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Nurse sings praises of Hospital speedy treatment

A Good Hope Hospital nurse is swapping medicine for music to sing with one of the country’s leading chamber groups – all in aid of emergency medicine.

Andrew Woodburn-Drayton, an acute medicine unit charge nurse, will join the Galliard Ensemble, for an evening of music from Mozart to Andrew Lloyd Webber in a concert to help raise awareness and vital funds for the specialty dealing with the immediate and early treatment of patients referred by their GP or the Hospital’s A&E department.

Andrew explains: “The acute medicine team at Good Hope see between 50 and 70 patients from across Birmingham, Tamworth and Lichfield each day, providing urgent assessment and treatment for a wide range of conditions. In spite of this a lot of people don’t really seem to know much about this area of medicine.

“The concert is a great opportunity for people to come along, have fun and gain a better understanding of the role of acute medicine whilst raising vital funds for the unit.

“I’ve been singing since I was 6 years old, having performed as a solo tenor in competitions, at weddings and with the Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir. I’m really excited to be singing with The Galliard Ensemble for such a good cause.”

The Galliard Ensemble takes place at 8pm on Wednesday 28 June at Chester Road Baptist Church in Sutton Coldfield.  Tickets are £10 or £8 with concessions and free for children under 12 years old.  For further details, contact advance nurse practitioner in acute medicine, Rebecca Lisseman, on 0121 424 9828 or sister Alison Davies on 0121 424 9836.

Midwives Carolyn Deegan and Maria Stewart at the Midwifery Conference
Midwives Carolyn Deegan and Maria Stewart at the Midwifery Conference

The future of midwifery at Heartlands Hospital, which has one of the largest maternity services in Europe, is based on a commitment to provide what parents want.

Parents are at the centre of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust’s plans for the future of its midwifery service. New parents and parents-to-be were asked what they want from the service and from the midwives themselves. Their answers have formed the basis of a new framework for midwifery entitled ‘Your voice, your choice’ launched at a conference staged by the Trust on 4 May in celebration of the International Day of the Midwife.

Approximately 11,000 babies are born each year at the Trust’s Hospitals, which also include Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals, and in the community.

Speakers included Barbara Kuypers, Local Supervising Authority midwifery officer, Catherine Gulati representing women who use midwifery services, and from the Trust: head of midwifery Joy Payne, chief nurse Mandie Sunderland and the Faculty of Education dean Kerry Jones. The 70 delegates were able to view midwifery-related displays and had opportunity to use a variety of midwifery teaching scenarios with simulation manikins of mothers and babies.

Kerry Jones said: “We have to strive constantly to improve services and provide what women and their families want. They have told us they want midwives to be safe, caring and professional. Midwives have told us they want more time to be with the women. Over the next 12 months we will be working with parents, midwifery supervisors, obstetricians and the wider health care team to re-design services to provide what parents want.”

Joy Payne told the conference: “Our aim is to give women and their families a positive birth experience. We want to provide women-centred care that women have confidence in. We want inspirational and influential midwifery leaders, dynamic midwifery practices and effective working with the wider health and social welfare team.”

Local mum Catherine Gulati, who is co-ordinator of Solihull Local Involvement Network and also co-chair of the Heart of England Maternity Services Liaison Committee, said: “We are pleased to see the role of the midwife being valued and women being put at the heart of the strategy. We look forward to continuing to work together in recognition of the impact midwives have on the lives of local families.”

Melanie Easter with her Paralympic medals

Solihull Hospital physiotherapist Melanie Easter, a former Paralympic swimming champion and world record holder, has been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch.

The senior physiotherapist and mother of two from Kenilworth will run her 500m leg in the Olympic flame relay around the UK on 1 July in Solihull. Easter was put forward for the honour by her husband, Richard Barratt, and father, Jim Easter, who did not tell her until she had got through the first round of selection from the tens of thousands of nominations.

Easter won gold in the 400m freestyle (S12 category – visual impairment) and silver in the freestyle relay in the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta and successfully defended her 400m title in Sydney in 2000 as well as winning silver in the 100m freestyle and bronze in the 200m individual medley. Easter gained the world record for 400m freestyle in 1998 and also won the World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver in 2008 and would have competed in that event in the London 2012 Paralympics if it had been included.

Melanie (pictured with her Paralympic medals) explains: “I am delighted to be carrying the torch. It is a real honour as sport is close to my heart.”

Solihull Mayor Cllr Irene Chamberlain unveils the plaque at the official opening of Netherbrook Birth Unit, with Trust Chairman Lord Philip Hunt.
Solihull Mayor Cllr Irene Chamberlain unveils the plaque at the official opening of Netherbrook Birth Unit, with Trust Chairman Lord Philip Hunt.

Baby Tamara Mrengo entered the world in the middle of joyful celebrations to mark the official opening and re-naming of Solihull Hospital’s midwife-led birth unit.

While Solihull’s Mayor, Cllr Irene Chamberlain, was unveiling a plaque with the unit’s new name – Netherbrook Birth Unit – on 18 May, Jana Mrengo, of Acocks Green, was giving birth to her second child. Tamara is the 630th baby born in the unit since it opened on 26 July, 2010. More than half of the babies have been born in the unit’s two birth pools.

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman, Trust Chairman Lord Philip Hunt, members of the Heart of England Maternity Services Liaison Committee and some mothers with babies born in the unit were among other guests at the event. The unit’s new title ‘Netherbrook’ is a combination of the names of the first two maternity units at Solihull: Netherwood and Brookhouse. It boasts three newly decorated birth rooms, two postnatal bedrooms and a lounge.

Cllr Chamberlain said: “I am thinking back to 48 years ago when I had my first son in Netherwood. It was a slightly different experience and facilities from today. I really am proud to declare the unit officially opened.”

Friends of Solihull Hospital and John Lewis provided decorations and soft furnishings for the unit.

Warwickshire Boys Choir performing at Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Warwickshire Boys’ Choir performing at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Two talented young choirs join forces this month in a musical extravaganza in Solihull in aid of poorly children.

Warwickshire Boys’ Choir, finalists in the BBC Choir of the Year 2010, will team up with Knabenchor Hoesel Boys’ Choir from Germany for the concert at the Bushell Hall, Solihull School, Warwick Road on 18 May at 7.30pm.

Choir leader and director of the Warwickshire County Music Service, Garry Jones, said: “These hugely talented and successful boys just love singing, and it promises to be a show not to be missed! The Warwickshire Boys have twice appeared in the final of the National Festival of Music for Youth at Symphony Hall where last year they won a major award, have toured Europe, produced two CDs and appeared on radio and TV and their German counterparts have also won awards.”

The 60 Warwickshire choristers, aged from 8-14, will raise their voices with the German choir in singing a variety of well known popular and classical hits.

Emma Hale, head of fundraising at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I really encourage people to come on down for what will be a really entertaining night.  Not only will you hear well known songs from across the ages but you’ll also be supporting vital work at our local Hospitals.”

Proceeds from concert ticket sales will go towards children’s care at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals. To book, call 0121 424 3838. Tickets cost £5 each, £4 for concessions and £15 for a family ticket (two adults and two children).

Birmingham conservatoire studentsSick patients benefit from a spoon full of music as Birmingham students help the medicine go down by bringing harmony to the wards at Good Hope Hospital.

Playing flute and recorder, talented final year Birmingham Conservatoire musicians, Georgie Farrow and Clare Murphy have been entertaining and encouraging groups of patients on paediatrics, geriatrics, stroke and respiratory wards at the Hospital to develop their own pieces of music through sessions at the bedside.

Birmingham Conservatoire student, Georgie Farrow said: “We do this because it is really rewarding and a challenge to us, both as musicians and people. We love meeting new patients and being able to create a musical experience on wards. It is great to see how beneficial music can be to patients, either as an emotional outlet or just as something different and fun that can be a distraction for half an hour.”

With the summer approaching and many heading off to sunny climates, Good Hope Hospital specialists will be offering advice to locals about taking care of their skin and preventing skin cancer during a talk on the subject.

Clinical nurse specialists, Judy Bridge and Liz Nightingale will discuss the different types of skin cancers, from the more common skin cancers to the relatively rare.  This includes the more aggressive skin cancer called melanoma, which approximately 2,000 people die of in England and Wales each year.  For all types of skin cancer, overexposure to the sun is a significant risk factor, and the nurses will discuss sun safety, what to look out for and when to consult a doctor.

Judy Bridge says: “The leading cause of all types of skin cancer is exposure to sunlight.  Artificial sources of light, such as tanning beds, may increase your risk of developing skin cancer.  Repeated sunburn, either by the sun or artificial sources of light, will also make your skin more vulnerable to some types of skin cancer.”

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 skin cancer and the signs and symptoms to look out for. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask our experts 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 Wednesday 9 May at 5pm in the Education Centre at Good Hope 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

Five years ago Oscar Abercrombie from Solihull was fighting for his life in the neonatal unit at Heartlands Hospital after suffering organ failure and possible brain damage. Today, thanks to the efforts of the medics and nursing staff on the unit, he is fit enough to lead the Hospital Trust’s sponsored walk and to help raise funds for the Hospital which saved his life.


Oscar will join his parents, hospital staff and members of the public on Sunday 27 May in walking a six and a half mile scenic route along the Birmingham canal from Heartlands Hospital to Solihull Hospital. All are invited to take part and help raise money for the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity, which encompasses Heartlands, Good Hope, Solihull Hospital and Community Services, as well as Birmingham Chest Clinic. With walkers able to choose from more than 400 funds within the charity to raise money for, they can be sure their funds will be used to directly benefit the patients and relatives on an individual ward, department or appeal that means the most to them.


Oscar’s mum, Lisa Abercrombie, said: “We are looking forward to putting our walking boots on and raising some much needed funds for the Heart of England Charity. We have chosen for our funds to go to the neonatal Newborns in Need appeal at Heartlands, who not only treated Oscar, but also cared for my elder daughter Holly’s baby.


“We can’t thank them enough for the excellent treatment we have received. The neonatal units provide 24 hour care for these special babies, using breathing machines, incubators, sophisticated monitoring equipment and an expert team of staff. It costs approximately £1,000 per day to run a cot for a sick baby and some are cared for by the Trust for only a few days, others require a stay of several months.”


To join the Heart of England Trust Charity’s sponsored walk, or if you would like to donate to express your support, please contact Richa Gautam from the fundraising team on (0121) 424 0973 or


Pic 2 Oscar AbercrombiePic 1 Oscar Abercrombie

An elderly care team at Good Hope Hospital has been recognised for its efforts in improving patient care.


The Hospital’s annual ‘excellent care award’ was given to ward 11, who not only demonstrated having gone the extra mile to benefit their patients, but also their patients’ families and carers as well.


The award was judged by looking at how nursing teams have performed during the past 12 months, with particular focus given to patient experience results, how teams work together and the quality of nursing care given.


The family of Mrs Jean Robinson, a Good Hope patient who sadly passed away in 2009, helped establish the award at the Hospital and play a key role in choosing which team should be awarded.


Di Collins, the daughter of Mrs Robinson, presented the award to Eleanor Ward, ward 11 sister, and the team. Di said: “I chose this ward to receive this year’s prize money and award, because I was impressed to see such a personalised and friendly service for the patients. Nursing staff know patients by name and go out of their way to make patients feel comfortable – it is small changes on hospital wards that make a big difference to patients.”


Eleanor Ward, ward 11 sister, said: “We have continued to work with Di and her sisters to improve the care and environment on the ward. They have shared our journey up to this point, which is why this award means so much to us.”Pic one Good Hope award

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