Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Pop-up conversation café – National Conversation on a healthier Scotland Aug 4th

Pop-up conversation café – National Conversation on a healthier Scotland


BREAKING NEWS: The ALLIANCE would like to invite you to a pop up Conversation Café with Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Shona Robison MSP hosted in partnership with the Health and Social Care Academy.  This pop up café will be held in the Tayside Deaf Hub, Dundee on 4 August 2015, 9.30am – 12noon. 


This is the formal launch of the Scottish Government’s Healthier Scotland National Conversation.  The pop up café is an opportunity for citizens to engage with each other and the Cabinet Secretary to share their views on:


·         What is needed to help you live well in the future?

·         What support do we need in Scotland to live healthier lives?


The café will therefore  provide an opportunity for constructive conversations around health and wellbeing which will form part of a dialogue with the Cabinet Secretary on the future of health and social care in Scotland. The ALLIANCE is committed to working with Scottish Government to ensure that all voices are heard, especially seldom heard voices and those of people with lived experience. Your views matter and are key to the conversation. This is therefore the first of a series of events across Scotland to give a voice to those who use support and services.


Please help us share details of this event round your networks.  If you are interested in attending and contributing, please email to confirm your place or call 0141 404 0231.


Complex Nutritional Care Standards Consultation Evet This Friday

Complex Nutritional Care Standards Consultation Event

Nutritional care plays a crucial role in improving and maintaining people’s health and wellbeing, and it is vital to ensure that people who access supports and services receive the highest possible standard of nutritional care at all times.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland are producing a set of draft standards for complex nutritional care and want to hear your views on them. The draft standards, due to be published on their website > on 1st July, will provide a framework which clearly sets out the standards which must be followed when providing complex nutritional care.
The ALLIANCE and Healthcare Improvement Scotland will be holding a consultation event to explore the draft standards and to hear your views on how they can be adapted or improved. This feedback will then be used to shape the standards before they are finalised and so is an important opportunity to have your say.
The consultation event will take place in the ALLIANCE office in Glasgow on 31st July at 10.00 - 13.00, lunch will be provided. 
Everyone is welcome, but spaces are limited so booking is essential.  To book a place please email or telephone 0141 404 0233.

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Monday, 27 July 2015

The Dementia Carer Voices July Newsletter Is Available To Read Here

Welcome to the latest edition of the Dementia Carer Voices Project's newsletter, which will keep you up to date with our latest activity.
This month's edition includes highlights from the team's interview on BBC Radio Scotland, the ALLIANCE's Citizen's Wellbeing Assembly and some great guest contributions to our Dementia Carer Voices blog site.
Read: Dementia Carer Voices July Newsletter

Thank you earlier today Nursing Celebration Day Hertfordshire Nhs TrustJuly 28th


With great thanks to Jane Padmore Deputy Director of nursing for the kind invite to speak at the Nursing Celebration earlier  day ,Hertfordshire Partnership UNiversity NHS Foundation trust 

I have had the great honor to speak before at the trust and meet Jane Catherine along with many other of the inspirational people who work across the train

 I was so very honored to be invited back to meet more staff 

Thank you Jane,Catherine and all the team for the kind invite for a wonderful day 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Wednesday Speaking Canterbury Christ Church University


With great thanks to Matt Gordon MH Degree and Niall McLaughlin Professional Lead for Mental Health Department of Health, Well-Being & Family Canterbury Christ Church University
For the kind  invite to speak to students on July 22nd 

I have to thank Matt a MH Degree student at the University for his amazing effort to make this happen ,I am so very honored to be invited and look forward to attending,meeting everyone and speaking 



Thank you ,Earlier today 2 talks West Lothian Council Housing SupportTeam


With great thanks you Lorraine Walker and Lynne McDougall from West Lothian Council for the kind invite to earlier today to give to talks to staff 

Thank you to all who took time to attend for the great kindness , welcome and wonderful Food ( and wee pack for train journey to Canterbry )


Lorraine has been Kindly using some of my films at staff training events at the council and has kindly invited me along for two talks 

the talks where  attended by Council staff, Housing support workers,Managers and a wide variety of team members who support people  to live at home 

a big thank you to Lorraine ,Lynne and all at West Lothian  Council for the opportunity to attend, meet everyone and speak 

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Monday, 13 July 2015

'On the Couch' with Tommy Whitelaw filmed interview NHS Scotland Conference June 2015

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Friday, 10 July 2015

How You Can Make A Difference

We launched the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ Campaign February last year and it has been so inspiring to see it grow. Tommy Whitelaw has given 200 talk over 2014, with 170 scheduled to date for 2015 
 we wanted to really thank those who have gotten involved and made it all possible. The talks involve  Tommy sharing his own personal experiences from caring and the experiences of others who have written to him since he went on tour in 2011, to help people understand some of the issues that carers face, and what we can all do to help overcome these issues.
The campaign  has really shown the difference that every single person can make, no matter how small it may seem. with more than 4500 people personally pledging  so far 

This has been through asking people to reflect on carers experiences, and to make a pledge about one key action they could take to really have a positive impact in the lives of others. Some of the pledges have been about a simple change in attitude such as “I pledge to listen with open ears and open heart.” This type of change is one that we can all implement in our own lives, no matter who we are, where we live, or what we do.
The interactions that we have with people can be vast and varied. They can also be short and infrequent, and more often than we realise, the occasional conversation can be the only interaction people have with someone in their community. There is an abundance of research which shows that isolation leads to poorer health and wellbeing, but on a basic human level, it is simply wrong that people feel so alone. Time and time again, carers tell us that a little bit of time, listening and understanding can make an unimaginable difference during what can be a very difficult and lonely journey.  With this in mind, we would like to encourage everyone to reflect about what they could do to help, and to make a difference.
If you would like to make your own pledge, we would really love to hear about it! Please send us your pledge via email to or tweet us@dementiacarervo. Let’s make a difference!

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Further Help and Resources - Dementia - Caring

There is an increasing range of help available to support day to day life for those affected by dementia, including assistance with speech and language, nutrition, adaptations and equipment and specialist occupational therapy services. Information about the full range of services available to support people with dementia and their carers in your area can be obtained by contacting your local Social Work Department and /or GP practice.

Under the Scottish Government’s Post Diagnostic Support Guarantee, anyone diagnosed with dementia on or after 1 April 2013 is entitled to receive a minimum of a year’s worth of dedicated post-diagnostic support, coordinated by a named link worker. This support is designed to help the individual and their family adjust to the diagnosis, navigate through the services available and plan for future care. You can find out more by contacting your GP or local Community Mental Health Team.


Alzheimer Scotland’s specialist dementia services provide personalised support designed around each individual, including 1:1 support and day services. Their local Dementia Advisors and 24 hour Dementia Helpline are always there for advice and information. Their branches and community activities, from dementia cafés to football memories, are a great way to meet other people and benefit from mutual support.

24 hour Dementia Helpline: Freephone 0808 808 3000

‘Getting to Know Me’ resource

Getting to know me

If the person you care for is admitted to an acute hospital setting, you can ask a member of staff for a ‘Getting to Know Me’ form. This allows you to record personal information about their likes and dislikes, names of family and friends, and what may be worrying them while they are in hospital.

The information, which will be kept at the bedside, helps staff to build a fuller understanding of your loved one’s life story, preferred routines and specific pieces of information which may be helpful during a hospital stay or attending outpatient services such as what helps them to rest or relax.


The Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers in Scotland sets out the rights of people with dementia and those who support them, aiming to empower them and the community as a whole to ensure these are recognised and respected.


The Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland are designed to inform and empower people with dementia and their families and carers on the level and quality of care they should expect from all dementia services and in all care settings. The standards also tell people what they can do if they think the standard of care to which they are entitled is not being met.

Care inspectorate logo

 Care Inspectorate

Regulates the quality of social work and registered care services. It can investigate complaints against registered care providers.

Compass House, 11 Riverside Drive, Dundee, DD1 4NY.

Tel: 0845 600 9527 Email:


Self Directed Support

The Self-directed Support Act aims to provide local authorities with a power to support carers in their caring role. To find out more information, please visit 


Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Considers complaints about organisations providing public services in Scotland, normally only once you have been through the complaint procedure of the organisation involved.4 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7NS.

Tel: 0800 377 7330 Email:


Equal Partners in Care

Equal Partners in Care (EPiC) is a joint project between NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

They aim to support workers from health, social services and other sectors to work in partnership with carers and young carers, and to achieve better outcomes for all involved in the caring relationship.


Healthcare Improvement Scotland

healthcare improvement scotland logo

Healthcare Improvement Scotland is the national healthcare improvement organisation for Scotland and part of NHS Scotland. They work with people who use supports and services, carers, communities, staff who provide care in hospitals, GP practices, clinics, NHS boards and the public.

They promote 5 key “Must Do with Me” areas which aims to ensure that people are at the heart of their health care and support plans.

Health Innovation Network

The Health Innovation Network have put together a Dementia Peer Resource Pack  which brings together evidence based resources to help community groups and funders set up and run peer support groups, as well as guidance on how to make older people groups more dementia friendly. It includes films, case studies, policy and research related to the benefits of peer support, as well as resources on funding, staff training and evaluation of groups. It was developed in England and whilst the policy landscape is different, it is a valuable learning resource.



NHS Health Scotland – dementia publications web links

Coping with dementia: A practical guide for carers 

Date: 10 April 2014

Description: This book contains information and advice for people who care for someone in the middle to late stages of dementia (moderate to severe dementia). It aims to: – help you feel less alone – give you practical advice on coping – help you to find caring more rewarding and less stressful – show you where to go for help and for more information.

Coping with dementia DVD


Understanding dementia: A guide for young people 

Date: 22 August 2012

Description: This booklet is for you if you’re a young person, and someone you’re close to has dementia. Maybe it’s your mother or father, one of your grandparents, another relative or a family friend. This booklet will help you to understand what dementia is, and what’s happening to the person with dementia, cope with the effect the person’s illness has on you, and find help and support if you need it.


Worried About Your Memory?

This resource is designed to help you understand more about memory loss, so if you are worried – either about your own or someone else’s memory – you can seek advice and, if necessary, get treatment.


Living Well With Dementia (previously Facing dementia)

Date: 14 April 2014

Description: A booklet for those who are either worried about dementia or who have been diagnosed. It provides reassurance and suggests practical steps to improve or maintain dignity and the quality of life as far as possible.


Living Well with dementia DVD


Younger people with dementia: living well with your diagnosis

Produced by NHS Health Scotland in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Dementia Working Group, ‘Younger people with dementia: living well with your diagnosis’ DVD is designed for the person who has just been diagnosed with younger onset dementia (dementia under the age of 65) and for the family and friends of the person diagnosed.

The DVD provides insights and information from younger people with dementia and their family carers about their journey to diagnosis and which resources are available to support living well with dementia. The DVD aims to provide information on:

  • helping people in the early stages of diagnosis to understand more about their illness
  • sharing experiences around how to ‘live well’ after a diagnosis of dementia, as well as offering practical advice on coping with its effects
  • suggesting where people with younger onset dementia, their families and carers can go for further support.
  • Younger people with dementia: living well with your diagnosis DVD


Dementia and Sight Loss

RNIB logo

The Royal National Institute for the Blind together with Alzheimer’s Scotland have produced an information booklet on Sight Loss and Dementia, available here.

They have also produced Top Tip Cards on how to support Older Person with Sensory Loss, available here and here.

For further support, please call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999

A full list of their resources can be accessed at


A full directory of our videos can be found on our Youtube channel here.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Self Management Awards 2015: Nominations now open!

Now in its fifth year, the Self Management Awards will take place at the Scottish Parliament on the 30 September 2015. The Self Management team at the ALLIANCE will be hosting a very special fifth anniversary night to celebrate the very best in self management in Scotland.
Nominations are now being accepted for the fifth annual Self Management Awards.  This year’s categories are:
  • Self Managment Project of the YearSMW_2015
  • Inspirational Person of the Year
  • Self Management Partnership of the Year (voluntary organisation and NHS/Council/Private Sector Organisation)
  • Best Self Management Resource
  • Self Management Supporting Health Board of the Year
Nomination forms can be downloaded here
If you would like to get involved by hosting an event for Self Management Week, the team will be holding a series of planning events where you’ll have an opportunity to discuss some ideas and get some handy tips.
To get in touch with the self management team, please contact them at

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Very Honored to be named on Health Service Journal First Ever Patients Leader List

In Association with
With Great thanks to Health Service Journal (HSJ) in association with NHS England for the great honor to be named on the first ever Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patients leader List 

I am so very honored,with great thanks to all the kind people who nominated me,the Judges and all connected with HSJ and the awards 

I would like to dedicate this to my Mum,Dad,Irene,Ian,Laura!Sarah,the amazing 'Difference Makers' I have met and who have pledged on my tour across  the country  and my colleagues at the ALLIANCE 


This evening, Health Service Journal (HSJ) announced its first ever Patient Leaders list. Celebrating and recognising the full breadth of patients and citizens’ role in healthcare – from shaping national policy and influencing the NHS nationally, to individuals making waves through being involved in their own care. Around 100 patient, healthcare leaders and guests attended a private reception to network and celebrate their success.

HSJ invited readers to nominate those they thought our judges should consider.  A panel of expert judges were asked to review the long list and add suggestions of their own.
50 individuals from across the spectrum of healthcare have made the list.

The judges on the panel were as follows:
·         Dr Dominique Allwood, public health registrar, The Health Foundation
·         Neil Churchill, director for patient experience, NHS England
·         Sir Donald Irvine, patron, Picker Institute and former president of the General Medical Council
·         Alan Johnson, MP and former health secretary
·         Roger Kline, director, Patients First and research fellow, Middlesex University Business School
·         Dr Steve Laitner, practising GP and freelance health consultant
·         Annie Laverty, director of patient experience, Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust
·         Shaun Lintern, patient safety correspondent, HSJ
·         Martin McEwan, interim head of communications and engagement, NHS Leadership Academy
·         Sir Nick Partridge, former chief executive, Terrence Higgins Trust
·         Joe Rafferty, chief executive, Mersey Care Trust
·         Joan Saddler, associate director of patients and communities, NHS Confederation
·         Allison Trimble, senior consultant looking after patient leadership initiatives, The King’s Fund
·         Giles Wilmore, director for patient and public voice and information, NHS England
Congratulations to everyone who made the list.
For further information please visit

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Friday, 3 July 2015

Speaking participation forum for Cumbria and the North East July 9th


With great thanks to Felicity Davies, Patient Experience Lead,Nursing & Quality Directorate
Cumbria and the North East ,NHS England for the kind invitation to speak at the participation forum for   Cumbria and the North East ,NHS England

I am very honored to be invited and look forward to attending 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Guest post - Glen Merrilees - Poem My mums name was Joan


With Great thanks to my dear friend,MH campaigner and Poet Glen Merrilees @GlenMerrilees for the beautiful poem below 

Glen has sent beautiful and honest poems before capturing my own life and feelings betters than I can and that I have always proudly shared 

You can follow Glen on Twitter  @GlenMerrilees and I encourage you to support his campaigning work poetry and  films  

Thank you Glen 
Hi Tommy, firstly you were brilliant the other day, the passion shone through. I was looking at some of your posts on twitter yesterday and I read the article you wrote for the newspaper This inspired me to write the attached poem, hope you don't mind but I tried to write it from your perspective

Glen Merrilees 


My door was always open
But no-one came to see
The battle we were fighting
My poor mum and me.

There had been a diagnosis
Dementia was It’s name
A ton weight dropped upon me
Fate had changed the game.

I thought, perhaps I’d manage
And it would be okay
But everything was turned around
Worsening each day.

The Lady who adored me
Would slowly drift away
Routines like hearts were broken
Snowdrops never stay.

There’s a lack of understanding
Friends excuses vague
A lack of education
This is NOT the plague.

We need some understanding
Education is the key
How many other carers
Have climbed that hill like me.

The little things mean everything
This illness is no game
My mum was just a patient
They never asked her name.

Left to fight the battle
We faced it on our own
Look further than the illness
My mother’s name was Joan.

We had to climb the mountain
As we had no other choice
It’s time they started listening
Us carers have a voice.


My mums name was Joan ,my Mum Had Dementia - our Story 9 Short Films

Tommy’s speech, providing a carer’s perspective,  on the theme of “ No – one ever asked   ” highlighted the transformational impact that ...