Supporting the local community
News by Subject
Essex-&-Suffolk-Water With thanks to Essex & Suffolk Water for funding support of this website through the Abberton Reservoir Community Fund.


PAWS May – Trek for Life

Board showing details of Tina Oldfield's daughter and items made by the Nepalese

Board showing details of Tina Oldfield’s daughter and items made by the Nepalese

Trek for Life

39 members and 1 visitor attended our May meeting when Tina Oldfield gave us a talk on “Trek for Life.” Tina’s daughter was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2004 at the age of 24 having been told on 3 occasions that it was nothing to worry about.  She fought the disease for 2 years before dying at the age of 26 leaving behind a husband and 2 young children. 

To help with her grief and to do something in her memory Tina and 3 others decided that they would do the challenging “Trek for Life” to Everest Base Camp.  After 13 months of training, obtaining sponsorship and equipment from companies like Rock Face they set off in the Easter Holidays of 2006. 

She showed us slides of the various basic lodges they stayed in along the way together with the incredible landscape and birdlife.  Their two porters carried their equipment and clothing which they needed as they climbed to higher altitudes and their guide mapped out their route.  At various times they suffered with altitude sickness and found it difficult to even eat (apart from Mars bars which never posed a problem) and supplemented their meagre diet. 

At just 500 meters from Base Camp they got snowed in and upon the advice of their guide that it would be impossible to continue in the time that they had allocated for this trip they had to go back down.  It was just as well they took the advice as they heard that 3 Sherpa’s had died in a landslide the next day.  However there and then they made a pact to come back the following year to complete the walk that they had begun and indeed successfully completed it then.  It was an amazing feat and something we all thought was fantastic.  Tina continues to raise money for breast Cancer and, on this occasion, she is donating half her fee to the Nepalese Earthquake cause.

Our next meeting is on June when Chris South will give us “A Masterclass in Propagation.”

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 website.  If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.


NHS NE Essex Care Strategy

ne-essex-ccgThe NE Essex CCG have recently published a new strategy for caring for adults, their families and carers who are facing conditions with limited life expectancy.  This is part of a whole series of initiatives designed to customise NHS Service Provision for NE Essex’s needs – more can be found on their website at

Part of the introduction of this end-of-life strategy document makes clear its objectives:

This document is a 5 year strategy detailing the future commissioning of end of life services across the health and social care economy. The document identifies the importance of raising the profile of achieving ‘a good death’ and putting mechanisms in place to achieve this.

The Department of Health End of Life Care Strategy acknowledges that there are many challenges to be overcome to ensure that everyone attains ‘a ‘good death’ irrespective of their background. The focus for the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group End of Life Strategy is to ensure that all patients achieve ‘a good death’ and their families and carers feel supported.

The full document can be downloaded here – NE Essex CCG End of life strategy 2014.


Cancer Drop-In Day

We Are Macmillan Cancer SupportFree Health And Wellbeing Event For People Living With And Beyond Cancer

Colchester’s Mayor Cllr Colin Sykes, and his wife Cllr Laura Sykes, will open the event at 10.30am

For the first time in North Essex and surrounding areas cancer patients and their families who are living with and beyond cancer are being invited to a free health and wellbeing drop in cancer information day taking place on Saturday 26 April at the St John’s Community Centre, St John’s Close, Colchester, CO4 OHP between 10.30am and 3.30pm to find out about all there is available for those affected by cancer.  There will be free parking and refreshments. Macmillan Cancer Support and Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust have joined forces to host this major cancer event to provide people, who have undergone or completed treatment for cancer, no matter how long ago or for what type of cancer, with the opportunity to find out about what support, information, advice and facilities are available, to help them adjust to life with, and beyond, cancer. This event is linked to a new Self-Managed After Care service launched on the 1st April by the Trust and Macmillan Cancer that will provide one of the most comprehensive support and information services to cancer patients and their families in the UK. The event is funded by Macmillan Cancer and supported by more than 20 local organisations such as Macmillan Welfare Benefits, CHAPS – Men’s Health, Age UK, Breast Care, St Helena Hospice, Health Professionals, Equipment Suppliers, Cancer Support Groups, Marie Curie, St John’s Church Community Centre, Essex Carer Support and many more. The day will include four 45 minute presentations and question times on Benefits Advice, Counselling, Men’s Health, Physiotherapy & Exercise.

Peter Carrington, Lead Volunteer at the Macmillan Cancer Support, Drop-In & Information Centre, based at Essex County Hospital, said:

 We are encouraging people and their families affected by cancer to come along to the event, so they are better informed about how they can make a positive difference to their every-day life. No one with cancer should have to face it alone; they should have easy access to high quality care, treatment, information and support, to meet their medical, practical, emotional and financial needs. Research has shown how important health and wellbeing is to the recovery and long-term health of cancer patients. For more information please phone 01206 744401.

Debbie Farthing, Macmillan Information & Support Manager said:

The cancer journey can be a particularly difficult time for many patients and their families and they need to know there is a robust safety net of support throughout diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, rehabilitation and beyond enabling them to return to everyday life and activities. This event will empower people to live more independently knowing our support and help is always available no matter when on how they need our help. We meet or talk to approximately 5,000 people, families and health professional per year and give out 18,000 plus information booklets with 309 patients and their families receiving on-going daily support from our volunteers with fast track access to health professionals where needed.


NHS with Macmillan announce new cancer support

We Are Macmillan Cancer SupportNew, improved self-management scheme launched for cancer survivors

The NHS in North East Essex, in partnership with Macmillan cancer charity, is launching a pioneering new service on the 1st April to better support survivors of cancer. It has been designed with the active involvement of patients from the cancer service user-groups.

This new scheme is designed to take some of the national ideas and build a new local service to better support people to manage their own medical and wider recovery process.

For those who have survived breast or colorectal cancers

The scheme is specifically for those who have survived breast or colorectal cancers and who are now judged as at lower-risk of relapse, with the intention to learn from this to potentially expand the service to survivors of certain other cancers. Higher-risk patients, such as those who have suffered from aggressive forms of the disease, will continue to need and get a different, more medically intensive follow-up programme.

Dr Linda Mahon-Daly, a GP at Shrub End in Colchester, leading the collaboration with Macmillan, said:

We will be providing an improved service for patients ensuring that every patient has real, continuing practical and moral support. National research and planning is all pointing towards similar services, but we are making it work practically for these patients, who often face very challenging circumstances. There is also the benefit of freeing up hospital doctors’ time, allowing them to deliver more services.

Many people, once their treatment is successfully concluded for these cancers, can find themselves without effective follow-up support. There are about 200 new lower-risk patients each year in NE Essex for each of these cancers. Under the new scheme, they and their families will be invited to attend a workshop specific to their type of cancer, which will help them understand and prepare for problems they may face, for instance certain physical side-effects that may follow. Patients will then be discharged from routine outpatient appointments; they will be assigned a Macmillan “buddy”, a trained volunteer with experience and interest in this type of cancer.

There will be a clear, rapid procedure to get the patient back under consultant care if needed and patients will still be able to contact their clinical nurse specialist (CNS) for advice on medical problems.

Michelle Bath, Macmillan Development Manager for Essex, said:

Following active treatment many patients tell us they feel alone and try to ‘get back to normal’ but their cancer experience has had such a big impact that they’re no longer sure what their ‘normal’ is. By training volunteer buddies we are aiming to give patients a support network and somebody to speak to about their concerns. This will give patients a listening ear that isn’t a member of their medical team but they will know how to access medical support if they suspect a change or recurrence of their cancer.

Clinically proven effective follow-up medical investigations, such as regular colonoscopy and mammography will still be carried out, as at present, to ensure that any problems are found and dealt with quickly.

Donna Booton, Matron for Cancer Services at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said:

This is an exceptional scheme for the patients of North East Essex. It will reduce their fears and give them the support and knowledge they have not received before in order to be able to move on with their lives. This is also an example of excellent collaborative involving Colchester Hospital Trust, North East Essex Clinical Commissioning and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The volunteer buddies are initially funded and trained by Macmillan offering patients their wide experience, good information and non-medical advice. Perhaps crucially they will offer support for the patient, if needed, with re-building life routines, such as finding a job and other services. Patients will know they have continuing support and quick, easy access to further help as needed. Each patient will get the support they need as an individual, rather than the current system of routine out-patient appointments at hospital for everyone.

Dr Shane Gordon, Clinical Chief Officer at NE Essex CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) said:

This is a brilliant scheme; it will directly support many cancer survivors to rebuild their lives successfully. It is an excellent collaboration between Macmillan and the NHS which meets the support needs of patients at any time and links effectively with professional clinical services.

A lot of work has been done in the NHS nationally to understand why so many people who have been successfully treated for cancer, don’t feel they get effective follow-up support. There is good evidence too that the current routine follow-up appointments are not the most effective way of picking up any symptoms of recurrence of the disease, but patients do need help with any side-effects of treatment and sometimes with re-building their lives after treatment.

There will be an ongoing series of general cancer workshops, run and funded by Macmillan, on topics such as finance, diet and exercise and sexual health, which will be available to all cancer patients. Pilot workshops will be held and then evaluated, with the patient groups defining the feedback questionnaire which will be used.


Radiotherapy – Have Your Say

We have been asked to circulate the following:

Proposed expansion of services to provide radiotherapy in Essex

I am writing on behalf of the primary care trusts in the Essex Cancer Network to invite feedback on current proposals to expand radiotherapy in Essex. The attached discussion document explains the proposals and a feedback form is also attached for your written views. You can submit your views online, if you prefer, by using the following link:

Within the document attached, you will find further details on how to have your say including dates and venues of drop-in sessions and discussion workshops being held in Basildon, Colchester, Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea. Contact details are included should you wish to arrange a separate meeting for your group or organisation.

The PCTs wish to consider the proposals for expansion with full knowledge of the views of local people. We have distributed the discussion document and feedback form to a wide range of people. Please could you help us to reach as many people as possible by distributing to others in your organisation and to anyone who would be interested in taking part in this discussion.

We look forward to listening to your views.

Yours sincerely 
Sheila Bremner 
Chief Executive, north Essex PCT cluster and Chair of the Essex Cancer Network 
On behalf of NHS Mid Essex, NHS North East Essex, NHS South East Essex and NHS South West Essex