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Baby Show mums meet Heart of England midwives

Baby Show HEFT 2Heart of England midwives were on hand to give expert advice to the thousands of women visiting the Baby Show at the National Exhibition Centre over the weekend.

A steady stream of women took advantage of the offer to ‘meet the midwives’ over the three days with a wide range of queries and concerns.

The midwives from the Princess of Wales Women’s Unit and midwife-led Willow Suite at Heartlands, Good Hope Hospital’s Maternity Unit and Solihull Birthing Unit were joined by community midwives, consultant obstetrician Mike Wyldes, head of midwifery Joy Payne, breastfeeding advisors and other specialists.

Susan Westwood, midwife and supervisor at the Willow Suite, said: “We had a whole array of questions, including a lot about breastfeeding, and were very busy. Some ladies were worried that their questions were silly but they weren’t. We were pleased to answer them and in some cases advised them to speak to their own community midwife.”

Visitors at the show came from around the country but two who were particularly pleased to call in at the midwives’ stand were Solihull friends, Kerry Pollitt and Nicola Overton. Kerry said the Princess of Wales midwives were “fantastic” when she had her baby Leo four months ago, and Nicola, mother of eight-month-old Lily, said: “I feel privileged to have had the experience at Solihull Birthing Unit. It was like a home from home.”

Heart of England Foundation Trust’s top community dentists have been awarded specialist status for their expertise in providing dental care for people with complex disabilities.

Four out of the nine special care dental service’s dentists based in Solihull were chosen to go on to the General Dental Council’s new specialist list for special care dentistry.

Penny Heyworth, Yogesh Bulsara, Geraldine Russell and Marcus Woof treat patients with additional needs, including people with severe learning difficulties, complex medical or psychiatric conditions and the frail elderly, at clinics in Grove Road, Solihull and Land Lane, Marston Green.

Clinical director of dental services, Penny Heyworth, said: “We had to provide a large portfolio of evidence to the General Dental Council showing the breadth of our work, both clinically and within the wider field of disability. It is great that we were chosen as this recognises the quality and level of expertise we have within the service.”

The Special Care Dental Service was one of the community services that transferred to Heart of England from Solihull Care Trust on 1 April. As well as treating patients for the service, Marcus Woof continues with his role as the primary care trust’s associate director of dentistry.

Heartlands Hospital medics are bringing a national course to the West Midlands by hosting the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) PACES course here in Birmingham.

The Hospital is now the only place in the Midlands to offer this intensive course, which gives doctors from across the country the chance to get a head start on revision for the MRCP final exam.

Dr Susanne Kumar, course organiser, said: “The PACES course is mainly offered in London and Manchester and we felt there was definitely a need to offer the course in the West Midlands and so we have set one up here at Heartlands. The course runs three times a year and equips candidates with the correct method and strategy to pass the exam.

Dr Nidhi Sagar, course organiser, said:  “The course aims to equip candidates with the correct method and strategy to pass their exam through observation of their technique and correction of faults. The course provides a number of test stations where candidates can complete practical tests to improve their skills.”

“This course was first held at Heartlands in January and was very well received with 95% of delegates assessing the content and quality of teaching at the course as excellent or good.”

For more information please visit

Wd 11 apprentice001Mum of four, Hayley Hope from Ward End, spent many years at home as a stay at home mum until she was offered the chance to become an apprentice at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.

The Hospital is part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which has more than 10,000 staff and is one of the largest employers in the country.

The Trust offers apprenticeships for those, like Hayley, who don’t always meet the minimum requirement for employment the chance to build skills and gain an NVQ qualification.

The program means potential candidates take on an initial six month training and development program to gain the necessary core skills to become a hospital healthcare assistant.

Hayley joined Heartlands Hospital’s ward 11, which looks after emergency surgery patients, working under the supervision of ward sister Tracey Tillotson.

Tracey said: “Using the apprenticeship program means we are able to get a real feel for the person who is applying for the position which is something you aren’t always able to do in a short interview setting.

“The six month training process allows us to select the right calibre of staff and both the hospital and the candidate can be sure the position is right for them.

“Having the right attitude is very important for nursing staff and I knew from the early assessments Haley was right for the job.”

Hayley Hope said: “I had spent many years at home before taking on the apprenticeship at Heartlands and when offered this opportunity I saw it as a great way to get back into work.

“The program gave me the opportunity to decide if nursing was the career for me and meant I could try it out before committing to a position.

“From this program I have gained an NVQ qualification in health and social care and also gained extra skills in English, maths and communications.

“Getting back into work has really boosted my confidence and I would recommend this program to anyone wanting to get back into work with a passion for caring for others.”

The Trust has around 5,000 nursing staff and continues to raise the calibre of the nursing staff. The Trust recently introduced a nursing values program that has required all nurses to complete additional training and adhere to values to further improve the care received by patients.

For further information about the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust apprenticeship program call Healthcare Careers Development Unit (HCDU) on 0121 4241760 or email

Pic 1 Gillian abseilLocal lady Gillian Phillips, aged 72, did what most of us probably wouldn’t, and abseiled 40 metres down the side of the Good Hope, just three months after having surgery at the Hospital.

Fearless Gillian from Whitehouse Common raised an impressive £675 for Good Hope Hospital’s League of Friends (LOF) for the Hospital’s bowel cancer screening fund.

Gillian (Granny Gilly as she is known to her grandchildren), said: “I was so impressed with the care and treatment I received at the Hospital, I wanted to give something back. I used to be a keen mountaineer, so this abseil was something I don’t have trouble with at all!”

Karen Mallows, bowel cancer screening lead nurse, said: “We are so incredibly impressed and grateful for this generous donation. We will put the money towards our team and towards helping raise awareness of bowel cancer in the region. This really will help save lives.”

Since June 2007, thousands of local people aged between 60-69 have received a bowel cancer screening kit through the post. This simple kit helps detect bowel cancer and over 1700 patients have been offered a camera test called a colonoscopy as a result. 147 people have been diagnosed with bowel cancer and have been treated. If you are interested in finding out more and want a screening kit, call 0800 707 6060 or

To find out more about Good Hope League of Friends, contact Mona Campbell on 0121 424 9125.

Specialists from Good Hope Hospital’s new Hyper Acute Stroke Unit are encouraging locals to find out more about the signs of stroke, in recognition of Stroke Awareness Day taking place this week.

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off and brain cells are damaged or die.

Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and getting medical help immediately is very important – remember FAST:

F – facial weakness

A – arm weakness

S – speech problems

T- time to call 999

Symptoms of stroke can also include loss or blurred vision, confusion or dizziness.

Vicky Kean, matron for stroke, said: “Stroke can occur without warning and can happen at any age. They can have a mild effect or a devastating effect on people’s lives. Always remember FAST – you could save someone’s life.

“During the first 24 to 48 hours following admission to Hospital, acute stroke patients will require a high level of specialist nursing, therapy and medical management. Our six-bedded Hyper Acute Stroke Unit, which opened in February of this year, has provided a real boost to our stroke services. The unit was designed with clinical teams and architects in partnership to meet the privacy and dignity, as well as specialist care needs, of our stroke patients. Our stroke teams include specialist Health and Social Care professionals to ensure the delivery of care is tailored to the individual.”

To find out more information about stroke, contact the Stroke Association Helpline on 0845 303 3100 or visit If you have any concerns visit your GP, or if experience the symptoms of stroke, dial 999 immediately.

Lung cancer patients in the Midlands are set to benefit from a rehabilitation program at Heartlands Hospital which is the first of its kind in the country.

The rehabilitation for operated lung cancer (ROC) program has been introduced for patients undergoing surgery for lung cancer.

Heartlands Hospital is home to the regional thoracic surgery unit covering a catchment area of more than 6 million people.

Mr Babu Naidu, associate professor in thoracic surgery said: “The ROC program offers patients the chance to improve their fitness prior to surgery by twice a week exercise classes, nutritional supplementation and smoking cessation support.

“The self management element helps patients deal with the diagnosis of cancer and effects of surgery. The programme aims to reduce the chances of complications and enhance patient recovery after surgery. Early results from the ROC programme have shown a 50% reduction in the number of patients suffering from lung complications.”

For more information about the program please email the ROC team at

Stroke patients at Solihull Hospital will benefit from therapeutic surroundings as the Hospital sets to build a garden to help aid recovery.

The garden designed by local designer, Linda South from Blythebrook Designs comes following an idea conceived by Ward Manager, Rachael Morris, from the Stroke Unit at Solihull Hospital, who wanted to turn the disused ground into a rehabilitation area for patients to enjoy.

Senior sister, Rachael Morris, said: “The power of plants and flowers has been found to be therapeutic in stroke recovery. Gardens tend to be an area for socializing and companionship while providing solace for those looking for some quiet time. It was this thinking that first gave me the idea to raise funds for such a garden.”

Following months of fundraising, Rachael and the team have raised £30,000 and hopes to continue raising funds towards the maintenance and up keep of the garden.

Dave White, Commercial Director at Earlswood said: “We have a great and generous team with an eye for detail from design, through construction to completion and the end result will be an enduring legacy for the benefit of stroke patients for many decades to come.”

If you are interested in donating, please call Rachael on 0121 424 5208.

Stroke Garden 2Stroke patients at Solihull Hospital celebrated the opening of a new rehabilitation garden, funded by local businesses and Hospital staff.

The stroke team at the Hospital raised more than £32,000 to transform the garden which features bird tables, flower beds and a water feature for patients on ward 8 of the Hospital. Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ian Courts and his wife Sheila were guests of honour and were on hand to cut the ribbon.

Rachael Morris, ward manager for the Stroke unit said: “’I am so pleased we have had the support and generosity of local Solihull and Birmingham residents and companies, we hope that the therapy garden will provide an invaluable benefit to stroke patients during their rehabilitation on ward 8 before being discharged home”.

The garden was designed by Linda South from local design company Blythebrook Designs and all landscape work was carried out by Earlswood Garden Centre and GLW Landscapes free of charge.

pic one Good Hope new mammography suiteThe breast imaging service at Good Hope Hospital has added another string to its bow with the launch of its new mammography suite.

The suite, boasting state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment, is dedicated to imaging women quickly, easily and accurately in the detection of breast cancer and all other breast problems. Patients range from those needing a routine family history screen, to those who are symptomatic and require a rapid investigation and diagnosis.

Clinical Director for radiology, Dr Lowri Morus, said: “The mammography suite is a significant investment and provides a real boost for breast cancer imaging here at Good Hope. Mammograms are an extremely valuable cancer detection aid and are key to helping reduce the number of deaths from the disease. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Breast Friends Sutton Coldfield for all their continued support.”

Jackie Benzecry, chairman of Breast Friends, a breast cancer support charity in Sutton Coldfield, said: “The new suite is very comfortable and welcoming for patients and we know local women will really benefit. The Breast Friends Charity will continue to support this invaluable breast screening service at our local hospital.”

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