Live Well - Basildon and Brentwood

Cervical smear campaign targets young women

Young women in Essex are putting themselves at risk with their lack of knowledge about cervical screening (smear tests), research has revealed.

That's why Basildon and Brentwood CCG is backing an innovative campaign to raise awareness among 25-29 year-old women about the necessity of having their smear test when they are invited by the NHS.

Females of the Future is a new campaign by NHS England, which aims to fill women with hope, not guilt, as they are encouraged to attend their smear test. Read more here.


School's out - what to do with your child's sprains and strains

School’s out for summer and so you will be planning lots to do for the little ones! With many children enjoying the weather outdoors or joining summer sport clubs, there are bound to be falls and slips resulting in sprains and strains.

NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is advising parents on how to make sure their child is properly prepared.

Being active and playing sport is good for your child’s health. It builds confidence, social skills and improves concentration and learning. It also maintains a healthy weight and helps aid sleep. Therefore, to help your child get the most out of an active summer break read our simple tips here.


Bugged by a bee sting?

Bees pollinate a third of everything we eat and we should all do our bit to help protect our buzzing friends. However, it’s almost a rite of passage to receive a sting or bite as we grow up so what should you do when it inevitably happens to your child?

Read our advice here


Health advice in the palm of your hand

It can sometimes be difficult to know what to do for the best when you’re not feeling well – but thanks to www.nhs.uk, help is always close at hand.

The website, called NHS Choices, offers a wealth of information and advice about common health conditions, so you can search and read up on your symptoms in seconds using your smartphone.

It can also help you to identify which NHS service might be the most appropriate for your circumstances, as well as find your nearest pharmacy, GP practice, dental surgery, walk-in centre or minor injuries unit plus their opening hours.

Read more here


Don't let hay fever get you down this summer

Pollen counts are high! Hay fever is the most common seasonal allergy, affecting one in five of us at some point in our lives, and the symptoms can make life very difficult for sufferers. It can come and go at any time in life so for those that haven’t had it before it can take us by surprise.

But it doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying the warmer weather outdoors. Your local pharmacist can recommend treatments to ease the symptoms. Read our advice here


Students home for the holidays urged to register with a 'holiday GP'

Parents welcoming their children home from university this summer can make sure they have access to the health care they need – by encouraging them to temporarily register with a GP for the holidays.

During term time it’s recommended that students who live away from home register at a GP practice close to their university address.

It’s easy to register with a local GP practice as a temporary patient and registration lasts for up to three months, so it’s valid for the whole summer holiday. Read how to go about it here


Top tips for a healthy Ramadan

Muslims in Basildon and Brentwood can ensure they have a healthy Ramadan by following some useful fasting advice from the NHS.

This year, Ramadan in the UK is taking place from Friday 26 May until Saturday 24 June. Throughout this period, Muslims observe a daily fast by abstaining from food and drink between dawn and sunset.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan can be beneficial to health and also offers an opportunity for those who are overweight to shed a few pounds – provided it is done correctly. Read our advice here


Seven springtime tips for people with asthma

Fresh breezes, sunny spells, April showers and springtime blossom can be a problematic time of year for people with asthma.

Sudden changes in the weather can make asthmatic symptoms worse but NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has seven tips that help lessen the symptoms and reduce the risk of attacks.

Read more here


What do you do when a child in your care is unwell?

Parents and carers in Basildon and Brentwood are being reminded to make sure they know how to deal with common childhood winter illnesses as the cold weather continues.

Young children are more vulnerable to coughs, colds and infections because their immune system is still developing.

An adult may get two to four colds a year but children can get eight to 12 and most of these can be treated at home with over the counter medication and rest.

See here for advice from Dr Sooraj Natarajan, who is the clinical lead for paediatrics at Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


Knock, knock...be a good neighbour this winter

GPs in Basildon and Brentwood are urging people to look out for their elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours this winter – and make sure they don’t ‘soldier on’ in silence as winter starts to bite.

Older people and those with long-term health conditions are particularly susceptible to illness and isolation at this time of year, yet it can sometimes be difficult for those at risk to admit they need help.

Dr Arv Guniyangodage, Chair of Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), says winter is a time when communities should come together to support people elderly and vulnerable people who may need to be encouraged to seek medical assistance before illness becomes so serious they need to be admitted to hospital.

Read the full article here


Sepsis: deadly signs parents should look out for

A new sepsis campaign has been launched to help parents spot the symptoms to protect young children and save lives

Parents of children aged 0-4 are encouraged to go to A&E immediately or call 999 if their child:

• Looks mottled,bluish or pale
• Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
• Feels abnormally cold to touch
• Is breathing very fast
• Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
• Has a fit or convulsion

Find more information and a leaflet here


Flu and pneumo jabs advice for people with chronic kidney disease

Kidney disease puts you at higher risk of catching flu. There's also a greater chance if you catch flu that it will lead to more serious illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia.

Flu and pneumonia vaccinations are free from your local GP surgery for kidney disease patients.

See here for advice from Dr Nimit Dabas, local GP and board member of Basildon and Brentwood CCG.


Repeat prescriptions...plan now for Christmas but only order what you need

As Christmas approaches, NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding patients to be prepared and stock up now with the medicines they will need over the festive period.

Many GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours between Christmas and New Year and so the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is advising those with long-term conditions to order and collect their repeat prescriptions in plenty of time.

You should still STOP and THINK before ordering repeat prescription items:

• Check your medicine cupboard and don’t stockpile
• Ask yourself – do you really need this?
• If you have repeat prescription, don’t pick up medication you don’t need.
• Always check the bag BEFORE you leave the pharmacy and hand back any prescription items you don’t use.
• Don’t stop taking your medication without talking to a healthcare professional
• Ask your pharmacist for a medicines use review

See here for advice from our Chair Dr Arv Guniyangodage and find out how to register for GP Online Services so that you can order repeat prescriptions online


How you can help protect our antibiotics

Basildon and Brentwood residents are being reminded that antibiotics don’t work against colds, the flu and other illnesses caused by viruses.

Antibiotics are used to treat infections that are caused by bacteria. They work in different ways, but what they all have in common is that they only have an effect on bacteria. The common cold and flu are caused by viruses – as are many forms of ear infections, sore throats and coughs – and are totally immune to antibiotics. In fact, you could make things worse as antibiotics can cause side-effects themselves.

If you are feeling ill, the best thing you can do is to talk to your pharmacist about how you can ease your symptoms and, just as importantly, make sure you get plenty of rest.

Read more about our Medicines Waste - Help Protect our Antibiotics campaign here


Protecting people with learning disabilities against flu

Do you have or care for someone with a learning disability?

If the answer is yes, they and you are entitled to a FREE flu vacccine.

Read more about the flu and get links to Easy Read leaflets and videos, including a British Sign Language version here


Man flu or actual flu? it's Movember!

It’s November, meaning it’s Movember time again when men are growing moustaches and the focus is on raising awareness of men’s health issues.

We may all joke about man flu, but Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking men if they can tell if it is flu or just a common cold?

See the advice of local GP and CCG Board member Dr Jojo Mampilly here.


Be flu fighter if you work or live in a care home

All eligible residents and staff in care homes are being urged to get their flu jab and avoid being struck down with flu this winter.

As winter approaches and coughs, colds and flu start to circulate in the community, it’s important to keep ourselves healthy and well. This is particularly important for those living and working in care homes.

Outbreaks of flu often occur in health and social care settings where people are in close contact with each other. Because flu is so contagious, staff, patients and residents are all at risk of infection. So, if you work or live in care home make sure you get your flu jab.

See the advice of our Chief Nurse Lisa Allen here.


Dear Parent...please protect your child from flu

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding parents to act on the letter they should have received about their child’s free flu vaccination.

This year the annual flu campaign is being extended to include older children in school year three.

The free immunisation is being offered to youngsters aged two, three and four and pupils in school years one and two and three.

The move will help protect a larger number of children across south west Essex and help provide protection to schools, friends, family, and the wider population from the virus.

See the advice of our clinical lead for paediatrics Dr Sooraj Natarajan here.


Now's the time to book your free flu jab!

With autumn nights drawing in and the weather turning colder by the day, GP practices and pharmacies are gearing up for winter.
Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding people in ‘at risk’ groups to book in for their free flu jab.

You are considered to be in an 'at risk' group if you are: over 65, have a long term health condition, a carer or are pregnant. Children aged children aged 2 - 7 are also entitled to a free flu vaccination.

As someone with a long term condition, Basildon and Brentwood CCG’s Public Health Consultant Krishna Ramkhelawon has the flu jab every year. See Krishna's advice here.


New! Easy Read and accessible Stay Well this Winter information

A selection of health information guides have been produced and designed in an accessible Easy Read format to help everyone Stay Well this Winter. There's also an audio version you can listen too. 

Find more information here.


Winter: Stay Well this Winter 2016

Winter can be seriously bad for our health and a challenging time for the NHS, particularly urgent and emergency care services.

A joint national initiative from NHS England and Public Health England called Stay Well This Winter is now underway.

Basildon and Brentwood CCG is supporting the Stay Well this Winter campaign to help those people in our local communities who are most vulnerable to falling seriously ill with winter ailments.

Find more information on what you can do to help protect you and your loved ones from winter-related illnesses here.


Saddle up for safer cycling

Cycling a fun and healthy way to spend time with your child. It’s also one of the easiest ways to get your child more active.

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants to remind parents about the health benefits of cycling, and how to keep your child safe. See the advice of our Public Health Consultant Krishna Ramkhelawon here.


Anyone for tennnis? How to avoid sprains and strains

Has Wimbledon inspired you to head to the tennis courts in the hope of becoming the next tennis superstar?

If so, Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group has advice on hand to help you avoid unnecessary injuries this summer.

See the advice of our Public Health Consultant Krishna Ramkhelawon here.


Don't let insect bites spoil your summer

Many of us enjoy the outdoors but spending time in a garden, park or countryside can mean insect bites or stings.

In most instances being stung or bitten is a minor nuisance. The affected area may get a little red or swollen and it may be slightly painful or itchy but it usually clears up within several hours. But to a child it may feel like the worst pain they’ve ever experienced resulting in lots of tears and anxious parents.

So, what’s the best thing to do? And how will you know if the reaction is more serious? See the advice from our Chief Nurse Lisa Allen here.


Sizzling tips for safe barbecues

A barbecue is a perfect excuse to get together with family and friends and relax in the sunshine and light nights

But before you grab the tongs and turn up the heat, please remember to take extra care when cooking and preparing food to avoid food poisoning and any accidents involving nasty burns.

See our tips on what you should do to avoid food poisoning here.


Stay safe in the sun

What would we all find to talk about if it wasn't for the unpredictable mix of 'British' weather?

Remember that just because the sun isn’t shining it doesn’t mean that you’re safe from the sun’s harmful rays.

Health experts from Brentwood and Basildon CCG are offering safety advice to help all residents stay safe in the sun. Find more information here.


Carers and caring: Carers Week 6-11 June 2016

Basildon and Brentwood CCG will be supporting Carers Week from 6-11 June 2016.

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers.

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older.

Find more information on local activities taking place during Carers Week here.


Pregnancy advice: Maternity Direct+

Mums, mums-to-be and their families can now ask a team of experienced midwives non-urgent questions about their pregnancy seven days a week.

Maternity Direct+ is a new free social media service offered by Basildon Hospital midwives.

Find more information on Maternity Direct+ here.


Don't bottle it up - alcohol support

Don’t Bottle it up is a self-assessment tool which allows you to work out what level of risk you are at as a result of your drinking.

You can also access personalised advice online and find out where you can get face-to-face support locally.

Find more information on the Don't bottle it up test here.


Asthma - are you ready for summer?

As the weather heats up and pollen levels rise, health experts at Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group are advising people who suffer from asthma how best to manage their condition this summer.

See the advice of our respiratory pathway lead Dr Ken Wrixon.


Don't let allergies take the spring out of your step

Spring is the time of year that can really put a smile on your face. But as the temperature warms up, so does the risk of allergies such as hay fever.

See the advice from our Chief Nurse Lisa Allen on managing summertime allergies such as hay fever.


Reablement at Home service

The new Essex-wide Rehabilitation at Home service for adults launched on 4th May.

Find more information here


Find out where to go for care

Do you know where to go for medical advice and treatment if you are feeling unwell or have had an accident?

Whatever your condition this handy poster will signpost you in the right direction

Find more information here


Lifestyle app signposts you in right direction

Lifestyle Essex is an app from Essex County Council with advice on healthy living and links to local services and support facilities

The app is aimed at both members of the public and professionals working with members of the public as part of their job.

The app gives advice on a range of health issues, including smoking, weight management, mental health, physical activity, drugs and alcohol.

Find more information here


Cool running that's injury-free

With mornings and evenings lighter for longer, and spurred on by the London Marathon many novice runners may be sprinting towards sprains and strains if care isn’t taken.

See the advice of our Public Health Consultant Krishna Ramkhelawon on what to do in the event of an injury but also how to avoid injuries in the first place.


Feel fine this summer

Warmer weather and longer days herald the start of this year’s summer health campaign to help Basildon, Billericay, Brentwood and Wickford residents choose the right NHS services and take the heat off A&E.

Feel Fine This Summer will be packed with advice on summer time health-related issues covering everything from hay fever to exercise injuries and sunburn to barbecue-time food poisoning.

Find more information here


Shingles and what you need to know

Shingles can occur at any age but tends to cause the greatest problems for older people.

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding people aged 70 that they can have a vaccine to reduce their chances of developing the condition.

Also known as herpes zoster, shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox typically in childhood.

Find more information here


Check you are immunised against Measles

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to check that they have received two doses of Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Measles following an increase in confirmed cases over the past few weeks.

Find more information here


One You campaign for a healthier you

Living healthily in mid-life can double your chances of being healthy at 70 and beyond.

Find out more about the One You campaign and take control of your health to enjoy significant benefits now, and in later life.


Scarlet Fever: what to look out for

Scarlet Fever is a highly contagious bacterial infection that mainly affects children and cases are expected to peak in March and April.

It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of scarlet fever so that early treatment with antibiotics can be given.

Find more information here


Watch out! The winter vomiting bug is about

The vulnerable and those with long-term health conditions in south west Essex should take extra care to avoid norovirus also known as the winter vomiting bug.

For most people the condition is an unpleasant experience which requires plenty of fluids and rest. However for people who are already ill or vulnerable such as the elderly, very young, those in hospital or those with long term conditions, norovirus can have a much greater impact.

Find out more information and advice from Dr Arv Guniyangodage, incoming Chair at Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


Young asthma sufferers: stay safe in the cold

As half term hits and hundreds of children head for the outdoors, parents and carers are being asked to keep an eye on their little ones if they have asthma.

One in 11 children has asthma and it is the most common long-term medical condition. Children under the age of five account for the highest number of attendances to A&E.  In reality a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack. 

Cold weather is a major trigger for asthma symptoms but a few simple precautions can avoid a child being admitted to hospital.

Find out more information on the advice from Dr Sooraj Natarajan, Clinical Director for Children and Families at NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)


Sugar shock: leading GP reveals the bitter truth

A leading GP has exploded the myth about fat in the diet and revealed the bitter truth about sugar.

Dr Anil Chopra, Chair of NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has delivered a lesson in healthy eating targeting children and their parents.

Dr Chopra, whose specialty is diabetes, has warned that obesity is a ticking time-bomb for local health services that must be defused by a change in diet and lifestyle.

Find out more information on the advice from Dr Chopra.


Stock up on medicines and food ahead of the cold snap

Doctors across South West Essex are urging people to make sure elderly family members, neighbours and themselves are stocked-up with medicines and supplies as weather forecasters predict unsettled weather and cold snaps.

Find out more information on the advice from Dr Anil Chopra, Chair of NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


Get well, get smart...antibiotics cannot cure colds

With winter bugs doing the rounds, patients are reminded that antibiotics don’t work against viruses that cause colds, most coughs and sore throats.

Plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids and over the counter remedies from your pharmacist should soon put you back on the road to recovery. Find out more information on the advice from our Chief Nurse.


Take care not antibiotics

A leading pharmacist is reminding us all that we should use antibiotics only when they’re needed to keep them effective.

Coughs and colds are starting to circulate and many of us may be tempted to visit the GP for antibiotics, but patients are being warned that if they’re not needed they won’t be prescribed. Find out more information on the advice from our leading pharmacist.


Self Care: Be healthy this winter

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group is backing a Self Care Forum campaign to increase patient awareness about self care with the aim of reducing pressure on GPs and A&E departments during the winter months.
 
The ‘Self Care for Life – Be Healthy This Winter’ message ties in with the seasonal NHS Stay Well this Winter campaign. Find out more information.

Flu jab for people with long term conditions

People with diabetes are being urged to get the free flu jab this winter.

Health chiefs at Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are warning that people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious flu-related complications.

Flu is also a particular threat to people with other long term conditions such as low immunity, respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD, and heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease.

Find out more information on the flu jab advice from  Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for people with long term conditions including diabetes.


Over 65? Get your free flu jab now

Autumn is here and the nights are drawing in, so it’s really important we take the time to look after ourselves, and one of the best things we can do is get the flu jab.

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding anyone over the age of 65 to protect themselves against flu this winter with a free vaccination. Find out more information.


Protect yourself and your unborn baby - get the flu jab

Pregnant women are being urged to get their flu jab as they are considered to be at higher risk of developing flu.

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is backing a campaign to ensure expectant mothers and their unborn babies stay ‘flu safe’ this winter. Find out more information.


Therapy For You

It’s normal to experience anxiety and depression but when they start to become part of everyday life, it can feel like there is no end in sight.

Therapy For You is a new online service for adults to help anyone experiencing anxiety or stress, depression, bereavement or loss, sleep difficulties, anger issues, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias and many other everyday problems. Find out more information.


New Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS) for children and young people goes live

From 1 November 2015, all Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across Southend, Essex and Thurrock are now called the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS) for children and young people. 

The service has been commissioned jointly by all seven Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups - including Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group – along with Southend, Thurrock and Essex County Council. 

The new service will be provided by North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT). Find out more information.


Stay well this winter - free nasal flu vaccine for children

 With autumn well underway and coughs, colds and flu already starting to circulate, Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning (CCG) is urging parents of children between the ages of two and seven to make sure their child has their flu nasal vaccination.

The nasal spray vaccination is available free on the NHS. It’s quick, effective and
painless and available to children aged 2-4 years, as well as those in school years one and two, who can receive the vaccine in school.

The vaccination is given by squirting a single dose of nasal spray up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free, it works even better than the injected flu vaccine with fewer side effects.

It’s important to protect your children from flu. The vaccination is the best protection against what is an unpredictable virus. It can cause severe illness and can even be fatal for those with a long term health condition, or the elderly. The vaccine will protect your child, and those they come into contact with, against the flu virus.

Find out more information.


Find the right service for you 

The best place to find NHS services is the NHS Choices website, however if you're having problems finding a service or need some advice you can contact us or speak to Healthwatch Essex on 0300 500 1895 who provide a one-stop shop for information about health and care services in Essex.

If you are troubled and urgently need someone to speak to, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 08457 909090.


Personal Health Budgets

From 1 April 2014, anyone assessed as being eligible for NHS funded Continuing Healthcare (not Fast-Track) will have the right to request consideration for a Personal Health Budget from their local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

If you are eligible for NHS-funded Continuing Healthcare and would like to consider a Personal Health Budget, contact:

01268 594630 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

If you are NOT eligible for NHS-funded Continuing Healthcare and would like to consider a Personal Health Budget, contact Essex County Council Social Care department for more information.


Sign up to Safety

Sign up to Safety is designed to help realise the ambition of making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world by creating an environment devoted to continuous learning and improvement. This ambition is bigger than any individual or organisation and achieving it requires us all to unite behind this common purpose. We need to give patients confidence that we are doing all we can to ensure that the care they receive will be safe and effective at all times.

We all recognise that healthcare carries some risk and while everyone working in the NHS works hard every day to reduce this risk, harm still happens. Whenever possible, we must do all we can to deliver harm free care for every patient, every time, everywhere. We must be open with our patients and colleagues about the potential for things to go wrong and for people to get hurt, and most of all, we must continuously learn from what happens in order to improve.

We all accept and embrace the learning that is needed when patients are harmed and we all know it imperative to raise concerns.

That is why NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group has joined the Sign up to Safety Campaign. This campaign will support people to feel safe to speak up when things do go wrong. Everyone involved in caring for patients, and those in roles supporting care for patients, needs to know that they can have these conversations and that they will be heard – they can save lives.

The five Sign up to Safety pledges

Putting safety first. Commit to reduce avoidable harm in the NHS by half and make public our locally developed goals and plans

Continually learn. Make our organisation more resilient to risks, by acting on the feedback from patients and staff and by constantly measuring and monitoring how safe our services are

Being honest. Be transparent with people about our progress to tackle patient safety issues and support staff to be candid with patients and their families if something goes wrong

Collaborating. Take a lead role in supporting local collaborative learning, so that improvements are made across all of the local services that patients use

Being supportive. Help people understand why things go wrong and how to put them right. Give staff the time and support to improve and celebrate progress.

For further information please see the full CCG sign up document: BBCCG Sign Up To Safety 5 Pledges   and also go to: http://www.england.nhs.uk/signuptosafety/