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Solihull community invited to attend diabetes forum

Julia Gilroy, Lead Nurse Diabetes Specialist and Manager at Solihull Community Diabetes Service

Locals from Solihull with diabetes or those who care for someone with the condition are invited to attend an open forum to discuss how to improve diabetes care in the area.

Taking place on Thursday 3 October at the Christian Renewal Centre, Lode Lane, the event is hosted by the NHS Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group and the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. It provides a unique opportunity to ask questions, offer feedback on the current diabetes services available and put forward any suggestions about how diabetes care could be improved in Solihull.

Diabetes affects a significant number of individuals in Solihull, with the NHS Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group identifying that more than 11,150 people aged 17 and over had been diagnosed with the condition in 2011/12.

There are three sessions to choose from: 1-3pm, 3:30-5:30pm and 6-8pm. The event will be chaired by Peter Shorrick, the Midlands Regional Manager at Diabetes UK. All sessions are free to attend and there is no need to reserve a place. Light refreshments will be served and free car parking is also available on-site.

Julia Gilroy, Lead Nurse Diabetes Specialist and Manager at Solihull Community Diabetes Service, said: “The most recent research tells us that diabetes affects more than 11,150 people in Solihull, and so this forum provides a great opportunity to assess the current level of GP, community and hospital based services we provide to people with diabetes and those close to them. We are very much looking forward to holding an open discussion and hearing feedback on current diabetes services including the strengths, weakness and ideas on how the service should look in the future. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.”

For more information, contact Solihull Community Diabetes Service on 0121 770 4432.

The Trust’s response to recent media stories, 25 September 2013:

National and local news media have recently carried items about the review into breast care services at Solihull Hospital, querying whether patients of Mr Ian Paterson have had sufficient opportunity to come forward.

That is a concern that is unfounded. Strenuous efforts have been made to make sure that patients, their families and hospital staff have been able to contribute over the past few months, and many have done so.

Patients were invited to come forward in follow-up clinics, via repeated calls in local newspapers and magazines, and through the Trust’s website. No patients were contacted individually and invited to attend, as following independent legal advice, this would breach patient confidentiality rules which permit the hospital to make direct contact only when it relates specifically to ongoing medical care.

The Times newspaper’s story said Sir Ian interviewed only 13 of the women affected. In fact, as we told The Times’ reporter before the story was published, 21 patients and their family members met personally with Sir Ian. Several more who came forward via the website and articles in the press were re-directed to their private sector healthcare provider, because their cases were outside the remit of this hospital’s review.


A public meeting with Sir Ian Kennedy was held at a local hotel for patients who chose not to speak to him on a one-to-one basis. More than 50 people attended and were able to share their views anonymously.

46 clinical and support staff, hospital management and former staff members were interviewed individually at length, and there was one group meeting with the breast care service’s multi-disciplinary team.

Additionally, expert opinion was sought from expert bodies, including the Cancer Intelligence Network (CIN).

The review process had no timescale attached to it when it started so that Sir Ian was free to speak to as many people as he needed to in order to gain a thorough understanding of the issues.  Sir Ian has indicated that the interview phase took longer than expected, because he needed to accommodate more patients than expected who wished to speak to him personally. But he has confirmed that he aims to complete and publish his findings later this year.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust will be publishing Sir Ian’s recommendations in full.

For more information, visit


Solihull Stop Smoking Service is throwing its weight behind this year’s Stoptober campaign, which saw 160,000 people complete the challenge last year, as new research shows smokers could add months or years to their lives if they quit.

With 13 per cent of adults in Solihull still smoking, the Solihull Stop Smoking Service will support the national 28-day campaign by offering friendly advice and support to those wishing to sign-up to Stoptober. In the last year, the community service has helped 1,251 people successfully quit.

Public Health England has said that someone who quits for October and does not start again could gain an extra seven days of life every 28 days. Those who stop for 28 days are five times more likely to quit for good.

Sarah Stables, manager at Solihull Stop Smoking Service, said: “Stopping smoking is the single most effective step a smoker can take to improve their health. In the last year we have helped 1,251 people quit smoking in the Solihull area, and Stoptober provides a great opportunity to motivate even more people to kick the habit.

“Our services are available to anyone living in Solihull or registered with a Solihull GP. We take the time to understand each person’s individual needs and help them establish clearly defined steps that will help them quit smoking for good.”

Smoking remains the nation’s biggest killer, with half of long-term smokers dying prematurely from a smoking-related disease. Solihull Stop Smoking Service is offering a range of support aids to those wishing to quit smoking, including a new stop smoking pack, mobile phone app, text support and stop smoking sessions. Those who sign-up to the campaign will also have the encouragement and support from thousands of people helping each other quit together through Stoptober social media.

Along with the health benefits, quitting saves the average smoker more than £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s director of health and wellbeing, commented: “Campaigns such as Stoptober, along with the support provided by local stop smoking services, play a huge role in helping people to stop. While smoking prevalence across the country as a whole is falling steadily, it remains high in some parts and is still the biggest cause of premature death, with more than 80,000 deaths in England every year.

“We want every smoker to consider making a quit attempt this October and join the thousands of people who are feeling the benefits from stopping smoking last year.”

Chief medical officer, Professor Sally Davies, adds: “This is the single biggest cause of premature death, taking more than 100,000 lives in the UK and costing the NHS up to £2.7bn each year.

“Life is precious and you can gain up to seven days for every 28 you remain smoke-free. Taking part in the challenge is the first step to a longer and healthier life. Have a go, by stopping with Stoptober.”

For more information, contact Solihull Stop Smoking Service on 0800 015 8512 or email


World Alzheimer’s Day takes place this year on the 21 September and is an annual event that has been designed to raise awareness of what is now the most common form of dementia. There are currently around 800,000 people in the UK with dementia and by 2021 this figure is predicted to rise to more than a million. Around 60% of this figure is thought to be attributable to Alzheimer’s.

What causes Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is an ongoing condition where there is a progressive loss of brain cells. The causes of Alzheimer’s are unknown, although several factors have been identified as contributing to the disease, including a previous serious head injury, a family history of the condition, the onset of mature and old age, and lifestyle factors associated with cardio vascular disease. There is no cure for the disease as yet but there is treatment available to slow progression of the condition down, and where it has been successful diagnosed, Alzheimer’s can be properly managed.

How to spot Alzheimer’s

Although there is no single test for Alzheimer’s there are a collection of symptoms that may be an indication that the condition is developing. These include personality and behaviourial changes that could include anything from an increased level of aggression to bouts of depression, as well as a person becoming disorientated, for example forgetting where they are. Usually where Alzheimer’s is suspected tests will first be carried out to rule out other conditions before a diagnosis is confirmed.

Early warning

Whilst Alzheimer’s is most common in those over 65, recent research into the condition has indicated that early warning signs of the disease can be detected in people as young as 50 – perhaps even earlier. Tests are currently in development that will allow early signs of the disease to be highlighted so that treatment can be given early to try and delay onset of serious symptoms.

Although it is not known exactly what causes Alzheimer’s there are a number of preventative steps that can be taken by everyone to try and avoid the condition. These include giving up smoking, staying physically fit and mentally active and eating a balanced diet. With around a third of British over 65s affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, highlighting its effects and the measures that can be taken to prevent it, is incredibly important – that’s why we are fully supporting World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September and we hope you will too.

One of Good Hope Hospital’s leading Critical Care consultants, Dr Ron Daniels, raises the bar at Westminster, calling for higher awareness of sepsis which kills 37,000 people in the UK alone each year.

Sepsis, more commonly known as blood poisoning, is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death especially if not recognised early and treated promptly.

Dr Daniels, a leader in the field of sepsis, Chaired the day at Westminster with colleagues, healthcare leaders, patients, MPs and peer leaders in the lead-up to World Sepsis Day and the release of the Ombudsman’s Report on Friday 13 September.

Key recommendations are expected to come out of the report, with calls to professional bodies to create clearer guidance for GPs, Ambulance staff and hospital clinicians in order to recognise the development of sepsis at an early stage, enabling earlier treatment and improved outcomes, and a call to NHS England to cement sepsis’ place in the NHS Outcomes Framework as a key priority for patient safety.

Dr Daniels said: ‘We recognized the need to increase awareness and recognition of sepsis in patients and we started with the development of the Sepsis Six tool at Good Hope. The tool, created in 2006, has been taken on nationally across Scotland and Wales and will soon form part of NHS England’s priority work stream.

‘I also chair the UK Sepsis Trust which is supported by colleagues from the Hospital. We went to Westminster to announce the launch of our All Party Parliamentary Group on Sepsis which is a major achievement. Boris Johnson was with us on the day and was keen to know more about the work we are doing too. It is great to have support from such a well known public figure.’

The Report will be released on World Sepsis Day. It is the Ombudsman’s first ever clinical report, and is expected to recommend the development of a NICE clinical guideline, a public awareness campaign to be led by NHS England, and systems analysis by NHS England to ensure that Acute Care organizations can respond reliably.

The You+ Lifestyle Shop, part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, has celebrated its 4th anniversary with more than 500 people from the local community, with a fun-filled celebration at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre.

Visitors were able to enjoy birthday balloons, cake and face painting with members of the You+ team, which acts as a one-stop shop for those requiring advice and support to help lead a healthy lifestyle. A smoothie bike was also available for willing participants to prove their pedal-power and help drive a blender packed full of healthy foods, emphasizing the advantages of an active lifestyle in a fun and engaging way.

Saima Hanif, service manager at the You+ Lifestyle Shop, said: “We pride ourselves on providing an invaluable service to those living in Solihull, and we felt a celebration at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre would be a fantastic way of highlighting the support and advice we offer. As well as enjoying the festivities, we were able to help members of the public with any health-related questions they had, including the best way to quit smoking and how to organize a new health and fitness regime and stick to it.

“We would like to thank the local community for its ongoing support, and our doors are always open for those that need a friendly face to talk to about any health and lifestyle concerns.”

The services available at the You+ Lifestyle Shop cover a wide range of lifestyle topics, including healthy eating, weight management, breastfeeding, sexual health, alcohol awareness and stop smoking support.

For more information on the You+ Lifestyle Shop, call 0800 015 3265 or email

Summer may be drawing to a close, but the sun was still shining for young patients at Heartlands Hospital when they enjoyed a performance of the pantomime, Sleeping Beauty on the children’s ward.

Starlight Children’s Foundation, who have been staging performances of Sleeping Beauty in children’s wards throughout the UK over the summer, stopped off at Heartlands bringing smiles and joy to the faces of all the children on the ward.  The panto’s actors danced, dazzled and sang for the young patients, their families and the staff. 

Christine Morrell, play specialist on the paediatric unit at Heartlands Hospital said: “The Starlight Children’s Foundation have been great supporters of the paediatric unit at thes Hospital for many years, providing parties and pantomimes which give the children a much needed and welcome distraction.

“It was heartwarming to see and hear the children and their parents laugh and interact with the panto characters.”

Parent Aresha Todd, said: “The Starlight Panto Company were fabulous, they got the children and adults laughing and joining in.  With the up-to-date pop music it was a great twist on a classic tale for all the family to enjoy.”

Every year, Starlight provides entertainment and distraction to over half a million poorly children and this summer’s panto has given thousands of poorly children the chance to cheer for the beautiful Sleeping Beauty, willing her to wake and unite with the charming Prince, all from the safety of the Hospital ward. 

For enquiries about Starlight Children’s Foundation’s pantomime tour, please contact Henny Breakwell on 020 7262 2881 or email

New Attitudes, the contraception and sexual health service based in Erdington, Birmingham, will be delivering a new sexual health course for nurses and midwives with the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

The course, ‘Contraception and Sexual Health – Theory and Practice’, has been fully accredited to 30 CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points at level 3 by Staffordshire University. It is open to all registered nurses and midwives looking to develop their knowledge of the nature, risks and effects of sexually transmitted infections and all methods of contraception.

The course will be led by Catherine Hill, who has 20 years’ experience in sexual health education and now works as a nurse consultant at New Attitudes, which is part of the Trust.

Catherine commented: “The course runs for a total of six months and includes both theory and practical elements. Beginning Thursday 26 September, the theoretical aspect of the course will run until Thursday 7 November and involves seven taught days and a series of e-learning assignments. The practical element includes a placement in a sexual health workplace, which must be completed by February 2014.

“The course offers a fantastic opportunity for nurses and midwives hoping to improve their understanding of contraception and sexually transmitted infections, which will help equip them with the necessary skills to work in the field of sexual health.”

For further information, please contact Catherine Hill on 0121 686 8030 or email

Locals are invited to Good Hope Hospital’s eagerly anticipated community fete next weekend, with Suttonians encouraged to make a date in their diary for a free family day of fun. 

Taking place on Saturday 14 September in and around the Hospital’s education centre, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.  Live entertainment, free health checks,  clinician led tours of the theatres and A&E departments, ‘Meet the midwives’ sessions,  ‘come dine with me’ food tasting, a charity dog show, as well as a Teddy Bears Hospital, bouncy castle and face painting for children name just a few of the activities on offer on the day.

There are also fabulous raffle prizes to be won for those that arrive before 2.30pm including an i-pad, restaurant and retail vouchers and lots more besides.

Susan Moore, Good Hope managing director, said: “The community fete is shaping up to be a great day again this year.  As a hospital based in the heart of Sutton Coldfield, I feel that it is important to open our doors to the community so they can find out a little more about what we do.

“I would encourage everyone to come along whether they have a particular interest in health or not. There really is something for everyone to enjoy and with having the fete both indoors and outdoors we are good to go in any weather.”

The fete is open to all members of the public from 11am – 3pm and there is free onsite parking for all visitors via the Bedford Road entrance.

The Fete attracted several hundred visitors last year and all funds raised on the day go directly to the Hospital Trust charity, benefitting patients. If you would like to find out more about the Fete, please contact event organiser, Mona Campbell on 0121 424 9125 or at

More than 200 people have attended a healthy living event hosted by the You+ Lifestyle Shop in Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre, providing essential advice and recommendations for those looking to kick bad habits and commit to a healthier lifestyle.

Staff from You+ were on-hand to offer advice and answer any questions on a range of health and lifestyle topics, including health checks, smoking and weight management. Health trainers from You+ were also available to provide support and recommendations to individuals wishing to make healthy lifestyle changes.

In partnership with Change4Life’s ongoing roadshow programme, visitors were able to take part in a range of free activities that demonstrated the advantages of a healthy and active lifestyle in a fun and engaging way, including handball activities and a rowing competition.

Saima Hanif, service manager at You+, said: “A simple change in lifestyle – whether it’s the food we choose to eat, the decision to take up regular exercise or the determination to quit smoking – can have a remarkable effect on our quality of life. While many people begin with the best intentions, we understand that it is often difficult to maintain a healthier lifestyle due to other commitments or pressures, and establishing the change as part of a routine can be challenging too.

“In partnership with Change4Life, we decided an open day dedicated to offering help, support and advice to those looking to make improvements to their health and well-being would be the best way to promote the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. The day was a great success, with more than 200 people attending.”

The You+ Lifestyle Shop is part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Partners of the You+ Lifestyle Shop also attended the event, including Aquarius and Solihull Active.

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