Welcome to the Patients Association Weekly News
Patients Association shortlisted for 2019 Charity Governance Awards
After sharing the good news in last week’s newsletter that our Chief Executive, Rachel Power, has been appointed to the NHS Assembly, we're celebrating again this week with the news that the Patients Association has been shortlisted for the 2019 Charity Governance Awards.

The Charity Governance Awards celebrates outstanding governance in charities in the UK, and the Patients Association is one of the finalists in the ‘Managing Turnaround’ category. Dementia UK and Dorset Mind complete the shortlist for this category, with 21 charities in total in the running for awards across seven categories.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:
“It’s extremely gratifying for us to be shortlisted in the 2019 Charity Governance Awards, and we’re looking forward to the awards ceremony in May. With a small and committed staff team, we work hard every day to support patients through our help and advice services, and to represent them locally and nationally through our policy and campaigning work, so it’s fantastic to be recognised in these national awards.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 22 May, with £5,000 to be awarded to the winning charity in each category. You can follow the awards on Twitter via @CharityGovAwards or by using the hashtag #charitygov19.

You can find out more about the awards, and read our shortlisted entry, here.
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Delivering complaints training to improve patient experience
We feel passionately that anyone who raises a complaint about their experience of care in the NHS should be listened to and that their concern should be thoroughly investigated. We work with NHS trusts on improving the way they handle complaints, and this week we were pleased to deliver a session at North Middlesex University Hospital about how to put patients at the heart of complaints resolution.

It was a positive and productive session, and we would like to thank North Middlesex University Hospital for extending a warm welcome to our project managers to deliver the training. Our team discussed techniques for conducting a thorough and fair complaints investigation, and underlined the importance of communicating with patients clearly throughout the process. We found staff to be engaged, receptive to our ideas and committed to improving patient experience, and we’re looking forward to our follow-up session at the hospital on 24 April.

You can find out more about the work we do with other organisations here.
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Healthwatch survey: how can your local NHS better support you?
Healthwatch England is conducting a survey to find out what people think of the NHS in their local areas and how it can improve to meet their future needs. Healthwatch England wants to find out what is important to people when it comes to:
  • Being supported to live a healthy life
  • Managing and choosing the support you need
  • Keeping your independence and staying healthy as you get older
  • How you interact with your local NHS.
Complete the survey
Help deliver the NHS Long Term Plan
There are only a few days left to complete our short survey on the laws that underpin the NHS.

As our Head of Policy, John Kell, explains in his latest blog post, NHS England’s proposals to change the law mainly involve keeping the current institutions but giving them new duties and powers. We speak up for patients and would like to represent your views, so if you have an opinion on how the NHS should be organised, complete our survey here. Your responses will help inform our response to NHS England. The survey closes on Monday 8 April.

You can also give your views directly to NHS England about its proposals by completing this online questionnaire. Their survey closes on 25 April.
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Speaking up for patients
The Patients Association has a national media profile and provides comment on behalf of patients on a range of issues across the health and social care. You may recently have seen the Patients Association mentioned in these stories:

Sunday Times: Sex offences pay-outs cost the NHS £4.6m in five years
The NHS has spent almost £5m compensating patients, staff and members of the public who had been sexually harassed, abused or assaulted, official figures show. A freedom of information request by the Sunday Times revealed the scale of the damages paid to 94 victims during the past five years.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:
"Sexual harassment of a patient by anyone working in the NHS is a dreadful betrayal of the trust that patients place in clinicians and health care professionals, and will inevitably shake the confidence of victims in the integrity of the NHS. So it is right that patients who suffer from harassment should be able to obtain redress. It's also vitally important that the NHS learns from these incidents, to safeguard patients' safety in the future." Read more about the story here (£).

Mirror: Can't get an appointment with a doctor? This is what you should do
Guidance from the Patients Association helpline team and information from our advice leaflets feature prominently in this article in the Daily Mirror, which provides assistance for people unable to secure a GP appointment. The article includes advice from our helpline, cites our complaints letter templates and also includes information from our leaflet on how best to prepare for a GP appointment.

You can read the article in full here.
From the helpline: communication and social care services
This week we heard from Andy*, who got in touch regarding his upcoming knee replacement surgery. Andy, who is registered blind, will be undergoing the procedure within the next month, and called our helpline to see if he would be entitled to receive any care support at home following the surgery.

Our helpline adviser provided an overview of the care provided in hospital before, during and after surgery. We suggested to Andy that he should contact the hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) in the first instance, and inform them of his circumstances and of any additional support he may require.

After a few days, our adviser got back in touch with Andy for an update and was pleased to hear that the PALS team had been extremely helpful, and had made arrangements with social services to secure a care package for Andy upon his discharge from hospital. Andy was reassured by this, and thanked our helpline adviser for pointing him in the right direction: “I’m glad I got in touch with the Patients Association. Thank you very much for your useful information, we’ve got everything sorted now.”

Do you need a helping hand, like Andy did? Have you had a positive recent experience of care? Maybe you’re considering making a complaint, and are unsure how to go about it. Our helpline is open weekdays, from 9.30am to 5pm, and we also take enquiries by email, post and through our Live Chat service. Find out more about our advice and support services here.

*Name has been changed
Contact our helpline
What our team is reading this week
Drug linked to birth defects 'not assessed properly' in UK review
£4m of NHS supplies stockpiled in 'secret warehouse' in preparation for Brexit
HPV vaccine linked to 'dramatic' cervical disease drop
Bad diets killing more people globally than tobacco, study finds
Neglect contributed to woman's death after being issued wrong drug

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