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Fire engines arrive at Hospital children’s ward

Fire engines at Hospital childrens wardA lucky patient at Heartlands Hospital children’s ward had a visit of an extra special kind this week, in the form of two bright red fire engines.

Fire officers from Sheldon Community Fire Station made the visit to see Amun Ali, aged 10, from Small Heath who suffers from a rare immune deficiency disorder and is need of a bone marrow transplant.

Amun’s father Ashgar Khan said: “We are very grateful to all to the staff at Heartlands for looking after Amun and organising this visit, it really did brighten his day. We are still searching for a suitable donor for Amun so would appeal to anyone to sign up to the donor register. The more people who join, the more likely it is we will find a suitable match.”

Chris Morrell, play specialist at the Hospital, said: “Thank you to all the firemen from Blue Watch for taking time out of their busy schedule to visit Amun and put a huge smile on his face. He had a fantastic time.”

If you are interested in being put on the donor register to help patients such as Amun, contact the Anthony Nolan Trust or Desi Donors

SH0017 FOSH Summer FeteHundreds of Silhillians took advantage of the sun last weekend at the annual Friends of Solihull Hospital Summer Fete.

The Fete was opened by Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ian Courts and raised an impressive £2,000 towards the Hospital. The day featured live entertainment including the Birmingham Irish Pipe Band and Solihull Stagecoach Dance Troupe as well as a tombola, cake and plant stalls and a children’s bouncy slide.

Friends of Solihull Hospital Association fundraiser Liz Steventon, said: “The whole day was a great success, a big thank you to everyone who came along and made the day possible. It was a fun day out for all the family, the weather was perfect and we have raised lots of money for the Hospital towards equipment and machinery which will be invaluable in treating our patients.”

The Friends of Solihull Hospital Association raise an average of £25,000 each year, and have raised over £600,000 since the group started in 1953.

If you would like to find out more about the Friends of Solihull Hospital Association, to make a donation or volunteer, please email Liz Steventon,

Heart of England membership manager, Sandra White
Heart of England membership manager, Sandra White

Locals have the chance find out how creative art can help those needing long term Hospital care, when Good Hope hosts a talk next week.

The Hospital has teamed up with Rosetta Life, an organisation of professional artists that works to enable those with life-limiting illnesses and their families to explore life experiences through video, photography, drama, music, and other digital art forms.

Chris Rawlence, director of media at Rosetta Life, will discuss how getting involved with the arts can benefit patients such as those undergoing stroke rehabilitation or living with life limiting illnesses. Attendees will also be able to ask questions and share their experiences.

Lucinda Jarrett, head of Rosetta Life, says: “Our strength is in enabling people living with life-limiting illnesses to recover their self esteem and re-engage with their communities. By coming to talk at the seminar at Good Hope, we hope to be able to introduce people to the work we do and how we can contribute to patient care”.

Organiser of the health seminar, Good Hope membership manager, Sandra White, said: “This is an unusual health seminar – we are hosting it in order to let locals know about the range of services available while in Hospital. Artists from Rosetta Life are currently working at Heartlands Hospital, from the bedside of patients, aiding their rehabilitation process and this has been proving a great success.”

The talk is taking place on Friday 18 June at 3pm in the Education Centre at Good Hope Hospital. To book your place, or to find out more details about the Hospital’s health seminars, contact Sandra White on 0121 424 1218 or email

SH009 Solihull Hospital eye on better healthSolihull Hospital has opened a brand new treatment room dedicated to fighting the region’s leading cause of visual impairment.

The room will treat patients suffering from wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) a condition affecting more than 350 people over 65 in the West Midlands every year.

Jane Waller, senior sister in the ophthalmology department at the Hospital, said: “The new room has increased the department’s capacity, providing a more efficient and convenient service for our patients. It means patients will be able to be treated right here in ophthalmology rather than having to go elsewhere in the Hospital. The room will also shorten waiting times and help meet the increasing demand for this service.”

The ophthalmology department treats around 200 new patients per year with AMD which is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50 in the Western World. The condition is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels which then leak causing damage to the sensitive layer at the back of the eye.

GH0092 William Hemsley Snowdon Climb
William Hemsley

A young boy of only five will attempt to climb Snowdon, Britain’s highest mountain (south of the Scottish highlands) to raise money for Good Hope Hospital’s children’s ward.

William Hemsley, five, from Tamworth, had many visits to Good Hope’s Harvey ward with asthma as a toddler. This makes his climb all the more exceptional as he is now fit enough to climb all the way. The money raised by William will be able to pay for a buggy for the children’s ward.

Theresa Hull, play specialist, says: “We’re going to buy a special buggy that can be used for children of all ages from birth. It will be really useful for the ward, as we will use it to transport poorly children around to either X-ray or for those who can, outside to get some sunshine. It just makes the Hospital experience more relaxing for the children, as wheelchair transport can sometimes be a bit scary”

William, says: “I chose the Harvey Ward because I was pleased with the care I received at Good Hope and wanted to give something back to the sick children. Mum and Dad will be coming with me of course, and I hope together we will be able to raise enough money to buy the buggy.”

William and his parents will be completing Snowdon on Wednesday 14 July, he will take a money raising bucket with him, if you would like to contribute please visit

Heartlands sexual health expert Dr Steve Taylor
Heartlands sexual health expert Dr Steve Taylor

With the World Cup in full swing, sexual health and HIV specialists at Heartlands Hospital are warning fans from the Midlands to be vigilant and get a health check on their return.

Dr Martin Dedicoat, consultant in Infectious Diseases from the Heartlands HIV service, said: “More than 2,000 football fans from the midlands are in South Africa to cheer on England. Passions will be running high, and large quantities of alcohol are going to be consumed. It’s in these situations that there is more chance of people doing something they may later regret, as judgment can be impaired.

“You simply cannot tell if someone is infected with HIV just by looking at them, which is why all visitors must adopt a 100% condom policy. It’s vital that if people have had unprotected sex whilst abroad that they get checked out as soon as they return.

“The consequences for travelling fans could be disastrous, and we still have a growing HIV problem in the UK with only one in three people carrying the virus aware that they are.

“We want football fans think carefully, always use a condom, and have fun responsibly. This also applies whether you’re in Africa, or watching the game in a bar or pub in this country. We have developed a Safer Sex during the World Cup guide so people are informed of the risks and what to do if they get themselves into trouble.”

“South Africa has almost 6 million people living with HIV, one of the highest rates in the World. Nearly 1in 5 young adults living in South Africa are infected with the virus. In some areas the prevalence can be as high as 1 in 3.

“If people don’t take their own sexual health seriously we could see HIV spreading rapidly amongst sexual partners back in the UK. This could be a public health disaster waiting to happen.

Dr Stephen Taylor, lead consultant at Heartlands Hospital HIV Service, said: “Unfortunately the locations of the World Cup stadiums are in some of the highest prevalence areas for HIV in the country. Prostitution is illegal in South Africa, which means it has gone underground. Because of this, the risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection is even higher than in countries where it is legalised. It is estimated that upwards of 40,000 prostitutes from other parts of Africa and Eastern Europe will be heading for South Africa for the duration of the games.

“If people listen to the advice, hopefully the only thing coming home from South Africa this year will be the trophy.”

If you would like any more information on sexual health, HIV and contraception where you can also find the downloadable Safer Sex during the World Cup guide and video interviews with Dr Dedicoat and Dr Taylor.

SH001 - Upgrade for Solihull Hospital Catering DepartmentSolihull Hospital has reopened its catering department after a thirteen week state-of-the-art upgrade to benefit both patients and staff.

The catering department’s central production unit (CPU) produces nearly 6 million food portions per year for the Heart of England NHS Trust, including Heartlands and Good Hope Hospitals and a number of external organisations. The unit now has additional space and a more efficient service.

Mike Towler, catering manager at the Hospital said: “I am very pleased with the redesign of the unit. The whole catering team worked extremely hard to help the development go smoothly and efficiently. This upgrade, as well as the new pieces of equipment, will help us as we strive to continue to provide an excellent service for our patients and staff.”

In addition to the regular menu, the CPU also specialises in Halal, Afro-Caribbean and vegan meals. If you are interested in purchasing food from the Trust or would like to arrange a visit to the unit to discuss requirements, please contact Mike Towler on 0121 424 5439 or e-mail

A group supporting the welfare of retired NHS staff from Good Hope Hospital celebrated its crystal anniversary this week.

The Sutton Coldfield branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship, which has over 70 members of retired Hospital staff and is the largest regional branch, celebrated the occasion with a group birthday get together.

Bringing together retired NHS staff, the group arranges social events such as quiz nights and days out, as well as hosting a large annual social event and a monthly speaker meeting to keep ex-staff up-to-date with recent developments at the Hospital.

The Fellowship was founded and is chaired by Good Hope nurse, Vera Holley, from Walmley, who was inspired to set up the group when she retired from the Hospital in 1995. Vera Holley said: “The Fellowship is a means of retired staff from Good Hope getting together to enjoy the company of ex-colleagues or people that worked in a similar environment to them.  All of the members of the group really enjoyed working at Good Hope and wanted to keep their ties with the Hospital once they’d retired. I feel as though I’ve never really left Good Hope – I’d always loved my job and wanted to contribute and still be a part of my local hospital.

“The Fellowship is all thanks to the generous support from the Hospital itself and its chief executive, Mark Goldman, who allows us to use a room at the Hospital to host our meetings and provides a speaker from the Hospital to keep us up to date with the goings on.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the NHS Retirement Fellowship, visit contact the secretary of the SuVera Holley, founder of Good Hope Retirement Fellowshiptton Coldfield branch, Barbara Cooper, on (01543) 685743.

Dr Gary Norman, head of audiology, Heartlands HospitalLocal patients are being warned about the hidden dangers of ordering cut price hearing aids from the internet.

Heartlands Hospital’s head of audiology – hearing specialist Dr Gary Norman – is urging locals with hearing difficulties to act with caution, as they may be risking their health by taking online hearing tests and ordering hearing aids which are not programmed for a their true hearing loss.

Dr Gary Norman says: “Mail-ordering services for hearing aids have been around for a while in the forms of postal catalogues, but the recent burst of activity on the internet is really concerning.

“Wannabe entrepreneurs are finding new ways of marketing cheap hearing aids and the internet gives them the illusion of being more legitimate with bogus hearing tests.  Much like having your eyes tested by a trained optician, hearing tests need to be carried out by someone who is properly trained at examining the ear, carrying out the test and analysing the results correctly. This simply cannot be done online and risks easily treated conditions developing into more serious conditions. Incorrect hearing aids which are overly loud can lead to ringing in the ear, known as tinnitus, or increased hearing loss.

“Sometimes the solution may not be a hearing aid and may need surgery, but without having a trained audiologist look, there would be no way to know.  Buying hearing aids online often aren’t the bargain they first appear to be.”

For more information about the hearing services and treatment options available at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, please call (0121) 424 1555 or visit

Due to an outbreak of norovirus, Good Hope Hospital has visiting restrictions of one visitor, per patient, per day, in place on unaffected wards across the Hospital. Ward 15, SNU and AMU are currently closed to visitors.

It is crucial that all visitors wash their hands with soap and water, in addition to using the alcohol gel, when entering the wards and carry out any instructions given by the nursing staff.

Anyone preparing to visit friends or relatives in Good Hope Hospital, are urged not to do so if they have displayed any symptoms of sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48 hours, or if they have been in contact with anyone who has had the illness.

This site will be updated with all restrictions and closures.

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