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The role of a bereavement maternity support worker


Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place in October every year and is a time when bereaved parents, family members and friends can commemorate the short lives of their babies. Losing a baby is no doubt a heart breaking experience.

Here at the Trust, the care we provide is not just limited to the time when a family experiences a loss but also continues in the time after – no matter how long it takes. The bereavement service team is dedicated to providing parent led care which meets the individual needs of families.

Did you know the team were nominated for the Best Hospital Bereavement Service award at the 2014 Butterfly Awards, having won the award in 2013? Clare Beesley, bereavement support midwife at our Trust, was also nominated for the Bereavement Worker award this year. The Butterfly Awards celebrate and recognise the achievements of families overcoming the loss of a baby and the healthcare professionals who support them during this difficult time.

Bereavement maternity support workers play a significant role in supporting families. So what does a maternity support worker do on a daily basis? Clare explains: “We care for approximately 300 families a year at our two designated bereavement suites. Our vision is to focus on compassionate and committed care for families after the death of their baby following a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

“Since we have a helpline number, support workers will personally check the answer phone and the communication book for any messages which require appropriate action. When family members arrive, which sometimes includes grandparents and children, we need to support them in the best way we can, making sure to be as inclusive and sensitive to the support that family members require.

“We often take children to the quiet room to draw a picture, or write on a leaf for the tree of memory. Every paper leaf on the tree of memory is a poignant reminder of a young life stillborn. Women will be admitted during the day and as well as the clinical checks, I keep an eye on how they are and check that their families are alright.

“As a team, we often discuss memory building at length with families. We recognise how important this stage is in the grieving process and its impact on long term memories. It is crucial that this is done sensitively.

“I’ll act as a contact point and attend consultations for support during the day. I will also collect notes in preparation for the next day and update the computer system with patient discharges.

“I often get asked how I manage to do my job. My response is that if I can be pivotal in helping support families during the hardest point in their lives, then that is all that matters and on that basis this is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.”

Our Trust has announced a pledge to invest in women and children’s services under Project Pelican.  The project is made up of four areas of work which cover process design, workforce planning, stakeholder engagement and building and facilities. The aim of the project is to listen to people and communities on how we can provide great services for women and children.

Baby Loss Awareness Week took place between 9 and 15 October. For more information, please visit:

nasal-vaccine-2School nurses employed by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust have been busy delivering a pilot scheme with NHS England to offer flu immunisation to all year 7 and 8 pupils in the Solihull area.

Parents of pupils involved in the pilot should have received a letter and leaflet in September with an explanation of the vaccination and its potential benefits.

Parents have been asked to fill out and return a consent form as the vaccine is voluntary; however it is strongly recommended in order to give children and others the best protection possible against the flu virus.

The vaccination programme successfully got under way earlier this month and will continue at secondary schools across Solihull until December.

Lorraine Hoolachan, immunisation lead in the School Nursing team at the Heart of England Trust, spoke about the benefits of the pilot programme.

She said: “The Fluenz vaccination is a simple, painless nasal spray that will protect children against many strains of flu virus. This pilot programme for Year 7 and 8 pupils in schools across the borough will help us to stop the spread through our schools of what can be a very nasty illness and also help protect friends and family members of those immunised.

“The Fluenz immunisation has proven to be a very effective tool against flu in the past but we acknowledge and understand there are some concerns surrounding the use of porcine gelatine in the vaccine.

“Acceptance of this has been gained from some faith groups for the use of porcine gelatine in non-oral medicines. However, due to some uncertainty and differences of opinion in some communities we want to make sure parents have all the information and guidance they need to make an informed choice.”

If you require any further information about the Fluenz vaccination please visit the NHS Choices website at where there are also links to advice and guidance on the use of porcine gelatine in vaccines.

Prof Mathew Cooke - HEFTA leading doctor with Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which covers Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals, has been named as one of the country’s top clinical leaders for the second year running.

Professor Matthew Cooke (pictured), deputy medical director (strategy and transformation) at the Trust, was named in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Top 100 Clinical Leaders at a ceremony in London.

The list recognises those individuals that are having the greatest impact in terms of driving and influencing high quality, safe care for patients and is decided by a panel of esteemed judges from across healthcare in the UK.

The HSJ said Prof Cooke’s inclusion in the list reflected his ‘impressive influence on the development of emergency care, whether within his own region or at the national level’.

Prof Cooke, who is also a professor of clinical systems design at the University of Warwick, said: “It is a great honour to be included in the HSJ Top 100 Clinical Leaders list again alongside so many respected health professionals doing exceptional work in their particular fields.

“I would like to thank my colleagues at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust for their support as I continue to push for development and improvement in emergency care in my hospitals and across the country.”

There was more cause for celebration for the Trust with a further inclusion in the Top 100 list, Professor Laura Serrant, a non-executive director at the Trust, as well as a professor of community and public health nursing at the School of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton.

It is yet another accolade for Prof. Serrant, who was named as the Queen’s Nurse earlier this year, as well as one of the HSJ’s Inspirational Women 2014.

presented by Michael Collie Mark NewboldNHS staff working for one of the largest employers in the West Midlands were officially recognised for their exceptional patient care and outstanding performance this week.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which provides general and specialist hospital care across Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals, alongside a number of local Community Services and Birmingham Chest Clinic, employs more than 10,000 staff who continually go the extra mile in helping care for the local population. The awards ceremony, held at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham, offered the chance to hear from the patients, staff and teams and celebrate their achievements.

Winners on the night included:

Jackie Hadley who received the Governors’ Going Above and Beyond Award. Jackie provides a counselling service in maternity services at Good Hope Hospital. A number of incredibly emotional nominations were received for her including one from a patient who wanted to “thank her so much for all she has done”. She said: “I still see Jackie now after my two girls are no longer here and will carry on seeing her as now she has become my true guardian angel and my friend.”

Simon Laing, a consultant in the emergency department at Heartlands Hospital, who received the Faculty of Education Impact Award, for his work in masterminding, writing and producing a series of emergency medicine (EM) educational podcasts. The podcasts are available worldwide with HEFT’s EMCast known to be the only established UK-based Emergency Medicine podcast and a fantastic resource for UK trainees.

Ward 10 at Solihull and ward 2 at Good Hope who were joint winners of the Patient Carer Award.  Ward 10 was nominated for the calm environment they create for patients with dementia and the care they provide for patients with challenging behaviour. Ward 2 were awarded for their caring, compassionate and professional approach.  As one patient said of ward 2: “it feels more like a home than a ward.”

Jill Kneale, a lead cancer nurse at Solihull Hospital, who received the Chief Nurse’s Award. She was nominated for the inspiration she provides to the clinical nurse specialists and the guidance and emotional support she gives to her patients.

presented by Michael Collie Mark NewboldKathleen McAvinney who won the Volunteer of the Year Award. Kathleen volunteers on ward 9 at Solihull Hospital and was awarded for her dedication and the compassionate care she gives to patients.

Trust Chief Executive, Dr Mark Newbold, said: “Our annual Staff Recognition Awards allow us to really celebrate all that our staff have achieved over the last year. These are challenging times in the NHS, but the Staff Recognition Awards enable us to reflect on the tremendous work that has been achieved in spite of these pressures. Furthermore, it offers an opportunity to appreciate how the organisation’s investment in its staff today is securing its future for tomorrow, in developing new models of care that meet the needs of patients and inspire the clinical staff delivering them.”

To access the full list of award winners and to view all of the event’s pictures, please visit

1 ABBAriginal Pressefoto_bearbeitet HPResidents of Solihull are being urged to put on their best flares and be dancing queens for a night of ABBA hits performed by one of the country’s leading tribute acts to the Swedish pop superstars.

The event has been organised by the Friends of Solihull Hospital (FOSH) and takes place at the Land Rover Social Club in Solihull on Saturday 15 November at 8pm.

ABBA-riginal play all the greatest hits from the Swedish sensations including Dancing Queen, Voulez Vous, Gimme, Gimme Gimme, Waterloo, Super Trooper and I Had a Dream, as well as putting on a spectacular stage show to ensure the full ABBA experience.

Tickets cost £10 and are available by calling 0121 705 2282. There will be a raffle and food and drink available to purchase on the night. All money raised from the event will go towards the Friends group and therefore directly towards patient care at the hospital.

Chairman of FOSH Bill Jones said: “Events such as this are vitally important to our fundraising efforts and it would be great to see as many people as possible come along to enjoy what should be a fantastic show and raise plenty of money for the hospital.”

If you would like to get involved with FOSH, please contact Bill Jones on 0791 4791414 or Liz Steventon on 0790 9912525.


What do Kylie Minogue, Olivia Newton John and Cynthia Nixon have in common? All three celebrities have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which aims to raise awareness of the disease. Did you know breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United Kingdom? Around 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year, that’s the equivalent of one person every 10 minutes (source: Breast Cancer Care). It is often thought of as a condition that only affects women, but men can also develop it as well.

Knowing what your breasts look and feel like and checking them regularly can help you detect when something is wrong. The first symptom of breast cancer noticed is usually a bump or an area of thickened tissue. If you notice any of the following, you should see your GP:

  • A lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast.
  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts.
  • Discharge from a nipple.
  • A lump or swelling in either of your armpits.
  • Dimpling on the skin of your breasts.
  • A rash on or around your nipple.
  • A change in the appearance of your nipple.
  • Pain in either of your breasts or armpits that is not related to your period.

Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological therapy are the main treatments. Here at the Trust we provide comprehensive support services for patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as support for their families.

Lynne Dodson, breast care clinical nurse specialist at Heartlands Hospital, says: “Across the Trust within the breast teams we have clinical nurse specialists. Their role is to care for patients with breast cancer.  Nurses will support breast cancer patients throughout their treatment and give them information about treatments, support organisations and any other services people may benefit from.”

Detecting cancer early can mean treatment is more effective. One way of detecting breast cancer at an early stage is through breast screening. Lynne explains: “The NHS Breast Screening Programme screens around 1.6 million women a year. Women aged between 50 and 70 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for screening every three years. Women aged over 70 are still eligible to be screened and can arrange this through their GP or local screening unit.

“Not all cancers are found during breast screening and breast cancer can develop between screening appointments. If you have suspected breast cancer you will be referred to a specialist breast cancer clinic for more tests. Clinical nurse specialists and medical teams will be able to provide patients with individualised information about their treatment.”

If you would like further information on breast cancer, please visit the Breast Cancer Care website

Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place every year in October.

– See more at:

Transitional_Care_ Facility_IDA7766Mums and babies are benefitting from a new Unit that has opened at Heartlands Hospital.

The Blossom Transitional Care Unit is a dedicated area designed to provide care for babies that are well but require some extra support with for example, extra observations or antibiotics.  The team of neonatal nurses and midwives on the Unit are also on hand to help mums care for their babies.  This reduces any unnecessary separation of mums from their babies, improving the experience and quality of care they receive.

Local mum, Claire Worrall, aged 34 from Acocks Green and daughter, Poppy Worrall-Bhasin were among the first patients on the unit.  Claire said: “The Blossom Unit was a nice, quiet and relaxed Unit.  There was plenty of staff on standby from the neonatal unit due to Poppy being a premature baby.  She had been in critical care with lots of machines wired to her. I benefited from staying there and getting the support and reassurance that I was doing everything right.”

Natalie Clarke, Lead Nurse on the Blossom Transitional Care Unit, said: “Through introducing the new Unit, it means that instead of mum being discharged and baby staying at Hospital, we have a place where both can stay and get the care they need in an environment that promotes development of a well baby.  We are committed to supporting mum and family to provide a positive experience during a stay at the Unit.”

Over 100 babies have been on the Unit since it opened its doors in July 2014.

The development of this Unit has been supported by the Trust’s Project Management Office and is the first transition project to be completed under Project Pelican, which is the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust’s project for the development of services for women and babies.

HEFT communications team structure August 2013

Good Hope HospitalGood Hope Hospital is inviting local businesses to be part of its first ever charity ball and help make it one to remember.

Event organisers are looking for companies to contribute to the glamorous black tie event by providing sponsorship of the event or by donating prizes to the auction.  All proceeds from the ball will go towards raising funds for a new bladder scanner for the Hospital’s cancer unit.

The charity ball will be held on Saturday 31 January 2015 at the New Hall Hotel & Spa, and is open to all staff to attend.  Guests will be treated to a three course dinner in the Hotel’s garden pavilion and entertained by music throughout the evening, a charity casino and auction.

Good Hope’s cancer unit treats some of the most poorly people in the local area.  The unit treats around 40-50 adult patients a day with a variety of conditions, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer and haematological conditions. Patients come from all over north Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and Staffordshire and are seen by a specialist team of oncologists, haematologists, nurses and volunteers. Treatments include blood transfusions, hormone treatment and diagnostic tests. The aim of the unit is to provide high class care and support for patients.

Richard Parker, Good Hope Hospital managing director, said: “It will be the first time Good Hope Hospital has hosted a charity ball and we hope to make it an event for staff to come and enjoy whilst raising money for a worthwhile cause.

“I would encourage anyone who would like to get involved in making the event a success to get in touch.”

If you are interested in discussing sponsorship opportunities, please contact Samantha Howell on 0121 424 7560 or at

dr mark thomasDoctors at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust are set to take the lead on a new study, the first of its kind in the world, which could help prevent thousands of deaths from one of the UK’s biggest but relatively unknown killers.

About 20% of hospital admissions will develop some sort of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and 25% will die. In England alone there are about 50,000 preventable deaths a year from AKI.If you compare that to a common well-known cancer such as lung cancer, of which around 35,000 people a year die in the UK, those figures are all the more shocking.

Now a team at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital, has secured £250,000 funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to launch a pilot project within the Trust to look at AKI.

The study will be led by Dr Mark Thomas (pictured), a consultant in renal medicine and clinical director in education at Heartlands Hospital, and he explained what the study will aim to do and why it is a great boost for the Trust to be leading on such a study.

He said: “We are currently developing an outreach team that will be piloted at one of our hospitals, comparing results with those in a second hospital within the Trust, where there will be good care but no outreach team. The aim is to intervene early in the care of patients with AKI and to help decide quickly the correct way to look after them.

“Also because we get blood tests from primary care we will be helping GPs as well. If we get a report that a patient has developed AKI we will contact the doctor in the hospital or in primary care to provide appropriate outreach care for their patient.

“It is the first ever pilot of its kind in the UK and the first type of study in a major hospital in the world. It will all be developed by the Trust so it is a real coup to be at the forefront of this research and hopefully it will make a huge difference to the treatment of this relatively unknown killer.”

The study will be a combined initiative between the Renal and Critical Care Units and the University of Birmingham and if successful the study will lead to much larger national trials and launch a whole programme of work to tackle AKI.

There is already evidence to suggest the study will be a success after an unofficial pilot study in 2009 at Heartlands produced promising results, which are currently in the process of being published.

Dr Thomas explained why AKI is such a common condition and which demographic of patient it tends to effect.

He said: “AKI is so common because conditions such as dehydration, infection and the use of the wrong drugs can all contribute to AKI. Those issues are very common in elderly, frail patients we are seeing admitted to hospital nowadays so that is why it is a concern.

“This study is a boost for the Trust as a whole as we will be piloting a whole new service that will be a sister service to the Critical Care outreach. That is 24/7 across the three sites, while the AKI outreach service pilot will test a 40 hours a week service across the one site.

“The condition is most common in elderly care and acute admission areas at the Trust so they are our main target areas.”

A new research fellow has started in the Trust to assist the study, which is due to get underway in the spring.

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