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Award in memory of former patient won by Good Hope’s new frailty unit

jean robinson 2A fledgling elderly care unit at Good Hope Hospital has been recognised for its work in cutting the length of time frail and elderly patients spend in hospital by being named winners of an award founded to ensure the legacy of a former patient.

The Frailty Assessment Unit (FAU) at Good Hope, part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, was this year’s recipient of the Jean Robinson Award, which is judged by Jean’s family who have been working with the hospital to improve standards in elderly care since her death in 2009.

Jean’s daughters Di Collins and Jan Gill presented the award to ward manager Lisa Smith and her team at a special presentation and spoke about how the award first started and why the FAU stood out as this year’s winner.

Di, from Tamworth, said: “After my mum died I got together with staff on the elderly care wards and have worked with them over the last six years to give a relatives point of view on how things can be improved. The award has been a way both to have a legacy for mum and to push the wards to keep making progress.

“When we came into visit all the wards to judge the award it was the first time that we had been on the FAU and we were very impressed. You could tell all the staff wanted to be here and there was such a nice feeling walking around.

“It is something totally different to what Good Hope has had before and you can understand the reasoning for having a unit such as this. Lisa’s passion for the job really comes across and she is a lovely person so it has been a pleasure to present the award to her and her team.”

Lisa Smith, ward manager of the FAU, said she was ‘delighted’ the unit had been recognised with the award and paid tribute to the rest of her team on the unit.

She said: “It’s a great honour to be given this award and I would like to thank the family for choosing us. My team has worked really hard since the unit opened last summer and I am proud of what we have built together.

“The FAU takes frail and elderly patients directly from the Emergency Department on arrival who are not acutely unwell, giving them a comprehensive geriatric assessment with the aim of getting them home quicker – ideally within 48 hours.

“It is not an exact science and patients may need longer stays and we accommodate for that.  However, this new approach has cut down on the length of time people have to stay in hospital, the number of ward moves and readmissions which is making a real difference to patient experience and flow across the hospital.

“I came into nursing to make a difference so it has been a pleasure to lead a wonderful team in trying to do that for our patients and for this hospital.”

baby friendly 1Staff at Solihull Community Services, part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, were joined by breastfeeding mums from across Solihull as they celebrated receiving international recognition for their work to give babies the best start in life.

UNICEF reaccredited the Solihull community health visiting and infant feeding services as ‘baby friendly’ as part of an internationally recognised initiative following a rigorous assessment. Meeting these standards of the assessment is seen as confirmation that the teams are providing parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby in ways which will support optimum health and development.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council director of public health and commissioning, Stephen Munday, was on hand at a special event at Mill Lodge Children’s Centre in Shirley, where the Trust’s Infant Feeding Team holds a weekly breastfeeding café for mums in the area, to present members of the teams with a plaque honouring the world-renowned Level 3 accreditation.

Elaine Bates, infant feeding coordinator at Solihull Community Services, said: “The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative is designed to support feeding and parent infant relationships by working with public services to improve standards of care. To be recognised in this way confirms that our teams are providing a high quality service to parents across Solihull.

“The teams have worked extremely hard to receive this prestigious award and are passionate about the work they do. I would like to thank Stephen for coming down to present the plaque and hear more about the great work going on within the service.”

Stephen Munday congratulated the service on the award and spoke about the importance of breastfeeding for the health and wellbeing of the mother and their baby.

He said: “A high quality infant feeding service is so important to ensure that parents are supported by both professional carers as well as by peer supporters. Achieving this accreditation (for the second time) demonstrates that we do have a high quality service in Solihull. This is a tremendous achievement and will be really important to improving uptake of breastfeeding in Solihull.

“We know that the service has been put through an extremely rigorous assessment process but what is particularly impressive is that the views of parents on the quality of the support have been taken into account.

“Congratulations to the infant feeding team and thanks for all of the hard work that is done to support Solihull mums to breastfeed.”

For further advice and support on breastfeeding, please contact Solihull Community Infant Feeding Service on 0121 713 8924, email or visit their website

Helen Domanski Mary Higgins Dermot Dunne and Mark ChambersPatients visiting the Oncology Unit at Good Hope Hospital are benefiting from a new portable ECG machine, recently donated by the Cancer and Information Support Service.

Costing £4,500, the new machine will help patients who become unwell whilst having treatment. They can have an ECG as part of their care, eliminating the need to visit a different department, aiding quicker diagnosis and a more effective service. Cancer treatments can also, in rare cases, damage the heart, so having a portable ECG machine to monitor patients regularly will help ensure they are receiving the best care.

The Cancer Information and Support Service, which was first established at Good Hope Hospital in 2000, is a support and fundraising group set up to improve patient care. Volunteers, Mary Higgins and Dermot Dunn, have been helping out for several years.

As well as fundraising, the service stocks a range of reasonably priced hats and headwear for patients who may experience hair loss when undergoing treatment.  Mary, who worked as a healthcare assistant at the hospital before she retired 10 years ago, and Dermot, a retired local businessman, volunteer every week in the Oncology Unit.

Mary and Dermot recently presented the new machine to Helen Domanski, Oncology Unit ward manager, and charge nurse, Mark Chambers.

Helen Domanski said: “The fundraising efforts of Mary and Dermot make a huge difference to the experience of our patients. Our patients can spend weeks or months coming to the Oncology Unit for treatment and the portable ECG machine will allow staff to carry out regular checks on their hearts, to make sure their treatment isn’t affecting their cardiac function. Mary and Dermot come to the unit every week and we are really grateful for their friendly faces and the support they offer us.”

Photograph caption: (l-r) Helen Domanski, Mary Higgins, Dermot Dunne and Mark Chambers.

Kate and staffThis World Asthma Day (3 May) Heartlands Hospital patient, Katrina Harris reassures other asthmatics that having severe asthma doesn’t have to hold them back after tackling 16 half-marathons and her first full marathon.

Forty-five -year old Katrina Harris could barely move due to the severity of her asthma just a couple of years ago. However thanks to intensive treatment from the Birmingham Regional Severe Asthma Service (BRSAS) based at Heartlands, and despite the odds, Katrina has achieved more than she could ever have hoped for, running over 235 miles in the last 18 months.

With two teenage sons who also have asthma, Katrina travels from Somerset to Heartlands once every three months for treatment.  Katrina said: “I had problems with my breathing as a child and it got worse and worse. It changed for the worse in 2009 when I got flu. My lungs were sticky and I got more infections. I found this came and went in stages. A few years ago it was so bad I couldn’t walk; I was in a hell of a state and almost gave up hope. I was out of breath and kept getting infections.

“I started medication and physio four times a day.  I also joined a gym and started to swim.  At first I could only do two lengths of the pool, now I can do 70. I started running with my partner who already runs to show my sons that whatever you have got, you can work with it and don’t take no for an answer. It was a slow start but I now have better lung capacity, I don’t get as many infections and my lungs are clearer. I did my first marathon in January 2016.  It was a celebration as it’s the first January in a long time I’ve not been hospitalised, so I decided to go for it.

“I can now say my life has been turned around. It was painful to do the running at first but it could be worse if I didn’t. I could be in a wheelchair with oxygen and I wouldn’t want to go down that route. The doctors and physios have been fantastic.”

Heartlands Hospital respiratory consultant, Dr Adel Mansur said: “Katrina is a great example to patients to show what can be achieved with good management of their condition.  This is fantastic news; the team is delighted to hear how well Katrina is doing.”

Around 300 million people around the world suffer from asthma, a chronic disease of the lungs that makes breathing difficult.  Held this year on 3r May, World Asthma Day is an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma to improve asthma awareness and care.

BRSAS attracts referrals from across the UK.  Providing care for just under 1,000 patients, the BRSAS adopts a multidisciplinary approach to treat people who have some of the most severe and difficult-to-treat forms of asthma to help them manage their conditions, reduce the likelihood of them having life-threatening asthma attacks, and improve their asthma control so patients can live as normal a life as possible.

JD AI 26 27 April strike graphicThe NHS is working hard to ensure that as few patients as possible are affected by the industrial action on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April, but some services will need to change and some are likely to be busier than usual.

Junior doctors will be striking from 8am to 5pm each day, including withdrawal of cover in A&E departments. Essential care will be provided by senior staff. Some of our planned appointments and operations will have needed to be rearranged for another date, however you will have been contacted individually if your appointment/operation needed to be re-scheduled.You can help the NHS cope by choosing the right service and attending A&E only if it is essential.

If you need medical care during the course of the industrial action there are other healthcare options available for less urgent problems instead of calling 999 or visiting our emergency department – such as visiting your pharmacist or GP, calling NHS 111 or using NHS Choices (       If you are feeling unwell, please do not wait – take advice from your GP or pharmacist, or contact NHS 111 e.g. if you have regular medication – please make sure you have collected your prescription from the GP, have been to the pharmacist to collect it and have it to hand.

For further advice please see

Solihull_Awards-161It was celebration time for HEFT staff as organisers announced the winners of the second Solihull Together for better lives awards at an inspiring ceremony.

The awards were created in 2015 to recognise and celebrate outstanding work by individuals and organisations in Solihull to support vulnerable and frail people in the borough.

The Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chairman of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, hosted the awards at the Renewal Conference Centre in Solihull. A packed crowd heard some inspiring stories of great care from organisations and individuals across the borough.

And for HEFT there was some great success with Solihull Hospital’s Care of the Elderly Team picking up the coveted Chairman’s Award, while the Enhanced Care Team at Solihull won the Dementia Friendly Service Award and the Trust’s therapy service’s partnership with Tudor Grange Leisure won in the Collaborative Working category.

Solihull_Awards-113Jacqueline Aldred, chair of the awards judging panel, commented: “It’s wonderful to see how the awards have grown since last year, with double the number of nominations this time. That certainly made the job of choosing the finalists and winners more challenging for the judging panel.”

Dr Patrick Brooke, Accountable Officer for Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, representing the award organisers, said: “We hope that this year’s Solihull Together for better livesawards will continue to help raise awareness of the outstanding work which is going on across the public, private and voluntary sectors to support Solihull residents. Our aim for these awards is to showcase how we are working together to improve care and support in the borough.”

“It has been a real privilege to meet so many of the finalists and winners and hear their stories.  What they are doing, whether in a professional or voluntary capacity, to improve the quality of people’s lives, is amazing and inspiring. We have a lot to be proud of in Solihull.”

Solihull_Awards-96The full list of categories and winners is:

Care Professional of the Year (Joint Winners)

  • Joanne Mackinnon, Welcome Charity
  • Andy Warmington, Inclusive Sports Academy Community Interest Company

Health Professional of the Year

  • Dr Reema Swarna, Associate Specialist Doctor, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Care Team of the Year (Joint Winners)

  • Aviary House, Home Group
  • CREST (Community Rehabilitation Enablement & Support Team)

Primary Care Service of the Year

  • ‘Next Steps – Living Well with Dementia’, run by the Memory Assessment Service, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Award for Dementia-friendly Service

  • Enhanced Care Team, Solihull Hospital

Award for Collaborative Working

  • Collaborative Working for Solihull Rehabilitation Pathways

Award for Outstanding Project Delivered in the Community

  • Gro-Organic Community Interest Company

Beyond the Call of Duty Award (Joint Winners)

  • Becky McGann, Solihull Community Housing’s Wellbeing Service
  • Emma Francis, Home Group

Award for Outstanding Customer Experience

  • Solihull Connect

Award for Outstanding Neighbour

  • Steve and Tina Hands

Chairman’s Award

  • Care of the Elderly Team, Solihull Hospital

Visit to read more about the winners and awards.


Neonatal reviewNHS England is reviewing neonatal services across the West Midlands to ensure that babies and their families have access to the right care, at the right time, in the most appropriate place.

We want to understand the issues that are most important to families, so feedback from parents who have experienced our services is essential. You can help by completing a questionnaire which can be found using this link:


HSJ Award team photoA new service which has reduced waiting times for orthopaedic patients at a Midlands hospital Trust has been shortlisted in two categories at a prestigious awards ceremony in the health industry.

The therapy service at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital and community services, has been shortlisted in the Clinical Support Services and Trauma and Orthopaedics categories at the 2016 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare awards.

The nominations relate to the introduction of an orthopaedic triage service which has had an extremely positive impact on patient care and waiting times within the Trust.

Julie Hunter, therapy lead for planned care at the Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for these awards as it is wonderful recognition for the collaborative work we are doing to make patient care and patient experience even better by reducing waiting times and providing a top quality service.

“We introduced orthopaedic triage in the acute setting using Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioners (APPs) last year in conjunction with the trauma and orthopaedic directorate. Three times a week we review all of the referrals for the trauma and orthopaedic department across the Trust and then provide appointments with APPs if it is felt that no surgical intervention is necessary.

“By doing this we have reduced the waiting times for the patients and helped the trauma and orthopaedic department in hitting its 18 week referral to treatment targets. It is a service we are really passionate about as it allows the patient to be seen by the most appropriate person in a timely manner.

“The patients have the opportunity to commence treatment at the assessment, some being offered injection therapy there and then and we have had very positive feedback from patients in terms of the intervention and information they have received. The consultants have been actively involved in developing the staff and are supportive in terms of what it has achieved and in helping to shape additional service developments moving forwards.”

The team will find out if they have been victorious at a special award ceremony at Manchester Central alongside the HSJ Value in Healthcare Congress on 24 May.

RobandfamilyA campaign led by the captain of the Solihull Barons ice hockey team to raise money for the cancer unit that treated his wife is set for a grand finale later this month after already smashing its fundraising target.

Rob Eley, from Solihull, is hanging up his skates at the end of the 2015-16 season and to mark his contribution to the team over his illustrious career the Barons granted him a much-deserved testimonial year. Rob has used the year to raise money for the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity’s Ward 19 Cancer Fund through his ‘19for19’ campaign.

Ward 19 is a unit at Heartlands Hospital which specialises in treating haematological cancers such as leukaemia and Rob’s wife Catherine has been a patient on the ward. The ‘19for19’ campaign aimed to raise £19,000 for Ward 19 through a range of fundraising events throughout the year including a black tie gala dinner and a special match between Solihull Barons and reigning British Elite League champions Sheffield Steelers.

Rob’s testimonial year and therefore his career will come to an end on Sunday 24 April when the Barons take on a ‘19for19 Legends’ side at the Silver Blades Solihull Ice Rink. To date the ‘19for19’ campaign has raised over £29,000, smashing its fundraising target and Rob hopes to collect even more at the final testimonial game.

He said: “Thanks to the incredible support the campaign has had we have already hit the target with the testimonial game to come – in fact we’ve so far raised around £29,000. I’m so chuffed as it is a great cause which is really close to my heart and I’m now determined to raise even more money to support the unit and its patients even more.”

Rob said 22 players have been confirmed so far for the ‘legends’ team including many former British Elite Championship stars and it will be led on the night by the Sheffield Steelers title-winning coach Paul Thompson.

Rob added: “It is going to be a really great night, as well as an emotional one being my last game for the Solihull Barons. I would like to thank all the guys who have agreed to be a part of the game and especially Paul for agreeing to be the ‘legends’ side’s coach for the night. He is been a great supporter of the campaign having brought his Steelers team to Solihull for the game last year which was a really special occasion for everyone.

“Tickets are still available for the ‘legends’ match so do come on down for what I’m sure will be a great night and help raise more money for a really worthy cause.”

Tickets are priced at £8 for adults, £4 for concessions or £24 for a family ticket and are available from Silver Blades Solihull Ice Rink or by contacting

Meanwhile, fans can also buy their own special personalised, signed ‘legends’ jersey for £100 which will be presented to them on the night. A list of which of the ‘legend’s’ jerseys are available can be found at or email to place your order. 100 per cent of the proceeds from the jerseys sale and ticket price will go to the ‘19for19’ campaign.

For more information on the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity visit, phone 0121 424 3838 or follow @heftcharity on twitter.

Fun runnersA team of staff from Good Hope Hospital are lacing up their trainers and donning tutus and fairy wings to raise money for their ward at the Great Midlands Fun Run in Sutton Coldfield on Sunday 5 June.

The team of 20 healthcare staff, from Sutton Coldfield, Walsall and Birmingham, are hoping to raise £2,000 for the Gynaecology ward, which includes the early pregnancy and gynaecology assessment units. The money they raise will be spent on new equipment for the ward, which looks after a variety of patients with women’s health issues including miscarriage and pregnancy loss, early pregnancy complications, routine gynaecological procedures and those undergoing operations for breast cancer.

Led by clinical nurse specialist, Jane Rees, the team will run the 8.5mile route after being inspired by a patient and her husband who took on the challenge last year to raise money for the ward. Despite their busy work schedules, the team are already in training for the run and have been attending running sessions around Sutton Park.

Jane Rees said: “I was keen to do the Great Midlands Fun Run because I promised a patient and her husband that I would do it this year and raise funds for our unit like he did last year. I also managed to rope the rest of the team into it with me for support and it’s proving a fantastic team building experience. We’re hoping to raise £2,000 for the ward, to buy new equipment and help improve our patients’ stay in hospital.”

If you’d like to sponsor the ‘Gorgeous Gynae Girls GHH’, please visit their JustGiving page or donate by text,  GGGH60 £3 to 70070.

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