Practice News

13th Jan 2023

Strep A and scarlet fever

There are currently high rates of Group A strep and scarlet fever in the UK. Scarlet fever, which is caused by the bacteria Group A streptococcus, is usually a mild illness but it is highly infectious. Scarlet fever is much more common in children than in adults and it is important that children with scarlet fever are seen by a healthcare professional so that they can be started on antibiotics. 

What should I look out for?

The rash of scarlet fever often begins with small spots on the body that then spread to the neck, arms and legs over the next 1-2 days. It is often 'sand-paper' like to touch but is not itchy.

Your child may also have a:

  • Sore throat/tonsillitis
  • Fever (temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above)
  • Painful, swollen glands in the neck
  • A red tongue (strawberry tongue)

Scarlet fever - new image.png

Does my child need to be seen?

If you think that you child has scarlet fever, you should let your GP practice or NHS 111 know the same day. If a healthcare professional thinks that your child has scarlet fever, they will prescribe your child antibiotics. This reduces the chance of their infection becoming more severe but more importantly also stops them spreading the infection to others (after 24 hours of starting antibiotics), especially to people at higher risk of severe infections such as the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. NOTE: there are many causes of rash in children - if your child does not have the other features above, they are unlikely to have scarlet fever.

Group A strep can also cause tonsillitis (Strep throat) - your child is likely to have a high fever, severe sore throat and you will see pus on their tonsils.  Children with likely strep throat should also be seen by a healthcare professional within 24-48 hours for consideration of antibiotics. NOTE: if your child also has a runny nose with their tonsillitis, it makes a diagnosis of strep throat far less likely and if your child has none of the red or amber features below, they are unlikely to require treatment with antibiotics.

My child has been in close contact with someone with Strep A - do they need antibiotics?

If your child has been in close contact with a case of scarlet fever or strep throat, they do not need to be treated with antibiotics unless they are showing signs of infection (severe tonsillitis with fever in the absence of a runny nose or signs of scarlet fever). Only in exceptional circumstances will the local public health team recommend for an entire school class to be treated with antibiotics.

My child has been diagnosed with scarlet fever or strep throat and is on antibiotics - what do I need to look out for?

Your child may continue to have a fever for a few days after starting antibiotics. Very rarely, Group A streptococcus can spread to other areas of the body (invasive Group A strep), causing infections in the neck (tonsillar abscesses or lymph node abscesses), behind the ear (mastoiditis), chest infections (pneumonia), bone and joint infections (septic arthritis) or sepsis. There is clear red / amber / green information below about what symptoms and signs to look our for to identify the child with possible invasive Group A strep or other complications of Group A strep. 


13th Jan 2023

Darlington Breathe Easy group affiliated to A+LUK


Make new friends who know what you’re going through, and learn more about living with a lung condition.

When: 1st Tuesday of every month

Time: 1pm

Call: 0300 222 5800


The Copper Beech, Neasham Road, Darlington, DL1 4DH


Breathe Easy Darlington meets at the Copper Beach on the first Tuesday of every month from 12.30pm onwards (for pub lunch, if you’d like one, and a bit of a chat!) We often have a raffle and announcements of any upcoming events or trips and then we have a speaker at 2pm.

We also have our weekly BEActive exercise/dance group with our respiratory trained physio, Victoria. This takes place every Wednesday from 11.45am - 1.45pm at Eastbourne Sports Complex, Bourne Avenue, Darlington, DL1 1LJ , with a refreshments break in the middle. Exercises are tailor-made for those with breathing difficulties and we do as much or as little as we can. No pressure!

In addition to this we have a walking group during the summer months - led by our membership secretary, Malcolm at South Park in Darlington. These take place on the second Tuesday of the month, from May to September inclusive. We meet at 11am at the cafe and walk at a comfortable pace - so do as much or as little as you like, finishing with a cuppa (and maybe cake!) in the cafe.

We have a facebook page where you can find our latest events and access our application form

contact us at for more details.

doctor holding stethoscope
26th May 2022

Newcastle Medical School looking to recruit volunteers

Newcastle Medical School are looking for volunteers to create a version of their own health record on Patients Know Best (PKB) to share and interact with medical students.

PKB is used with education institutions right across the UK to allow future healthcare professionals to learn the tools of digital healthcare.
Students will be able to see information that you input to your record - for example a diagnosis or record of your symptoms - and can interact with you via messages as well as with questionnaires and care plans which provide an action plan for managing your condition.

This will allow students to practice consultation skills remotely and get a longitudinal view of your health and wellbeing, even if they are unable to see you face-to-face.

Previous patient volunteers have mentioned that they enjoyed communicating with students through the platform over longer periods of time – outside of usual interactions with students in GP surgeries or Hospitals. Volunteers have noted that students ask innovative and thought-provoking questions when communicating online.

What is Patients Know Best (PKB)?

PKB is a digital NHS-approved platform that allows service users and health care professionals to access their health and care records anywhere, anytime. It provides a patient-controlled record which means patients can see who has access to their information, and they can choose who they wish to share this with.

PKB is not yet widely used by health care teams in North-East England but is commonly used in other parts of the country. In these areas, patients can communicate directly with their health and care teams, access a library of tailored resources and see test results with advice and explanations about what they mean.

The Education version of the platform is separate to the main PKB platform so your data will not be shared outside of the Medical School.

Next steps
If you are interested in volunteering, please email for more information.

Patient wearing hearing aid
25th May 2022

Give your thoughts on adult hearing services

Do you use Adult Hearing Services? Give NHS Tees Valley CCG your thoughts


NHS Tees Valley CCG is currently reviewing non-complex, age-related adult hearing services across the Tees Valley. These services are provided for people usually aged 55+ who have a non-complex hearing need that can be met by a service often delivered in their community. They offer comprehensive support following a referral from their GP, such as a Hearing Needs Assessment, fitting of hearing aids, follow-up assessments and more.

These services are commissioned using an 'Any Qualified Provider' model, meaning there are multiple options for patients as to where they receive their care. Across the Tees Valley, there are six providers:


County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT)
Minor Ops
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTHFT)
Outside Clinic (domiciliary care only)
In order to ensure that these services meet the needs of local people, NHS Tees Valley CCG is capturing the views and experiences of patients regarding their referral, making an appointment, treatment and follow-up care. If you have used Adult Hearing Services in the Tees Valley, please consider completing an online survey by clicking here. This survey is anonymous and will help to highlight what is working well within these services, as well as what could be improved.

In addition, focus groups are also being planned with partner organisations across the Tees Valley, where participants will have an opportunity to provide their thoughts and feedback on Adult Hearing Services in greater detail. If you would like to take part in a focus group, please get in touch with the relevant organisation for your Local Authority area:


Darlington - Healthwatch Darlington:
Phone: 01325 380145