March 2020

Coronavirus, Care Quality Commission inspection and No Smoking Day by Mike Barker, Chief Operating Officer at Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group. 

Since last months' blog I think it is fair to say that coronavirus has dominated the news headlines. At the time of writing this, there are 35 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK (non in the Oldham area); more than 11,700 people have been tested in the UK alone. 

The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases and the risk to the general public remains low to moderate. 

Everyone can help protect themselves and people around them by:

  • Always carrying tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell. 

For more information and advice, please visit the PHE website here

CQC inspection 

In September last year, Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors visited Pennine Acute Trust hospitals (North Manchester General Hospital, Royal Oldham Hospital, Rochdale Infirmary and Fairfield General Hospital in Bury) to assess the quality, care and safety in six core services. Services the CQC focused on were urgent and emergency services, surgery, medical services, critical care, end of life care and community inpatient services. 

Over the last three years there has been a focus on working collaboratively to improve services and the report from the CQC inspection shows this is having a positive impact. 

While improvements have been made in services at Royal Oldham Hospital, we know where there is more work to be done. I think the latest CQC results are a great achievement and testament of all the hard work and commitment of our colleagues across Oldham.

You can find out more about CQC here and read the full Pennine Acute Trust report here

No Smoking Day

It is National No Smoking Day on Wednesday 11 March 2020. In 2016 Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership launched an ambition to reduce the amount of smokers by a third by the end of 2020. 

Last July figures showed that the number of smokers in Greater Manchester had fallen by more than 27,000 in just one year, which is very encouraging. But as it stands, across the whole of Greater Manchester there are almost 400,000 adult smokers and we know that smoking is still the greatest cause of ill health and early death in Greater Manchester. 

No Smoking Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the impact that smoking can have on people, and their family and friends. We recently shared the inspirational story of David from Oldham who stopped smoking after around 40 years, the day after he had a heart attack. He wondered to himself if he would ever see his family again, and it was at that point he knew it was his time to stop. You can watch David's full story below.

I understand that stopping smoking can be very difficult for people, but deciding to stop is the most positive choice you can make for your health and wellbeing. There is a lot of support out there for anyone who wants to stop and I would encourage anyone who is considering this to explore information available here

NHS appeal for real-life flu stories

Have you or anyone in your family ever had a serious bout of flu? Every year thousands of people young and old across Greater Manchester are floored by flu. Even in less serious cases flu is far worse than a bad cold and takes a couple of weeks to recover from. 

The NHS in Greater Manchester is looking for real-life stories to encourage people to get their vaccination. 

It could be:

  • That your child picked up flu from nursery or school and it spread to the rest of the family.
  • That flu affected your family over the Christmas period, or ruined another special occasion.
  • That you or a family member caught flu and experienced complications that led you/ them to be hospitalised.
  • That you've suffered from flu in the past and now make sure you have your vaccination every year.

As a thank you for taking the time to speak to us we are offering a £75 high street voucher, or a £75 charity donation, for every story used in the campaign. 

If you would like to tell your flu story, please contact Nicola Appleby at

Planning ahead

There are a couple of Bank Holidays coming up for Easter, Good Friday is on 10 April and Easter Monday is on 13 April. 

It's great to start thinking about plans for Easter, a chance to spend time with family and friends but it is worth reminding you there are other things to think about when it comes to a long Bank Holiday weekend - repeat prescriptions. 

I encourage you to ensure you have enough medication to get you through weekends and Bank Holidays. If you have more than one repeat prescription, please try and order all your items together. 

If you need health advice over the Bank Holiday and it is not a life-threatening emergency, you can call in to see your local pharmacist. Updated opening times for pharmacists over the Easter Bank Holiday will be published very soon and will be shared in next months' blog. 

For more information about repeat prescriptions please visit here

Meeting in Public

NHS Oldham CCGs Primary Care Commissioning Committee (PCCC) is due to meet on Friday 6 March from 9.30am until 12.00pm at George Street Chapel, 58 George Street, Oldham, OL1 1LS.

The PCCC acts as a corporate decision-making body for the management of the delegated functions and the exercise of the delegated powers. 

The committee meets quarterly and you are welcome to attend. If you plan on attending, please can you contact our Corporate Office at or call 0161 622 6511 to help us make appropriate room arrangements - please also let us know if you have any particular needs we may be able to accommodate. 

Thank you for reading.

Mike Barker, Chief Operating Officer at Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group.