News in Brief – new birthing centre opens, arts in health exhibition, dyslexia support packs

Our news in brief is back with a round-up of recent developments across the healthcare sector.

It’s been a whirlwind November and here are some of the headlines that you may have missed…

CW+ arts in health exhibit at Saatchi Gallery

The charity CW+ has partnered with Saatchi Gallery to display an ‘arts in health’ exhibition at the venue.

Entitled ‘Journeys: The Healing Arts’, the exhibit offers free entry and visitors can view the work of over 20 artists until 13 January 2022.

Now open to the public, the display of bespoke artworks comes from the CW+ art collection, which was commissioned to ‘enhance the environment and improve patient outcomes at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’.

From hand-drawn to digital pieces, the exhibition portrays changes in hospitals during COVID, as well as reflecting the stages of care, support and recovery.

Trystan Hawkins, Arts Director at CW+, says: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Saatchi Gallery to present this unique exhibition. Thanks to our generous supporters, we’re able to work with these incredible artists to transform the hospital experience and environment for our patients, their families and our hardworking staff. I am delighted that for the first time the wider community can now also enjoy these artworks and learn more about our innovative programme of work.”

Nursing students launch dyslexia support packs

A team of nursing students from King’s College London (KCL) has released free support packs for children with dyslexia.

Kiaya Chick and Kaynath Rahman launched the packs across Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster, after winning last year’s King’s Civic Challenge in the Reduced Inequalities category.

The packages contain resources and information for children between the ages of eight and 12, who have diagnosed or suspected dyslexia, and families that receive them can also gain free access to dyslexia-friendly resources from the website, Twinkl.

Shrewsbury staff’s new approach to hospital sleep

Staff at The Redwoods Centre, a local mental health inpatient ward in Shrewsbury, have worked together to help patients get a good night’s sleep.

The specially-designed evening regime includes relaxing music, sleep packs, non-caffeinated hot drinks, quiet and ‘non-stimulating’ activities such as jigsaws and mindful colouring books, and dimmed lighting.

Following a pilot, the new approach will include occupational therapists working special twilight shifts to support their colleagues and the initiative.

David Wilkinson, Service Manager, said: “Staff from across the multi-disciplinary team are working together to implement this project and everyone has a part to play in making sure our ward environment is conducive to ensuring patients are ready for sleep, have a restful night, and awake refreshed.”

Third surgical robot for Portsmouth

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) has received a third da Vinci surgical robot.

The robot arrived at Queen Alexandra hospital in October and is being used as part of the UK’s robotic-assisted emergency surgery programme.

Robotic-assisted surgery allows complicated procedures to be carried out through keyhole incisions, via a ‘hi-tech 3D camera and robotic technology’, which allows for increased precision and could lead to shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times.

Surgeons at PHU use the da Vinci surgical systems for hundreds of procedures a year and, according to the trust, are one of the first in the UK to extend its use for emergency surgery.

The da Vinci Xi Surgical System has been loaned to PHU by Intuitive to enable the trust to provide robotic-assisted surgery to more patients, specifically those with bowel blockages, complicated gallstone disease, and incarcerated hernias.

Professor Jim Khan, a Consultant Surgeon at PHU who specialises in robotic surgery, said: “I am thrilled that PHU will be exploring emergency robotic-assisted surgery for the first time. Twenty per cent of our colorectal cancer patients are admitted to QA in an emergency due to obstruction, bleeding, or perforation of the bowel. There are many survival and recovery benefits with the use of robotic surgery, so the arrival of the new robot means that more patients can quickly receive the treatment they need.”

New birthing facility officially opened

Earlier in November, Musgrove Park’s Bracken Birthing Centre was officially opened.

According to Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, the centre underwent a £300,000 upgrade, funded by the League of Friends, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The birthing centre work is part of the wider ‘Musgrove 2030’ programme to transform the hospital’s facilities.

Philippa Quinn, the Sister responsible for Bracken Birthing Centre, said: “A year on from re-opening during the pandemic we are delighted to have cut the ribbon to officially open the new Bracken Birthing Centre.

“Many women tell us that they love the experience of a water birth, so we listened to this feedback and set out to create more choice for women in the area by adding another birthing pool. We didn’t stop there as, thanks to the amazing support from our League of Friends and its donors, we were able to completely refurbish Bracken Birthing Centre, giving women and their families a better experience in a more homely environment.”

Torbay and South Devon seeks community view on redevelopment

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is working with Dartmouth Town Council to find out whether the community can buy the former Dartmouth Hospital site.

The trust and council want to know whether its potential redevelopment can help local people and what facilities people would like to see on the site.

Adrien Cooper, Interim Director of Environment for Torbay and South Devon said: “We recognise that the former hospital is dear to local people’s hearts and occupies a prime waterfront site. It closed almost five years ago, after a full consultation, and the time has now come to sell it.

“As we are a public sector organisation, there are some rules around how we do that, and we have to make sure we get a fair price for the site. But that doesn’t mean we have to sell to the highest bidder.

“Our preference is that local people benefit from any development. That’s why we are supporting Dartmouth Town Council to explore whether a community bid for the site is possible. We are putting everything we can into this, and want to see the power of partnership working come good here.”

The trust needs the funds from any sale by the end of March 2023, to help it pay for the costs of building a new Health and Wellbeing Centre, and is asking local people to share their views in a survey, which can be accessed online.

London trust sets up specialist lung service

London North Wes University Healthcare Trust has developed a new specialist service to treat patients with Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD).

Dr Georgios Margaritopoulos, a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine with a special Interest in ILDs, set up the service after working in other ILD units.

Dr Margaritopoulos said: “It’s often a progressive disease so the earlier we can reach a confident diagnosis, the earlier we can introduce treatment to slow its progress or to stabilise it.

“Our goal is to become a referral centre for the prescription of antifibrotic medications, a treatment approved for the most common and progressive form of ILDs, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, for patients across North West London and we’re currently recruiting a specialist nurse before applying.”

HCT and West Hertfordshire’s new integrated asthma service

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust have set up a new integrated Asthma and Wheeze nurse-led service.

The service aims to ‘improve outcomes and to support children, their families and local services with the long-term management of asthma/wheeze to prevent attacks’. The nurses will provide a ‘collaborative approach’ as a community and hospital integrated team and children will be seen in clinics according to clinical need.

New framework to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in research

The NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) has committed to a new framework that can help improve equality of access to research opportunities for both research staff and study participants. 

The new equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) framework includes seven objectives that will ‘help implement real and practical changes’. The aims include ‘improving recruitment practices’, ‘building a more diverse leadership’, supporting existing and new staff networks, and ‘ensuring that the BRC is representative of the communities it serves’.

Professor Waljit Dhillo, Dean of the NIHR Academy, was involved in the development of the new framework. He said: “Embracing equality, diversity and inclusion is not simply a matter of complying with the law, nor is it simply a matter of social justice. Diversity is essential to excellence in scientific endeavour.

“We have recognised that now is the time to implement real and practical changes in the way we work and what our expectations are moving forward. This is imperative for both the researchers we fund, but also for the wider community we serve by taking steps towards better representation of the people of North West London.”