Popular falls prevention service moves into Holgate on its second anniversary

A project to help prevent people falling in their own homes is expanding into a fifth ward in the city, in its second year of operation.

Having started in Clifton ward in March 2017 as part of the council’s YorWellbeing Services, work to prevent falls in homes extended to Guildhall ward, then to Micklegate and Fishergate wards. Now it’s rolled out into Holgate. 

These wards were identified by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as having homes with higher trip risks than the city average. These include hazards such as missing stair rails, uneven flooring or poor internal lighting, especially for children aged under five and older people.

The partnership of housing, health and safety experts including North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Age UK York carry out free home visits to check and repair simple trip hazards in homes whether rented or privately owned.

Visits are arranged and carried out with a falls prevention practitioner and a joiner. They offer practical advice specific to the resident and their home and can make simple improvements there and then such as fitting a grab rail or banister rail, fitting brighter light bulbs, securing loose carpets or suggesting exercises to help improve residents’ strength and balance. They will also signpost residents to other relevant services.

Since its launch two years ago, the team has put thousands of fall prevention measures in place. These include fitting 733 grab rails, 277 banisters, 391 brighter light bulbs, 13 window restrictors, 11 carpet trims and four drop down toilet rails. 

Residents of Clifton, Guildhall, Micklegate, Fishergate and Holgate can request a free home visit for advice and help on preventing falls, please call 01904 567456 or emailreducingfalls@york.gov.uk

To find out more about the service and pick up some advice on reducing the risk of falls, please visit www.york.gov.uk/reducingfalls

Hospital patients get quicker access to social care

Patients and their relatives can get on-site help from a team of adult social care experts for any support needed to help them prepare to leave hospital and when they are back home.

Talking Points will open for monthly sessions at York Hospital from 26 March 2019. Drop-in support will be available between 2-3:45pm on 26 March, 9 April, 28 May, 25 June and 23 July for patients or relatives/friends of patients who are in hospital.

The Talking Point team can be found at the entrance to Ellerby’s Restaurant on the ground floor at Junction 2. Staff will be available for face-to-face conversations which allow them to provide timely, appropriate advice and support to residents about a variety of adult social care issues.

The hospital Talking Point is the latest addition to adult social care in York, allowing people to be seen quickly to discuss social care needs for themselves or their family. The original Talking Point opened at Lidgett Grove ‘Church Community Cafe, Acomb in March 2018, with an additional Talking Points opening shortly after at Oaken Grove in Haxby. Every week, people can also speak with expert social care staff York Explore on Museum Street.

So far, people using the service have expressed over 95% satisfaction with the outcome of their conversations and actions taken, with all saying they would recommend Talking Points.

Further Talking Points will continue to open across the city as the programme develops.

Find out more about where and when you can visit Talking Point at www.york.gov.uk/TalkingPoint .

LiveWellYork web site to launch

Community groups and residents are invited to celebrate the launch of www.livewellyork.co.uk, a city-wide source of high-quality information and advice, at venues around the city on Thursday 14 March.

The Live Well York website promotes opportunities for residents to enjoy healthy, active and independent lives and supports our commitment to early help and prevention, and to help people live independently and well.

Having been in development for a year, Live Well York is being used by over 1,000 people every month and is now launching formally. It offers residents:

  • some 800 community activities
  • an events calendar with around 70 events posted each month
  • over 100 volunteering opportunities
  • a Service and Products directory with over 80 services listed
  • 750 reviews with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5.

Developed by a partnership of City of York Council, York CVS, Explore York, Age UK York, Healthwatch York and Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, the website offers links to good quality information and advice on topics from travel, housing, caring, money and legal matters.

To prevent information being duplicated, the website navigates people to other sites such as Healthwatch York’s Mental Health directory, the Young Person’s Survival Guide, a map of the council’s community hubs and AccessAble’s accessibility information.

Future and further improvements to Live Well York include:

  • a sports and active leisure directory
  • improved accessibility with Easy Read pages
  • training and work experience opportunities
  • including information for care homes on how to set up activities
  • growing the number of partners to ensure a joined-up approach to providing good quality information and advice.

Find out more about what the website can offer you, or how you can contribute to it at  https://www.livewellyork.co.uk/

Bootham Park hospital sale confirmed

Will go on open market shortly

 The government has confirmed that the empty Bootham Park hospital building and surrounding site will be sold on the open market.

There had been hopes in some quarters that the Listed building could be saved for some sort of community/health use.

A joint statement from Chief Executive of City of York Council, Accountable Officer at Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and Chief Executive of York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was issued today.

“We have been notified by the Department of Health and Social Care that they plan to proceed with the sale of the Bootham Hospital site. We have worked hard together to develop an alternative plan to make the site deliver for York, so we are very disappointed with this outcome.

“Our efforts certainly don’t end here. We will continue working together to help NHS Property Services work with any bidders to understand the importance of the site and the opportunities it could offer the people of York.

“We would like to thank all the residents and the local community for contributing to discussions about the future of the site. We understand that you will share our disappointment at this news.

“We have many opportunities as a partnership, neighbouring landowners and planning authority to represent your many comments and ideas for Bootham Park – from transport links to respecting the site’s heritage –  in our discussions with bidders to shape their plans for the site.”

 

Go alcohol-free for Dry January 2019 says York Council

Another part of the Council says drink more water!

City of York Council is supporting calls for residents in the city to try having a Dry January in 2019 and enjoy the benefits from having a break from drinking.

A YouGov poll released this month has revealed that one in ten people who drink – an estimated 4.2 million people in the UK – are already planning to do Dry January in 2019.1 Dry January participants stop drinking alcohol for one month to feel healthier, save money and improve their relationship with alcohol long term.

Current low risk drinking guidelines say that men and women shouldn’t drink more than 14 units per week. If you do drink as much as 14 units, then it should be spread evenly across three or more days.

Dry January is run by the charity Alcohol Change UK.  Signing up for Dry January increases the chances of getting the most out of the month. You can download Try Dry: The Dry January App to track your units, money and calories saved, plus many more features. Or you can sign up at dryjanuary.org.uk for regular support emails with tips and tricks from experts and others like you.

In York 30 per cent of adults drink over the recommended 14 units of alcohol per week, compared to the England average of 26 per cent.

Taking part in Dry January helps people to drink more healthily year-round, according to independent research conducted by the University of Sussex with over 800 Dry January participants.2 It showed that Dry January participants were still drinking less in August:

  • Drinking days per week dropped on average from 4.3 to 3.3
  • Units consumed per drinking day on average from 8.6 to 7.1
  • Frequency of drunkenness on average from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month.

For all of these measures, people who drank more riskily before Dry January saw bigger decreases in the amount and regularity of their drinking – suggesting that Dry January is particularly helpful for heavier drinkers.3

The research also showed that:

  • 93% of participants had a sense of achievement
  • 88% saved money
  • 82% think more deeply about their relationship with drink
  • 80% feel more in control of their drinking
  • 76% learned more about when and why they drink
  • 71% realised they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves
  • 70% had generally improved health
  • 71% slept better
  • 67% had more energy
  • 58% lost weight
  • 57% had better concentration
  • 54% had better skin.

A poll found that 8% of UK adults are planning to do Dry January, or one in ten of those who drink.

If you drink very heavily or regularly Dry January may not be for you, so check with your GP or local alcohol service before you start. Where an individual is experiencing physical symptoms when they stop drinking (which may include but are not limited to: shakes, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, stomach cramps or hallucinations) they should seek medical help urgently.

The charity behind Dry January

Alcohol Change UK is the charity formed by the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research. In addition to running Dry January, we work for a world free from alcohol harm. We fund, commission and share research; work to ensure more and better support and treatment; encourage better policy and regulation; shift drinking cultures through our campaigns; and work to change drinking behaviours by providing advice and information. Find out more.

How to sign up

People can sign up for Dry January at dryjanuary.org.uk, or by downloading the brand-new app Try Dry: The Dry January app via the App Store or Google Play. People who sign up to Dry January are more likely to make it through to the end of the month without drinking. They get access to support, tips and tricks, and more. The app allows people to track their units, calories and money saved not drinking, plus track their drinking year-round.

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Keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours this winter

Research for Age UK* has shown that nearly a million people in the UK feel lonelier at Christmas and City of York Council is urging residents to think of vulnerable friends and neighbours this winter.

The cold weather can have a significant impact on people’s physical and mental health and with the cold and icy conditions vulnerable people can tend to stay at home.

Top tips for supporting older vulnerable neighbours, friends and relatives, include:

  • Make sure they’re warm enough – the temperature in  their home should be at least 18°C, particularly if they are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over, and they may need to  wear several layers of clothes to stay warm
  • If they haven’t already encourage them to have their flu jab. They may be eligible for a free vaccination, for more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
  • Make sure they are well stocked up on food, drink and medicines they may need and try to make sure they have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
  • Make sure they have their prescription medications collected in time for Christmas
  • Information about social groups and activities for older people is available through www.livewellyork.co.uk or by contacting Age UK York on 01904 627995.
  • Help to clear snow and ice to reduce the risk of slips and falls when leaving home. The council has over 200 snow wardens, for more information on how you can help visit www.york.gov.uk/snowwardens
  • For more information about Age UK’s national Spread the Warmth campaign visit www.ageuk.org.uk or see www.york.gov.uk/winter   more information about keeping well during winter.

The council is also reminding people of its top tips to stay well this winter:

  • At the first sign of a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist
  • Speak to your pharmacist about important medicines you should have in stock
  • It is important to keep warm in winter, so heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F)
  • Make sure you get your flu jab from your GP or pharmacy
  • For information and advice visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

1766 York patients denied surgery because they are overweight?

A report to a council meeting next week reveal how many patients in York have had elective surgery delayed because they’re overweight.

The Vale of York CCG’s “Health Optimisation policy” started in February 2017. Patients seeking operations but who had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 faced possible delays.

There was a long list of procedures that were not affected by the policy.

The CCG said it had learned from elsewhere that implementation of this policy could contribute to confined financial management while providing the opportunity for improving the health of the population.

Other claimed that the policy was driven by cost cutting rather than patient welfare.

The criteria used was If a patient’s BMI>=30 their surgery if delayed/deferred until the following was achieved:

  1. Their BMI is <30
  2. They’ve lost 10% of their weight
  3. They’ve not achieved a or b but have waited 12 months since initial assessment.

Since its inception of Health Optimisation in February 2017 the Referral Support Service have sent out 1,766 letters for patients that exceed BMI criteria. Not all of these had to wait before joining the a waiting list.

The CCG has claimed some anecdotal evidence that patients have reported to their GPs that as a result of losing weight, in accordance with the policy, the pain they were previously suffering from had dissipated. Some patients did not therefore require surgery.

Guilty plea by restaurant which caused anaphylactic shock

A restaurant which served a customer with an ingredient to which they were allergic, has pleaded guilty at York Crown Court which today (16 November 2018) ordered it to pay a total £10,721.

On  9 February 2018, the Garden of India served a customer with a severe pepper (capsicum) allergy, an onion bhajii.

The customer checked twice when ordering and was told by an employee that there were no peppers in the bhajii. But it did, in fact, contain green pepper.

The customer only realised this when she had eaten the food and began to go into anaphylactic shock.

On 24 September 2018, Garden of India (York) Ltd and its director Mr Shahin Miah (aged 46 of Colwyn Road, Leeds) pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act 1990.

In mitigation, the business said it has been running for 26 years and this is only their second time in court, it’s willing to take advice and has improved a number of procedures already.

Today, York Crown Court imposed a £3,334 fine for the company, a £1,800 fine for Mr Miah and £5,587.66 costs.

Cllr Andrew Waller, deputy leader of City of York Council and executive member for environment, said: “This is a concerning case which illustrates the absolute need for businesses to recognise and act on the importance of food allergens, customers’ health and the law.

“Food businesses have a legal and moral responsibility to control allergen risks by knowing what’s in the food they serve, by avoiding cross contamination and training staff.”

Cllr Jenny Brooks, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “Customer confidence in the city’s food premises is so important and, while this is a very rare case for York, complying with the law around food allergies is crucial.

“We give advice which, if not complied with, can lead to legal action and we welcome customers reporting concerns to public.protection@york.gov.uk.”

Advice on food safety and standards is available at www.york.gov.uk/FoodSafetyStandards or, any businesses wanting tailored advice and guidance, are welcome to call us on (01904) 551525.

More rough sleeper beds available in York

More people sleeping rough in York can now safely bed down this winter as extra emergency beds are being offered whatever the weather until 28 February.

Earlier this year, senior councillors agreed that York should go above and beyond the national ‘severe weather scheme’. The 11 additional beds created bring the total emergency provision up to 29 beds. They are available in the winter months regardless of whether it’s freezing or not.

Besides these extra beds, the £193,000 extra funding secured for 2018/19 is also funding extra outreach workers to help rough sleepers address complex issues, especially around mental health.

Anyone found sleeping rough is encouraged to go to The Salvation Army’s new early intervention and prevention hub at 63 Lawrence Street, York YO10 3BU between 10am and 12 noon.

There, they will be allocated one of the city’s 29 emergency beds in keeping with the city’s No Second Night Out scheme. This means that no-one should have to sleep outside.

Five of the new emergency beds have been created at a council hostel and are being supported by volunteers from the YES Below Zero scheme. Rough sleepers’ dogs can also be brought into emergency accommodation – this has been the case since 2000.

People coming off the streets are placed in the city’s 101-bed supported lodgings. There, they are offered support and education to help address any of the issues that may have contributed to them becoming homeless. This includes referral to services for mental health or substance misuse and to train them for work and how to manage a tenancy.

Once that stage is successfully underway, they are allocated space in the city’s 90 independent accommodation units before, hopefully, supporting them into either private or affordable fully-independent homes.

Last year, we resettled 70 previously rough sleepers or single homeless people into permanent tenancies, and had 49 York households in our temporary accommodation – the lowest number since 2004.