the A&E has been “extremely busy in recent weeks.”.

But she praised staff who have been “working amazingly hard to provide the best care possible”.

“We realise that all health services are currently under pressure, but we would like to remind people with non-emergency conditions to look at the alternatives to A&E such as contacting NHS 111 for advice and to be directed to the most appropriate service,” she said.

 

 

Fleetwood man, 78, backs singing campaign to combat dementia

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A 78-year-old Fleetwood rman with dementia has joined calls to expand a popular singing activity for people with dementia in the town .

John Hodgkiss with wife Maggie

John Hodgkiss with wife Maggie

Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain initiative unites people affected by dementia- of which there are 17,000 in Lancashire – through song.

People with dementia have been hit particularly hard by coronavirus, with many people with the condition significantly deteriorating from the knock-on effects of lockdown.

Singing for the Brain helps to reduce social isolation, improve quality of life, wellbeing and mood, which the charity says has never been needed more.

John Hodgkiss, 78, knows the benefits of music and has been attending a virtual Singing for the Brain group area every Tuesday morning with his wife Maggie.

John was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s in March 2020.

John has only experienced Singing for the Brain virtually so is looking forward to when the group gets back together in person next week.

He said: “I really have enjoyed attending the group so far and being able to talk to other people, but I am looking forward to meeting the group properly next week. I think it will be a totally different experience.

“There’s always different songs, from music hall pieces right up to current pop songs and sometimes there’s a theme so there’s always a great variety.

“I even got the opportunity to sing a solo by myself. I sang a song from The Mikado, which I particularly loved, and it felt really rewarding to do.”

Alzheimer’s Society is now offering care providers, organisations or individuals across Lancashire with an interest in music, the chance to run their own group and become a Singing for the Brain delivery partner.

They will provide partners with the support and resources to successfully do this.

Alzheimer’s Society, supported by the Utley Foundation, through their Music for Dementia campaign, aims to recruit 80 new Singing for the Brain delivery partners across the UK by the end of this summer.

Singing for the Brain is an uplifting and stimulating group activity for people affected by dementia, built around music and song. Through fun vocal warm-ups, and a variety of familiar and new songs, the music accesses and engages different parts of the brain.

Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager in Lancashire, Tara Edwards said: “Music memory is often retained when other memories are lost. Singing for the Brain can help people, even in advanced stages of dementia, to tap into long-term memories linked to music and song – for some, this can mean they can communicate through singing when no longer able to do so through speech.

“We have well established Singing for the Brain groups in Lancashire, and we hear how valuable these are to those who attend them like John and Maggie, even now during the pandemic, where we have adapted to run this service virtually. That’s why we are keen to help others set up a group so even more people can access this popular activity.

“We are changing the way we provide support for people affected by dementia in the community so we can reach more people through delivery partners. We want more people to benefit from our popular Singing for the Brain service.”

To find out more and to register your interest, visit alzheimers.org.uk/singingforthebrain or you can contact the local office answerphone service on (01253) 696854 to enquire about attending the sessions in person.

Temporary ambulance hub to be built on hospital site while old station is demolished

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A temporary ambulance station will be set up on the former Devonshire Road Hospital site in Blackpool while the old station is demolished and replaced with a state of the art new building.

 

The new station for Waterloo Road

The new station for Waterloo Road

A planning application for the new three-storey ambulance station, submitted by the North West Ambulance Service, was approved by Blackpool Council in June.

It means the current station on Waterloo Road in South Shore, which was built in 1980, will be demolished and replaced with a new facility which NWAS says will modernise the service – but will also lead to the eventual closure of ambulance stations in Fleetwood, Thornton, Lytham and Wesham.

The service also submitted plans for the erection of a single storey ambulance hub, with associated parking and refuse storage, on the Devonshire Road site for a temporary period of 60 weeks while the Waterloo Road development is underway.

Approving the application last week, town planners said the Local Planning Authority had tried to ‘secure a sustainable development that would improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of Blackpool’.

The temporary station will comprise a 392 sq.m. single storey building including offices, refreshment facilities, training and meeting room, locker and changing facilities and a storeroom. Vehicular access will be from Coleridge Road, exiting onto Devonshire Road, with 63 staff parking spaces and parking for 19 operational vehicles sited off the central road.

The development will be built on vacant land over a predicted nine week period, with operating hours being 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday, with occasional 8AM to 12PM shifts on Saturday mornings.

 

Warning of children at risk from respiratory illness as Blackpool hospitals gear up for winter

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Doctors are expecting to see a surge in respiratory diseases this winter among young children because lockdown meant they were not exposed to the usual  germs.

 

The threat is among factors taken into account in a £2.2m Winter Plan which has been prepared by health chiefs at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

It is proposed to recruit 110 new full-time equivalent staff to help cope with increased winter pressure on the NHS.

Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) NHS Trust, warned this winter would be particularly challenging as medics juggled the potential impact of flu and Covid with trying to restore routine treatments.

Hospital bosses are drawing up their winter plan

Hospital bosses are drawing up their winter plan

She told a meeting of the hospital board: “We need to recognise the potential impact that Covid, flu and Norovirus could have this year.

“We also have a predicted RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) surge which we have already seen in children and paediatrics saw that peak in August.

“But we also expect a similar surge again throughout winter.”

It has been predicted cases of RSV could increase by up to 50 per cent with children aged under two at most risk.

A report to the board says: “As a result of national lockdowns to manage the Covid 19 pandemic there is an increasing cohort of pregnant women, young infants and children who have not been exposed to respiratory viruses which is now posing a risk to surge infections.

“Public Health England suggests an increase in RSV cases of circa 20-50 per cent, peaking in November, although early presentations have been noted.

“RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in children under two years, although often causing mild infections, it may be severe.

“Typically, RSV circulates during winter, from September, peaking in December.

“Regional teams and the Paediatric Critical Care Network (ODN) have developed regional and supra regional plans to support increased paediatric critical care capacity.”

Ms Hudson added vaccinations for flu and Covid boosters would continue to be rolled out to staff and care homes, with this due to start in September.

All school aged children will be offered the flu vaccine from BTH’s School Aged Vaccination and Immunisation Team, with an expected uptake rate of 70 per cent.

Plans are also being made to convert more wards to medical wards, while a new medical high care unit could be created for patients needing enhanced care but not poorly enough to require intensive care.

But Ms Hudson warned it was key to get staff in place and recruitment was beginning earlier this year to ensure everything was in place.

The Trust holds £5.4m in reserves to fund winter 2021/22. £2.2m, of this is locally funded by BTH and the other £3.2m is commissioner funded.

 

Blackpool FC backing council’s Get Vocal mental health campaign

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool FC are backing a mental health campaign by the resort’s council for the third consecutive year – and have launched a striking black and tangerine kit displaying the branding for Get Vocal.

 

Blackpool defender Reece James in the new kit

Blackpool defender Reece James in the new kit

The campaign logo appears on the front of the team’s third kit away shirts for the 2021/22 football season.

Get Vocal advertising will be on display at the Bloomfield Road ground and players will promote the campaign’s key messages over the season.

It is part of a wider Blackpool Council sponsorship deal, which also sees VisitBlackpool branding on the players’ home kit.

Get Vocal’s message is particularly aimed at men in Blackpool who may be struggling but might not feel able to reach out.

The sponsorship aims to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health and encourages all residents to look after their mental wellbeing and seek support if they need it.

Get Vocal promotes five tips for better mental health: Voice – Talk to people; Observe – Live in the moment; Connect – Help others; Active – Move to clear your mind; Learn – Try something new.

Dr Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health at Blackpool Council said: “Mental health is something we all have and need to look after.

“The stigma around reaching out and asking for support or letting loved ones know we are struggling is still very much there for many people and we want to change that.

“We are all aware that our physical health can be improved, but sometimes we forget our mental health also needs attention. The Get Vocal tips are a way to start giving your mental health the care it needs.

“The partnership between Get Vocal and Blackpool Football Club means we can reach more residents with our message and start a conversation about the importance of mental wellbeing.”

Linton Brown, Blackpool FC’s Chief Commercial Officer, said:“We are delighted to be working with such an important campaign as Get Vocal for a third consecutive season.

“Taking care of your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health, and to have such an important message adorn the front of our third kit once again is something we are really proud of.

“We look forward to continuing our work with Blackpool Council on this important subject over the course of the season and thank them for their ongoing support.”

The Get Vocal kit went on sale in-store and online at Blackpool Football Club this week.

More information about the Get Vocal campaign and local mental health services can be found online at www.healthierblackpool.co.uk/GetVocal

Anyone who needs urgent mental health support in Blackpool can call the Mental Health Crisis Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0800 953 0110.

Fewer Fylde coast diabetic patients are having to undergo amputations thanks to improvements in their medical care.

Home | Blackpool Gazette

In 2014/15 more than twice the number of amputations than the national average took place at Blackpool Victoria Hospital with 147 in total between 2015 and 2018.

Nationally 176 people lose a leg each week due to diabetes, a meeting of Blackpool’s hospital trust board was told. But 85 per cent of amputations can be avoided.

Improvements in Blackpool mean the number of amputations due to diabetes reduced by 57 per cent to 18 in 2020 from 42 in 2019 thanks to the condition being better managed by medics including from the podiatry team.

Podiatrists at Blackpool Victoria Hospital are offering better treatment to diabetics

Podiatrists at Blackpool Victoria Hospital are offering better treatment to diabetics

The improvements have also led to a 70 per cent reduction since 2014 in the amount of time these type of patients need to stay in hospital.

The details were shared with members of the Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Trust Board by senior podiatrists Debbie Wilfred and Lesley Russell.

Dr Jim Gardner, medical director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said uncontrolled diabetes could lead to blockage of blood vessels and ultimately amputation.

He warned: “Poorly managed diabetes can lead to a lot of health problems.”

But joint working between different hospital teams had helped improve the situation.

Dr Gardner added: “This requires input from the whole of the health economy to succeed – GP colleagues, diabetic clinics and public health in terms of a lot of messaging and also case finding.

“It’s a whole team effort and some of the diabetologists are trialling different community models of diabetic care.”