Happy new year and welcome to my first blog of 2018!
You’ll likely be aware that our local NHS services are extremely busy this winter. To take the pressure off the Urgent Care Centre in Rochdale and A&E at The Royal Oldham Hospital, we’re asking Rochdale borough residents to think carefully about which health service to use. A&E is only for serious or life-threatening injuries and the Urgent Care Centre is available to treat patients with a minor injury or illness or an urgent but less serious emergency. Your local pharmacists are high street health experts who can offer advice on many common winter health conditions, including colds and flu, and provide guidance on effective over the counter remedies to help relieve symptoms – no appointment necessary. At the first sign of illness make them your first port of call. If you need to see a GP, you can make an appointment at your usual practice or at one of the extended hours hubs across the borough. For an appointment at an extended hours hub, please call the central booking line on 0161 763 8292. Further advice on how to stay well this winter is available on our website here.
This month has seen the launch of our Social Investment Fund (SIF) 2018/19 and we’re inviting local charities, community and voluntary organisations in the Rochdale borough to apply for their share of the £400,000 available. In line with the CCG’s priorities for health improvement, the SIF themes for 2018/19 will focus on developing the building blocks that individuals need to thrive and cope, and strengthening communities and supporting them to grow and prosper. Applications should be able to demonstrate their ability to meet one of the following four themes: innovation; aspiration; isolation; and integration. They must also complement the development and implementation of the borough’s Locality Plan and Local Care Organisation (LCO).
The deadline for applications to the Supporting Communities Fund of £100,000 is Friday 12 January 2018 at 5pm. The deadline for applications to the Strengthening Communities Fund of £300,000 is Monday 29 January 2018 at 5pm. Read full details here.
For many of us the new year means one thing: resolutions! We often pledge to lead healthier lives and the good news is there’s plenty of support available to help us stick to our good intentions.
The Smokefree campaign encourages smokers to kick the habit,- search ‘Smokefree’ online for free quitting support and tools including an app. The One You campaign is all about getting people to consider their health and the simple steps they can take to improve it. It’s never too late - making small lifestyle changes such as eating well, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking or being more active can double your chances of being healthy at 70 and beyond. Take the One You online quiz here to get back to a healthier you.
If you want to make healthy changes to your family’s diet, Change4Life has lots of tips and advice for healthier snacks. Children in England are eating nearly three times the recommended amount of sugar, and half the sugar they consume comes from snacks and sugary drinks. The new campaign helps parents to take action by introducing a new simple tip – ‘Look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max.’ Sign up to the Change4Life website to receive money-off vouchers for healthier snacks and helpful tips and ideas.
Want to a break from alcohol? Dry January is a national campaign encouraging people to give up alcohol for 31 days during January. You can find lots of support here.
This year I’d also encourage you to make 2018 the year you get involved in local healthcare by attending our monthly Governing Body meetings or our quarterly Primary Care Commissioning Committee meetings. Both meetings are held in public and local people are very welcome to attend.
The next Governing Body meeting is on 19 January at Rochdale Town Hall, 10.30am-12.30pm. This is a change from our usual venue, Number One Riverside. Read more about the meeting here and view the agenda here.
The next Primary Care Commissioning Committee Meeting is on 23 February at Number One Riverside, 11.30am-1.30pm. Details will be available here soon.
The year ahead holds fantastic opportunities to ensure the people living in the Rochdale borough are healthier and have a better future, through our Locality Plan and innovations to continually improve health and social care services for local residents. You may have picked up in the media that there will be changes to the leadership of our organisation – details will be communicated in the coming months.
This year we’re also supporting the borough-wide initiative to develop a good local economy. The idea behind it is that local organisations and businesses support one another to maintain the local economy - the benefits of which include a stronger borough which attracts businesses and jobs into the area, enabling even more local public money to be kept locally. It’s an exciting initiative - look out for details to come.
Thanks for reading, Dr Chris Duffy