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Here's our February 2012 e-news. If you'd like to sign up to our e-newsletters, and receive regular updates about our work, please email Lucy and we'll make sure you're kept up-to-date!


February 2012 e-news

Greetings from the Somerset LINk,
Where we are recovering from our romantic Valentine’s evening at the Somerset Partnership Members’ Council at Monk’s Yard (that’s how much we love patient and public involvement). But it’s not just Lucy swanning about in her favourite red dress… we’ve had another busy month at the Somerset LINk.

Somerset's Young Carers' Service: Consultation extended

After a concerted campaign from carers’ groups and carers across Somerset, Somerset County Council have extended their young carers’ service consultation period by another month. So there is still time for you to have your say about young carers' services in Somerset, which you can do on our website here.

SheptonMallet Hospital Review

A review is starting into health services in Shepton Mallet – and we have our very own patient ‘Champion’ on the review panel. Bob Champion is the vice-Chair of our Steering Group, and is a resident in Shepton with a long-standing passion for being a patient representative on many projects, both locally and regionally. You can read more here.

Where you like to have diagnostic scans in Somerset?

As part of the new "Any willing provider" programme, NHS Somerset wants to know where local people would like to have bone density scans – also known as DEXA scans. These are used to diagnose osteoporosis.Have your say on our website here.

New website for the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group

The Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group – which will be taking over commissioning responsibilities from the PCT, NHS Somerset – has launched its website at  They are keen to have your views on what you think of the website, and what info should be up there, so if you have any thoughts, please email them to Jade Renville, Somerset CCG Business Manager, at

HealthWatch Briefing Paper Version 2

We’ve got a new and improved HealthWatch Briefing Paper which incorporates all the changes that we know about to date – so to make sure you’re fully informed, you can view the HealthWatch Briefing Paper V2 here. (And if you are a complete HealthWatch Geek, and want to have your say about the membership regulations for Healthwatch England, you can read the Consultation on the regulations for Healthwatch England Membership here.)

Patient Stories

We're still collecting Patient Stories and you can read more about this project here. We've been publishing stories on the Patient Opinion website for local services to comment on - here's a story we were sent this week from a patient talking about her husband’s care in Yeovil District Hospital and South Petherton Hospital, which shows how the Patient Opinion website can work in getting feedback for patients.

What else have we done this month?

We’re not just sitting here booking mini-breaks – we’ve been busy banishing the Winter blues by cracking on with the usual hard work at the Somerset LINk:
We attended the first Somerset Partnership Board Meeting in public at Dillington House, and we met with NHS Somerset, Yeovil District Hospital and the Somerset Partnership to find out about their ongoing Equality Delivery System (EDS) work plans.  We met with Tony and Susan, the Patient Engagement Managers for the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, to help put together a new draft Structure for Patient Engagement in Somerset – which you can read more about on Lucy’s ‘Datagoat blog’ here. We’ve also met with Somerset County Council to discuss taking this forward and making sure that we get a wide representation of Somerset people feeding their views into the Health and Wellbeing Board. We attended the Somerset County Council Scrutiny Committee and read a statement on behalf of the LINk Steering Group expressing concerns about the consultation process for the young carers’ service changes.

We held a meeting of the Somerset Neurological Alliance, along with the Parkinson’s Association, and have agreed Terms of Reference and membership: you can read our update here.  We met with Headway Somerset to give a presentation and to find out more about their fab ‘Have Your Say’ patient involvement project. We also took a trip down the M5 and visited our colleagues at the Torbay LINk to see how their HealthWatch pathfinder work was going.

It’s been another super-busy month for our LINk volunteers as well.

Eilleen Tipper, our LINk Representative on the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, gave a talk to the Chairs of Somerset Patient Participation Groups about how some of the NHS reforms are playing out in Somerset. Diane Jepson, our representative on the Health and Wellbeing Board, attended the January meeting of the Board, and found out more about how health and social care services are working together in Somerset. Our Enter and View team have also been hitting the road again, and have published two reports this month following visits just before Christmas at Hamilton Park Nursing Home in Taunton andAshley House Residential Home in Langport.

Finally, not content with racing about Somerset working on behalf of the LINk, our very own Stephen Letchford is ‘in training’ for both the London and Paris marathons this year. Before you faint with shock, please visit his fundraising page where he’s raising money for the charity Get Kids Going.

January and February's LINk meetings

Our January meeting was held in our Hambridge offices, and we discussed NHS Reforms in Somerset, the Somerset Neurological Alliance, the local HealthWatch Advisory Group and some interesting work being done at Community Hospitals by Somerset Partnership Governor Nigel Engert. You can read the minutes from our January meeting here.

Our February LINk meeting will be held on Tuesday 21st February at 11am at South Petherton Hospital. Our LINk meeting will be followed by a tour of the hospital.  All are welcome to come along to the meeting. Please let Theresa know if you are coming so that she can butter enough sandwiches … email she’ll send you an agenda.

That's all folks!

That’s all from us for now. Drop us a line if you have any questions about our work or any views on health and social services in Somerset!

Best wishes from the Somerset LINk staff team!


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