As part of the CCG’s commitment to engage with a wide range of communities within Birmingham and Solihull, we are working in partnership with Gateway Family Services, a non-profit community interest company, which supports the committee of the Patient Health Forum.
This relationship has helped the CCG to directly capture the views and opinions of the Patient Health Forum; a diverse group of people living with a long-term health condition.
The Patient Health Forum gives a great opportunity for people from a wide range of backgrounds to get together with others and talk about their health condition, as well as give their feedback on health services. By talking directly to patients with long-term conditions, we are able to ask them to help us with the design, improvement and review of health services, enabling them to draw upon their own experiences and expertise.
The group, based in Stirchley, is open to anyone living with a long-term health condition in Birmingham, which could be anything from asthma to arthritis or Alzheimer’s to anxiety.
Here are some case studies of just a few local people who benefit from attending the Patient Health Forum:
Case study: Leslie
Case study: Leslie
Leslie, who is in his 50s, is sole carer for his wife who has Alzheimer's. He was referred to the Patient Health Forum by his GP, who felt he needed some support after experiencing isolation.
After attending the forum, he has been to every meeting since. He enjoys socialising there, and finds it useful to be able to talk to other people about his wife’s condition and his own situation as a carer. The meetings also include speakers from other agencies and community groups, so Leslie has been able to access further information and speak to support providers directly.
You can read more about how the Patient Health Forum has helped Leslie here.
Case study: Dennis
Case study: Dennis
Dennis started coming to the Long Term Conditions Group after what he refers to as a “mental breakdown”. Now, he’s a key member of the group – a committee member with a strong social network.
Although he was initially very nervous, and found it very difficult to speak to other people, his confidence has grown over time and he now often takes the responsibility of making announcements to the entire group.
You can read more about how the Patient Health Forum has helped Dennis here.
Case study: Valerie
Case study: Valerie
Valerie was directed to the Long Term Conditions Group 13 years ago by course leaders at the Hazelwell Hub in Kings Heath, where she had been on a self-management course to help her manage her deteriorating eyesight. She’s been a regular ever since.
The group has provided important emotional and social support over the years, especially since the passing of her husband. Like many other group members, she finds that the friendly but discreet and respectful atmosphere makes it easier to talk to others about her feelings.
You can read more about how the Patient Health Forum has helped Valerie here.
How can I get involved?
To get involved, please contact Gateway Family Services on 0121 456 7820. The meetings are held monthly at: The Common Room, Pitleasow Close, Stirchley, Birmingham B30 2SJ.
Updates from previous meetings
This month’s Forum was a members’ session, which featured some meditation at the beginning of the session. The group was informed about the Link Workers Service, part of the social prescribing offer to patients, which Gateway Family Services will be providing in various areas of Birmingham.
The group also discussed issues including: transport; benefit information; mental health support; and health and safety advice – especially in their own homes. The next Forum will take place on Thursday 13 February.
The Christmas party took place this month, with lots of singing and dancing, and even a visit from Father Christmas. A great time was had by all! Members also got to chat to Gemma Rauer, Assistant Director of Communications and Engagement, and Jen Weigham, Senior Communications and Engagement Manager, from NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG.
Here is Gemma and Keith.
This month, the group was joined by the Music Men, who sang old favourites for members of the Patient Health Forum to sing and dance along to. Information on local mental health services was also shared with the group. The next meeting, on Thursday 12 December, will host the Christmas party.
The group welcomed a guest speaker from Salus Fatigue Foundation, who shared information on support for those who are affected by a range of fatigue conditions. They were provided with details of local support sessions, and information on their new Wellbeing Hub which will be available soon to help those who suffer with chronic pain.
The next meeting will be held on Thursday 14 November 2019.
This month, the group had an open session where everyone shared useful local information, including details of benefit agencies, housing, caring, local communities and lunch clubs, and services for everyone. The Forum also agreed the date for the Christmas party, which will take place on Thursday 12 December 2019.
The group welcomed a guest speaker from the Birmingham Carers Hub, who spoke about the different services they provide for carers, and those being cared for. Members of the Forum also heard about the proposed changes to adult services across Solihull, Good Hope and Heartlands Hospitals. Although there were some concerns, the group felt that the impact on them would be very limited.
The group were updated on the Neighbourhood Network Scheme, followed by a storytelling session. The meeting ended with a short guided meditation session, which has proven to be very popular; members of the group have now started to lead the meditation sessions themselves!
The group was joined by guest musicians Tim and Mel, who entertained the group with a range of covers from over the decades, which led to a sing-along session.
The group welcomed a guest speaker from Enable Holidays Company, who spoke about the services they provide to customers with physical disabilities.
The guest speaker at April's meeting was from Forward Carers (Birmingham Carers consortium). Many members of the group have caring responsibilities, so there were lots of questions and Forward Carers provided some helpful signposting suggestions.
The group undertook some activities to benefit the body and mind; with some chair-based exercise and a guided meditation session. Attendance was particularly strong this month!
Age UK came to give a talk about entitlements and additional help that older people can receive. Support staff from Gateway Family Services prepared a healthy lunch for Forum members.
At the 11 October 2018 meeting, the Patient Health Forum enjoyed the second of their "Five ways to wellbeing and guided meditation" session. Members also chatted to Anita Fellows, the CCG's Senior Patient Experience Manager.
At the 13 September 2018 meeting, the Patient Health Forum were treated to the first of two "Five ways to wellbeing and guided meditation" sessions.
At the 9 August 2018 meeting, the Patient Health Forum held their NHS70 celebration, marking the 70th birthday of the NHS. The group enjoyed cake, dancing and talked about their memories of the NHS.
At the 19 April 2018 meeting, the Patient Health Forum talked with members of the Communications and Engagement Team from Birmingham and Solihull CCG, finding out about the new organisation which was formed on 1 April 2018 and is the largest CCG in England.