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Time really does fly!

February seems to be a month for taking stock. Many people will break their new years’ resolutions in February, and tidy away their fitness gear. We start to wonder where the year is going, and how Christmas can have really been so long ago. For me though it’s also been a time of celebration, as I turned 30 last week, and I got engaged the week before! Thoughts of planning a wedding over the next year or so tend to give me mild panic attacks, so I will instead concentrate on what the year ahead will mean for NRAS.

2011 is an exciting year for NRAS, as this year we celebrate our 10th birthday, and when you look back on the charity’s humble beginnings, from Ailsa’s front room, it is truly remarkable to see what we have become and how we continue to evolve. So what will 2011 hold for the NRAS helpline team? Well, we expanded our team last year, and Laura has now been with us for over 3 months. She is settling in well, learning fast and is a great asset to the team. She is also responsible for the role out of our RA Self Management Programmes which will launch this July and are another great example of the achievements and growth of our charity. Please click on the following link for more information about the RA Self Management Programme.

While answering helpline calls and emails is our main priority, and probably the most rewarding part of our job, all members of the helpline team also have other responsibilities. As Helpline and Information Coordinator one of my main responsibilities is to oversee the commissioning, reviewing and uploading of many of the articles that are featured on our website, particularly in the ‘About RA’ section. Part of this has been to oversee our application to become a member of the Information Standard scheme. Please click on the following link for more information about The Information Standard Scheme.

The Information Standard was set up by Department of Health due to concerns that the public do not know what information they can trust when looking for health and social care information. I have been working on making sure that NRAS meet the requirements of this scheme, which we have now applied for. We had an audit of our processes and information products in January and are awaiting the response from this, and keeping our fingers crossed. I will keep you posted on our progress! We are very proud of the information that we produce and very grateful to our Medical Advisors and other authors who put a lot of time and effort into researching and writing articles for us, as well as taking the time to review their pieces periodically, and we hope that our joining this scheme will highlight the good quality of the work that we currently produce.

I hope that some of you are managing to stick to your New Years’ resolutions, or maybe you are starting new ones. After all, it’s only February, so there’s still plenty of what I hope will be a very exciting 2011 to come!

Best wishes

Vicky Backhurst

Helpline & Information Coordinator

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