End of year message from the Chair

As we come to the end of another busy year, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking an interest in our work and for being part of our virtual Health Network. It is only through your feedback and involvement that we can continue to commission health services that fit the population we serve.

Each year, our team of commissioners and GP practice members make a valuable commitment towards improving health in Swale through reviewing, redesigning and securing better health services that aim to provide the right care in the right place at the right time.

You can read more about what we achieved in our 2016-17 financial year in our annual report summary which is a round-up of the key achievements of the CCG and its partners and the ways in which you have engaged with us.

You will be aware that the NHS faces pressure across the country, and locally we are now asking you to take part in an important initial survey regarding three key areas of commissioning where we have identified we may be able to use resources more wisely. Please do take part in the survey as your views are important to us, and please note that this information is being collected for your initial feedback and we anticipate there will be public consultation opportunities further down the line.

The good news is, as a subscriber to the Health Network you will be updated via email with any new events and ways to get involved – but please do keep an eye on the ‘Get involved’ section of our website too for more information.

This year has been full of challenges and opportunities alike, but as ever, the dedicated staff working in our hospitals, community health and care settings have contributed immeasurably to the health of our communities. Within this bulletin you will find some key advice to help you prepare for the holiday period and information about additional GP appointments this winter that are accessible to residents via the NHS 111 telephone number. By following this advice, we can all help and support our local NHS to carry on delivering safe, high quality care to those that need it.

For many of us, winter is full of home comforts and a time for family and friendship, and on behalf of my colleagues at the CCG and its member GP practices I wish you a peaceful and fulfilling Christmas. This sense of seasonal warmth however, can also shine a brighter light on physical and mental health conditions – and our NHS workers, partners in health and hundreds of community volunteers work tirelessly over the festive period towards supporting those in need of health help for their bodies and minds.

Whilst you are taking a break, please do spare a thought for all our emergency services NHS, social care workers who will continue to provide an excellent service during our busiest time of the year, and support them by spreading the message about preparing for a healthy winter.

With thanks for your continued support.

Dr Fiona Armstrong

Local GP and Chair of NHS Swale CCG