Foyle & NW forum

We had a meeting of our Foyle group on Monday 6 November & were delighted to mark the start of the Stronger Together project in the area.

Our Project Oficer is Tanya Boggs, and she’ll be working across NHSCT and WHSCT to support people living or working with rare disease. She comes to us with many years nursing experience at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Tanya can be contacted at tanya@nirdp.org.uk  07927 170 138 and will be working 18 hours per week.

We welcomed Helen, Jane and Ashleen from QUB, all of whom are working in the area of rare disease- education, communication and genetics.

Gina updated us on the work of the Our Children’s Voice group- we’re looking at how NIRDP and OCV can work together to support families in border areas.

Carol reported back from one of the WHSCT meetings on savings/ cuts. The financial shortfall is less significant now, but there’s always negotiations to be had. We encourage members to get their voices heard and participate in discussions.

Creea Convery from MND Association raised the issue of challenging referrals from GPs to specialists- either not soon enough, or with inadequate information for the neurologists to triage appropriately.

Neurological Care Co-ordinator, Tracey Magowan, talked about the role of care advisers based at neurology clinics. They support patients and families to navigate the systems, sign post, and provide localised information and fact sheets. Another care adviser is being recruited to cover clinics at Altnagelvin.

We had another chat about the needs of patients with EDS. NHS England are working on a care pathway. NIRDP are interested in developing a piece of work looking at the patient journey. This may form part of the peer support work during the Stronger Together project. Watch this space!!

We agreed to gather again for a pre Christmas cuppa and chat at the City Hotel on 14 Dec, 11am.

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 …

Living Life with Rare Disease: Taking the scare out of Palliative Care

It’s time for our Summer Meeting! This year, we are holding it, on Friday 26 June, in the Day Room at the Foyle Hospice, 61 Culmore Road, L/Derry. Our theme is “Taking the scare out of Palliative Care”.

Palliative care is all about making the very best of life, from diagnosis on; and even when you have no diagnosis.  It’s about how to ensure the support that’s needed to live life to the full, in difficult circumstances.

We have a terrific line up of speakers, so this is a great opportunity to hear and learn about how a palliative care approach can support and improve quality of life, from diagnosis onwards or even if you have no diagnosis.  It’s a chance to have your say about how palliative care can be developed, for all those living or working with rare diseases.
A chance to meet up, make new friends and contacts, and share your knowledge and experience!

Register here:

Outline Programme:
9.30-10.00 REGISTRATION: Tea/Coffee; Scones
10.00 TO 13.45 PALLIATIVE CARE AND RARE DISEASE PROGRAMME:
10.00-10.35 Welcome: NIRDP Representative
10.35-10.45 A Patient/Carer’s Perspective: Sandra Campbell, NIRDP
10.45-11.05 Dr Aine Abbott, RCGP (NI): Supporting Communication: the Patient Passport
11.05-11.25 Dr Damien McMullan, Consultant, Adult Palliative Care
11.25- 11.45 Dr Heather McCluggage, Associate Specialist, Children’s Palliative Care
11.45-12.05. Katie Rigg, Nurse Specialist, Multiple Systems Atrophy Association
12.05-12.25 Donall Henderson, Chief Executive, Foyle Hospice
12.25-12.45 Paddie Blaney, Director, AIIHPC :
12.45- 13.45 Discussion Session: What needs to be done to improve support for rare disease?

LUNCH AND NETWORKING: 13.45 to 14.30
To include Soup, Sandwiches, and meeting and getting to know others.

If you want to join us just for the lunch and networking, please email events@nirdp.org.uk; and we will try to facilitate this; but we would encourage you to come and hear about how a palliative care approach can help make the most of living every day with a rare disease.

Get together

Keep the date…

for the NI Rare Disease Partnership get together!

Thursday, 19 April

afternoon

Who else has joined?

Does anyone else have a condition similar to mine?

Has anybody thought about doing…?

Refreshments, cake, and chat

If you’re interested in putting faces to names, and are available for informal chat, do come along. Time and location to be confirmed.

Let Sarah McCandless, 0800 917 0222, know to expect you (so we can get enough buns.)