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Family Fun at the 60th annual Solihull Hospital Summer Fete

Sihillians will be hoping for good weather as the Friends of Solihull Hospital Association (FOSH) holds its 60th annual fete at Solihull Hospital next Saturday, 8 June.

The Fete will be officially opened by the councilor Joe Tildesley, Mayor of Solihull and will feature live entertainment, bouncy castle, bottle stall, raffle, bric a brac and cake stalls and lots more. It’s a great day out and fun for all the family with lots of activities for children.

Liz Steventon, honorary secretary, said: “Our summer fete is the major highlight of our fundraising calendar and all money raised goes towards supporting our Hospital. It’s a really good day out for all ages, with local entertainment that’s second to none.”

Admission is 50p (children and staff with ID Badges go free) and all money raised goes towards buying equipment for Solihull Hospital. The Friends of Solihull Hospital Association raise an average of £2,500 from the fete each year, and in the last 18 months have spent over 155,000 on equipment for patients at Solihull Hospital. 

The fun starts at 1.30pm, is open to all members of the public and there is free onsite parking for all visitors whilst at Fete.

The Fete regularly attracts hundreds of visitors each year. If you would like to find out more about the Friends, or to make a donation, please email Liz Steventon on


Patients and carers are being encouraged to get involved with Solihull Hospital and community services by giving their input on what would improve the service for them..

Solihull Patient and Carer Advisory Group meets at the Hospital one evening every eight weeks and is keen to attract new members.

Simon Jarvis, head of patient engagement, said: “The group was formed to allow for an exchange of views between people who use our services and staff regarding existing services and potential developments. This is an ideal way for patients and carers to be involved and we encourage anyone who wishes to make a difference to their local health services to come along and help us improve the services we deliver.”

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 12 June 2013 at 6pm at Solihull Hospital Education Centre. To book your seat or for more information, call the patient engagement team on: 0121 424 3328.



World Health Day took place on 7th April and this year the theme for the event was high or raised blood pressure (also known as hypertension). This type of condition is completely preventable but plays a central role in some serious health conditions, such as kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes. The World Health Day event this year was aiming to raise awareness of high blood pressure, and its consequences, to inspire people change the behaviours that can lead to it, and to persuade people to have regular blood pressure checks.

This kind of condition is diagnosed in a patient who has consistent blood pressure readings of 140/90 mmHg or above. It contributes to numerous diseases, many of which are fatal. As well as heart conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure, high blood pressure that is not controlled can also lead to heart failure and even blindness. The ideal level for adults is 120/80 but most UK adults have readings of between 120 over 80 (120/80) to 140 over 90. The further upwards from 120/80 your reading is, the more important it is to take steps to bring it down.

Although high blood pressure is quite easy to prevent, one in three adults has it. Simple steps such as cutting down on salt in your diet, exercising regularly, avoiding mis-using alcohol, steering clear of tobacco and maintaining a healthy weight and a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables all contribute towards lowering blood pressure away from dangerous levels. An unhealthy lifestyle is at the heart of high blood pressure – for most people eating unhealthily, not exercising, smoking and drinking will almost certainly contribute to serious health problems such as this later in life.

If you think you might have high blood pressure, or your readings are higher than normal, then speak to your GP for some advice on how to treat it and live better.

Sexual health experts from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust will be on hand at this weekend’s Birmingham Pride festival, to offer locals free and confidential finger-prick tests for hepatitis-B, hepatitis-C and HIV.

Working alongside the city-wide community sexual health service, Healthy Gay Life, and supported by HIV awareness charity, Saving Lives, the team plan to offer dry blood spot tests to as many revellers as possible. This is a simple finger-prick test which can be taken quickly and easily outside of a clinical setting.

Heartlands Hospital HIV specialist consultant, Dr Steve Taylor, said: “Put simply, testing saves lives. One in four of those who are living with HIV in the UK don’t know they are infected which means they can’t access today’s life-saving treatments, and may unknowingly be passing on their infection to others. Birmingham has one of the highest rates of undiagnosed HIV outside London and with its diverse ethnic background; will also carry a large proportion of undiagnosed cases of viral hepatitis. If left undiagnosed, both hepatitis-B and C can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

“All three of these viruses can infect people without them knowing, and remain undiagnosed for over ten years without presenting symptoms.  The dry blood spot test is one way to increase the number of people getting tested for all three blood-born infections.  The dried blood spots are sent to the regional laboratories at Public Health Birmingham for analysis.  Everyone who tests will be given a results card with a number unique to them, and a phone number to call our team of health advisers when the results are ready.

“Early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to manage HIV and both hepatitis-B and C, and offers those infected the chance to live full and healthy lives.”

Nigel Burbidge, manager of Healthy Gay Life, said: “Issues of access and stigma still dissuade many from taking the test for these infections,” he explains. “Presenting testing to communities in familiar environments, and with fresh and accessible messages, will improve take-up of testing – and therefore the health of many people.

“The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended more testing amongst men who have sex with men.  The dry blood spot test takes testing to the people, and whilst we’d stress a test in a clinic will provide the most accurate result, the spot test is still a great way to check your status and become more aware of testing as part of your regular health regime.  Pride offers us the opportunity to achieve that, and we really want to get as many people as possible tested over the course of the weekend.”

The testing team will be present for both days of Birmingham Pride, between 10am and 7pm at Healthy Gay Life, 146 Bromsgrove Street.

A Heartlands Hospital HIV specialist has secured some big-name sporting stars to raise national awareness of HIV testing services and combat the myths and stigma which still dissuade people from getting tested.

Local hero, Villa striker, Darren Bent and World Champion boxer, Carl Froch are among the stars on board to be ambassadors for the Brum-based charity, Saving Lives, founded by HIV specialist, Dr Steve Taylor.  Both will feature in posters and other materials distributed in local GP practices across the country as part of the campaign.

Modern medicine means people living with HIV can have long, healthy lives – but only if they are diagnosed, and treated as early as possible. “HIV can be symptomless for a long time,” explains Dr Steve Taylor, a HIV specialist at Heartlands. “That means it’s very easy for people not to be diagnosed until it’s too late for today’s life-saving treatments to have their best effect. People are still dying of HIV in the UK – but only because they test too late.”

Carl Froch supports the charity ahead of his big fight with WBA super middleweight title-holder, Mikkel Kessler, on May 25. “If people like me who are in the public eye can attract attention to a topic which people might otherwise ignore, that can only be a good thing,” says Froch, who has signed up as a Saving Lives ambassador.

“The message is simple, really,” Froch adds. “Just get tested; it could save your life!”

Asthma patients are to benefit from a first of its kind treatment at Heartlands Hospital, which is the first in the region to use heat as a means of easing symptoms.

The innovative treatment, called bronchial thermoplasty, involves opening patients’ troublesome airways by applying heat directly to them, which eases their breathing and reduces the likelihood of an asthma attack. 

The asthma unit at the Hospital has led the way regionally in a seven-year, international trial of the treatment, with all results proving it to be safe and of lasting benefit to patients.  As a result, the treatment was approved by NICE and is now to be used in selected specialised centres including at Heartlands. 

Respiratory consultant at Heartlands Hospital, Dr Adel Mansur, said: “Asthma is a common long-term condition affecting one in 12 adults in the region.  Caused by inflammation of the airways, asthma sufferers experience coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness and a severe onset of symptoms can cause an asthma attack where hospital treatment might be needed. 

“Bronchial thermoplasty is giving to people with asthma who still struggle despite otherwise optimum asthma treatment.  It is usually given under a local anaesthesia with sedation using a tube inserted in the patient’s airways.  In total a patient will usually be treated over three sessions each a month apart to treat both lungs.”


One of these patients, Anthony McGuinness, aged 48 from Kingstanding, has received two sessions of the treatment and is awaiting the third final treatment session.  He said: “I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of four and spent many of my days as a child in and out of hospital and intensive care with severe attacks.  It’s affected my day to day life – on a bad day the slightest movement can make me out of breathe and it’s a struggle to talk on the phone for a long time or go up the stairs.

“I’ve been coming to Heartlands for five to six years now.  Since starting the bronchial thermoplasty treatment in March this year I’ve noticed an improvement.  I believe in the treatment and that it will help in the long-term.  But it’s the whole approach provided by Dr Mansur and the respiratory team that has helped to stabilise my condition.  They look into why my symptoms are happening and monitor and research my condition rather than just treating me when an attack occurs.  I’m young enough to have a chance at keeping well and leading a normal life and I have no doubt this research will look to improve the lives of asthma patients.” 


Good Hope anaesthetic consultants are to experience dealing with real-life critical incidents through taking part in simulated scenario training introduced at the Hospital.

The course, which is ran at the Hospital’s training department, the Hollier Simulation Centre, will give consultants the chance put emergency drills into practice in a realistic theatre environment.  As well as developing their clinical skills, they will have the chance to analyse and to reflect on their team skills from taking part in the scenarios.

The course was initially ran for anaesthetic trainees and middle grades, and due to its success will become a regular part of professional development and safety training for consultant as well as other grades of anaesthetist within the trust.

Consultant in anaesthetics, Dr Gillian Kelly, said: “Critical incidents are rare, but this training is valuable for giving anaesthetics confidence to put in place their knowledge and expertise. 

“The Hollier Simulation Centre offers a fantastic training facility and I am very pleased that by using sophisticated technology to create real-life scenarios, anaesthetists can develop their skills in a safe learning environment.”

Good Hope Hospital has received international acclaim for its innovative training for staff providing end of life care to patients.

Consultant in palliative medicine, Dr Lisa Boulstridge was awarded third place in the International Educator of the Year category, at the International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards 2013 for her work in developing training courses for staff at the Hospital’s simulation training centre.

Lisa and the simulation centre team have worked together over the last four years to develop training which uses sophisticated mannequin technology to create life-like scenarios for clinical staff to react to. This enables teams and individuals to develop and test their clinical skills in a safe and fully supported learning environment. Since its launch, the training has been taken up by hospital doctors and nurses; GP trainees and specialist palliative care teams working in hospices and community settings.

Dr Lisa Boulstridge, consultant in palliative medicine and clinical lead for palliative care, said: “I am very pleased that the collaborative work of the hospital palliative care team and the Hollier Simulation Centre has been recognised in this award.  We have worked hard over the last five years to develop palliative care within the hospital Trust.

“The Hollier Centre offers a fantastic training facility.  We aim to develop more courses to aid training in palliative care at the Trust in the future and are about to commence work on a research project in conjunction with the West Midlands Ambulance Service and Warwick University.”

An innovative local arts project has celebrated reaching its half-way stage this week and supporting nearly 1,000 local children to get creative.

Speight of the Art, the Mark Speight Foundation charity, teamed up with Heartlands Hospital in an exciting venture to provide artistic and creative workshops on the children’s ward and in the Hospital’s local schools.

Since its launch, the ground-breaking 32 week project has enriched the lives of 770 local school children, 115 young patients and has been entered for a national health award competition.

This innovative project, which will continue until the end of the summer, is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, as well as by an award from the William Adlington Cadbury Charitable Trust.  It has been developed to bring together local school children and children in hospital to take part in workshops led by professional artists.

The sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week during term time look in turn at different aspects of well-being: food, exercise, lifestyle and spiritual.  The workshops reduce the mystery, and possibly fear of, the process of hospitalisation for the children who have not experienced it; and boost the knowledge of all the children participating in the programme of the role that food, exercise, lifestyle and the spiritual can play in well-being. 

The mother of one patient explained what the project meant to her: “This is really good, it’s soul destroying being in hospital. There are lots of Nintendo DSs and TVs, but this is great interaction with artists and the school children that come in.  It’s a brilliant way to pass the time in hospital and especially good that I can spend time with my son doing something that we would never have thought of doing at home. I would like to thank all involved in providing these workshops so much.”

Their teachers have been equally impressed.  Anne Shakespeare, a teacher at St Thomas More RC Primary School, Sheldon said. “The children really enjoyed the whole day and have been buzzing all day today about it. All the activities were set at a level that they could all cope with so no-one got left out and all produced wonderful work – this is very important too.”

Solihull Hospital now has an international seal of approval after being officially certified for its excellence in waste and environmental management.

The Hospital has been awarded the impressive ‘ISO14001’ quality standard as a result of an 18-month project to train more than 250 staff in waste and environmental issues and introduce an online legal register to keep up-to-date with the latest statutory requirements.

As a result of the Hospital’s drive to be more environmentally aware, more than 13,000 kgs of waste, including paper, cardboard, computers, oil, batteries and more were recycled in 2012.

Andy Cooke, Solihull Hospital facilities environmental representative led the project to obtain the ISO14001 standard.  He said: “This task was initially daunting. It involved a total commitment to fully understand how Solihull’s Hospital’s activities had the potential to harm the environment as well as compliance with external legislation. This was only possible with the help of all involved, from front line staff to senior management, all had an important role.

“Achieving this certification is a great achievement, providing assurance that our environmental responsibilities are being fulfilled.”

He was presented with the ISO14001 certificate by Keith Stanton from National Quality Authority (NQA) who said: “The Hospital should be very proud of its achievement as the ISO14001 certification is not easily obtained. It demonstrates a serious commitment of the organisation’s desire to demonstrate its awareness of its environmental responsibilities.”

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