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April 2019

24Apr 2019

Hospital team develops newspaper to help cancer patients

News from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH)

A team at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has developed its own newspaper to help cancer patients understand more about their treatment.

The Radiotherapy Team based at the Lingen Davies Centre has produced Radiotherapy News, a monthly newsletter which provides information about what’s happening in the department, developments in Radiotherapy both at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and nationwide and more about a patient’s treatment.

Bernadette Mortiboy, Technical Superintendent with the Radiotherapy Department, said:

The team in Radiotherapy are aware that at the beginning of a patient’s journey through the department they are bombarded with lots of information. There is a lot to take in at a time when they are very vulnerable and can feel overwhelmed.

When their course of treatment starts, they can face a long time in our waiting room before they can be treated.

That’s why we came up with the idea of writing a regular newspaper with information about treatment, the team, and radiotherapy news from around the world.

The first issue was launched at the end of March and was made available in the patient’s waiting room.

William Fearson, a patient who is being seen by the Radiotherapy team, said he was impressed by the initiative.

He said:

I think it’s absolutely excellent – easy to read, informative and well-illustrated. It also reflects the kindness and professionalism of the staff. As a patient it’s all really appreciated.

24Apr 2019

Experience of Care Week (22-26 April 2019)

News from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH)

The work of staff who provide care for patients, families and carers will be celebrated this week when the trust that runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals takes part in Experience of Care Week.

Experience of Care Week is an international initiative, running from 22 April to 26 April 2019, which recognises the value of each health worker’s contribution to a patient’s experience.

Many caring roles are carried out behind the scenes and not witnessed by the patient and their family, but every member of staff contributes to the experience a patient and their loved ones have while being treated at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford (PRH).

Ruth Smith, SaTH’s Lead for Patient Experience, said:

The Trust recognises and appreciates the work done by every employee to provide the very best experience for our patients. Whether on the front line or working behind the scenes, all staff provide a vital role in caring and together we are greater than the sum of our parts.

SaTH are celebrating Experience of Care Week in a number of ways:

  • A patient experience film has been created to capture and recognise the value of SaTH’s ‘hidden heroes’ who contribute to a patient’s journey.
  • ‘Observe & Act’ is being rolled out across both hospital sites to improve patient experience. The purpose of Observe and Act is to view a patient’s service experience from their perspective and then learn from it, share good practice and where necessary act to make improvements.
  • Staff are being invited to share stories about how they made a positive difference to a patient’s experience.
  • As part of SaTH’s Patient and Carer Experience (PaCE) Panel, a carers’ sub-group has been established to focus on the support available to carers and the experience they have at SaTH.
  • New patient experience webpages have been developed and launched along with a new patient experience portal
  • The Dementia Support Team will be holding a Dementia Café at RSH and a mobile afternoon tea will be held on Ward 10 at PRH on Tuesday 23 April to support Experience of Care Week.
19Apr 2019

Life-saving frontline technology given £5 million boost

The development of the TXA Autoinjector will allow life-saving blood clotting treatment to be given at the push of a button.

Technology being developed by a team of military doctors and scientists to stop rapid blood loss on the battlefield is a step closer to saving lives.

The TXA Autoinjector project, which allows life-saving blood clotting treatment to be administered at the push of a button, has been given a £5 million funding boost by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to accelerate the technology.

During a visit to The Royal London Hospital and London’s Air Ambulance at Barts Health NHS Trust today, the Defence Secretary said the technology would be backed by the department’s new Transformation Fund.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

Saving lives is at the heart of what our Armed Forces do, and this funding shows our commitment to ensuring those serving on the frontline get the best treatment as rapidly as possible.

Our work to save lives does not stop at our serving men and women but must also be about helping to improve the livelihoods of people across the world. This technology will allow us to just that, whether it is rolling it out to emergency services in the UK, or equipping medics in developing countries across the globe.

If successful, the cutting-edge medical technology could also be adapted from use in the battlefield to any major trauma incidents, from stab wounds to road traffic accidents.

It could also be used to help women in developing countries who suffer major blood loss during birth and are unable to access medical treatment.

Around 4.8 million people across the globe die due to major trauma incidents every year, while 14 million women face traumatic blood loss during labour.

Colonel Nigel Tai, trauma surgeon at The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust added:

Large international clinical trials show that TXA saves lives in bleeding patients. But we also know that for patients to be given the best chance, TXA should be given as soon as possible after injury.

The prospect is, that by packaging the drug in to a pre-filled AutoInjector, injured soldiers can self-treat as part of their first-aid drills, and won’t have to wait for evacuation or specialist medical help to arrive

The auto-injector uses Tranexamic Acid, which is a cost-effective and reliable drug that stabilizes and strengthens blood clotting within damaged tissues and can be administered by an untrained user.

Currently, administration of TXA requires an intravenous drip but the development of the auto-injector will allow it to be administered safely into a muscle.

The treatment is expected to benefit up to a third of seriously injured soldiers who would otherwise die from their wounds.

Once developed, the Autoinjector could be rolled out to police, NGOs, ambulance services, and Code Red first aid kits situated in public places.

15Apr 2019

NICE encourages use of greener asthma inhalers

People with asthma will be helped to choose the inhaler that is best for them, and best for the environment, by a new patient decision aid from NICE.

new patient decision aid, released today, highlights that some inhalers have a much higher carbon footprint than others.

The aid will help people with asthma, alongside health professionals, to identify which inhalers could meet their needs and control their symptoms.

Where several inhalers could be viable options, patients can opt for the more environmentally friendly option, which may help to cut the health service’s carbon footprint.[i]

The new aid, partially funded by the Sustainable Development Unit, also says that all used inhalers should be returned to local pharmacies for environmentally safe disposal or recycling.

Inhaler options

The aid describes the different types of inhaler which may be used by the estimated 5.4m people in the UK who have asthma, and how to use them effectively.

Some, called metered dose inhalers, contain propellants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are powerful greenhouse gases. While HFCs help to propel the dose into the patient’s respiratory system, many people will be able to achieve the same benefit from dry powder inhalers (DPIs).

Metered dose inhalers have estimated carbon footprints of 500g CO2eq per dose, compared to 20g in DPIs.

More than 26m prescriptions for metered dose inhalers were written in primary care in England in 2016/17. They made up 70% of UK inhaler sales in 2011, compared with fewer than half in other European countries and just 10% in Sweden.[ii]

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said:

This aid will help people make shared decisions on which inhaler is right for them, and help them use that inhaler effectively. This can help them to control their asthma, rather than have their asthma control them.

People who need to use metered dose inhalers should absolutely continue to do so – but if you have the choice of a green option, do think about the environment. Cutting carbon emissions is good news for everyone, especially those with respiratory conditions.

Technique tips

The aid includes links to a new series of short videos created by Asthma UK, which give simple demonstrations of correct inhaler technique, potentially improving their effectiveness and preventing future exacerbations and attacks.

They support NICE’s guideline on asthma, which notes that poor technique can worsen an individual’s control over their asthma.