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Here's our November 2011 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!


November 2011 e-news

Hello from the Somerset LINk, 

Where we are waiting for the postman to arrive with some of your Patient Stories, which we’ve been sharing with providers and posting on the Patient Opinion website at www.patientopinion.org.uk. We’ll be reporting on some of your stories in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here's the latest news from the Somerset LINk.

Somerset LINk Autumn 2011 Newsletter

Hot off the press, Theresa’s been burdening our postie with armfuls of our Autumn 2011 newsletter which are posted off to all our LINk participants who don’t have the pleasure of email…  With updates about our Patient Transport project, Local HealthWatch, the Somerset Neurological Alliance, news from our LINk Reps and our Enter & View Team – it contains all your need to know about what we’ve been up to since the summer.You can download the newsletter from our website here - or if you’d like a copy (or several) in the post then please let us know and we’ll happy to send them to you.

A Somerset Neurological Alliance: Next Steps Meeting!

After our successful first meeting on 24 October, we're now planning some 'Next Steps' to building a Neurological Alliance for Somerset. Neurological conditions includes things like Multiple sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson's disease. Neurological alliances exist in various parts of the country to give patients and carers a louder voice in feeding back their views to the people that run services. We’re inviting any patients or carers who would be interested in taking this work forwards to a Next Steps meeting on Friday 16th December 2011 from 11am until 1pm at Clarke Willmott Solicitors in Taunton (mince pies provided!)  You can read more info on our website here. To book a place, please contact Lucy at the Somerset LINk Office on lucy.nicholls@helpandcare.org.uk.

Consultation on Carers’ Services in Somerset

SomersetCounty Council and NHS Somerset are planning a new carers' service for Somerset. They are seeking the views of carers and carers’ organisations in order to ensure that the new service reflects the needs of carers in the county. The plan is for Somerset County Council and NHS Somerset to jointly commission an organisation to provide a ‘universal carers support service’, based around GP Federation areas (GP surgeries are grouped into nine Federations across Somerset). To view the outline of the service and have your say, view the carers’ consultation page on our website.The closing date for this consultation is 30 November 2011.

Consultation on a potential increase in the charge for Blue Badges

SomersetCountyCouncil is considering whether to increase its charge for renewing or applying for a Blue Badge from £2 to £10. They want to hear your views on this potential increase, whether you have a Blue Badge, care for someone with a Blue Badge or just have an interest in this issue. For more information and details of how to take part in the consultation, please go to Somerset County Council's Blue Badge Consultation website pageThe closing date for this consultation is 15 January 2012.

'Experts by Experience' wanted to help with CQC inspections

Living Options Devon is currently looking for people who have had experience of Detention under the Mental Health Act or who have had mental ill health for their 'Experts by Experience' programme. Their programme enables service users and carers to take part in Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection activities and Mental Health Act visits. Experts are paid for the visits they do or they can act in a voluntary capacity. If you’d like to find out more, or think you might like to apply, then you can read more on our website.

Volunteers wanted: Bladder and Kidney Cancer Champions wanted

The Care Forum, host organisation for our lovely chums at the Bristol LINk, is looking for volunteer champions in Somerset to help raise awareness of the early signs of bladder and kidney cancer.  As a volunteer champion you will be supported to go out into your local community to alert people to get checked out by their GP if they spot blood in their urine.  By raising awareness of the early signs of bladder and kidney cancer you could be helping to save someone’s life.  If you are interested they would love to hear from you. You can contact their volunteer coordinator Kerri Mann on 0117 9589 306 or email kerrimann@thecareforum.org.uk.

What else have we done this month?

We’re not just sitting here waiting for the Postie to arrive – we’ve had another busy month at the LINk. We’ve attended Somerset County Council’s Scrutiny meeting, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Members’ Council meeting, the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Technical Working Group, attended a conference about Health and Wellbeing Boards in Exeter. We’ve given a talk about the LINk at the Somerset Neurological Alliance planning meeting. We’ve met with Headway Somerset to discuss their new involvement project, the Carers’ Champions from the South Somerset Federation to talk about information packs for new carers, and Tony and Susan from the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss their Involvement Strategy and Action Plan – as well as representatives from the Stroke Association, Headway South West, the Encephalitis Society and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Our LINk Reps have also been busy attending Somerset Community Health’s Patient and Public Involvement meeting, the Shadow Health & Wellbeing Board, Somerset County Council’s HealthWatch Consultation event, a Health & Wellbeing Governance conference in Taunton, an Enter & View training day – and of course, our monthly LINk meeting at Minehead Community Hospital!

This month’s LINk Meeting 

We had a great meeting at the Minehead Community Hospital in October and enjoyed our tour of the facilities by Matron Sue Meade. Theminutes from the October LINk meeting are available on our website. Our next LINk meeting is on Tuesday 6th Decemberat 11am at our Hambridge office, and Linda Nash, Chair of the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, will be coming along to talk to us about their new values and mission statement. All are welcome to come along to the meeting. Please let Theresa know if you are coming so there is no fighting over the crisps - emailTheresa.Stanton@helpandcare.org.ukand she’ll send you an agenda.

That's all folks!

That’s all from us for now – but we’ll send another update in December.

In the meantime, 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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