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Trust first to offer dyslexia service

TW0013 Dyslexia website launchHeart of England Trust has set up a support service for staff who may be suffering from dyslexia.

The service is the only one of its kind in the region launched in collaboration with the Dyslexia Association Birmingham (DAB) and comes in the form of a specially designed interactive website.

The site, which is available to staff at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals, provides invaluable information for those who have or who think they may have dyslexia. The site also contains guidance for managers and mentors so they can provide or seek appropriate support for their staff.

Tracey Starkey-Moore, principal educator, who helped set up the site with her colleague Amee Hawkes, said: “Dyslexia can affect as much as 8 million people in this country to varying degrees, so we want to tackle the condition head on, increase awareness and let staff know there is support available.”

Denny Manning from the Dyslexia Association Birmingham, said: “The launch of this site is evidence that the Heart of England Trust has a positive approach to equality and diversity issues and welcomes the employment of individuals with disabilities. We worked closely with the Trust, providing advice regarding the development of this website and welcome their positive approach to increasing the awareness of dyslexia.”

The website also includes common questions and answers, useful links, information on what support is available and tips on dealing with stress that may be brought on by the condition.

SH010 Nintendeo Wii Solihull HospitalSolihull Hospital has become one of the first in the region to use computer games to help patients recover from serious illness.

The Hospital stroke unit has installed a Nintendo Wii in its physiotherapy gym, revolutionising treatment for patients suffering from conditions such as strokes and Parkinson’s disease.

Rachael Morris, ward manager, said: “Research has shown that Wii’s can be very useful in the recovery of patients. Many people think it’s just a game and don’t realise the benefits it can give in helping patients exercise, re-learn new skills, build muscles and increase confidence.

“We use the Wii, not only to play the games, but also use the stepping board for body balance tests, posture and positioning, for patients susceptible to falls. Our patients are doing things which are beneficial, but also fun, without even thinking about it.

“We are also seeing lots of younger people in their 30s and 40s who have suffered from strokes. The Wii is something they may have played at home and can relate to, but older people love playing it too. Patients often use the Wii, then buy one when they leave Hospital, carrying on their recovery at home.”

The Wii was donated by the Hospital volunteer services department, and there are now plans to introduce the console to other physiotherapy departments at the Heart of England NHS Trust, including Good Hope Hospital and Heartlands Hospital.

TW0012 Good Hope Crutch AmnestyGood Hope is helping locals with their bank holiday clear-outs by giving them a chance to return disused crutches they have lying around the house.

The Hospital is holding a crutch amnesty this weekend and is encouraging all those who have borrowed crutches from A&E to return them so they can be used for other patients.

Alan Baldwin, A&E manager at Good Hope Hospital, said:  “Don’t be afraid to return your old crutches – we won’t be telling anyone off, but will just be very grateful for their return. We send patients home with these everyday and it is surprisingly rare that we get them back.

“The crutch amnesty will give people the chance to clear out the crutches that have been cluttering their home for months and will replenish our stocks here at Good Hope – so we’re all winners!”

Crutches can be returned to Good Hope A&E Reception this weekend, 27 to 30 of August.

Heart of England is offering talented local artists the chance to get their creative juices flowing and design a new logo for the official fundraising site.

The logo will take pride of place on a dedicated fundraising website for Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals.   The website will allow members of the public to find out about fundraising events, how they can help and how donated money has been used at the Hospitals.

The website is part of a re-launch of the Trust’s charity, which will happen at the end of September 2010.

Nicola Beaumont, project co-ordinator, said: “We’re always really grateful for those kind hearted people who choose to donate money to the Hospitals.  Re-launching the charity is very important to us and we know the locals around Heartlands can be really generous, so we wanted to offer the logo competition out to them.  I’m really excited to see what designs people come up with.”

Logos can be hand-drawn or computer generated and should be sent to Nicola Beaumont, in the Events Department, Stratford House, Heartlands Hospital, B9 5SS by Thursday 2 September.  For more information, contact or call 0121 424 0530.

SH0019 Solihull Hospital Radiology Race for LifeSolihull Hospital radiographers swapped x-rays for running shoes this week to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The ladies, re-named the ‘X-Racers’, took part in the Race for Life event at Bruton Park, and raised an impressive £400 for the charity.

Karen Sanford, lead mammographer at the Hospital, said: “It was pretty hard work to complete the full 5 kilometres in very hot weather, but we kept thinking about the cause and the patients and relatives we know who are affected by these diseases, and that kept us going.”

“So many of us know incredibly brave patients and relatives, and what they have to go through. We are honoured to support them in whatever way we can.”

Picture 1 GH0096 Cherly Hudson and Ernest HodgsonStaff and patients at Good Hope Hospital held a special birthday party last week to mark its longest serving “meet and greet” volunteer turning 90.

Ernest Hodgson, a retired product manager from Sutton Coldfield, has been a volunteering at the Hospital for the last 17 years.

Ernest, said: “Thank you to everyone; patients, staff and friends who have been so kind and generous for my birthday. I have been volunteering at Good Hope for many years, and I always feel my work is worth doing, I will be continuing as long as I can.”

Cheryl Hudson, associate director of service transformation, said: “Ernest always greets everyone with a smile, it is a pleasure to watch him working with patients; he is a real gentleman. It’s very important to Ernest to be able to make patients and visitors feel welcome, thanks for all his hard work.”

Mural 3Art is on the agenda at Solihull Hospital as it unveiled a mural designed and painted by talented students from Light Hall School.

The 9 year 11 students spent one afternoon per week after school for six months working on the mural, which features a panoramic arctic scene painted in acrylic and is now installed in the Hospital’s radiology department.

Gill Tomlinson, superintendent radiographer at the Hospital, said: “A lot effort and work has been put in by the students, which they did after the normal school day, and the resulting mural is wonderful.  We are extremely grateful for the donation and it looks great in its new home.

“Visitors can often feel apprehensive about visiting hospital which is why creating a positive and attractive environment, through the use of art-work; can be really beneficial to patients, staff and visitors.”

If you are an artist interested in how your work can benefit the Hospital, please contact Janet Pratt

William presents donation to Good Hope
William presents donation to Harvey ward

An inspirational five year old boy has climbed one of Britain’s highest mountains and raised an impressive £1,300 for Good Hope Hospital’s children’s ward.

Chronic asthma sufferer, William Hemsley from Glascote Heath, battled through the torrential weather to reach the top of Snowdon in order to raise money for the unit he spent time in as a toddler.

Mum, Maria Cope, said: “William did really well to walk all that way by himself, and he has been working so hard over the past month, encouraging people from school, family and friends to sponsor him – It will be great to see the money going to such a good cause.

“Not only did he walk all the way up the mountain, but we had to walk all the way back down as well, the weather got quite dangerous and the trains that carry people back down didn’t pick us up! But we made it back down safely, just a little cold and wet. The children’s ward was chosen by William, for a chance to say thanks back to the staff for the care given to him when he was sick and he wanted to use the money to help fix the poorly children”

Theresa Hull, play specialist, said: “William raised enough to buy a special buggy and more – with this, we plan to get a piece of specialist equipment that doctors can use in children’s ears and eyes and will help find out what is wrong with the poorly children. And the extra will go towards toys for the children to play with – we rely entirely on donations to buy toys, so the children will really appreciate this.

“The team and I at Good Hope would really like to thank William and his family for their support and kindness, and those who generously offered their sponsorship.”

HH0086 10 Anniversary Lung Cancer GroupHeartlands Hospital’s lung cancer support group held a special event this week to mark 10 years as it celebrated its dedication to fighting one of the most common cancers in the region.

Members of the team, and many grateful patients and carers both past and present attended the birthday party, held at the Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston.

Denise Silvey, lung cancer nurse specialist, said: “The group has worked with hundreds of patients and carers of all ages and backgrounds over the past 10 years, and we’re still going strong.

“This is a significant milestone for us, but we see it as unfinished business. Lung cancer is still a significant disease in the Midlands so our service is just as important as it was 10 years ago.

“Lung cancer has the highest cancer mortality rate in the Midlands and the outlook for people diagnosed with the disease in the UK remains poor, with around a third of patients alive at one year after diagnosis and less than 10 per cent alive at five years. 80 per cent of these people will die within one year.”

The group is run by the Lung Cancer Nurse Specialists based at Heartlands Hospital, with support from the Roy Castle Foundation. Anyone wishing to know more about the foundation should visit for information on the disease, fundraising events and how you can help in the battle against lung cancer.

Helena Deakin singing
Helena Deakin

Heartlands Hospital was alive with the sound of music as the Hospital completed an ambitious musical marathon last week.

The hospital’s main entrance played host to no less than nine sets of local musicians over the week, from pianist Tony Briggs to student bands from local schools and colleges.  Amongst the artists was student Helena Deakin from Light Hall School in Solihull, whose ambitious covers of songs by popular American artists drew in the lunchtime crowd.

Esther Jackson, music co-ordinator at Heartlands, said: “I’m thrilled so many local people gave up their time to perform at the Hospital for the patients, visitors and staff.  Music has such a calming influence and patients really respond to it, particularly on the wards where we’re trying to encourage more musicians to perform.”

If you are interested in performing or helping to facilitate music at Heartlands Hospital, please contact Esther Jackson on 0121 424 0113 or email

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