1st September 2016


Minutes of the meeting

In attendance: Rod C,  Angela D, Dick and Hazel L, Brian L, Tim and Francis W, John and Margaret I, Brian P, Terry G, Lawrie S, Geraldine M, Linda E.

1. Apologies:

Were received from Sue C, Chris S and a welcome extended to new members Geraldine and Linda

2. Matters arising from minutes of July meeting with Carers in Herts

Rod reminded us that the consultation timescale for the draft Mental Health Strategy mentioned at this meeting was extended and he attended a focus group on the 4th August where they produced the required feedback.

3. Review of our recent day out and early suggestions/ideas for next year

Most people said that they enjoyed the day for a wide range of reasons. Dick felt that while he thought that it was a good day, we didn’t really get value for money.

Suggestions for next year’s trip included:

Brian suggested we consider a Canal trip down to Watford that he had once done and provided the promotional leaflet with further details. He also mentioned that he was about to go on a visit to Buckingham Palace and would report back to the group.

Dick suggested Wicksteed Park near Kettering. The promotional blurb says that it is a fun family day out, home to 30 attractions with 147 acre park and a lake. He emphasised that there was no entrance fee and it looked likely to be value for money.

Hendon Aircraft museum was also suggested followed by favourable comments from Tim and Francis who had recently been there.

Dick agreed to investigate these possibilities and get back.

4. Additional September meeting

It was agreed that the Carer’s Tea – with Rod on Wednesday the 14th Sep 1-3 pm St Pauls, Slippers Hill would indeed be one of our additional meetings. Rod reported that the speakers will be from the Wellbeing team. A show of hands indicating interest showed that it would be well attended. On this occasion Rod was not going to be there so Sue Chitayi would host it for him.

5. Latest update on Web Site Development

Brian L. reported that the Website was now uploaded but with the earlier content provided. Given that Terry had produced additional content that needs to be up-loaded, he hoped that he would soon be in a position to provide the domain name and details of how we log on.

Terry distributed a map of the web site and described its overall structure as having one Home page with six linked subsections comprising in total some 24 pages (currently).

He went on to describe the thinking behind the content as follows. Its overall purpose is to gain new members and thereby maintain the strength of the group. This we believe can be achieved by making our existence known to a wider audience via the website but also to have something that they want or need ie a source of reliable information.

One immediate need of a new carer is help with translating or summarising the complex and confusing picture of Mental Health services available in Herts. This we try to achieve by including easy to follow maps / explanations and presenting them in an organised way.

Without this new carers would have to get this information by trolling through the individual sources one by one – but only if they know that they exist.

Clearly, organisational structures change, teams change names, services are added or withdrawn so it is essential to keep these maps up-to-date. If we don’t there will be little reason for a carer to revisit. Having read it once, why return if it’s not up-to-date? So we also need to keep up-to-date with the latest changes in mental health services and policy issues, news events and or reports about relevant research.

While these maps are largely based on HPFT teams and services, keeping them up-to-date will still be onerous. It is recognised that going into too much detail will increase the effort required and likely duplicate the work of Mind ,Rethink Carers in Herts etc unnecessarily. Clearly we do not have the ability to compete with them but if we can get the balance right, we can achieve and maintain our website as the trusted first port of call for carers and help provide a broad understanding of the service in Herts and signpost the main sources and types of support available.

Terry hoped that since we each come across or work with different aspects of the service, we will pick-up those changes and feed the information back to the website administration for validation and up-date. Additionally, as some members sit on working groups and committees they are best place to feed-back information about upcoming issues, relevant changes and interesting research reports etc before they happen. Work on the “member’s forum link” has not started. The technicalities of achieving sufficient interactivity, together with security issues (eg providing a password for access only by bona fide members) have yet to be addressed.

6. Dick’s quiz – Saturday 1st October 7:30 Victoria Hall Ackerman Street Tring

If things go as previous years he expects 120 people to attend. There will be a free raffle, a ploughman’s and all you can drink in either soft drinks wine or beer. At £10 per ticket all the proceeds will go to charity. The questions will be organised with in the theme of – The Good (3pts), The Bad (1pt) and The Others (2pts). There will be teams of 6 per table

7. Suggestions for subjects of interest & speakers for next six months

Having recently attended the “Coping and Caring Course” Francis and Tim were impressed enough to suggest that we approach Joe Clack of Rethink to

• Run another course in the mind building over a 6 week period. The duration of each session to be 2 hours taking care not to clash with the night that we meet

• Be a speaker for us on any subject of our choice such as the Triangle of Care

Val suggested that a speaker (Dr Small) from the CCG would make an interesting contribution. Another was someone from Bed Management team who can talk about the longer term future and discharge issues (now moving on). The suggestion for a speaker to provide a Homeless Workers view ie someone from Dens was also seen as a possibility. Dick agreed to pursue these suggestions.

8. Ideas for our Christmas night out.

Numerous pubs and locations were suggested but we settled on the Toby Carvery at Kings Langley and, as last year, try to get a room to ourselves. It was also decided to stick to our first Thursday in December date.

9. Any Other Business

Dick described the process by which he applied for and received acceptance for him to sit on the new “Co-production Board” who, he believes, will shape Mental Health Care for years to come. He also described that the Board had now accepted a deputy (Terry) to attend only for those occasions when Dick couldn’t.

He went on to outline his 3 priorities during early discussions as Loneliness and Dementia. The unexplained increase in emergency entrants to Kingfisher Court 136 Unit . How personal budgets might contribute to excess drink/drug abuse and the increase in suicide which had (tripled).

Dick added that he was confused as to the name of the group as he found it to be different on different documents. Discussion on the old longer name resulted in confirming the dropping the words “district, support and group” and agree that we now use “Caring for Carers in Mental Health – Dacorum”. This will require some small changes to the website header and logo and improved consistency in its use on Agendas and Minutes.

10. Date of next meeting – Thurs 6th October 2016