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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

CliniMed Coffee Morning

I realised recently that it is a long time since I updated this blog. I am doing several posts today, to bring it up to date – each one will be dated as if I had done them at the time, to keep things in chronological order, but I am in fact writing them in early May.

On 3rd May my hubby and I attended a coffee morning at the Imperial Hotel in Torquay, hosted by CliniMed, one of the companies producing ostomy supplies.

The gentleman presenting the event was familiar to me – he recognised me as we came in, as I had spoken to him at the open day in Newton Abbot last year.

The main theme of the meeting was the presentation of the new Aura flushable colostomy bag. He gave us the horrifying statistic that in the UK alone, 35 million stoma bags end up in landfill annually!! This is one reason they have developed the flushable bag; it is also more convenient for users because if they are out and about and need to change their bag, they do not have the worry of disposal.

Each table in the room was supplied with several of the new bags, and also some of the new flushable adhesive remover wipes and barrier wipes, and plastic cups of water. We were invited to pull the bags apart – there is a tab that you pull and the outer cover comes away, revealing the soluble inner lining which can be safely flushed away; the outer covering is biodegradable and can go in the recycling bin. We put the wipes into the cups of water and watched them dissolve away before our eyes!

Because the inner linings of these flushable bags are soluble, they are only suitable for colostomy bags which are changed each time they are full. For us ileostomates we do not change our bags every time because they are drainable. Obviously the lining would start to dissolve long before we were ready to change the bag, leading to disaster! However, it’s a wonderful innovation and will certainly reduce the need to dispose of so many bags in landfill.

He said how convenient the flushable bags were for people going on holiday. He asked, “Is anyone planning a holiday in the Med this year?” and then added, pointing out of the window at the truly magnificent sea view from the hotel, “I don’t suppose you are… Who needs the Med when you’ve got this?!!” Torquay is not known as the English Riviera for nothing!

We had a good Q&A session and open discussion about different aspects of living with a stoma. The presenter explained how the supply arm of their company, SecuriCare, operates – they have a team of account managers and you are assigned one who deals with your region, so that whenever you need anything you always end up speaking to the same person, ensuring continuity, and a good and friendly relationship is built up over time. He asked which supply companies we all used, and one or two did use SecuriCare – he was certainly not in the business of poaching custom from other companies. I told him I was with Patient Choice, and he nodded in approval and said they were good. I explained that this was a small company with only about a dozen employees at most, some of whom work in the warehouse and do not deal direct with customers, which meant that there was no need to be assigned a special member to deal with each individual account – over the months I have been with them, I have got to know them individually, and they know my situation and my requirements. I would certainly not wish to change as I am more than happy with the service that I have received from the beginning.

He also explained that the manufacturing arm of their company is known as Welland, which is the name stamped on their bags. He said this does cause a bit of confusion, but Welland and SecuriCare both come under the umbrella of CliniMed.

I came away with some samples of the flushable wipes which were very good – and also a couple of pens – all my biros these days seem to have stuff about stomas on them as I always pick up freebies at the various meetings! It’s becoming a bit of a standing joke!

After the meeting ended, my hubby and I had a wander around the ground floor of the hotel. It is one of Torquay’s oldest hotels and one of the most elegant and beautiful. Having spent hours recently, choosing chandeliers for our house, I am noticing them everywhere, and was amazed at the beauty of the ones in the hotel – one of the staff members pointed out two that were antique French ones – very large, stunningly beautiful, elegant, and worth a fortune!! (I immediately thought of the chandelier episode in “Only Fools and Horses”!!)

Imperial Hotel Lobby

The rooms were so elegant, with high ceilings, beautiful plaster mouldings, tall windows with heavy drapes, and stunning sea views everywhere. They have added sun terraces and other modern facilities out of doors and it must occupy the prime location on our coastline!

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