Information Now

16 March 2018


  • Brain Awareness Week
  • Cold Weather payments
  • Blue badge scheme – have your say
  • NHS Prescriptions
  • Cleaner streets
  • Free Wills Month

AnchorOpportunities for Action

  • Personal Health budgets survey – NHS England
  • Healthwatch Newcastle and Gateshead


  • Going digital and computer classes

Events & Activities

  • Singing for the brain

New and updated articles and organisations

  • Wills
  • Having your say about health services
  • Pharmacy
  • Better Days
  • Silverline Memories
  • Gosforth Civic Theatre
  • British Red Cross
  • The Neurological Alliance


Brain awareness week, 12 to 18 March 2018

This week is brain awareness week.  Many organisations will be raising their profiles to demonstrate the practical work that they do to support people who have experienced medical complications such as stroke, epilepsy, head injuries, Parkinson’s disease and migraine to name a few.  Information NOW has lots of useful articles, such as support groups and self care and disability and each of these is linked to useful organisations that you may want to contact for support if you or someone you know has been affected.  Another great resource is NHS Choices which will give you up to date information about symptoms and what to do if you are worried or need help.

Why not take this opportunity to think about how to keep healthy and happy and keep your brain active or consider what might take some of the stress out of your busy life?  You could consider mindfulness or complementary therapies such as Reiki or attend a Tai Chi class.

and finally …

Alzheimer’s Newcastle has two new dementia drop ins on Wednesdays 14th and  28th March at
Treetops Village, Walker Road, Walker, Newcastle. Run by Dementia support workers you will find all the information you need.

Cold Weather payments

If you are receiving any benefits including pension credit and universal credit you may be eligible for cold weather payments. So far our region has triggered these payments for 14 to 16 December and 24 February to 2 March so your payment of £25 should be made automatically.

Blue badge scheme – have your say

The Blue Badge scheme allows people who have difficulty travelling to park their cars close to the facilities and services that they need to use.  You can have your say about the eligibility criteria until 18th March and comment on whether people with non-physical conditions should be included. There are a variety of documents on the Government website which enable easy read and response.

NHS Prescriptions

In April the cost of a single-item prescription will rise by 20p to £8.80, which the Government says will help support frontline NHS services. You may want to keep your personal costs down by buying a prepayment certificate if you find yourself needing more than one prescription per month.  You may also consider buying some of your items over the counter at your pharmacy.  You can find a list of pharmacies close to you by visiting the Newcastle Gateshead CCG website.

The Guardian recently published an article showing that the combination of ingredients in branded and generic medicines is often the same but the branded one is often twice the price.  The example they give is for Max Flu medicines.  Each medicine carries a product licence number on their packaging, in the style of PL XXXXX/YYYY. If the PL numbers are the same, you know the generic is identical to the branded product.  Do check that the non-branded option is cheaper though.

Examples of generic products include: paracetemol, ibuprofen and ranitidine for heartburn.

To get involved and have your say about NHS service and how they affect you read our article.

Cleaner streets

Newcastle City Council will be intensively cleaning the streets near you. The work will begin because you voted for cleaner streets and a better living environment in the Residents Survey.  Great news  – thanks to those who took part.

Free Wills Month

Free Wills month brings together a number of well known charities, such as, the Stroke Association, NSPCC, Dogs Trust and the British Heart Foundation to offer members of the public aged 55 and over the opportunity to have their simple Wills written or updated free of charge by using participating solicitors.  A number of solicitors are participating across Newcastle and Tyne and Wear.  You can select the charities that you are interested in supporting with a donation and the website will identify which solicitors represent them. You can also opt to be contacted by the Charity.  Available till 31st March.  Not sure why you need a Will? read our Information NOW article.


Personal Health Budgets survey – NHS England

Have you got a personal health budget (PHB) or an or integrated personal budget? Nearly 25,000 people have. NHS England wants to hear your experiences of PHBs in a new survey. They hope this will help them improve how budgets work for you. Take the survey
For more on personal  budgets visit Information NOW.

Healthwatch Newcastle and Gateshead

Healthwatch Newcastle and Gateshead helps everyone speak up about health and social care services in Newcastle and Gateshead. Here are two ways to get involved and comment on health and social care services locally.

The ‘Excellence in engagement’ conference 2018 enables you to hear what has been achieved in the last year and comment on future priorities.
Wednesday 25 April, 9 am to 2 pm, at St Mary’s Heritage Centre, Gateshead, NE8 2AT.  Book your free place here.

You also have an opportunity to comment on Healthwatch’s priorities for 2018- 2019.  Are charges for prescriptions and dental treatment on your mind, or access to care for housebound people, or is something else more important to you?  Take the survey here.


Going digital and computer classes

Do you want to know more about how to use digital technology? then look at our Getting online section on Information NOW.  We have articles to help you think about the options: mobile phone, iPad, tablet as well as articles to explain how to use the internet and stay safe online.  But there’s also lots of support available in Newcastle to help you to get online, learn new skills, access technology and try new things.

We realise that many people are unsettled by the thought of using the internet and that’s why Information NOW holds lots of information about computer classes that you can attend to help you get online and stay safe.  There are sessions at City and other libraries, at Northumbria University run by the Elders Council and also clubs run by Search and at Walker Learning Hive.

Newcastle is a digital city.  Did you know that Newcastle City Centre, from the Haymarket all the way down to the Sage on the Quayside, offers free Wi Fi?  Make the most of it when you are shopping, working or travelling.  To find out how to use it, watch this You Tube film.


Singing for the brain

More and more we hear that people with dementia benefit from singing or music therapy but singing is a great way for anyone to make friends and have fun. The Alzheimer’s Society Newcastle has two new sessions at Northern Stage on Thursday 22nd March 2018 and Tuesday 27th March 2018 from 2.30- 4pm.  For all our other singing activities, opportunities to listen to music, or for hobbies visit Information NOW.



Articles Updated

Having your say about health services

New and Updated Organisations


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Kate Bowman
Development Manager (Information and advice), Quality of Life Partnership

Last updated: May 1, 2018

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