Greater Manchester’s health and care news: December 2021

Hello, and welcome to our newsletter

It’s been a very challenging period for all of us in Greater Manchester, not least for those working on the frontline in the health and care sector, and those delivering two big vaccination programmes: Covid-19 and flu.
I’m sure you all share my appreciation of the fortitude they’ve shown in the most trying of circumstances and would join me in thanking them for their herculean efforts. Though we have seen the number of patients seriously ill with Covid-19 in our hospitals drop – thanks to the impact of the vaccine, bed occupancy remains high; and we are facing a rising tide of pressure in part due to seasonal pressures and pent-up demand accumulated during the pandemic and people now seeking help and treatment.  Primary and social care are facing sustained high demand and we are anticipating national funding to increase capacity
Cold weather can be bad for your health so if you start to feel unwell; you can seek advice from NHS Online or a local pharmacist; and please remember that NHS 111 and NHS 111 Online can help you find the right service and support in a non-urgent or emergency situation. Please keep an eye out for family, friends and neighbours during the winter weather and remember to pick up prescriptions in plenty of time for Christmas, especially if travelling out-of-town.The Partnership is running a survey to understand how and why people access and use NHS services.
More information is available below so please do take a few minutes to share your views.

We have included an update on our work moving towards an Integrated Care Board, with some reflections from Sir Richard Leese as chair-designate and have shared highlights from a number of our programmes of work including mental health and schools, and published work on alcohol.

Best wishes Sarah Price, interim chief officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

Chair announced for new NHS body for Greater Manchester
Sir Richard Leese has been confirmed as chair of the new Integrated Care Board for Greater Manchester, ahead of NHS legislation which takes effect from the beginning of April 2022.Greater Manchester was England’s first integrated care system, with its unique devolution arrangements; and has been instrumental in shaping the design of new national partnerships to support local health and care needs.

Sir Richard Leese
Building on strong system leadership and a culture of collaborative working, here the new board will play a key role in a preventative, longer-term approach to wellbeing and set a bold vision for the next five years.

After 25 years leading Manchester City Council, Sir Richard stood down from the role last week.
Reflecting on his new appointment, Sir Richard said: “I am really pleased to have been confirmed as chair-designate of the Integrated Care Board (ICB) for Greater Manchester and look forward to building on our strong track record of partnership working to deliver for our 2.8 million residents. We have achieved much through voluntary and collaborative working, not least a shared vision; but legal reform will help break down structural barriers to progress and promote true joined up working.
“Health in Greater Manchester could and should be better. Debt, poverty, housing, relationships, and work are often the root causes of poor health in Greater Manchester, and we must work together to tackle these causes of ill-health.”

The appointment was made by NHS England and NHS Improvement following an open and robust process.
The draft operating model for the integrated care system (the statutory organisation, the system as a whole and the system’s board meeting) will be finalised by the end of December, with recruitment for the chief executive to recommence in January 2022. Recruitment for the non-executive director roles is underway.
Read more

GM Health & Care Champion Awards
Following an exceptionally challenging year, the tremendous efforts many have made to improve the health and wellbeing of others were praised at the recent Greater Manchester Health and Care Awards.

Accolades were handed out to people and teams working or volunteering in the health and care sector across the city-region, that have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to help others.

The award ceremony took place on Thursday 11 November, due to the ongoing pandemic the celebration was held virtually.

Around 200 guests logged in to hear about the remarkable work of the 37 shortlisted candidates.

Among the winners were Niamh Brophy and the Homeless Palliative Care Service Team at St Ann’s Hospice, who took home the Mayor’s Special Recognition Award and Freddie Xavi, who was named Our Young Champion for raising £200,000 for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Full list of winnersWatch the awards ceremony
Fanfare for care: recognition for Greater Manchester’s care workforceFanfare for Care
To honour, celebrate and thank Greater Manchester’s workers within the care sector, and the thousands of people they support and care for, the region’s Hallé Orchestra have recorded and shared a new piece of music celebrating their work through the Covid-19 pandemic, named Fanfare for Care – a thank you to all care staff.

Inspired by the people who work in adult social care, Hallé education director and composer, Steve Pickett composed a fanfare for brass and percussion. The piece itself is based on the word care, using a theme on the notes C, A, D (the musical equivalent of R) and E.
In September, the Hallé played their piece for the first time outside the Ross Place Day Centre in Ardwick to staff from across the city-region.
A film of the performance makes for compelling viewing

The Hallé and the Partnership have committed to further activities together through the Halle’s outreach programme. These include relaxed concerts at the Hallé St Peter’s, Ancoats and in care homes, singalong workshops and other therapeutic activities which support people to live well at home.

Read more

“This was the year we overcame more than we could ever imagine” – Greater Manchester students reflect on the Covid-19 pandemic

School pupils and college students from across Greater Manchester have told mental health professionals that the negative ways their experience of the pandemic is being discussed is adding to feelings of anxiety.

Changing the narrative

Now, with the help of the Partnership, young people are beginning to tell their side of the story through our Changing the Narrative campaign.
Read more

Grab a jab
Christmas is coming, but Covid-19 has not gone away  – and with the festive season arriving many of us will be visiting friends and loved ones, meaning it is vital that we are all fully vaccinated to reduce the spread of the virus.
We know that vaccination is the best defence we have against Coronavirus, making you less likely to get the virus and reducing its most severe consequences, like hospitalisation.
There have been some recent changes to the eligibility for vaccines, so please make sure you book a jab or visit one of the many walk-in clinics in Greater Manchester when it is time for any of your Covid vaccinations.

It has been announced that the minimum gap for booster vaccinations is to be halved to three months and that all adults aged 18 and above will be offered the jab.We are working at extreme pace to put in place everything needed for this next stage of the vaccination programme and to make sure everyone can get protected as soon as possible.
The NHS will contact everyone shortly, when it is time for their booster vaccination – there’s no need to do anything before that point.
And remember, if you are yet to have either your first or second vaccination, it will never be too late.

You can book vaccinations online through the National Booking Service or by calling 119.
Alternatively, vaccination walk-in centres can be found using the site finder

The importance of sustainable procurement: a clinician’s view
Dr Andrews
Chair of the Greater Manchester Clinical Procurement Group, and medical director of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Francis Andrews has written about the work taking place to reduce the NHS’s carbon emissions
Over 60% of NHS carbon emissions come from our supply chain, meaning there is a real opportunity to reduce our environmental impact by changing some of our procurement decisions and practices

Read more

Little lungs need big protection – know the signs of bronchiolitis in children this winter
This winter we are helping parents of young children better spot the signs of bronchiolitis –
with a new awareness campaign, Little lungs need big protection.
Little lungs
Bronchiolitis is a viral respiratory infection which is common at this time of year and throughout the winter months, affecting around 1 in 3 babies and young children. Last year saw fewer infections in younger people due to Covid-19 restrictions, which means that many will not have developed immunity and may be at higher risk of severe illness.

For the majority of children, these illnesses will not be serious, and they will soon recover following rest and plenty of fluids, but sadly some of these cases will be more serious and require hospital care.

We are encouraging parents to look out for symptoms of a more severe respiratory infection. This is particularly important in at-risk children, which includes some children under 2, especially those born prematurely or with a heart condition, who can suffer more serious consequences from these common respiratory infections.
Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks, but parents should contact their GP or call NHS 111 if their child has bronchiolitis.

Find out more about the symptoms and what to doRead more

While you wait
A new Greater Manchester website has been launched to provide information and advice to anyone waiting for hospital treatment.

Called While you Waitthe site is helping patients manage their physical and mental wellbeing while waiting for hospital care, offering guidance on physical and mental health, and information about how best to manage conditions while waiting for treatment.
Realistically, long waiting lists for hospital treatment will be with us for some time, but we are working hard to prioritise patients and see those who have been waiting the longes
NHS organisations across Greater Manchester are working together to make sure patients receive the care they need in the right place, as quickly as possible.

Among the ways waiting lists are being addressed are through the use of a ‘walk-in-walk-out’ model – that means more children are receiving ear, nose, throat, and dental surgery; a Greater Manchester orthopaedic hub – allowing for extra operations to take place; and the introduction of community diagnostic centres – that will reduce the amount of time people are waiting for diagnostic tests.

Read more

Over 600 Greater Manchester families affected each year: UK’s first study reveals local extent of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
New research by The University of Salford, commissioned by the Partnership, has found that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a significant issue among the population, likely to be as common as autism, despite being rarely diagnosed.

This is the first UK study that directly finds evidence that FASD affects a significant number of children.

FASD is a range of lifelong disabilities caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy. It includes physical, mental, behavioural and learning impairments and often causes difficulties with speech, language, memory, attention, planning and decision-making.

Read more

We want your views on how you access NHS services
Health care services across Greater Manchester are currently under a great a deal of strain.
We do see a significant number of people visiting emergency departments (A&Es) when they could seek treatment at more appropriate and convenient locations.

To better understand why people are heading straight to emergency departments and to learn how we can help people get the support they need at the best location, we are running a survey.
We would appreciate it if you could take the time to fill out the survey, it will take about 10 – 20 minutes to complete and is open until 12pm Friday 10 December 2021.

Funding has been made available via a grants programme for 15 community groups to encourage uptake of the survey.
Take part in the survey