News in Brief: Teeside launches Down’s Syndrome support service, Croydon provides cooking workshops for the visually impaired, Solihull secures community fund and more

As always at IH, we have been keeping track of the latest ICS news stories across the country. In this article, we will be exploring some of the latest news, projects and plans emerging in the integrated care system landscape.

Teeside partners with parents in new Down’s Syndrome support service

From 16 May 2023, families of children with Down’s Syndrome will benefit from extra advice, support and gift boxes, thanks to a newly launched support service.

Parents across the region have taken an active role in starting the new service, working with a variety of staff from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust as well as Down’s Syndrome North East, Stockton and Hartlepool Parent Carer Forums, the NHS Integrated Care Board and local councils.

As part of the new service, parents of babies with Down’s Syndrome will receive a gift box with clothes, toys and a handmade quilt, as well as books and information about where to get more support. Following their baby’s diagnosis, families will have the opportunity to link up with a parent champion – someone who shares their experience and can offer them guidance and answer any questions they might have.

The local council and NHS staff will also receive training on how best to support and signpost new parents around Down’s Syndrome.

To learn more about the service, click here.

Croydon launches cooking workshop to improve wellbeing of the visually impaired

In a bid to support people struggling with visual impairments, Outreach Officer for Croydon Vision, Shalini has set up a weekly cooking workshop to encourage members of the community to feel more confident both in the kitchen and beyond.

Being visually impaired herself, Shalini and her colleagues set up ‘Cooking with Shalini’ in order to teach people how to cook healthy cuisines from around the world, supported by accessible kitchen appliances. Croydon Vision also offers a free door-to-door transport service which picks up those unable to make their own way to the sessions.

Sessions take place ever Monday and Wednesday, and attendees are able to take part in the hands on session, learn new techniques and explore healthy eating all in their own time. The meetings also provide a sociable function, allowing members to share their problems and generally build connections with others dealing with similar issues.

For more information on the service, please click here.

Solihull launches community fund to boost healthcare investment

Recently, a community fund has launched to boost investment in health and care in Solihull and Birmingham.

Grants of up to £10,000 are being made available to community-based organisations seeking to tackle health inequalities and the drivers of poor health in the region.

The new small grant scheme has been developed by partners in the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System, Solihull’s Health and Well-being Board and the Solihull Fairer Futures Fund as part of the broader initiative to boost investment in the region and improve health outcomes for those most in need.

The Heart of England Community Foundation has been commissioned by Solihull Council to deliver the small grant scheme; it is hoped their expertise and established links within the voluntary sector will help to make a tangible difference to peoples’ lives in the area.

Find out more about the grant here.

Cumbria partners with community pharmacists to speed up healthcare access

North East and North Cumbria health leaders have embraces plans to expand the role of community pharmacists to enable more accessible and efficient care services for patients across the region.

The new plans will allow local community pharmacists to offer over the counter advice and prescribed medication for a host of common health conditions such as sinusitis, earache, sore throats, shingles and minor urine infections.

Additionally, women will be able to visit their local high street pharmacy to be prescribed the contraceptive pill, versus the traditional route of booking a GP appointment. The scheme will also enable women aged 16-64 to recieve over the counter pharmacy advice and treatment for minor UTIs (urinary tract infections).

The scheme forms part of a wider initiative to improve various aspects of primary care access for patients, medical director for the North East and North Cumbria ICB, Dr Neil O’Brien said: “Investment has also been made in better telephone systems and triaging, more online video and telephone appointments, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends and increased online access to appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and viewing test results.”

To find out more about the scheme, click here.

Pride in Practice schemes reaps success across Mid and South Essex

Pride in Practice has partnered with Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System to ensure quality assurance and social prescribing across all local GP practices.

Pride in Practice is an LGBT Foundation quality assurance and social prescribing programme which aims to strengthen and develop GP practices’ relationship with their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients.

Since implementing the scheme, 25 GP practices in Mid and South Essex are now fully trained and accredited – achieving both gold and silver awards for their ongoing commitment to LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion. The gold standard requires engaging in sexual orientation and trans status monitoring, ensuring policies are inclusive and actively protect members of the LGBTQ+ community and registration forms are inclusive for those cohorts.

Dr Anna Davey, GP Partner Member for NHS Mid and South Essex said of the scheme: “We are proud to be the first health and care system in eastern England to have commissioned Pride in Practice to offer free training to our GP practices on the inequalities faced by our LGBT communities.”

To find out more about Pride in Practice, click here.