Rare Disease Day 2018: Joint North South Conference, Riddel Hall, 5 March

 

Rare Disease Day is coming !  This year, we are looking forward to welcoming you to the fourth Joint North South Rare Disease Day event, held with our friends the Irish Rare Disease Taskforce, on 5 March 2018 in the splendid surroundings of QUB’s Riddel Hall, Stranmillis Road, Belfast.

The Theme for this year’s Rare Disease Day is Research; and the Joint North South Conference will focus on:

  • Rare Disease and the UK and R.o.I Strategies
  • Expert Patients: Engaging with Research: EUPATI UK and RoI
  • Patients and Researchers: examples of good practice
  • Beyond the 2016 to 2020 Strategies: Next Steps

We are still working on the Programme, so watch out for updates!

Register now (FREE)  here

 


 

 

 

 

Stronger Together Project starts work!

 

Sandra Campbell, Tanya Boggs, and Fiona McLaughlin: Getting the Stronger Together Project off to a great start in Derry! 

Today marks a great step forward for NIRDP and for all those affected by rare diseases in Northern Ireland, as Tanya Boggs, our first “Stronger Together” Project Officer, starts work!

Fiona McLaughlin (NIRDP Chair) and Sandra Campbell (NIRDP Director and Foyle and NorthWest Rare Disease Forum Lead) welcomed Tanya; and started the process of building our “Stronger Together” Project, funded by a grant from the Big Lottery.

Our NIRDP vision is that no one is disadvantaged because of the rarity of their health condition. Stronger Together is a 2 year pilot project which will enable people who live or work with rare disease to connect, advocate, educate and innovate in partnership with each other and others (e.g. Department of Health; other Departments; other charities). The project will provide peer support, volunteering, networking and advice.

It aims to make the ideas put forward  in the Communications Workshops earlier this year, for improving accessibility to information and support into a reality; and so to make a positive difference to the way people affected by rare diseases live.

Come along to the  Foyle and North West Rare Disease Forum meeting in the City Hotel, Derry on Monday 6 November from 11am to 1 pm to meet Tanya and others, and to celebrate this first step on the road!

Who knows what in rare disease? Engagement, information and communication

As part of the work on the NI Rare Disease Plan, NIRDP has been running a series of Workshops across Northern Ireland, and an Online Survey, to identify information needs in relation to rare disease issues; what information is currently available and what information people would like to help them live or work with rare conditions.

On 7 June, a workshop chaired by Professor Ian Young, the Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the NI Rare Disease Implementation Group,  heard about progress in genetics, presented by Dr Tabib Dabir, Clinical Lead, NI Regional Medical Genetics Service (and member of NIRDP’s Board)  and in metabolics, presented by Dr Clodagh Loughrey, Consultant Chemical Pathologist and Clinical Director Laboratories, BHSCT.

It’s clear from these presentations that the pathway to diagnosis, and the options available for management and treatment of complex and rare conditions, will soon alter dramatically.  Indeed some changes are already happening, with an individual’s genetic make up helping to determine the best course of treatment in some cases. It’s essential that we think through how to make best use of these advances!

Participants then considered the emerging findings from the Workshops and the Survey, presented by Dr Jane Miller, Research Fellow at the NI Genomic Medicine Centre  and NIRDP Chair Fiona McLaughlin, before working in five groups to validate and  consider how progress could be made on the key areas identified in the Workshops and in the Survey.

Suggestions for improving information and communications

  • Develop care pathways / flow charts / support plans / signposting.
  • Have one ‘go to person’ who co-ordinates care and information sharing between those involved in care:  “Care navigators” to support patients, families, and clinicians.
  • Develop a hub / portal for accessing information for medics, other professionals and people with a rare condition/disease.
  • Develop referral routes to support groups, or to other people with the same condition, from the point of diagnosis.
  • Look and take learning from other models e.g. Cancer Care; Maternity Care (where mothers hold information in The Red Book) Downs Syndrome etc.

There were many valuable suggestions, and much learning across the whole group- for example, about the proposed introduction of the SNOMED coding system across both primary and secondary care; and planned technological developments within Health & Social Care.  Also, locally based training for patients, along the lines of the EUPATI modules some of our members are already familiar with, is hopefully to become available.

We are still processing all the information that emerged; and planning follow up through a virtual working group to take forward the ideas in more detail.

Further details to follow- watch this space!

And if you haven’t already done so, please complete the Survey and get your family and health care colleagues to do so too …

NORTHERN IRELAND RARE DISEASES IMPLEMENTATION PLAN – FOCUS WORKSHOP FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

This is to provide more information on the Focus Workshop, aimed primarily at Healthcare professionals, which is being held from 4pm to 7pm on 7 June, in the Grosvenor Hall, Glengall Street, Belfast BT15 5AD.

The Focus Workshop builds on the Workshops held across Northern Ireland during March and April. It will consider the findings and recommendations from those Workshops; and agree priorities for action.  It will also focus on identifying existing information and communication channels used by clinicians and other healthcare professionals working with rare diseases; and consider how these might be improved.

Please register now to attend; and also complete the Survey to ensure that your voice is heard!

 

NI Rare Diseases Implementation Plan: work in progress!

At last, work is underway on all four of the Priority Actions in the NI Rare Diseases Implementation Plan:

  • The NI Genomic Medicine Centre is now established; staff are being recruited; and protocols for evaluation of the outcomes are being developed with NIRDP input;
  • Over the past month, NIRDP has  held well attended Communications and Information Review Workshops across Northern Ireland.  Thank you, to all those who came along and contributed so powerfully; and a special “Thank You” for their time and support to our speakers, Dr Fiona Stewart, Dr Vivienne McConnell, Dr Deidre Donnelly, and Dr Gillian Rea from the Regional Medical Genetics Service, to Ryan Wilson from the Department of Health, and to our Facilitator, Grace Henry.

The views and ideas from the Workshops are now being analysed; and will be added to the information from the Online Survey- which is still open.  So please go to the Survey, and make your voice count! The emerging findings will be considered in a Focus Workshop on 7 June: Register your interest in attending this event here

Work is now also starting on:

  • Scoping for a Rare Diseases Registry for Northern Ireland, looking at how to establish a Registry, including the need for information on congenital abnormalities, and for links to existing and developing information systems (such as the new English system, NCARDRS), whether in the UK, Ireland, or internationally; and
  • A Training Needs Analysis for doctors and other clinicians in rare diseases building on the existing presentations, delivered in part by NIRDP Members,  in year 1 and year 5 of the medical training course.

This work programme is being overseen by the Rare Diseases Implementation Plan Steering Group, led by Professor Ian Young,  Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health.  The aim is to have a Report by Christmas; an “action research model” is being used, so wherever possible learning can be translated into practice without delay.

 

Communication and Information Review: Have your say, and make the NI Rare Disease Plan work!

Northern Ireland Rare Diseases Implementation Plan

As part of the Plan we are working with the Department of Health and the HSC bodies to carry out a Communications and Information Review; and on the basis of the evidence gathered, to make and implement recommendations for improvements to current systems.

The Review will provide both face to face and online/paper opportunities to participate; so please make full use of all the opportunities there are- your knowledge and experience is needed to build a better system!

We are starting by holding a series of interactive Workshops (see dates/times/venues below) facilitated by Grace Henry, designed to find out:

  • what information you need to help you tackle the challenges of a rare disease- whether you are a person living with a rare disease, a carer, a health professional, or a policy maker or service manager;
  • how that information should be made available; and
  • how you would like to participate in designing, delivering and evaluating services for rare diseases

These Workshops will give you an opportunity to hear about what is happening on the NI Rare Disease Plan (including on the NI Genomic Medicine Centre; the NI Rare Disease Registry; and medical education) and to have your say  in shaping how you will be included and involved in planning, decision making, and evaluating services.  It’s your chance to describe the information that is available, and how you get it; what is missing;   and to define the information and support you need- and how it should be delivered.

Workshop Outline Agenda:

  • What are Rare Diseases? Consultant in Genetics, Regional Medical Genetics Service
  • The Rare Disease Plan and the HSC: Department of Health Official, Secondary Care Directorate
  • What information is there/What do you need/How should it be delivered: Questionnaire and Facilitated Discussion Groups; Grace Henry

Workshops

  • 16 March 15.00 to 17.00 Conference Room, Portadown Health and Care Centre, Tavanagh Avenue, Portadown BT62 3BU
    Eventbrite - Communications Workshop 2 Have Your Say: Make the Rare Disease Plan work!
  • 22 March 16.00 to 19.00 Larkin Room. Post Graduate Medical Centre, Belfast City Hospital, Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7AB
    Eventbrite - Communications Workshop 3 Have Your Say: Make the Rare Disease Plan work!
  • 27 March 12.30 to 14.30 Mulberry Suite, Corrs Corner Hotel, 315 Ballyclare Rd, Newtownabbey, BT36 4TQ
    Eventbrite - Communications Workshop 4  Have your say: Make the Rare Diseases Plan Work!
  • 4 April 15.00 to 17.00 Boardroom, South West Acute Hospital, 124 Irvinestown Rd, Enniskillen BT74 6DN
    Eventbrite - Communications Workshop 5 Have Your Say: Make the Rare Disease Plan Work!

Online Survey

Please comment on Facebook or through Twitter – we are planning a Tweetchat soon; but it would be good to meet up face to face, and share views, ideas and experiences!

Connecting  Advocating  Educating and Innovating

Stronger Together

Good News on access to drugs for rare conditions: Thank you, Minister!

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced that eligible patients in the north of Ireland will receive innovative new drugs for the treatment of very rare conditions. The Minister has confirmed that drugs evaluated under the Highly Specialised Technology Programme of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), will be made available to patients with very rare conditions including atypical Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome, mucopolysaccharidosis type IVa and Duchenne muscular dystrophy caused by a nonsense mutation.

The Minister said: “My Department is working with the HSC on a range of initiatives to bring more efficient and effective processes right across the system in prescribing, workforce planning and service delivery. I will continue to make decisions based on clinical advice and will work with my colleagues in the Executive to make sure that health and wellbeing remains a priority for all.
There are many challenges facing us in health and social care. From today, access to the most innovative medicines for the rarest conditions is not a challenge for patients in the north of Ireland.”

This is very welcome news, which will transform lives.
We will continue to work closely with the Department, and with the HSC to ensure that those living with rare diseases are not disadvantaged simply because of the rarity of their condition; and to support changes to make the system more efficient and effective

Rare Disease Day 2016 Patient Voice and Empowerment

Rare Disease Day 29 February is getting close!  Here are the full programmes for the Conference in Riddel Hall, and for the Reception in the Long Gallery at Stormont; follow the links in the post below to register NOW

The Conference is a unique opportunity to hear from Dr Michael McBride ,our Chief Medical Officer and from a range of patients, carers, and professionals about what is already happening; and to engage in developing what more could be done to make a difference to the lives of those affected by rare disease.

INTERNATIONAL RARE DISEASE DAY CONFERENCE: PATIENT VOICE AND EMPOWERMENT
10.00 to 10.30 Registration
10.30 to 10.35: Welcome – Christine Collins, Chair, NIRDP
10.35. to 10.45: Keynote Address: Rare Disease and HSC Transformation- Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, Northern Ireland
10.45 to 11.20: Educating: Miriam Martin, SACA; Dr Mairead Corrigan, QUB; Michaela Hollywood, MDUK Trailblazers;
11.20 to 11.55: Advocating: Fiona McLaughlin PSPA NHS IQ Certificated Change Agent;  Noirin O’Neill, EUPATI Fellow; Sandra Campbell, NIRDP Foyle and North West Co ordinator; Carol McCullough, NIRDP Consultations Lead
11.55 to 12.30: Innovation: Alison Wilson, All Ireland Advocacy and Support Officer, MPS Society;Dr Breidge Boyle, UU; Julie Power, Vasculitis Ireland, EUPATI Fellow; Joanne Westwood, N.I. Neurological Care Advice Service
12.30 to 12.45: Round up of Panel Sessions: Reflections
13.00 to 13.45 Lunch: INFORMATION STANDS, INCLUDING RNIB; ACTION FOR HEARInG LOSS; 10K VOICES; AND PATIENT ORGANIZATIONS
13.45 to 14.00: NI Medical Genomic Centre Dr AJ McKnight, QUB
14.00 to 15.15: Seizing the opportunity “POLICY INTO PRACTICE” interactive workshop David Finegan, NIRDP
15.15 TO 15.30 : CONCLUSIONS AND CLOSE

The Long Gallery Reception is a chance to hear from Alastair Kent OBE, the Chair of the UK Rare Disease Forum, about the role of patients in driving and developing change; and to hear from Minister Simon Hamilton about his vision of the way ahead.

NIRDP International Rare Disease Day Reception at Stormont

17.00 to 17.30: Registration
17.30.to 17.45: Welcome and introduction: Kieran McCarthy, MLA; Dr Vivienne  McConnell, Clinical Lead for Medical Genetics

17.45 to 18.00: Alastair Kent OBE: The role of empowered patients in oversight

18.00 to 18.10: Minister Simon Hamilton MLA: Working together to provide high quality care for people with rare diseases
18.10-18.15: Thanks and Close: Christine Collins, Chair NIRDP
18.15 to 19.00: Photo Opportunities and Networking: Refreshments

See the post below to register! 

Great News! NI’s RD Implementation Plan and Genomic Medicine Centre Announced

Minister Simon Hamilton today  announced a £3.3m investment into the creation of an innovative Northern Ireland Genomics Medicine Centre (NIGMC); and formally launched the Northern Ireland Rare Disease Implementation Plan: wonderful news for patients, carers, and clinicians living and working with rare disease!
Minister Hamilton said:
“The Plan embodies my commitment to implement the UK Rare Diseases Strategy in Northern Ireland. It provides a holistic approach to caring for people with a rare disease and to maximise the available resources for research, innovation and collaboration across the UK to benefit the entire rare disease community. The Plan also provides the opportunity to work with the Republic of Ireland to realise the mutual benefits of cross ­border collaboration on rare diseases.”

For everyone living and working with rare disease, this  commitment by the Minister brings hope, and an opportunity to participate in building a better future for all families living with a rare disease. It’s a superb new resource for the clinicians working to give their patients a diagnosis and improve understanding of their conditions. It gives a clear framework and impetus for work on  creating new pathways for treatment and management.

We’ve worked together (patients, families, elected reps, clinicians, managers, officials) to get the UK Strategy; the NI Plan; and the Genomic Medicine Centre.  We will keep working together, to reap the full benefits and provide better opportunities for all our young people and families into the future.