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Solihull Urgent Care Update: Information events in Touchwood this summer

Members of the public across Solihull who want to find out more about the progress of Solihull Hospital Urgent Care Centre are invited to come along to one of three public information events in Touchwood this summer.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), which runs Solihull Hospital, and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working together to provide a new Urgent Care Centre at Solihull Hospital by the end of 2016. This will see all the urgent care services which are currently available, the Minor Injuries Unit at Solihull Hospital, a walk-in centre, out of hours and other urgent care services, being located together, under one roof, through one front door, making the service more integrated and efficient.

Work is well underway behind the scenes to bring this project to reality. Both HEFT and Solihull CCG are committed to keep the public informed of its plans for the Urgent Care Centre. They are hosting three public information events at Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull over the summer. Representatives from the CCG and HEFT will be on hand to answer any questions. The three events will be held on the following dates:

  • Friday, 3 July:              10am – 4pm, Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull
  • Thursday, 23 July:       10am – 4pm, Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull
  • Thursday, 27 August:  10am – 4pm, Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull

Dr Patrick Brooke, Accountable Officer for Solihull CCG, said: “We consulted with the public about the Urgent Care Centre last year and were very pleased with the valuable feedback which helped us shape our proposals for urgent care services in Solihull. There will be no reduction in the current urgent care services available, but by bringing them all together in one place within the hospital it will be simpler for patients to access.

“We are committed to keeping the public informed and involved. We look forward to meeting people at our information stand in Touchwood this summer where we can update them about progress, show them the plan of where the new centre is going to be located and answer any questions.”

So far, part of the change includes amending the internal signage at Solihull Hospital to reflect the services available as a Minor Injuries Unit rather than a full A&E. To make sure that the travelling public are also properly informed, there will be changes to the road signs in and around the area and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council will be carrying out the work.

The changes have been made to properly reflect the nature of services offered at the hospital as agreed by the Solihull Health and Wellbeing Board, as well as being agreed as part of the wider public consultation regarding the Urgent Care Centre. Solihull Hospital has not offered full A&E services for many years, but instead runs a very successful Minor Injuries Unit.

Professor Matthew Cooke, Director of Strategy & Deputy Medical Director at HEFT, said: “The new external road signs will comply with guidelines from the Department of Transport and the Department of Health, as well as matching signage used to advertise other Minor Injuries Units in the region.

“Changes to the signage do not mean any changes to the services offered at Solihull Hospital, they merely reflect the service that has been offered for a number of years. Once the Urgent Care Centre procurement is underway we will review the situation to reflect the new service.”


There are more than 8,000 salmonella food poisoning cases in England and Wales every year and there are over 2,500 different types of salmonella.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that causes food poisoning and is commonly found in poultry, eggs, meat and unpasteurised milk. It can also live in animals such as birds and reptiles.

Food poisoning is a highly infectious illness which spreads via person to person contact. Residential and nursing homes, hospitals and nurseries can be particularly vulnerable to outbreaks. Anyone of any age can get salmonella food poisoning but children and elderly people who have a compromised immune system are more likely to develop symptoms of salmonella.

Gill Abbott, senior infection control nurse at our Trust, highlights some of the key symptoms of salmonella: “Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are the most common symptoms. Other symptoms include stomach cramps, muscle pain, abdominal pain and loss of appetite.

“Depending on the amount of contaminated food eaten, the length of time for having symptoms of food poisoning will vary. In most cases, symptoms will usually last between four to seven days. Once the symptoms have stopped, you should stay away from work, school or visiting hospital for at least 48 hours to prevent spreading the bacteria to others.

“To help treat food poisoning, it is important you do not become dehydrated. You should drink as much water as possible as you will lose fluid through vomiting and diarrhoea. To help speed up your recovery you should rest and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Eat foods that can easily be digested such as bananas and rice.”

A number of steps can be taken to prevent salmonella infection: “Washing your hands on a regular basis and having good hygiene in the kitchen is essential for preventing food poisoning.

“Cooking food thoroughly will help kill any harmful bacteria present. When you reheat food, make sure it is steaming hot and do not reheat food more than once. Keep cooked food away from raw food to prevent cross-contamination and store ready to eat and raw foods separately. Also remember to wash raw fruit and vegetables before eating.

“Certain foods need to be kept at the correct temperature to prevent harmful bacteria from growing. If food that needs to be chilled is left at room temperature, bacteria can multiply. Cleaning knives and other utensils thoroughly as well as keeping kitchen surfaces clean will help prevent salmonella infection.”

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms: stomach cramps, diarrhoea/vomiting, which may be associated with fever, please remember to discuss/visit your GP in the first instance and not attend a hospital A&E.


Doctors call it seasonal allergic rhinitis but most of us know it as hay fever and about a quarter of us have suffered from its symptoms.

So what is it? Dr Aarnoud Huissoon, consultant immunologist at Heartlands Hospital, said: “Hay fever is a type of allergy most commonly experienced in the summer months and is mainly caused by grass pollen and tree pollen. The pollens that cause hay fever vary from person to person and in the majority of cases, symptoms of hay fever will be mild. For some though, having hay fever can make summer a misery and significantly affect concentration at work and at school.”

Hay fever can feel like a really bad cold, and symptoms can include:

  • Itchy and runny nose and eyes
  • Blocked nose and sneezing
  • An itchy throat
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness or irritability

If your symptoms are proving to be troublesome, see your GP who can prescribe medication. Dr Huissoon adds: “Across the Trust, we see 150 to 200 patients every year with the condition. The immunology team runs assessment and treatment clinics to help patients who have hay fever, and we offer advice to patients on what treatments are available. The majority of patients respond well to antihistamine tablets, steroid nasal sprays and eye drops that are used to treat allergy symptoms.”

If you have severe hay fever and these treatments aren’t working, your GP may refer you to an allergy clinic for further assessment and see if you are suitable for pollen immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment that ‘re-trains’ the immune system to develop tolerance to pollen. This type of therapy has shown to reduce the severity of symptoms and can be given to you as an injection into your skin or a tablet that dissolves under your tongue.

Pollen can be difficult to avoid but here are some tips to help reduce your symptoms when the pollen count is high:

  • Before you go to bed, wash your hair so that any pollen in your hair does not get on the pillow.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into the eyes.
  • Do not smoke or let other people smoke inside your house. Smoking and breathing in other people’s smoke will irritate the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways, which can make your symptoms worse.
  • Stay indoors when pollen count is high and keep windows and doors shut in the house.
  • If you are going outdoors, avoid walking in grassy areas, particularly in the early morning and evening when the pollen count is at its highest.

For more advice on how to treat hay fever, please visit the Trust’s Allergy and Immunology website at

Surround Sound Focused AblationFour patients in Birmingham are the first in the UK to be recruited onto a trial for a one-hour treatment which could prove ‘life-changing’ for the estimated 8% of adults in the West Midlands living with a constant risk of a stroke or severe coronary event.

Patients living with a severe form of high blood pressure called uncontrolled hypertension – which means they have high blood pressure that is not controlled with drug therapy – are being recruited onto the trial by Dr Indranil Dasgupta at Heartlands Hospital, part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

The treatment is the subject of a randomised clinical trial known as WAVE IV. In previous trials, three quarters of treated patients experienced a meaningful reduction in their blood pressure following the one-time, one-hour therapy. The first four patients were seen at the hospital on May 6 – further procedures on the trial are scheduled to take place at Heartlands in August.

Patients may be eligible to participate in the WAVE IV Clinical Study if:

  • They are aged between 18 years of age and 90 years of age.
  • Their systolic blood pressure (top number) is greater than 160 mmHg.
  • They are currently taking three or more prescription medications for high blood pressure.

Resistant hypertension is a severe type of high blood pressure and is defined by a lack of response to three or more drugs. Patients with resistant hypertension may or may not have symptoms and have a significantly increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease or stroke.

People with hypertension may have overactive renal (kidney) nerves, a condition that raises blood pressure and contributes to heart, kidney and blood vessel damage. The Surround Sound® Hypertension Therapy System uses non-invasive ultrasound to treat hyperactive renal nerves (a technique called renal denervation (RDN). This is intended to cause a reduction in the kidney’s production of hormones that raise blood pressure and may also protect the heart, kidneys and blood vessels from further damage.

The WAVE IV clinical trial is evaluating Surround Sound Hypertension Therapy for patients with severe resistant hypertension. Surround Sound is the only non-invasive renal denervation treatment for resistant hypertension of its type: other treatments rely on a catheter inside the body emitting energy to treat the renal nerves, while Surround Sound® delivers ultrasound energy to the nerves from outside the body without any cutting or incisions.

Dr Dasgupta, Consultant Nephrologist, the Principal Investigator at Heartlands Hospital, said: “Surround Sound therapy may target the renal nerves more accurately than catheter-based renal denervation – this may be why previous trials of renal denervation treatments have not been as effective as we hoped. Importantly, Surround Sound is unique in that it is also non-invasive which is important to patients – who wants to have a catheter placed in their groin? It also means they don’t have to be admitted to hospital and stay in overnight – unlike other similar treatments.

“For me as a doctor, it is a frustrating situation that I am not able to adequately treat a good proportion of my patients with resistant hypertension. We estimate these patients make up around 10-12% of all British people with high blood pressure. The Surround Sound treatment has the potential to benefit many hundreds of thousands of patients and may well be what doctors like me have been waiting for, for many years.”

If you think you could be eligible to take part in the trial please call 0121 4243161 or 0121 4242158.

Diabetes research team and LifeScan teamThe diabetes research team at Heartlands Hospital have marked Diabetes Awareness Month by celebrating the research they have conducted over the last year.

The research team have been working alongside LifeScan Scotland on a number of exciting research studies focusing on helping diabetic patients gain control of their condition. Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar levels to become too high and around one in ten people living in Birmingham have the condition.

Based at Heartlands Hospital, the research team has conducted a total of 17 research studies with over 400 diabetic patients participating in a wide variety of both academic and commercial research studies over the last year.

The LifeScan Scotland clinic also based at Heartlands has seen almost 1800 participants in its 22 research studies over the last year, with a focus on developing blood glucose monitoring systems for people living with diabetes.

Helen Jenner, senior research nurse at Heartlands Hospital, said: “Participants who are already taking part in research trials are enjoying the regular contact they have with the research team. We also provide valuable education for patients on a number of relevant topics.”

For more information, please contact Helen Jenner, senior research nurse, on 0121 424 2950 or the LifeScan Scotland clinic room on 0121 424 1230.

Full verbal consent gainedThey celebrate birthdays every day welcoming in new babies into the world and now the midwives on the Netherbrook Midwifery Led Unit at Solihull Hospital will be celebrating an extra special day, as fittingly, they will be celebrating the unit’s fifth anniversary on 5 July 2015.

Named through a combination of the names of the first two maternity units at Solihull, Netherwood and Brookhouse, the unit officially opened back in the summer of 2010 to offer more choice for local mums-to-be with low risk pregnancies.

Since opening, the highly skilled and dedicated midwives have helped deliver more than 1,400 natural births. Over half of the women using the unit have opted to have water births in the birthing pool suites, demonstrating some of the benefits of delivery in the Midwifery Led Unit. The unit also provides private room facilities and the option for partners to stay overnight as well as outstanding postnatal care.

The first mum to give birth on the unit was Donna Ensell, of Smith’s Wood Solihull, who delivered her son Michalis Ensell weighing 7 pounds 6 oz. Donna chose to have her second child on the birth unit after having a positive experience with the delivery of her daughter, Helena who will be seven years old this year on the previous maternity unit at Solihull Hospital.

She said: “I was surprised to be the first person on the new birth unit but it did feel special to learn that I was and it had opened just in time for me. I had a really positive experience, I had a room so it was nice to have that privacy and be able to have a nice shower. I found all of the staff very helpful and supportive looking after me and my husband well. The whole level of care was fantastic including afterwards and I was able to go home soon after birth.”

Karen McGuigan, midwifery matron for the unit said: “We are delighted to be celebrating the fifth anniversary of Netherbrook birth unit.

“It is evident from hearing about the experiences of our new parents that the Midwifery Led Unit creates a more natural environment for a normal birth. Water and movement are predominantly used for pain relief and Midwives offer one to one care in labour, providing physical and emotional support and as a result women have been having very positive birthing experiences.

“Women can discuss the option of birth in the Midwifery Led Unit along with other birthing plan options and will always have the assurance that if they experience any complications during birth they can be easily transferred to a close by maternity unit for specialist care if they should need it.”

DSC_1062The weather stayed fine as hundreds of Silhillians attended the annual Friends of Solihull Hospital Summer Fete to raise thousands of pounds for the hospital.

More than £7,000 was raised thanks to over 1,000 visitors who came to the event which was opened by Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Glenis Slater and featured live entertainment, a summer raffle, children’s fun races and a large range of stalls.

Among the attractions on offer music from the Harmonie Concert Band, dance presentations from Planet Dance, a martial arts display from by a local Tang Soo Do group and a dog training demonstration from Hatchford Brook Dog Training.

The Friends’ HDSC_0937onorary Secretary, Liz Steventon, said: “The whole day was a great success, a big thank you to everyone who came along and made the day possible. This is such an important event in our calendar, as we raise money to help the hospital continue to provide top class care to the local community.

“We haven’t yet finalised how much we have raised but it looks like more than £7,000 which is a fantastic amount. I would like to thank everyone who came along to support the event and those who volunteered to help on the day.”

If you would like to find out more about the Friends, or to make a donation, please email Liz Steventon on

Nielsen volunteers at Good HopeA group of enthusiastic volunteers from a leading information and insights firm have given the gardens at Good Hope Hospital a makeover.

Volunteers from Nielsen’s Birmingham office spent the day working at the hospital grounds renewing green areas, tidying public spaces, trimming trees and planting new flower arrangements as part of its annual Nielsen Global Impact Day (NGID).

One day each year, Nielsen employees all over the world take a day away from their desks to give something back to the local community.

Marika Praticò, client insight manager at Nielsen, said: “The kindness and appreciation we received from the staff was heart-warming. They appreciated that the work we did will benefit everyone at the hospital, especially the patients.”

Samantha Howell, community fundraiser at Good Hope Hospital, said: “This was a great day of volunteering and a great sign of affection for the local community. I would like to say a very big thank you to all the Nielsen team. Their hard work represents a big step ahead on the broader garden redevelopment plan at Good Hope, and will make sure patients can enjoy a pleasant environment during their time in hospital.”

For more information about corporate fundraising projects, visit the Corporate page on the Heart of England NHS Charity website (, call 0121 424 2793 or send an email to

Infant feeding teamA group of health professionals have kicked off a week-long celebration of breastfeeding by spreading the word to shoppers that ‘breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby’.

The infant feeding team at Solihull Community Services, part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, set up stall in Mell Square to provide advice and information to passers-by to mark National Breastfeeding Celebration Week (June 20-26).

Elaine Bates, infant feeding coordinator at Solihull Children’s Community Services, said: “We are passionate about highlighting the value of breastfeeding to new mums and locals in Solihull and it was great to talk to the public in Solihull during National Breastfeeding Celebration Week.

“When it comes to breastfeeding, pregnant women and new mums often have a huge number of questions they want answering and this event offered the ideal opportunity to offer advice and guidance to those looking for someone to turn to with those important questions, as well as to spread awareness of the infant feeding team in Solihull.”

For further advice and support on breastfeeding, please contact the infant feeding team at Solihull Children’s Community Services on 07807 249055 or visit for details of clinics available across the borough and for more information.



Strokes are the third largest cause of death in the UK and did you know someone has a stroke every five minutes in the United Kingdom?

A stroke is a brain attack where the flow of blood to the brain is cut off and as a result, brain cells get damaged. If the supply of blood to the brain is stopped, this can lead to brain damage and may even result in death.

A blood clot or haemorrhage causes a stroke to occur and the reasons behind this happening vary from person to person.  Being overweight, having high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are all factors that can lead to people having a stroke.

People of Asian, African and Caribbean ethnicity have a higher risk of having a stroke. Consuming excessive amounts of ghee/butter added to cuisines and regularly eating sweetmeats (jelabis, barfis and gulab jamun) can lead to high cholesterol levels and are also reasons why people of Asian, African and Caribbean backgrounds are more likely to have a stroke. If you are aged 65 or over, you are also more at risk. Your risk of having a stroke is likely to be higher if you have a close relative who has had a stroke.

Recognising the signs of stroke is vital as immediate medical attention is required.  The sooner a person having a stroke receives treatment, the better the chances are that the stroke will not have any long lasting effects.

To remember the main signs/symptoms of stroke think of the word FAST:

  • Face: Can they smile and has their face fallen to one side? The person may not be able to smile or their mouth and eye may have dropped.
  • Arms: A person with stroke may not be able to lift their arms because of arm weakness and numbness.
  • Speech: Speech may be slurred or the person may not be able to talk.
  • Time: You should call 999 immediately if you see any of the above symptoms.

Stroke is preventable and there are a number of steps you can take to help reduce the risk of having a stroke. Peter Carr, lead nurse for stroke at our Trust, explains: “Quitting smoking can make a massive difference. Not smoking will not only reduce your risk of having a stroke, but also reduce your risk of developing other conditions such as lung cancer and heart disease.

“Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly will also significantly minimise your chances of having a stroke. Always aim to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Also go for healthy swaps. Rather than have an ice cream, have some yoghurt or have fruit instead of chocolate.

“Regular exercise will make your heart and circulatory system more efficient and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.

“Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and also multiply the risk of having a stroke by more than three times.”

Recent figures have shown that Heartlands Hospital is among the regions’ best at providing stroke patients with fast access to specialist assessment and treatment. Part of the Trust-wide reconfiguration of stroke services included the opening of a new state-of-the-art specialist stroke unit at Heartlands in October 2014 benefiting patients from across the Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital catchment areas.  The current data indicates that this remodelling has led to improvements in care in the majority of areas, placing Heartlands as one of the highest performing in the region.

For more information about stroke, visit the Stroke Association website:

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