Monthly Briefings


October 2019


             Happy New Year


           Yes, this is the start of it. It will not be long before we are all being encouraged to enjoy Christmas! Talking of which we have a Tudor Christmas to look forward to at our meeting on 18 December. Cum February it will be the AGM for which we will be looking for volunteers to fill important roles in the committee. The club cannot exist without a committee. We will be looking for a chairman. Bob has recognized his other commitments must take precedence so will be standing down. This is an important position to fill but does not involve the donkey work required of secretary and treasurer.


             More immediately Margaret is working hard on organising the new lottery. So far 40 numbers have been claimed which is much better than last year. However it still means 50 numbers are available. Looking back I have soon to get the accounts in order for Izzy Isaacs to audit.


             September talk


Was by Friederike Englund, Macmillan Information Manger at Southend Hospital entitled, “Is cancer catching?”. Key questions:

Q: Is cancer curable? A: 50% can be on average

Q: How common is it? A: At age 40 or under, 1 in 10,000. 41 -59, 1 in 38. 60+, 1 in 15

Q: Who is at risk? A: You are if your lifestyle includes, smoking, obesity, alcohol, physical inactivity, bad diet, sun and UV rays and air pollution.

Q: If cancer cannot be cured can it be managed? A: There was no definite answer to this question. Plenty of advice on reducing the risk of contracting it.


Q; What is cancer? It is the phenomenon of uncontrolled dividing of body cells causing the growth of tumors. Because the body is continually circulating blood and lymph around itself some cancers can spread. It can get into bones, the liver, lungs, lymph nodes and the brain.


There are 5 common treatments:

             Local surgery and radiation. A systemic approach by hormone therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.


Thi     summarises the physical side of the matter but developing cancer produced equally important emotional impacts.


The     include, fear, anger, guilt, shock, denial, depression, loss of control and loneliness.

The physical effect of these emotions is fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of interest in sex, pain, headaches and sleep problems.

The national statistics are:

58% feel their emotional needs are not adequately addressed. Nearly half experience depression. A quarter break up with their partners. Over a third of carers feel an enormous strain on their relationship with the patient. 12% face it alone. On the brighter side 63% of patients return to work after treatment.

Q: How do you treat a cancer patient?

First, if you don’t know what to say – then do just that. Do ask how they are and how are they managing. Don’t use phrases like saying how brave they are and you must be positive.

Q: As a patient how do you treat yourself? A: Eat a variety of foods including 5 portions of fruit and vegetables. Maintain your weight below a BMI of 30 and go easy on the booze.

NHS development

If you study what is taking place at your doctors surgery I expect you will have seen more responsibility given to practice nurses. Also fewer doctors and more nurses. This reflects the net outflow of GPs and the tacit admission by doctors that they hold the whip hand in determining patients needs. It is now evident that the hospital is bending to the same pressure as witnessed this article in the Echo on 2 October:

Paramedics are set to take on more responsibility for, treating patients away from hospitals. The East of England Ambulance Service has laid out its vision for the future and it includes avoiding unnecessary visits to A&E departments, in line with NHS plans across the country. This includes looking at "ways in which patients can be treated by skilled paramedics at home or in a more appropriate setting outside of the hospital."


Eliminating handover delays at emergency departments is also high on the agenda for the service which currently sees crews sometimes having to wait for long periods with patients until they are admitted to A&E.

Dorothy Hosein, interim chief executive, said: "The corporate strategy sets out our vision and priorities for the next five years, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.


"Our patients are at the heart of everything we do. The strategy sets out a number of initiatives and projects that will continue to improve patient care-and maintain a positive and accountable culture for patients, staff and volunteers.


Your views matter to us and it's important that we hear them, so we can shape our strategy to work for everyone." The plans will include ways of improving "productivity and performance" and providing investment to upgrade the trust's ambulance fleet.

Views and opinions can be submitted to StrategyFeedback@ by Saturday, November 30.

If you do not have access send me your opinion in a letter and I will pass it on



There are a number of Healthwatch Southend engagement drop-in sessions planned until the end of this year.  If you wish to attend any of them either call our office or check our website the day before the drop-in event is scheduled and check for any time changes or unexpected cancellations:  01702 416320  or

Thursday 17 October, 2019 -10:00 to 15:00  The Royals Shopping Centre, High St, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1DG

Thursday 14 November, 2019 - 10:00 to 15:00 The Royals Shopping Centre, High St, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1DG

Tuesday 19 November, 2019 - 10:00 to 12:00  Civic Centre Southend, Victoria Ave, Southend-on-Sea


Tuesday 19 November, 2019 - 13:00 to 15:00  The Hub, 324-325 Chartwell Square, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 5SP

Tuesday 17 December, 2019 - 10:00 to 12:00  Civic Centre Southend, Victoria Ave, Southend-on-Sea

Tuesday 17 December, 2019 - 13:00 to 15:00  Westcliff Hub, 649 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex SS0 9PD


Dates for your Diary


Ongoing: Saxon king exhibition at Central Museum, Victoria Avenue.


Ongoing on Fridays 10-noon. Qi Gong classes at St Margaret’s Church Hall, Lime Avenue, Leigh. Posture, flowing movements and deep breathing techniques. Info David Puncher, 07788 196737. £6. Wear loose clothes and flat shoes.


1st Fridays. 10-noon. Coffee morning at Chalkwell Park Methodist to raise money for various charities.


Ongoing: Second Wednesday Leigh Town Council over 60’s social club. 10 to noon. Board games and refreshments. £2.


To 19 Oct: Art from the 60’s. Exhib at Leigh Community Centre by Darren Jones.


Until 10 Nov: Rayleigh Museum: Exhibition celebrating the 130th anniversary of the railway in the town. See photographs, posters, uniforms and artefacts.

1st floor, 91 High Street. Over Pizza Express


27 Oct: Rayleigh lift phobic day. For those with a fear of confined spaces this once a year day allows access by the fire escape.


Until 17 Nov: Firework displays on Saturdays at the base of the pier. 7:30pm. Free


20 Nov: Lenny Henry at The Cliffs. Audience participation

Info 351135


20 Nov: Next month’s meeting. Health Watch – what services we provide. 2pm at Balmoral Community Centre.


© JDS (É472670)