Clifton Hampden Surgery PPG has asked me to be Guest Editor of the Newsletter, and as a newcomer from London (returning to where I grew up) I am delighted to do this.  After the mega-surgeries we suffer in London, sometimes having to wait 5 weeks to see a doctor, the appointments system at Clifton Hampden is a delight.

Understanding the importance of basic questions.

You may have to call 111 (when it’s late, or at the weekend), and you can be asked what might seem silly questions   Whilst waiting on the phone you are asked if you can feel yours/patient’s skin to see if they are cold/hot.  Asked if there is unusual sweating, have you taken a temperature, etc.  And yes, this is a tickbox exercise but goes onto a page which gives a paramedic a quick overall view.  So whilst you are waiting, someone can already be assessing what you need. So bear with the system – once the call centre has an overall picture of what you DON’T need, it can send you to the right person you DO need..


Podiatrists first told me about Flexitol cream.  Developed in Australia for cancer patients who had cracked skin on their feet as a side effect of treatment, this cream is also NICE-approved. If you have rough or sore skin on your feet, and qualify, you can get this on free prescription.  The Podiatrist at Wallingford hospital is keen that we protect our feet, particularly if you are elderly.


Hydro pools are used as a gentle exercise, especially for those with

  • Orthopaedic rehabilitation including joint replacements
  • balance issues
  • Spinal disorders
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Neurological conditions
  • Arthritic Conditions
  • lasting effects from Polio

There are two excellent NHS pools in the area:  at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and the other at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford.   The private Circle Hospital in Reading also has an Aqua Treadmill.  However, recent cuts mean that there is limited capacity at the NHS hospitals, so our MP, John Howell, has been asked to look into this to ensure that both pools stay open.

If you are offered this therapy, grab it!  It is very much more popular in Europe, where most doctors are keen for patients to benefit from this.


The Oxford Branch of the Royal Osteoporosis Society had a packed audience for its interesting Summer Meeting. Guest speaker Dr. K. Javaid cheerfully answered a multitude of questions, prompted by his extremely interesting talk on drug therapy.  He talked us through the different drug therapies, and there seems to be a new energy in the NOC’s Rheumatology Dept.

Sarah Connacher, Specialist Osteoporosis Nurse at the NOC has obviously fought to get the best care possible for those with Osteoporosis, and has developed a thriving Facture Liaison Clinic.  She has instigated a programme looking at ALL the current X-rays, not just for those where Osteoporosis has been highlighted; aiming to ‘catch’ those that might have slipped through the net as they have been taken for other purposes.

Travel Insurance

Until we leave the EU, UK citizens will still be able to take advantage of the EHIC agreement if taken ill abroad. This entitles NHS patients to reclaim certain medical costs – but not all).  But you still have to insure yourself and your family for repatriation costs.  This means if you are taken ill abroad and have to be flown home in an air ambulance, it is up to you to pay costs. EHIC cover does NOT pay for this.  Age UK, Macmillan and other charities can advise on companies that provide insurance cover for this, but ask around as they can vary.

Wellness Day in Dorchester

From the event has come several initiatives aimed at providing services for Cancer survivors.  Sue Jupp and her helpers provided teas and coffees galore, aided by a mega donation of Goodies from Waitrose. And visitors found over 20 vastly different companies exhibiting, all offering services that can help survivors.
Two massage therapists were encouraged to take a special course to add cancer knowledge to their offerings – so that is also very positive.  Now there is general massage for Oncology patients locally, as well as Manual Lymphatic Drainage for those with Lymphodema with Sarah Bellhouse. And Amanda may now have backing and some funding to start her Beauty Bus;  this means taking medically approved massages and treatments to patients at their own homes.
La Roche Posay were giving out generous samples of their Anthelios Sun creams, which are very helpful for those with cancer.  if you qualify, you may be able to get Anthelios suncream on free prescription.  And the Simpal charity were explaining how the charity offers free Sim cards for those undergoing treatment, so it doesn’t cost anything for them to stay in touch with friends.
The end result means there will be different mini-businesses able to offer special treatment locally for cancer patients, and leaves something lasting in place.  Watch this space !


In July 2018, the UK was gripped by one of the hottest summers since records began, with many parts of the country reporting temperatures of close to 35C. Whilst the Met Office are fairly certain another blistering heatwave is unlikely this summer, they have already warned that we are to expect temperatures that are higher than usual during July and August.

But spare a thought for the elderly especially neighbours. High temperatures and strong rays of sunshine can cause multiple health implications, particularly for older people.

David Glover, Managing Director of in-home care franchise, Caremark, offers his insight on how you can offer a helping hand during the warmer months. As temperatures rise, older people often find it harder to take part in summer activities; higher pollen count and an increase in humidity has an adverse effect on pre-existing health complaints. As we get older, our bodies become less able to regulate temperature as people over 65 don’t sweat as much as younger adults – unfortunately, this is one of the body’s most important heat-regulation mechanisms.

Kids and the Sun

Advice from BAD (British Assn. Dermatologists) say make sure you or they re-apply sunscreen frequently, especially if they are in and out of water.  And they may be playing under a sun umbrella, but the sun’s rays can deflect under the shade, especially if by water, a white wall, concrete etc. – so watch for this.  Keep on re-applying Anthelios sunscreen throughout the day.