Dr Hannan, Margaret Rickson and Yvonne Bennett at the NEC in Birmingham where Margaret presented a talk entitled "It's about the Patient, Stupid!" in 2007
Sadly, Margaret died on 1 September 2014 just before
her 86th birthday. If you are reading
this on the practice website www.htmc.co.uk then you can’t help but feel that
you know Margaret personally. There are
many videos, and links to her. Margaret was a wonderful person who worked hard
for both the Practice and the patients of both Thornley House and Haughton
Thornley House PPG started in 2005 One of the first ‘accomplishments’ for Margaret
was photos of the Practice staff in the waiting room. She felt this would enhance the patient
experience and ‘put a face to the name’ before going in.
Then Margaret’s ‘baby’ started. She put it to the
meeting if we could have a Warfarin Clinic at the Surgery. In the end her persistence paid off. It took
2 years to achieve and it involved a doctor and nurse both having to have
special training. There were a number of
people who like her, were going to the hospital sometimes week after week and
spending 2 hours there to get the test.
This doesn’t include the time taken in getting to the hospital. For Margaret this meant a taxi to the
hospital and if it was fine she could get the bus back. As she also suffered with COPD ( a long term
breathing problem), if the weather was bad this meant getting another taxi
home. Although it is possible to claim
travel expenses, this doesn’t include taxis.
Thanks to Dr Ahmed and the then Practice Nurse Vivienne Apannah who were
willing to undertake training and along with the support from Dr Hannan over 90
people attended the Surgery Clinic and they all really appreciated this. This clinic is still in operation today and
about 135 patients now attend.
The PPG spent three years of fighting and persistence
to have Hyde Pharmacy open next door to Thornley House and yes Margaret was
very vocal on this point. As her health
deteriorated Margaret took a back seat.
She would attend PPG meeting and support where she could.
Then of course there was Records Access that
reinvented Margaret. The idea was good
but at 76 she had never seen; let alone, touched a computer. She honestly thought Dr Hannan had lost the
plot when he suggested she apply because she would greatly benefit. Later the same night she saw an advert that
appeared in the Advertiser for a ‘computer course for the terrified’ at Hyde
Library. Margaret joined the class and
after 2 weeks decided she needed to buy a laptop of her own so she could keep
practicing what she learnt. Margaret was
very proud that she became the first patient to order her repeat prescription
online at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres and continued to do so!
Margaret was convinced this was the right thing for
patients and spoke to many Consultants, Surgeons, Doctors and Politicians and
nearly always received a standing ovation.
She was also on TV and Radio programmes as well as being a ‘Front Page
Cover Girl’ for Which magazine. Such a can-do approach has helped Margaret
become a celebrity. She was mentioned by the new national director of patients
and information, Tim Kelsey, at a US event that was attended by Hillary
Clinton, the US secretary of State and wife of former president Bill Clinton.
She was also shocked but delighted to be presented with an award and flowers
from the PPG and the Practice for all the contributions she had made for the
benefit of patients to the practice.
Does Records Access work? A definite YES! Margaret attended a pre-op assessment. Her notes were missing and after waiting 2
hours she got fed up and told the nurse she had copies of her notes in her
bag. Shocked the nurse completed her
part of the assessment and then suggested to the Anaesthetist that he do the
same. Having never seen anything like it
before, he told Margaret they were inaccurate. Margaret responded ‘Now listen
here love, it’s like this …… so once you understand it you know it’s not.
Anything else you need to understand?" Gob-smacked all he could do was shake her hand and finish the assessment.
So which came first the chicken or the egg? Margaret learnt to use a laptop to access her
health records but then used Facebook to keep in touch with a grandson in the
Army and follow a granddaughter on a 3 month holiday round Thailand. Whilst her health permitted she spent many
hours on the Practice website and emailing friends around the world.
Margaret will be sadly missed but her legacy for
patients will remain forever."
by Yvonne Bennett - past Secretary of Haughton Thornley Patient Participation Group
Some further thoughts from
other members of the Patient Participation Group
"Margaret was an
exceptional person. She got stuck in and carried on until it was sorted. She
was a fighter who wanted the best for everybody"
Donald Hunter – Past
Chair of Haughton Thornley PPG
"Margaret was an
inspiration to me and others. She was a terrific example of how age doesn't
matter if you keep involved, interested and open minded! If I'm half the woman
Margaret was at her age, I will be very pleased! "
Ingrid Brindle –
current Chair of Thornley House PPG
"Over the last few years, I had the pleasure of spending time at PPG and other events with Mrs Rickson whilst we were developing this patient website with many contributions from patients, and I would like to offer my own condolences to Margaret's family and friends at this sad time.
Margaret remains an inspiration to me and many others I'm sure, for the straightforward way that she communicated her own experiences of closer working with her Practice and for the fun and empathy that she brought along with her in whatever she did and in particular simplifying complex ideas, making them accessible for others.
In 2009, Haughton Thornley Medical Centres won the Management in Practice award for Best use of IM&T, I attended the awards event at the NEC in Birmingham with Mrs Rickson and Dr Hannan (pictured below) and as ever Margaret was so compelling in what she had to say. Margaret was a friend and will be sorely missed".
Glen Griffiths - Co-creator htmc.co.uk
"Margaret was a truly
formidable woman, one of the most inspiring people we have ever met. She had an
amazing ability to connect with people and make things happen from almost
nothing without ever needing a title or shouting about it. She simply described what was extraordinarily normal for her, knowing one day many millions of people will be doing the same too. To many she was the
definition of a leader, a follower, a grandmother, mother, a patient, a friend
and many more besides. But to us, she was simply Margaret. It was an honour to
know her and spend a brief amount of time with her. Her infectious smile which
brought so much happiness to others will forever be remembered as she encourages many others to come forwards and follow in her footsteps.”
Dr Hannan on behalf of all the staff at
Haughton Thornley Medical Centres