Issue 15 March 2014
The gathering place for the interests of people aged 50 plus
QUICKER HEALTH CARE – THE 111 SERVICE Two of our Committee Members have used the 111 service recently and both report very high satisfaction indeed. Instead of going to A + E and probably being there for hours in a very full waiting room, phone 111 and talk your problem through with them. The result may be a call back from a doctor and an appointment at a specific time in an empty waiting room. For our Committee members, the extra stress of waiting and wondering was taken away. Try 111 for a NON-EMERGENCY just as the poster says. It worked for us.
MEMBERSHIP Member number 367 signed up recently. Are your friends and neighbours Members? Give Roger Bryan a call on 01322 664 754 for details. The bigger we are, the stronger we are – the over 50s tend to vote! If everyone recruited one new member we would be over 700! Can you recruit one more Member? Because we have a large membership, we are finding that people in authority want to listen to us.
NEXT MEMBERS MEETING Put yourself in the picture by coming along to our next Members Meeting. Members coming to our meetings have said that they don’t always want a guest speaker, sometimes they would just like the chance to discuss the things that concern them – so that’s what we’re doing next time. Come along to South East Dance at Hextable School (now called the Oasis Academy Hextable) for 10 am on 28 March. The school is in Egerton Avenue Hextable BR8 7LU. Egerton Avenue is to the left off the main road from Swanley into Hextable just a couple of hundred yards into Hextable. Please let us know if you’re coming.
MEETING WITH THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SEVENOAKS DISTRICT COUNCIL The Chairman and two Vice Chairs of SDSAF met with Dr Pav Ramewal and Lesley Bowles of the District Council in February. The concerns of our members were put before these two most senior local government officials. Where we have praise, we give it willingly and where we have concerns, we put those without decoration or reduction to people who need to listen to us. Our agenda covered our relationship with the District Council and, in alphabetical order; more of business rates being kept in Sevenoaks, the cost of the number of SDC councillors, council officers and their relationship with the community, dementia, flooding, food banks, housing, the In Shape magazine, roads, and transport including transport to hospital. These are all concerns that Members had put before us recently.
BARBARA’S STORY Do you know someone with dementia? According to the Guys andSt Thomas website, a quarter of hospital patients have some form of dementia. The hospital invested some cash into an award winning film ‘Barbara’s Story’ which showed how they worked with a dementia patient when she was in hospital. There is a lot of advice and information about dementia: typing ‘dementia’ into an internet search engine showed nearly 36 million results! For info on the Dementia Buddy Scheme or anything else, phone the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Services inGravesend on 01474 5 33 99 0, or the Tunbridge Wells office on 01892 55 94 10.
FOOD BANKS The Swanley Food Bank opened on the 11th of March in the Swanley Advice Bureau at 16 High Street, Swanley. More details at http://swanleydistrict.foodbank.org.uk including how you can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Connie on 077 98 87 25 73
The seven parishes receiving a public access defibrillator thanks to our Lottery grant have now mostly decided where to place them, so the first installations should happen soon. We’re also hearing that other parts of the District have decided to get defibs, including Otford (three!), Crockenhill and Halstead. We hope this is just the start of a widespread deployment of these potentially life saving devices.
HARD OF HEARING? HI KENT is a charity for deaf and hard of hearing people. They describe the jewel in the crown of their services as their hearing aid clinics. There are over 200 clinics across the County about 40 of which are in villages and towns in our area. See http://vimeo.com/72586558 or call 01 622 69 11 51. They have a range of services so if you have ANY questions on your hearing, they may be able to help you. By the way, do you know about the Calibre audio library? For £35 a year you can access 35,000 digital books. See http://www.calibre.org.uk/Library.aspx or call 01 296 43 23 39.
YET MORE SCAMS They will never go away, so we have to stay watchful. Two more examples locally sent to us in the last few weeks where in one case a charity has asked a local resident to tell them their bank details because ‘they had mistyped them into their database’!!!! Rubbish. NEVER give out your bank account or card details over the phone to people who have become very skilled at conning you into believing that they really are from the bank. Tell them that you will contact the charity or the bank later and put the phone down. The scammer will not put their phone down immediately hoping that you will call your bank there and then. If you do, they simply answer the call themselves and whilst you think you are calling the bank, you are in fact just talking to the scammers again! The other case was a message from ‘someone I know’ apparently inCyprus with an emergency. ‘Could I send £1200’. Unfortunately for the scammer who sent the message, I had been talking to that very lady earlier in the day in the High Street!
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT NSL? NSL is the company that now runs the patient transport service to our hospitals. The Care Quality Commission recently reviewed the service that NSL provides and found them sadly lacking. See http://www.cqc.org.uk/directory/1-793656098 . In five areas of inspection, three needed improvement. At the time of writing, NSL’s main web page makes no mention of this critical report, although this page, http://www.nsl.co.uk/nsl-kent-care-services-response-to-report-issued-by-the-care-quality-commission/ does. The Care Quality Commission tells me that they have no power to tell NSL to change their website information. Call 03000 61 61 61 to talk to the Care Quality Commission about the report. If you wish to feed back your own experience good or bad of NSL to the Care Quality Commission, they will be pleased to hear from you. STOP PRESS If you would like to influence how NSL works, you could join their feedback group which meets monthly in Larkfield (expenses reimbursed). Even though a deadline is passed, why not call Katie Blissett on 0754 59 34 705?
AIR QUALITY ALERTS Do you have a heart condition, or a respiratory condition or COPD? Do you know someone who does? You might benefit from this new service. Register online at www.airalert.info or call 01732 227 000 to receive alerts by email, text or voicemail if pollution levels increase to a moderate level or above. It’s a great way to be reminded to ensure you take your inhaler with you if you are going out.
FIRE SERVICE Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s specialist Vulnerable People Team is celebrating their 10,000th visit! Helping Vulnerable People most at risk of fire to stay safe in their homes, they make 300/400 visits per month. Just three breaths of fire smoke can be life-threatening and sadly it is often older residents, or those with mobility problems, health issues or impaired sight or hearing, who are injured by fire. There are added risks for dementia sufferers, as well as people on medication that causes drowsiness.
Specialist officers will identify what is needed, and will consider all relevant issues and fit new detectors and similar special equipment. The Community Safety Officer will visit and may make a referral to have a Lifeline system installed. Family members are often very relieved to know that older relatives are better protected. “We now have peace of mind that Sheila has a quick and simple way of getting help should she have an accident or fire on the unavoidable occasions when she is alone at home.” Further information on the free advice and services from www.kent.fire-uk.org Kent Fire and Rescue Service 0800 923 7000 (free from UK landlines), or email email@example.com
LOW CARBON COMMUNITIES Hadlow’s low carbon community group have a ‘green open homes’ event on 10+11 and 17+18 May. They are seeking householders who have already adopted green features like solar panels, extra insulation and compost heaps who would be happy to demonstrate those features to interested people. If you live within 10 miles of Hadlow and would like to take part, contact via Steve Plater on 01732 450400 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
PATIENTS IN CONTROL If you would like to influence what kind of care and support patients receive, call the Kent and Medway Commissioning Support Team on 0122 77 91 337 or complete a survey at
AND FINALLY … amongst a recent batch of messages sent to me was one from someone delighted that he had ‘finally past his English exam’. Ah well.