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February 2018

23Feb 2018

Warning over fake piercing magnet craze

Two children needed life-saving surgery after accidentally swallowing powerful magnetic balls which are being used to mimic body piercings in a new craze.

One of the youngsters, Freddie Webster, 12, had to have part of his bowel removed as the tiny balls were ripping a hole in the wall of his stomach.

A third child, aged four, also swallowed the balls but managed to pass them out of the body naturally.

The consultant who saw them has warned parents to be aware of the new craze.

All three youngsters have been treated at Hull Royal Infirmary over the past three months.

The ball-bearing magnets are understood to have become a craze among children who use them as pretend piercings on areas such as their mouth or tongue.

However, doctors have warned if swallowed, they can cause serious damage by burrowing into the stomach and intestines.

In Freddie’s case, he had put one of the 3mm diameter balls inside his mouth and the other outside but accidentally swallowed it.

Read full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-43157923

23Feb 2018

Prison Sentence for Paramedic Attacker

A man has been given a custodial prison sentence after assaulting and threatening to kill a North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) Paramedic who was looking after and comforting him.

An ambulance was called to an unconscious male in Manchester on 5 September 2017 but after getting the patient on the stretcher and in the ambulance the man suddenly became alert and began pulling at the ambulance equipment aggressively.

In an attempt to calm him down, Paramedic, Amanda Beames, comforted the male who seemed upset. He asked Amanda to hold his hand which she did before he started laughing and pulled her on top of him, threatening to kill her and attempting to use her pen as a weapon to attack her with.

Amanda bravely managed to hold down and restrain the male all whilst travelling on the motorway in a moving ambulance but was left with injuries to her wrist, chest and stomach.

The male, Paulius Zacharovas, 30, of no fixed abode, was later arrested and kept on remand before pleading guilty on 21 February 2018 at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court to a charge of assault with battery.

Sector Manager for NWAS in Greater Manchester, Annemarie Rooney, said: “This type of treatment towards the very people who are there only to help is absolutely not acceptable and we will not tolerate it.

“This was a vicious attack which has had a lasting effect on our Paramedic and we’re glad that he has been brought to justice.”

In 2017, there were 204 reported incidents of physical assault against NWAS staff in Greater Manchester alone.

Paramedic, Amanda Beames, 39, from Bury, said: “This was an extremely frightening experience for me and although I have experienced abuse during my 20 career as a Paramedic, never anything on this scale.

“I have had to take some time away from my role following the attack but feel that this sentencing has given me some closure and I feel determined to get back to the job I love. The support that I have had from my colleagues, friends, family and the Service as a whole has been amazing but it shouldn’t be needed. Nobody should ever be treated in that way especially someone who is only there to help.”

Mr Zacharavos was sentenced to an eight month custodial sentence and ordered to pay fines of £150.

22Feb 2018

Asthma inhalers recalled in device alert

Three batches of Ventolin Accuhaler and Seretide Accuhaler asthma inhalers have been recalled because they do not deliver the full number of doses.

The MHRA – the body that regulates the devices – warned that patients may find their symptoms are not relieved as normal.

People with affected inhalers should take them to their pharmacy and get a replacement, it said.

The fault is the result of a manufacturing problem.

The two affected batches of Ventolin Accuhaler and the one affected batch of Seretide were distributed to the UK market. They are manufactured by Glaxo Wellcome UK Limited.

Only a small proportion of the units are defective.

They are:

  • Ventolin 200mcg – Accuhaler 1x60D, 786G, exp 05/2019
  • Ventolin 200mcg – Accuhaler 1x60D, 754P, exp 05/2019
  • Seretide 50/250mcg – Accuhaler 1x60D, 5K8W, exp 04/2019

Other asthma inhalers, including the more commonly used Ventolin Evohaler, are not affected.

The Seretide Accuhaler, used for maintenance treatment as opposed to a reliever treatment, is being recalled from hospitals and pharmacies, retailers and wholesalers across the UK.

Bernadette Sinclair Jenkins, from the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said:

It is important people check whether they have an affected inhaler. We want patients and their families to be confident treatment will be safe and effective when required.

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said it was “extremely worrying” and “could put people’s lives at risk”.

The Ventolin inhalers are reliever inhalers and so are used by people while they are experiencing asthma symptoms such as a cough, breathlessness, wheezing or a tight chest. If someone’s inhaler is faulty they may find it doesn’t help which could be frightening and mean they’re more likely to have an asthma attack.

He added:

We’d urge everyone with asthma to check if their inhaler is from the affected batch by checking the number on the bottom of their inhaler. If it is affected, they should get medical advice and return the inhaler to their pharmacist for a replacement.

19Feb 2018

Paramedics buy homeless man coat after cutting his clothes off for treatment


A couple of paramedics helped a homeless man who was left with nothing to keep him warm after his clothes were cut off for medical treatment.

Yorkshire Evening Post reported that Yorkshire Ambulance Service paramedics Leilah Nolan and Tom Thackray-Collier responded to a call about a homeless man and had to cut off his clothing to treat him.

fter treating him, the two went to a store and bought the man warm clothes so he could stay warm in the cold.

The man we helped was freezing cold. He desperately needed some warm clothing, and as he was homeless with no money, Tom and I felt it would be nice to buy him something warm,” Nolan said. “We went into the British Heart Foundation charity shop and found a T-shirt, warm jumper and coat, which we thought would be suitable for him, and we were happy to buy them for him.

Nolan said the man was overjoyed when they returned with the gift.

He was so happy and even did a little dance. He was shocked that someone did that for him and said he didn’t know what to say.

Nolan added that she hopes their act of kindness will inspire others to do the same.

I know if it had been any of my other colleagues who attended to this man that they would have done the same for him. We are all very caring and compassionate toward our patients and treat people with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

18Feb 2018

‘Move your van’ note left on ambulance in Stoke-on-Trent


A woman left an abusive note on an ambulance dealing with a 999 call, ordering paramedics to “move their van”.

The writer said she did not care if “the whole street collapsed” and the crew had “no right to be parked here”.

The hand-written message was left on an ambulance in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, earlier.

Operational manager Mike Duggan said the paramedics also received verbal abuse.

He shared an image of the note on Twitter saying he was “very angry”.

Paramedic Katie Tudor tweeted Staffordshire Police asking:

Is there anything that can be done about this? It’s becoming a regular occurrence.

Ch Insp John Owen replied: “Officers are in the process of speaking to our @OFFICIALWMAS colleagues to obtain the full details from the crews at the scene.”

The note concluded with the words “now move your van from outside my house”.

One Twitter user replied:

They probably had to write ‘van’ because they were unable to spell ambulance. Hope they’re visited by Staffs Police and prosecuted.

Mr Duggan told the BBC he thinks people who abuse emergency staff need to be dealt with more “robustly”.

He said:

What is it going to take? Is one of us going to have to die before they take it seriously?

West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team also blasted the note.

The team tweeted: “Unfortunately this appears to be acceptable behaviour in some small minded people’s minds these days #sadtimes.”

15Feb 2018

‘Phenomenal’ robot surgery speeds up man’s recovery

A man who became one of the first people in the UK to undergo robotic heart surgery has said the treatment was “phenomenal”.

Owen Veldhuizen said he was “a bit anxious” before the operation at Liverpool Chest and Heart Hospital, which saw surgeons guide a robot to carry out the procedure.

The use of a robot meant Mr Veldhuizen’s recovery time was cut from eight weeks to three.

View video on the BBC News website.

13Feb 2018

Key NHS technology programme extended to ambulance trusts

NHS England has today announced three ambulance trusts will share £10m to help improve patient care by developing into world class digital organisations.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) and North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) are the first to join the ambulance version of the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme.

The three Trusts will share an investment of £5m over 2 and a half years, which they will be expected to match fund, taking total investment to £10m as they develop into Global Digital Exemplars.

Selected in part because of a track record of digital delivery, South Central, West Midlands and North East Ambulance Services will be expected to focus on areas including: ensuring clinicians have access to patient records; use of remote diagnostics such as video consultations and ensuring vehicles have wifi access.

Professor Jonathan Benger, National Clinical Director for Urgent and Emergency Care at NHS England, said:

I am delighted this flagship digital transformation programme has been extended to ambulance trusts which are on the frontline of NHS care.

Digital technology has the potential to transform ways of working and improve patient care in ambulance trusts, from ensuring paramedics can access a patient’s medical record to improving trust efficiency in systems behind the scenes.

Will Smart, Chief Information Officer for Health and Care, said:

We have taken a different approach with the ambulance branch of the GDE programme and are today asking the three successful Trusts to think of ways in which they can work together to drive improvements through the use of digital technology.

By stepping up to become world class these three Trusts will join the most digitally advanced healthcare organisations across the globe and help deliver a sustainable and transformed NHS.

South Central, West Midlands and North East Ambulance Services were successful following review by a national panel that included Will Smart, Professor Benger, NHS England and NHS Digital.

The addition of 3 Trusts onto the Ambulance version of the Global Digital Exemplar programme brings the total investment in the GDE programme up to £280m (or £560m if match funding is included).

13Feb 2018

Sugary drinks face NHS ban if action is not taken

Sugary drinks will be further removed from NHS canteens, shops and vending machines during 2018.

The NHS is taking action on sugar, with almost two thirds of NHS trusts now signed up to a voluntary scheme to reduce sales of sugary drinks to 10 per cent or less of sold beverages. Some NHS Trusts have gone further and have introduced their own bans on sugary drinks. As well as hospitals, 14 national suppliers have signed up to the voluntary scheme including WH Smith, Marks & Spencer, Greggs and the Royal Voluntary Service.

However, 91 NHS Trusts are yet to join the voluntary scheme to limit the sale of sugary drinks, which can lead to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

Hospitals and suppliers have been warned that if they don’t take action to reduce sales of sugary drinks by the end of March 2018, a ban will be introduced in 2018 instead.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “It’s important the NHS practices what it preaches on healthy food and drink. We want 2018 to be the year when the tasty, affordable and easy option for patients, staff and visitors is the healthy option.

Many NHS hospitals have answered the call and are taking positive action.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive at Public Health England, said:

Hospitals should play an important role in preventing obesity, not just treating it. Plans to offer healthier food and restrict less healthy options are a positive step towards tackling the country’s obesity problem.

Some hospitals have already gone further than the NHS voluntary scheme:

  • Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust banned the sale of sugary drinks two years ago.
  • Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust in January 2017 went 100 per cent non-sugar sweetened for all beverages in their seven Cafes, two shops and multiple vending machines across their various sites.

NHS England’s voluntary sugary drinks reduction scheme covers sugary soft drinks, milkshakes and hot drinks with added sugar syrups.

Currently 141 of 232 NHS Trusts have signed up to the voluntary scheme to reduce sales of sugary drinks.

5Feb 2018

Act F.A.S.T. Campaign – Call 999 at any sign of a stroke

Act F.A.S.T. campaign returns to empower people to call 999 at any sign of a stroke

Public Health England, working closely with Stroke Association, have relaunched the national “Act F.A.S.T.” stroke campaign.

The campaign raises awareness for the signs of stroke and reinforces the importance of acting F.A.S.T. and calling 999 if you notice any single one of the signs in themselves or others. All three signs are not needed in order to make a 999 call, one is enough. Therefore, the campaign urges individuals to act without hesitation, upon spotting any sign, for both themselves and on behalf of others.

The campaign is built around the ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym to highlight the key signs of stroke and emphasise the importance of acting quickly by calling 999:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999

A stroke is known as a ‘brain attack’. There are over 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, causing over 40,000 deaths. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention as every minute is vital. That is why calling 999 is so crucial. An ambulance can give stroke patients those extra precious minutes, through faster and more specialist treatment via their knowledge of the nearest appropriate Hyper Acute Stroke Unit.

Act F.A.S.T. Make the Call. Dial 999.

Search ‘Act FAST’ for more information