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Curtain closes for Birmingham’s finest heart doctor

Nationally renowned clinical director at the forefront of bringing the latest advancements in the treatment of heart disease to the region is retiring from Heartlands Hospital.

Always on the cutting edge of ground breaking research Dr Gordon Murray, was the first clinical director to have been appointed at the Birmingham hospital in 1983, leading the way in introducing new treatments for thrombosis, as well as providing specialist treatment to thousands of heart attack patients in the region.

On retiring in January 2012, Dr Murray will continue his work in cardiology with two outpatient clinics a week as well as mentoring new clinical directors at Heartlands Hospital.

Dr Murray said: “I have enjoyed delivering first class care to patients and bringing firsts in the West Midlands as well as nationally in cardiology treatments.”

To stop you waiting this winter, emergency medicine doctors at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust are advising on the alternatives to waiting in A&E, ensuring you get the care you need as quickly as possible.

Walk-in centers have a whole host of GPs and nurses ready and waiting to see you, with less than half the waiting time of your local A&E department. You can be seen, treated, prescribed and home within a few hours – especially during winter when hospital emergency departments are busier than usual with additional pressures on their services.

If you are suffering from a minor injury or ailments such as cold and flu-like symptoms, you are advised to call your GP or NHS Direct for advice, or to attend a local walk-in centre before heading to A&E. Urgent cases such as loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, serious accidents, severe bleeding, deep wounds and serious breaks such as a broken leg, should be reserved for A&E.

Dr Aidan Macnamara, Clinical Director for Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust A&E, said: “It is a problem when patients use their local A&E services instead of more suitable alternatives. During this very busy period, we need to remind patients of the wide range of information and out-of-hours support and treatment that is available across the West Midlands, aside from the emergency department at the Hospital.”

Avoid infection this winter by:

  • Having a vaccination. These are still available from your GP and also most supermarkets offer these for a small price. The vaccination is available free from GP surgeries to the at-risk groups – the over 65s, pregnant women, children under 5 and people suffering from chronic disease.
  • Preventing cold and flu germs spreading.  Use a tissue when you sneeze, put the tissue in the bin then wash your hands.  Did you know that when you sneeze, germs travel at 80 mph – that is as fast as a car travels on the motorway?!
  • To avoid norovirus, wash your hands with soap and water, keep surfaces, objects and fabrics clean, and do not eat raw or unwashed food.

Remember your options this winter and choose well before heading to A&E. Contact your GP or call NHS Direct  which is available all day every day on 0845 46 47 or online at If you need to see a doctor, you can visit a walk-in-centre, one’s local to you include:

Urgent Care Centre Kingstanding

Warren Farm Health Centre,

Warren Farm Road, Kingstanding,

B44 0PU

Tel: 0121 465 5600.


George Bryan Centre

Plantation Lane, Mile Oak,

Tamworth, B78 3NG

Tel: 01827 285 598.


Washwood Heath Health Centre,

Clodeshall Road, off Alum Rock

Road, Saltley, B8 3SN

Tel: 0121 465 5165


Birmingham NHS Walk-In Centre

Lower Ground Floor,

Boots The Chemists Ltd, 66 High

Street, B4 7TA

Tel: 0121 255 4500


Summerfield Urgent Care Centre

134 Heath Street, Winson Green,

B18 7AL

Tel: 0345 245 0769

cancerscreening2The age from which locals can be screened for bowel cancer at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has been extended.

Previously open to 60-69 year olds, anyone aged 60-74 years old in the Hospital’s catchment area can now be screened for bowel cancer.  With early detection of the disease being vital to the success of treatment, the extended screening age range will save more lives across the city.

The bowel cancer screening programme has been running successfully at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital, since spring 2007.

Specialist screening practitioner, Karen Mallows said: “Many people are embarrassed about discussing bowel symptoms such as bleeding or change in bowel habits, or are worried about finding out that they have cancer, and this stops them from taking part in screening.  But I would encourage anyone to take advantage of the extended age range and get screened if they are eligible.

“The testing kit, which is used to detect traces of blood in the bowel motion, can be completed at home.  If bowel cancer is detected, this can be treated if picked up early.”

Terry Green aged 62 from Sutton Coldfield received a testing kit for bowel cancer at age 60.  Terry explains: “When the kit arrived, I knew the importance of completing a test, so followed the instructions that were enclosed and sent the required sample off.  As there were minute traces of blood, which is the basis of the test, I was invited to go to Good Hope Hospital to see a bowel cancer screening nurse to discuss having a Colonoscopy test (where doctors take a closer look using a camera).  Fortunately, I was given the all clear, but I was glad for the peace of mind that there was nothing to worry about.

“Bowel cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in the UK, but like all forms of the illness, if it is diagnosed early, the chances of successful treatment are greatly increased. It makes perfect sense for a simple process that can save lives to be available to more people.  I would advise anyone to take advantage of the test.

Since its launch over 2,000 patients screened have received a positive result, with 170 then diagnosed and treated for bowel cancer.  Growths which may have had potential to become cancerous have also been removed from 833 patients since the programme started.

For further information and advice about bowel cancer screening call: 0800 707 60 60.

Diane Tomlinson, lead infection control and prevention nurseWarning comes from Hospital experts as the stomach bug, known as Norovirus which causes sickness and diarrhoea sweeps the city.

Norovirus is part of a group of viruses that can be spread from person to person, objects, surfaces, food and water. Hospital experts advise that although you can catch noro at anytime of the year, more people become ill with the stomach bug during the winter season. Keeping your hands clean will help  prevent the spread of the virus as the bug can be caught through direct contact and travels through the air which makes public areas such as buses, hospitals and nursing homes perfect breading grounds.

Diane Tomlinson, lead infection control and prevention nurse at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Each year the Hospital infection control team prepares for any infection outbreaks in the community, helping prevent the spread amongst Hospital patients, visitors and staff.  Symptoms usually occur 12-48 hours after infection and begin with the sudden feeling of nausea, which can be followed by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Other symptoms include a mild fever, headaches, stomach cramps or aching limbs. Unfortunately, if you begin showing these symptoms there are no known treatments other than to let the illness run its course. The main complication is dehydration which can be very serious, especially in the young and the very old. Be sure to keep a good supply of water available to keep hydrated and try to eat a light diet.

“Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has strict hand hygiene guidelines and we have new antiviral gel to prevent outbreaks within the hospital. If you or family member has recently suffered from flu or sickness and diarrhoea, you will still be highly contagious for 48 hours after the symptoms disappear. Until this time, contact with others and any Hospital visits should be avoided.”

If you have been in contact with someone who has norovirus or if you have had the typical symptoms within the last 48 hours, please try to avoid visiting hospital as it can spread very easily, having a far greater effect on those who are already sick.

If you are worried and think you may have norovirus, contact your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

_DSC5015The communications team enjoyed triple award winning success at the CIPR PRide Awards 2011 during December.

Heart and Soul, The Trust’s members’ magazine, won Gold in the external newspaper or magazine category; our staff magazine, Heartbeat, won the Gold award in the internal newspaper or magazine category; and a silver was also awarded in the internal communications category for the communications campaign around Working together: A discharge in time saves another patient waiting in line.

As the CIPR PRide Awards recognises excellence in PR and communications across the UK, the team were up against some of the most highly regarded private sector PR agencies in the country. Former Olympic sprinter Kriss Akubusi, was there to present the awards to the communications team and members of the graphics team, who supported the design of the winning publications, were also in attendance.

As well as the team being finalists in the outstanding in-house public relations team category, Louise Berktay, internal communications and governance officer, also bagged a finalist position in the outstanding young communicator category for the CPIR PRide awards, as well as being a finalist for Young Achiever at the national CorpComms Awards in London last month.

Eye_testBirmingham doctors and nurses have provided medics in Ethiopia with vital training and equipment to help prevent blindness through diabetes.

The diabetic eye screening team from Heartlands Hospital took screening cameras, lasers and laptops to Black Lions Hospital in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, where staff will see a high frequency of patients with advanced diabetic eye disease, and trained them in how to use the software.

This was a return visit for the team, who have travelled to Addis on a regular basis since 2007 to provide training and equipment to diagnose diabetic eye disease.  Since then over 300 patients per month are now screened and there are approximately 2,000 patients registered with the service at Black Lions Hospital.

Eye specialist, Professor Paul Dodson, said: The group of trainees were of mixed ability and some understood English more than others, but they were all eager and willing to learn.  It was very rewarding to see them progress and to pass on this knowledge.  This will empower the trainees to give the best treatment possible, which will benefit patients for years to come.”

Baby friendly initiativeSolihull Community Services’ efforts to make the borough a place where babies are given the best start in life have earned national recognition.

UNICEF has awarded the Solihull community breast feeding service the prestigious stage two accreditation as part of the Baby Friendly Initiative, which promotes breastfeeding.

The team have been working in collaboration with midwives, health visitors, nursery nurses, peer supporters and children centre staff across the borough, to raise awareness on the benefits of breast feeding and to ensure there is help and support available for mums. A Solihull breastfeeding directory gives women information on the many local cafes and shops where mums are welcome to breastfeed their babies and where mums and mums-to-be can offer each other support and also get professional help and advice.

Carmen Baskerville, Infant feeding co-ordinator, said: “It is really good that we have been recognised for providing a high quality service. Breastfeeding gives babies a healthy start, for example breastfed babies are less likely to suffer with diarrhoea and vomiting, or chest or ear infections. It can also have a positive impact on future health, for example preventing diabetes and obesity for baby and breast and ovarian cancer for mum.

“We are now working really hard towards full accreditation, which involves the Unicef staff interviewing pregnant women and new mothers to determine whether breastfeeding best practice standards are being met.”

We can confirm that Ian Paterson is currently excluded from the Trust.

“In 2007, a review of breast surgery services provided through Solihull Hospital, identified that a surgical technique for mastectomies used by one of its consultants Mr Ian Paterson required closer scrutiny to establish whether it represented best practice, based upon current clinical knowledge.  This procedure was not performed on all patients undergoing mastectomy. An external review highlighted that this was not a usual procedure and that Mr Patterson had not followed guidelines to introduce a new technique.  This Trust’s position, after careful consideration, was that the technique was not an approach considered appropriate going forward, and the method was therefore stopped. We then began a process of identifying patients who may have undergone this procedure, to ensure we reviewed their current clinical condition.

“The Trust is currently continuing to invite all of Mr Paterson’s patients who underwent a mastectomy to see an alternative surgeon for a review of their treatment and care.  This includes patients who have been discharged.  We have recently issued further letters to patients as part of our continued process of review. We are keen to make sure that every patient who may be affected by this is given an opportunity to be personally reviewed.  We have set up an advice line 0121 424 5473 which will be available between the hours of 9am and 12midday, Monday to Friday with the opportunity to leave a message at other times.  If anyone is at all concerned we would encourage them to get in touch.”

For more information please visit

Locals are invited to attend the official launch of Heartlands Hospital’s charity this week and to see the grand unveiling of its official mascot.

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity, which encompasses Birmingham Heartlands, Solihull Hospital and community services, Good Hope Hospital and Birmingham Chest Clinic, works to ensure every penny made through fundraising at the Trust directly benefits the needs of its patients.

Events on the day include the unveiling of the charity’s new ‘huggable’ mascot, Huggy, and a charity exhibition of hospital services, highlighting the need for charitable funds and the difference fundraising can make for patients There will also be a charity raffle and giveaways to support the Charity’s children and family centred care appeal.

Emma Hale, head of fundraising, said: “The Trust looks after more than 85,000 inpatients in the West Midlands every year. The funding provided by the Government for healthcare covers the basic needs of keeping the local population healthy. However, the extras that make the patient experience better and a Hospital stay more comfortable and relaxing are often not covered. Funds raised through the charity may be put towards anything from new technology, such as equipment for keyhole surgery or items of comfort such as chairs or easy beds for relatives. With four sites and over 400 funds to choose from, you can be sure that your donation will be used in the area of healthcare you feel most affiliated with.”

For more information on the launch event or to get in touch with the Trust fundraising team, please telephone (0121) 424 3838.

Helen Eiffel towerA consultant from Birmingham Heartlands Hospital has made the gruelling cycle from London to Paris in a bid to raise vital funds for the Hospital’s children’s appeal.

The challenge, which saw 10 punctures, umpteen replacement parts, uphill battles and the Eiffel Tower, raised an impressive £800 for the charity and was undertaken by consultant paediatrician, Dr Helen Goodyear.

Dr Goodyear said: “My family and I have always enjoyed a number of cycling holidays and whilst deciding what to do this summer, London to Paris was suggested which coincided with launch of this fantastic appeal.”

“I was lucky enough to gain generous sponsorship and thoroughly enjoyed undertaking this challenge. Following this, my family, friends and I hope to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats.”

The Children and Family Centred Care Appeal, which aims to raise £85,000, hopes to raise the funds to upgrade the parent accommodation facilities and refurbish the children’s unit, which will provide an inviting and more comfortable environment for children and their parents.

For more information about the appeal and how to make a donation, please contact Nicola Beaumont on 0121 424 3838 or visit the charity website on

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