Healthwatch news


New ‘Dementia Information Service’

Alzheimer’s Society has employed two full time Dementia Support Workers to deliver the new Dementia Information Service (DIS). The DIS will run a staffed telephone helpline Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.
The DIS aims to support people with dementia, their carers, people with memory concerns and professionals to understand the benefits of a timely diagnosis and to raise awareness of specialist and community services, post diagnosis.
Benefits for people being referred to the DIS include: Advice around delaying progress of some symptoms of dementia Increased knowledge and understanding of dementia Advice around managing the condition Easier navigation of available services Help in planning for the future
People can self-refer or be referred by their GP, the Specialist Memory Service (SMS) or by a care home or hospital to the DIS. The Dementia Support Workers will assess information and support needs and support primary care with input to care plans.
The new service will work alongside other Alzheimer’s Society staff providing services such as Side by Side, Activity groups, Singing for the Brain and the existing DSW service.The DIS will also work closely with the SMS and GP practices to ensure that people have increased support following a diagnosis.
To contact the DIS call 01908 669404 or email

Local CCGs move to joint management team

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups continue to progress plans to establish a single joint management team. Patricia Davies, Accountable Officer and Chris Ford, Chief Finance Officer take up their new roles on 1 November, with further posts to be filled in the coming weeks following a consultation with affected staff.   The move is a new way of working across the region’s health and social care organisations to provide more joined up care and the best services possible for local people. Each of the CCGs will remain as individual statutory organisations and continue to provide services to meet the needs of their local populations.

One in four evening and weekend GP appointments go unused

We were interested to see evening and weekend GP appointments being discussed in The Guardian this week.
NHS England claims seven-day GP policy is popular despite low take up on Sundays. The government has promised to ensure that people in every part of England will be able to see a GP from 8am to 8pm very day of the week. According data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and Clinical Commissioning Groups, evening and weekend GP appointments are going unfilled. However, NHS England believe that take-up will grow as the public becomes more aware of the government’s ‘seven days a week’ pledge on doctors’ appointments. Click on the link below to read the full article in The Guardian.
Are you aware that pre-booked evening and weekend appointments are available at GPs across Milton Keynes? Click here to find out more. 

The Guardian: Evening and Weekend GP Appointments

CEO’s Blog

As the weather is starting to turn towards the colder months residents across Milton Keynes will begin seeing the start of Stay Well This Winter campaigns, particularly promoting flu vaccination. If you haven’t seen anything yet you can get more information about flu and who is most at risk here. You can talk to your local pharmacist about flu vaccinations. Yesterday I ran from meeting to meeting all over the city. In the morning I met with the staff team at Community Action:MK to talk about Healthwatch MK’s new role in running the Mental Health, Carers, Dementia and Older Persons Partnership Boards. There is more information about the Partnership Boards further down the e-alert. The main event of the day for me was speaking at the Milton Keynes Pensioners Association AGM, alongside Heather Wakefield from Greenwich University. Heather gave some brilliant detail regarding the facts and figures about the state of Adult Social Care in the UK as well as many of the national challenges that affect residents locally too. I talked about the role of HWMK, some of the activities we’ve worked on and are currently delivering and the relationship between local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England. I heard some valuable insight from those who attended. They expressed concerns about the increase in locum GPs, GP accessibility and restrictions to prescriptions as a result of a local consultation early last year. We’re running some ‘Have your Say’ sessions over the next few months and after speaking to the MKPA I feel residents would benefit from an open Q&A session to discuss anything and everything about people’s experiences of health and care. I threw that idea toward Anna as I ran back into the office yesterday and we’ll be advertising the first sessions in our next e-alert.

Have your say

Volunteering with Disabilities

Community Action: MK is carrying out a piece of research into how they can support people experiencing physical and mental disabilities to get involved in volunteering.
The aim is to understand the barriers faced by people with disabilities who want to volunteer, and what might prevent an organisation recruiting a volunteer with disabilities. This is part of a research project which aims to make volunteering more accessible for people with disabilities.
As part of this project they will be conducting 1-2-1 and group interviews with:

people with disabilities who are currently volunteering people with disabilities who would like to volunteer groups of people with disabilities with views about volunteering generally organisations currently working disabled volunteers organisations not currently working with disabled volunteers

If you know or anyone else you know is interested, please contact

Mystery Shopper

We are concerned that people who cannot give proof of address or identification are being told they cannot register with a GP.
In response we have designed a ‘Right to Access a GP’ Healthcard which states: I have the right to Register with a GP Practice – i do not need a fixed address – i do not need identification – my immigration status does not matter
We are looking for mystery shoppers who would be willing to go to GP practices to try and register without identification or proof of address. We want to know how GP practices respond to the Healthcards we have made. 

Events and Information from the Health and Social Care Community

Partnership Boards

The Partnership Boards are a key space for service users, families, carers and voluntary groups to talk to those who pay and provide for services about their experiences and how services could be better for people using them. For the partnership boards to be truly effective at challenging the activities across health and care provision we need the voices of residents who are affected and or/using local services. We are really keen to see more people who use services at the meetings.

Older Persons Partnership Board Friday 19th October, 2:00-4:00, Milton Keynes Council Civic Offices Carers Partnership Board Wednesday 31st October, 1:30-3:00, Milton Keynes Council Civic Offices Mental Health Partnership Board Wednesday 7th November, 1:00-4:00, Milton Keynes Council Civic Offices
If you are interested in coming, please contact us at

Afternoon Tea  Dance

Rekindle memories by joining Newport Pagnell Memory Club for a joyful afternoon with music, dancing, chatting and refreshments.
The afternoon tea is aimed at those with Memory Difficulties and their carers. Accursio from the Romeo Dance Academy will be giving some guidance but the objective is enjoyment rather than expertise.
Friday 2nd November 2018 2:30 – 4:30 Lovat Hall (Baptist Church Hall), Silver Street, Newport Pagnell, MK16 0EJ
If you are interested, or would like more information, please contact us on

Do you have a physical disability? Would you like a trial trip in a driverless pod?

Community Action: MK are working with NESTA,  MK Council and other partners to help shape innovation policy around driverless pods in the city.    We know that people with mobility issues could benefit hugely from this technology and want to make sure that you have a chance to influence the policy and technology as it develops.   You would need to be available between 11am and 3pm on Thursday 25th or Friday 26th October.    You would be one of the few people to try this revolutionary technology and we ask that you agree to make yourself available for a follow up workshop where we will explore your feedback and experiences of the trial.
Please note that unfortunately at this early stage in the testing the pods are not equipped to take wheelchairs. We know the technologists are working hard to make sure that the next set of pods are able to do this.
If you are interested, please contact  Alissa Pemberton on

Healthy Ageing and Healthy Caring

Free guides available to support the health and wellbeing of older people people and carers. 
These guides provide practical advice to support healthy ageing and caring, to help everyone stay fit and well during the winter season.
The guides are free, there is no charge for delivery, and any number can be ordered. Call 0300 123 1002, quoting reference HC2 (for the healthy caring guide), or HA2 (for the healthy living guide), or order online, by following the link below.

Order Guides
Help Support Healthwatch Milton Keynes when you shop


For more information please follow the link below -

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