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AGM on the 19th

Our AGM will be held on Thursday, 19th May from 7 pm at the Nairn Community & Arts Centre.

Everyone welcome to attend. You’re very welcome to join the committee. Let us know in advance if you’re interested in joining up, or just come along on the night and put yourself forward.

NHS Highland and the local pharmacy managers will be in attendance.

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Meeting on 30th March

A challenging meeting last month…we covered a quite a few difficult issues and heard examples from a number of patients.
We were asked a number of questions about Ambulance cover in Nairn, prompted partly by gossip and also by a recent episode when a callout took more than 20 minutes.
We heard of difficulties in getting through on the phone at the surgery at certain times of the day and about a lack of continuity of care when staff left the surgery. And we heard about a number of patients waiting unnecessarily to get home from hospital, waiting for care services to be available to them at home.
Our Chair has written to NHS Highland Area Manager Jean-Pierre Sieczkarek asking for information and comment. It would have been so much better to have had NHS representation at the meeting, better still, representation from our GP Practice, so we could have had a direct dialogue.

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Meeting tomorrow night

We’re meeting at Nairn Community & Arts Centre tomorrow night from 7.00 pm.

We’re hearing lots about the need for good access to care at home and easier access to advice and support from our GP practice. Some of it’s really positive – like one patient’s story of fast and reassuring response by both nurse and doctor to sudden ill-health. Some of it’s a little worrying, like one patient’s complaint (currently submitted to the surgery) that they couldn’t get through to the surgery and even when they did they needed help from friends to get a GP to call back even on the same day.

Other stories of needlessly long stays in hospital and limited support after in-patient stays seem to be growing despite the efforts to improve access to home care NHS Highland were telling us about a year ago.

Also on the agenda. What do we do about the transport needs we discovered in our survey a couple of years ago? Are there volunteers out there interested in helping us get started?

All are welcome to this quarterly meeting…let us know what improvements you have seen and tell us what improvements you think could make a difference.

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GP appointments – improved?

It’s good to see the GP practice endeavouring to work on improvements in the appointment system.

It’ll be great if their hopes pay off. We support their efforts and would be pleased to lend any assistance / support.

It’s also good that the practice involved a couple of patients in the review that lead to these changes, even though they may not have been patient nominees – positive signs that more representative patient involvement and collaboration with the GP surgery could be on its way.

Let us know what you think, both about how patients could be more involved and specifically about the appointment system. How’s it been working for you?

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Pharmacists – a source of health advice

Our next public meeting is to be held on Tuesday 17th November at the British Legion, Cawdor Road, Nairn…ALL ARE WELCOME!
We’ve invited the managers of our three pharmacies to come along and explain more about the extra services they provide for the NHS. We’ll also get an update on our ideas for a local transport solution – we’ve been lobbying a bunch of people….will we be able to report progress on a possible partnership?

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Bus services for Ardersier

We’re with those who are calling for improvements following Stagecoaches’ cancellation at the end of May of a bus service between Ardersier and Nairn.
The evidence we found when we surveyed people around Nairnshire last year was that Ardersier and the other outlying areas are notably less well served by bus and dial-a-bus than the rest of us….not that any of us have lots to chose from.

We think that organising an alternative bus service using the community transport association mini-buses would make a difference, and from what we’ve understood, it’s feasible with volunteer drivers. But the survey also made it clear that bus services and dial-a-bus are not the whole answer. Lots of people prefer the bus, but they’ve also made it very clear that the services provided simply don’t offer the flexibility that they need. Even if a service is available, for 11% of our survey respondents they aren’t available for them to complete their return journey. Buses run at set times over fixed routes. There’s only one Dial-a-bus and its availability is restricted by things like the school run or staff break-times. The Community Transport Association mini-buses are designed for use by local community groups and are well-used, but while they may be suitable for a bus route they don’t provide the flexibility of a car or taxi.

What’s needed for Nairnshire and neighbouring Ardersier is a flexible range of services that INCLUDE buses and dial-a-bus, doesn’t undermine local taxi businesses, but also fills the gaps these services can’t fill. We think what’s needed is LOCAL co-ordination, to help people and service providers to maximise the use of existing services but also to manage a voluntary car service. This isn’t a new idea: there’s a highly successful scheme in Badenoch & Strathspey and others in Inverness and the Black Isle.

We’ve been on the hunt for a partner to work with us in setting this up. Drop us a line if you can think of one we could approach…

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Next Meeting in Ardersier

After the success of our AGM in May, our next public meeting is to be held at the Memorial Hall in Ardersier from 7pm on Thursday 27th August.
The theme of the meeting is Social Isolation and Health
We hear frequently about the isolation of patients, not just the elderly, in our small villages, even in town. Relatives and neighbours get worried about people who are housebound, maybe can’t face going out, have lost touch with old friends, maybe don’t even see a doctor or nurse from one month to another. We want your suggestions about what the NHS, our GPs, our care services – any of us – can do that might help reduce the misery of loneliness and isolation. Come along and give us your two penny worth at the meeting on the 27th.

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AGM Questions

We’re beginning to collect issues to put to Debbie Jones at the AGM. One of our number has praised the quality of care they received when coronary problems were unexpectedly discovered, but asks whether ancillary staff have had enough training – twice they have insisted on him attending appointments for screening not needed because he was already getting it from specialists.
Another asks why, when he requested a repeat prescription, he wasn’t told this had been refused until he went to collect it from the chemist three days later. On phoning the surgery he was told this was because he’d made the request “too soon”. When he asked when he could get it he was told “now”…!
Then there’s a question (not for the first time) about whether refreshments couldn’t be made available in the waiting room – a drinks machine or something like it….and one or two of you have described the benefits you’ve had from visiting the Salt Cave and are asking if local NHS representatives could look into the services it offers and whether, as they believe in England, these could be free on the NHS.
Keep those questions, issues and praise coming in!

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Joining in

Anyone who lives in the catchment area of Nairn Healthcare Group can take part in NAPG meetings like this one and can also put themselves forward to join the committee and our working groups.
We’re especially keen to encourage young people (and we don’t just mean those under 60, we also mean teens and twenties!) as well as those with organizational or commercial experience to join us.
There’s plenty of room on the committee. Some of the existing committee are standing down, others are putting themselves forward again.

What you can do:
The kind of work people can get involved in is quite varied – all of it involves building sound relationships with Health and Care service managers and staff in our area. These are the more obvious roles or activities
1. Chair
2. Deputy Chair: will deputise for chair, so might expect to chair around 30% of NAPG and committee meetings, including those with Jean-Pierre and his colleagues.
3. Secretary: take notes of meetings & prepare correspondence arising.
4. Treasurer
5. Updating website www.nairnpatientsgroup.org.uk facebook www.facebook.com/NairnPatientsGroup twitter https://twitter.com/nairnppg
6. Network communications: co-ordinating distribution of posters and notices around the area, surgery, library and other public noticeboards

How people can join in:
People can put themselves forward for membership of the committee at any time from now up until the AGM. Simply phone and let us know your interest, email or write.

The AGM will be held from 7.00pm on 12th May 2015 at Nairn Community and Arts Centre.