West Dorset ICD Support Group

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Minutes of Meetings

The fifty-first meeting of the West Dorset ICD Support Group for ICD patients and carers was held at The Dorford Centre, Dorchester on Thursday, 20th January 2022.


Attendance: 20 members, comprising Committee members, patients and carers.


Apologies were received from three members.





Acting Group Chair Tony Down (TD) opened the meeting and thanked everyone for attending, welcoming new members. He introduced Dr Boston-Griffiths, Consultant Cardiologist DCH. Dr Boston-Griffiths said he was a relatively new consultant at DCH, and outlined his background and special interests. In particular he was interested in risk factors, their variety and their relative importance. Individuals who had had a heart attack were at much greater risk of having a further heart attack than the general population. In the period of three years since having a heart attack there was a 1 in 5 chance of having another, mostly in the first year, and this rises to a 1 in 4 chance for those aged over 65. Apart from the trauma this statistic represents for patients and their families, the cost to the health service was very high. Obviously if these re-occurrences could be prevented or reduced, the outcomes for patients would improve, and the excess resources currently employed could be used differently. It had been calculated that every £1 spent effectively on prevention could save £2.30 on future treatment. With this in mind a pilot service had been established at DCH (a Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Clinic) with a view to trying to reduce re-occurrence by targeted and appropriate interventions. The challenges to be addressed consisted of Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) factors, (coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure) Metabolic Syndrome (obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) and currently the effect having Covid has on the heart. IHD currently caused 140,000 deaths per year in England, 25% of all deaths, to give some idea of the size of the problem overall. So to address the problem effectively the new clinic had to address the causative factors. The clinic had been set up to be nurse led, consultant supported and conducted over the telephone with patients. Consultations last about 30 mins, with a view to looking particularly at blood thinners, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes? (blood sugar levels), Heart Failure?, drugs currently used and possible beneficial changes, and stopping smoking. However, Dr Boston-Griffiths said that key to the service was addressing lifestyle changes, including mental and physical health  of the patient through mindfulness and meditation, exercise, diet, walking, fresh air-a holistic lifestyle approach. In support of this the clinic required access to a range of supporting professionals. Currently the pilot was funded by a pharmaceutical company, but it was hoped once the benefits of such an approach could be quantified by auditing outcomes the service could be expanded and funded by NHS health commissioners.  Patients wanted easily accessible strategies with information from a team of credible specialist professionals, and coaching through their journey and this is the vision for the service in the future, which could be expressed in the acronym ‘mynewself':


M meditation/mindfulness

Y yoga

N nutrition/dietary advice

E exercise

W weight, blood cholesterol

S sleep therapy

E exhaustion/restoration

L life/work balance

F Fulfilment


Dr Boston-Griffiths concluded his presentation and asked for questions from the floor. Asked about the chances of getting funding for the future, he said that doing a pilot gave opportunities to undertake an audit to show the benefits obtained (e.g. in changes to the patients indicators such as blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking etc) which should show the effectiveness of the interventions in preventing re-occurrences. In terms of referrals, these currently mostly came from within the hospital service at present, but GP's were aware of the service and in future it was envisaged they would refer to it, although this would require an expansion in the current service. In response to a question about tele-health, he agreed that although the service was currently conducted by telephone, in future tele-health may be a suitable medium. Asked if the service would take clients at high risk of a first event, he replied not at present, but such a service could be trialled in future. He added that private health care providers had shown interest in the pilot. He agreed not everybody would be able to access such a service, but it would be useful to provide further data to show how effective such programmes were.

At the conclusion of the presentation, WDICDSG members expressed their appreciation to Dr Boston-Griffiths for his presentation with a round of applause. TD presented a small gift.



Part Two


Group Business Matters


Annual General Meeting

July meeting attendance

TD opened the AGM by introducing the various members of the committee and saying that all were willing to serve for a further year in their current capacities. A nomination had been received for a new Chair, and Steve Pile (SP) was asked to introduce himself to members. SP said he was  retired, an ex petroleum geologist, having worked in North, East and West Africa, Caribbean (including Guyana), Central America, South Western Approaches of the UK, as well as for a UK based consultancy.


He explained the exploration petroleum industry has always had peaks and troughs, and he left the industry in a trough, and company downturn, but re-trained as a computer software engineer and worked within the printer manufacturing sector, eventually providing some 30+ language versions of printing drivers for the 'Windows' operating systems.


A keen cricketer his health had a downturn and he collapsed on the field of play 3 times, the last time on the day that Lady Diana died in Paris. He was advised to change his lifestyle, and therefore purchased Charmouth Post Office, and moved from Oxfordshire to Dorset.

He ran this PO for 20 years, and became involved in the National Foundation of Sub-Postmasters nationally.


After a year of retirement, it became necessary to be fitted with an ICD, hence his joining the group recently.


A show of hands of those present confirmed unanimously the group's support for the re-election of the existing committee with the addition of SP as Chair of the Group.


TD gave a short Chairs report, saying that due to Covid the group only met once during the year.


The talk in October 2020 was on Heart Failure and was presented by Becky Weatherill, the Heart Failure Nurse from Dorset County Hospital. This was well received and it was great to have such a good turn-out of members following such a long length of time without being able to meet up.

Although there was only the one formal group meeting the committee continued to meet via zoom to keep the group ticking over thanks Group secretary Alan Denton (AD) hosting Zoom Committee meetings and keeping all members updated.


Alan Denton, Group Secretary told members present that there were now 67 registered members of the group, plus friends, family and carers. This year it was hoped we would be able to have a summer lunch or similar event and a Christmas meal. The committee had been working on new policy ‘Member Personal Data in the Public Domain', which governed the use of member personal data such as images, names etc in publications which became part of the public domain. Practical applications of the policy included not naming members of the group in group minutes or other published group documentation, and not publishing images of group member, without the members' specific permission. The committee had been adhering to the spirit of the new policy for several months. The policy was adopted by a unanimous show of hands.


Jackie Down (JD), Group Treasurer presented a document showing income and expenditure over the year, and told the group that we are in a healthy position with a balance of £ 2028.81. in the bank. However as the group had not met and therefore there had been no income from the £1 subs and quiz entries, and the raffles normally held at lunches, there had been £124.53 greater expenditure over income for the year. We had not had any speaker's fees to pay for the year in question, just a small amount for gifts for unpaid speakers, but we would have to pay in the coming year, so our income from the subs, quizzes and raffles was very necessary. In addition to speaker's fees, the group had expenses in the form of stamps and stationary, and website and domain name expenses. We had been fortunate to date in securing sponsorship for our venue, but otherwise this would cost about £100 per meeting. Kay Elliott (KE) was currently trying to secure sponsorship for 2022/2023.  Should members have any quiz or raffle prizes to donate (not toiletries) please bring them to future meetings. Jackie thanked Peggy Hawkins for auditing the accounts.


AOB TD said he would like to propose a vote of thanks for the work of the Committee members over the past year in organising the programme and running the meetings, and to Peggy Hawkings for providing an independent oversight to the accounts and to Carol Denton for taking the attendance and collecting subscriptions. Members showed their appreciation with a round of applause. We have a speaker for the next meeting, but members were asked to suggest topics/speakers for future meetings (7th July, 6th October 2022, and 19th January 2023).


Competition results


A quiz to guess the number of dog biscuits in a jar, supplied and run by TD, resulted in a number of prize-winners.


Date of next meeting


The next meeting will take place at the Dorford Centre on Thursday, 31st March 2022 starting at 10.30am. Alistair Chisholm "A Town Crier's Role in the 21st Century - still plenty to shout about!"






Many thanks to Boston Scientific for sponsoring our October 2021 and January 2022 meeting venue.