Monthly Archives: September 2013


imageWell done all those runners who completed the half marathon and the mini marathon yesterday! I recognised at least 3 names amongst those who were amongst the runners. Congratulations on raising money for so many worthy charities. Training for this event has meant a lot of training and if you want to consider next years event and keep fit at the same time you may need to start now! The planning and preparation of the Ealing Half Marathon on race day was supported by Ealing Eagles Running Club image which is a friendly and social running club in Ealing, founded in 2009 for runners and joggers of all standards, from beginners and novices to expert racers, in the Ealing, Perivale, Greenford, Hanwell, Northfields, Brentford & Acton area. If you live, work or are just passing through the Ealing area,you can join one of the Ealing Eagles training sessions. Charities supported It was interesting to learn about those charities, most of which support local causes, that benefitted from runners who raised money by being sponsored. I am afraid I was not aware of several of these charities and felt it was an opportunity to promote their work in our community and beyond. The headline charity of the race supported was:- image Epilepsy Action exists to improve the lives of everyone affected by epilepsy. As well as campaigning to improve epilepsy services and raise awareness of the condition, Epilepsy Action offers assistance to people in a number of ways including a national network of branches, accredited volunteers, regular regional conferences and freephone and email helplines.

*************************** image Ealing Mencap provides a wide range of services and support to people with learning disabilities in west London, as well as their families and carers. *********************** imageC-A-P-E is an established registered charity offering a dynamic and flexible outreach and day service for people who experience severe and enduring mental health difficulties living in the London Borough of Ealing. Cape aims to improve the quality of life of the people who use the service by; * Enabling clients to access meaningful activity. * Facilitate clients to build relationships with others who may be isolated. * Offering support – emotionally, practically and socially. * Helping clients to access a range of health and social care provisions. * Helping clients make informed choices about their lives. * Promoting the principles of recovery. Visit their website for more information *********************** image Shooting Star CHASE is your local children’s hospice service, a charity caring for local families with a child or teenager with a life-limiting condition. We currently help over 600 families living in western London, Surrey and West Sussex. Our aim is to make every day count for these families. We are here for every step of their journey, sharing the good times and helping them through the tough times with practical, nursing and emotional support. ********************** image We work through local churches to unlock people’s potential, helping them to discover that the answer to poverty is within themselves. When disasters strike, we respond quickly. We won’t stop until poverty stops. At Tearfund, what drives us is a belief that the local church is a powerful force for transformation in communities living in every kind of poverty. Inspired by the example and teaching of Jesus, we recognise that people have deeply interconnected material and spiritual needs, and we seek to meet those needs by working through our local church partners. Churches are at the heart of their communities – full of dedicated, resourceful people who want to make a long-term difference. We work particularly in Africa, Asia and South America – and also across Eastern Europe and the UK. Right now, we’re focussing on some of the biggest challenges facing the world today. Find out more about what we do and where on our website. ************************ image Imperial College Healthcare Charity is an independent charity that raises and manages charitable funds for all five hospitals within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust: Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals. We work with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to pursue three key objectives: Great Science – enabling clinical research and advances in healthcare. By supporting staff to deliver advancements in medical science, we can make improvements to the treatment patients receive. Clinical advancements can help reduce the time patients spend in hospital, reduce their discomfort and make improvements to their rehabilitation and recovery. Excellent patient care – making a measureable difference to the patient experience and delivery of care. Excellent staff are key to ensuring excellent patient care. We therefore provide grants to staff for training and personal development. We also support the Trust to recognise excellent staff through a range of recognition awards. The use of art has long been recognised as an effective way to improve the healing environment. We manage an art collection of more than 1,600 pieces that are displayed across all five Trust sites. A healthier community – supporting projects that tackle health inequalities in the communities served by the Trust There are huge disparities in the health of the communities where the Trust’s hospitals are based. By funding local community organisations and initiatives, the Charity is able to support the Trust, in accessing some of the hardest to reach communities, where health problems prevail. ************************ image In 2010 22 year-old Holly Bantleman set off on a soul-searching round-the-world trip, hoping to have that ‘life changing’ experience and during this trip she visited Kenya. Raise the Roof Kenya’ began after she visited a village on a dump site called ‘London’ in the town of Nakuru. The area had sprung up after the 2007/2009 electoral violence in which so many people were displaced. Over 250 people, many children, set up camp on the landfill and found themselves with no means of escape, relying on the rubbish truck for their food, with children playing in rags, barefoot and literally starving. Initially the the idea was to raise the money to buy tin roofing for the people living on the landfill without food or shelter and to eventually provide a long term solution for their plight. With that mission accomplished after raising money through UK donations, several more visits to Kenya, and many more eye opening experiences, Holly decided that RTRK would become a long term project. From school fees and medical bills, to housing and small businesses, RTRK have managed to support children and families in destitute situations. Now spending a third of her year in Kenya, Holly has noticed a lack of opportunity for the bigger teenage kids, (she was one herself not so long ago!) so has found another directions in which to take RTRK – the ‘Think Big’ Project is the Barut Development Centre build. The idea is for us to provide the community (the poorest in the area) with a sports ground, community centre and vocational school so people can gain education and training to go on and live sustainably in the future. ************************** image St Mungo’s opens doors for homeless people. Mainly based in London and the South, we provide over 100 accommodation and support projects day in, day out. We run emergency homeless services – including street outreach teams, and accommodation for rough sleepers and hostels. We support homeless people in their recovery – opening the door to safe housing, drug and alcohol support and physical and mental health care. We provide more help for homeless people in gaining life skills than any other charity – from job training to independent living skills in our ‘semi-independent’ houses. Preventing homelessness is very important to us. Our ‘complex needs’ housing provides safe and supportive homes for nearly 400 vulnerable people. Our community support teams work with thousands of people at risk – including former rough sleepers. By opening our doors, and by opening the doors to services within St Mungo’s and in the broader community, we are able to help thousands of homeless people change their lives for good every year. ************************* image TALKING GOT ME THROUGH Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal. WELCOME TO THE SAMARITANS EALING BRANCH If something’s troubling you, get in touch: Telephone our branch: 020 8560 2345 Email Samaritans: Visit our branch: Samaritans London 26 Junction Road Ealing London W5 4XL Usual hours open to receive callers at the door: Phone for details Facilities for visitors with disabilities: Phone for details ************************ image ECIL is a membership organisation representing and supporting disabled people and carers, of all types and of any age, who live and work in the borough of Ealing and surrounding boroughs. We are proud to be part of the Independent Living movement and are one of a growing number of Centres for Independent Living (CILs) around the country. The government strategy paper Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People published 2005 recommends that there should be a CIL in every local authority area. ECIL was formed as an independent organisation in 2002. We gained our charitable status in that year. We are now funded by Ealing Council and the Ealing Primary Care Trust. ************************ image The Gabrielle Gray Foundation is a charity founded in the memory of my sister Gabrielle Emilie Gray Giam (Gaby) who passed away on the 16th of August 2012 at the age of 31. The Gabrielle Gray Foundation was inspired by the compassion that Gaby showed towards others throughout the 31 years of her life. Some of her last advice to us was to not be bitter, to be grateful for everything and no matter how bad things seem they can always be worse. These wise words remind us of how fortunate most of us are. The Gabrielle Gray Foundation will be helping young vulnerable adults between the ages of 18-24 in West London. Help us to help others who are less fortunate and continue her legacy. If anyone reading this may have benefitted from one of these charities or who ran the half marathon for another worthy cause it would be great to publish your story on this site, which aims to talk about health and related issues especially of local interest.

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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Training and Advice


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An idea for Mindful Meditation!


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Have you ever felt that your mind is over full, cluttered with so many thoughts and worries that you almost feel your head is about to explode?

Moreover,have you developed techniques to deal with this?

This need has been recognised since the beginning of time and I feel as soon as we become aware of the world outside ourselves as a child we instinctively know how to do this. Unfortunately, children are not encouraged or nurtured to preserve this skill and many modern toys are brightly coloured and noisy and the opportunity to just ‘be’ and enjoy stillness and silence and the simple life around them is missed.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I had my first child was ‘if the baby cries remember she may just want to be put down’ and it often worked.

Several years ago I talked to a group of 5-6 year olds about being quiet and still and I was surprised when most of them revealed how this was something in their own way they found a way of practising. They then proceeded to tell me how they found space to do this. “I always go under my sisters bed,” said one child. “I go in the garden behind the shed” said another.” I sit under the stairs” said another.


I then sat with them and focused on a candle, which I allowed one of them to carry to the table. The child who was the noisiest and most active carried it with great care and placed it on the table. I spoke with these children on several occasions and on each occasion a child carried the candle a short distance to the table and we all sat in silence. Week by week the length of time they remained silent and still grew until they were able to sit quietly for up to 5 minutes. Following this they came out of the silence quieter and played together in a much calmer, friendlier manner.

Similarly, talking to children in a a quiet monotone causes absolute relaxation and puts them in a state of selfhypnosis. This technique I have used on many occasions to administer injections and take blood from children. On one occasion when I was a junior paediatrician and a child was admitted with an asthma attack. The nursing staff were lining up to hold him down to put up a intravenous infusion. The child was distressed and frightened. I asked the staff to leave the room and quietly spoke to him with full eye contact and gradually the child quiet ended and he cooperated fully to allow me to put up the infusion much to the surprise of the nursing staff.
On another occasion more recently I was working as a locum in a practise and a mother came to the surgery with 3yr old active twins. She was distraught as her husband had terminal cancer and she had no-one to look after the children and wanted to talk about her own problems. When I looked at the computer notes there were four entries from previous doctors recording that they were unable to have the consultation with the mother and she should return on her own. I started to talk to the twins and then gently massaged the centre of their scalp (a calming acupuncture point) and both children stood still for long enough for the mother to pour out her concerns. The children were then led calmly away by their much calmer mother.

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As an adult to achieve this level of relaxation we need to focus on a sound, a picture or simply your own breath sounds and may need help from another person.
Using techniques like this, meditation, breathing and yoga can help us pay attention to the present moment. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.
This awareness of the present moment or Mindfulness as a psychological concept is based on the concept of mindfulness in Buddhist meditation. It has been popularised in the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Despite its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness is often taught independently of religion.
Mindfulness teaches individuals to be present in the moment rather than being distracted about the past or projectingd into the future. It doesn’t stop you feeling emotions per se, but it does allow you to deal with them more dispassionately.

Practising mindfulness can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships. It’s proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours, and can even have a positive effect on physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain.

Mindfulness practice, is increasingly being employed in psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions.

I think that mindfulness is something many of us have done – have you ever sat looking out to sea and found yourself listening to the rhythmic sound of waves or watching the trees/ grass swaying in a breeze or listening to your favourite music and suddenly realised that time has passed and for a short time you were only aware of that present moment and following this you feel more at ease. Have you swum lengths in a swimming pool with gentle rhythmic arm and leg movements and your mind taking up by feeling of movement in the water and finished the swim feeling that problems have seemed less or gone. Jogging at a gentle rhythmic pace around the park in a similar vein can give the same effect. This is not overexerting the body but calming the mind in a similar way to yoga. However, the benefit is only appreciated by being aware of the present moment and your thoughts and emotions at the time.
This can be a start to achieving full awareness or mindfulness by zoning in on the feeling of relieving the mind of excessive, overwhelming clutter so that eventually you can reach mindfulness with perfect stillness of body and mind.


Although the practise of meditation is in no way a religion it may be it is part of your religious practise and you need to be aware of how it can be helpful physically and mentally; you may want to call it prayerfulness.

I have been surprised as to how many people from all walks of life benefit from regular meditation although it is now it can be referred to as mindfulness.

Mindfulness. If you’re not yet au fait with the concept, it might be a good idea to familiarise yourself with it now, because you’ll be hearing a lot about it in 2013; from business leaders, academics, politicians and educationalists they are all making it part of their lives.

It is also being introduced into some schools as part of the curriculum.
I read an account of a school that played music and instructed the schoolchildren that when played they were to stay still and think about themselves. After a while the head teacher only had to start the music and the whole school became quiet.
Mindfulness is being increasingly recognised as an incredibly effective way to cope with stress and also recognised by NICE and the NHS as the most effective way to prevent relapse into depression and anxiety states. It has been found to help with pain management and weight loss.

It has been discussed in Parliament as a therapy in relation to both unemployment and depression. But it isn’t about zoning out. If anything, it’s about zooming in; paying attention to the present and decluttering the brain to make room for creativity – and in business that means boosting the bottom line.

To that end, mindfulness training has been embraced by organisations as diverse as Google, Transport for London, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Home Office, by way of an antidote to the relentless pressure and information overload common in many workplaces.


1) Make it a formal practice. You will only get to the next level in meditation by setting aside specific time (preferably two times a day) to be still. At first it maybe for only 3-4 minutes.

2) Start with the breath. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.

3) Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to the body.

4) Meditate with Purpose. Beginners must understand that meditation is an ACTIVE process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged!

5) Notice frustration creep up on you. This is very common for beginners as we think “hey, what am I doing here” or “why can’t I just quiet my mind already”. When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.

6) Experiment. Although many of us think of effective meditation as a Yogi sitting cross-legged beneath a Bonzi tree, beginners should be more experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.

7) Feel your body parts. A great practice for beginning meditators is to take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body (include your internal organs). This is very healthy and an indicator that you are on the right path.

8) Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you do work, exercise, or sleep. I may help to use a candle and gentle music or sounds to help you o feel relaxed.

9) Read a book (or two) on meditation. Preferably an instructional guide AND one that describes the benefits of deep meditative states. This will get you motivated. John Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You terrific very  good for beginners.

10) Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by NOT examining the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let it go!

11) Listen to instructional tapes and CDs.

12) Generate moments of awareness during the day. Finding your breath and “being present” while not in formal practice is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation habits.

13) Make sure you will not be disturbed. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not insuring peaceful practice conditions. If you have it in the back of your mind that the phone might ring, your children might wake, or an alarm is about to go off then you will not be able to attain a state of deep relaxation.

14) Notice small adjustments. For beginning meditators, the slightest physical movements can transform a meditative practice from one of frustration to one of renewal. These adjustments may be barely noticeable to an observer, but they can mean everything for your practice.

15) Use a candle. Meditating with eyes closed can be challenging for a beginner. Lighting a candle and using it as your point of focus allows you to strengthen your attention with a visual cue. This can be very powerful.

16) Do NOT Stress. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement. No matter what happens during your meditation practice, do not stress about it. This includes being nervous before meditating and angry afterwards. Meditation is what it is, and just do the best you can at the time.

17) Do it together. Meditating with a partner or loved one can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin!

18) Meditate early in the morning. Without a doubt, early morning is an ideal time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up half an hour earlier to meditate.

19) Be Grateful at the end. Once your mediation is finished spend 2-3 minutes feeling appreciative of the opportunity to practice and your mind’s ability to focus.

20) Notice when your interest in meditation begins to wane. Meditation is hard work, and you will inevitably come to a point where it seemingly does not fit into the picture anymore. THIS is when you need your practice the most and I recommend you go back to the book(s) or the CD’s you listened to and become re-invigorated with the practice. Chances are that losing the ability to focus on meditation is parallel with your inability to focus in other areas of your life!


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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Training and Advice


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Yes you did read correctly…..


Could two handfuls of walnuts a day improve the sperm shape, movement and vitality of your sperm?
It seemed appropriate to write about this as September 29th in France is the day people harvest their walnuts and that is what I shall be doing during the next week.

he tao ren | 核桃仁 | Juglandis Semen:walnut

This Chinese herb has been used for many hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to reinforce and Tonify the Kidney and Lung Yang. In Western terms this means that if you are ageing, a cold person, tendency to being overweight, backache, knee pain, breathlessness, constipation and infertility. These type of herbs particularly walnuts can gradually ( over a minimum period of 3 months) improve these problems along with other other lifestyle measures.
The Walnut tree is a common sight in the Dordogne,France and it is interesting that it always grows alone or with other walnut trees and has been has been harvested for many years for the nuts or taken to mills to make walnut oil,which is used for salad dressing and is very high in Omega-3 fats with all the health benefits.
imageThe mills are at intervals along the Dronne and are often in the shape of a boat(bateau) and the wiers associated with these mills make exciting canoeing! Most are not in use but there a few which still produce walnut oil. It is possible to take the harvested nuts,after drying them over the winter, to the mill and collect the oil at a later date.Sitting by an open fire cracking nuts in the winter months,watching a good film can be pleasant winter pastime. Old dordogne kitchen tables have large dents in the table surface after years of family nut cracking with a mallet. The new nutcracker is much easier…
imageBut since I read about a small study carried out in Californis and written up in the journal Biology of Reproduction suggesting that eating around two handfuls of walnuts a day improves sperm health in young men harvesting walnuts has a new meaning.
This study involved 117 men between the ages of 21 and 35, who were divided into two groups. One group added 2.6 ounces (75 grams) of whole-shelled walnuts to their daily diet.
The other group continued their usual diet but avoided eating tree nuts. Both groups ate a typical Western-style diet.
Lead author, Prof Wendie Robbins from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health said: “We found a significant improvement in sperm shape, movement and vitality in men who added walnuts to their diet over 12 weeks.”
“The men who ate no tree nuts saw no change.”
The fatty acids Omega-3 found in these nuts are thought to have helped sperm development. It is not known if this would help improve male fertility.
About one in six couples are infertile, with 40% of these due to a male factor.
The researchers say the next step is to work with couples who are attending infertility clinics to determine if placing sub-fertile men, with poor semen quality, on a walnut diet results in better success conceiving.
When I resd this I wondered whether it was a signifant result but Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield said: “It would be relatively easy to poke fun at studies like this, but there is increasing evidence to show that aspects of a man’s diet can affect the number and quality of sperm produced by his testicles.”

Moreover,all those young men that need to improve the health of their sperm and potentially their fertility

*Avoid cigarettes and illicit drugs, especially anabolic steroids
*Avoid exposure to toxins such as pesticides and heavy metals
*Limit alcohol intake
*Eat a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight
*Take care to keep your scrotum cool, because heat slows sperm production. Avoid hot baths and hot tubs, wear boxers instead of briefs, and avoid pants that are tight or restrictive.

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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Training and Advice


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EALING HALF MARATHON – 29th September 2013


Come and cheer on the ECIL All Stars, who are running to raise funds for disabled people and carers in Ealing. The Half Marathon starts in in Lammas Park from 9.15am. If you’d like to sponsor us, contact Wendy on 020 8840 1566 or

Ealing Centre for Independent Living. ECIL is an organisation of disabled people working to eliminate the barriers preventing disabled people from living full and independent lives.
Come to ECIL for everything you want to know about Disability, but were too afraid to ask. We offer advice, information and we can help you get what you need to live an independent life. It’s FREE to join, so why not become a member.

The 2nd Ealing Half Marathon will take place on Sunday 29th September 2013 in Ealing, West London
One of only three fully road closed half marathon events in London the race will start and finish in Lammas Park, one of West London’s most picturesque parks and take in parts of Central Ealing, Montpelier, Pitshanger, West Ealing, Hanwell and St Stephen’s before returning to Lammas Park.

Ealing Mini Mile
Ealing Half Marathon are pleased to announce the Ealing Mini Mile for 2013. It’s our new race open to children aged 6 – 11 years of age with the route taking place in and around Lammas Park.

The children’s race is run over a course of approximately 1 mile and starts at 9:30am (after the runners have left Lammas Park at the start of the Half Marathon). Entry is £5 with prizes up for grabs for different age categories plus a medal and t-shirt for all finishers.

The race is well supported and will become a popular feature of the day with many children from local schools competing as will the offspring of the Ealing Half Marathon runners and junior members of local athletics clubs.

Free workshops for carers return!

Supporting carers is something that we as a practise, part of a network and the ECCG want to strongly support. Many people of all ages act as carers without payment, unconditionally giving all-round help and support to a friend, neighbour, relative or another person.

Many people who are caring for someone do not necessarily see themselves as a ‘carer’. Rather they are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, partners, husbands, wives or neighbours. However, being identified as a carer by the council can help you get the right support you need to look after the person whom you care.
The Carers’ Centre is a resource and support centre for all unpaid carers, of any age, in the borough. The centre is managed, in partnership with Ealing Council, by Carers Connect, a consortium led by the Ealing Centre for Independent Living and including Ealing Mencap, Dementia Concern Ealing and Crossroads Care West London.
Following the success of the pilot course for carers earlier this year, Ealing Carers’ Centre is once again running a series of FREE workshops at the Carers’ Centre in November.

The aim of the course is to improve the skills and confidence of people who are caring for a family member or friend at home, and to help them find ways of making more time for themselves.  It is NOT designed to train people to become paid care workers. Twelve places are available and the aim is for participants to attend all the workshops. The workshops are open to all carers who live in Ealing and/or care for someone who lives in Ealing.  The closing date for reserving a place is 7th October.

For more information, please contact Cecilia Coleshawat or on 020 8840 1566.

If anyone reading this blog has taken part in the half marathon or wants to make a comment about any of the organisations for which money has been raised please make a comment or email


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The week beginning October 7th marks the arrival of the Flu Vaccination for Winter 2013/2014. There are allocated clinics but vaccines can be given opportunistically by any of the doctors or practise nurse.

Who should have the flu vaccine?

If you come into any of the following groups it is advisable to consider having a flu vaccine to protect you from the risk of more serious effects
• aged 65 years or over
• living in a residential or nursing home
• the main carer of an older or disabled person
• a household contact of an immunocompromised person
• a health or social care worker
• pregnant
or you have
• a heart problem
• a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis or emphysema
• a kidney disease
• lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such
as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
• liver disease
• had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
• diabetes
• a neurological condition, for example multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
• a problem with your spleen, for example sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed.
If you have a two- or three-year-old child, you should take them for the vaccination when invited by your surgery. If you do not hear by about the middle of October, contact your surgery to make an appointment.

Information concerning this vaccination is available on the following pdf

Read the following link to advise what symptoms to expect and when you should visit your doctor.

If you do develop flu – like symptoms and you are fit and healthy and don’t come into the above groups treat yourself with over the counter preparations.
Antibiotics are not effective in treating a viral illness

In order to protect the vulnerable with whom you may not be aware you are in contact
Remember to try to prevent spread of flu.

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spread the flu virus in tiny droplets of saliva over a wide area. These droplets can then be breathed in by other people or they can be picked up by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed. You can prevent the spread of the virus by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and you can wash your hands frequently or use hand gels to reduce the risk of picking up the virus.


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This week we have been advised to alert all patients to the fact that NHS England is commissioning a modern data service from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) on behalf of the entire health and social care system.

Confidential information from your medical records can be used by the NHS to improve the services offered so we can provide the best possible care for everyone.
This information along with your postcode and NHS number but not your name, are sent to a secure system where it can be linked with other health information.
This allows those planning NHS services or carrying out medical research to use information from different parts of the NHS in a way which does not identify you.

You have a choice.

If you are happy for your information to be used in this way you do not have to do anything.

If you have any concerns or wish to prevent this from happening, please speak to practice staff or ask at reception for a copy of the leaflet “How information about you helps us to provide better care”

Information about you and the care you receive is shared, in a secure system, by healthcare staff to support your treatment and care.
It is important that we, the NHS, can use this information to plan and improve services for all patients. We would like to link information from all the different places where you receive care, such as your GP, hospital and community service, to help us provide a full picture. This will allow us to compare the care you received in one area against the care you received in another, so we can see what has worked best.
Information such as your postcode and NHS number, but not your name, will be used to link your records in a secure system, so your identity is protected. Information which does not reveal your identity can then be used by others, such as researchers and those planning health services, to make sure we provide the best care possible for everyone.
How your information is used and shared is controlled by law and strict rules are in place to protect your privacy.
We need to make sure that you know this is happening and the choices you have.

More information can be found on

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, NHS England has the power to direct the HSCIC to collect information from all providers of NHS care, including general practices.

HSCIC provide national information and information technology (IT) systems to health and social care organisations so they can provide better services and improve health standards.

This includes presenting data in a way that can be easily understood, providing systems that make it easier to access and use the data, and setting IT and information standards.

They claim to be a trusted source of data and information, which means patient details are protected.

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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Training and Advice


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We all know that feeling of arriving at the station as the barrier goes down and watch your train slide away from you.image
It leaves you feeling irritated and perhaps distressed at the prospect of a long wait for the next train and the hassle of arranging an alternative pick up at your destination.
The last time this occurred was earlier this month when the Eurostar arrived late and I didn’t have enough time to cross Paris to catch the connecting TGV at Montparnasse. I arrived with 4 minutes to go before the departure time but the awaiting station uniformed official mercilessly blocked mine and several others entrance to the platform claiming we should be there at least 2 minutes before departure and indeed by the time she had completed her declaration it was just just less than 2 minutes!

I walked away crest fallen, luckily with a semi-flexible ticket and started to make my way towards the Salle d’Attente ready for more than one hour’s wait. On my way I noticed, out of the corner of my eye a cycling machine for charging batteries.
image I put down my luggage and plugged in my iPad and it wasn’t long before a young French girl from a small village near Nantes joined me also having missed her train connection. We both began pedaling as if in a road cyclists heaven cycling the French Pyrénées on a challenging climb. (Echoed by passing French young men) then she said that there was no need to pedal so hard, the devices did not charge any faster and we slowed down to a casual pace.
She then started to tell me how she had worked as an ‘au pair’ for a councillor’s family in Rochdale near Sheffield. Whilst living there she had worked as a volunteer at a youth club and it was whilst working there that she had gone back to the flat of 2 of the young girls from the youth club. She had been discouraged but felt she had something in common with them as they claimed that they were bored at home and she empathasisec as she been brought up in I small out of the way village in France. When she arrived at the flat she was not unduly surprised to see the disheveled outer appearance after all the outside of her parents farmhouse was not exactly pristine.
As she entered the flat she was shocked and surprised to see that it was totally empty except for some bedding strewn on the bare floorboards, no doors, no electricity and only cold running water. Her look of surprise prompted the girls to admit that both parents were drug addicts and they had sold every possession and use the doors as firewood to make an open fire to cook and keep warm. What do you do to occupy yourself the French girl asked and they told her how they played cards by candle-light and listened to the radio when they acquired batteries.
Following this experience she went back to France and studied Political Sciences and now involved in French Politics.

We the talked about social deprivation and poverty and she felt is was because in Britain we had not had a Revolution and didn’t appreciate the concept of Liberté,Egalité & Fraternité and tended to concentrate our efforts on Liberty(freedom).
More importantly after this experience she had phoned her mother to apologise for complaining about being brought up in a boring simple village on an ordinary farm!
It was not long before we noticed that 45 minutes had passed and we parted with devices charged and in separate directions to try to make some difference in society.


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If you read the main website on the following link you will be able to view the practise profile and what actions have been taken following previous PPG meetings.
Last year was directed at health education and a major reason for starting this blog.


• To give Practice staff and patients the opportunity to discuss topics of mutual interest in the Practice.
• To provide the means for patients to make positive suggestions about the Practice and their own healthcare.
• To encourage health education activities within the Practice.
• To develop self-help projects to meet the needs of fellow patients.
• To act as a representative group that can be called upon to influence the local provision of health and social care.
• To involve further patients from the wider population.

imageAs I am sure you are all aware the NHS has become NHS ENGLAND and has reinvented itself with the prime aim to improve the health outcomes for people in England.


We believe the new approach we are taking will really make a difference and deliver the improved health outcomes we all want to see.

Central to our ambition is to place the patients and the public at the heart of everything we do. We are what we want the NHS to be – open, evidence-based and inclusive, to be transparent about the decisions we make, the way we operate and the impact wehave.

We encourage patient and public participation in the NHS, treat them respectfully and put their interests first. This allows us to develop the insight to help us improve outcomes and guarantee no community is left behind or disadvantaged.

We empower and support clinical leaders at every level of the NHS through clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), networks and senates, in NHS England itself and in providers, helping them to make genuinely informed decisions, spend the taxpayers’ money wisely and provide high quality services.

Engaging with our staff is equally important to us too. Our staff are what makes NHS England an excellent organisation: an exemplar in customer focus, professionalism, rigour and creativity.

Grounded by the values and principles of the NHS Constitution, we are an organisation who shares ideas and knowledge, successes and failures, and listens to each other carefully and thoughtfully.

At NHS England, we practice what we preach. By working collaboratively and building coalitions with partners everywhere means we can achieve greater things together and deliver the best patient service not only in England but in the world.


It is with this in mind that we are continuing to develop our PPG and your views as patients will be important when we have our CQC inspection.
We need your support during the changes that are anticipated and feedback from you to establish what is going well and we need your positive suggestions as to how we can make improvements to the practise and your healthcare.

Small practises such as ours are under threat and we are finding ways as to how we can work more closely with other local practises and have started to share resources such as anticoagulant management,lung function measurement,children’s phlebotomy and nursing home patient care as well as training our staff. We recently held our cardio-pulmonary support training session with staff from other practises and patients were also invited.

We have joined a network with other local practises to meet to discuss care pathways for patients with complex medico-social problems as well as finding learning needs and addressing them.
Doctors and/or practise manager always attend CCG meetings so that we keep up to date with local and national changes and a chance to meet doctors from other networks to formulate ways of improving health care by commissioning.
The 2013/14 prosectus and links can be found on the following website

Following the CQC inspection there will inevitably be suggestions of actions that need to be actioned. You may have noticed certain changes such as all staff wear name badges including me when I remember! Also there are EXIT signs and all staff are being trained in more advanced health and safety including fire safety. All staff are trained regularly in first aid and life support and awareness of patients with particular needs.
We have all been alerted to the special needs of patients with learning disability and sensory impairment and are attempting to find ways of accommodating them sensitively as advised by healthcare professionals who are expert in this field.

What are our priorities and vision for the future?
Ealing CCG has seven overarching priority areas of work, as follows:
*A better start in life – increasing breastfeeding initiation, reducing avoidable childhood injuries, and increasing childhood immunisations.
*Increasing life expectancy – reducing cardiovascular disease deaths, reducing cancer deaths; and reducing alcohol-related hospital admissions.
*Shifting unplanned care towards planned care – increasing the amount of services delivered in a community setting, improving unplanned care services in Ealing, and reducing the delays in hospital discharges.
*Reducing variations in primary care – better early diagnosis and treatment, and reducing variations in hospital referral patterns by GPs.
*Improving recovery – increasing the range and access to rehabilitation services.
* Enhanced mental health services – increasing the provision of community services.
* Improving care at the end of life – increasing the proportion of deaths in preferred places.

These are the areas of work which we are discussing in our CCG meetings and implementing in our networks and in the practise.

The main areas a PPG can help are:-
*Improving services provided by the surgery
Carrying out surveys into a whole variety of subjects eg health needs/expectations and major cause of ill-health in a particular area.
• To explore the changing needs of patients.
• Measure patient satisfaction.
• Gather ideas for improvements or modifications needed for the delivery of services.
• Discussions at meetings.

*Offering support to other patients
e.g Befriending service, Carers Group

*Improving facilities at the surgery
• Fundraising for new furniture, toys or decorating.
• Keeping the plants or gardens of the surgery maintained.
• General environmental improvements.

*Providing health promotion and education
e.g diabetes awareness day,contributions to the blog and notices added to our notice board.

* Supporting voluntary organisations in the area
e.g Age UK, MIND, Heart Foundation, Cancer UK, Dementia Concern
We have several patients who make contributions to these and other organisations

This year the CCG want to particularly want to focus on Carers
Many people who are caring for someone do not necessarily see themselves as a ‘carer’. Rather they are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, partners, husbands, wives or neighbours. However, being identified as a carer by the council can help you get the right support you need to look after the person you care for.
To understand what support can be given to Carers the following website is helpful



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