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Medical News

This page will show items of interest to patients and staff.  Click for more information.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

What is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm and can you be screened.

Cervical Screening

Don't ignore your invite

Durham Local Offer

The "Local Offer" provides a wide range of information for families of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Diabetes Course

A self-management course is available for self-referral and other information about diabetes

Eating Disorders

The first week in March was Eating Disorders Week. Beat is the UK’s eating disorder charity which provides vital work supporting anyone affected by an eating disorder.

Healthier Wealthier

Details and links for the Citizens Advice Healthier & Wealthier scheme.

Man Health

Details of a weekly a free Drop In Session, open to men with despression or other mental health issues


Do you suffer from repeated episodes of depression?  Are you a stressed carer or parent of someone with mental health problems?  Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) may be able to help you

One to One

Changing peoples lives by enabling independence, dignity and choice

Screening Timeline

Have you ever wondered what screening you should receive. This document is a visual representation of what you should receive and at what age you should expect to be called for screening

Veterans Gateway

There is a huge network of organisations supporting the Armed Forces community, so finding the right one for your needs can be tricky

Updated:  12/12/2019

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening

AAA stands for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to your body. It runs from your heart down through your chest and abdomen.

In some people, as they get older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak. It can then start to expand and form what is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The condition is most common in men aged 65 and above. Men are six times more likely to have an aneurysm than women and your risk of having an aneurysm increases if you are or have been a smoker, you have high blood pressure or you have a close family member who has had one.

If you have an AAA you will not usually notice any signs or symptoms; this means cannot tell if you have one, will not feel any pain or notice anything different.  Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious. As the wall of the aorta stretches it becomes weak and can burst, causing internal bleeding. Around 85% die when an aneurysm bursts.

An aorta that is only slightly larger than normal is not dangerous; however, it is still important to know about it so that we can check if the aneurysm is getting bigger.

AAA screening is a free NHS national programme that screens men aged 65 plus to check if they have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The screening is by invitation only and uses an ultra sound scan. If you are a man aged over 65 you are more at risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm that any other demographic so this is why you will be invited for screening. We offer screening so we can find aneurysms early and monitor or treat them. This greatly reduces the chances of the aneurysm causing serious problems.

Men 66 and over who have not previously been screened or diagnosed with an aneurysm can request a scan by contacting our local programme directly on: 0191 445 2554

Click for more information from NHS Choices

Click here to see a video about AAA screening

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Added:  09/03/2018

Man Health

Society needs to change the culture of this topic and make it OK to speak about mental health and suicide.  A weekly ManTalk session takes place every Monday in the Spennymoor Youth Centre, DL16 6PP between 6 am and 8 pm.

These sessions are a FREE drop in, open to men with despression or other mental health issues.  ManHealth "Being silent isn't being strong".  

ManHealth is a Community Interest Company based in County Durham providing peer support for men suffering depression.  For more information you can contact ManHealth Foundation, 55 Church Street, Shildon DL4 1DT, 01388 320023 or via email at on their website

Click here to see a YouTube video where Durham Savers sit down with Paul Bannister from MANHEALTH to discuss the links between mental and money.

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Reviewed:  07/02/2019

One to One – Changing peoples lives by enabling independence, dignity and choice.

One to One is a registered charity that assists adults with learning disabilities to take part in their personal choice of activities in the community. The service is based in Spennymoor and operates across the whole of County Durham.

The service is available to any adult (anyone aged 18 or over) with a learning disability using a Personal Budget or independent funds. Clients can also be referred to One to One by a Durham Council Social Worker. For further information on access to the scheme, click here.

The service benefits both service users and their families/carers, as the latter receive a short spell of respite while the client is taking part in their choice of activities. Activities are as varied as our clients, but many clients like to take part in some form of exercise – e.g. walking, swimming, attending a gym or horse riding. Sometimes clients like to visit relatives or local visitor attractions, go shopping, or out for a meal. Otherwise they might do some allotment gardening, or play darts or pool. Nothing is prohibited providing the activity is safe and legal.

Befrienders are fully trained, including in first aid and health and safety. They provide transport in a private motor vehicle which is fully insured. The client pays for all mileage and other expenses reasonably incurred by the befriender while supporting the client to take part in their chosen activity

Now at 5 High Street, Spennymoor

For more information click here.

Added:  05/09/2018

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Diabetes Course

Discover DiabeteswddDiscover

Detecting Diabetes early involves the family too. 

Early Diagnosis and treatment is key to helping prevent or delay life-threatening complications.  Know the signs and sympton to protect yourself and your family.

Prevent Diabetes

Preventing type 2 diabetes involves the family too.wddPrevent

There are 42,000 people in County Durham and Darlington living with Type 2 diabetes.  Many of these cases could have been prevented.  If you have diabetes in our family, learn about the risks, the warning signs to look out for and what you can do to prevent diabetes and its complications.

Manage DiabeteswddManage

Caring for my diabetes involves my family too.

One in 11 people live with diabetes.  Managing diabetes requires daily treatment, regular monitoring, a healthy lifestyle and on-going education.  Family support is key.


If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and would like information and advice on managing your condition contact the CDDFT Diabetes Information and Education Team on 0191-569-2848 or ask your GP or nurse to refer you for a structured education self-management course.  

Attending a course provides suppport for making healthy lifestyle choices to help you manage your diabetes and give you the change to meet and share ideas and experiences with other people living with diabetes.  You can bring a friend or family member for support.

Click here to open  the latest (12/2019) bulletin from CDDFT Diabetes Service.

Updated:  12/12/2019

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What is cervical screening?

Cervical screening, or the “smear test”, is a routine health check that identifies potentially harmful cells and changes on the cervix. Cervical screening is not a test for cancer but catching any changes early can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills two women every day. Regular screenings can help reduce that number, which is why it’s so important you attend your screening when invited.

Who is the screening for?

If you are a woman, or someone with a cervix, you will be invited for cervical screening at regular intervals:

  • If you’re aged 25-49, you’ll be invited every 3 years
  • If you’re aged 50-64, you’ll be invited every 5 years

It is advisable you have regular cervical screenings, but ultimately, it is your choice whether you attend.

What happens during cervical screening?

Your screening will only take a minute or two, the whole appointment usually takes around ten minutes. During your screening a nurse will give you a private space in which to undress from the waist down. They will also give you a paper sheet to cover yourself and will ask you to lie on the bed. They’ll then place a speculum (a hollow cylinder with a rounded edge) in your vagina. This helps them see your cervix. Then, using a small brush, they’ll gently gather some cells from your cervix. They’ll remove the speculum, put your sample in a pot and send it off for testing. You’ll get your results around two weeks later.

Your appointment

Your nurse is there to answer any questions or concerns you may have before your appointment, so please talk to them if you’re feeling nervous. There are also a range of things you can do to put yourself at ease during your screening:

  • If you’d like, you can take a trusted friend or family member with you
  • Wear a long, loose dress or skirt. It may make you feel more covered during your screening
  • Take long, deep breaths to help you relax
  • Listen to a podcast or some music during your screening to put you at ease
  • Speculums come in a range of different sizes. It is a rounded cylinder which is gently opened so nurses can see your cervix. You may want to discuss the size of the speculum with the nurse before you have the test.

If you’re due to have a cervical screening, you’ll receive a letter in the post.  You will need to allow 1/2 an hour for the appointment.

Don’t ignore it, book your cervical screening today.

If you missed your previous screening, please contact us and we will book you an appointment.

Added: 31/10/2019


Do you suffer from repeated episodes of depression?  Are you a stressed carer or parent of someone with mental health problems?  Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) may be able to help you.   You can download a leaflet here.

For full information go to their website.

Added: 29/03/2019 

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'Healthier & Wealthier' telephone advice is available via the Practice

Citizens Advice County Durham is now offering quick and easy telephone appointments to patients all over the country, giving free advice and helping solve a range of problems that could be causing you serious worries or even affecting your health.

The team of local advisors has been working closely with GP Practices for over 15 years and can give expert advice, help you understand paperwork and procedures, or help you get additional support.

The team are experts in:

  • Staying Warm and Healthy
  • Work, benefits and income
  • Debt and managing money
  • Legal matters and rights
  • Caring or disability
  • Relationships or bereavement
  • Housing or consumer issues

Evidence suggests a strong link between getting this kind of advice and staying physically and mentally well, especially if you have long-term health problems.  Here are a few interesting facts:

  • On average, the team helped those people increase their income by over £1600 each.  That's enough to pay the heating bill for a 3-bedroom house for a year
  • After getting their advice, 81% of Citizens Advice clients say their mental health improved
  • After getting their advice, 45% of Citizens Advice clients say their physical health improved
  • One study showed that people needed 68% fewer GP appointments in the 6 months after getting their advice
  • By asking the Practice to arrange a telephone appointment, you could get a free call-back at a convenient time Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm - and often on the same day.

Just ask at Reception for more information or phone direct on 03000 323 1001.

More information is also available on their website

Updated:  08/05/2019

Veterans Gateway

There is a huge network of organisations supporting the Armed Forces community, so finding the right one for your needs can be tricky.

Veterans’ Gateway makes it quick and easy by being your first point of contact for whatever support you need, whether you are based in the UK or abroad.

Many of their team are veterans themselves so they understand the issues that people face after leaving the Armed Forces.

They work with people on a one-to-one basis, connecting them with the right support as soon as possible.

Veterans’ Gateway is made up of a consortium of organisations and Armed Forces charities, including The Royal British Legion, SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, Poppyscotland, Combat Stress and Connect Assist.

Find Support for Veterans in Your Local Area via -

Navigate through the categories to find the support you need, or use the search function by clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the map toolbar:

  • On the map home screen, the search function searches all organisations in the directory.
  • When you have a category open, the search function searches all data within that category

Added:  10/09/2019

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County Durham Local Offer

The “Local Offer” provides a wide range of information for families of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)0-25 years available the following link or if you google “County Durham Local Offer” on any search engine. This information provides details of all services, including health provision, support and advocacy that may help you or your child as they progress from birth to 25 years old, during their time in education.

What information is included in the Local Offer ?  It includes:

  • sources of support, advice and information
  • education, health and care provision
  • arrangements for identifying and assessing children and young people with SEN
  • how services can be accessed (including eligibility criteria) and how decisions are made
  • arrangements for supporting children and young people move between school phases
  • services to support young people in preparing for adulthood and independence
  • leisure activities
  • arrangements for disagreement resolution, complaints, mediation and appealing to the SEN Tribunal
  • information on the review and development of the Local Offer itself. 

How to use the Local Offer

To find what you need, you can select a topic or age category. You can also search by keyword(s) and/or postcode/location. You can narrow (filter) results, show results on a map, or even add results to a shortlist to tailor them to your child and family's needs. Further details about your search can be found in the more information area.  Local Offer help videos are also available in English.

Can’t find what you are looking for?

Visit the 'For families' section which has additional information and services. If you still can't find what you are looking for let us know.

Updated:  17/11/2019 

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Eating Disorders Awareness Week

It is estimated that 1.25 million People in the UK are living with an eating disorder right now, but behind every one, is a network of loved ones struggling too. 

Beat is the UK’s eating disorder charity which provides vital work supporting anyone affected by an eating disorder. From 2nd-8th March 2020 it is Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), the international event for raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders, challenging stereotypes and stigmas. 

You can get involved with EDAW, or learn more about the work that Beat carries out all year round here

If you or anyone you know is showing signs of an eating disorder, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Beat to receive the help and support you need as soon as possible.

Help for adults Helpline: 0808 801 0677

Help for young people Youthline: 0808 801 0711

Help for students Helpline: 0808 801 0811

Added:  07/03/2020

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