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HELPING PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC CONDITIONS HELP THEMSELVES

March 08, 2005 4:05 PM

People with disabilities and chronic health conditions are being given the opportunity to improve their own lives - thanks to support from Disability Information Greater Glasgow (DIGG).

DIGG - which is supported and financed by NHS Greater Glasgow with funding from the Big Lottery - has now been operational for around a year and is run by people who have disabilities or chronic medical conditions themselves.

The Greater Glasgow-wide group, based in Maryhill, offers everything from chronic disease management and mentoring, to support in accessing services and making choices about treatment.

DIGG project worker Fiona Gray, who herself is visually impaired, explained: "This project was started because there was a need for a one-stop information, advocacy and support centre within the NHS Greater Glasgow area.

"The amount of information on voluntary organisations, self-help groups and disability services catering for people with chronic conditions can be quite overwhelming and the people who need them most don't always know where to turn.

"Setting up a ‘signposting' service, like DIGG, directs people and their families to the right support. There is help out there - you just need to know how to access it."

And to make the service work best for patients, the unit in Maryhill is staffed by other disabled workers including Frances Scott who, like Fiona, is also trained as an ‘Expert Patient'.

So what does DIGG do on a week-to-week basis?

Fiona went on: "We're a central point that people and their families can come to for guidance.

"In a practical sense we can identify ways for people to achieve their own physical goals, or we can register them for a Chronic Condition/Disease Management programme that will help them take control of their condition, identify services and see how they can improve their quality of life.

"The overall aim of the self-management or ‘expert patient' programmes is to develop the confidence and motivation patients need to understand their circumstances, to establish effective relationships with professionals and to take control of the management of their condition.The training courses address issues such as confidence-building, relaxation, cognitive symptom management, exercise, fatigue, nutrition, problem-solving, action planning, and communication."

Fiona added that DIGG also offers advocacy and emotional support. This could be anything from helping a patient understand a newly given diagnosis, to finding them Direct Payments to help them live with a disabling condition.

Dr John Womersley, Consultant in Public Health with NHS Greater Glasgow and grant holder for the project, said: "The need for a one-stop information facility for disabled people and their carers has been highlighted in many reports.

"The Big Lottery has provided the resources needed to set up a service of this kind in Glasgow, run by people who are themselves disabled, so our hope is that the success of DIGG in Maryhill will enable us to attract the funding required to allow such a valuable service to continue indefinitely."

To find out more about DIGG, write a letter to or drop into the office at

DIGG
Unit 18 Chapel Street Estate (behind McDonalds)
Maryhill
Glasgow
G20 9BD

Alternatively, visit www.digg.org.uk , email [email protected], or call 0141 945 5036.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • NHS Greater Glasgow receives funding from the New Opportunities Fund for various areas of health, which is subsequently allocated to key services across the city.
  • A Jpeg image of Fiona and Frances at the DIGG office is available on request.

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