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  • Look after your mental health over the festive season | HSC Public Health Agency
    dealing with stress over Christmas include Don t be afraid to give and accept support being available for others if they need support should encourage them to be there for you too Make time for family and friends Think about and try to do what makes you really happy People often use alcohol to relax but instead of helping us to cope it can make things worse If you choose to drink staying within the safe drinking limits and avoid excessive or binge drinking Madeline also encouraged people to look out for the welfare of others over the festive season We should be mindful of our own mental health and also look out for family members friends and neighbours It is important to look out for behaviour that could indicate that someone is under pressure and really needs help If you are worried or concerned about someone else talk to them about your concerns Ask them how they are feeling and if there is anything you can do to help them More information on looking after your mental health and the support available across Northern Ireland can be found at www mindingyourhead info If you or someone you know is

    Original URL path: http://www.publichealthagency.org/news/look-after-your-mental-health-over-festive-season (2016-02-11)
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  • Flu can kill – get the vaccine and fight the flu | HSC Public Health Agency
    the PHA said These figures are a stark reminder that flu can contribute considerably to mortality It may not be the main cause of death but can play a significant role in weakening the immune system leaving people susceptible to other illnesses particularly if you have an underlying condition The failure to get the vaccine may be putting you and those around you at risk The risk is not just that of spending a few days in bed with a sore head and runny nose if you have an existing long term medical condition contracting the flu can be deadly The flu vaccine helps protect against several strains of seasonal flu including H1N1 swine flu Last year there was a mismatch between the make up of the vaccine and the flu strains which emerged over the winter period and that has been identified as a possible contributing factor to the high level of excess mortality However this year tests are indicating that there is a much better match between the vaccine and the circulating viruses which should give better protection People need vaccinated now before it s too late It takes two weeks after receiving the vaccination to reach maximum protection against flu so people need to act If you wait until flu starts circulating it may be too late for the vaccine to offer you protection The vaccination rate for pre school children aged two to four years is also low this year with only 44 receiving the painless nasal spray compared to 50 at the same time last year Over half of over 65s 64 have taken up the offer of the free vaccination which is about the same number as this time last year and the vaccination uptake for primary school children has been just as good

    Original URL path: http://www.publichealthagency.org/news/flu-can-kill-%E2%80%93-get-vaccine-and-fight-flu (2016-02-11)
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  • ‘Keep Warm’ packs to help homeless people | HSC Public Health Agency
    Colette Rogers Health Improvement Manager at the PHA explained The Keep Warm packs provide a rapid response to help those most in need The scheme is crucial in providing people who are sleeping rough with the things they need to try to stay warmer during cold wet weather as these people are at greater risk of cold related illnesses Adverse weather can have a major impact on the health of people who live on the streets sometimes resulting in death so these packs form a small part of a wider partnership approach to support vulnerable people who are sleeping rough This work includes providing practical resources via street outreach organisations to help vulnerable people to access health accommodation and homelessness support services Colette added This initiative is now in its fourth year and the partnership with Council for the Homeless has ensured that another vital element of the immediate response that rough sleepers need is available This scheme will help to reduce the impact cold weather has on one of the most vulnerable groups in our society The clothing and other items including an essential hygiene kit are being distributed by organisations working directly with people who are sleeping rough Margaret Henry Deputy CEO at CHNI added As we get deeper into winter it is becoming extremely cold outside particularly at night and these items are essential to reduce the risk of hypothermia and other illnesses in vulnerable people who are sleeping on our streets This collaboration with the Public Health Agency has been essential to reach and support those who are at most at need particularly at this time of year There are a limited number of Keep Warm items which will be distributed through street outreach services provided by key homelessness organisations in Northern Ireland Print Facebook Twitter

    Original URL path: http://www.publichealthagency.org/news/%E2%80%98keep-warm%E2%80%99-packs-help-homeless-people (2016-02-11)
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  • Next steps in Lifeline development | HSC Public Health Agency
    people in need The PHA has just held a 12 week public consultation on the future shape of the Lifeline service Feedback from the consultation will contribute to ensuring that Lifeline meets the needs of those who may require the service over the coming years I would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend the various workshops and engage with the agency on the plans and those who responded in writing to the consultation which closed on 19 November We will now examine the consultation responses and use the information and feedback to further inform our plans for the future of Lifeline During the consultation process the PHA organised nine public workshops and took part in a further 17 workshops organised by third party organisations Over 300 participants attended these events at which members of the public service users and staff employed by Contact the current contractor were in attendance and participated in discussion In addition a number of tailored briefings were provided to a range of organisations The agency also received 159 written responses to the consultation The PHA will now study the responses and a consultation report will be published in late January 2016 and made available on the PHA s website Copies will also be sent to all consultation respondents where contact details are available The responses will be taken into consideration in the preparation of the full business case with a new tender to be finalised by April 2016 Throughout this period of review it is important to remember that Lifeline continues to be available 24 7 to provide support to anyone who is in distress or despair This will continue to be the case when the future service model is implemented so rest assured that Lifeline is here to help when you

    Original URL path: http://www.publichealthagency.org/news/next-steps-lifeline-development (2016-02-11)
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  • PHA Regional Quality Awards highlight innovation and excellence in health and social care | HSC Public Health Agency
    role to provide leadership in quality improvement and patient safety across all elements of Health and Social care This includes the implementation of the DHSSPS s Quality 2020 strategy The role is taken forward by activities such as regional improvement collaboratives commissioning of training and funding of individuals to access specialist training in Quality Improvement Details of the awards and winners are Regional Winner also winner of the integrated care category Dr Stephanie Bolton Consultant Nephrologist Renal Unit Altnagelvin Western HSCT Title Reduction in transplant referral times Reduction in time to decision on referral to a transplant surgeon from 82 to 18 weeks with evidence of improved shared care decision making and team working and positive patient feedback Innovation in Care Winner David Hamilton Senior Social Worker Ballynahinch Office Grove House South Eastern HSCT Title Promoting meaningful engagement of Looked After Children in LAC reviews The project used the Mind of My Own MOMO app to improve the engagement of young people in expressing their views as part of the Looked After Children LAC Review process Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the young people while social workers appreciated the creative approach The app is being rolled out across the Trust Reliable Care Winner Caroline Keown Interim Head of Midwifery Gynaecology Antrim Area Hospital Northern HSCT Title Reduction in surgical site infection The project achieved a reduction of surgical site infection following Caesarean Section within Antrim Hospital from 18 2012 to 4 2014 due to engagement and education between service users and clinical teams and improved clinical practice within the theatre environment Teamwork category Dr Angela Knox Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Glaucoma Service Shankill Wellbeing Treatment Centre Belfast HSC Trust Title The Belfast Glaucoma Service Over 7 months new patient glaucoma waiting time reduced from 36 weeks to less than 12 weeks

    Original URL path: http://www.publichealthagency.org/news/pha-regional-quality-awards-highlight-innovation-and-excellence-health-and-social-care (2016-02-11)
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  • Make sure you know about diabetes on World Diabetes Day | HSC Public Health Agency
    some insulin but not enough or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly also known as insulin resistance Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented and accounts for 90 of all diabetes cases The increase in diabetes occurring in the population can be explained by rising levels of obesity people living longer and improved detection and diagnosis of diabetes in primary care Diabetes left untreated can cause significant long term health complications such as heart disease kidney damage eye problems which can affect vision and foot problems leading to amputation Dr Carolyn Harper Director of Public Health at the PHA said You can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by taking steps today to lose weight and improve your fitness Having a family history of type 2 diabetes increases your chances of developing diabetes If you are overweight or obese the key step to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes is to lose weight through making healthy food choices and being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week This is particularly important for women who have a history of gestational diabetes during pregnancy and who need to pay special attention after their pregnancy to their diet exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight The symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst passing urine more frequently bedwetting in children extreme tiredness slow healing infections blurred vision and significant or unexplained weight loss Symptoms of diabetes can develop quickly over days or weeks and sometimes with type 2 diabetes a person may have no symptoms Early diagnosis is therefore very important and if you think you have diabetes speak to your GP or pharmacist Dr Harper continued Diabetes is a lifelong condition but complications can be

    Original URL path: http://www.publichealthagency.org/news/make-sure-you-know-about-diabetes-world-diabetes-day-0 (2016-02-11)
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  • Get lung cancer aware during November | HSC Public Health Agency
    smoke your risk of getting serious illnesses such as lung cancer will decrease Smokers should be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer and if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you need to see your GP urgently Early diagnosis of lung cancer is important because early treatment can be more effective and survival can be improved Symptoms may include a persistent cough a sudden change in a cough that you have had for a long time unexplained weight loss breathlessness chest pain this is usually intermittent stop start and is often made worse when breathing or coughing coughing up blood stained phlegm For more information on the signs and symptoms of lung cancer see www becanceraware info Quitting is the single most important thing you can do for your health and if you stop for 28 days or more you are five time times more likely to stop for good However it is not easy and different approaches will work for different people While some people might be able to do it with very little support others find that planning ahead and making use of the free Stop Smoking Support Services that are available can really help them make the decision permanent If you quit and then relapse accept it work out why it happened and focus on how you can avoid it in the future It takes several efforts for many people to quit for good but if you are determined you will do it Last year thousands of people decided to stop by using the PHA s Stop Smoking Services and many others quitted on their own Be prepared is the motto for success Gerry concluded There are also over 650 free PHA funded stop smoking specialist services across Northern Ireland in pharmacies GP surgeries hospitals

    Original URL path: http://www.publichealthagency.org/news/get-lung-cancer-aware-during-november (2016-02-11)
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  • Reminder to get flu vaccine as uptake rates fall | HSC Public Health Agency
    that the uptake may not be as good as last year is that it was discovered that last year s vaccine wasn t as effective on the virus as was hoped However the early indications this year show that this vaccine is a much better match for the circulating viruses and so it s very worthwhile getting it The figures also show that the uptake for primary school children is just as good as last year which was the highest in the UK Dr Smithson commented I am delighted to see the campaign going so well in primary schools and that around 80 of parents are choosing to help protect their children against the flu Hopefully we can improve uptake in the other groups as well so that as many vulnerable people as possible are protected As it takes approximately two weeks following vaccination to reach maximum protection against flu it is important to get vaccinated by early December Flu vaccination clinics have already started and will continue until early December If you wait until flu starts circulating it may be too late for the vaccine to offer you protection Influenza or seasonal flu is a respiratory illness associated with infection by the influenza virus Each winter several strains of the virus can circulate so the vaccine is made up of a number of strains to cover those most likely to be having an impact Dr Smithson continued For people in at risk groups flu can cause serious illness and result in a stay in hospital or even death Even if you currently feel fit and healthy you may be at increased risk of flu and should receive the free vaccine Everyone who receives an invitation to be vaccinated against flu should see it as a positive step in helping

    Original URL path: http://www.publichealthagency.org/news/reminder-get-flu-vaccine-uptake-rates-fall (2016-02-11)
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