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January 2016

21Jan 2016

Mother backs knife crime memorial

The mother of a man who was stabbed to death in a car park has backed a campaign for a national memorial for victims of knife crime.

Trainee accountant Danny Jones, 21, from Chirk near Wrexham, died from a single stab wound from a replica sword.

A sculpture is being created from seized weapons in Oswestry, Shropshire, the town where he died in 2013.

Meanwhile, a north Wales judge said there was huge concern about the number of serious injuries caused by knives.

The British Ironworks Centre is creating the sculpture – Knife Angel – using 30,000 weapons seized from the scenes of crime around the UK.

Mr Jones died in hospital from a single stab wound from an ornamental short sword during an argument with a friend after a night out in Oswestry, Shropshire in April 2013.

His killer was jailed for 12 years for manslaughter.

Read full story: Mother backs knife crime memorial

20Jan 2016

Advice on Norovirus this winter

News from our local NHS Trusts

People planning to visit hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Shropshire are being asked to stay away if they have experienced any symptoms of Norovirus.

Norovirus, sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common stomach bug in the UK. It is highly contagious and can affect people of all ages.

The number of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting recorded in the community normally increases at this time of year and it is particularly important that people help to prevent the spread of these illnesses, especially to vulnerable patients.

One way to do this is by not visiting acute or community hospitals if you or any members of your family have had diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms in the last 48 hours. These stomach bugs can spread rapidly anywhere that people are gathered, such as schools or offices. Hospitals are public buildings with hundreds (or thousands) of visitors every day. That is why the NHS asks people to think carefully before visiting hospitals if they or anyone in their family has even mild symptoms of stomach upset.

Dr Patricia O’Neill, Consultant Microbiologist and Director for Infection Prevention and Control at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, said:

This is a good time to remind people of our normal seasonal message for all hospital visitors – please follow the 48 hour rule: do not visit hospitals or care homes if you, or the people you live with, have had diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms in the last 48 hours.

If you are unsure whether to visit, please feel free to contact the ward nurse before you come into hospital.

Sue Sayles, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, said:

We would ask that all our patients and visitors help us to keep Norovirus at bay. If you, or anyone in your household, has experienced diarrhoea, vomiting or any flu-like symptoms in the last 48 hours, then please stay away from the hospital. Diarrhoea and vomiting outbreaks can result in ward closure.

If you are not sure whether you would be safe to visit, then please do feel free to ring up and speak to the ward staff, who would be happy to give you advice.

Rachael Allen, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust’s Head of Infection Prevention and Control, said:

Protecting vulnerable patients and hospital staff is really important, whether this is in the county’s main hospitals or in the four community hospitals in Ludlow, Whitchurch, Bridgnorth or Bishop’s Castle.

We are asking anyone who is considering visiting or attending any of our hospitals to think very carefully about doing this if they have experienced diarrhoea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, or have been generally unwell in the last 48 hours. If you do feel that your visit is necessary then please telephone the ward or department for advice beforehand.

Good hand hygiene can help to limit the spread of the infection and there are some simple steps that the public can take to help stop Norovirus spreading:-

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the toilet, and before preparing food or eating. If you’re in an NHS facility, pay attention to hand hygiene notices such as using hand gel upon entering and leaving a ward.
  • Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with Norovirus. It is best to use a bleach-based household cleaner. Always follow the instructions on the cleaning product.
  • Flush away any faeces or vomit in the toilet. You should also keep the surrounding toilet area clean and hygienic.
  • Wash any clothing, or linens, which could have become contaminated with Norovirus. Washing with hot, soapy water will help to ensure that the virus is killed.
  • Although people usually recover without treatment in 24-72 hours, it is important to stay away from work, school, college or any social gatherings until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

You can also find additional information about Norovirus including the symptoms, treatment and prevention from the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk.

19Jan 2016

Michelin-starred West Midlands chef Glynn Purnell encourages region’s kids to get ‘Sugar Smart’

News from Public Health England

Award-winning chef goes back to Bishop Wilson Primary to show kids at his former school how to cut back on sugar, with the help of Change4Life

This January (2016), a new Change4Life campaign is encouraging families to get ‘Sugar Smart’ and take control of the amount of sugar they consume. It follows revelations that 4-to 10-year-olds consume the average weight of a five-year-old in sugar, that’s 22kg or more than 5,500 sugar cubes.,

Award-winning West Midlands chef Glynn Purnell is supporting the campaign to encourage children to learn about the amount of sugar in everyday food and drinks. Owner and head chef of Michelin starred Purnell’s restaurant and Purnell’s Bistro in Birmingham, the ‘Yummy Brummie’ now lives with his young family in Warwickshire, but originally hails from Chelmsley Wood in Solihull – where he will be taking part in a special lesson with Year 4 pupils at his former school, Bishop Wilson CofE Primary School in Solihull on Thursday 21 January 2016, to show them some easy-to-prepare low sugar snacks.

The lesson complements the current ‘Food Detectives’ Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 lesson plans, which are being provided to primary school teachers across the region, via the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, to highlight to children how much sugar is in everyday food and drink. Five million Sugar Smart packs will be given away to primary age children and their families via schools, local authorities and retailers.

A new Sugar Smart app has been launched to help parents see how much sugar there is in everyday food and drink. The free app works by scanning the barcode of products and revealing the amount of total sugar it contains in cubes and grams.

The Change4Life Sugar Smart campaign aims to warn both children and parents about the health harms from eating and drinking too much sugar. A fifth of four- to five-year-olds and a third of 10- to 11-year-olds are overweight or obese. This means they are more likely to become obese adults who are prone to a range of life-threatening health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes. There are now 2.5 million people suffering from Type 2 diabetes, 90% of whom are overweight or obese.,

Michelin starred chef and father of three, Glynn Purnell said:

As a lover of good food and a dad, reducing sugar consumption is something I’m passionate about, so I’m really pleased to support the new Change4Life Sugar Smart campaign. I think it’s incredibly important to not only highlight the harms of eating too much sugar, but also to show children low sugar options that they’ll really enjoy.

My cooking is all about good ingredients cooked well – and I want people to know that a dish can be full of flavour and delicious while still being very healthy. My mum Patricia was one of my inspirations for becoming a chef; I used to watch her in the kitchen at home, and she still works at my old school, Bishop Wilson Primary, as Senior Lunchtime Supervisor. I hope I can inspire the youngsters at my old school and across the region to choose healthier foods and to realise there are lots of delicious things to eat that aren’t full of sugar.

Headteacher of Bishop Wilson C of E Primary School, Jon Kirk said:

We’re delighted to welcome our former pupil Glynn Purnell back to Bishop Wilson Primary School, to engage the children on how to eat less sugar. We all know that children can eat too much sugar so it’s great that this campaign offers helpful tips for parents and all of us on how to cut down. The new ‘Food Detectives’ lesson plans provide a great way of getting children thinking about how much sugar is in the everyday food and drink we all consume. By teaching them about sugar consumption at a young age, we hope that they will get into good habits which will set them up for life.

For further information about the Change4Life Sugar Smart campaign, please contact Change4LifePressOffice@freuds.com / out of hours 0208 200 4400.

Source: Public Health England

18Jan 2016

Winter health awareness events: staying well this winter

News from our Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

The local NHS in Shropshire is working to share winter messages that will help support communities and individuals to keep fit and healthy through winter.

You are invited to attend one of three free afternoon events that will feature a presentation on the national NHS Stay Well This Winter campaign, including a series of practical hints and tips on staying well in winter.

There will also be presentations from other healthcare and well-being charities and organisations, which are currently being confirmed.

Come along for advice on how to keep you and your loved ones fit and healthy throughout winter.

Please register your interest by following the links below for events that are taking place in Ludlow, Oswestry and Shrewsbury.

Speakers will present key messages of the Stay Well campaign, and give advice on the best ways to stay well throughout winter and how to access the health services available to you.

This event will help you:

  • Avoid common winter illnesses
  • Get treatment in the right place at the right time if you need it
  • Know what the best thing to do, or the best place to go, if you do get ill
  • How to spread the work of helping to keep other people fit and healthy this winter.

For further information, and to book a place at one of these events, please follow the links on this page and register for a free ticket. Alternatively you can call 0121 612 3806 to book your place.

18Jan 2016

Your local NHS is prepared for cold weather – are you?

News from Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group

The Met office is predicting a cold snap with potentially some severe cold weather, icy conditions and heavy snow for the next couple of days.

The NHS in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin has pulled out all the stops to prepare for this winter. We are determined to protect the standards of service that local people have come to expect, despite the considerable pressures that we anticipate over the winter months.

As a result, planning started earlier than ever before with hospitals, GPs, social services and other health professionals coming together to work out the best way of responding to local needs.

Remember: cold weather doesn’t have to go hand in hand with illness. Here are some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well this winter, and can often mean that you don’t need any other help.

  • Keep warm – this may help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia.
  • Eat well – food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. So, try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day. 
  • Get a flu jab – flu vaccination is offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.

But, if you do start to feel poorly, below are some great local services that you can go to  for help and advice. You can also visit www.nhs.uk/staywell to find out more about your local services.

Ask your pharmacist
Pharmacists are expert in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.

If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111 for free. An adviser will ask you some questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your local area.

Shropdoc Out of Hours Service
When your own GP is closed, but you think you need some urgent medical advice and help, then you can also call Shropdoc.  Shropdoc can be contacted on 0333 222 6655.

See your family doctor
GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it.

Visit an urgent care service
Visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (infections, vomiting and stomach aches) and it can’t wait until your GP surgery is open. These services are often managed by nurses and some also have doctors.

Winter health advice

Common winter illnesses

  • Colds – to ease the symptoms of a cold, drink plenty of fluids and try to rest. Steam inhalation and vapour rubs can also help. Prevent colds from spreading by washing your hands thoroughly, cleaning surfaces regularly and always sneeze and cough into tissues, throwing them away after use.
    Find out more about treating colds
  •  Sore throats – a sore throat is almost always caused by a viral infection, such as a cold. Try not to eat or drink anything that’s too hot, as this could further irritate your throat; cool or warm drinks and cool, soft foods should go down easier. Find out more about treating sore throats
  • Asthma – a range of weather-related triggers can set off asthma symptoms, including cold air. Covering your nose and mouth with a warm scarf when you’re out can help.
    Find out more about treating asthma
  • Norovirus – this is also known as the winter vomiting bug, although it can cause diarrhoea too. The main thing to do to is drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can also take paracetamol for any aches, pains or fever.
    Find out more about treating norovirus
  • Flu – if you’re 65 or over, have a long-term health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease, flu can be life-threatening, so it’s important to seek help early. However, if you’re generally fit and healthy, the best treatment is to rest, stay warm and drink plenty of water.
    Find out more about treating flu

Useful local links – keep informed of school closures, gritting and other services:


18Jan 2016

Well-done LIFEPAK 12

A LifePak 12 defibrillator/monitor was recovered from a North West Ambulance Service vehicle, which caught fire due to an electrical fault. The vehicle was a total loss, as was a majority of its contents.

However, to the equipment manager’s surprise, the LifePak 12 powered-up and operated normally when connected to a simulator, recognising the rhythm, charging and delivering a shock.

Paramedics had to evacuate an ambulance after the vehicle caught fire on the A69 in north Cumbria.

There were no patients on board when the incident happened in 2013.

It’s thought an electrical fault caused the fire which badly damaged the vehicle.

Source: Physio-Control Inc and ITV News

15Jan 2016

Health officials work together to improve Wi-Fi access for patients and staff

Health officials are working together to improve access to Wi-Fi for patients and staff at Shropshire’s two acute hospitals.

Officials from Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) offered to provide £200,000 match funding to support the project, which is being led by the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

It means that SaTH can move forward with plans to have free Wi-Fi across both hospital sites.

Simon Wright, Chief Executive of SaTH, said:

We are constantly looking at ways to improve the experience of our patients, visitors and staff.

Any length of stay in hospital, whether you are the one receiving treatment or supporting a loved one, can be, at times, frustrating or boring. Whilst we already provide free patient Wi-Fi in a number of areas where we know patients are likely to have a lengthy stay – such as our Chemotherapy Day Centre and the Women and Children’s Centre – we have been keen for some time to expand this to cover all of our hospital sites.

We are delighted our CCG partners have offered to match our funding for this important scheme.

But this will not just benefit our patients and visitors. Technology is playing an increasing role in almost everything we do, and being able to access Wi-Fi across our sites will help all of our staff manage the increasing demand on their time as well as improving the accuracy of record keeping and improving patient safety.

David Evans, Chief Officer for Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

NHS commissioners are delighted to be able to fund this initiative.

Free Wi-Fi throughout the Trust’s facilities has obvious benefits for patients that can help improve their experience in hospital.

However there are also very clear benefits for clinicians too. It will allow access to a range of apps which put huge amounts of information at their fingertips and will also make it easier to be in contact with colleagues, wherever they happen to be.

Source: Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

14Jan 2016

NHS Health Check programme prevents 2,500 heart attacks and strokes

An evaluation of the free service by Public Health England has shown its crucial role in helping to prevent cardiovascular disease.

British Heart Foundation (UK) – The study, led by Queen Mary University of London found that the programme is effectively identifying people at risk of major cardiovascular incidents. Researchers estimate the checks have helped prevent 2,500 cases of heart attack and stroke in the past five years.

People from the most deprived areas and black and minority ethnic groups, who are at greatest risk of cardiovascular disease, were also shown to be more likely to attend an NHS Health Check.

Ceri Jones, Head of Prevention and Behaviour Change, said:

These results are a real success story and show the life saving impact that health checks are having in helping people cut their risk of a heart attack or stroke.”

The study also highlights a major step towards tackling health inequalities in England, with those who are at greatest risk of heart disease, more likely to attend an NHS Health Check.

However uptake is too low. We would urge everyone over the age of 40 to take up the offer of a free health check. Identifying and managing a condition like high blood pressure now could significantly lower your risk of a serious heart attack or stroke in future.

As many as 7 million people in the UK are living with high blood pressure, putting them at risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. The British Heart Foundation are funding research to help understand more about the causes of high blood pressure.
Visit the NHS Health Check website to find out more information about the programme.

14Jan 2016

Drone ambulance makes first flight

The AirMule is designed for conditions where landing a helicopter is unfeasible and will be able to airlift two people.

A drone ambulance designed to airlift two people has taken autonomously to the air for the first time.

The AirMule, which can take off and land vertically, is designed for conditions where landing a helicopter is unfeasible – such as on a battlefield. The drone, made by Israeli company Tactical Robotics, has seen recent setbacks in development but is designed to carry up to 450kg up to 31 miles.

The single-engined, internal rotor drone took to the air from a temporary testing facility set up at the Megiddo airfield after gaining clearance from the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority for untethered flight.

Read full story: AirMule drone ambulance makes maiden flight

13Jan 2016

Appreciate your Ambulance Service

As part of a week-long awareness campaign, West Midlands Ambulance Service are releasing clips of calls to highlight the many irrelevant and time-wasting calls its staff have to put up with.

You don’t need an ambulance if you’ve lost your keys. A scary hedgehog doesn’t equate to a medical emergency. If you need a lift home after a night out in the pub, call a taxi not 999.

As part of a week-long awareness campaign, West Midlands Ambulance Service will be releasing audio clips from 999 calls to highlight the shocking examples of inappropriate calls. In addition, they will be tweeting live from one of the Trust’s control rooms later in the week to spend a day with a 999 call assessor.

Jeremy Brown, West Midlands Ambulance Service’s General Manager responsible for it’s Emergency Operations Centres, said:

My control room staff are currently dealing with around 3,000 999 calls a day. Despite us being an emergency service, it’s truly shocking what people consider to be appropriate to call 999 for.

We’re here for genuine life-threatening emergencies such as chest pains, cardiac arrests and difficulty breathing.