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A local group of the National Rheumatoid  Arthritis Society

BLACKPOOL
NRAS GROUP

17th January 2013 - Guest Speaker-  Dr H Sari-Kouzel, Consultant Rheumatologist,  Medical Research.

The group were treated to a presentation from Consultant Rheumatologist Dr H Sari-Kouzel speaking  about Medical Research. She started her talk explaining the reason why research is needed, We learnt that there are different types of research and all research is extremely regulated. She went on to explain that without research the new biologic drugs for RA would not have been developed for RA. One of the key resources involved in research is……us. Without people willing to participate in research, research would not be able to progress to develop new drugs and cures.

Do have a look at Dr Sari-Kouzel’s presentation here. Thank you Doctor for your time and we hope that you will accept our invitation to return.

15th November 2012 - BADRAG 2nd Birthday - BADRAG’s 2nd birthday soon came around and to  celebrate the event, a ‘party’ was held at Clifton Hospital. Rather than having a speaker on the evening, it was decided to have a more social event with with a ‘2012’ quiz. Tea, coffee, sandwiches and a birthday cake were enjoyed by all those attending. It was a good evening, where we were able to meet with others. Thanks to all the Rheumatology, Occupational Therapy teams for coming along. We will soon be able to share the photographs from this event here. Come back soon!


20th September 2012 - Guest Speakers -  Sue McAusland, Podiatrist.

Footcare and footwear - a topic that rates highly for those with RA. Sue gave an interesting talk to the group on this important topic. Starting with an overview of her team, she explained what the Podiatry Department of Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation trust does for their clients. Referral to the team must be from GP, Consultant or can be made from the specialist nurse. They work to The North West Clinical Effectiveness Guidelines for rheumatoid Arthritis and their objective is to improve foot and ankle assessment and management. This ranges from simple foot care advice, palliative care for nails and skin and orthotic / specialist footwear provision through to management of ulceration and infection. Sue illustrated her talk with example pictures of poor foot health and examples of good and not-so-good footwear. With a practical session on how to measure our feet in advance of going shoe shopping, Sue provided lots of advice and tips on how to better manage and look after our feet. With a very busy Q&A session Sue answered many questions and agreed for a copy of her presentation to be available here.

Many thanks to you Sue for an interesting and educational talk. We hope to be able to invite you back.

Click here to view the presentation slides


19th July 2012 - Guest Speakers-  Louise Ralston, Dietitian.

 The message from Louise was healthy eating doesn't need to be time consuming or boring. It is simply about getting the balance right and trying to keep changes that you make long term. there are no foods that are ‘banned’ for people with RA nor are there any diets or dietary supplements that will cure RA. You can enjoy eating a variety of different foods as part of a healthy eating plan.  Eat plenty of foods rich in starch and fibre. Eat a more Mediterranean-style diet - plenty of fruit and vegetables. Don't eat too many foods that contain a lot of fat. Eat oily fish but do take caution with fish liver oils e.g. Cod liver oils, halibut liver oils - Concerns with overdosing on vitamin A). Don't have sugary foods and drinks too often. Eat less salt. If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly. Maintaining a healthy weight is important if you have any form of arthritis.

Thank you Louise for an informative talk.


17th May 2012 - Guest Speakers-  Janice Booth, Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner, Shirley Galloway, Occupational Therapist & Jenny Stockdale. Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist.

The topic of this meeting was pain management.

3 presentations in one night from our greatest supporters! The group was treated to an evening explaining what pain is, why do we get it, how to manage it and, how to try to prevent it..

Janice gave us lots of information on why we get pain and the variety of pain killers available to take in order to ease the pain - alalgesics (Non-opoid, NSAID’s, Compound, Opoids) and DMARDS, biologic therapies & Steroids.

Jenny explained the effects of RA upon our joints, the importance in maintaining joint movement and taking rest. Joint pain and the use of ice packs (bag of peas!), wheat wraps, TENS machine and hydrotherapy baths.

Shirley’s talk was based on the message of ‘don’t let it get to the pain stage’. Prevention is better than managing pain. Take rest, don’t do too much - the dust will be back tomorrow, the windows will get dirty again! Allow the body to relax. Shirley then led a relaxation session that gave us an introduction in how to relax and allow the body time to rest.

Thank you Janice, Shirley & Jenny once again for an interesting, informative talk and for your time.


15th March 2012 - Guest Speaker - Dr. S Jones, Consultant Rheumatologist

Those who attended this meeting were treated to an extremely interesting talk. Dr Jones gave us an insight into how the drugs used in rheumatology work and a great analogy of how their effect depends on the drug concentration and the patients’ metabolic rate. He spoke about Rheumatology drugs – Analgesics, NSAIDs, Steroids, DMARDs, Biologics and the impact on the body, including their side-effects.  With information on what to do if the drugs are not working, Dr Jones closed his presentation with a look at new developments in RA drugs. A Q&A session took place with Dr Jones answering the many and varied questions.

Lyn Wilson thanked Dr Jones for his time in addressing the group and he agreed to allow his presentation to be available from this site.

Click here to view the presentation slides

An excellent presentation that kept us all enthralled. It is hoped that Dr Jones will accept our invitation to return.


19th January 2012 - Guest Speaker - Janice Booth, Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner

What is DAS? Is it important? How is it measured? These were some of the many questions Janice answered in her informative and interesting talk. Janice explained that DAS - Disease Activity Score - is a number that measures your RA. It is calculated by your nurse or doctor based on several tests, including the number of swollen or tender joints - 28 (not feet!) you have, an assessment of how you feel your condition is and the results of your most recent blood test. Your DAS is then used to assess your condition and how well it is responding to treatment and as a factor in deciding on the best treatment. After answering a number of questions, Janice reminded us that our DAS should be stable and as low as possible.

Click here to view the presentation slides

Thanks for coming along again Janice and educating us on an indicator we should all be aware of.

Still a pity it doesn’t include feet though


17th November 2011 - BADRAG 1st Birthday - This month was the 1st birthday of BADRAG. As a celebration, a ‘party’ was held at Clifton Hospital. Rather than having a speaker on the evening, it was decided to have a more social event with with a quiz. Tea, coffee, sandwiches and a birthday cake were enjoyed by all those attending. An enjoyable evening where we were able to meet with others. Thanks to all the Rheumatology, Occupational Therapy teams for coming along. See the photographs from this event here.


29th October 2011 - BADRAG Raise it Day - This event was held at The White Church, Fairhaven. It was held as part of NRAS 10th birthday to raise funds and generate a greater awareness of RA by holding an afternoon tea at this marvellous venue. The afternoon was a great success with the many visitors enjoying tea, cakes and the many stalls - raffles, jewellery, Christmas cards, tombola, books, bric-a-brac. Thanks to all those that attended and especially to the BADRAG volunteers on the day, that the event raised just over £600, which has been sent to NRAS. See the photographs from this event here.



15th September 2011 - Guest Speaker - Helen Veevers, Osteoporosis Nurse Specialist, Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Hospitals.

An informative talk on Osteoporosis was given by Helen. Full of facts, some of which were quite frightening, given that this disease affects, and will affect so many of us. It was presented in a manner, not to worry us, but in a light-hearted way to provide us with the causes of the disease its effect and what we should be doing now, to help us in the future.

3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis. There are more than 230,000 fragility fractures every year. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone, mainly because of poor bone health. Broken wrists, hips and spinal bones are the most common fractures in people with osteoporosis. Of the 70,000 people who have osteoporotic hip fractures each year, 30% will die within a year from causes related to the fracture.

Helen gave us some tips on how exercise, diet (give up smoking!) and getting some sun, that would influence bone density and slow the rate at which our bones become fragile.

Thanks for educating us Helen, with such an enlightening talk. I for one will now take so much more care when moving about and think twice about going out in the snow and ice!



21st July 2011 - Guest Speakers - Janice Booth, Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner &

Geoff Dodd, Biologics Nurse Practitioner

Janice opened the presentation with information on the role of NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). NICE is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health. NICE makes recommendations to the NHS on new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures treating and caring for people with specific diseases and conditions. The work of and treatment given by the RA team must follow NICE guidelines and the newer biologic drugs available to treat those with RA can only be prescribed by following the safe NICE guidelines.

Janice then handed over to Geoff who gave an overview of the Biologic drugs available. He explained how these drugs were administered, monitored the health of the users and relative costs compared to non-biologic drugs.

The meeting was then opened to questions and Janice and Geoff answered the numerous questions raised. Thank you Janice and Geoff.


19th May 2011 - Guest Speaker - Shirley Galloway, Occupational Therapist, Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Hospitals.

An informative talk on the role of the Occupational Therapy team within the Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Hospitals, providing an overview of the small team and the support they provide to the area. Shirley provided details on how RA affects the joints and surrounding tissues. She went on to explain and educate us on how, in our everyday lives, we can make small changes that would help us to protect our joints from daily tasks. An example was in holding a cup - by supporting the cup in the flat palm of of our other hand, the joints of our fingers holding the handle of the cup would be under reduced strain. Lots of other examples were demonstrated along with a display of tools and equipment available to make our lives easier. Shirley offered her vast knowledge and experience in overcoming daily activities that we may find difficult by contacting her at the hospital.


NRAS Fundraising Manager - We welcomed Val Eyre, NRAS fundraising manager, who explained the work of NRAS, and that as a charity representing those with RA, needed the financial support from all areas to survive and work to ensure a better life for people with RA. She thanked us all, and especially our group’s Lyn Wilson in her 10 fundraising challenges.

22nd March 2011 - Guest Speaker - Jenny Stockdale. Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre NHS Hospitals Trust.

Jenny introduced herself with an overview of her role and that of the physiotherapy team based at Whitegate Drive. She then provided an excellent and informative talk on RA, the effect on the joints, the importance in maintaining joint movement and taking rest. Joint pain and the use of ice packs (bag of peas!), wheat wraps, TENS machine and hydrotherapy baths. Jenny then went on to answer a number of related questions from those attending.

26th January 2011 - Guest Speaker - Barbara Whitehead. Senior Advice Manager, Citizens Advice Bureau, Blackpool

Barbara explained her and the CAB teams role and how the CAB were funded. She highlighted the future plight of the CAB in view of government budget cuts but assured us that the CAB in Blackpool would continue with the dedication of its fantastic volunteers. (They are always looking for and welcome volunteers from across the community - hours to suit and full training provided). Barbara spoke about the type of information and benefits that was available for people with long term health problems - such as RA and urged all to contact the CAB, by phone, email, letter or in person for information and for any advice. A Q&A session followed and Barbara drew attention to the leaflets she had made available to the meeting.

25th November 2010 - Guest Speaker - Dr. C Rao.  Consultant Rheumatologist  Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre NHS Hospitals Trust.

After introducing the members of the Rheumatology team, Dr Rao gave a very interesting and informative talk on RA and its effect on the joints and body. Interspersed with facts and figures, she explained the biological and non-biological medication available now and some of the treatments once used for RA. Dr Rao answered numerous questions from the attendees. It was one of those talks that you never wanted to end and we hope Dr Rao will be back to talk to us again. Definitely not one to miss.

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