July 10, 2014
The Property Care Association Launches New Flood Protection Group
National trade body The Property Care Association (PCA) has launched a new initiative that will deliver assurance and certainty to those looking to protect themselves from the worst effects of future floods.
The new Flood Protection Group is being developed by the PCA to give consumers confidence in finding contractors, assessors and products that are right for the job.
Stephen Hodgson, Chief Executive of the PCA, says the new group will remove the uncertainty in the UK in finding solutions to protect homes from flooding.
He said: “Until now homeowners and professionals have had no obvious way of finding products and contractors that really understand what they are doing.
“The Property Care Association is bringing the same level of operational and technical rigour for which we are renowned, to this increasingly important specialism.
“The Flood Protection Group will become a reference point for legislators, community groups, insurers and importantly, homeowners who want to understand what can be done to effectively protect their property from the effects of flooding.
“The initiative will link consumers to reliable, competent and trustworthy flood protection specialists. The Association will inspect and verify the skills, knowledge, operational capabilities of contractors and ensure products are dependable and reliable.
“This level of rigour will not only apply to providers of work aimed at keeping the water out, known as, flood resistance, it will also be applied to those who undertake work that make buildings resilient, by taking steps that will reduce the impact of water that has entered the building.
“Ultimately, this new group will drive standards and create consumer confidence to meet the needs of the nation.
“The end result will see a defined route in the UK to access a professional group of experts with specialist focused skills, able to design and deliver comprehensive, holistically designed, flood protection solutions that work.”
Acclaimed flood campaigner Mary Dhonau OBE is working with the PCA to build and support the Flood Protection Group. Mary has been instrumental in bringing together the PCA and members of the Flood Protection Association (FPA) to form a strong and technically capable group, that can bring real value to the consumer.
Mary is a tireless campaigner on flood-related issues, receiving her OBE in 2009 for this work.
She has first-hand experience of the upheaval flooding causes following a catalogue of flood damage to her own home in Worcester. As both a victim of flooding and the former Chairman of both the National Flood Forum and the FPA she understands the challenges and importance of providing reliable, dependable flood resilience and resistant solutions.
Mary said: “Being flooded is an appalling experience, but often the reality is that for those victims of flooding, the repair stage can be even worse than being flooded.
“Sadly, the issue is all too often compounded by shabby workmanship – and a fear that another flood event could happen at any time in the future.
“The Flood Protection Group within the PCA, will make it easier for those whose who want to protect their homes from flood water.”
“We want to see the problems of flooding dramatically reduced throughout the UK, and the creation of this new group means we now have a national platform to promote best practice, high standards and most importantly, peace of mind to those who have or could be affected by flooding”.
“When choosing a member of the PCA, people can be certain that they have undergone rigorous, ongoing checks to achieve and retain membership.
The PCA is noted for its training and technical expertise, with an industry-recognised training programme and a renowned technical panel able to share best practice and guidance with members.
It is also a scheme operator of Trustmark, the Government-backed scheme which aims to help consumers find reliable and trustworthy tradesmen when making improvements or repairs to their homes.
To find out more, log on to the PCA website at www.property-care.org or call 0844 375 4301.
Shepherd PR News
July 11, 2014
Online tool can help improve care services
A new online service designed to help improve health and social care in Staffordshire is to be officially launched next week.
The Experience Exchange is a tool combining key information about services in the county with a special review centre, where residents are encouraged to provide feedback.
The idea has been developed by consumer champions Healthwatch Staffordshire and will be formally unveiled during their inaugural annual meeting on Tuesday (July 15).
Robin Morrison, chairman of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, which delivers Healthwatch, believes the service has huge potential.
He said: “The Experience Exchange will be like a one-stop shop for health and social care in Staffordshire.
“There’ll be a wealth of key information on more than 1,000 providers ranging from hospitals, hospices, residential and nursing homes to GPs, dentists and opticians.
“And it will offer the chance for people who have used those services to provide a review as they can share their experiences or make suggestions for improvement.
“The information provided will be passed on to providers and commissioners so it will effectively help shape the future delivery of health and social care.
“It’s an opportunity for people in Staffordshire to have a big say in the way their own services are run.”
Members of the public can visit the Experience Exchange by going to www.healthwatchstaffordshire.co.uk/x2
The annual meeting for Healthwatch Staffordshire, which crowned its first year in operation by picking up the national ‘Outstanding Healthwatch of the Year’ award last week, takes place at Rising Brook Conference Centre in Stafford (10am-1.30pm).
The event will feature a debate on the controversial NHS Care.data programme alongside a question and answer session with various healthcare providers and support services.
Mr Morrison is hoping residents will take the opportunity to get involved.
He added: “The debate is a chance for people to talk about the scheme and explore all the issues that will affect them.
“The scheme is due to go live in the Autumn and we want people to be fully informed before they make a decision so holding an open public discussion on the subject will give them the chance to have their say.”
July 07, 2014
National award shows health watchdog is on right track
A Staffordshire health watchdog has landed a prestigious national award after its first year in operation.
Healthwatch Staffordshire beat off stiff competition from all over the country to be named ‘Outstanding Healthwatch of the Year’ at an annual ceremony in Reading.
Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, which delivers Healthwatch, described the award as a massive shot in the arm and says it shows the watchdog is on the right track ahead of its inaugural annual meeting next week.
“We always said Staffordshire deserves a Rolls Royce of a health watchdog service and this award shows we’re on the way to delivering that,” she said.
“There’s still a long way to go and there’s still lots to do, but we’re delighted with the recognition of our work so far.
“It’s very humbling to be picked out ahead of a great countrywide Healthwatch network and we’ll do all we can to develop our service.”
The Staffordshire watchdog dealt with several major issues in its inaugural year including the Francis Report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and the Keogh Inquiry which both followed the scandal at Stafford Hospital.
Ms Sensier added: “We’ve had a lot of complex issues to deal with in our first year, but this shows that we hit the ground running.”
Anna Bradley, chair of Healthwatch England, said Healthwatch Staffordshire had done “an impressive job in setting up an effective organisation to give patients in the area a stronger voice.”
Healthwatch Staffordshire, set up in April last year, is gearing up for its first AGM at Rising Brook Conference Centre in Stafford on Tuesday, July 15.
The event will feature a debate on the controversial NHS plans for a new data-sharing scheme and Ms Sensier says the meeting provides an ideal opportunity for residents to have their say.
Healthwatch Staffordshire is keen to get people from all walks of life to go along and will pass on the results both to NHS England and Healthwatch England.
The event, which will also feature a question and answer session with various healthcare providers and support services, runs from 10.30am to 1pm.