Welcome to your fortnightly e-Bulletin from the Healthwatch Milton Keynes team.
Hello from our CEO
Young people’s views on the vaccine have been hitting the headlines this summer, and media reporting around the issue can create a real sense of polarisation in our community. Some young people are desperate to get the vaccine as it opens up doors back to normality: nightclubs, foreign travel, festivals, seeing elderly relatives and even something as simple as eating out in a restaurant.
Others are vehemently against getting the jab. They feel pressured and bullied into conforming with a process they don’t trust. People have expressed concern over the speed of vaccine creation and not enough testing as key drivers in vaccine hesitancy.
However, to get a true and representative picture of how people are feeling about the COVID vaccinations, it’s so important to go beyond the media noise and actually ask young people directly what they think.
That’s why we’ve been working closely with NHS leaders in Milton Keynes to put together a survey that gathers the views of MK’s young people on COVID vaccination. Your comments will be fed directly back to the NHS and used to improve the vaccination roll out for young people. The deadline for all responses is this Monday, 31 August.
Also, as Summer starts drawing to a close (did it ever begin?!), we want to highlight the important campaign from Milton Keynes Hospital on bronchiolitis in babies. It can be worrying to see your little ones so poorly so it’s important to know what to expect, and when to act. Read more below on the campaign, and get in touch if you’d like to know more.
CEO Healthwatch Milton Keynes
Bronchiolitis: keeping your little ones safe this Autumn/Winter
Seasonal respiratory illnesses are beginning to rise in the community, and Milton Keynes University Hospital is highlighting the vulnerability of infants to bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis is caused by RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which can be spread via coughs or sneezes. Around one in three children develops bronchiolitis during their first year of life and, in most cases, the symptoms can be treated at home and the infection usually clears up within two weeks without treatment, as with a cold. Pandemic restrictions mean that cases of bronchiolitis are expected to increase between now and Winter because many young children have not encountered the RSV virus. With restrictions now being lifted within the community, parents are encouraged to continue practising infection prevention activities.
However, if you’re worried about your baby, never feel like you’re burdening your doctor’s surgery. Call your GP or 111. In an emergency, always call 999.
Kooth: a helping hand for young people in Milton Keynes
Kooth is here to help and support young people in MK with their mental health, and is available 365 days a year. September can be an anxious time for young people, with back to school worries, peer pressure, relationship/friendship troubles and family problems all at play. Kooth offers so much more than just counselling: a Kooth magazine, forums & live discussion boards, journal, goals, and a mini activity hub. Kooth is free, safe and anonymous – you just need to sign up at Kooth.com
World Suicide Prevention Day: 10 September 2021
Preventing suicide remains a challenge, not just for the UK, but globally. Every year across the world, suicide is amongst the top 20 causes of death and every life lost is a tragedy. On Thursday, 9 September Mind BLMK is hosting a free online event, open to anyone who lives/works in MK. The event will focus on these key themes:
Seeing the warning signs (suicide awareness)
Crisis cafes for adults experiencing severe mental distress
Thankyou: your feedback helped improve non-emergency patient transport services
While for most people, journeys to and from healthcare appointments are something they can manage on their own, some need additional support. These people are often older, disabled or living with a long-term condition. In partnership with Age UK and Kidney Care UK, Healthwatch England published a joint report in 2019 called “There and back”. It looked at the experiences of over 3,000 people who shared the challenges they faced when travelling to and from NHS services, including issues with public transport, parking, and non-emergency patient transport services.
Thanks to your feedback, Healthwatch England were able to share with NHS England how patient transport services worked for you. In response, NHS England has published a new report outlining changes to non-emergency patient transport services and broader NHS transport support. Take a look at what the changes mean for you and your loved ones.
YiS young people’s mental health charity celebrates 40 years
YiS provides coaching, counselling, education and training for young people who live, learn or work in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas. For an incredible 40 years, their services and support have offered a crucial lifeline. We’re really proud to have been involved in some of their projects, and are looking forward to seeing the service grow and benefit even more young people in our community.
One YiS user, who is 14, described how the charity helped them. “It was good talking to someone who listened to me and didn’t know me and didn’t judge me… It has helped me be able to talk to my family more about how I am feeling.”
A new number when NHS mental health services in MK call you
NHS mental health services for people in Milton Keynes are provided by Central North West London NHS Trust. They have changed their telephone system so you can see if you’ve missed a call from them.
Rather than having a missed call from a withheld number, you will see the number 020 7504 5500 when they call. They’ll also leave a message saying: “You have missed a call from the NHS. The person will attempt to call you back, no further action is required on your part.”
Events happening near you (or virtually!)
Open University: The Ageing Brain and nutrition
Want to learn more about ageing and how it affects your brain? This is the latest talk in the Open University’s Ageing Well Public Talks series, and Dr Jitka Vseteckova will explore all aspects of nutrition and ageing.
If you’re a man aged 35 – 64, MK Council really want to hear from you! They would love to hear your views and experiences about mental health and the HeadsUp website. Complete this survey and be in with a chance of winning a £100 shopping voucher for your time.
Aged 18-30? Have you already had your Covid-19 vaccination? Or have you chosen not to go ahead with it?
Whatever your views on the vaccination roll out – and even if you’re unsure or a bit indifferent to it – we would love to hear from you. Your views will help us to tell the people paying for and running the vaccination programme for young people, how it can be improved. It will also help for future vaccination campaigns. The survey isn’t part of a for/against debate. It’s so we can understand the information you used to help you make your decision on having the vaccine or not.
The deadline for all responses is looming: Monday 31 August. So please, if you can, share this far and wide with any young people that you know!
We want to hear your experiences of local health and social care services so that we can work to improve them. The more feedback we receive, the more powerful our message becomes. Getting in touch with us is easy. Visit our website to find out how.