August 2019

2019-08-16T13:52:32+01:008th August 2019|Latest blog|

To begin I’d like to thank everyone who nominated their GP or a member of GP practice staff for the People’s STAR award in the HMR CCG Special Thanks And Recognition (STAR) Awards 2019. This award goes to a person or team considered by patients and the public to have provided high quality, compassionate and individual patient care and I’m delighted that we received  a total of  36 nominations in this category. The winner of the People’s STAR award and the other awards will be announced at an awards ceremony in September. Find out more about the STAR Awards 2019 and read the full list of nominees on our website here. Good luck to all our nominees!

In last month’s blog I introduced you to some national changes that we are implementing locally to the way that we prescribe over the counter medicines and you may have seen posters and information on the screens in your GP practice, or watched our video with Dr Aggy York on our website explaining the new rules. Now you won’t generally be given a prescription for over the counter medicines for a range of minor health conditions such as Athlete’s Foot or mild pain. Medicines to treat these conditions are available to buy from a pharmacy or supermarket.

There are some exceptions and you may still be prescribed an over the counter medicine in some circumstances, e.g. the relief of symptoms from a long term condition or if you cannot treat yourself due to a mental health problem or vulnerability. We’re currently working with local GPs to define specific groups or individual patients who may be exempt from the new prescribing guidelines and the results of this work are expected in the autumn. You can find out more information about the prescribing of over the counter medicines in the Your Health section of our website. Alternatively, please get in touch with any questions – our contact details are available on the Contact Us page of our website.

As you’ll know Monday 26 August is a bank holiday, so it’s important to plan ahead and know where to go for appropriate medical advice and treatment. There will be changes to opening times for local healthcare services over the bank holiday, including some closures on Monday 26 August. For protection against illness, please take practical steps which include checking local pharmacy opening hours, stocking up on over the counter remedies and picking up repeat prescriptions. If you do feel unwell over the bank holiday weekend, there is a variety of treatment options available to patients in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale. For advice on getting the right care, in the right place, in the shortest possible time – freeing up emergency services to help those most in need – read the news story on our website.

Engaging with local voluntary organisations is an important part of what we do and this month CCG staff and Governing Body members have been strengthening relationships with a number of local groups. Governing Body members, Denise Dawson, lay member for patient and public engagement; Peter Riley, lay member for integrated risk; and Dr Bodrul Alam, clinical board member paid a visit to the soup kitchen at the former Magistrate’s Court in Rochdale. There they met organisers from Rochdale Community Partnership and service users to see first-hand the positive difference that this facility and its army of volunteers are making to the lives of local homeless people.

Again this year, CCG staff have been working with groups of local young people from The Challenge’s National Citizen Service programme (NCS). NCS is a government-funded initiative that supports community engagement, social action and social mixing among young people, and teenagers from all over the Rochdale borough and surrounding areas have been participating in the summer programme. Groups of young people pitch their ideas for social action projects to make a difference in the local area. It’s been a great experience and our team has been impressed by the skills, ingenuity and enthusiasm from all the young people taking part.

You can catch up on all the latest news about local healthcare services and HMR CCG’s work in the summer edition of our quarterly newsletter, livin’ it!, which is out now. In this edition you can read about how Rochdale borough residents are seeing the benefits of changes to the way health and social care is delivered locally, thanks to the Greater Manchester devolution deal, plus there’s news of our Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in June, to which we welcomed pupils from Lowerplace Primary School. There are also articles on the construction of a new state of the art health centre in Kirkholt, Rochdale; how the Hive Health Centre in Middleton’s running club is helping patients go from couch to 5k; as well as advice on how you can stay well this summer. You can read the issue online in the newsletters section on our website or pick up a copy at your local GP surgery, dental practice, library or pharmacy.

Finally, there’s still opportunity for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to get involved in a new project designed to help improve their condition through access to online support and education via their smartphone, tablet or computer. 750 selected patients across the Rochdale borough diagnosed with COPD are being offered the myCOPD app free of charge to help them self-manage their condition through personalised education, pulmonary rehabilitation and disease management – read more in the news section on our website. If you have a diagnosis of COPD and would like to register your interest in using the myCOPD app, you can do so by calling 01706 652853 or emailing

Thanks for reading.

Dr Chris Duffy