Recent increase in cases of whooping cough (Pertussis)

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes. It spreads very easily and can sometimes cause serious problems. It’s important for babies and children to get vaccinated against it.

Check if you or your child has whooping cough

Implications & Recommendations for the NHS

Increasing rates of pertussis will place additional burden on the NHS, especially primary care providers. Pertussis can affect people of all ages and while it can be a very unpleasant illness for older vaccinated adolescents and adults, infants who are too young to be fully protected through vaccination are at greatest risk of serious complications or, rarely, death. A large majority of infants who development symptoms of pertussis will require hospitalisation.

Women in pregnancy will typically be offered a pertussis-containing vaccination between 20 and 32 weeks’ gestation but can receive it as early as week 16. They should be vaccinated in each pregnancy. General Practices remain the core providers for this vaccination programme.

Vaccination against pertussis through the routine programme is offered at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age with a booster offered preschool, in primary care settings. This offers direct protection to infants and children against severe outcomes from pertussis.

Information from UKHSA

Pertussis case numbers in England continue to rise across all regions in 2024. Provisionally, 555 cases were laboratory-confirmed in January, 920 cases in February, 1,430 cases in March and 1,888 in April 2024.

Of the 4,793 laboratory-confirmed cases reported in 2024 to end April, around half (2,452 cases, 51.2%) were in individuals aged 15 years or older, and 26.3% were in children aged between 10 and 14 years (1,260 cases).

Importantly, incidence in highest in infants under the age of 3 months, with 181 laboratory-confirmed cases identified between January and April 2024. This is of particular concern since these infants are at greatest risk of severe disease and are too young to benefit from complete vaccination.

From January to April 2024, 8 deaths were reported in infants who developed pertussis in England. Since the introduction of pertussis vaccination in pregnancy, from 2013 to the end of April 2024, there have been 29 deaths in total among infants with confirmed pertussis who were all too young to be fully protected by infant vaccination. Of the 29 infants that died, 23 had mothers who were not vaccinated at any point in pregnancy.

Cervical Screening Awareness Week (17 – 23 June 2024)

NHS urges people to book their cervical screening

This Cervical Screening Awareness Week (17 – 23 June 2024), the NHS is encouraging anyone who has received an invitation for cervical screening to book their appointment now.

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme saves thousands of lives every year by checking for high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a group of viruses that cause nearly all cervical cancers.

High-risk HPV testing (performed at your cervical screening) is a more sensitive and accurate test than the previous method and is the best way to find out who is at higher risk of developing the cervical cell changes that over time could potentially lead to cervical cancer.

Even if you’ve been vaccinated against HPV, it’s still important that you attend your cervical screening appointment when invited. Combined with the HPV vaccine, cervical screening could make cervical cancer a thing of the past.

Every screening we do is potentially saving a life. If you missed your last cervical screening, book an appointment with your GP practice now – it is not too late and the NHS is here to support you.

If you’ve received your invitation, call your GP practice to book as soon as possible – evening and weekend appointments may be available. Some local sexual health services also offer cervical screening.

  • If you have received an invitation for cervical screening, please don’t wait. Call your GP practice to book an appointment as soon as possible. Evening and weekend appointments are available at some GP practices, making it more convenient for you to attend. Some local sexual health services also offer cervical screening.
  • If you missed your last cervical screening, book an appointment with your GP practice now – it is not too late. Evening and weekend appointments are available at some GP practices, making it more convenient for you to attend.
  • The NHS Cervical Screening Programme saves thousands of lives every year by checking for high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes nearly all cervical cancers.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the name of a common group of viruses that can cause various conditions such as genital warts or cancer.
  • High-risk HPV DNA is found in over 99% of all cervical cancers. Cervical screening checks for these types of the HPV virus which can cause cell changes. However, having HPV does not mean that you have or will develop cervical cancer.
  • High-risk HPV testing is a more sensitive and accurate test than the previous screening method, which tested for abnormal cells, and is the best way to find out who is at higher risk of developing the cervical cell changes that over time could potentially lead to cervical cancer.
  • Even if you’ve had a HPV vaccination it’s important that you attend your cervical screening appointment when invited because the HPV vaccine doesn’t protect against all strains of HPV.
  • The HPV vaccination, cervical screening and treatment for cell changes can all help prevent cervical cancer.

    Cervical Screening social media cards: Tips to make you feel more comfortable

    Dr Kiren Collison, GP and Interim Medical Director for Primary Care at NHS England, encourages people to come forward for their cervical screening when invited

    Registered Nurse Claire encourages people to come forward for their cervical screening when invited

    Sophie talks about her first cervical screening and encourages people to come forward when invited

    Beth talks about receiving a HPV positive result after her first cervical screening

    What to expect at your cervical screening appointment – TikTok video with Practice Nurse Charlotte Ranson from Mid Sussex Healthcare

    Ciara Lawrence talks about her own experience of cervical screening, and the importance of screening for people with a learning disability.

    Accessing cervical screening with the right support for people with a learning disability – YouTube

    Hospital waiting list information

    Our staff are here to help you however, they cannot assist with checking where you are on the hospital waiting list for a consultant appointment or investigations, or checking what time your hospital appointment is. General Practice staff are not employed by secondary care and have no access to their appointment systems.

    We are aware that for some specialties the waiting list is long. The Practice and our staff have no control over this national concern and we direct you to the information below.

    Sadly, some of our staff have been verbally abused in recent weeks because of waiting times. Please be advised that any form of abuse to our dedicated team will result in the abuser receiving a zero tolerance letter. Further abuse of our staff will result in the abusers removal from our registered list of patients.

    A link to current national waiting times is here for your convenience. This links to national waiting lists, if your referral has been made to a provider other than Blackpool Teaching Hospital.

    The link to waiting times for some specialties at Blackpool Teaching Hospital is here If your specialty is not listed please contact the hospital directly. Their telephone number is 01253 300000

    How to get the best from our appointments system

    Just a little note from me – Marie, the Practice Manager – about how our appointments book works that I hope our patients will find useful and informative.

    • There is a good mix of online available appointments for face2face and telephone. We have to offer a mix to meet patient expectations.
    • The face2face will usually be booked up first however, if patients call us then we can and do change telephone appointments to face2face.  Unfortunately, the apps aren’t intelligent to allow patients to do this online, and as has happened, if patients book a phone appointment online but add notes to say they are coming in, or vice versa, the GP doesn’t see that at our end, so it creates big problems and wasted appointments for us and you.
    •  We have 1 GP Partner in every day and in addition we have at least 1 locum doctor in Practice each day. They can all see face2face or telephone appointments.
    • The remaining GP’s who work from home can only offer telephone appointments. They work from home not out of choice, but because there is no room in Practice due to the additional roles we have to offer now, for example the podiatrist, physiotherapist, mental health practitioner, and locum doctors using their rooms so we can offer these additional appointments.
    • In addition, the Advanced Clinical Practitioners all work IN Practice and we offer a mix of face2face and telephone appointments. They work in the same way the doctors do.  They are qualified to assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of medical conditions. Patients benefit from their expertise in managing both acute and chronic illnesses, as well as receiving guidance on preventative healthcare and measures.
    •  We can’t offer or book appointments more than 2 weeks ahead either, this does cause problems for patient and Practice alike. This is directly a government diktat!! We expect this to change, for the better, from April at which point I am concerned about the book being filled for weeks in advance, which doesn’t help access. We’ll be watching this carefully.
    • For certain popular GP’s it can be virtually impossible to book any kind of appointment for patients or for our reception team. Their patients seem to me to get a priority service that others don’t get and I’m looking into how this can be addressed. It’s nothing reception team, nor I have authority over, sadly.
    •  We have removed all our Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) appointments from online booking as there are a small number of conditions don’t see. Patients were booking in with them inappropriately, and it led to wasted appointments and greater demand on other clinicians. Reception use these ACP appointments for telephone bookings for both face2face and telephone appointments as they know which conditions the ACPs don’t see.
    • Demand for appointments is completely off the scale. Our list size is steady at around 9400 patients and has been for several years. We have no desire to increase this as we simply couldn’t cope.  We have strict policy in place to manage our list for the benefit of our patients, and our clinicians.
    • I audited our appointment provision based on national requirement in August last year.
      • We are required to provide 674 appointments per week based on our list size of 9355. We actually provide 961 appointments per week, table below.
      • The cost of locum doctors is not sustainable, and we have dropped around 40 locum appointments each week because of this.
      • We still offer 911 appointments which is significantly above what we are required to offer.

    • Some Practices only allow on the day booking. This is fine for those wishing an on the day appointment but not for patients wishing to book in advance.
      • Some Practices operate a total triage system which, from what I hear, doesn’t allow anyone to book anything!
      • Our system, with embargos which lift on the day at 08:00am 1 day before, 2 days before and 14 days before allows patients to plan. It’s not perfect but are trying to accommodate every demographic.
    • Lastly, by way of improving online/telephone booking for patients and staff, and to make access much fairer, the time that embargo slots release has been changed from 07:00am to 08:00am.
      • Patients who go online or use an app could, up until mid-February, book appointments from 7am, this is ok if you’re up and not busy at that time.
      • When reception team start at 8am there were very few slots left and we feel, after discussion at the February Reception meeting, that this was a problem so that’s why it’s been changed.
      • We’ll monitor and see what occurs!  
      • I’ll also look at changing some of the telephone appointments to face2face, for the doctors who are IN Practice to see if this makes a difference.

    The future of General Practice is at stake.

    Years of underfunding and neglect has left general practice in crisis. The future of General Practice is at stake.

    The following report written by our Local Medical Committee (LMC) highlights serious concerns about the issues facing general practice.

    You can help make a difference! Get involved by reading, sharing and talking to your local MPs about the contents of this report. If action and serious attention is not given to this pressing issue, there is a very real possibility of mass practice closures and patients finding that access to a GP will worsen significantly.

    Report: The Financial Challenge facing Practices in Lancashire & Cumbria

    The LMC recently carried out a survey asking GP Partners and Practice Managers about the current financial challenges facing their practice. We provided a key for a financial RAG (Red Amber Green) rating and asked practices to anonymously rate themselves accordingly. This formed the basis of our ‘Financial Barometer’. Due to its alarming findings, the report has been written and compiled with two goals in mind: to inform Members of Parliament, NHS Commissioners and other stakeholders while also functioning as an easily readable narrative for the general public.

    We achieved a great overall response rate, where over 84 percent of our member practices responded to the survey. The responses and results highlight several serious concerns about the issues facing general practice locally and there is definite cause for concern. The future of General Practice, collectively and individually, is at stake. If action and serious attention is not given to this pressing issue, there is a very real possibility of mass practice closures and patients finding that access to a GP will worsen significantly. In the report, we make a number of recommendations to address some of the most pressing issues.

    You can read the full report here. The executive summary can also be found here. Thank you to everyone who contributed, we are very grateful for your input and support. A big thank you to our hardworking and dedicated General Practice colleagues who took the time to help us with completing the survey. Please share this report far and wide.

    If you have any comments or enquiries about the report and its contents, please email us at [email protected]

    Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate service

    Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocates help make sure the voices of women and families are listened to, heard and acted upon by their maternity and neonatal care teams when they have experienced an adverse outcome during their maternity and/or neonatal care. Find out more: https://www.lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/our-work/maternity-advocacy

    If you have experienced a serious incident or an adverse outcome that has or may require formal investigation following maternity or neonatal care, you may be able to get support from a Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate. Find out more: https://www.lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/our-work/maternity-advocacy

    Louise Peacock is our new Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate

    helping women, and families to be listened to and heard following an adverse outcome at any time during pregnancy, birth or the days and weeks that follow. Find out more: https://www.lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/our-work/maternity-advocacy

    New maternity and neonatal independent role will support families in Lancashire and South Cumbria

    Women and families in Lancashire and South Cumbria can now seek the support of an advocate if something has gone wrong with their maternity or neonatal care.

    The maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate will ensure the voices of women and families are listened to and acted upon by their maternity and neonatal care providers when they have experienced an adverse outcome any time during their maternity and neonatal care – recently or some time ago.

    An adverse outcome is a serious incident such as:

    • A baby has died before they were born.
    • A baby has died in the days or weeks after they were born.
    • Mum has died.
    • Mum had an unplanned removal of her uterus within six weeks of giving birth.
    • Mum had unplanned care in a critical care unit or an intensive care unit.
    • The baby was diagnosed with a brain injury or a brain injury was suspected.

    The advocate can support women, service users and families by helping them understand the maternity and neonatal healthcare system, attending follow up meetings where concerns about maternity or neonatal care are being discussed, and supporting them through investigation and complaints processes.

    The advocate will initially serve those who have received care at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

    Louise Peacock, new maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “I am here to help you and your family to be listened to by your maternity and neonatal care teams. You do not need to be sure if there were mistakes or negligence in your or your baby’s care to ask for my support. I can attend meetings with you, as well as supporting you through investigation and complaints processes.”

    Vanessa Wilson, NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board programme director for women and children’s services, said: “Adverse outcomes in maternity care are very rare, but it is vital that families are supported through these difficult times, and that they are listened to by care providers. We are pleased to be one of the first areas in the country to have this important bespoke role in our community.”

    The role was co-produced by NHS England working alongside maternity and neonatal service users and staff, following actions identified in the Ockenden review into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust. The advocate is independent from NHS Trusts and reports to the Integrated Care Board.

    Fore more information go to https://www.lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/our-work/maternity-advocacy

    FAQS

    How can an Advocate support me?

    If something went wrong in your maternity or neonatal care at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals or University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, you can go to an advocate for help. They can even help you if this happened recently or some time ago.

    Your advocate may be able to support you if you have faced any of the following:

    • Your baby died before they were born and this was after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
    • Your baby has died in the days or weeks after they were born.
    • The baby’s mother has died.
    • You had an unexpected or unplanned removal of your womb (within 6 weeks of giving birth).
    • You had care in a critical care unit or an intensive care unit and this wasn’t planned.
    • You baby has a brain injury or the team thought they might have.

    If any of these things have happened to you or those close to you then your advocate is here for you and your family. They can:

    • Help support you and your family to be listened to and heard by maternity and neonatal care teams.
    • Go to meetings with you.
    • Support you to understand what happened in your care.
    • Support you through investigation and complaints processes.

    You do not need to be sure if there were mistakes or negligence in the mother or baby’s care to ask for support. If the advocate is not the best person to support you, they will tell you about other support that is available for you.

    A Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate may not be best placed to help you if your concerns are about your birth choices rather than from something going wrong, or if you have any general questions about maternity and neonatal services.

    Who is my Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate?

    The Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate for Lancashire and South Cumbria is Louise Peacock. She has been a midwife in Cheshire and Merseyside for the last 10 years and has been a senior lecturer in midwifery. This means she really knows maternity and neonatal systems and can help you to understand them too. Louise will sit alongside you on this journey and make sure you feel listened to and heard by those who have provided your care. Everything you say to your Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate is confidential unless you ask or agree with them to share it with others. The only exception to this is if they have a safeguarding concern about you, or your family’s welfare or if there is an overriding public interest.

    How can I contact a Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate?

    Contacting advocate is free.You will not be charged for any support and if you need an interpreter one can be made available for you. You advocate by phone, email, writing to

    them or by filling out the form on this QR code above. You can also ask staff in your local hospital, GP surgery or any health and care professional to get the advocate to contact you.

    [email protected]

    07747 455625

    It is your choice whether you use a Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate and if at any time you don’t want their service you can tell them but don’t need to give a reason why.

    How is a Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate independent?
    A Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate is independent from the trust that provided your care. They report to Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, which which is responsible for directing the way care is carried out in your area.
    They keep what you tell them confidential unless you ask or agree for them to share it with others. The only exception to this is if they have worries about you or your family which they will discuss with you.


    What happens at the end of the pilot?

    At the end of the pilot (May 2025), if your case is still ongoing, a follow up support plan will be discussed with you.  As this is a pilot scheme, there are currently no alternate Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocates if you do not feel that your Advocate is the right person for you. However, if you have a complaint about your Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate then you can contact Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB Patient Experience Team on:
    Freephone: 0800 032 2424

    Email: [email protected]

    Or click here.

    Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22nd – 28th January 2024)

    Surgery Arrangements For Christmas and The New Year2023

    • Monday & Tuesday 25th – 26th CLOSED
    • Wednesday – Friday 27th 28th 29th Normal Surgery hours
    • Saturday & Sunday 30th – 31st CLOSED
    • Monday 1st January CLOSED
    • Tuesday 2nd January Normal Surgery hours

    Please ensure that you order your repeat prescription in good time and make sure you have enough medicine to last over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

    You should collect your prescriptions BEFORE 12 noon on 24th & 31st December

    If you require urgent medical assistance when the surgery is closed, which cannot wait until the surgery re-opens please dial 111, to access the NHS 111 service.

    NHS 111 is free to call from landlines and mobiles.

    If your call is a life threatening medical emergency please dial 999.

    The doctors and staff wish all our patients a happy and healthy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

    Bank holidays – Important Information for GP, Pharmacy, Dental, Urgent services Winter 2023-24

    Have you ordered your repeat prescription ahead of Christmas?

    With Christmas just around the corner, health professionals in Lancashire and South Cumbria are urging people to stock up their medicine cabinets and order repeat prescriptions in good time.

    Most GP practices and pharmacies will be closed or have limited opening hours over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays, so making sure you have enough medication at home to cover the festive break is really important.

    Dr Peter Gregory, associate medical director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), the organisation that plans and buys health services for the region, is urging people not to leave it too late to get your prescription orders in, and also to keep your medicine cabinet topped up with everyday essentials to help deal with the winter months ahead.

    With Christmas just around the corner, it’s a good time to stock up your medicine cabinet and make sure you order any repeat. Most GP practices, dentists, optometrists and pharmacies will be closed or have limited opening hours over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays, so making sure you have enough medication at home to cover the festive break is really important.

    Planning ahead for ordering and collecting repeat prescriptions is essential at a time when services are likely to be busier than normal. By ordering medicines as soon as possible, it allows enough time for it to be processed and dispensed and helps avoid a last-minute rush.

    Coughs and colds, as well as COVID-19, are extremely common at this time of year, so pain relief such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen is useful to keep at home to cope with aches, pains and high temperatures. Indigestion relief remedies, anti-diarrhoea tablets and oral rehydration salts are also good to have to hand, as well as a first aid kit, including a thermometer and ice and heat packs for pain – especially when slips and falls are more likely in frosty conditions.

    Pharmacies will be open for their regular Saturday and Sunday hours on 23 and 24 December, but the majority will be closed for Christmas Day (Monday 25) and Boxing Day (Tuesday 26). Again, pharmacy availability will be extremely limited on New Year’s Day (Monday 1 January).

    A list of the pharmacies that will be open across the region over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays can be found on our website You can also use the NHS find a pharmacy tool to find your nearest available pharmacy.

    Most GP practices will also be closed over the bank holidays and it can sometimes take up to five working days for a practice to issue a repeat prescription and for a pharmacy to process and dispense the medication – so ordering as soon as possible is advisable. You can order repeat prescriptions online, through the NHS App or through your GP surgery.

    You can still access urgent health services over the festive season, but most GP practices will be closed on bank holidays. Health advice is available through 111.nhs.uk and you can find which pharmacies are open by visiting www.healthierlsc.co.uk/winter and selecting ‘Pharmacy’.

    The dental helpline is available should you need dental advice when your normal dentist is closed. Call 0300 1234010 between 8am and 9pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm weekends and bank holidays. For advice outside of these times visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111.

    Those eligible should also book flu and COVID-19 vaccinations – especially if you are attending parties or visiting family – rather than putting it off until the new year. Click the link to find out if you are eligible, and to book.