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blogOn this page you will find blogs written by patients, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

This page is a dedicated area for you to learn about and share experiences. Your blog can be anonymous, or if you wish to you can provide your name and/or photograph.

If you would like to do a blog about something you have experienced in terms of health conditions or healthcare, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we would be happy to discuss.

Christmas on my terms

Ted Ralph

Ted Ralph works for the local NHS.

Most people feel pressure coming up to Christmas. It’s a fun time but for many of us it means lots of preparation and work.

It seems like we’re conditioned into wanting that perfect Christmas with copious amounts of food and drink, good company and gift’s a plenty. Nigella Lawson’s glittery vision of Christmas is just one example that’s almost impossible to recreate without a crew of 5 helpers including a hair stylist and interior designer.  

Living with dementia - a son's tale

iain fulfordOne of the curses of working within healthcare is that people automatically think you know everything remotely medical. I’m not a nurse, I’m not a doctor. There was a time when I was about 14 that I thought about being a doctor, but there was an obstacle – I really didn’t understand biology. What’s the relevance of this you may ask? Well during my somewhat eclectic career, I spent some time working with a well-known private care home provider. In that role, I was very fortunate to meet both people who were living with dementia, and the amazing folks that care for them. I’d written many articles about it, talked to the care homes residents who, on their good days, were the most intriguing characters with some amazing life experiences, and interviewed families about the impact.

My point is this… I knew about dementia. I knew the signs, I knew the symptoms, and I knew the devastating impact it has.

It was the little things I began to notice at first; asking the same question again, the odd repeated conversation, forgetting where she’d put things. Then over the course of a year or so, it became more and more noticeable. She’d appear vacant, or would stop listening. In groups, she seemed to slowly withdraw. Family members brought it up in conversation. My sister and I talked about it possibly being dementia, but I’d find excuses to justify her behaviour. We knew she’d had a TIA a couple of years before, so I’d put it down to that. “Maybe she needs a hearing test?” The results were fine. And then it would settle down for a while and we’d all carry on as if nothing was wrong. That happened a few times, and over the course of a couple of years we just put it down to Mum “being Mum”. We’d occasionally talk about it, behind closed doors, and then change the subject; the prospect too unbearable to give strong consideration to.

Dave talks about how he's coped with losing his dad on Christmas Eve

Dave Rogers Midland Mencap"His presence remains our spirit of Christmas, we know he is there with us, we find that comforting. We are happy, and people might find this odd, but our family Christmases have now become even more special."

By Dave Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of Midland Mencap

I guess the worst of days always start off OK. As a family our worst of days was Christmas Eve 1996, the day my father very unexpectedly passed away.  My dad was Christmas, he loved the season and was the glue by which our whole family celebration was planned and enjoyed. In the days leading up to Christmas Eve he would spend his time delivering cards and presents to even the most distant of relatives and friends as well as come up with, sometimes the most ridiculous, ways of enhancing the Christmas spirit. Our Christmases were amazing, fun filled, family affairs and no sooner had one Christmas passed we’d all start thinking about the next one.

Then came that fateful day. We, my wife and four small children, were going to spend Christmas Eve morning at home before travelling to my parents for the festivities. Then wham! You just know that 5am phone calls never bring good news and I just knew something terrible had happened. Still full of sleep I struggled to comprehend the call, it was a neighbour, clearly distressed themselves, trying to tell me that my dad had been rushed to hospital, he was seriously ill, and I should waste no time in getting to his bedside. It took what seemed like an age to unravel in my mind what I’d been told. How could this be true? My dad was a bull of a man, fit, strong, and rarely ill. That was my abiding thought, he’s never ill. So, I set off to the hospital convinced that whatever had happened he would just shake it off and be home before you know it.

Ask your pharmacist for advice!

By pharmacist Romesh Rana

We’re fast approaching the Christmas season; the nights become longer and the frosty winds cause temperatures to fall. The season of fun, food and festivities goes hand in hand with coughs, colds and sore throats.

Viral infections are responsible for many of our winter ailments such as colds, most coughs, sinusitis, sore throats and flu to name a few. I compare them to Dr Seuss’ Grinch who steals all the fun out of Christmas celebrations!

Prescribing antibiotics

Antibiotic GuardianBy Dr Paul Dudley, a Kingstanding GP

As the Prescribing Lead for my practice I am responsible for promoting best practice when it comes to antibiotic prescribing.  

Antibiotics are essential medicines for treating bacterial infections. However, they are losing their effectiveness because bacteria can find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic. They become ‘antibiotic resistant’ and they don’t just infect you; they can spread to other people in close contact with you. There are very few new antibiotics in development, which is why it is important we use our existing antibiotics wisely and make sure these lifesaving medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves, our children and grandchildren.

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