Local Health services this August bank holiday

With the Bank  Holiday weekend fast approaching, local doctors have issued advice to help you to stay well and make sure you have enough medicines to see you through the long weekend.

If you rely on regular prescription medication, check you have enough to last you over the bank holiday. If you need more, be sure to order it as soon as possible, as many GP practices and some pharmacies will be closed on the bank holiday Monday (26 August 2019). Details of opening times for local pharmacies can be found on the NHS website.

Anyone seeking medical help or advice over the holiday should in the first instance call the NHS 111 service, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Dr Rob Gerlis, Chair of West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

GPs and pharmacists from across the area are working together to encourage people to consider the cost and health implications of not taking medicines as they are prescribed, or ordering medicines which are no longer needed.

“Most GP surgeries and pharmacies require at least 48 hours’ notice to prepare a repeat prescription, so I would urge people to check they have enough to get through the holiday.

“I would also suggest people take the opportunity to go through their medicines cupboard at the same time. If they already have more than one month’s supply of any item they need to take regularly, hold off from reordering but do check the ‘use by’ date. Stockpiling out-of-date medicines can be dangerous to other family members, particularly children.”

“If people do need any further advice about medicines over the weekend speak to a pharmacist or call the NHS 111 telephone service, which is free to use and there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

“The NHS 111 advisers and clinicians will also give advice on any other health matters and help people find the best service for their needs, whether it’s an out-of-hours GP appointment, emergency dentist or even a referral to A&E.”

How will the Whipps Cross hospital site be developed?

The trust, working with planning experts, envisages a new, taller, building on about one-fifth of the site, bringing all the hospital’s services closer together under one roof. The remainder of the estate would be released for much-needed new homes and community facilities.

The size of the site – equivalent to around 25 football pitches – offers a unique opportunity. The Government announced on Sunday 29 September that it will invest in a new hospital at Whipps Cross.

Responding to the announcement, Alwen Williams, Group Chief Executive of Barts Health NHS Trust, said:

“We’re delighted that Whipps Cross is one of six hospitals in the country that will receive government funding for a new build.

“This announcement secures the long-term future of the hospital and enable the patient and staff environment to be greatly improved.”

A brand new hospital with a full range of acute health services for a growing population could be built on a fraction of the land now occupied at Whipps Cross.

This prospect is held out by Barts Health NHS Trust and its partners as they seek views on developing a modern health and wellbeing campus with a state-of-the-art hospital at its heart.

to build a new hospital, hundreds of new homes, and leisure and cultural amenities that will bring new jobs into the community.

Three potential locations for a new build on the existing Whipps Cross site are outlined in a high-level ‘masterplan’ drawn up for the trust and local authority.

Each option includes new A&E and maternity units, mid-rise (6-8 storeys) or high-rise construction ( 8-12 storeys), and a multi-storey car park to replace existing provision. The historic towers of the original Victorian hospital buildings could be part of the land released for development.

The trust and its partners will assess the merits of each of the options, taking into account the extent to which they enable services to be transformed to meet patients’ needs and other criteria including the estimated time for construction, access and environmental issues and the estimated cost of each option.

Barts Health is also seeking feedback from staff, patients and the public on these emerging ideas and will take that feedback into account in assessing the options.

The new masterplan report, together with an on-line feedback form, can be found at www.bartshealth.nhs.uk/future-whipps.

The trust will be engaging with staff, patients, patients, local residents, community groups, the public and their representatives throughout the autumn, including a public meeting on 15 October.

The trust will shortly publish complementary proposals about how health and care services can be delivered in the future which will have an impact on the size and shape of any new hospital.

Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said:

“This is fantastic news for the people of Waltham Forest and the hard-working staff of Whipps Cross.

“For years we have been campaigning with partners across the borough and our residents to secure the vital funding needed to upgrade facilities and improve the medical care available for patients.

“A new hospital building means this important local institution, which has a special place in the heart of so many families in East London because of the care they have received there, will continue its vital work for years to come improving the life chances of patients.

“Our residents deserve nothing less.”


In August 2018 NHS Improvement confirmed its support for Barts Health to develop detailed proposals for the redevelopment of Whipps Cross Hospital, building on work completed in 2016/17 as part of the original Strategic Outline Case (SOC).  This was reaffirmed in January 2019 when, as part of the outcome of the national STP capital bidding process, Barts Health was asked to work up the redevelopment proposals in more detail and to secure STP support for a refreshed business case that took account of the capital constraints. 

The government announced on Sunday 29 September 2019 that Whipps Cross hospital is one of six hospitals to benefit from £2.7billion of funding over the next five years, as part of a new ‘health infrastructure programme.’

The implications of this announcement for the programme and the timetable for the redevelopment of the hospital will be discussed with regional and national partner organisations.

A paper on the Whipps Cross Redevelopment Programme is included in the papers for the Trust Board meeting on 11 September, published on www.bartshealth.nhs.uk.

For more information visit www.bartshealth.nhs.uk/future-whipps

Barts Health is keen to hear the views of its patients and local residents. Together with our partners, we are hosting a public meeting to present updates on our redevelopment programme, to answer questions and to hear the views of local people. Details are as follows:

Tuesday 15 October

6pm to 8pm

Leytonstone School

159 Colworth Rd

London, E11 1JD

To be kept informed about the Whipps Cross redevelopment programme, people should email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Even more young people in Hertfordshire and west Essex to benefit from mental health support at school

Many more school children in Hertfordshire and west Essex will be able to get early help with their mental health difficulties, thanks to a national ‘Trailblazer’ programme.

Two new mental health support teams will join those already in place in 32 schools and colleges in St Albans and East Hertfordshire, following another successful bid for national funding.

One of the new teams will cover special schools across Hertfordshire and west Essex, hosted by the PALMS* service at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and the other, hosted by the mental health charity Mind, will cover schools in Harlow.

Staff for the new teams will be recruited from September and will work in schools and colleges to:

  • support children and young people who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues
  • help the senior mental health lead in each school or college to develop the support that they offer to the whole school community
  • give timely advice to school and college staff, liaising with external specialist services to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education

Dr Geraldine O’Sullivan, Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) Clinical Lead for Mental Health said:

"The announcement of these two additional teams is great news for children, parents and carers for our area."

"Half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders begin by the age of 14 and one in eight children experience a mental health problem. That’s why getting early help from someone who can identify children’s mental health issues and put in place the right support is vitally important.  This is an important part of our plans to deliver a healthier future for our children and young people." 

Mental health support teams are a new workforce. Each team includes Education Mental Health Practitioners, higher level therapists or senior staff, a team manager and administrative support.  The teams are exploring ways of delivering care and advice for young people’s mental health in the familiar environment of their school or college, helping to make getting mental health help as ‘normal’ as a visit to a first-aider.

Strengthening the links between education and health services should also help to minimise delays for children and young people who need help.  Children who may be struggling with issues like anxiety about friendships or family pressures can be supported, alongside friends and family members, to build their understanding of mental health and how to manage their wellbeing.

NHS Board meeting and AGM on Thursday 25 July, 2019

AGM 2019

NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is inviting members of the public to its next Board meeting which takes place Thursday 25 July, 2019 from 9.30am.


The Board will meet in the Conference Room, Harlow Health Resource Centre, Harlow, CM20 3DT. It will discuss safeguarding adults and children, workforce and equality and diversity.


Local people are invited to observe NHS West Essex CCG Board meetings, which are meetings held in public rather than public meetings. Although members of the public are not able to participate in the decision-making process, by attending they have the opportunity to hear the latest news on the vision for health and care in Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford.


Agenda papers can be viewed now at: https://westessexccg.nhs.uk/news-and-publications/publications/ccg-board-papers/2019


The final part of the meeting will provide local people with the opportunity to put questions to Board members.


The AGM will take place in the afternoon, from 2.15pm and attendees will be able to hear from the chief officer, chair and finance director as well as have the opportunity to ask questions.  To submit a question please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Peter Wightman, Acting Accountable Officer and Director of Primary Care at West Essex CCG said: "People will be able to hear about what we have achieved over the last year, our plans for the coming year and how they can engage and work with us. We are very keen to hear from our residents across Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford".

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