Welcome to the Patients Association Weekly News
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Our 2019 AGM: how to watch online
We are looking forward to welcoming members to our Annual General Meeting next Tuesday, October 8th.

Registration has now closed, and we are aware that not all members are able to travel to London to be with us in person. We have therefore arranged to livestream the meeting online, so that you can watch it from home.
You will be able to find the live stream on our website at
We look forward to sharing new of what the charity has achieved over the past year, welcoming members to meet the team, and electing Trustees. We are also hosting a panel who will discuss the subject of 'Improving Patients' Experience' - including Kirit Mistry, a patient with type 2 diabetes, Cyrilene Cullen, a carer for her son Fergus, and Yvonne Coghill OBE, Director for Workforce Race Equality for NHS England. We're looking forward to a lively discussion and we hope you enjoy the chance to follow the meeting online.
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Patients Association welcomes NHS patient transport review
The Patients Association has welcomed the announcement by NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens of a national review of patient transport. We are committed to ensuring that patients’ voices will be at the heart of the review, which has been prompted by a joint report by Healthwatch England, Age UK and Kidney Care UK.

CEO of the Patients Association, Rachel Power comments: “Patients’ experiences of healthcare don’t begin and end at the door of a hospital, so we can’t ignore the impact of availability, accessibility and cost of transport on patients. We look forward to working closely with the NHS, building on the excellent work by Healthwatch England, Age UK and Kidney Care UK, to ensure that patients’ voices are heard."

The Patients Association has already called for investment in alternatives to car travel to and from transport, including more and better bus services and improved non-emergency ambulance services, as part of our approach to the issue of hospital car parking charges.

Photo adapted from an image by Eric Fischer on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0.
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Patients Association calls for Government to act on drug shortages
The Patients Association is urgently calling on the Government to identify the underlying issues behind current drug shortages and take measures to resolve the situation before it gets any worse. We are deeply concerned to hear reports from pharmacists struggling to secure important medication for patients and finding it difficult to advise patients due to a lack of information about what is causing these drug shortages and delays.

The Government must consider all of the factors that can affect availability of medicines, clearly communicate the results of this analysis, and take actions to ensure an uninterrupted supply to pharmacies and patients.

CEO of the Patients Association, Rachel Power, says: "It is unacceptable to hear that patients are being turned away due to lack of medicines, and with the additional uncertainty around the impact of Brexit, it is crucial that pharmacists are able to provide reliable information to patients.

"No patient should be left feeling uncertain about what will happen with vital medication, and they need to have access to the information they need in order to make informed decisions about their healthcare."  
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Get involved: patients with knee problems sought to help create new guidance 
We’ve partnered with Oxford University to produce new patient information about the recommended treatment options for meniscal problems of the knee. We’d like to hear from you if you currently have knee problems and are considering surgery, are waiting for a procedure or have recently had an operation. We’re looking for people to pilot a new approach to creating guidance that will inform and empower patients.

As well as working with Oxford University, the project is also supported by the NHS Getting It Right First Time programme and the British Association for Surgery of the Knee. Participants will need to be able to attend a meeting in Oxford on Thursday 7 November from 1.30 to 4pm. Travel expenses will be reimbursed and participants will receive a gift voucher. If you are interested in taking part please contact Heather Eardley on
From the helpline: unsafe, premature discharge from hospital
We were called by Gwen*, whose father had been prematurely discharged from hospital not once but twice. Gwen’s father has kidney cancer, a lesion on his brain and high blood glucose levels, and was discharged from hospital two weeks ago despite the absence or a care plan or any effective treatment for his illnesses.

The second admission occurred when Gwen’s father went to his GP for a prescription for incontinence pads. The GP took his blood pressure, and then told him to go immediately to the nearest district general hospital (DGH), where he was admitted and then quickly discharged again. 

It appears that the DGH made the inappropriate discharge because Gwen’s father was ‘out of area’ for it, and it could therefore not access his GP records.

We advised Gwen to ask to see the most senior doctor responsible for her father's care, and to draw up a list of questions to raise beforehand. We also advised her to give feedback to the CQC about her father’s experience at the DGH, and to contact the safeguarding team if she is concerned about another unsafe discharge in the future. We asked Gwen to contact us again if we could be of any further help.

*Name has been changed.

If you need health or care advice, call 0800 345 7115 between 9.30 and 5pm on weekdays, or email You can also visit our website to find out more about our helpline, and visit our advice and information leaflets here.
Contact our helpline
What our team is reading this week
The politics of health: what do the public think about the NHS?
Microneedle sensor aims to cut hospital superbugs
Alcohol sales rise near Scottish border after minimum pricing
Mass use of credit check firm to find NHS patients to charge (£)
Hospital pledges raise capital concerns

About Us

Our vision is that health and social care will be delivered in a way that meets every person’s health and social care needs.

Our mission is to give effect to the patient voice, to improve patient experience and support people to engage fully in their own care. Find out more about our values on our website

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The Patients Association is a registered charity in England and Wales (1006733).  A company limited by guarantee.  Registered company in England and Wales (02620761)
Registered address:  P Block, Northwick Park Hospital, The North West Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3YJ