NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group not only actively engages with national campaigns such as Diabetes Week, Self-Care Week and Stay Well This Winter, but develops targeted campaigns to help raise awareness of specific health and care challenges in our area.
Examples of ongoing campaigns developed by the clinical commissioning group to help support our work can be found below.
The Own Life campaign brings together inspirational stories from people in West Cheshire who refuse to let long-term conditions control their life.
Importantly, the campaign also highlights the small lifestyle changes each and every one of us can make which can have a big impact on our health and wellbeing.
Own Life ambassadors Andy (Diabetes) and Julie (Mental Health) lead the way by sharing the many benefits they enjoy by self-managing their conditions.
A growing band of further inspiring health-related case studies can be viewed across the Own Life website.
The site also encourages users to login to connect with peers via the growing Best You online community.
In January 2017 NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group asked medicines managers at all local GP practices to check whether patients still needed every item on their repeat prescription form.
As a result of strong public support, more than £1.2m was saved in 2017/18 that would otherwise have been needlessly spent.
Local GP Dr Chris Ritchieson, NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Chair, thanked local patients, GPs and pharmacists for their ongoing support.
“Every penny wasted on unused prescription medicines could instead be spent on treating those in most need,” he said. “We are extremely grateful for the support we continue to receive from local patients, clinicians and pharmacists.
“Tens of thousands of pounds are being saved every week – at absolutely no detriment to patient care. In fact, by ensuring that people are only prescribed the medication they really need, our What a Waste campaign is helping to improve patient safety too.”
Nationally, unused medicines cost the NHS an estimated £300m a year. This sum could pay for more than 11,000 community nurses or 300,000 drug treatment courses for Alzheimer’s.
Even if prescription medicines are unopened, they cannot be recycled or used by anyone else once they have left a community pharmacy – they have to be destroyed.
Dr Ritchieson added: “The last thing we would want is for anyone to think that they suddenly need to stop taking their prescription medication. All we ask is that people check what they have at home before they re-order and think carefully before ticking all the boxes on their repeat prescription form.
“We also ask that people finish the course of medicine they are on, check what’s in their prescription bag before they leave the pharmacy and ensure that repeat prescriptions are regularly reviewed by a pharmacist or GP.”
From November 2017, residents of all 43 nursing and residential homes in West Cheshire are given a Red Bag Passport when they are admitted to the Countess of Chester Hospital.
The bag is used to safely store personal items such as glasses, hearing aids and mobile phones as well as important medication and patient notes such as the new patient passport and “This is Me” booklet.
Alison Lee, the Chief Executive of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, described the Red Bag Passport as “a beautifully simple step to help improve patient care”.
“Local patients tell us that compassionate, personalised care is high on everyone’s priority list,” she said. “Enabling care home residents to keep all of their patient notes and sentimental personal items in one place when they are admitted to hospital is such a simple idea – but one which will make a real difference.
“Not only will the Red Bag Passport help to improve care home residents’ experience of hospital care, it will also support the hospital’s assessment, treatment and care planning – as well as helping to support a timely discharge.”
The Red Bag Passport scheme is designed to support timely communication between hospital and care home staff at all stages of a patient’s journey.
Care home staff will be contacted by the hospital by the second day of an admission and a patient journey checklist will be signed between each patient transfer – including between different hospital wards.
The Red Bag Passport will remain with patients throughout their hospital stay and will then return to the care home with them once they are discharged.