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April Newsletter - Pharmacy update +

Chairman's Announcement

Welcome to the first edition of the HDOPF Newsletter. We hope to issue a Newsletter shortly after each public meeting, with a summary of each guest speaker’s presentation and articles of interest to our readers.

Of course, attending our public meetings in person or via Zoom is the best way to gain the latest information, share concerns and experiences, and ask questions. Forthcoming meeting dates are at the end of this Newsletter.

Attendees were asked whether they would now prefer to hold meetings at different venues in the Horsham District, i.e., in a community or village hall, as we did before Covid. The overwhelming response was to continue meeting at Lavinia House and via Zoom.

Forum Public Meeting held on Tuesday, 19th March 2024, at Lavinia House

We welcomed our four guest speakers to the meeting and thanked them for finding the time to speak to us in person or via Zoom. They gave their latest updates and allowed attendees to ask questions and share their experiences, such as the difficulties in obtaining prescriptions from Community Pharmacies.

Laura Robertson – Head of Communications - NHS Sussex

Laura said several national targets have been agreed upon with the NHS regarding performance, access to urgent and emergency services, and the time taken for people to be seen.  The aim is for patients to be seen within 4 hours once they arrive in A&E.  Each year, there is an increase in the number of people attending A&E seeking help.  Another concern is the number of patients waiting over 78 weeks for scans, diagnostic tests or operations.  The plan is that from March 2024, nobody will wait more than 78 weeks, or the list is as short as possible.


Julia Powell – Chief Executive Officer for Community Pharmacies Surrey and Sussex

Julia supports and represents all Community Pharmacy Contractors across Sussex.

Julia said Community Pharmacies are experiencing a crisis due to the rising financial costs of purchasing medicines and receiving sufficient remuneration from the NHS under their existing contracts, leading to a rise in pharmacy closures.

Several other national issues exist, such as the drug shortage and competition from different countries for prescription medicines. Small pharmacies can’t afford to buy wide stocks of expensive drugs on the chance they will be needed. The worldwide lack of ingredients and quality assurance issues add to these shortages. 

There has also been an increase in demand for specific medications, which the manufacturers have not kept up with.  BREXIT and the war in Ukraine have also affected supplies.

According to a survey last year, 97% of Community Pharmacies have difficulty sourcing sufficient medication on time for their patients.  When you collect prescriptions from your local pharmacy, you may not get all your medicines and are asked to try another pharmacy.  Unfortunately, there are no online or other systems for checking what medication individual pharmacies have in stock to save patients physically hunting around, and it's all too often pharmacies are too busy to answer the phone. 

It is a national issue that they are talking about with the Minister.

BREAKING NEWS: Spring COVID booster vaccinations will be available from April for anyone over 75 and older adults living in a Care Home or with a weakened immune system. This is similar to the booster campaigns in previous years. See also the update on Shingles vaccinations below.

Rachel Pawly - HILS West Sussex - Health and Independent Living Support

Meals on Wheels


Health and Independent Living Support (HILS) is the largest not-for-profit meals-on-wheels service in the UK. Established in Hertfordshire in 2007 as a charitable social enterprise, it delivers meals in partnership with West Sussex County Council. HILS operates out of Age UK, Lavinia House, Dukes Square, Horsham, and helps people stay happy, healthy, and independent at home for as long as they wish.

About the meal service

Meals are delivered across West Sussex 365 days a year, whatever the weather.  Every visit includes delivery of a hot meal and dessert, along with a caring welfare check.  This service is chargeable. 


You can order meals as a one-off or for as long as you like. Meals are delivered hot and ready to eat between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and are usually delivered at a similar time every day. There is a wide selection of delicious and nutritious hot meals and desserts for you to choose from, including Kosher, Asian, Halal, and West Indian food, Pureed, Minced and moist food, and Soft and Bite-Size food for people following special diets.


How to order your meal

Step 1:  Contact HILS on 0330 2000 103 or fill out the referral form you can find on

Step 2: HILS will send you a menu so you can choose your favourite meals, you can also find the menus on their website

Step 3: Your meals can be delivered the same day if you place your order before 9.30am, or they can start from your chosen date.

Step 4: At the end of every month, you will receive a bill for the meals you have had.

David Trowbridge - Horsham Lions Club


David explained that the first Lions Club started in the USA 100 years ago and now has over 1.3 million volunteers worldwide.  Money is collected through donations & various sponsorship events and is given by the Lions in grants to worthwhile causes.  The International motto is "We Serve", which to Lions means selfless service to others in need in our local communities.

ICE – In case of Emergency. Message in a bottle. Horsham Lions Club are currently supplying FREE small green & white plastic bottles, which you keep in your fridge with the enclosed information form completed so that they have all your emergency contacts and medication details if an ambulance is called.  A sticker is provided to display on the front door of your home and fridge.  This informs ambulance crews that important information about you is available. A smaller size form is also provided in the kit with the same ICE details which you can carry in your wallet or purse. A small number of ICE bottles are currently held at Lavinia House.

Horsham Lions Club is looking to recruit more volunteers.  If you or a friend are interested in joining, please email  

Shingles vaccinations extended.

Almost a million more people will become eligible for shingles vaccination starting in September of this year.

Shingles can be extremely painful, and the pain can remain for many years after the rash has disappeared. They occur when the Chickenpox virus, which most of us will have caught in childhood, is ‘reawakened’—typically in older age, by sickness or stress.

Those turning 65 and 70 will now be able to get the vaccine after their birthday, in addition to those already aged 70-80. Only one dose is needed, and regular boosters are not required.

Eligibility will be expanded to include those 60 and older by September 2033.

Anyone over 50 who is immunosuppressed will also be offered the vaccination.

If you are over 70 and haven’t already had the shingles vaccination, please call your GP surgery. Younger people will be contacted when they are eligible.

Stay Safe on your

                    Mobility Scooter

HDOPF, in conjunction with Age UK WSBH and supported by Horsham District Council, has provided FREE Skills and Safety Sessions for current and potential Mobility Scooter drivers since 2018. 

Over 130 have attended the sessions at their home or in Horsham Park Barn.  Each session lasts up to 90 minutes.  You will be reminded or find out all about all the controls, knobs and buttons on your scooter, and then your driving skills.  You will then be accompanied by a friendly, trained instructor on a safe trip out in public and be given lots of tips on avoiding an accident, safely negotiating hazards, and crossing roads.

Do you know someone who has a mobility scooter?  Are you concerned about their riding safety? Have they forgotten how to safely operate their scooter at the right speed, stop, swivel the seat, reverse, etc.? Would they benefit from a short course to refresh them on how to correctly use all the controls, knobs, features and safely manoeuvre their mobility scooter? Then this is the course for them.

If you are considering purchasing a mobility scooter and would like advice before you buy, then get in touch, come to one of our sessions, use our scooter to see if it suits you and your needs, and learn how to drive it safely.

Get in touch to register your interest 07906 211030.


Breast Screening for the over 70’s.

Ladies, you are no longer reminded to have Mammograms once you reach 70, but you can still have one every three years. It is strongly recommended that you do.

A lady aged 84 has been having mammograms every three years, and this time, Stage 2 cancer was discovered. Because of the position, this would not have been detected by feeling a lump for another 1-2 years, when it would have been more advanced.

The risk of breast cancer does not stop at 70, so please consider the importance of screening, in fact the risk increases with age. The earlier it is detected, the more treatable it will be.

Just ring the Breast Screening Service at Worthing on 01903 239757, to make the appointment.  They will tell you where the mobile screening unit is located.




HDOPF works closely with and is supported by Age UK WSBH. Age UK in Horsham is based at Lavinia House, in Dukes Square at the far end of the car park behind the Drill Hall in Denne Road. Many activities are provided at Lavinia House for the over-60s throughout the week.

 Our current Timetable:

Monday - Daybreak Dementia Respite Service

Tuesday - 11.00 Chair Fitness

Wednesday - Alternate Day club run by Ascot Care

Thursday - 11.15 Stretch & Tone 12:30 Chatty Crotchet

Friday - Friendship Friday Lunch Club (booking required)

Call 01403 260560 for more information and to book.

Time to Talk

Talking therapies are run by Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which serves the population of West Sussex. They offer a free and confidential service to people aged 18 and over registered with a local GP.

 Councillors and therapists are available at local centres, and GP surgeries and telephone work is also provided. If you are registered with a GP in West Sussex you can refer yourself directly. You don't have to come via your GP. For more information, pick up a leaflet at the surgery or go online to

Norovirus Outbreak

The number of norovirus infections has increased recently, and if you are presenting with any of the symptoms, you should follow the advice below.


The main symptoms of norovirus include a sudden onset of nausea, followed by projectile vomiting and diarrhoea, usually 1 to 2 days after becoming infected.  Other common symptoms include a high fever, a headache and aching arms and legs.


Good hand hygiene is important to stop norovirus spreading, and you should:

·       wash your hands thoroughly using soap and warm water after using the toilet or contact with a sick individual and before preparing and eating food.

·       stay off school or work until you have not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least 2 days.

·       not rely on alcohol gels instead of washing your hands, as these do not kill the virus.

·       wash any contaminated clothing or bedding using detergent at 60°C using disposable gloves to handle any items.

·       use bleach-based cleaners to disinfect surfaces.

If you catch norovirus, stay home for 48 hours after your symptoms clear.


Most people will fully recover in 2 to 3 days without needing medicine. However, it is important to keep hydrated, especially for children and the elderly.

If you have symptoms of norovirus, try not to visit A&E (accident and emergency) or GP surgeries unless advised to do so by a healthcare professional, as this may spread the bug to others. Call a GP or ring NHS 111 if you are worried about your symptoms.

Further information is available by phone at NHS 111 or NHS.UK.

HDOPF – meeting dates for your 2024 diary

2024, and the Horsham District Older Peoples Forum is going from strength to strength thanks to your, and Age UK, WSBH support.


Who can attend?

Anyone aged 60+ who lives in the Horsham district or cares for someone who is. Anyone involved with or who has knowledge for or wants to know more about issues of local older people.

Local HDC, WSCC, Neighbourhood and Parish Councillors are much welcomed.


When, where and how much?


All meetings are free to attend, starting at 10 am (finishing around lunchtime 12.30) at Age UK, Lavinia House, Dukes Square, Denne Road, Horsham RH12 1GZ, or you can participate via Zoom. Meetings are not minuted or recorded.

1.     Tuesday 11th June 2024

2.     Tuesday 3rd September 2024

3.     Friday 6th December 2024 (including Sir Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham)


 What will you gain by attending?


Meeting others in a warm, safe, older person-friendly environment with complimentary tea, coffee, and maybe even biscuits.


As always, we will discuss and listen to the issues you want to discuss and get answers to. We will have topical and knowledgeable guest speakers who know or need to know the concerns of older people. Are others worried about the same things you are? Almost certainly! Would you like to hear about something you didn't know, i.e., NHS updates, what and where help is available, access to GP services, community transport, and more?

Come and find out for yourself. You will be welcomed, and we guarantee you will learn something new.

If any of your family or friends living in the Horsham District are age 60+ or care for someone who is and would like to be on our mailing list, please email  or join our Mailing list on our website.

Please let us know if you no longer wish to receive our emails or Newsletters.

Thank you for your support.

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Phillip Day
Phillip Day
05. Apr.

A most useful and informative newsletter, to which I have just subscribed. Well done!

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