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Locals encouraged to ‘Be Sure’ at this year’s Birmingham Carnival

Revelers at this year’s Birmingham Carnival event have the opportunity to have fun and get clued up about their sexual health.

Birmingham and Solihull’s ‘BeSure’ chlamydia screening programme team will be hosting a stand at the carnival, offering free chlamydia testing and non-judgmental sexual health advice, as well as giving away freebies to all those who stop by.

Bharti Bulsara, the BeSure programme’s primary care lead explains: “Around 1 in 14 sexually active 15 to 24 year olds taking the free and easy test have chlamydia. It is important we raise awareness of how easy it is to treat and protect yourself against chlamydia and other forms of sexually transmitted infections. Through the BeSure scheme, we hope to highlight the dangers of sexual infection in a fun and interesting way.

“Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms or signs; it can easily be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated it can lead to infertility and many other complications.”

Birmingham Carnival will be held in Handsworth Park on Sunday 7 August from 1:00 – 8:30pm.

For more information on the BeSure programme, visit

Patients at Good Hope Hospital are being cheered while they wait for their appointments thanks to the provision of an electronic piano by local music store, Colbecks, based on the Chester Road in Sutton Coldfield.

Colbecks has supported the Heart of England NHS Trust music programme by providing equipment since it was established in early 2006. The aim of the programme is to include more music on wards, in waiting areas and for patient groups in Good Hope Hospital during 2011.

Esther Jackson, Music co-ordinator, said “The Trust music programme is really grateful to Colbecks for its support over the years. Music benefits patients on many of our wards and in waiting areas, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to do this for patients at Good Hope”.

The hospital relies on volunteers to play music for patients on wards.  Anyone interested in volunteering their time to bring music to the hospital should call Esther Jackson, Music Co-ordinator on 0121 424 0113 or

With around 40,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK each year, and the disease responsible for nearly a quarter of all male cancer deaths and a fifth of all female cancer deaths; Heartlands Hospital is hosting a public seminar on the topic.

The talk, hosted by clinical nurse specialist, Sara Goodyear, will look into symptoms and the affects of lung cancer, as well as giving essential information and advice on treating the illness.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

Sara explains: “Despite being the country’s most common cause of death in the UK, awareness of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer is low.  Sadly, more than two thirds of patients are diagnosed at a stage when curative treatment is no longer an option. Members of the public who attend the seminar will be able to get expert advice and tips on what preventative measures can be taken and what symptoms to look out for, as well as what treatment options are available.”

The event is taking place at Heartlands Hospital on Thursday 28 July in the Hospital’s education centre from 3pm. To find out more and to book your place, please contact membership officer Lisa Jennings on 0121 424 2643 or email

Christine Campbell, roadshow nurse, Marcella Floyd, Solihull resident, Lorely Burt, MP, Patricia Bryan, bowel cancer screening nurse and Jane Broughton, coordSilhillians got the chance to meet their local bowel cancer screening specialists in Mell Square last week to learn how to spot the early signs of bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common and deadly types of cancer in the UK with around three new cases being diagnosed every hour.

Primary care development manager at Solihull Hospital, Saima Hanif, explains, “It is essential that people over the age of 60 undertake regular screening as usually the symptoms only begin to show after the cancer has progressed into the further, more serious stages.

“Testing kits are sent through the post. They work by taking a small stool sample which is then tested for the presence of blood – one of the earliest signs of bowel cancer. We have been working hard to reach as many people as we can to raise awareness of the screening programme because it really does save lives.”

Local MP, Lorely Burt also attended the event which was held by the cancer awareness roadshow team.

The screening programme has been running in Birmingham since 2007, and it offers free testing to anyone aged 60 – 69.

If you would like more information on the bowel cancer screening programme, and how it involves you, please freephone 0800 707 6060 or visit:

Solihull Sexual Health Service’s summer campaign, Get Connected, hits the streets this month asking ‘Are you ready? Every time?’

‘Clean advertising’ is being used to leave a lonExample1 - Pavement stencilg-lasting impression of the message on pavements by blasting dirt from a stencil image which will direct people to the service’s

The campaign aimed at the under 25s promotes different ways to ‘get connected’ with confidential and easily accessible contraception and sexual health services.

Working with Solihull Council’s Youth and Community Service, the summer campaign aims to target areas such as parks and bus stops where young people meet.

The innovative campaign is also using Quick Response (QR) codes on posters. When the QR code is scanned using a smart phone it directly links to a Just4You page containing all local service information including clinic locations and opening times, sites where young people can get free condoms, Just4You-2 clinics based on college campuses for local students and pharmacies distributing emergency contraception.

Jodie Smith, Solihull’s health promotion specialist for teenage pregnancy and sexual health, said: “Keeping young people well connected to confidential contraception and sexual health services is extremely important. We hope to encourage young people to take responsibility for their wellbeing and safety, and that of others.”

A generous patient from Good Hope Hospital has donated two transfer aids to the ward staff who nursed her back to health.Sheila Selby and Lynn Woodward with the cricket hoist donation at Good Hope Hospital

After suffering a stroke earlier this year, Sheila Selby from Four Oaks spent several weeks as a patient on ward 26 – the stroke rehabilitation unit at the Hospital. Pleased with the care received, Sheila wanted to give a donation as a way of thanking the team.

Sheila, said, “I wanted to convey my thanks and overall just wanted to be able to help out. I used one of these transfer aids while I was on the ward, though there was only one to share between many of the patients on the ward. By buying another two, each area will now have one of their own. I am glad to be able to contribute – they are a thank you to the stroke ward staff.”

Lynn Woodward, an occupational therapist technical instructor from the stroke rehabilitation ward said:, “The transfer aids, also known as cricket hoists, are used for facilitating transfers and aiding patient recover, particularly with stroke patients because they promote independent standing and assist the transfer of patients from bed to chair.  The transfer aids can also help free up the nurses, as two carers aren’t needed to help the patient out of bed or out of a chair. We would all like to give a huge thank you to Sheila. It is so kind of her and we greatly appreciate Sheila’s thoughtfulness for future patient care.”

Upgrades to the bedside entertainment units at all three of our hospital sites, which include Good Hope Hospital, Heartlands Hospital and Solihull Hospital,  commenced on Monday 10 October 2011.

The upgrade to Hospedia T3 will provide extra functionality to the units including touchscreen TV, improved picture quality and a more reliable service.

The Hospedia team, who are funding these upgrades, are working closely with the ward staff and patients. The new systems allow local free phone calls to patients and will have the facility to provide a dedicated patient information channel to help provide patients with valuable information.

The Trust is working closely with Hospedia to ensure all new screens are in place as soon as possible to limit any inconvenience caused to patients.  Where this has happened we are putting in communal televisions as an interim until the new terminals are in place.

Heartlands Hospital’s innovative scheme to help people start careers in the NHS has won a national award.The HCDU team

The Hospital’s healthcare careers development unit has won the HR Excellence Award 2011 for the best workplace diversity strategy.

With over 400 apprentices the unit has delivered the largest apprentice programme of any single health service organisation in the West Midlands.

Acting director of human resources, Hazel Gunter, said: “We are committed to tackling the serious unemployment rates in our local communities. We have recruited candidates onto this scheme based on their behaviours and values and provided them with the training, skills and confidence to become ‘job ready’ and begin their NHS careers. Winning this award is wonderful recognition for our achievements.”

It has been a month of accolades for the hospital’s human resources staff, who also garnered national honours at the Healthcare People Management Association’s annual awards ceremony.

Second in the Overall Excellence in Organisational Development category were deputy dean Karen Camm and appraisal adviser Prabhjot Kaur. The judges praised their project for its creative use of undergraduate interns to ensure employees had appraisals and personal development plans.

The human resources team also just missed out on the award for HR Team of the Year and came home with the runner up place.

Heartlands Hospital is part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which also runs Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital, community services in Solihull and Birmingham Chest Clinic.

Retinal screening 2Heartlands Hospital has become one of the first diabetic screening centres in the country to invest more than £60,000 in a new diagnosis screening machine set to benefit more than 130,000 patients in the region.

The Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine is the latest in retinal diagnostic technology, making screening safe, quick and painless for patients.

Professor Paul Dodson, consultant diabetologist, said: “Diabetic patients need to undergo regular eye screening as they are at high risk of developing a condition known as retinopathy, which can lead to blindness. This new piece of equipment will help us ensure that we diagnose any problems early and can improve the accuracy of diagnosis amongst our diabetic patients.”

Professor Jon Gibson, consultant ophthalmologist said: “The OCT machine uses new technology to give more advanced imaging of the eye, providing simpler, more precise diagnosis. This in turn will help manage referrals to relevant ophthalmology clinics.”

All people with diabetes over the age of 12 are encouraged to attend a retinal screening appointment by responding to their invitation letter or appointment.

Heartlands Hospital is the provider of the largest interlinked screening programme of its kind in England and cover areas including Birmingham, Solihull, Black Country, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell.

For more information or if you have any queries please contact the new helpline on 0333 456 7887, 8am-6pm Mon-Fri and 9am-5pm Sat, alternatively please email

Theatre six opening - chairmanHeartlands Hospital invests half a million pounds to improve surgical theatre facilities for patients.

Two main theatres at the hospital have undergone a complete refurbishment worth over £500,000 boasting state-of-the-art equipment and extra space for recovering patients.

The Trust now has 28 theatres in total and last year saw more than 30,000 patients for elective and emergency operations, making it one of the largest providers in the country.

Dr Spyros Papaioannou, clinical director for theatres, said: “Theatre six previously had limited use and the refurbishment means we will now have extra capacity to provide additional surgical procedures which previously would have been outsourced. This will result in significant savings for the Hospital.

“By the end of 2011 the theatres team also hope to have installed a new theatre information system that will streamline the patient care pathway, merging processes on all three hospital sites, including Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals.”

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