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Hospital staff and local community to get in touch with rugby

Touch RugbyLocals are invited to join medics at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in putting their touch rugby skills to the test.

The touch rugby league will see doctors, nurses, admin staff, and managers battle it out against colleagues as well as with local community teams to win the prestigious challenge cup prize over the next three months.

The initiative was set up five years ago by the Trust’s fundraising team to encourage staff to have fun whilst getting fit, and to get to know each other and the local community better.

Games will be played by twelve six-aside teams over the next three months at Birmingham & Solihull RFC, with the two leading teams playing in the finals at the ground on Sunday 8 July 2012.

Mr Ian Cunliffe, consultant ophthalmologist and touch rugby player, said: “This is a fantastic way for staff and the local community to see how much fun the game is.  The competition is free and open to all ages and abilities so I would encourage anyone who wants to give it a go to come along and join us to try out new skills whilst getting fit.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the league or going along to see a game should

Volunteers_Ward_21_BHH017Hospital volunteers are adding another string to their bow in helping dementia patients at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trustafter completing a new specialised training initiative.

Designed and delivered by the Trust’s dementia outreach team, made up of registered mental health nurses and specialist nursing assistants, the tailored education programme enables volunteers to work more closely with staff to identify newly admitted patients with dementia who may need extra support.

The training programme involves both classroom and practice-based learning on dementia and delirium awareness, communication and also explaining some of the special needs of patients with dementia on acute wards, where their stay may be shorter term.

Volunteer service advisor, Angela Butts said: “This programme will be of great benefit to the volunteers who offer their time at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.  It will give them the confidence to step onto the wards and feel they can support staff with the appropriate care for patients with dementia during their stay.  By having volunteers work with the dementia outreach team and other staff this will help patients with dementia find their stay as comfortable and pleasant as it can be.”

If you are interested in volunteering at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, get in touch with the volunteer service team on 0121 424 2983.

The Friends of Solihull Hospital (FOSH) are hoping locals will join them as they take aim at their impressive fundraising target of £87,000 for the Hospital.

FOSH will be holding a skittles night with ploughman’s supper on 11 May at Solihull Rugby Union Football Club, Sharmans Cross Road, Solihull.

The much needed funds will be used to purchase a laparoscopic camera stacking system to aid patients who undergo surgery for digestive and gynaecological conditions. The new equipment will mean patients benefit from smaller operating wounds, less invasive surgery, a reduced stay in hospital and a quicker recovery.

FOSH secretary Liz Steventon said: “We have already raised over £65,000 and we are hoping these two events will help us get much closer to our target as well as being a lot of fun. If anyone would like to get involved with FOSH and support their local hospital we would love to hear from them.”

Tickets at £7 per player are available from Liz Steventon on 07909912525 or

Also coming up is the annual FOSH Summer Fete in the Hospital grounds on 16 June, 1.30 – 5pm, including a dog training demonstration, dance troupe performances, the Harmony Concert Band, Birmingham Pipes and Drums, refreshments and stalls.

Heartlands Hospital is hosting a group to help families support each other through miscarriage.

In response to a request from local healthcare professionals, the Miscarriage Association is looking for volunteers who have lost a baby in pregnancy at least 10 months ago to help set up and run a monthly support group at the Hospital. Volunteers will be trained and offered ongoing support.

Ruth Bender Atik, the Miscarriage Association’s national director, explained: “Every miscarriage is different and there is no right way to feel about it. Our volunteers can help people find the support that is right for them.”

Rachel Small, Heartlands Hospital miscarriage midwife specialist, said: “
As many as 25 per cent of all pregnancies result in miscarriage. Most miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks, though some women miscarry much later. We are delighted to support this group. For some people being able to talk to someone who has gone through the same experience will be just the support they need.”

To find out more about the volunteering roles, please contact Miscarriage Association development worker Iain Solanki-Willats on 01924 360769 or email

The Association has five contacts for telephone support in the West Midlands backed up by its help line (01924 200799), website and online support forum.

Richard Harris lowresSolihull father runs marathon for sick newborns


A big-hearted father from Solihull is to run the London Marathon next weekend to help little hearts in the region.


Richard Harris plans to complete the 26 mile course in order to raise funds to buy baby heart monitors, otherwise known as CTG machines, and infant resuscitaires which form a vital part of the medical equipment used in the resuscitation of approximately one in 10 infants born in the three maternity units at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.


With more than 11,000 babies born each year between Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals, every mother-to be at the Trust will have benefitted from the use of a CTG machine during their pregnancy and it may also be used to help monitor infants after birth.


Richard said: “As well as being a father of three children myself, I also serve as a non-executive director at Heart of England and have seen first-hand all of three busy maternity units in action. It is a privilege to run for a cause that is close to my heart and to provide some level of additional support to newborns in the region. This will be my second time running the marathon so it isn’t a total step into the unknown – I am looking forward to the challenge.”


To find out more about the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity, please contact the fundraising team on 0121 424 3838 or email To sponsor Richard’s marathon run, please go to

Locals interested in learning more about diabetes have the chance to hear from a Heartlands Hospital specialist when the Hospital hosts a talk on the subject.

Dr Shahrad Taheri will talk about the condition, which affects approximately 2.8 million people in the UK. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 occurs when the body produces no insulin (the hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood) and usually develops before the age of 40, often during the teens, and type 2 occurs when not enough insulin is produced and the little that is proves ineffective. Type 2 is far more common, affecting 90 per cent of all people with diabetes. For both types having a healthy diet is important and this is what Dr Taheri will focus on during the seminar.

Dr Taheri says: “Eating a healthy diet will help blood glucose levels stay balanced and reduce the risk of complications, which can be severe. It can also help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or delay the onset. Being overweight makes people much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.”

Seminar organiser, membership and community engagement manager, Sandra White said: “We hope people will come along to the seminar and leave feeling a lot more knowledgeable about diabetes and the importance of a healthy diet. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask our expert questions and discuss their own thoughts and experiences of the disease. The Hospital is committed to educating the public about their health.”

The seminar is taking place on Thursday 19 April at 5pm in the Education Centre at Heartlands Hospital. To book your place or to find out details of the Hospital’s future health seminars, contact Sandra White on 0121 424 1218 or email

Diabetes department at Heartlands Hospital

Director of Solihull Approach Hazel Douglas (right) with programme manager Mary Rheeston.
Director of Solihull Approach Hazel Douglas (right) with programme manager Mary Rheeston.

Solihull’s child and adolescent mental health service, part of Heart of England Foundation Trust, has been chosen for a leading role in a Government trial of parenting classes.

The announcement is the latest accolade for the Trust’s ‘Solihull Approach’, an integrated model of working and training programme for a range of care professionals working with families, babies, children and young people to encourage healthy emotional development and an enjoyable family life.

The programme which is already being used in many parts of the UK and has also been taken up in Iceland, with projects in India, Turkey and Peru will now be available over the next two years to all parents of children aged five years and under, in Middlesbrough, High Peak in Derbyshire, and Camden in London as part of the trial. Along with five other expert family organisations including Save the Children and the National Childbirth Trust, Solihull Approach will run classes in all three areas.

Hazel Douglas, director of Solihull Approach, said: “We are delighted. As one of only six providers offered a contract for all three areas, this is a substantial achievement for us. Mums and dads have told us how helpful the groups are and how much more they are now in tune with their child’s feelings after attending. Some have said they were apprehensive about attending the classes but were glad they did because they now understood more about their child’s stage of development.”

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said: “Parents are the most important influence on a child’s healthy development and future lives. We know from the demand for self help books and from speaking to mums and dads that they would welcome light touch key advice and support from time to time. Unfortunately in some people’s minds there is a stigma attached to asking for help or attending parenting classes. So we have chosen a wide range of expert organisations, with a good track record of reaching out to parents of all backgrounds. They will attract and engage parents through a mixture of face-to-face and online classes, and in a variety of community settings including schools and children’s centres.”

egg run CaptureSick children at Heartlands Hospital were overjoyed to receive Easter egg treats delivered by a local scooter group this week.

More than 300 members of Midland Scooters travelled in convoy to the Hospital on Sunday 1 April with Easter eggs in hand for the patients on the Hospital’s children’s wards.

They were joined by the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Irene Chamberlain and grandson, Scott, who was a patient on the unit following ear nose and throat surgery when he was aged 12 in 2007. “Meeting the children has been wonderful. This is a special part of my role,” Cllr Chamberlain commented.

Chris Morrell, hospital play specialist, said: “Midlands Scooters have been visiting the hospital since 2005 and have made a great contribution to our children’s wards. The event is always a huge success and makes so many of the children feel much better, brightening up their hospital experience.”

Alex Osborne, a member of Midland Scooters, said: “We really enjoy getting involved with helping the local community and visiting Heartlands Hospital each year. Seeing the look on the children’s faces makes it all worthwhile.”

Say_RoyalSociety_IFLAwards_020312-084Heartlands Hospital’s specialist baby team has won a prestigious Innovating for Life Award for devising a programme to help tiny babies with breathing difficulties.

The specialist neonatal team will be the first in the country to deliver the scheme designed specifically to deal with newborn infants with difficult airways. Medics will be specially trained in using the specialist airway equipment to assist babies who develop breathing difficulties.

Heartlands consultant paediatrician, Richard Mupanemunda, and fellow doctor in the neonatal team, Lauren Johansen, collaborated with medics from the University Hospitals Coventry to develop the scheme and beat off strong competition from across the country.

Dr Mupanemunda said: “I’m pleased that the team’s work on difficult airways management has been recognised through this national award. It is a credit to the hard work of the neonatal team at Heartlands to have been awarded this accolade.”

The winners of the Innovating for Life Awards were presented at The Royal Society in London on 2 March and were attended by representatives of the short listed entries in both the midwifery and neonatal sections.

Photograph caption: Heartlands Hospital consultant paediatrician, Richard Mupanemunda (first person on the left) with fellow award winners.

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