Information Now

24th January 2020 InfoNOW News


  • Thank you from InformationNOW
  • Max and Keira’s Law – changes to organ donation rules
  • Turn your walk into a workout
  • Glaucoma treatment

Research & Reports

  • Medicines check for frail and elderly

Opportunities for Action

  • Recycle contact lenses


  • Eye health awareness

New on InformationNOW this week

Updated articles & organisations

  • Suitability
  • Tax Aid
  • Newcastle Treatment and Recovery (NTaR) – Drug and Alcohol Service
  • How to give blood and organ donation
  • Mental Health
  • Mental health emergency and crisis services
  • Accessible and public toilets


Thank you from InformationNOW

We’d like to thank you for supporting InformationNOW over the years and more recently. We’ve had a great year with:

  • 2,600 registered users in comparison to 264 in April 2018
  • reaching a wider demographic of users from 25 to 54 years as well as over 65s
  • 185 new organisations listed
  • 3,500 current events listed (most are free to access)
  • 15 new articles published
  • 1,120 subscribers to InfoNOW news

We are delighted with this engagement and we want to continue to meet the information needs of people living and working in Newcastle. Please do spread the word to friends, family and colleagues and contact us about content.

Lauren will be on maternity leave from the end of January, so please keep in touch with Kate and Carol on

Max and Keira’s Law – changes to organ donation rules

A new system for organ donation that will save hundreds of lives has been passed by Parliament.

The Organ Donation Act will mean adults in England will be considered potential donors unless they choose to opt out or are excluded. The act is known as Max and Keira’s law in honour of a boy who received a heart transplant and the girl who donated it.  You will now be deemed to have consented unless you are under 18 years, lack mental capacity, or did not live in England 12 months before death.

There are more than 6,000 people currently waiting for an organ in the UK. Three people die each day while on the waiting list. The new law will help to reduce the number of people waiting for a life-saving transplant.  The circumstances in which someone can be a donor are very specific and accounted for only 0.5% of deaths in 2017/18. Organ donation is a tiny and incredibly precious resource.  Blood type and tissue types are important in ensuring a suitable match for patients who need a transplant.  Specialist healthcare professionals decide in each case which organs and tissues are suitable.  One donor can save as many as 9 lives.

Read  How to give blood and organ donation

Turn your walk into a workout

Are you in need of a new year boost?  How about an exercise plan that works for the mind as well as the body? There are five steps to turning walking into a serious wellbeing workout.  Nordic walking is a type of fitness walking where you walk with poles, applying force to them with each stride.  You work your arms and core as well as your legs, so it’s a total body workout.  So great fitness, improved mood through rhythmic walking and you are in the great outdoors – a proven mood booster.  The key to Nordic walking is technique and you will need to find an instructor. The good news is that there are Nordic Walking sessions in Newcastle at  Leazes and Exhibition Park run by Active Newcastle. There are also Nordic walks further afield, run by Groundwork South and North Tyneside and the Sustrans. Why not give it a go?Read more about fitness activities in Newcastle.
Other resources that may be useful: WalkActive You Tube channel and MapMyWalk

Glaucoma treatment

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness worldwide.  It results from damage to the optic nerve and increased pressure in the eye.  Its symptoms do not present themselves in an obvious way because the brain compensates for sight loss in the peripheral vision.  That’s why it is important to go for regular eye appointments throughout your life.A new treatment, the ‘Eye Watch’ may revolutionise the treatment for patients. The design, trialled at St Thomas, London and the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, allow a tap like feature to be inserted into the eye to alter the eye pressure reducing the need for further surgery.Find out more on BBC Trust me, I’m a doctor.
The International Glaucoma Association run support groups across the North East.


Medicines check for frail and elderly

According to the Pharmaceutical Journal, almost 75,000 frail and elderly people may be missing out on medicines checks.  Under NHS guidance in October 2017, GPs should be routinely identifying frail and elderly people and ensuring that at least an annual medicines check takes place. According to NHS Digital data, GPs are not recording that these reviews are taking place.  This may be owing to the lack of resources in GP practices, but it may also be that the data is not clear, owing to poor or inconsistent coding.  The advent of new Primary Care Networks may lead to improvement.  Medicine reviews are important as A&E admissions reveal that this may be caused by incorrect use of medicines by patients.  You could request one from your GP or seek help from your pharmacy.


Recycle contact lenses

Most people who wear contact lenses are throwing away the packaging and the lenses which contributes to our environmental damage either in the oceans or through landfill. Once in landfill it may take up to 500 years to decompose, potentially leaking pollutants into the soil and water. Even more shocking, more than 1 in 4 people admit to disposing of their lenses in the sink or toilet.  Contact lenses break down into smaller particles and ultimately form microplastics. These microplastics pollute the oceans and are mistaken for food by marine animals. A recent University of Exeter study found that every single seal, dolphin and whale washed up on Britain’s shores had traces of plastic in its stomach.  750 million lenses are thrown away each year.There are several things you might do to reduce the environmental impact, some may be a costly solution though:

  • consider the options of laser eye or intraocular lens surgery
  • dispose of your lenses responsibly, and recycle – there are recycle bins in every Optical Express store in the UK
  • check the packaging of your lenses to see whether and where you can recycle them


Eye health awareness

Nowadays there are concerns that eye conditions are linked to pollution as well as your lifestyle.   Many eye conditions are preventable and there are things you can do to prevent sight loss:

  • a sight test can detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, which can be treated if found soon enough
  • during a sight test, other health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure may be detected
  • eat well, don’t smoke and wear eye protection in bright sunlight.

InformationNOW has an article on eye conditions and dealing with sight loss. and opticians. There is also an article with information on support groups in the area and concessionary travel. Please contact us if you want to add something to the support groups or regular events pages.The council has a sensory support service.Eye health awareness week  takes place week c 21 September 2020.  Glaucoma awareness week is in May 2020.Resources are available to raise awareness of eye health.

What’s new on InformationNOW this week

Articles Updated

Organisations Updated

Last updated: March 16, 2020

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