Welcome to May's e-bulletin which gives Governors news and information about our Trust and what is going on in the NHS.
I am delighted to inform you that the new Ronald McDonald House is now open. It will provide accommodation for families of patients at the Children's Hospital and Newborn Intensive Care at Saint Mary's. Ronald McDonald House Charities aims to provide free 'home away from home' accommodation at hospitals, enabling families to stay close to their child and maintain a degree of normal family life. The £7.5 million house includes:
I am looking forward to attending a ground breaking ceremony to mark the start of the building work for a new NHS dialysis unit in Stockport which will open in 2013. It is our partnership between our Trust and Fresenius Medical Care. Patients will be under the clinical care of consultants based at Manchester Royal Infirmary and the nurse-led dialysis unit in Stockport.
The new unit will be open six days a week and will provide life-saving treatment for up to 96 patients, as well as providing facilities for patients to be trained in self-care. Providing dialysis treatment closer to where patients live will cut patient journey times and improve their quality of life.
The recent article in The Independent on the work and achievements of our nursing staff prompted two high level visits from the Department of Health. Lord Howe, Parliamentary under Secretary for Quality, and Dame Carole Black, Chair of the Responsibility Deal health at work network, came on two separate occasions to see for themselves how nursing standards had been raised over the years. They both visited ward areas and were impressed to hear how our ward accreditation scheme has made a significant difference to the standards of care provided.
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Mental health charity Mind says there has been a surge in calls to its helplines since the start of the recession. Advisors at the charity say calls about personal finance and employment issues have doubled since 2008. Calls on all topics to the charity's helplines increased by up to 28% this year compared to last. Mind says 40% of calls are going unanswered because of demand, and warns there are funding issues. The national service is available five days a week. The charity says calls to its five-day-a week infoline and legal lines have steadily increased since the service opened over 20 years ago. In 2011-2012 it responded to over 40,000 enquiries.
Patients in England will be able to book GP appointments and get test results online within three years, ministers are promising. The moves are part of an Information Strategy designed to "take the hassle out of the health service". Online communications between patients and their doctors is already happening in some places. But the strategy sets out plans to ensure there is universal adoption of digital technologies. The Department of Health is also encouraging the NHS and private companies to develop new health apps for smart phones and tablet computers.
North West News
The accident and emergency unit is to stay open at Fairfield General in Bury - after bosses revealed plans for a multi-million pound expansion. Fresh fears over the future of the department were raised after maternity was axed at the site in February. But chiefs at Pennine Acute Trust have agreed to spend £2.25m to improve facilities - and say that will secure its long-term future. The A&E was originally designed to treat 45,000 patients a year - but last year saw more than 65,000 people and bosses say it needs to expand to meet the demand.
The investment will see the introduction of extra beds, as well as the development of dedicated A&E facilities for children and young people. The unit will be expanded to separate minor and major patients - meaning that critically-ill patients brought in by ambulance will be kept away from people with less-serious injuries and illnesses. There will also be an extra resuscitation bay.
Our Trust Charity News
Patient Abigail Lightbown from Bolton, who is undergoing treatment for a Brain Tumour at RMCH, recently joined by Pete Constanti, Chairman of Thomas Cook Children's Charity, Coronation Street star Antony Cotton, children's hospital patron Julie Neville, Chairman of the fundraising board for RMCH Maurice Watkins and Trust Chairman Peter Mount to officially open the hydrotherapy unit at the children's hospital.
Thomas Cook Children's Charity kindly donated £150,000 to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity to help make a difference to patients, like Abigail, by making the hydrotherapy unit at the hospital more child friendly and welcoming.
Now, when patients 'check in' at reception, they will be able to map and plan travels to far away lands in the holiday inspired artwork and listen to sounds of the ocean, helping to create a sense of adventure for children and a less daunting and clinical environment.
Abigail said: "I think it is brilliant and having bright colours and magic pictures makes it much better. I can't wait for my next hydrotherapy session so I can test the new light and sound art out for myself."
Children with drug-resistant epilepsy across England will benefit from a major expansion of specialist brain surgery and assessment, the NHS has announced. Epilepsy is a tendency to have recurrent seizures and affects around 600,000 people in the UK. However, approximately one third of patients do not respond to medication, continuing to experience seizures. For a proportion of this group brain surgery can be highly effective, leading to seizure freedom in up to 80 per cent of cases.
The announcement to expand specialist brain surgery and assessment for children with epilepsy follows the Safe and Sustainable review of children's neurological services. During the review, clinical evidence emerged which suggested that there are significant advantages for performing early epilepsy surgery during the first five years of life
RMCH and Alder Hey Children's Hospital will jointly become one of four specialist centres in the country. From November 2012 existing services Manchester and Liverpool will be expanded to enable doctors to treat three times as many patients as they currently treat now. The intention in the first year is for all children aged under 5 years to be operated on at RMCH.
Visit celebrates the work of our midwives
During a recent visit, Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) congratulated the midwifery team at Saint Mary's Hospital for their hard work over the last few years and celebrated their many recent achievements.
She was welcomed to the hospital by Kathy Murphy, Head of Nursing and Midwifery at Saint Mary's, who, along with some of the senior midwives, took Cathy on a tour of the maternity units, clinics and wards, showing her exactly why they're so proud of their facilities. It also gave Cathy an opportunity to meet and speak to the midwives and RCM members and see their hard work for herself.
Since 2008 when detailed preparation for the move into the new Saint Mary's building started, the staff have been in an ever-changing environment, most recently taking on additional maternity work as part of the region-wide Making it Better project. During this time, they have continued to raise the bar on the level of service they offer and continue to be regarded as a shining example of fantastic care. While undergoing major building works, service redevelopment and changes in the team, they have also managed to achieve numerous awards, including one from the RCM.
New Adult Critical Care Unit milestone
The first phase of a £25m project to build a state of the art New Adult Critical Care Unit and to upgrade the electrical infrastructure of the entire Trust site has now been completed. This milestone was reached on 17th January, and is the first stage of four in major works being carried out throughout the year.
Phase A comprised new 5th Floor offices to house Anaesthetics, Renal Transplant and Department of Medicine, along with a new Doctors' Mess. The new offices are light, airy and modern - a real improvement to the working environment.
The departments moved into their new accommodation on the 20th/21st Jan, and the completion of Phase A has enabled work to start on the remainder of the project:
One of our leading cytologists carries the Olympic torch!
Dr Mina Desai, our Head of Cytology, is due to carry the Olympic torch through the town of Hindley during the North-West leg of its route across the UK. The torch will be carried through the Wigan area on Thursday 31st May, and she is due to take control at around 5pm. Dr Desai was at the forefront of the research which has helped the UK screening programme for cervical cancer to become one of the best in the world, and has worked tirelessly to improve screening programmes for cervical cancer both in the UK and in the developing world.
Her voluntary involvement in community work includes spreading awareness of cervical and breast cancer prevention among women of Indian, Pakistani, Afro-Caribbean, Nepalese and Chinese origins. She also gives her voluntary services all over the planet, especially in the developing world, to bring down cervical cancer death rates. Dr Desai said: "I am hugely proud to be carrying the Olympic torch, and to be such a part of sporting history is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
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Ongoing activities include:
Governor Diary Dates