By Hugh Kingwell
I am 77-years-old and I have been a diabetic since June 2002. I had a heart attack in June 2014 and two attacks of DVT and currently I have an aortic aneurysm which is waiting to be dealt with.
Some 12 years ago when I was active in local amateur dramatics, a fellow actor asked me if I would like to join a very worthwhile organisation that helped people who had been injured in some way. I said ‘yes, possibly, tell me more?’. It emerged that this was the TUG (Trust User Group), a body of volunteers that kept a beady eye on how the ambulance service actually went about its business and the various patient pathways that existed to ensure that the patient always received the correct and most appropriate treatment.
I said ‘yes’ and joined the organisation and attended the first meeting where I was warmly welcomed. Being a diabetic myself I was very interested to see and understand how diabetics were treated, so I made various inquiries, was shown the equipment and had the recovery pathway explained to me. It was immediately apparent that no ‘follow-up’ leaflet was available to give to patients, so I wrote the leaflet which was then printed and carried on the ambulances.
The TUG is active in the fields of patient follow-up interviews, ambulance ambassador roles, station audits, and patient pathways. We currently have projects concerning mental health, care homes and trips and falls, the impact of inappropriate discharge from hospitals. We are also involved with the complaints process and case review panels to name but a few from our Locality Work Plan.
The full TUG meets every three months for what is normally a full day and we have locality meetings regularly, plus sometimes, special project meetings.
Belonging to the TUG is extremely worthwhile , fascinating, challenging and our projects make a real difference to the patients carried on our ambulances. Also the whole of the UK health programme is constantly evolving which in itself carries ever changing challenges.
If you would like to be involved, why not come along to one of our meetings, you would be really welcome and see for yourself exactly what we get up to.
For more information contact Sotu Marshall-Wyer, Patient and Public Involvement Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) will be posting a blog from a CFR every day during national volunteers’ week, which runs until 12th June #volunteersweek #CFRtakeover
For more information, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk