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An event to celebrate the collaboration between sixth form students and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust was held at the Birmingham Heartlands Hospital Education Centre today.

Sponsored by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, the work placement scheme involved a variety of hospital based projects undertaken by 13 students from various schools in Birmingham.

Organised by Creative Futures, this event was designed to showcase the results of these placements. The scheme is designed to encourage careers in healthcare and provide sixth form students with hands on experience in a hospital environment.

Lynda Steele, Service Improvement Manager at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The hospital provides mentors for the students and this has enabled them to produce reports for various departments that could potentially improve their services. This is a win-win situation as not only do the students gain valuable experience, we also gain the benefit of their ideas.”

The projects on display varied from new website designs to studies in accident and emergency transportation injuries.
A number of awards were presented at the event by Clive Wilkinson, Chairman of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The Heart of England Award was won by James Taylor, an 18 year old student from Joseph Leckie sixth form, who created a training manual for the Trust’s website.

Qaddafi Yasin, an 18 year old student from King Edward’s sixth form in Aston, worked on a project in which he researched injuries that occurred by transportation on buses. He said:

“This was an excellent opportunity which I really enjoyed as I want to be a doctor. We managed to produce some surprising results which are actually going to be published in a medical journal. It really encourages you to want to work in healthcare so that you can help people.”

The scheme organiser, Creative Futures, is a national provider of healthcare placements for sixth form students. They aim to give students key skills qualifications and valuable experience that can assist them with their UCAS forms.


Birmingham boxer Wayne Elcock visited Heartlands to honour the Trust’s Activate project that helps local unemployed people get work in the health sector.

Middleweight champion, Wayne presented certificates at the hospital’s first ever ceremony, and inspired the hard-working learners in their aim to find employment in the health sector. He said:

“I’m delighted to encourage and promote such a great scheme which will help make Heartlands an even better environment.”

David Donovan joined Activate in April, having been made redundant from the Birmingham Mint after 33 years of service. He worked in the Clinical Governance department during his Activate training and successfully secured a job as audit assistant soon after completing the project.  He said:

“I was out of work at the wrong age and my confidence had been badly knocked. Activate got me back in touch with the requirements of today’s work processes, and continuously encouraged and supported me.”

Scheme Co-ordinator Julia Buckley said:

“We have successfully supported over 30 people, nine of which are now working for the Trust. This is a major achievement for some of our candidates as they have little or no qualifications.”

Well done to all those who received certificates!


Matron Marjorie Small has created new picture signs to help patients, and particularly patients who need to be nursed in isolation, to understand the importance of scrubbing-up.

The new picture signs are designed to help people who have difficulty reading or understanding written signs.  The signs are a way of communicating the importance of scrubbing-up when entering isolation rooms so to avoid and reduce infection reaching patients with low immune systems. Matron Small told Heart and Soul:

“The relative of a patient told me that there’s an assumption that everyone can read, which isn’t true, the picture signs are a good idea to teach those who struggle to read the words. This also demonstrates that we listen to our user feedback and do wherever possible try to tailor our service to meet their needs.

“The old signs just said ‘ Please speak to a Nurse before entering the room, but now there is a range of picture which have been very successful  There is still writing on them, which means both people who can and can’t read will benefit and nobody is left out.”

The signs were designed by our own Medical Illustration and kindly posed for by a team of Marjorie’s nurses and admin workers.

Mary McGovern
Mary McGovern

A Heartlands Hospital nurse will be getting on her bike for a gruelling 350 mile bike ride from Coventry to Ireland, all in aid of some of the Hospital’s most poorly patients.

Mary McGovern, a staff nurse on the Hospital’s oncology ward, hopes to cover the distance in just four days and raise close to £5,000.

Mary said: “I’ve been doing lots of training for this, so hopefully I should be ready! It won’t be easy, but it’s for a great cause so that will spur me on. I’d encourage everyone to dig deep and sponsor me for this, as the money will go to help some very poorly patients on the specialist cancer unit.”

With 12 friends, Mary will set off on 14 August and cycle via Stoke on Trent, Liverpool and Dublin, before finishing in Bangor Erris, County Mayo on 17 August.

All money raised by Mary will go towards the Heartlands Hospital ward 19 fund which helps provide vital equipment for the benefit of patients. If you would like to sponsor Mary,

To find out more about fundraising for your local hospital call 0121 424 3838 or

Dr Murray Cath Lab013Heartlands Hospital’s new cardiac catheterisation laboratory (cath lab) is now officially open for business.

At an investment of over half a million plus building works, the facility strengthens the Hospital’s cardiology department as a leading centre in the West Midlands. The new cath lab, which contains state of the art diagnostic imaging equipment, is used to support patients undergoing coronary procedures.

Dr R Gordon Murray, recently retired leading national expert and consultant cardiologist, officially opened the cath lab.  Dr Murray said: “Heartlands Hospital already has an established cath lab facility which is second to none and together with the new lab, patients will really benefit from the best possible care and treatment. Between the two labs we expect to see more than 1,600 patients receiving treatment of coronary artery blockages per year and I know we shall continue to deliver a service at the leading edge of cardiology.”

With stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues becoming more common, now accounting for one in five visits to the GP, locals are invited to a health talk at Heartlands Hospital to learn about managing stress and preventing it from leading to serious illness.

Health specialist, Jayne Freeman, will give top tips on coping with stress and will be available for answering questions.

Jayne said: “Life’s demands through work, relationships and financial problems lead many to feel under pressure which can quickly turn to stress.  Although not an illness itself, stress can be damaging to health if it is not addressed.

“Recognising how to spot the early signs of stress helps to prevent it from getting worse and causing sleep problems, loss of appetite and also leading to health concerns such as high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.”

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 stress and the importance of recognising signs and symptoms. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask our expert questions and discuss their own thoughts and experiences of coping when feeling under mental or emotional pressures.”

The seminar is taking place on Thursday 26 July at 4pm 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

A sexual health and contraception service is taking the anxiety out of visiting a clinic for young locals by launching an innovative online virtual tour.

The tour is created by Just4You, the relationships and sexual health service for under 25-year-olds run by Solihull Community Services. Not only will it guide step by step through the clinic but it also provides sexual health advice and local service information such as Just4You clinic locations and opening times and local pharmacies that can prescribe free emergency contraception.

The virtual clinic tour can be viewed on the Just4You and from smart phones, simply by scanning a quick response (QR) code on posters at bus stops and on buses that can be seen in and around the Solihull area.

Jodie Smith, health promotion specialist for teenage pregnancy and sexual health, said: “Sometimes young people can be apprehensive about accessing relationships and sexual health clinics, even those clinics that are especially for young people, because they are concerned about confidentiality and anxious they might be judged or asked embarrassing questions.  We want to help young people keep themselves and others safe and support them in using relationships and sexual health services, if and when they need them.

“Together with Solihull Council’s Youth and Community Service, we asked young people what would help them and they suggested the virtual clinic tour. It’s been a real team effort, involving doctors and nurses from Just4You and students from Solihull Sixth Form, who provided their voices to navigate us though the clinic tour.  We could not have achieved this exciting new web development without their support.”

For further information regarding the virtual clinic tour contact Jodie Smith on 0121 712 7783 or email

From bump to breastfeeding, Heartlands Hospital has set out to help new and expectant mums – and dads, too – with its innovative website,

Local mums have helped in the design and also feature on the website, which includes phone apps and ‘twilight blogging’ for parents up in the night with their baby to talk to each other and know that someone is experiencing the same problems. There is also a page for dads with tips for how to support their partner, such as taking charge of any other children and the dos and don’ts during labour.

Rachel Pooler from Hall Green also features on the website in a film of the home water birth of her third child and in another about breastfeeding.

Infant feeding co-ordinator Carmen Baskerville, who led the design of the website with midwife Elaine Bates, said: “It has been great to work with local mums to create this website giving parents the support and advice they need and also encouraging breastfeeding, which gives babies the best start in life as well as being good for mums.”

Solihull LINk (Local Information Network) recently talked to around 100 women for a survey in Solihull and Birmingham and many said they wanted more support and information about breastfeeding.  Catherine Gulati, Solihull LINk officer, said: “This website offers a fantastic service that should really help local women.”

For more information on the site or to be included, contact Carmen Baskerville on 0121 713 8924.

Hospital 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.

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

IMG_1587A  Heartlands Hospital specialist has paid a visit to Great Barr School to raise awareness about Tuberculosis (TB), a disease on the rise by 13 percent amongst youngsters in the region.

The 40 Biology A level students were given a unique opportunity to learn about TB directly from Dr Martin Dedicoat, a consultant in infectious diseases, and to ask any questions.  The students’ next steps are to present their new found TB knowledge to the medic to compete for a small prize.

Great Barr student, Moosah Shah said: “The lesson on Tuberculosis has furthered my understanding vastly, increased my thirst for knowledge and has further motivated me to strive for a career in medicine and to actively help patients as Dr Dedicoat does.

“Before the lecture I was unsure of my aspirations, but now I have realised what I want to do with my life post A-levels.  I feel privileged to have this opportunity and I am really looking forward to meeting Dr Dedicoat again when he comes to judge our presentations.”

Dr Dedicoat said: “The open session gave these students a chance to learn about TB in a real life context.  Improving awareness of TB among this age group in the local area is extremely important and I hope the class will go on to engage with their peers so they know the symptoms and when to seek help.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the good work with Great Barr School to raise awareness about TB and other diseases in the future.”

Stroke patients at Solihull Hospital will benefit from a £2,150 donation from Solihull Lions towards a special chair.

The donation, from District 105 M Zone C Lions Clubs International, is a big boost for staff and patients on ward 8 at the Hospital. The chair is fully adjustable, giving patients greater support, increased safety and extra mobility.

Rachael Jones, ward 8 manager, said: “Everyone on the ward is very thankful for this donation, the chair will make a big difference to our patients. It will be really useful for patients who lack mobility and confidence in movement. It means they will not be in the same position for long periods of time and ultimately will aid their recovery.”

Theresa Smith, Lions Zone C Chair, said: “It’s an honour to be able to support this local cause. One of our members was a patient on the ward, and asked the staff what was needed, and that’s how we decided to get involved and fundraise for this equipment. We held lots of events to raise the money and now the money raised will be directly benefiting local people.”

The donations came from all five Lions areas in Solihull, including Acocks Green, Shirley, Sheldon, Solihull, and Knowle and Dorridge. Areas donated money directly and held events such as quiz nights to help raise the money.

To find out more about fundraising for your local Hospital, contact 0121 424 3838 or To find out more about the Lions Clubs International District 105M, visit

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