Healthwatch Lancashire is looking to find out when and how people want to visit their GP.

They have launched a survey to gather views from residents across Lancashire to find out when, where and how people would like GP services to be delivered.

Our aim is to promote the well-being of older people and help make life a more fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

Take a moment or so to read some of the positive outcomes for the older people we have supported.

Mrs Taylor

During an initial assessment visit to Mrs Taylor, one of the Promoting Independence Officers was concerned that she was complaining of feeling unwell that she had been unwell since the weekend. In particular she was aching, tired and very chesty. The Officer asked if she had seen her doctor and although she hadn’t, Mrs Taylor promised that if she felt no better by next week she would. They chatted further and it became evident to the Officer that Mrs Taylor was very chesty and breathless. The Officer said she felt that she should contact her GP but Mrs Taylor said she really did not feel up to going in to the surgery. Our Officer said they could ask for a home visit and although Mrs Taylor was a little reluctant to ‘bother anyone’. The Officer offered to ring the surgery on her behalf. When our Officer called they already had a nurse practitioner in the area and said they would ask her to call. She arrived within 20 mins and examined Mrs Taylor finding that she had a severe chest infection that she felt if left much longer would have resulted in pneumonia if not treated and subsequently a hospital admission. Due to the Officers’ actions the condition was identified and with the medication prescribed she will be able to recover in the comfort of her own home.

Mr Jones

During an initial referral visit Mr Jones mentioned that he enjoyed regular sports and exercise in his younger days and led a very active life but missed it now that his mobility was reduced and he was beginning to feel unfit which was affecting him mentally as well as physically. Mr Jones‘ Promoting Independence Support Officer was aware of an excellent ‘Arm Chair’  exercise class in the Preston area at Galloway House . Mr Jones seemed really interested in seeing what it was like but transport was not easily available to him. The Support Officer took Mr Jones along to the class herself for a ‘taster ‘and indeed it was just right for Mr Jones who said he had a great time and would like to go again. At the same time the Officer had started supporting two ladies in the same area. A younger lady who was suffering with low mood and lack of motivation and a lady in her 90’s who wanted to get out more and improve her fitness. The Officer again mentioned the Galloway House class but the ladies too had transport issues. Unperturbed, the officer sourced transport for all three people to be collected and again she accompanied them and even joined in the class herself. They enjoyed a good chat as well as the journey out and exercise and following a well deserved cuppa agreed to attend future classes. A few weeks later Mr Jones and the younger lady are still attending the classes together. Although Mrs Smith found them a little too much at the moment the two ladies have become firm friends and the younger lady regularly visits for a chatter which she says cheers them both up and motivates her to get out and about more.

Mr and Mrs Whelan

Mr and Mrs Whelan were referred to the Community Support and Information (CSI) team by the Promoting Independence team. They are both in poor health, both were only on a state pension and neither had any private pension.

The couple had an initial benefit check, it transpired that Mrs Whelan was receiving Personal Independence Payments and Mr Whelan was receiving high rate Attendance Allowance. It was highlighted at this time that they could both apply for carers’ allowance, as each was caring for the other; and if this was awarded they would get an underlying entitlement which may mean they could qualify for pension credit. Mrs Whelan had already applied for Carers’ allowance for herself and her husband 10 weeks earlier, but when I supported her to make a call to the DWP Carers Allowance helpline they advised Mrs Whelan that no application had been received. We then re-ordered the forms for them both, and attended in August to fill in the Carers’ Allowance forms for each of them.

Mrs Whelan then rang us in October to say they had both been awarded Carer’s Allowance. We then visited and did a Pension Credit online calculation to see if they would qualify for Pension Credit: this indicated that they would now qualify. With their permission an application was started for them both for Pension Credit over the phone. We attended again within two weeks once the evidence was gathered, and finalised the claim, however as Mrs Whelan and Mr Whelan had lived abroad within the last three years a Pension Credit officer had to do a home visit and check their passports, dates of travel and other details relating to their time abroad.

Mrs Whelan phoned us in December to let us know that she and her husband had been awarded £155 per week Pension Credit, with a backdated payment of over £3,000 paid directly into their account. She was so excited about this she hadn’t been able to sleep that night! Mrs Whelan is also entitled to a reduction in her council tax bill, which should save her £1,000 per year.

Mrs McCann

Mrs McCann was referred to the CSI service in July in a referral from Social Services.

Mrs McCann suffers from Bi-Polar and subsequently has fluctuations in moods. She had been in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for approximately 10 years however; she had received a re-assessment form some time earlier but due to illness had not completed the form on time. As no further communication seemed to have taken place her DLA was stopped.

New forms were ordered and our Officer visited her to assist with completion, her condition was highlighted to me whilst completing the forms as she broke down and cried on several occasions; she was quite depressed. Her sister is a huge support and indeed wrote several pages of notes to support her claim. The said form was duly posted.

In late November our Officer was contacted again. Mrs McCann had been referred to Preston City Council. Her DLA had still not been re-instated and she was having difficulty paying her bills including council tax.

A visit was made to Mrs McCann in December several times and she informed the Officer that she had also fallen into debt with British Gas, who in turn had passed her debt to a debt collecting agency. On the final visit, Employment Support Allowance forms were completed on her behalf and the good news was that she has received a letter which stated her DLA had been re-instated.

The award had also been backdated up to the date it had been stopped; this meant she had been given back pay of £1960.00. We discussed this in the light of her energy bills and she was advised to make a lump sum payment to British Gas, this she agreed to.

Mrs McCann said she would be happy to pay £300.00 which would approximately halve her debt and also, now she has her DLA reinstated she is to set up a direct debit. This was a great result for Mrs McCann as she was not using her heating and the house was very cold, putting her health at risk.

All the shops are bright and fresh and all the goods are beautifully presented. New goods come in every day and so you will always find something different each time you call. As well as this, our staff and volunteers are very friendly and more than happy to help in any way they can.

We rely on donations of good quality clothes and bric-a-brac in the shops to keep up with the high turnover so if you have unwanted items taking up space in your home, we would be delighted to accept them. All the net profit from the sale of goods in our shops goes directly to Age Concern Central Lancashire to help with projects for older people in the local area.

If you are bringing donations to the shops you may want to consider downloading a gift-aid declaration form from this web page and bringing it along with you.

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