Apr 14th

Talking of health matters....

By phillip J W
Can anyone cast a valied eye over rhat sercomsstance creates Night Mares?
I have had three during the past 7 days & have no rased temperature - or any reason for this that I can think of.
I would be most gratefull for a profesional or knowledgable responce. 
Apr 10th

Whose Health is it Anyway?

By Mary B
Whose Health is it Anyway?

Helping the NHS understand and act on what really matters to patients and carers Calling all patients and carers of patients with long-term conditions.

Your views matter - what help do you need to manage and make decisions about your health and wellbeing? What helps you feel in control of your own care and what gets in the way?

An exciting project funded by NHS England is taking place across the South of England, working with patients and carers to understand, from their own perspective, what is important to them in managing their health and care better.

Hastings Voluntary Action/Voluntary Action South West Surrey/Living Options Devon is supporting this work by working with local patients to capture their views through face to face meetings (co-design sessions) and by circulating this online survey to capture your views.

The aim of the project is to gain feedback from as many patients and carers as possible and your views will help us understand and act on what really matters to you. You will be helping to ensure that the voices of patients and carers are at the centre of decision making about future commissioning priorities.

To start the discussion, we would be grateful if you could please take a few minutes to complete a short survey via this link.

Thank you!
Apr 7th

Kent launches 24/7 dementia helpline

By Mary B

Is dementia something which affects you or your  family? Do you have any questions or concerns  and would like to talk to someone?


0800 500 3014

Information and support for people with

dementia and their carers

Please call - we are here to help

Registered Charity No 1024385

Alzheimer’s & Dementia

S U P P O R T S E R V I C E S  


0800 500 3014

Calls between the hours of 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday are taken by qualified staff that can:

 Source and phone / e-mail back relevant information

 Discuss any concerns

 Signpost to relevant services offering local support

 Listen and offer confidential emotional support

Outside of these hours callers will be offered emotional support and information only. During this time the service is anonymous.

You can also e-mail your questions to:


E-mail enquiries are answered within 24 hours on weekdays

We understand the difficulties you may be experiencing and never judge.

*Calls to 0800 numbers are free from a landline. Calls from mobiles will vary, please refer to your network operator for charges


24  Hour  Kent

Mar 29th


By Chrystie M
I  have had a dreadful year so far. So perhaps this might cheer you and make you think how well you are!!
Just after Chistmas I went down with what I would think was cystitis.  Finally I dragged myself to the doctor and she said that I had thrush, and gave me a prescription for its treatment.  Nothing worked, and every time I rang the surgery to say that my thrush was still there, someone would send me different tablets.  However eventually it was decided that it was cystitis.  Then just two tablets and it had gone.
However, amost sraight after that I was leaning over and my back went.  That was about 5 weeks ago and the pain is more and more dreadful.  Rubs don't work. Paracetamol did help.  The nights are hell, as every move is agony  The pain seems to go across my back from side to side.  I always hope things will get better on their own, but I did go to a physiotherapist who gave me exercises for weak muscles in my back.  Maybe.
Then I finally went to the doctor who said it wasn't a slipped disc. and that part of  spine is fusing together.  Nothing to do, apart from taking pain killers.  And that's that.For the rest of my life.
Because  all this I had, and still have, ulcers on my tongue. The dentist sent me to a Consultant in the hospital who said that they were just ulcers, nothing wrong.
Perhaps I am run down.
I used to have a blue card when I was caring for my husband who had had a stoke, but later on they took it away saying I was not bad enough to have one.  I am now hoping they will give me one this time.I can't hold even a bottle of milk.  I spent the whole morning, printing a photo, scanning bills, and my driving licence.  Huge form to fill in.  Wish me well.
Mar 9th

Pass The Banana

By Mary B
Pass The Banana A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression 'going bananas' is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Read on: Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!! This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again. Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet. Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood. Anemia : High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia. Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke. Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert. Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives. Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey.. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system. Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief. Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness. Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation. Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system. Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady. Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. InThailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood Enhancer tryptophan. Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack. Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%! Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape! So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe it's time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!' PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth. Amazing fruit !!!
Feb 26th

The Shared Lives Service - Kent

By Mary B

The Shared Lives Service is run by Kent County Council.

Shared Lives hosts open their homes to look after vulnerable adults, including people living with dementia and provide valuable support for that person and their family carer.

We need motivated people who are committed to supporting others and willing to train as Shared Lives hosts to provide day support, short breaks or longer term placements in their own home.

To find out more about working from home as a self-employed, paid, approved Shared Lives host and how to apply please telephone 01233 652401 for an informal chat or email us at sharedlives@kent.gov.uk .
Or for further information about the service please visit our website: www.kent.gov.uk/sharedlives.

Léonie Harrington
Community Engagement Officer - Tunbridge Wells
Communications & Engagement
Room G37, Sessions House, Maidstone
Internal: (7000) 4691
External: 01622 694691


Feb 26th

Getting to know the South East Coast Strategic Clinical Network

By Mary B

Here are a few facts about the South East Coast SCN

Across England there are 12 geographical areas covered by SCNs. The South East Coast SCN covers Kent & Medway, Surrey and Sussex and is hosted by the Surrey and Sussex Area Team (part of NHS England) based in Horley in Surrey, and in Tonbridge, Kent.

SCNs will work in partnership with commissioners, including those in local government and CCGs, as well as providers and voluntary and community sector organisations. They will work with their partners to:

· gain an understanding of what the current services look like across their region

· identify and agree which are the problems to solve to make services better for those who use them

· agree what good services should look like in the region in the future , learning from the best and sharing best practice


Clinical Senates have also been established as a source of independent strategic advice to commissioners and other stakeholders to assist them to make the best decisions about the healthcare for the populations they represent. Unlike SCNs they do not focus on a specific condition: they provide a broader strategic view of a healthcare within a defined geographical area, for example providing a strategic overview of a major service change. They aim to:

· Advise commissioners on quality standards & achieving best value care pathways

· Advise on service reconfiguration proposals & post implementation evaluation

· Provide independent clinical expert advice to support development of sustainable local solutions

The vision of the South East Coast SCNs is that all aspects of work will be informed directly and indirectly by people who have experience of NHS services. To do that they plan to engage with people of all ages and backgrounds so that services become more relevant.

The South East Coast SCNs are setting up a People Bank made up of individuals and organisations willing to help extend this reach to people. Members of the People Bank will have the opportunity to get involved in a variety of ways, depending upon the focus of work. It will include Task and Finish Working Groups, a Patient and Public Reference Group (with a governance role) and an Inclusion group with which to consult on our work plans and approaches to engagement and to receive advice and guidance on the likely issues arising for different communities.


Voluntary sector organisations, networks and forums representing patients or carers involved in

·     Mental health for adults

·    Mental health for children and young people

·    Dementia

·     Neurological conditions- Including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease

can express their interest in getting involved by contacting RAISE via this short form.

Help spread the word - kindly forward this information to as many people as possible, tell them about the South East Coast SCN and to encourage them to get involved. THANK YOU

The South East Coast Strategic Clinical Network

Feb 17th

Whose Health is it Anyway? Survey opportunity from KMCS

By Mary B

Whose Health is it Anyway? –

Helping the NHS understand and act on what really matters to patients and carers


There is increasing focus in the NHS on supporting patients to be in control of their own health and well being. To make this a reality, patients and carers are going to need to be in the driving seat to ensure care and support is built around what matters to them most. An exciting project is taking place across the South of England working with patients and carers to understand, from their own perspective, what is important to them in managing their health and care better.

Your views matter - what  help do you need to  manage and make decisions about your health and well being? What helps you feel in control of your own care and what gets in the way?

The aim of the project is to gain feedback from as many patients and carers as possible and your views will help us understand and act on what really matters to you. You will be helping to ensure that the voices of patients and carers are at the centre of decision making about future commissioning priorities.

To start the discussion, we should be grateful if you could please take a few minutes to complete the survey on the attached link:



If you would like to be more involved in helping us gain more detailed understanding, there is opportunity in the survey to indicate your willingness to take part in a telephone interview or group discussions (both online and face to face groups).


Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey and we look forward to receiving your response.


If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Ferne Haxby on ferne.haxby@nhs.net and we will be happy to assist you.


Yours faithfully,


Ferne Haxby Associate - Communications Engagement Public Affairs (Participation & Insight) KMCS 


KMCS is a commissioning support unit hosted by the NHS Commissioning Board
Feb 16th

Dementia The Horror of this Disease

By Mary B
Blog on behalf of Norman McNamara

As I sit here with heavy heart and even heavier eyes I wonder if, or when, this nightmare will ever end? The last few nights have been horrendous as hour after hour I am shouting, screaming and having the sort of night terrors you would only see if you are over the age of 21years old and have a very strong stomach, last night was no exception, but actually worse. It wasn’t in intervals of hours, but minutes and started within ten minutes of closing my eyes, only finishing when I screamed out so hard this morning I had to get up at 6.45am because enough was enough, not only was it not fair on my “Angel” wife Elaine, but my mind and senses could take no more of this torment!!

And tormented is what I am, my soul is tested to the limit because of my Lewy Body’s type dementia, my body aches because of lack of sleep and my mind has started to become foggy and muddled because of the incessant flashbacks I keep getting after the nights of Hallucinations and night terrors. This is how it really is my friends, what you see sometimes is a laughing, smiling, cheery bloke where nothing bothers or affect him. Truth is?? Sometime I feel so broken inside, I feel as if I am dying slowly and am unable to do anything about it. I look across the room in the evening at my beautiful wife and I can see how tired she is, far more than me, and all I want to do is to turn the clock back to when we were both happily working in successful jobs, with no money worries and living life as it should be.

NOW? We have to rely on state benefits going in the bank on time every month so we can survive!! Having to rely on others is something we have never done and what was ours, was ours, and worked hard for, I would go back to work tomorrow if I was able to.

“””” Sometimes I want to run and run and not stop running until I have exhausted every bit of dementia out of my mind and body, I have no idea where I would run to, but it wouldn’t matter, as long as every step rid me of this awful illness!! I would run until either the good lord took me or Lewy Body’s would leave me once and for all. “””””””

Elaine (My Angel) walked into the bedroom two nights ago as I was weeping uncontrollably, it was one of the most awful moments of my life as she had caught me at my absolute worst and I want so much to protect her from the deep grief and sorry I sometimes feel . I am meant to protect my wife and children, not add to their problems. So much has changed, so very very much. Days are longer now; nights are even longer peppered with screeches and screams that you would only hear from a horror film. Daylight hours take so long to arrive and when they do, instead of the dawn of a new light beaming through our windows, it’s over taken by the feeling of sheer exhaustion that shatters the day before it even starts!!

I am so sorry this is not my usual happy clappy, fire in belly blog, but sometimes, just sometimes, the SHEER HORROR of this disease has to be spoken about and discussed. Not only does it help me, but I hope it helps others understand the huge amount of work done by the “Angels “ on this earth who are carers and loved ones who love, and look after people just like myself around the world.

All my love, Norrms and a very tired family xxxxxxxxxxxx

Jan 30th

Pass me another Rennie, dear

By Christine B
This is in response to requests to share my experiences of a "close encounter" with the Cardiac Unit of my local hospital, a month before Christmas.  I hope you will all find it interesting, maybe learn a couple of things, or it may strike a dissonant chord with some of you!

Well, there I was, normal Wednesday lunchtime, just about to settle to watch Prime Minister's Question Time (yes, sad person aren't I, but our local MP was on!!)

I was getting a tad hungry, so wasn't at all surprised to feel the beginnings of indigestion starting.  The little b.... wasn't going to go away in a hurry, so I reached for a couple of "Rennies".  Some 10 minutes later, I felt that those "Rennies" weren't up to the job, so I reached for something a little more potent - "Gaviscon".  Well, when those didn't work, and the pain started travelling a little, I said to my hubbie, as calmly as I could 'cos I didn't want to panic him, "I think we need to phone someone".  That started the ball rolling - after talking to the 111 operator (I didn't think it was a 999 job!!), in very short shrift an ambulance arrived, and I was whisked away, with the "blues and twos" blaring, speeding through red lights etc etc.

On arrival at the hospital, there was no waiting in a cold corridor for me - I was taken straight up to what is fondly known as the "Cath Labs", where they promptly started to invade my privacy by inserting a catheter into my groin.  This little tube was used to show them where the blockage was, and the tube was already armed with a balloon (no, not the party type!!), and a "stent".  

The stent was apparently successfully inserted, and with the blockage gone, I was at last free of pain.  My recovery, in medical terms, has been "uneventful".  I was sent home after 2 days, with strict instructions to gradually increase my activities, and I am now going to Cardiac Rehab classes where they put you through your paces doing Circuit training.  I have also been discharged from the hospital Cardiac Clinic, so things are going very well.  It has however been a lifechanging event for me and my hubbie!

I guess the moral of the story is:  Don't ignore indigestion pains if they don't go away within 10 minutes - do seek urgent advice, and get seen to quickly - speed is of the essence.  In the words of a retired Ambulance driver - "there are more corpses in the graveyard full of Rennies than any others!!" 
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