July 25, 2013 -- Able Newsflash No.383

Care News

Shingles vaccine - All people aged 70 on 1 September 2013 are eligible (i.e. all those born between 2 September 1942 and 1 September 1943, inclusive). People aged 79 will also be offered the vaccine in a catchup programme (i.e. all those born between 2 September 1933 and 1 September 1934, inclusive).

To obtain further information visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england/series/shingles-vaccination-programme


First Bus which has 17,000 drivers across the country will be the first bus company to provide drivers with training to help blind or partially sighted passengers using their services.

The training will start in September and the training will include blind-folding the drivers to help them understand the needs and concerns of blind and partially sighted people.

The company has worked with the charity Guide Dogs for the Blind in developing the training.

Question of the Week

"I have read several advertisements in newspapers and I have received a direct mailing from Health Screening Companies offering to run various health checks for a cost. Are these companies regulated in any way? How do I know if I will get a better service than my NHS will provide?"

Answer : The best way to answer your question is to give you the following information from the NHS:

Thinking of having a private screening test?

If you live in England, these are things to consider before you decide. Good health is something we all value, and many of us take positive steps to stay as healthy as we can – perhaps by eating a balanced diet, taking regular exercise or stopping smoking.

We can also have health checks, called ‘screening’, to spot problems before they get too serious. Screening is a bit like sifting people through a sieve. Most of us pass straight through, but a few get picked up in the mesh. These few can then go on to have treatment or make an informed choice about what to do next.

The NHS offers a number of screening tests throughout our lifetime, from pregnancy and birth right through to retirement. Private companies offer screening too – sometimes called ‘health MOTs’, ‘health checks’, ‘preventative tests’ or similar.

Screening pros and cons

Having a test to make sure you or your unborn baby is healthy sounds like a sensible idea. After all, if everything is fine, you’ll feel reassured. And if there is a problem, it’s not too late to do something about it.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that, because even the best screening test may not be 100 per cent accurate. Tests may not always give you clear cut answers, and the results could even be confusing:

NHS screening – balancing benefit with risk

The NHS has thought very carefully about these issues, taking advice from a group of experts called the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC). We only run screening programmes when good evidence shows that the benefits outweigh any risks. We also offer a complete service, not just a test – making sure you understand why you’ve been offered screening, what the outcomes might be, if there are any downsides, and what your options are for each outcome. We also make sure that any care you may need is in place.

There are eight national screening programmes in England. The diagram on the last page shows what these are, who they’re for and how you can find out more. Version 2, April 2011.

Private screening

Private companies offer a wide range of health checks, from simple blood tests and physical examinations to full body scans and screening for serious conditions like aneurysm or heart failure. If you’re thinking about paying for any of these, it’s worth asking a few questions first.

What do I hope to gain from this test?

** Very importantly, if you have any symptoms, go to your doctor. **
If you don’t have any symptoms, you’re probably looking for peace of mind. Are you sure this test is going to offer that? For example, an ‘MOT’ is limited in what it covers, so it can’t really offer a clean bill of health. Look for clear, balanced information on what’s being tested. If you already know that you should take some exercise and cut down on alcohol or cigarettes, will this test tell you anything new?

Can I get the information I need another way?
If what you’re really after is health advice, you may be able to get this from somewhere else. Your GP is a good place to start, or you could try a website such as NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk) or Patient UK (www.patient.co.uk).

Can I get this test on the NHS?
Some companies offer screening for conditions already covered by an NHS programme. Ask yourself how the private test differs, and try to compare the whole service, not just the test itself.

Is the screening company properly regulated?
Most private screening tests are offered by reputable companies, but it’s important to check. From October 2010, all providers of screening services in England need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission, so check them out at www.cqc.org.uk.

What does the fee cover?Make sure you understand what you’re paying for. Will the company charge extra to follow up your results? If so, how much will it cost?

Can the test do more harm than good?
Some tests carry a risk in themselves (such as CT scans, which use radiation). Has the company provided balanced information about the risk? Is this outweighed by the benefit of the test? Pros and cons can be hard to judge, so ask for the facts in writing, and make sure the company offers you the chance to discuss any concerns.

What if the test picks something up?
The obvious selling point for screening is that if you can catch a problem early, you can do something about it. Make sure this is really true for the test you’re considering. If it picks up a problem, is there a treatment available, and is it acceptable to you? If the answer is ‘no’, you might prefer not to have the test at all.

What if there are no clear results?
Find out what support the company offers if a test result is not clear. If there’s a chance that you’ll need more tests, ask what they involve, how much they cost and who will be doing them.

In conclusion... screening has many advantages, but it also has its downside, and it sometimes involves difficult choices. NHS screening programmes care for you throughout the whole process, including any further treatment and care that you may need. In the case of private screening, it’s worth finding out exactly what you’re getting for your money.

Most private screening companies offer a good quality service, but before you go ahead with a test, check that the company is properly regulated, and ask for clear written information about the risks involved as well as the benefits. And finally, remember that the screening test may already be available for free on the NHS.

Summer Days

If you fancy a steam train ride which starts out from the foot of Mount Snowdon then the Llanberis Lake Railway will provide a lovely day out.

The train, which was once used in the slate mines visits the town of Llanberis , stops at a lakeside picnic spot where you can get off the train and pick up one when you are ready to go back. The actual train ride is 60 minutes. You can also visit the National Slate Museum, The Padarn Country Park and visit the First Hydro-Electric Mountain. The main station at Gilfach has a large shop and café.

There is plenty of parking and the accessible carriage has fold up benches to accommodate all types of wheelchairs and scooters. (The windows in the carriage offer an unobstructed 360 degree view).

For further details visit www.lake-railway.co.uk

In-House News

Further to last weeks article re. poor care workers I had mentioned the week before that we had held interviews in Yorkshire. Prior to the potential carers being interviewed, an application form had been completed, references had been sent for and verified by phone. At this interview session, two potential carers did not turn up for their agreed interview but other applicants did and those who we were interested in, were processed. Unfortunatly, the CRB results on two of these potential carers showed quite clearly that they had lied on their application form about their previous, and unacceptable to us, convictions.

Potential clients were visited in The Channel Islands, Suffolk and Buckinghamshire.

Reviews and ‘pop in’ visits took place in Norfolk and Buckinghamshire.

One potential live–in carer was interviewed in Norfolk.

A new post has commenced in Jersey for an older lady requiring general support. Care Manager is Sam and weekly wage is £560.00 plus travel.

Interesting Information

WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates that more than 17.3 million people died of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke in 2008. Four out of five of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and men and women were equally affected.

However, it is advised that 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable. Healthy diet, regular physical activity, and not using tobacco products are the keys to prevention.

Client Profile

Carol was in her 50’s in late 2011 and was in a nursing home. She had been diagnosed with dementia but wished to return to a home in the community.

With the help of her social worker she was enabled to achieve her wish in November 2011. Carol has two live-in care workers on her rota, the first live-in carer was introduced to Carol in December 2011 and her second live-in carer in January 2012.


If you enjoy reading this please forward it to anyone else who may also find it of interest. They can also subscribe for their own weekly copy from our website:

Best Wishes,
Angela Gifford, Director
Able Community Care Ltd.