People experiencing anxiety and depression this Christmas encouraged to seek help through talking therapy

Published on Nov 29, 2018

North Yorkshire GPs are urging residents to seek help if the strains of Christmas begin to take a toll on mental health.

With the pressure to socialise, temptation to overindulge and finances stretched, this can be a particularly stressful time of year.

The inclement winter weather and dark days mean it can also be especially difficult for people who are alone or have been bereaved.

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging residents to refer themselves to an NHS talking therapy service in North Yorkshire known as IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), if they feel they are at a low ebb.

Dr Peter Billingsley, Associate Chair of NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the clinical lead on mental health, said: “We know that the winter and festive period is particularly challenging for people who experience mental health difficulties. If you, or someone you care for, start to feel the need for mental health support, you can contact the IAPT service directly which means you don’t have to see your GP first.

“We also think it’s important for patients to know that the IAPT service is not a crisis or urgent response service for people who are severely unwell. You should always dial 999 in a medical emergency, call NHS 111 for any urgent concerns or ring your local GP practice if you feel IAPT is not for you and you are looking for alternative support.

“You can also visit to find contact details for your local crisis support team.”

One in four people will experience difficulties in their mental health at some point in their lives. Significant events or a build-up of stresses such as work place problems, a change in life circumstances, a traumatic event or a specific phobia could lead to difficulties managing mental wellbeing. Problems with low mood, depression and anxiety can develop and make it difficult for us to cope with life’s daily demands.

IAPT can support people experiencing mild to moderate difficulties with any of the following:


anxiety and worry

panic attacks

health anxiety

social phobia

specific phobias

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Andrew Wright, North Yorkshire IAPT Service Manager with the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust said: “To make sure IAPT is right for you, you will be offered a focused initial assessment over the phone, (alternative arrangements can be made if required).

“At the end of the assessment you will be directed to the most appropriate support for your needs. This might include guided self-learning, attending a psychoeducational course, computerised guided self-help, or in some cases cognitive behavioural therapy.

“If you would prefer to discuss things with your GP first, please make an appointment. Your GP can also help you refer to IAPT, or to a suitable alternative.”

IAPT is a national NHS programme to increase the availability of talking therapy treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to treat anxiety and depression.

More information can be found here:, or dial 01947 899270 if you are a patient registered at a GP practice in the NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG area.

Local IAPT service contact details for patient self-referrals:

Northallerton, Gibraltar House, Thurston Road, Northallerton, DL6 2NA

01609 768890

Whitby (also for NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG patients), Whitby Hospital, Springhill, Whitby, YO21 1EE

01947 899270

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GP advice on how to stay well this winter

Published on Nov 27, 2018

With winter just around the corner, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG are advising local residents on the best ways to stay well during the cold weather.

There are a number of effects the winter can have, and they are not just physical, the colder weather and shorter days can also affect your mental health.

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, Governing Body member and Local GP, Dr Peter Billingsly has a lot useful tips to help you stay well this winter.

Be aware of norovirus

‘Norovirus outbreaks are more common this time of year, there is no specific treatment for norovirus, but you can take steps to ease your symptoms. If you’ve got sickness and diarrhoea, stay hydrated.

‘Don’t see your GP unless symptoms persist more than a few days, the best ways to avoid catching norovirus is wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet. Last but not least, norovirus can leave you contagious 48 hours after the symptoms go, so please avoid hospitals and care homes.’

Get your flu vaccination

‘The best way to stay protected against the flu is to get the vaccination, the jab is free for pregnant women, over 65s and those with underlying health conditions. If you have a child ages 2 – 3 they are entitled to a free flu nasal spray to keep them protected.

‘If you are experiencing flu like symptoms, please seek advice from your pharmacist before it gets more serious. If you want to book a vaccination please contact your GP practice.’

Use the right service

‘If it is not an emergency, you can get medical advice 24/7 by using the NHS 111 service, they have trained medical professionals available who can direct you to the most appropriate medical care.

‘If you want to speak to someone face to face you don’t always have to wait for an appointment with your doctor. Your local pharmacy can provide clinical advice for minor health conditions common over the winter period such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.’

Keep a stock of useful medicines

‘It is important to keep a stock of over the counter medicines in your home over the Christmas period as your local surgery or pharmacy may not be open.

‘These remedies could include basic painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol, cough syrup and antacids that are all available at your local supermarket.’

Look out for yourself and others

‘The colder weather and shorter days can affect your mental health, get out in the sunshine if you can, even short bursts can improve your mental wellbeing.

‘Older neighbours and relatives are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help to stay well, make sure you keep in touch and check in on them when you can.’

There is further advice on self-care here, you can also find details of GP and pharmacy opening times over the winter season here.

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Single accountable officer appointed for three North Yorkshire CCGs

Published on Nov 22, 2018

A single accountable officer has been appointed to oversee a shared leadership team across three North Yorkshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

The current Chief Officer of Harrogate and Rural District CCG, Amanda Bloor, has been appointed to the post by NHS England’s Chief Executive, Simon Stevens and will commence her new role on 1 December 2018.

In September this year, all three CCG Governing Bodies voted to introduce a shared senior leadership team across NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG, NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG and NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG.

Each CCG will remain a separate statutory organisation responsible for the purchasing and planning of the vast majority of health services across their area.

Dr Charles Parker, Clinical Chair, NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG said: “It is imperative that organisations across the NHS landscape think creatively about how we can ensure every pound spent is spent well. This new approach will help us deliver more sustainably by allowing us to think across the health care system, while retaining our responsiveness to local need.”

Dr Phil Garnett, Clinical Chair, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, said: “We are seeing more and more examples of local health and care organisations coming together to work across organisational boundaries to deliver more integrated models of care and treatment.

“With a growing and aging population exerting greater pressure on finite NHS resources, it seems entirely sensible for CCGs to work more closely together, to bring together assets and capabilities to improve care and patient outcomes in a way that demonstrates wise stewardship of taxpayers’ money at the same time.”

Dr Alistair Ingram, Clinical Chair, NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG “This new approach will allow us to have the best of both worlds – the system benefits of thinking at scale, while still delivering clinically led services which respond to local need. We will ensure we retain the benefit of local commissioning but with a system-wide perspective.”

Amanda Bloor said: “A shared team across the three North Yorkshire CCGs will enable collaboration and work at scale when it is appropriate while ensuring local needs remain at the heart of each CCG’s activities. While there will be a single leadership team a strong local focus and clinical leadership will continue to underpin our work.

“I am looking forward to developing new relationships and building on old while we collectively continue to ensure quality healthcare services that meet the needs of our population across North Yorkshire.”

Once officially in post after 1 December 2018, a single senior management team will be established that fits the needs of the three CCGs and their local populations.

A group representing all three CCG Governing Bodies will also be set up.

Simon Cox, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG Chief Officer and Janet Probert, NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG Chief Officer, will remain in their current roles for a few more weeks to ensure there is a smooth transition

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Scarborough Acute Services Review

Published on Nov 20, 2018

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Scarborough and Ryedale CCG and East Riding CCG, working under the auspices of the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, have agreed to undertake an independent review of the configuration of Scarborough acute services.

If you want to read more information on the review you can visit the Humber, Coast and Vale website, here.

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Prospect Road flu clinic

Published on Nov 16, 2018

On Saturday 10 November over 1000 patients were vaccinated at the flu clinic held at Central Healthcare’s Prospect Road Surgery site. This brings the number of patients vaccinated to date by Central to around 6000.

Business Development Manager at Central Healthcare, Lesley Clemmet, said: ‘We were overwhelmed with the response from patients and are very happy to see so many patients getting vaccinated.’

“I would like to thank every patient that attended the clinic for their patience on the day. The number of patients that attended the walk in clinic was unprecedented and it’s great to see so many eligible patients taking up the free vaccination early in the flu season to protect themselves and people around them.

Anyone that felt unable to wait longer than they had planned for on Saturday and missed out on being vaccinated is still able to receive a vaccination in any of the dedicated clinics being held through the week, or when attending routine appointments at their branch surgery.”

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