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  • New CCS campaign urges support for mums who breastfeed in public

    by User Not Found | Jul 03, 2019

    A new awareness campaign is aiming to help mums become more confident when breastfeeding in public. The Luton and Bedfordshire #FreeToFeed campaign is being launched by NHS community services and local authorities.  Businesses, members of the public and other mums are being encouraged to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and to help new mums feel comfortable feeding their children when out and about. 

    "To be able to breastfeed, I feel quite accomplished, I feel I have an amazing bond with my son, and I've given him the best start in life that I could - it's the best decision I made. It's one of the most amazing gifts you can give to your child, and it's a shame that it's become a rare sighting as opposed to the norm," said Rebecca, a mum from Bedfordshire.

    "It was harder at the beginning. I haven’t been confident breastfeeding because I was conscious of the looks that I’d get. Now I’m used to breastfeeding, I don’t care - my children come first, and I know the benefits of breastfeeding. When my baby needs it, I’ll give it to him" said Sarah, a mum from Luton.


    The campaign is building on a strong base. After surveying more than 350 local mothers, they found that 55% said they felt extremely or very confident breastfeeding out and about, while 32% were somewhat confident and 13% were not confident or not at all confident.

    But rates of breastfeeding, which protects children from illness and reduces mothers’ risk of certain cancers, are declining across England. According to Public Health England, 59% of mothers in Luton, 55% in Bedford Borough, and 49% in Central Bedfordshire are breastfeeding 6-8 weeks after their child’s birth. At the same time, UNICEF estimates that 80% of UK mums stop breastfeeding before they want to, often due to lack of support.

    “We recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, but the longer you breastfeed, the greater the benefits. That’s why it’s so important in the long term for mums to build their confidence breastfeeding in public, and for businesses to support them – we’re even providing stickers for businesses to display and show their support for the campaign said Sarah Pickford, Practice Development Lead for Bedfordshire Community Health Services; part of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.

    “Breastfeeding is a wonderful, healthy thing to do for your child, but it can be very challenging at the beginning. Mothers can feel anxious or unwelcome when trying to breastfeed out and about, so it’s important that businesses, members of the public and other mums support them in overcoming these challenges and persisting with breastfeeding for as long as they choose,” said Rachel Hopkins, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Luton.

    Councilor Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder Health and Wellbeing for Bedford Borough Council said: “It’s great to be part of this joint campaign to raise awareness and ensure that breastfeeding mums and their children feel welcome and free to feed in public spaces in Bedford Borough.”

    Spread the word, access campaign materials (including a guide and window stickers for businesses) and find out more by visiting our campaign page here. 

    You can also find more information about breastfeeding support in Luton and Bedfordshire by using the following links:

  • Mill Road, Cambridge, Bridge Closure Dates (affecting access to iCaSH, Dental, DynamicHealth, Evelyn Community Head Injury Service and the Peacock Centre, Children’s Services on Brookfield’s Campus)

    by Kirstie Flack | Jun 27, 2019

    Mill Road, Cambridge, Bridge Closure Dates (affecting access to iCaSH, Dental, DynamicHealth, Evelyn Community Head Injury Service and the Peacock Centre, Children’s Services on Brookfield’s Campus)

    Please be aware that Mill Road Bridge, Cambridge will be closed to all motor vehicles from Monday 1st July 2019, with work estimated to be completed by Monday 26th August 2019 (8 weeks).  The closure is due the replacement of a gas main which runs the full length of Mill Road; with this in mind, please check your route before you visit Brookfield’s Campus and leave extra time for your journey.

    For most of this work there will be a crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, who will be required to dismount, but there may be a handful of days during this period that this will not be possible.

    The Citi 2 bus service and the shuttle services 2A and 2B will be diverted (see below).  More details on these changes including service timetables can be found at

    Cambridge Dial-A-Ride will provide a door to door service for residents who will find the revised service physically difficult to use. This service will run for the entire period of the closure.  Please apply for Dial-A-Ride membership on 01223 506335.

  • Don’t Suffer in Silence During World Continence Week – 17th-23rd June 2019

    by Sarah Turner | Jun 17, 2019

    Do you worry where the nearest toilet is?  Try to avoid exercising, coughing or sneezing due to fear of leakage? Feel you have no control over your bladder? Find your bladder’s controlling your life?

    If so, you’re not alone. Bladder weakness affects 1 in 3 people and is more common than hay fever. However, the good news is that pelvic health physiotherapy provided by our DynamicHealth team at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust could help if you experience one of these conditions:

    • Stress incontinence - urinary leaking with certain activities.
    • Overactive bladder - having a sudden desire to go to the toilet immediately with possible leaking of urine before reaching the toilet. There may be a need to visit the toilet more frequently than normal.
    • Mixed urinary incontinence – a combination of stress incontinence and over active bladder.
    • Small to moderate prolapse of the front and/or back vaginal wall(s) – weakening of the support structures that support the vagina, resulting in bulging of the pelvic organs into the vagina.
    • Pain related pelvic floor dysfunction e.g. vaginismus.
    • Post-natal pelvic girdle pain, perineal trauma and diastasis rectus abdominis.
    • Faecal incontinence – leakage of faeces.
    • Obstructive defecation – difficult emptying the bowel, which may or may not be associated with constipation.
    • Urinary incontinence and/ or erectile dysfunction following prostate surgery.

    “Urinary incontinence is common but not normal,” explains Gail Stephens, Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist.

    “One in three women and one in nine men experience leakage, however  there are many effective self-management strategies that can be used so it’s important not to suffer in silence or feel too embarrassed to seek help.

    “For overactive bladder symptoms it’s all about having a happy bladder with good pelvic floor muscle control. For stress urinary incontinence (leakage on exertion like coughing and exercise) it’s all about improving pelvic floor muscle function.” 

    World Continence Week (WCW) runs from 17th-23rd June 2019 and is an annual initiative managed and run by the International Continence Society (ICS) to raise awareness of incontinence related issues such as bladder and bowel weakness, pelvic pain and other debilitating conditions which impact greatly on people’s quality of life.

    You can download a ‘bladder health advice’ leaflet and pelvic floor exercises for men and women from our website here

    You can also refer yourself for physiotherapy by calling our dedicated Physio Advice Line on 0300 555 0210.

  • Champion for Equality and Inclusion brings wealth of expertise to NHS Community Trust

    by Sarah Turner | Jun 13, 2019

    Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which delivers services across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Luton, Norfolk, Peterborough and Suffolk, has appointed a new Non-Executive Board Director.

    Nicola Scrivings, Chair, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust said: “I am delighted to welcome Fazilet Hadi as a Non Executive Director on the Trust Board.  Fazilet has extensive health-related experience, including as a recent former Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Royal National Institute of Blind People and as a champion for embedding equality and inclusion into public services.  She will be an invaluable asset to the Trust.”

    Commenting on her appointment, Fazilet said: “I am pleased and excited to have been appointed as a Non Executive Director with Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.  I am looking forward to working with colleagues and service users to build on the Trust’s many successes and strong commitment to improving lives.” 

    Fazilet is a resident of Letchworth.  She stepped down as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Royal National Institute of Blind People in 2018.  At the RNIB, Fazilet worked with colleagues and customers to make services more person-centred, to increase customer participation and voice, to influence policy change and to improve collaboration with other organisations.  Fazilet began to lose her sight when she was a child and was registered blind in her late teens. She started her career as a solicitor, supporting individuals to exercise their rights. She has also worked to embed equality in local authority services.

    FaziletFazilet was appointed as Non Executive Director from 1 June 2019 to 31 May 2022.  She will receive remuneration of £6,157 per annum.  Her appointment was made by NHS Improvement and is subject to the Governance Code for Public Appointments. Fazilet has not declared any political activity in the last five years.  NHS Improvement ensures that all appointments to NHS trust boards throughout England are made in a way that is open, transparent and fair to candidates.  NHS Improvement routinely publishes information about all the appointments it makes on its website.

  • Our CCNT is one of the only teams in the county delivering Factor 5

    by Debbie Manning | Jun 10, 2019

    A fantastic example of responsive and innovative care – our Children's Community Nursing Team are one of the only teams in the country delivering Factor 5 (human plasma) transfusions in the home setting to children.

    Ibrahim Mahmood (14) suffers from a rare Factor 5 deficiency in his blood.  The team deliver the transfusion to him 4 times a week after school ensuring that he leads a relatively normal life, with out the need to go to hospital.

    Factor 5 is a rare blood cloning deficiency and is missing protein in the blood meaning that injured blood vessels do not heal in the normal way.


  • Luton NHS and social care team up to deliver for elderly patients

    by User Not Found | Jun 04, 2019

    An innovative project is helping Luton’s health and care professionals work even better together to look after elderly patients in their own homes. Since October 2018, local NHS, care organisations and GP practices have collaborated to bring proactive care (from medical home visits to Age Concern services) to more than 800 of Luton’s older residents. This approach has improved patient care, helped more of individuals to manage their conditions at or close to home, and supported 228 fewer unplanned admissions to hospital than the previous year.

    The project has succeeded by bringing together Luton’s community nurses, mental health professionals, social workers, paramedics, GPs and hospital doctors, and more, for regular “huddles” and multi-disciplinary meetings to discuss patients and organise care. These meetings have allowed healthcare professionals to access the most appropriate services for patients more quickly, to learn from each other, and to co-ordinate the variety of services supporting each patient.

    The most important measure of success has been positive patient experience. Chris, a patient who has recently benefitted from this joined-up approach to care, said “The community matron and his team are great, because they ask you what you want, and contact whoever would be appropriate and pulls it all together. When different agencies work together, it makes a lot of difference - things move forward.” It’s not just Chris who was pleased - 92% of patients and families surveyed said they would recommend this approach based on their experience.


    This proactive approach will now be expanded to become business as usual, building on the At Home First model, which Luton Community Services use to co-ordinate adults’ care for some time. This will help health and social care services to better serve a larger number of Luton’s frail elderly patients, and further support Luton Clinical Commissioning Group’s ambition to ensure person centred care.

    Commending the improvements made to date, Matthew Winn, Chief Executive, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust (which delivers community health services across Luton) said: “By collaborating with multiple organisations to support patients before they need urgent hospital admission, Luton’s health and care professionals are developing a preventative approach to care and building a sustainable model for the future.  They are also putting themselves at the forefront of approaches highlighted by the NHS Long Term Plan, which will be a crucial part of helping the health system meet the challenges of an ageing population.”

    Maud O’Leary, Head of Adult Social Care at Luton Council, added: “We’re very excited to be part of this programme. It’s about focussing everything around the individual, looking at what’s important for that person, for their family, and making sure we work in a way that’s integrated, and that we’re all working together for the same purpose.”

    “We’re aiming to work collaboratively … to provide much more integrated care for the patients”, said Dr Haydn Williams, GP and Chair of Hatters Health Primary Care Network. “It’s a more proactive model of care so that we identify patients that may have needs, and we go to the patient, looking at their home support, environment, perhaps what level of social support they have, and how that impacts on their medical problem at the time.”

    Helen Standen, Dementia Nurse Specialist, East London NHS Foundation Trust (which delivers mental health services in Luton), commented: “This project has been a really good opportunity for services to overlap and work together. A brilliant example is the work the falls team has been doing with this project, which has allowed us to get them out to see a gentleman, and that’s prevented hospital admission. We got a hospital bed, sliding sheets, the family has given really positive feedback, and that’s been very useful. People these days do lots of things via email to faceless people, whereas now these are real people, real professionals, working together to coordinate a huge service.” 

    “At the meetings we have every week, there are valuable contributions being made by all disciplines around the table. You really feel at the end of the meeting you know the patient, their social surroundings, their families, and that’s how we can come together and make a decision that we feel is in the best interest of the patient. It’s definitely a very good basis for a service in the future”, added Dr Peter Albert, Consultant Geriatrician at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital.

  • Nurse-led GP Liaison Service streamlines patient journey through hospital

    by Debbie Manning | May 30, 2019

    When I was given the chance to take a six month secondment from my community nursing role to develop a new model of working which would streamline the way GPs could refer patients for same day hospital assessment I saw it as a great opportunity. Eleven years on Luton’s GP Liaison Service – believed to be the only nurses-led service of its kind in the country - handles around 650 referrals a month covering four Clinical Commissioning Groups.

    Initially, I was joined by another Band 6 nurse to deliver this service funded by the Primary Care Group as part of our funding contract; now we are an integral part of the Integrated Discharge Team run by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust. Being based at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital but employed by a community trust is beneficial as the team have a ‘foot in both camps’ with a ‘can do and if not, why not’ attitude.

    The journey to this service, which provides a fast and effective pathway through the hospital and back into the community for patients, many with highly complex needs, began in April 2007. Prior to this date, GP referrals for same day acute medicine and general surgical assessments came through the main hospital switchboard and were discussed and accepted by the hospital ward nursing staff. It was recognised, however, that a designated referral process with a broader knowledge of community services and acute pathways may reduce inappropriate hospital attendance.

    As a registered District Nurse who had worked within the Integrated Discharge Planning Team (IDT) and in community, it was felt that I had some understanding of what was required and a change could be possible. The GP Liaison Service was born but not without its initial teething problems.

    The pilot began with locum GPs supporting the service. It was soon discovered, however, that our local GPs did not want to further discuss their referrals with a medical peer. Discussions with senior nurses were acceptable, however, but they brought their own challenges. To help us make a clinical decision as to where the appropriate place of care should be, we requested details of basic observations, pulse, blood pressure etc. The request for a temperature elicited many excuses for this not being provided such as the ‘thermometer is broken’, ‘the patient feels hot’ or ‘I don’t believe in temperatures’. Today, however, these observations are given readily and without asking on many occasions - in fact sometimes we are reminded we haven’t asked for them!

    As the service developed, we received complaints that many GPs were facing long waiting times to get through the hospital switchboard to the team. In desperation, they would advise their patients to attend A&E which, in turn, had an impact on the hospital meeting the Government’s four hour target for treating and admitting or discharging patients. To address this concern, in November 2015, Luton Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned a private communications company, Consultant Connect, to support referrers.

    Each Luton GP surgery was given a specific telephone number to dial in directly to mobile phones carried by the team. This allowed the team to respond within 20 seconds on almost 98 per cent of occasions - an average of 550 calls. Five months later, GP surgeries in South Bedfordshire were brought on board along with Acute Trust Paediatric Service. In addition, we handle an extra 100 calls a month coming in from Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire via the hospital switchboard as these GPs are not yet commissioned to join our telephone system. Advice and guidance from an on call paediatrician and referral to the hospital’s Paediatric Assessment Unit is now available as well.

    The GP Liaison Service operates Monday to Friday 8am to 6.30pm mimicking the current GP surgeries’ opening hours. The data we collect is shared monthly with Luton Clinical Commissioning Group and supports the community admission avoidance work. Out of hours referrals, however, continue to be made directly to the on call specialist teams via the hospital switchboard bleep system. The number of referrals received does not currently highlight a need for extending the team’s working hours; this is constantly under review, however.

    When I launched this service, we took an average of 250 referrals a month; today the team of three band 6 nurses and a band 7 service lead share the role of Liaison Sister. We have to know about community services in four CCG areas which can be challenging, but this leads to development across our local services and good practice is being shared. 

    Over the years, the team has developed several pathways including dealing with outpatient blood transfusions and access to a consultant advice line to support nurses. Routinely, on receiving a referral, we consider initially what community services are available, would advice from a consultant be useful? and can we use the day unit to prevent a hospital admission?Continuity of communication is vital when caring for complex patients and being able to share the information in a timely manner is essential for smooth, safe and appropriate discharge planning. Patients highlighted by the GP Liaison Sister are followed up the next day on the ward by the ‘back end’ team. Working as part of the Integrated Team sitting ‘cheek by jowl’ with local authority colleagues, ensures that patients can be discharged as soon as is appropriate and safe to do so.

    Streamlining the patient journey was a major factor in developing this service and this is an area that we are constantly reviewing with our CCG, community and acute trust colleagues. Collaborative working across all of our partners has allowed the team to develop close working relationships and to be able to support each other.

    Moving forward, we are working with the acute trust to develop single checking of patients. Patients arriving at the hospital’s accident and emergency unit will be seen and assessed by one person. In addition,  we have responsibility for adding our referred patients to the ‘on call’ take list recording patient details  We will input as much information as we can for the consultants and link in with specialist nurses to let them know patients are being referred to the hospital and back into the community to keep continuity among the services.

    We are also supporting the acute trust with the early detection of sepsis so that we can provide an early alert across the system. We are using the NEWS2 tool which supports assessment of sepsis risk. At the same time, we are working with ambulatory care to support the development of their criteria and pathways.     

    Already this year, we have received two prestigious national awards. We won the Staff and Patient Experience Category and were highly commended in the Improving Outcomes category of the Draper and Dash Leading Healthcare Awards. In 2018 we were shortlisted as a joint entry with Luton Clinical Commissioning Group and our private telephony provider colleagues, Consultant Connect for the Health Service Journal awards in the category The Use of Information Technology to Drive Value in Clinical Services.

    GP liaison award winners

    The team is committed to providing a professional service but also maintaining its ‘can do'– ‘if not why not attitude’ - therefore our journey continues…..

    Sally Shaw
    Service Manager - Lead Nurse - Community Liaison/Continuing Healthcare
    Integrated Discharge Team
    Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust

    This article has been published in the Primary Care Journal, May 2019.  If you would like to read the online version and you have a subscription to view, go to:

  • New confidential text system for families in Bedfordshire

    by Phillipa Davies | May 17, 2019

    Families in Bedfordshire are being encouraged to talk to their school nurse or health visitor by text.

    With more and more people using mobile phones, two secure text only numbers have been launched by Bedfordshire Community Health Services to provide another easy way to talk about health.

    ChatHealth is for young people (aged 11-19) to confidentially ask for help about aChathealth Screensaver - May 2019 range of issues, or make an appointment with a school nurse. They can also find out how to access other local services including emotional support or sexual health services. Simply text 07507 331450.

    Glenda Hall, 0-19 service manager, said: “With young people increasingly using technology to access services we felt ChatHealth was ideal to encourage them to engage with us. It’s really important that young people feel they have someone to contact to ask about their health and wellbeing, without fear of judgement or embarrassment. Our school nurses can support them on a wide range of issues.

    Parentline Screensaver - May 2019Parentline is for parents and carers of those aged 0-19 and offers advice and support on a range of issues such as weaning, sleep and emotional health. They can also find out how to access other local services. Simply text 07507 331456.

    Jacky Syme, service development manager children’s services, said: “We are really pleased to be able to offer Parentline in the county, to compliment the support we provide to families. It will make accessing health services easier and less daunting.”

    ChatHealth and Parentline are available Monday-Friday from 9am - 4.30pm. Messages can be sent anonymously to the dedicated text numbers and are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by our team. Out of hours, anyone who texts the service receives a bounce back message explaining where to get help if their question is urgent, and when they can expect a response. Texts are usually replied to within one working day.

  • Local Infant School raises money for ‘dreamdrops’ children’s charity

    by Kirstie Flack | Apr 30, 2019

    Dreamdrops donation from Crosshall Infant SchoolCrosshall Infant School Academy Trust in St Neots has raised £800 for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust’s charity, ‘dreamdrops.’

    This year dreamdrops is one of the charities chosen by the families, at Crosshall Infant School Academy Trust, who have benefitted greatly from their support.

    Mrs Skinner, mother to Charlie said: ”dreamdrops provided us with a much needed family ‘time-out’ fun activity afternoon.”

    The school held an open day on the 3 April inviting all the parents and grandparents along to the school where they collected their children from their classroom, who then took them on a tour of the school finishing in the main hall.

    There were refreshments together with a number of stalls, raffles and games for everyone to participate in.

    The school said: “This was a lovely, exciting event that not only raised valuable funds for community charities but also enabled our children to share their school with their families. We are really grateful for everyone’s support of the event.”

    Anne-Marie Hamilton, Chairman of dreamdrops said: “We cannot thank the children, their families and the school enough for this wonderful donation. The money raised will be put towards helping sick children who are being cared for at home or in the community, making life a little easier, when it can be at its most stressful.”

    For further information on how you can help raise funds for the charity please visit or email

    Photo L to R: Josh, Charlie, Martha and Anne-Marie Hamilton, Chairman of dreamdrops.
  • Hot off the press - the latest edition of 'Keeping in Touch'!

    by Sarah Turner | Apr 25, 2019
    The latest edition of our stakeholder newsletter 'Keeping in Touch' has just been published.

    Click here to read highlights of some of the innovation and service redesign programmes taking place across our Trust. 
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