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Good Hope midwife mentors nurses in Nepal







 A Good Hope midwife who appeared on the BBC documentary, ‘The Toughest Place to be a Midwife’ in Liberia is now using her experience to pass on skills in Nepal, which suffers from high maternal and mortality rates and poor midwifery coverage.

Suzanne Saunders, from Sutton Coldfield, has continued her interest in global maternity care and midwifery issues since taking part in the 2011 television series, and has more recently been working alongside the nurse-midwives at the Paroparkar Maternity and Women’s Hospital in Kathmandu.

The aim of the trip was to promote standardised birth practices, encourage evidence based practices and to provide teaching/training sessions to the nurse-midwives. During this time, Suzanne also worked alongside the Midwifery Society of Nepal (MIDSON) to train 104 local nurse-midwives about the role of the midwife in improving maternal health and supporting labour and birth.

The visit was funded through a Royal College of Midwives partnership with the Health Partnership scheme, the Department for International Development (DFID) and Tropical Health Education Trust (THET).Suzanne’s visit was part of the RCM’s long-term Global Midwifery Twinning project to strengthen links globally.

Suzanne said: “I volunteered to go to Nepal because I wanted to share my knowledge with others and have it reciprocated, because I’m interested in midwifery practices around the world, and because I believe that all women should have access to maternity care during their pregnancy.

From going to Nepal, I could see the difficulties that the country has in providing maternity care, and suggested ways in which the UK can help the Midwifery Society of Nepal promote midwifery and have its voice heard. I felt great satisfaction in having being part of some essential training and have some fantastic feedback which I can take back to Good Hope and the RCM for further volunteers to work on.”

With Birmingham Heartlands Hospital currently under extreme pressure, Hospital experts are urging locals to seek alternative options to the A&E department where possible.

A Heartlands Hospital spokesperson, said: “Our emergency departments are under extreme pressure, with increased demand. We are urging members of the public to help us by using them only for what they are intended – accidents needing urgent attention and emergencies. We get people attending with minor problems when they should be using more suitable alternatives like GP walk-in centres or contacting NHS Direct (0845 46 47) or their GP for advice. We routinely discharge away from the emergency department approximately 60-80% of those patients who attend.

“We are also experiencing severe problems with capacity in our Hospitals and are seeking the support of families and relatives of patients in order to support their discharge from Hospital. This will support ward discharge teams in speeding up the processes.”

Local walk-centres near to Heartlands include: Warren Farm Urgent Care Centre Walk in Service, Warren Farm Road, Kingstanding, Birmingham, West Midlands, B44 0PU; Washwood Heath Urgent Care Centre, Washwood Heath Health Centre, Clodeshall Road, Saltley, B8 3SN and Solihull Walk in Centre, Lode Lane, Solihull, West Midlands, England, B91 2AE.

Solihull Stop Smoking Service is supporting the new, hard-hitting stop smoking campaign launched by the Department of Health. Free ‘Quit Kits’ can be picked up from local pharmacies and a new drop-in stop smoking clinic has been added to those already on offer in the borough.

No appointment is needed for the new clinic held at Castle Bromwich Library every Thursday from 2.30 – 4.30pm.

The adverts tell smokers that just 15 cigarettes cause a mutation that can lead to cancerous tumours. They feature a tumour growing on a cigarette as it is smoked and aim to encourage people to quit over health concerns, by making the invisible damage visible. It comes in response to statistics that show more than a third of smokers still think the health risks associated with smoking are greatly exaggerated.

Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in England and each year it accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK.

Sarah Stables, manager of the Solihull Stop Smoking Service says: “We want to help as many people as possible in Solihull to become smokefree. We know how difficult trying to stop smoking can be for many people. The Quit Kit is a box of practical tools and advice developed with experts, smokers and ex-smokers, which has helped thousands of smokers quit successfully.”

Anyone looking to quit can visit for information, support or to find the nearest participating pharmacy for a free Quit Kit or call Solihull Stop Smoking Service on 0800 015 8512 for information about local clinics.

With diabetes being the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK, locals are invited to attend a free health seminar at Heartlands Hospital to hear about the importance of diabetic eye screening.

The Hospital’s clinical lead for diabetic retinopathy, Dr Margaret Clarke, will be taking to the floor on 22 January to offer information and advice about retinal eye disease and answer any questions about the region’s screening programme.

Margaret explains: “Regular eye screening can detect early diabetic eye changes aiding swift diagnosis and timely treatment where appropriate before sight is affected. This is when treatment is most successful, but unfortunately one in five diabetes patients in the region do not have these vital screenings. It is especially important for those from the south Asian community to attend screenings as they are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. I would encourage anyone interested in finding out more about diabetic retinopathy and the screening process to attend this seminar.”

Seminar organiser, membership and community engagement manager, Sandra White, said: “We hope people will come along to the talk and leave feeling a knowledgeable about retinal eye screening. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask our specialist screening team questions and to discuss their own thoughts and experiences. The Hospital is committed to educating the public about their health.”

The seminar is taking place on Tuesday 22 January 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

Sir Ian Kennedy has been invited by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust to chair an independent review into the management of concerns regarding breast care services at Solihull Hospital, arising from incomplete mastectomy procedures.

“It was very important to us to make sure, first of all, that all of the patients concerned were seen and had their care reviewed and this is what we have been focusing on over the past 12 months,” confirmed Dr Aresh Anwar, medical director, Solihull Hospital.  “Now that this is completed we have, as promised, asked an experienced independent chair to look at the actions this organisation took, to see if there are lessons to be learned about how to raise concerns into clinical practice and how to take appropriate action.”

The Review will commence on Wednesday, 9 January 2013 and will also examine the timeline of information as it evolved, the Trust’s response to concerns raised by staff, patients and the public relating to incomplete mastectomies, and also consider whether the actions taken in response were appropriate, and carried out in a timely manner.

On completion of the evidence-gathering process, Sir Ian Kennedy will make recommendations to the Trust’s Board in a report that will be made publicly available. The report is expected to be completed in summer 2013.

Trust chairman The Right Hon. Lord Philip Hunt, said: “The Board fully recognises the concerns expressed by patients about the length of time taken to complete the clinical investigation and to take action.  It therefore wants a fully open, independently conducted review to determine whether there are lessons to be learned about how the organisation responded to the situation as it evolved, and how it might improve its response to concerns if they are raised in the future. We hope that this review may also assist the wider NHS when facing concerns about individual practitioners.”

Sir Ian Kennedy is an eminent academic lawyer and an expert in the law and ethics of health. He chaired the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry, and is currently chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which independently monitors and controls MPs’ expenses, pay and pensions.

Sir Ian Kennedy, said:  “I am delighted to take up this commission and I am keen to talk to patients and staff as part of the evidence-gathering process.  I urge anyone who would like to talk to me about their specific experience to come forward. We have set up a dedicated website to keep everyone informed throughout the review process.”

For more information on the review, please visit

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