Healthcare Professionals Collaborate to Help People on Valentine’s Day

Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust have partnered with the University of Birmingham and Brook Sexual Health to host a community health awareness event this Valentine’s Day (Tuesday 14th February 2023).

Pharmacists, pharmacy students, and sexual health professionals will be on hand to provide access to important health information and resources.

As part of the event, free blood pressure checks will be offered, along with expert advice. There will also be sexual health guidance, which includes, free contraception, sexual health test kits*, educational materials, and the opportunity to speak with healthcare experts one-on-one.

Sarah Baig, Pharmacy Professional Development and Governance Lead at Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust said:

“I think it’s wonderful to see different sectors of pharmacy working together with one vision of improving patient care, empowering patients with knowledge, and supporting them to live healthier lives through this initiative at Merry Hill. 

“I am also proud of my University of Birmingham students who are supporting the campaign as they will be our future pharmacists”

Salome Kudyarawanza, a Year 4 Mpharm Student at the University of Birmingham said:

“This campaign is for all of us. Family, friends, colleagues, and partners.

“I hope this encourages more patients to consider going to their pharmacist for their ailments.”

Dr Lloyd Baron, Clinical Advisor for Health Inequalities at Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust said:

“Life is busy, and we can all neglect aspects of our health from time to time.

“This pop-up event is perfect for an easy and quick health check whilst people are going about their daily lives.

“The collaboration of pharmacy and sexual health teams across Dudley, with the University of Birmingham, demonstrates how patients and communities can benefit from novel ways to improve our health.

“Follow your own heart and speak to one of the team this Valentine’s Day!”

Adebisi Odole, a Year 4 Mpharm Student at the University of Birmingham said:

“I’m happy to be part of the team in Dudley with fellow course-mates, promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“As we are moving to an ever-aging population it’s important we spread the importance of having a healthier lifestyle”

The community health awareness event is open to the public and free to attend. Visitors can stop by anytime between 11 am and 7 pm to participate.

For more information about the community health awareness event, please contact .

Where: Merry Hill Centre (opposite Deichmann and The Fragrance Shop), Pedmore Rd, Brierley Hill DY5 1QX

When: Tuesday 14th February 2023 from 11 am – 7 pm

*Free Sexual Health Kits and Contraception for people who live, work, or study in Dudley and are aged 25 and under


First Contact Mental Health Practitioners lead the way

Board members from Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust have heard more about its innovative First Contact Mental Health Practitioner model.

During February’s Board Meeting, staff members who work in this field provided a detailed overview of their service and explained the benefits that the team brings.

In an effort to alleviate pressure on General Practitioners (GPs) and provide specialist care, the Practitioners have developed a new approach to mental health care by working directly with patients and integrating with surgeries in Primary Care Networks across Dudley.

The First Contact Mental Health Practitioners, who must be experienced Registered Mental Health Nurses, see patients directly without them having to see a GP, they bring a wealth of experience and specialism to general practice.

Currently, the initiative sees five members of staff integrated with local practices to alleviate pressure on GPs by offering a specialised service to individuals aged 16 years and over.

The model provides an additional 245 mental health appointments per week and hopes to expand, so more appointments can be made available.

One patient, suffering from depression, was recently able to reduce and then stop a high dosage of antidepressants, as well as engage in mindfulness and exercise. This individual is now looking forward to taking part in an upcoming sports event and enjoying improved mental well-being, a huge achievement.

The success of this patient is just one example of the positive impact this new model is having on the mental health of individuals in the area.

Samantha Hemming, Lead First Contact Mental Health Practitioner at Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust said:

“We are dedicated to improving access to specialist care and working towards true parity of esteem for mental health and I look forward to continuing to serve the community.

“This model has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I am pleased to see it working so well for our patients and removing some of the strain upon our GPs, who are extremely busy.

“The service we offer means that patients can receive specialist care from dedicated professionals in this field.”

Dr Rebecca Lewis, GP Mental Health Lead at Dudley integrated Health and Care NHS Trust said:

“Whether it is reducing medications, taking more time for self-care, or achieving personal ambitions in life, First Contact Mental Health Practitioners are there to holistically support patients on their journey.

“With up to 40% of GP appointments relating to a mental health presentation, this model is having a great impact and there have been fantastic results by working closely with our patients.”

Public invited to NHS Board meeting

Local people are invited to attend a meeting of the Board of Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust (DIHC).

The Board meets monthly in different venues around the borough and discusses key issues for the Dudley population and local priorities.

The next meeting takes place on Tuesday 7th February 2023 from 9:30 am until 11:30 am and will be held at Brierley Hill Health and Social Care Centre in Brierley Hill.

People can attend the meeting in person and are invited to submit questions to the Board in advance.

Harry Turner, Chairman for DIHC, said: “Our Board meetings are a great way to find out what is happening locally in health and care and to see how decisions are made.

“We encourage people to come along and join us and see what progress has been made over the last month. We welcome questions from the public and the Board is always keen to hear perspectives from local people.

“If you have a question, please submit in advance of the meeting and we can respond.”

Philip King, Chief Operating Officer for DIHC, said: “This meeting will have a focus on our First Contact Mental Health Practitioners, and we will hear first-hand about the impact their service has with patients.

We will also look at the feedback from our public conversation on High Oak Surgery and consider the next steps.”

Members of the public who would like to attend the meeting or send a question in advance should email

For more information, visit the DIHC website

Take your gloves off

Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust is encouraging staff to ‘take their gloves off’ when undertaking physical (or non-physical) observations on patients, such as blood pressure, oxygen saturations, and taking temperatures.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a notable change in the use of gloves when undertaking routine activities. The ‘Take Your Gloves Off’ campaign aims to improve awareness of when it is appropriate to wear gloves.

For most physical observations gloves are not required and hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub or hand washing with soap and water is the most effective means of preventing the spread of infection and keeping our patients and ourselves safe.

The overuse of gloves:

  • Reduces the opportunity to clean our hands
  • Increases environmental contamination
  • Increases our environmental impact through the production and the disposal of gloves
  • Increases the risk of skin conditions, such as occupational dermatitis

Be a “#TakeYourGlovesOff” champion today and remember gloves are not required when taking physical or non-physical observations.

Last chance to book a COVID-19 booster vaccine

People in the Black Country are being reminded to book a COVID-19 booster vaccine before it’s too late.  

To date, people aged 16 and over have been eligible to receive an initial booster dose, whilst adults aged 50 and over, care home residents, the severely immunosuppressed and frontline health and care workers have been eligible for an autumn booster dose.    
Now, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that an offer of an initial booster dose should end when the current autumn booster programme ends.  
This means that Sunday 12 February will be the last chance for anyone who has been invited for a COVID-19 booster to book an appointment via the National Booking System, or by calling 119.  
Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for the NHS Black Integrated Care Board, said: “In the Black Country, we have delivered more than 2 million vaccinations to date, which is a fantastic achievement.  
“Thanks to the success of the booster programme, and the hundreds of thousands of people who have already come forward for a vaccine, the NHS is now in a position to pause the booster rollout.

“If you are eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccine, whether that’s an initial booster dose or an autumn booster, please come forward before it’s too late. The vaccine will top up your immunity against the virus and keep you and your loved ones protected.

“The offer of a first and second dose will still be available for those who are yet to come forward, so please do take up the offer as soon as you can.”
The JCVI has also advised that for a smaller group of people, such as those who are older and those who are immunosuppressed, an extra booster vaccine dose in the spring should also be planned for. Further advice regarding the spring booster will be provided soon.

There are a number of pop-up clinics in the Black Country offering first and second doses and will continue to offer booster doses on a walk-in basis until the end of March. For more information, please visit the Black Country ICB website here.