Here's our June 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!
June 2012 e-news
Greetings from the Somerset LINk,
Where your June e-news is everso slightly late (ahem) because we've been slaving over a hot Annual Report 2011-12 (right) which is now ready for your reading pleasure! Thanks to everyone who gave us quotes to include in our report. We're very proud of the work we've done over the last year and we're looking forward to keeping up the momentum during this transition year, as the LINk builds a legacy for the start of Healthwatch Somerset next year!
Neurological Services Survey
Take our survey at www.somersetneuro.org.uk!
We've now gathered over 100 responses to our survey asking people's views about neurological services in Somerset - but we are hoping for even more! The survey doesn't close until the end of July, so if you are affected by a neurological condition - such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), stroke or Motor Neurone Disease (MND) - please give us your views. Want to know more about our project? You can read all about it on the BBC news website!
It's that time of year where the Somerset LINk is asked to respond to the Quality Accounts for local healthcare providers! The LINk has read all the local draft Quality Accounts and has written comments from the patients' point of view. We have commented on the draft Quality Accounts from Musgrove Park Hospital, Yeovil District Hospital, the Somerset Partnership, the South Westerm Ambulance Service (SWAST) and the Shepton Mallet Treatment Centre (which is run by UK Specialist Hospitals). You can read all of the LINk responses on our website here.
Staff at the LINk ...
We've had some changes in the staff team here in Hambridge - but we're still as busy as ever making sure that life at the LINk runs smoothly! We were very sorry to say goodbye to the lovely Steve at the end of May - he will be much missed, particularly for his Steveisms ('You've opened a right bag of worms there' etc). Meanwhile, we're pleased to welcome our new Administrator Ian Palmer, who is busy getting all our admin shipshape - and we're hoping to welcome a new Project Coordinator at the end of July, whose first job will be to sort through all the piles of patient stories and surveys that are mounting up on Lucy's desk.
Do you know about... (1) The Somerset Mental Health Forum?
This is mainly a voluntary/third sector led initiative to bring together organisations that work to promote mental health and improve the quality of lives of people with mental health problems. To help launch the Forum a special edition newspaper called 'Wellbeing News' was published to showcase just a small number of mental health projects going on in Somerset. If you haven't seen a copy please email Louise.Finnis@somerset.nhs.ukand she can pop one in the post for you! You can also email Louise if you are part of an organization that wants to sign up to the Forum.
Do you know about... (2) Autism Somerset?
Autism Somerset aims to be an online directory containing lots of information about health and social care in Somerset that would be of interest to people affected by autism and their families. They also publish a handy e-news with lots of information about goings-on nationally and locally - well worth signing up on their website!
Do you know about... (3) The Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group?
The CCG is the GP-led group that is taking over health service commissioning from the PCT, as part of the 'NHS reforms'. The Somerset CCG has a website up and running, where you can read their monthly newslettersand the minutes of their meetings.
LINk Community Chest: Does your group need up to £500 funding?
We're running a Community Chest project again over the next few months, and will give several grants of £500 to local groups of patients or carers who can give us their views about health or social care services in Somerset. We've not quite put this info on the website yet but if you want to register an interest, please email Lucy at the LINk Office on firstname.lastname@example.org she'll send you the relevant information once she's found it under the piles of mess on her desk...
What else have we done this month?
We're not just sitting here weeping with delight at having finally written the Annual Report - we've been hard at work as per usual at the Somerset LINk:
We held a stall at Compass Disability's Independent Living Exhibition promoting our Neurological Alliance, responded to the survey sent to the LINk for the Clinical Commissioning Group's Authorisation, popped into the Somerset Partnership's Carers' Conference at Dillington House (and ate the last bowl of banoffee pie - sorry about that), researched Health Checks in Somerset for the Patient Participation Groups, gave a workshop to the Sedgmoor Disability Forum with Margaret Grizzell from NHS Somerset, met with Somerset Partnership to discuss their Involvement Strategy, gave a talk to 'Sparkies' (Parkinson's UK local branch) and played with their Olympic torches, met with the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Technical Working Group Engagement Sub-Group (which really needs a catchier title), met with the Diversity Trust to plan our LGBT project and held another meeting of the Somerset Neurological Alliance - you read all the minutes from that meeting here. We were also interviewed on the BBC Somerset breakfast show (very early in the morning...) about pressure sores, nursing, NHS satisfaction surveys and neurology services in Somerset.
Our LINk Reps have been busy too, attending the Health & Wellbeing Board and the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group Board meetings, as well as the inaugural meeting of the West Mendip Health Forum, which was really excellent - local GP Dr Nick Matthews gave a fab presentation about the sort of health issues that affect the Glastonbury area: more details on their website here.
The Enter and View Team have been really busy too. This month they visited Camelot Residential Home in Wellington - their report will be published next month. They met together for a workshop about expanding our Enter and View Project. Enter and View team lead Gaynor Brown also attended a workshop held by the CQC in Bristol to give views about the CQC's future plans.
Next LINk meeting: 10 July at Musgrove Park Hospital!
Our June Steering Group meeting was held in our Hambridge offices. We had a presentation from Phil Brice from the Somerset Partnership and you can read the minutes here. July's LINk meeting will be held at Musgrove Park Hospital, who have kindly agreed to host us on Tuesday 10th July at 11 o'clock. The meeting will be in the Board Room in the Old Building and we'll be listening to a presentation about the future of the hospital. The meeting is welcome to all - so if you'd like to attend, please let us know. Email Ian on email@example.com we'll send you an agenda.
What's hot ... ?
What are the hot potatoes in terms of health and social care issues that concern you in Somerset right now?
- SomersetCountyCouncil: Looked after children 'inadequate' report: There was a lot ofpress coverage this month about Somerset County Council's Ofsted report about how well they look after children in care. Somerset County Council's chief executive described the report as "sobering" after it described the care as 'adequate'.
- Parkinson's services: We are also still looking into the provision of Parkinson's support services in Somerset, which we've been receiving comments about from patients and carers in the county.
- By the end of July we're hoping to have heard who will be running the new Somerset Carers' Support Service ...
and the tender process for Healthwatch Somerset will have kicked off in earnest.
- Somerset County Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group are looking at the Child and Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHS) with the possibility of a reduction in service being considered - we will be finding out how people who might be affected by this can have their say during this review process.
- On a national level, we're also hoping to hear who has been appointed as the Chair of Healthwatch England - the new 'consumer champion' that will be the national face of 'Local Healthwatch'. Interviews were held way back in May, but who the successful candidate is seems to be being kept under wraps ....
Local consultations coming up....
- Consultations coming up in the next few months include the consultation for the Somerset Health and Wellbeing Strategy - what are the important issues for health and social care commissioners in Somerset to focus on? This is all part of the work of the newSomerset Health and Wellbeing Board. You'll be able to have your say.
- We're also hoping to hear news about the proposals for Somerset's Young Carers' Service, which we understand will be going out for public consultation at some point later in the year.
- Following the review of community services in Shepton Mallet, which our LINk Rep Bob Champion has been involved with (read his letter to the Wells Journal here), we are expecting a public consultation to be out sometime after the summer.
Dates for your diary
- Tuesday 10th July 2012: 11-2ish: Somerset LINk Steering Group meetingat Musgrove Park Hospital. All welcome.
- Tuesday 17th July from 10am - 1pm: Enter and View Team Workshop: Do you want to join our team? Our Enter & View Team visit residential homes and give their views about how they view the service as a 'lay visitor'. They write their findings into reports which are given to the home. Would you like to join our team? We'll be holding an Enter and View Workshop on Tuesday 17th July from 10am - 1pm for any new recruits! If you are interested, please email Ian at the LINk office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wednesday 18 July 2012, 12:15-1pm: The Taunton Deane Forum for Mental Healthis welcoming Judith Smith, Head of Patient Experience at the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, to talk about the Somerset Partnership's vision of integrated care. All welcome.
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!