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Re-commissioning of GP Out of Hours Service in Hackney

Hackney LINk Steering Group wrote in support of the CCG(Clincial Commissioning Group)'s view that a local consortia of GPs should deliver Out of Hours service. NELC (North East London and the City NHS) has decided that a full commissioning process is needed.

Letter to CCG regarding Out of Hours Service December 2012
Letter to NELC regarding Out of Hours Service January 2013
Letter from NELC regarding Out of Hours Service February 2013

Results of Hackney LINk Enter and View visits to the RNRU (Regional Neurological Rehabiliation Unit) at Homerton Hospital

LINk members led "Citizen's Eye" inspections of the RNRU at Homerton Hospital. Read our recommendations and the Homerton's response here.

Enter and View Visit to RNRU - November 2012
Response from Homerton Hospital to RNRU Enter and View

Hackney LINk Soup Kitchen Report

We visited 3 soup kitchens in Hackney, and interviewed 25 people about their access to healthcare

Hackney LINk Soup Kitchen Report - November 2012

Response to CCG Commissioning Intentions

City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group have published their Commissioning Intentions for 2013/14. They are reproduced here with the response from Hackney LINk.

CCG Commissioning Intentions September 2012 Draft
Hackney LINk response to CCG Commissioning Intentions

September 2012: New Hackney LINk Chair

Michael Vidal, Hackney LINk's Vice Chair, has stepped up to be Hackney LINk's interim Chair. We wish our outgoing Chair, Nicola Benjamin, best wishes in her new ventures.

Results of Hackney LINk Enter and View visits to 3 Local Mental Health Services

LINk members led "Citizen's Eye" inspections of Joshua Ward at Homerton Mental Health Centre, Lee House Employment and Rehabilitation Centre and Core Arts, Mental Health Charity. Read our recommendations and the Council and NHS responses here.

Enter and View visit to Joshua Ward, Homerton Mental Health Centre - March 2012
Enter and View visit to Lee House (Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre) - June 2012
Enter and View visit to Core Arts (Mental Health Community Organisation) - June 2012

Hackney LINk Annual Report 2012

Read about Hackney LINk's activities April 2011 - March 2012.

Hackney LINk Annual Report 2012

Results of Hackney LINk Enter and View visits to 3 local GP Practices

LINk members led "Citizen's Eye" inspections of Sorsby, Nightingale and Allerton Practices. Read our recommendations and the NHS response here.

Enter and View visit to Sorsby GP Practice - February 2012
Enter and View visit to Allerton GP Practice - March 2012
Enter and View visit to Nightingale GP Practice - March 2012

Older People's Community Services

Hackney Council are reviewing community services for Older People. We interviewed 20 older people on one small estate close, and asked them what they would like to see happen

Older People's Community Services - January 2012

Urgent Care Services

Hackney LINk carried out interviews and questionnaires with people using Urgent Care Services in Hackney to contribute to the review of Urgent Care Services

Urgent Care Redesign Programme - Hackney LINk Users' Feedback Report November 2011
Survey Questionnaire for Walk in and Urgent Care Centre Users

5th December 2011: Hackney LINk launches rating system for health and social care services in Hackney

At last a real tool that the public can use to have a say in their healthcare to improve services Ashley Brooks, National Patients Champion

Patients are being offered a greater say on heath and care providers in Hackney with a new rating service that will help improve local NHS services.

Rate Our Service is a website where people can leave feedback on a whole range of health and social care services in Hackney including GPs, dentists, hospitals, opticians and pharmacies.

The good thing about Rate Our Service is that its quick and easy to use, says Nicola Benjamin, chair of Hackney LINk

You just need to go to our website, find the service youve used and then give it a quick rating between one and five stars against 10 short questions.

For example if you have a family member in a Hackney care home, or have had a good or bad experience at a GP, pharmacy, optician dentist or hospital locally, you can let people know where things are working well or help improve the service.

If you dont have access to a website we will soon be launching rating cards in pharmacies and GP surgeries throughout the borough and you can always give us a call on 020 7241 4443 x30 and well take your rating directly.

Rate Our Service is completely anonymous and we never pass personal information on to the people providing the service.

Results of Hackney LINk Enter and View visits to the Huddleston Centre

LINk members led "Citizen's Eye" inspections of Learning Disability Services at the Huddleston Centre. Read our recommendations and the response from the Huddleston Centre and Hackney Council.

Enter and view visit to Huddleston Centre - November 2011

Results of Hackney LINk Enter and View visits to Larch Lodge Dementia Assessment Unit

LINk members led "Citizen's Eye" inspections of Larch Lodge Dementia Assessment Unit to contribute to the NHS review of local dementia assessment, and a proposal to merge 3 units into 1.

Enter and view visit to in-patient dementia assessment services - November 2011

Learning Disability Services

Hackney LINk carried out interviews with people using and delivering Learning Disability Services in Hackney

Interviews for Review of Learning Disability Services November 2011

We would like to hear your views and ideas about Community Dental Services in City and Hackney

Event is on Wednesday 9th November 2011, 13:00-15:00, City and Hackney Carers' Centre. Click here for more information

Launch of Hackney LINk Homecare Report

People receiving care in their homes often feel too vulnerable to complain....

Press release 27/10/11

Audience at the report launch

Over 1400 people in Hackney receive care in their homes, provided by the Council, and nearly 80% of these are older people. Homecare usually involves care-workers visiting people in their home to help them with their personal care and hygiene, to help them to live independent lives..

Hackney LINk heard from people receiving care that they had concerns yet often felt too vulnerable to complain. So we asked some Hackney residents receiving Homecare to keep a diary of the care they received, and to record their concerns and ideas for improving the service. From this was developed the Homecare Report: Homecare Services in Hackney Report April 2011

The Report was formally launched yesterday [October 26th] by Maureen Ford, Co-Vice Chair of Hackney LINk, at the Hackney Older Peoples Reference Group event at Urswick School in Hackney.

Maureen Ford launching report

What did people receiving Council care in their homes say?

People receiving care said they had concerns ranging from the punctuality of care-workers looking after them, to lack of understanding of cultural difference or sexuality, to the pay and working conditions of care-workers. What they said they wanted was choice, respect, good timekeeping, the ability to input to the training of care-workers and above all to be enabled to live an independent life like everyone else.

Response from the Council?

Hackney LINk made 12 recommendations to Hackney Council, and most have been adopted. Some immediate changes have happened already for example some care agencies now have systems for care-workers to log in and out by phone to help ensure punctuality and time spent with each client. And some longer term changes are underway - for example, the Hackney LINk Homecare Charter promoting respect and dignity will be part of the Councils contract with care agencies.

Maureen Ford, Vice Chair of Hackney LINk

said Im delighted that we empowered 10 people receiving Homecare to have their say and that this has lead to improvement in the service its a good model and what Hackney LINk is all about. We couldnt have done it without: the diary writers, the buddies and the report writers and Hackney Council who listened and responded

What next? This is just the start.

While the recommendations have been taken into policy, and this is a good first step, there is still a long way to go to make sure that people are receiving good quality homecare. This was illustrated at the launch where a Hackney resident in his late eighties reported to the meeting that the care-worker for his wife was due to come each day at 9am to help her get up, yet had recently called at 1pm to say she was on her way, when his wife was already in a day-centre.

And one of the diary writers commented, following the launch, on the importance of having a whistle-blowing policy saying I sometimes overheard care-workers speaking harshly to my mother, a frail 90 year-old. She felt too vulnerable to report this in case she then received worse care

We will be regularly asking people receiving care if they have seen a change and will be passing the feedback to the Council and the care agencies.

City & Hackney Patient Network

Self Management Graduates are invited to join a patient network. The network aims to support patients in being able to utilise the skills they have learnt in their self management course and take them towards the next stages of the spiral of participation.

What is the network for?

Residents from City and Hackney will be invited to participate in consultations, research and to become members of committees around health and health care provision.

How will it work?

Graduates will be able to access the network by becoming a member. Members will be sent information in the post and electronically. There will also be an opportunity to have discussions through an e-network and message board format. NHS City & Hackney will communicate with the network on health related issues.

For more information and to take part, please contact Susie Crome (Social Action for Health) on 020 8510 1967.

Elderly NHS patients' harrowing plight is revealed in report

EnD of Life Care

The NHS is inflicting pain and suffering on elderly patients and ignoring their most basic needs, according to a report by the health service ombudsman which highlights cases where vulnerable patients were failed.

Some patients were not offered help with eating or bathing, and one was left in urine-soaked clothes held together with paper clips.

Older people too often did not receive the care, compassion and respect they deserved, according to the ombudsman, Ann Abraham.

Her report cites 10 cases inadequately investigated by the NHS, in which elderly men and women were treated appallingly, often towards the end of their lives. It details serious failings in how NHS staff managed the patients' pain, nutritional needs and discharge from hospital, often with disastrous consequences.

Her disclosures led to calls for the NHS to urgently overhaul its care of the elderly.

"These often harrowing accounts should cause every member of NHS staff who reads this report to pause and ask themselves if any of their patients could suffer in the same way. I know from my caseload that in many cases the answer must be 'yes'," said Abraham.

This article is from the Guardian website (15th February 2011).
To read further, please click on the link below:

Hackney LINk report on Hackneys home care

Home Care Working Group

Hackney LINk has undertaken a consultation with service users on the quality of home care services in Hackney and put together 17 recommendations.

The service users kept a diary for around a month so that their experiences could be monitored on a daily basis and/or took part in interviews.

Home care services are either provided by Hackney Council or contracted out.

Key recommendations that were made based on the findings include all care workers having mandatory training on disabilities awareness, diversity and the social model of disability; care agencies producing a realistic rota for care worker travel times; improved pay and conditions for care workers; the production of a joint agreement between the care provider and the service user and the adoption of a home care service user charter.

Please note the report will be available for download soon.

Health in Hackney

Hackney LINk has joined forces with the local Health and Social Care Forum in organising an event entitled The Future of Health in Hackney.

Heakth in Hackney

Around 70 people attended the event. Speakers included the Chief Executive of NHS City and Hackney, the local Director of Public Health and the Chief Executive of East London Integrated Care (a social enterprise organisation which supports local GPs in working together to develop services).

Hackney LINk Chair Malcolm Alexander, who also spoke at the event, stressed the importance of ensuring that NHS provision is not taken over by private companies.

After listening to the speakers the attendees broke into workshops discussing GP consortia, prevention activities, using the olympics to promote well-being, influencing the proposed changes to the NHS and the impact of the cuts.

Hackney LINk researching local peoples needs with the help of UCL

Hackney LINk has begun two research projects with the help of two students from University College London (UCL), both studying medical anthropology, who will be undertaking and co-ordinating interviews.

The two issues they will concentrate on are malaria prophylaxis and access to primary care services for asylum seekers.

The first issue will involve working with the West African communities around faith centres in Hackney to identify the barriers to accessing prophylaxis.

The second issue will involve working with a number of different refugee and asylum seeker organisations from different communities including Chinese, Turkish/Kurdish and Ugandan communities.

If you have any views on these services, please get in touch with us on 020 8510 1972.

Help shape the future of adult care services

Hackney Council, NHS City and Hackney and other partners are looking at what services there are to improve your health, to keep you well, to provide you with social care or to care for someone who does and how these services are commissioned.

They are asking for input from residents to help understand what works and what could be improved. The purpose of the review is to develop a commissioning plan for new services which will start in April 2012.

Consultation is taking place until 31st March to inform the review and to make sure local people have the opportunity to shape future services.

There are 5 areas of services being looked at. These are mental health, older people, learning difficulties, carers and physical disabilities.

There is an online survey on Hackney Council's website: http://www.hackney.gov.uk/trasc-info-and-advice.htm

Hackney LINk Jan-Mar 2011 Newsletter

Hackney LINk January-March 2011 Newsletter

Hackney LINk January-March Newsletter is available for download by clicking here

Become a member of Hackney LINk

Become a member of Hackney LINk

Benefits of becoming a member:

  • Feedback on which issues should be prioritised by Hackney LINk
  • Have access to training if you wish to become a Steering Group Member or be part of a Working Group
  • Volunteer for Hackney LINk
  • Vote in the annual election of the Steering Group
  • Sit on a Working Group
  • Stand for election onto the Steering Group
  • Challenge the decisions of the Hackney LINk Steering Group

How do I qualify to become a member?

You can become a member of Hackney LINk if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You live in Hackney
  • You benefit as a user of health and adult social care services in the borough of Hackney, or if you are the carer of someone who does
  • You represent a community/voluntary sector organisation with an interest in promoting (if representing one) health or/and social care services in Hackney that are effective in meeting service user needs

How do I become a member?

  • Join Hackney LINk now and influence change in Hackney's health and social care services! The membership form can be filled in by clicking here.

If you would like to talk to us about membership or would like a hard copy of the membership form in the post, please call us on 020 8510 1972.

Changes to plans for childrens surgery welcomed

Hackney LINk has welcomed changes to NHS proposals for childrens surgery in north east London.

The changes are likely to help protect childrens surgery provided at the Homerton.

Malcolm Alexander, Chair of Hackney LINk, pointed out that they were in line with recommendations made by the LINk in its response to the original proposals in the Health for north east London consultation on reshaping hospital services.

Two of the key proposals on childrens surgery met with opposition from the LINk.

The LINk opposed concentrating all surgery on children under two at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. It recommended that the arrangement by which paediatric surgeons from The Royal London undertake simple operations on babies at the Homerton should continue.

The LINk also opposed concentrating all urgent or complex surgery on children between two and fifteen at The Royal London and Queens Hospital in Romford. It recommended that the Homerton should be able to continue providing urgent surgery for children in the age range 12-15 where the relevant professionals and the families agree.

NHS chiefs in north east London have now agreed an alternative approach based on individual assessment. This is likely to mean more surgery being retained at the Homerton than originally anticipated.

Children under six months will still be transferred to The Royal London but an exception has been made for surgery on newborn babies at the Homerton.

Mr Alexander said: The changes to the proposals are not only good news for the Homerton but also good news for children in Hackney and their parents. People want their surgery to be provided locally where possible..

He said the LINk looked forward to discussions with the Homerton on the development of childrens services.

The Health for north east London consultation Delivering high-quality hospital services for the people of north east London was held from 30 November 2009 to 22 March 2010. The consultation document can be found at the following address (click on consultation document): http://www.healthfornel.nhs.uk/resources/consultation-materials/

Hackney LINks response to the consultation can be found here.

Hackney watchdog mobilises opposition to NHS plans

Hackney LINk is mobilising opposition to the governments plans for the future of the NHS.

The LINk argues that transferring responsibility for purchasing services from primary care trusts to groups of GP practices will harm the doctor-patient relationship, reduce accountability to patients and require the use of expensive consultancy services and private healthcare companies.

The LINk has now circulated a campaign pack inviting local people to write to their GPs, as well as to their MPs and councillors, voicing concerns about the plans.

Malcolm Alexander, Chair of Hackney LINk, said the watchdog was aiming to form a powerful alliance with MPs, councillors, community organisations, health service workers and the general public in opposition to the governments proposals.

Mr Alexander said: We are committed to securing an NHS free at the point of use and funded through general taxation. We believe that the proposals in the NHS White Paper are not grounded in evidence or in any clear mandate from the electorate and will cause massive damage to NHS services..

He added that it was wholly unreasonable to expect the NHS to be able to undertake the biggest reorganisation in its history while at the same time making huge cuts to services and staff.

A public meeting on 23 September organised by the LINk heard criticism of the governments recent NHS White Paper from a range of speakers including Hackney MP Meg Hillier, Patrick Vernon from the Afiya Trust and Dot Gibson from the National Pensioners Convention.

The campaign pack can be found by clicking here.

Supermarkets under fire over cigarettes

Supermarket giants Sainsburys and Tesco are under fire over their refusal to place cigarettes in a screened area that cannot be seen by children.

Hackney LINk wrote to Sainsburys Chief Executive Justin King and Tesco Chief Executive Sir Terry Leahy on 9 November calling on the companies either to stop selling cigarettes or to place them in a screened area.

In his reply of 23 November Mr King promised only that Sainsburys would comply with any future legislation on the display of tobacco when it came into effect.

In a reply of 10 December, sent on behalf of Sir Terry, Tesco similarly promised only that it would comply with the legislation once it was introduced.

Malcolm Alexander, Chair of Hackney LINk, said it was disgraceful that Sainsburys and Tesco were dragging their heels in this way.

In 2005-07 up to 18% of deaths in Hackney were attributable to smoking. A World Health Organisation study indicates that 600,000 people a year die from passive smoking worldwide. How many more people have to die before supermarkets stop making smoking appear normal to young people?

Mr Alexander dismissed a suggestion in Mr Kings letter that Sainsburys had offered free consultations with nurses at 12 of its stores in order to help people stop smoking.

Inviting nurses into Sainsburys stores to help people stop smoking is like selling people poison and then offering a free antidote. The companys stance on cigarettes is totally at odds with its commitment to the health of its customers.

Mr Alexander said: We want to see real progress from Sainsburys and Tesco in banning cigarette sales rather than profiting from the death of their customers.

He said the LINk would be raising the matter with the public health authorities, Hackney Council and Public Health Minister Anne Milton.

The reply from Sainsburys can be found here. The reply from Tesco can be found here.

For further information about the World Health Organisation study, see the BBC report dated 26 November 2010 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11844169. The BBC report says: The study, in 192 countries, found that passive smoking is particularly dangerous for children, said to be at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, pneumonia and asthma..

Hackney health watchdog tackles supermarkets over cigarettes

Hackney LINk, the boroughs watchdog for health and adult social care services, is tackling supermarkets over the sale of cigarettes.

Cigarette Sales in Supermarkets

Malcolm Alexander, Chair of Hackney LINk, has written to local supermarkets calling on them either to stop selling cigarettes or to place them in a screened area that cannot be seen by children.

In 2005-07 up to 18% of deaths in Hackney were attributable to smoking.

Mr Alexander said: Cigarettes pose a grave danger to supermarket customers. It is inconsistent for supermarkets to promote cigarettes that cause early death while marketing themselves as sellers of good food that promotes health.

He said that placing cigarettes in an open place made smoking appear normal to young people and promoted their sale.

Mr Alexander has also written to the Chief Executives of Sainsburys and Tesco.

He said: I hope the supermarkets will soon recognise their long term interest in keeping their customers alive and buying their food.

NHS needs to listen harder and learn more from complaints, says Health Service Ombudsman

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Logo

The Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has published the first in an annual series of reports examining NHS complaint handling in England. The Ombudsman warns that the NHS is missing a rich source of free and readily available information about patients by failing to listen and learn from complaints.

Listening and Learning: the Ombudsman's review of complaint handling by the NHS in England 2009-10 Report, covers the first full year of the new complaint handling system for the NHS. The reports scope includes previously unpublished data about the number and type of complaints received by the Ombudsman in 2009-10 for every trust and strategic health authority region in England. It shows how many complaints were received and the outcomes of the complaints investigated. It presents a perspective not seen before: a national picture from the Ombudsman of what happens when mistakes occur and the NHS fails to put things right.

As the report shows, poor complaint handling can make a difficult situation worse for patients and their families. Poorly handled complaints can also escalate, creating unnecessary demands on NHS resources.

The report highlights how often the Ombudsman needs to get involved just to ensure the NHS apologises when a mistake has been made.

The report can be accessed by clicking here.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website can be accessed by clicking here.

Patient Opinion - Your story can change the NHS

We want to hear your story and your ideas to help other patients, and to improve the NHS.
Here are some of the things that you can do on Patient Opinion:

  • Patients and carers can find out what other people think of local hospitals, hospices and mental health services.
  • And lots of people share the story of what happened to them or their family when they were ill.
  • Most important of all patients and carers can tell it like it is - patients and carers know what the service was like and come up with lots of great ideas about how it could be better.

Think Local, Act Personal: Next Steps for Transforming Adult Social Care

Social care leaders at the National Children's and Adult Social Services conference in Manchester launched a proposed partnership agreement: Think Local, Act Personal. The agreement recommends how councils, health bodies and providers need to work more efficiently to personalise and integrate service delivery across health and adult social care.

Think Local, Act Personal brings together leading organisations across health and social care to support the contribution that individuals, families, carers and communities make in providing care and support - both to those who are publicly funded and those who pay for support themselves.

Please click here for more information and to download documents.

Hackney LINk warns government proposals will undermine NHS

Hackney LINk has warned local people that the governments health White Paper could damage and undermine the NHS.

A public meeting organised by the LINk heard criticism of the governments recent NHS White Paper from a range of speakers including Hackney MP Meg Hillier, Patrick Vernon from the Afiya Trust and Dot Gibson from the National Pensioners Convention.

The LINk argues that the governments proposal to transfer responsibility for purchasing services from primary care trusts to groups of GP practices will harm the doctor-patient relationship, reduce accountability to patients and require the use of expensive consultancy services and private healthcare companies.

The LINk members argued against the transfer of taxpayers money to such companies and claimed the government has no mandate for privatisation from the recent election.

A statement was read out reporting that at a joint meeting of about 60 City and Hackney GPs there was almost unanimous condemnation of the Health White Paper.

The LINk now hopes to get local people to write to their GPs, as well as to their MPs and councillors, urging opposition to the proposals.

Malcolm Alexander, Chair of Hackney LINk, said the LINk wanted to lead the local response to the White Paper by bringing together MPs, councillors, the voluntary sector and the general public.

There are concerns that this White Paper puts the National Health Service at considerable risk. We dont want to wake up one day and find that our healthcare has gone to the private sector and that the NHS has been left as nothing more than a brand name. Thats why we need to organise a powerful response now. We must ensure that the NHS is fully accountable to patients and the public and is focused on their needs, not the need to make profits out of healthcare. We must form a powerful alliance with local community organisations, doctors and the general public to persuade the government to withdraw their harmful plans for the NHS.

Speakers Dot Gibson, Patrick Vernon, Malcolm Alexander and Meg Hillier MP at the Hackney LINk public meeting

Archived News Articles

Get Involved!

Sign up as a member of Hackney LINk now!

Face of Hackney LINk

Get more involved and sign up as a member of Hackney LINk. Join the Hackney LINk and influence change in Hackney's health and social care services!

Next Steering Group Meeting:

Click on the link to the Events page for the date, time and venue of the next Steering Group meeting, and all other Hackney LINk meetings

Download Hackney LINk's response to the public health consultations here

Download Hackney LINks policy briefing on Department of Health funding for LINks here.

Download Hackney LINk's NHS White Paper Campaign Pack here

Our NHS White Paper Campaign Pack contains briefing material on key aspects of the White Paper and model letters to GPs, MPs/councillors and local NHS officials.


Hackney LINk Newsletter

  • January - March 2011 Issue - click here.
  • October - December 2010 Issue - click here.
  • April - June 2010 Issue here.
  • January - March 2010 Issue here.
  • Issue 2 - September 2009 here.
  • Issue 1 - August here.

Hackney LINk Forum Launched


Please visit our Hackney LINk Forum to post and respond to topics.

Have your say!

Tell us what you think about health and adult social care services in Hackney. here

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