News in brief – RCN winter wellbeing campaign, 40 new diagnostic centres, maternal mental health service pilot

Another week, another news in brief round-up from Leading Healthcare to bring you the latest developments.

Already, October has had an interesting start, with headlines about Health Education England’s £10 million critical care training roll-out, a new strategy release by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and the launch of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.

There’s still much more to share, however, so read on to find out what else has been going on in the world of healthcare – from appointments news to courses, workforce wellbeing, and more…

Winter wellbeing campaign for nurses

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has begun a new winter wellbeing campaign to support the health of its members across the next few months.

RCN’s launch is based around encouraging nurses to prioritise their own health – both physical and mental – across what is expected to be a challenging winter.

Citing the backlog of care in the NHS, plus flu and COVID vaccination programmes, and the expected rise of seasonal infections and pressures, the college has launched a range of resources to support members to stay healthy.

These include advice about vaccines, plus mindfulness and healthy eating guides. Members can also follow the hashtag #winterwellbeing to keep up to date.

Helen Donovan, RCN Professional Lead for Public Health, advised nurses to have their vaccinations and urged organisations to make vaccines “readily available” to staff during working hours to encourage uptake, and added: “As well as following the campaign’s advice, we’re asking members to please support it, both at work or university, and using social media. Together we can make a real difference that will save lives and protect ourselves, our patients and our families this winter.”

40 new community diagnostic centres to launch

The Department of Health and Social Care, along with NHS England, has announced 40 new community diagnostic centres.

Backed by £350 million in investment from the government to undertake around 2.8 million scans across the first full year, these hubs will act as a ‘one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests’, and aim to help achieve earlier diagnoses for patients, reduce hospital visits and wait times, and contribute to the NHS’s net zero ambitions by cutting patient journeys.

The new centres, which will open in spaces such as shopping centres and football stadiums, will house multi-disciplinary staff including nurses and radiographers, and be available seven days a week.

Examples of planned centres include locations such as the Glass Works in Barnsley, which will deliver ultrasound, X-ray, breast screening, phlebotomy and bone density scans, as well as Brighton and Hove Albion’s Falmer Community Stadium, which will offer MRI, CT, ultrasound and X-ray services.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Executive, said: “Rapid diagnosis will save lives and these one stop shops for checks, scans and tests in the heart of local communities will not only make services more accessible and convenient for patients but they will also help us to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and other serious conditions, ultimately sparing more patients and families the pain and trauma of disease.”

Professor Mike Osborn, President of The Royal College of Pathologists, also spoke of the news. He said: “We welcome the move to introduce easier access to diagnostic services centred around patients. There will be real benefits to patients with quicker, easier access through a ‘one stop shop’ leading to earlier diagnoses, better outcomes for patients and lives saved.”

To find the full list of the 40 centres, from Clacton to Leicester, Somerset and Hull, click here.

New sickle cell treatment set for NHS roll-out

The NHS has announced a deal to roll-out the ‘first treatment for sickle cell disease in over 20 years’ across England.

The condition, which is hereditary, can cause severe pain and organ failure, and is more prevalent among people from African or African-Caribbean origin.

A new drug, known as Crizanlizumab, is delivered by transfusion drip and can help prevent sickle cell crisis by binding to a protein in blood cells, thereby preventing the restriction of blood and oxygen, according to the NHS.

It’s expected that the drug will help around 5,000 people over the next three years by improving their quality of life, as well as reducing the number of times a sickle cell patient needs to go to A&E by two fifths.

NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “This is a historic moment for people with sickle cell disease who will be given their first new treatment in over two decades.”

GPs appointed as associate medical directors for Lancashire and South Cumbria

Two GPs have been appointed as associate medical directors for primary care and community services at Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership.

Dr Lindsey Dickinson and Dr Peter Gregory will take up the roles and be tasked with making sure that ‘the voice of primary and community care is heard within the integrated care system’, as well as engaging with, and advocating for, services in the region.

Dr Dickinson is Chair and Clinical Leader for NHS Chorley and South Ribble CCG, while Dr Gregory is Chair of NHS West Lancashire CCG.

Andy Curran, Medical Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership, said of the appointments: “Because of the importance of primary and community care in developing a truly integrated health and care system, we are delighted to be able to appoint both as associate medical directors.

“Both have been clinicians for many years as well as demonstrating leadership in their respective CCGs and helping to shape local commissioning decisions over the past few years. I am delighted we will be able to utilise that experience and their leadership skills in the ongoing development of health and care in Lancashire and South Cumbria.”

Free mental health and wellbeing courses at Recovery Academy 

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH)’s Recovery Academy is launching new free face-to-face courses and online resources for October 2021 to March 2022. 

GMMH Recovery Academy, an education and training facility, aims to provide people who are struggling with mental health or addiction – as well as their families and carers – and GMMH staff and healthcare professionals, with the tools and opportunities to manage and promote ‘good mental health and wellbeing’.  

All resources at the Recovery Academy are co-produced and co-delivered by professionals, as well as by people with lived experience. The new courses include: Opening Doors to Men, Understanding and Managing Grief, and Dementia – The Brain Perspective. Other courses focus on subjects such as trauma, personality disorder, addiction, depression, sleep and dementia.

Face-to-face meetings are once again also available at a number of locations across Greater Manchester including Manchester, Bolton, Salford, Trafford and Wigan. 

To register with the Recovery Academy, click here.  

Northamptonshire to pilot new maternal mental health service

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) is set to pilot a new maternal health service, with the launch to take place in October.

According to Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership, the county is one of only 10 locations in the country to pilot the new scheme.

The NHFT service will provide ‘assessment and psychological interventions to women who experience mental health conditions relating to the birth experience’. This will include birth trauma, fear of child birth, or pregnancy loss.

The trust will develop and trial the Maternal Mental Health Service (MMHS) during the next year, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

In addition, NHFT is also hosting a week-long event to explain more about the service to healthcare staff, partners and communities. Through five clinician-led sessions held over five days, professionals and guest speakers will discuss the care and treatment that the new service will provide.

To find out more, click here.