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Hospital sees in new screening programme to prevent blindness

Diabetics can now benefit from a multi-million pound screening programme at Heartlands Hospital, designed to help prevent blindness.

The service provided by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which runs Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital, is set to benefit over 135,000 diabetic patients, as it rolls out the largest programme of its kind in England.

The screening programme can detect the level of the disease ‘retinopathy’, a complication of diabetes, which if identified and treated early can prevent blindness for 90 per cent of those at risk.

Professor Paul Dodson, consultant diabetologist and medical ophthalmologist who leads the service, said: “Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes known to cause the feared complication of blindness. The screening programme has been instrumental in ensuring accurate grading of patient’s  retinal  images.

“Heart of England is working in conjunction with primary care trusts, introducing improvements to ensure a ‘world class service’ for our diabetic patients.”

The Trust has been awarded the provider contract, to lead retinal screening throughout Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.

Parents of a former renal unit patient at Heartlands Hospital made a generous donation to honour what would have been their daughters 40th birthday.

Linda and Ken Middleton’s  daughter, Angela Townsend, was treated by the Hospital’s renal unit for more than 5 years, receiving Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) treatment for kidney failure.

The couple, from Yardley, held a fundraising dinner at Mint restaurant where guests enjoyed food and entertainment from local band Sugaree Spice. Local shops also made generous donations towards a raffle held on the night.

Roger Adkins, clinic nurse specialist for the unit, said: “We are delighted to receive this donation. Angela was a memorable patient and the unit still has contact with the family. We hope to use the donation to update the facilities on the unit and make it much more homely for our patients.”

CAPD is a form of dialysis used to help manage the effects of renal failure and is a treatment patients can do at home. This is a painless procedure which allows patients to be independent and to take part of the responsibility for their own care.

SH0027 Eczema - Dr Irshad ZakiSolihull Hospital specialists are raising awareness of the condition which in the region has increased 300 per cent in the last 30 years.

Dr Irshad Zaki, consultant dermatologist, at the Hospital, said: “Eczema is a skin condition which affects around 1 in 12 adults, and around 1 in 5 children. The condition ranges from mild to severe and can lead to skin becoming itchy, red, dry and cracked.

“No one knows exactly what causes eczema, but it often occurs in people who are prone to allergies. Severe symptoms include marked itching and loss of sleep which may occur when the skin becomes extremely red, scaly, weepy and swollen. Other factors such as a skin infections can make eczema symptoms worse, as can using certain soaps and detergents.

“People suffering from skin complaints should visit their GP for diagnosis as there are many things that can be done to improve the symptoms. These include emollients, which help to moisturise skin, or other treatments such as a steroid cream if skin is inflamed. There are also a wide range of products which can be bought over the counter from your local pharmacist which may also help. If problems persist, further investigations and treatments may be required.”

Tips for relieving eczema:

–       Avoid scratching, as this will further aggravate the skin.

–       Some materials may irritate your skin. Avoid wearing synthetic fibres and stick to natural materials such as cotton.

–       If heat aggravates your eczema, keep your home cool. Also avoid using any soaps or detergents you think may affect the skin.

Hodge Hill residents will get the opportunity to become musical maestros as Heartlands Hospital launches its music project aimed at community groups this week.

After a generous grant awarded by the Birmingham Cultural Partnership the Hospital’s arts team met with community leaders to launch ‘Voices of Hodge Hill’, a singing project which is open to community groups and the public to join.

Voices of Hodge Hill, open music groups are led by professional music leaders and will consist of singing lessons and technical training in different music genres.

For more information about the project or if you would like to attend any of the sessions, please contact Esther Jackson, music coordinator for Heartlands Hospital on 0121 424 0113. Please note places are limited, early booking is recommended.

Morning groups will be held at Shard End Community Centre on 5 October, 2 November, 7 December from 9.30-11.30am.

Afternoon groups will be held on these dates at Ward End Library from 12-2pm and evening groups will be held at Beech Court (Herrick Road) at 5-7pm also on these dates.

Doug Ellis opens ward 14
Doug Ellis, with clinical director Mr Brian Banerjee, star fundraiser Vera Holley and members of staff at Good Hope.

Good Hope Hospital welcomed Aston Villa’s lifetime president, Doug Ellis, to officially open its newly refurbished ward for treating patients requiring joint replacements last week.

Good Hope’s ward 14, which serves as the trauma and orthopaedic ward, has been updated with a range of improved wash facilities and separate areas for male and female patients, all as part of the £500,000 investment.  The refurbishment has also allowed for the purchase of a new piece of equipment which has been installed in the orthopaedic theatre enabling additional joint operations to take place.  This will allow the department to develop its innovative Joint School, which allows patients scheduled for knee and hip operations to be educated on what they can expect from their surgery and how best to care for their new joint.

Mr Ellis, who was the first chairman of Good Hope Hospital, serving for six years, officially opened the ward at a small gathering of staff, which included the clinical director for trauma and orthopaedics, Mr Brian Banerjee and finance director, Adrian Stokes.

Mr Brian Banerjee said: “The Hospital has invested around half a million pounds in improving the ward and it really shows.  We have updated the ward, replacing the unused baths for wet rooms, which are more useful for orthopaedic patients.  The ward is modernised with a brighter and a better atmosphere in which to work.”

Mr Doug Ellis said: “Having been the first chairman of Good Hope, serving for six years and the witnessing the beautiful care the Hospital showed to my mother when she was here, it is always a pleasure to be back at the Hospital.  I am delighted to open the newly refurbished ward 14 and it is a great honour to be involved in Good Hope.”

Maternity PhotoSolihull Hospital’s maternity unit reopened as a birthing unit on the 26 July 2010. The first four mums to give birth on the unit share their experiences:

Donna Ensell from Smith’s Wood in Solihull, was the first mum to give birth, to bouncing baby boy Michalis, and said:  “I had my first baby on the unit, and she’s just turned 2, so I was very happy to go back. The staff were very devoted and looked after me very well. I’ve been back since with a thank you card and chocolates.”

Second to give birth, to baby girl Lacie-Mai, was Simone Lewis from Chelmsley Wood. Simone explains: “The unit was brilliant, really spacious, modern and relaxing. I was first to give birth in the water-birth room which was excellent. The staff were absolutely lovely, always there if I needed anything and never left my side whilst I was in labour.”

Proud mum Abie Odusote, from Solihull, gave birth to a baby boy named Tolu. Abie said: “The experience was brilliant; the staff were encouraging and friendly. I had Tolu in the birthing pool which was very different to a normal birth and a lot more pleasant and relaxing.”

Last but not least; baby Jamey was born to mum Kimberley Hogben from Sutton Coldfield, who said: “The facilities were really nice and I was surprised how well equipped the unit was. The staff had lots of time for me and were extremely friendly. Jamie arrived at 7.40am, just in time for breakfast!”

Joy Payne, head of midwifery at Heart of England Foundation Trust, said: “All the staff here in maternity are very proud to welcome these new arrivals. It’s wonderful to see the look on a mum’s face as she holds her baby for the first time, and we want to wish these five mums all the very best.”

TW0021 calling all artists 1The Trust’s arts team are inviting talented local artists to take advantage of free exhibition spaces in the three hospitals.

Every day, thousands of staff, patients and visitors pass through the hospital corridors, which have displayed a vibrant array of paintings, photography and sculptures.

The Trust is now looking to fill next year’s exhibition season by offering the space out to locals who want to display their art.  Work will  be displayed at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull.

Sarah McGrory, arts co-ordinator, said: “We’ve had really good feedback from patients, visitors and staff about the art exhibitions in the hospitals.  They really brighten up the place.  Visitors and patients, particularly, have said they enjoy being able to take a few minutes out to visit the exhibitions and get away from the stress of being in hospital.

“We really want to get the local community involved in the arts projects at the Hospitals and would love to be able to display work from residents of Birmingham.  It would be great exposure for established and budding artists, as the main entrance and tower blocks are the busiest places in the Hospitals, so there would be plenty of opportunity for patients and visitors to see the artwork.”

If you are interested in having your work displayed, please contact Janet Pratt, arts assistant, on 0121 424 0113 or email

SH0024 High Blood Pressure WarningTo mark National Blood Pressure Testing Week, Solihull Hospital is encouraging Silhillians to get checked for biggest known cause of premature death in the region.

Dr Mark Thomas, consultant in renal medicine and lead for the West Midlands Hypertension centre, said: “High blood pressure is a condition which causes strokes and heart attacks and is linked to kidney disease and dementia.

“The condition is known as the ‘silent killer’ and this is because a large proportion of the population don’t realise they have it. We would urge people to find out their blood pressure, have regular checks and to adopt a lifestyle which helps keep blood pressure low.

“The groups at the biggest risk of high blood pressure include the over 55s, people of African-Caribbean descent, and people of South Asian origin.”

If you are worried about high blood pressure, visit your GP or go to the West Midlands Hypertension

Dr Mark Thomas’s tips for lowering blood pressure:

–       Reduce salt intake to less than 5 grams per day.

–       Maintain a low-fat, high-fibre diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

–       Watch the amount of alcohol you consume. The recommended daily limits of alcohol consumption are 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women.

–       Make sure you exercise regularly. Being overweight is a risk factor for having high blood pressure.

GH0097 Deborah Murphy and Andrew WatsonPatients and families visiting Good Hope Hospital will be able to benefit from extra spiritual care and attention as the Hospital greeted a new chaplain last month.

In a short licensing ceremony, Deborah Murphy, from Great Barr, was welcomed by the Bishop of Aston, the Right Reverend Andrew Watson, to the Hospital.

Deborah is returning to chaplaincy work after being a vicar at St Aidan’s Church, in Walsall.   She will support the chaplaincy work already existing at the Hospital, which offers patients, their families and hospital staff care and guidance in religious and spiritual matters and a friendly ear in their time of need.

Rev Deborah said: “I am very glad to be back in chaplaincy work and have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Good Hope so far. I have always wanted to be there for people and be a channel for God’s healing and wholeness – Hospital chaplaincy is where I feel I am called to be.”

Critical Care Matron, Anne Mutlow, and Critical Care Consultant, Julian Hull, stand with one of the new haemo-filtration machines at Good Hope Hospital
Critical Care Matron, Anne Mutlow, and Critical Care Consultant, Julian Hull, stand with one of the new haemo-filtration machines at Good Hope Hospital

Two hospitals caring for some of the region’s sickest patients are benefiting from the delivery of more than 20 new pieces of equipment, at an investment of more than £200,000.

The critical care departments at Heartlands and Good Hope Hospitals, both part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, received 11 new haemo-filtration machines and 10 new ventilators between them – further improving facilitates and providing an extra boost to the quality of care provided for critically ill patients.

Anne Mutlow, critical care matron, said: “These are vital pieces of equipment for our patients, so we are really pleased to receive this extra investment. Ventilators are used to support a patient’s breathing, while the haemo-filtration machines carry out the work of the kidneys if they have failed following an acute illness.

“Critical care at Good Hope is also due to move to its brand new unit, based within the new £26m ward block building at the Hospital, when it opens early next year. Currently under development, works on the new building are progressing well. All in all, the future certainly looks bright for critical care.”

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