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West Midlands gets a New Attitude to sexual health


New Attitudes logo

Locals have the opportunity to take a first peek at a new and innovative contraception and sexual health service to open in Erdington when it holds a pre-launch open daythisweek.

The nurse-led service offers a patient-focused, fresh approach to sexual health. Open six days a week on a drop-in basis, the clinic will benefit patients by providing a full range of sexual health care from contraception, free condoms, pregnancy testing and emergency contraception, through to STI testing and treatment.

** New Attitudes public open day takes place on Friday 29 October between 10 and 4pm at 196, High Street Erdington. Freebies and advice leaflets will be on offer to all visitors and passers by, along with the chance to meet the nurses and to take a look around the brand new, purpose-built clinic. Birmingham’s sexual health bus will be based outside.**

Born as a direct result of asking both the public and professionals what they would want out of a sexual health clinic, the service is based on the second floor of Erdington Health and Well-being Walk-in Centre. Its location was designed to encourage locals to access the clinic without others being aware of which service they plan to use.

For more information about New Attitudes contraception and sexual health centre, call 0121 686 8030, or find New Attitudes Erdington on facebook.


Notes to editors:

New Attitudes contraception and sexual health centre is set to open on Monday 1 November 2010.

The service will open six days a week Monday – Friday 9am until 7pm and Saturday 11am until 3pm.

The clinic offers an easily accessible, holistic and confidential services.

Erdington Health and Wellbeing Walk-in Centre is an NHS Birmingham East and North initiative. The Erdington Health and Wellbeing Centre, opened on 26 July 2010 and consists of three floors, and on each floor there is a different service, provided by a different provider. New Attitudes is provided by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and is based on the second floor.

Good Hope Hospital is calling for local musicians and singers with Christmas cheer to get in contact. Humbugs need not apply.

After the success of last years Christmas music programme, the Hospital is starting early to arrange a packed out programme of Christmas concerts for patients and visitors to the Hospital, but needs the help of local musicians and singers to fill the slots.

Esther Jackson, music co-ordinator, said: “Everyone thinks October is too early to organise Christmas carols, but the patients enjoy the singing so much that we need to start recruiting singers and musicians are early as possible to fill all the slots.  We’re looking for individual singers and musicians, groups and choirs – anyone who wants to sing for the patients.

“Performing on the wards for patients and in the reception areas is a really rewarding experience, the patients and their visitors really enjoy it and many patients join in when they can.”

If you would like to volunteer for the Hospital’s music programme, either at Christmas or during the rest of the year, please contact Esther Jackson, music co-ordinator on 0121 424 0113 or

With households turning up the heat in preparation for the winter weather and the regions homes becoming a breeding ground for dust mites, Heartlands Hospital medics give out top tips on how to keep the mites at bay.

Julie Sullivan, asthma nurse specialist, Heartlands Hospitals severe and brittle asthma unit, explains: “The increased heating in our homes during the winter period creates an ideal breeding ground for dust mites. Like most living creatures, dust mites, require warmth, food and water to survive and our beds provide the perfect environment. The best temperature for rooms in the home should be below 25 degrees to avoid the risk of bugs.”

Did you know that in an average double bed you could be sleeping with up to 2 million house dust mites; which are also the cause of allergic reactions in 85 per cent of asthmatic children? Indoor allergens most commonly affect the nose, chest, skin and eyes causing symptoms such as an itchy, runny or congested nose; coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath and itchy skin, rashes or wheals.”

“Unlike hayfever, symptoms can occur throughout the year; however the severity may vary from day to day and is normally worse in winter. Some substances such as house dust mite droppings in dust, pets, pollens, and moulds can specifically trigger asthma. However these allergens will only worsen asthma if a person is specifically sensitive to that substance.”

Julie’s top tips for controlling indoor allergens – all efforts of controlling dust mites should be aimed at areas where you spend the most time i.e. bedrooms and living areas

–       Wash all bedding every week

–       Damp-wipe all surfaces each week

–       Washable toys should be washed as often as bedding

–       Reduce humidity in your home by increasing ventilation

–       Look for cleaning products that hold the British Allergy Foundation Seal of approval as these products have all been tested to achieve very high levels of removal/reduction of allergens.

Toy donation 2Sick youngsters from Heartlands Hospital thought Christmas had come early this week when they received a sack full of toys from a generous local.

Derrick Hannaford, a Hall Green resident, made the donation of toys in memory of his wife, Susan Hannaford, who sadly died in July this year. Susan, 57, was treated on the Hospital’s Intensive care unit after suffering with Necrotising Sascitis, a flesh eating bug.

Derrick said: “My wife was a teacher at Yarnfields primary school in Tysley and whilst in hospital her last wish was for any donations made at her funeral to go to buying toys for the children’s ward. She loved kids and wanted them to have the best experience whilst in hospital just as she had been given by the staff at Heartlands.”

Chris Morrell, hospital play specialist, said: “This is one of the most generous donations the children’s ward has received and it really does feel like Christmas has come early.”

More than £600 was raised following donations at Susan’s funeral to buy toys and portable DVD players for the ward.

Heartlands Hospital’s charity logo was revealed this week after a city wide search for the most creative design.Charity logo launch

The logo challenge saw members of the public and Hospital staff go head to head to create the best logo to launch the charity. After much deliberation three lucky submissions were merged to create the official logo.

The charity aims to raise funds for the benefit of patients and will have its very own website to manage donations. The website will feature information on the different departments you can donate to as well as what your money can buy.

Emma Hale, project manager for the charity, said: “All donations to the Trust are greatly appreciated and we aim to use funds to improve the services we offer to patients. The launch of the new charity website will make it easier for people to donate and will feature a wide range of facilities including fundraising ideas to help people get started.”

The charity launches this month so look out for information about the website and how to donate. If you would like more information please contact the Hospital’s donated funds department on 0121 424 1118.

SH0023 Solihull gym groupSolihull Hospital has been hosting a group of former patients who get active to combat heart disease and who have raised thousands of pounds for the Hospital physiotherapy department.

The group, whose oldest member is 85, is known as Solihull Coronary Rehabilitation Group, and meets twice a week in the physiotherapy gym for workouts.

Vice chairman of the group, Mike Naylor, from Barston, said: “We have all received top quality care at Solihull Hospital with our various heart problems. Following on from our initial treatment, this group is an excellent way of staying healthy, supporting each other and sharing advice.

“Each member pays £1 a session and once we raise a certain amount of money we buy equipment for the gym which is used by our group and the current patients.  We’ve bought everything, from rowing machines and bikes to treadmills and steppers.”

Sarah Bazin, from the physiotherapy department, said: “The group has been instrumental in the makeover of our gym, and not only do they benefit from use of the facilities, but our patients benefit from the money raised as well.

“They are a great example to others in staying fit and healthy; adding life to their years rather than years to their life following heart problems. I hope others can follow their lead in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, no matter what age.”

The following press release has been taken from the Care Quality Commission’s website:

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) today (Thursday) announced that it has lifted two of the three conditions it placed on The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) earlier this year.

In April 2010, the regulator registered the trust with three conditions as part of its new registration system for adult health and social care. The trust was one of 22 trusts registered with conditions across the UK.

Today CQC published its findings in a report which explains how the trust has addressed concerns linked to each of condition.

CQC gathered evidence to support the removal of the conditions during two separate unannounced visits at two of the trust’s locations (Heartlands and Good Hope Hospital) in May and June this year.

After gathering information by speaking to staff and patients and reviewing documentary evidence the regulator has lifted the conditions which looked at essential standards of quality and safety linked to:

  • safeguarding people who use services
  • staffing.

CQC inspectors had previously identified concerns linked to staff training and staff awareness of adult safeguarding issues. The trust shared documentary evidence to support the improvements against this condition with CQC staff.

  • This showed that the trust had met the requirements of the condition by:
  • Providing confirmation that staff had received appropriate training around adult safeguarding.
  • Encouraging a dialogue with external agencies. This has helped to increase staff understanding of adult safeguarding issues and has encouraged a more open and transparent approach to discussions between the trust and external agencies regarding safeguarding reviews.

Providing evidence of a rise in the number of staff reporting safeguarding issues across the trust.

CQC West Midlands regional director Andrea Gordon said: “CQC would like to thank patients and staff who helped us to gather vital evidence during our unannounced visits.

“These opportunities to interact with people who have first hand experience of services allows our inspection teams to get a valid feel for the steps the trust has taken to improve services.

“We are confident the trust has made the necessary changes to meet the standards required to ensure that people using services are receiving a good standard of care.

“We also found that staff had a better understanding of how to keep abreast of issues linked to keeping people safe while they are seeking treatment and care from the trust.”

The report confirms that standards around staffing are being met.  During the two visits CQC assessors spoke to staff and patients to find out whether both groups felt confident the trust had enough staff.  The team also observed the senior staff members’ approach to addressing risks associated with working with fewer staff.

The CQC report recognises that staff and patients are now reporting positive experiences and confidence in the levels of staffing. Senior staff are using an electronic system to identify risks associated with working with fewer staff.  These measures have demonstrated a speedier approach to escalating issues linked to staff levels at the trust.

Five additional outcomes were also reviewed as part of the site visits to the trust.  These had been identified as concerns as a result of complaints received by CQC and issues highlighted by other agencies.

The trust has until September 2010 to meet the third condition placed upon it, outcome 14 – supporting staff.  Improvements reported by the trust are being reviewed by CQC staff.

Ice Cream Van006Poorly children from Heartlands Hospital were in for a treat this week, when the mum of a former patient organised an ice cream giveaway.

Lynn Steinmann, from Solihull, arranged for free ice creams to be given out to all the patients on the children’s ward as her way of thanking staff after her daughter; Beth Harris 11 was treated with pneumonia and asthma problems over Christmas last year.

Lynn said: “My daughter received such great care at Heartlands I wanted to do something to say thank you and thought the children from the ward would really enjoy a treat.”

“Last Christmas wasn’t Beth’s first visit to Heartlands; she was born 27weeks premature at the Hospital’s maternity unit weighing just over 1 lb and has received treatment here on and off ever since.”

“I called in a favour from my local ice cream van driver and friend Sagheer Nazir, who kindly agreed to help by parking up outside the ward and giving away the free ice creams.”

Chris Morrell, Hospital play specialist, said: “This was a great gift for the children on the ward, in particular for some of our long term patients who would have spent the majority of the summer indoors. This was a nice belated summer treat for all.”

Memorial service balloon releaseParents and families will have the opportunity to remember babies they have lost through miscarriage or neonatal death in a special memorial service hosted by Heartlands and Solihull Hospital.

The service, ‘A Time to Remember’, will coincide with Baby loss Awareness Week to give parents the opportunity to meet with other families to remember their babies together.

During the service remembrance candles will be lit and leaves placed on a memory tree with a balloon release to finish.

Clare Beesley, bereavement support midwife, said: “The service is an opportunity for parents to remember their little ones along with other families going through similar grief.”

All are welcome to attend the service to be held at St Paul’s Centre, Belchers Lane, Bordesley Green, B9 5SY on Saturday 16 October at 3pm.

The memorial service will be led by the bereavement support team and members of the chaplaincy team.  For further information on the service and to confirm attendance, please contact Clare Beesley or Teresa James on (0121) 424 2088.

It was a grand slam for the Trust’s first ever tennis tournament which held its finals this week.

The executive directors’ team, A Load of Balls, led by tennis ace and HR director, Mandy Coalter, beat teams of doctors, nurses and cleaners to win the six week tournament.

The tournament aims to build on the success of the  touch rugby league, which celebrated its third year in the summer.  The three hospitals Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull, have create a programme of sport and physical activity to encourage staff to get fit, which is hoped will have a knock of effect on staff morale and patient care.

Mandy Coalter said: “Tennis is great fun and brings together staff from a variety of different backgrounds such as doctors, nurses, dieticians and directors.   Our staff are getting fitter through the sports programmes run by the Hospital and this is part of our overall strategy to create a healthy and well workforce fit to deliver great care to our patients.”

For more information on the tennis tournament, or the Hospital’s sport and physical activity challenge, please contact Richa Gautam on 0121 424 0973 or email

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