Category Archives: Health

Well-being garden part of Blackpool Vic’s new green plan

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Hospital chiefs have pledged to do their bit to help save the planet by signing up to a new Green Plan.

A strategy including to reduce energy use and cut down on waste has been agreed by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (BTH) which operates Blackpool Victoria Hospital (BVH) and Clifton Hospital in St Annes.

The target is to reach net zero emissions by 2040, with the current plan covering initiatives up to 2025.

A report to the BTH board of directors says: “As one of the largest organisations and employers across the Fylde Coast we have a significant impact but also an important opportunity to make a positive difference in both carbon emissions and population health.

“We generate large amounts of waste and emissions from our clinical service provision.

“The journeys needed to deliver goods and services and move staff, patients and visitors impacts on local air quality.

“Having a clear and intentional plan will allow us to focus on and manage our impact on the environment, whilst improving quality and access to services for those who need them. ”

Hospital chiefs switched to renewable energy in April 2021 and have installed new technology at BVH and Clifton to provide more efficient generation of electricity and heating.

Lighting has been replaced with more efficient LEDs across large portions of sites, with controls in place to prevent electricity being wasted.

Other initiatives include: –

* Working with groups such as wildlife trusts and beekeepers to improve biodiversity at NHS sites.

* Promoting health and well-being by offering staff and patients opportunities to take part in food growing, beekeeping and other physical activities in nature. This will include creating an edible wellbeing garden at BVH for staff and patients.

* Introducing electric charging points in all car parks and offering reduced car parking charges for those using more environmentally friendly vehicles. Encouraging cycling to work, use of low emission vehicles and car sharing.

* There are already monthly meat free Mondays in the staff restaurant, with catering contracts requiring maximum use of fresh and seasonal food to minimise transportation. Biodegradable takeaway cartons, disposable cups and drink stirrers are used and 71 per cent of suppliers are local.

* Food waste can be reduced by sending it to make animal feed, for conversion into energy or to make compost.

 

Axed Fleetwood and Poulton breast screening units see women forced to take three buses for appointments

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

“I know a lot of people who have been affected by breast cancer; it could be a friend, a daughter, a sister or a grandma. This is very concerning,” says a campaigner

 

Carol Dickinson, who is campaigning to have mobile breast screening services reinstated at Fleetwood and Poulton,
Carol Dickinson, who is campaigning to have mobile breast screening services reinstated at Fleetwood and Poulton

Vital mobile breast screening services have been axed on the Fylde coast, sparking a huge campaign for them to be reinstated with people left taking three buses to make appointments.

Mobile screening has not been taking place at Fleetwood and Poulton-le-Fylde, according to North Lancashire and South Cumbria Breast Screening Programme, which said the situation was due to national changes and technical difficulties in a statement on the service’s page on the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust website.

However, the move has sparked anger and triggered calls for the return of the services, with a Facebook campaign group entitled ‘Bring the mobile breast screening unit to Fleetwood and Wyre’ gathering almost 2,000 members in the space of four days.

Campaigners fear residents will miss out on breast screening appointments due to being forced to travel to Lytham and Blackpool, with non-drivers, those on poor incomes, and those in rural locations being hardest hit.

Campaigner Carol Dickinson, 66, of Fleetwood, told LancsLive: “My appointment was cancelled because of staffing issues. When I rang to rearrange, I asked if it could be at Fleetwood, and was told, it’s not coming to Fleetwood any more due to technical and car parking issues.

“I know a lot of people who have been affected by breast cancer; it could be a friend, a daughter, a sister or a grandma. This is very concerning.

“One elderly lady had taken three buses to get to Lytham. It’s a 38 mile round trip, it was cold and it was raining, and when she got there, the machine was broken. I know a district nurse who can’t attend breast screening. She said, we are too short staffed – I can’t take the day off to do that.”

“It’s shocking – because once it’s gone, it will be hard to get back. There are all sorts of heartbreaking comments; some are grateful because it saved their lives, and one lady who is having a double masectomy this week is supporting us as well. ”

Campaigner Carol Dickinson
Campaigner Carol Dickinson

In a Facebook post she said: “There can’t be many people who haven’t been touched by this dreadful disease be it a friend, family member or on a more personal level. To make it so difficult to attend these important appointments is unforgivable and will lead to ladies missing out on their scans. I’ve already spoken to some who say they won’t bother. “

Cat Smith, the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said ‘hundreds’ of patients in rural locations would also be affected and people would miss out on ‘life saving diagnosis’.

She told LancsLive: “Given the poor public transport links, many women say they won’t be able to attend their appointment. The travel time is too lengthy, and they can’t be released from work or they can’t afford the travel costs. Here in Fleetwood there is below average car ownership and above average numbers of people on low incomes making it more likely that patients in Fleetwood and the wider area are less likely to be able to attend appointments outside of the town.

“Life expectancy is closely related to people’s socio-economic circumstances. The most common measure of these circumstances across a population is deprivation – and both Fleetwood and Over Wyre have some of the most deprived wards in the country. It’s unfair that Fleetwood and Over Wyre face health inequalities not experienced by other towns along the Fylde Coast.”

Paul Maynard, Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, told LancsLive that the situation left his constituents and others with no adequate breast screening provision.

A mobile breast cancer screen unit
A mobile breast cancer screen unit

He said: “This is a very concerning situation. It leaves my constituents and others in Fleetwood with no adequate breast screening provision – the nearest now being in the south of Blackpool. Staffing is a problem due to Covid, and it will have affected demand for their services, but that is no reason to downgrade the health opportunities of some of the poorest communities in the country. If existing locations were problematic, there are many, many more publicly owned locations where the services could be sited.

“This is not good enough. I have asked the unit to provide a better explanation, reverse their decision and look for alternative sites. Cancer survival rates are too low as they are and this is a wholly unacceptable state of affairs”.

Lorraine Beavers, Lancashire County Councillor for Fleetwood East, Wyre Borough Councillor for Rossall ward and Fleetwood town councillor, said: “Fleetwood is an area where not many people own their own vehicles. The infrastructure and transport links to Fleetwood are absolutely dire, and every single one of the breast screening clinics is at least two buses away on public transport. Someone will have to take the day off work to go to this. We know that people are not going to go – they may not be able to get time off work, or they may have caring responsibilities.

“Fleetwood as a community desperately needs this service. We are trying to find out who made this decision. We want answers – we need this service bringing back.”

In a joint statement Cat Smith; Dr Mark Spencer, of Mountview Surgery and clinical lead for the Fleetwood Primary Care Network; and councillors Lorraine Beavers and Cheryl Raynor said they had been told by North Lancashire & South Cumbria Breast Screening Service, run by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, that it was currently unable to move the mobile vans to Fleetwood or Poulton – but that it was looking at ways of moving them to both sites if possible.

North Lancashire and South Cumbria Breast Screening Programme said in a statement on their website: “Due to national changes to the way women are invited for breast screening and coupled with technical difficulties beyond our control we have not been able to visit Fleetwood or Poulton with our mobile screening unit at this time.

“We sincerely apologise to all women that have been affected by this. We are working as hard as we possibly can in these very difficult times, and we do share your frustrations.

“Currently we can offer screening for you at our mobile screening sites located at the Palatine Leisure Centre in Blackpool or at Lytham Primary Care Centre.”

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust was contacted for comment but did not respond prior to deadline.

 

 

Demand for return of breast screening in Fleetwood

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Campaigners are calling for the return of the mobile breast screening service to Fleetwood as a matter of urgency.

 

Calls have been made for the mobile breast screening service to return to Fleetwood.

Calls have been made for the mobile breast screening service to return to Fleetwood.

The North Lancashire & South Cumbria Breast Screening Service run by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust have confirmed they are unable to move the mobile vans from their current positions in Lytham, Blackpool and Lancaster.

It means women in Fleetwood and Wyre, a large number of whom don’t have access to cars, are having to travel miles for screening.

As a Facebook campaign by a Fleetwood resident gathered almost 1,700 members in just four days, calls for the service’s return have been made by Fleetwood MP Cat Smith, Fleetwood GP and public health lead Dr Mark Spencer and councillors in the town.

Carol Dickinson set up a Facebook group calling for the return of the breast screening service to Fleetwood

Carol Dickinson set up a Facebook group calling for the return of the breast screening service to Fleetwood

Cat Smith said: “Given the poor public transport links, many women say they won’t be able to attend their appointment. The travel time is too lengthy, and they can’t be released from work or they can’t afford the travel costs.

“Here in Fleetwood there is below average car ownership and above average numbers of people on low incomes making it more likely that patients in Fleetwood and the wider area are less likely to be able to attend appointments outside of the town.”

The MP said residents in Over Wyre and Poulton would also be affected.

Fleetwood woman Carol Dickinson, 66, of Kemp Street, set up the Facebook group, Bring the Mobile Breast Screening unit to Fleetwood and Wyre, after she was told the mobile service would not be coming to the town.

Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Carol said: “I needed to reschedule my screening and they told me it couldn’t come to Fleetwood any more because there was a technical issue with the car parking.

“I was really concerned about what this would mean for women who aren’t so mobile and who don’t have a car.

“Women must not miss their screenings, it is too important.

“The service is supposed to be mobile so there should be no reason why it can’t come to Fleetwood.”

Dr Mark Spencer of Mountview Surgery and Clinical Lead for the Fleetwood Primary Care Network said: “People are understandably concerned. In the meantime staff at Fleetwood’s GP surgeries are doing all they can to help find a solution and we encourage everyone to attend their appointments if they possibly can.”

Fleetwood councillor Lorriane Beavers said: “Many women have had their breast screening appointments cancelled due to Covid and are now concerned they are missing out on life saving diagnosis by not being able to attend Lytham or elsewhere.”

Leanne Coulson, interim head of Department for North Lancashire & South Cumbria Breast Screening Service said: “The health and wellbeing of all women in the Fleetwood and Poulton areas remains of upmost importance to our service.

“Many ladies from these areas have attended but we are fully aware of the transport difficulties faced by many others when being invited elsewhere for screening and the effect on attendance. At this current time, we are not able to move the vans to Fleetwood or Poulton, please be reassured we are looking at ways of moving the mobiles vans to both sites if possible.

“In the meantime, we have screening vans at Lytham Health Centre, Palatine Leisure Centre and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.”

 

 

Hopes for life saving operation for six-year-old with “aggressive” rare form of cancer boosted by event plans.

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A swimming school in Blackpool will be raising money for an operation for six-year-old Isabelle Grundy.

The Charlotte-May School of Swimming

The Charlotte-May School of Swimming

The Charlotte-May’s School of Swimming, near Bispham Road, will be holding a sponsored swim on February 19th from 12PM to 4PM. Each of the staff and students will be performing 1600 lengths of the pool, to reach the goal of 10 miles. Participants are welcome to come along and take part, with food and drinks also available for purchase on the day, as well as a raffle.

Isebelle Grundy, a student from Anchorsholme Academy in Thornton-Cleveleys, was diagnosed in July with a rare and aggressive form of Childhood Cancer, High Risk, Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. As of writing, the Isebelle Grundy fundraiser has raised over £70,000 of the £200,000 set target.

Charlotte May Crabtree, owner of the school, found out about Isebelle’s condition via social media and was compelled to do her bit and help raise funds for a good cause.

Charlotte May Crabtree, owner of the school

Charlotte May Crabtree, owner of the school

“It means a lot to both myself and my swimmers to be able to help out for such a good cause. I think it makes it even more special considering she’s a local little girl, and brings it home that bit more. We hope that once all sponsorship is raised we will be able to donate a good amount of funds towards a great cause in helping Isabelle out.

“Dawn, the pool owner, has kindly given us the pool time rent free so the money I would normally pay for pool rent is going to be donated. My swimmers have got from now until 19th February to raise sponsorship. It will then all be collected on the day added to and donated to Isabelle treatment fund.”

If you wish to sponsor the Charlotte-May School of Swimming, please click here. Anyone who wishes to come along and take part will be welcome to do so, all you have to do is contact the school’s Facebook page. And if you wish to donate to Isebelle’s fundraiser, click here.

 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital unveils plans for new three-storey facility

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Along with a laundry facility, the building will house storage, office space and staff areas

 

Designs drawn up by Gilling Dod architects for Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Designs drawn up by Gilling Dod architects for Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital bosses have unveiled plans to build a new laundry facility on the site off East Park Drive.

The new three-storey building is earmarked for a currently unused area close to the mortuary, currently occupied by a service road and a fenced off compound.

It is proposed to demolish the existing outdated laundry building, close to the Whinney Heys Road entrance to the hospital site, and replace it with a 76-space staff car park.

Designs drawn up by Gilling Dod architects have now been submitted to Blackpool Council for consideration.

The building will also provide storage and office space, a meeting room and staff refreshment and relaxation areas. It is also proposed to provide a new medical records scanning and storage facility.

A design brief accompanying the application says: “The ground floor level of the new laundry building will provide means for the hospital to receive and store new clean hospital linen prior to onward distribution throughout the hospital, as well the storage and despatch of dirty hospital linen.”

It adds: “Once the new laundry building has been completed and occupied, the existing laundry will be no longer of use and due to its current poor material state it is proposed that it will be demolished.

“Once demolished, the opportunity will be taken due to its prominent location next to the hospital main entrance and multi-storey car park, to provide a new surface level car park for the use of hospital staff.”

The application will now go to town hall planners for a decision to be made.

 

 

It’s already been a hectic year writes Roy Edmonds

Home | Blackpool Gazette

‘How’s 2022 treating you so far?” asked a friend, messaging my mobile phone.

Whitegate Health Centre

Whitegate Health Centre

Well, I told him, first off we enjoyed Christmas – even got to a couple of ‘do’s (after finally sorting out Covid passes).

One evening, with Fairhaven Tennis Club at the lovely Bedford Hotel in St. Annes, brought lots of fun and great food. We even won a good bottle of French champagne! The other was an enjoyable dance at the wonderful Tower, the ‘Twixt Ball’ between Christmas and New Year – and another success.

Then 2022 came, bringing a telephone fault silencing our landline for days, plus a flooding drain in our garden. I also discovered the car wasn’t serviced or properly taxed through last year’s Covid-lockdown chaos. Then I cut my hand badly, on the gate’s hanging-basket hook and, lastly, got a troubling gum infection.

2022 looked like another challenging year then! But engineers clearing our drain were great, with miniature cameras, blockage locators and root-cutting devices; helpful Sky technicians – and Brian from Openreach – sorted our phone line; Ivory dentist’s soothed my mouth, while supreme mechanic Mark, of Howarth’s Motors, Marton, rescued us with the car.

As for NHS staff at Whitegate Drive’s busy walk-in, or ‘urgent-treatment’ centre (pictured), they were terrific and the experience humbling. I made three visits in all, every one shorter and more pleasant. They were understaffed but had relief medics travelling from Liverpool and Cheshire.

Each treatment experience I was touched and impressed by their exhaustingly long, dedicated work but cheerful spirit; while the endurance of many patients, suffering but coping with fortitude and selfless patience, was truly inspiring.

It made me proud to live among such diverse but pleasant, decent people. What’s more, coping with those day-to-day challenges restored my confidence – in us all.

Let’s make it a great New Year, together!

* Read Roy’s books in paperback from FeedARead.com, also on Amazon Kindle or through Waterstones.

 

North West Ambulance Service requests urgent military support as it comes under “extreme pressure”

Home | Blackpool Gazette

North West Ambulance Service has requested urgent support from the military as it comes under ‘extreme pressure’ due to of staff absences.

 

Around 150 soldiers will deployed to the North West to support North West Ambulance Service as it struggles with growing numbers of staff absences due to Covid

Around 150 soldiers will deployed to the North West to support North West Ambulance Service as it struggles with growing numbers of staff absences due to Covid

The request has been accepted and military personnel will join forces with North West Ambulance Service from next week.

The ambulance service is said it is under “extreme pressure” with 25% of its staff currently isolating due to Covid.

But from Tuesday (January 11), 150 soldiers will be deployed to the region to drive ambulances and respond to non-emergency incidents.

The military will work alongside ambulance crews for a “number of weeks”, much as it did last year when NWAS faced similar pressures due to Covid.

Director of Operations Ged Blezard said: “It is no secret that the ambulance service, along with the NHS as a whole, has been under extreme pressure for several months.

“Now we are also experiencing high numbers of staff absences due to confirmed COVID-19 cases and isolation, with around 25% of the workforce currently affected.

“As part of our resilience planning, we can make a request to the military for support and feel now is the right time to put the arrangements in place.

“We worked alongside the military last February and March, and it allows us to have more of our vehicles on the road, getting people the treatment they need sooner.

“This frees up emergency ambulances to attend to urgent, life-threatening cases.”

Military personnel will receive NWAS training in driving ambulances, manual handling, kit familiarisation and basic life support, similar to the standards of the trust’s patient transport staff who have also been supporting the emergency service throughout the pandemic.

It follows a partnership last winter, when soldiers were deployed to more than 4,600 non-life-threatening 999 incidents. They also helped move patients between healthcare sites around 1,700 times.

Mr Blezard added: “I would like to thank our NWAS team of staff and volunteers for their continued dedication over the last two years. They have been working incredibly hard to deliver the best possible service for our patients.

“Taking this timely intervention to increase our resources means we can carry on doing that while providing extra support for our staff and patients during another challenging period.

“As always, we are here for you in an emergency, and you can assist us by using 111 online if you need urgent care advice and only dialling 999 in a life-threatening situation.”

 

 

Around 400 Blackpool NHS staff still unjabbed

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Some NHS staff on the Fylde coast ‘remain adamant’ they will not have a Covid vaccine despite facing possible dismissal from their jobs.

Mandatory vaccinations are due to come into force for all patient-facing NHS staff from April, , subject to the passage of the regulations through Parliament.

Around five cent of staff at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (BTH) remain unjabbed according to hospital records, which is around 400 people, according to figures given to a meeting of the board of directors.

Of those, analysis shows 95 are nursing staff.

Some NHS hospital staff remain unjabbed

Some NHS hospital staff remain unjabbed

Letters had previously been sent out to 800 unvaccinated hospital staff urging them to get their Covid jabs.

But despite the pleas, many NHS staff are still refusing to come forward for a vaccine, and the Trust had received some responses, in the form of a standardised letter, challenging the requirement for a vaccine.

Peter Murphy, director of nursing at BTH, said: “With the intent of these letters, it appears as though some people are still adamanet that they will not receive the vaccine.”

But he said since the government had issued its mandate, “there has been a large number of people presenting for their first jabs.”

The options for staff who refuse a vaccination include being redeployed into roles away from services where they directly care for patients, or they will face dismissal.

The meeting was told the hospital trust would follow national guidance when it came to the dismissal process and a consistent approach was expected by all hospital trusts in the region when it came to dealing with non-vaccinated staff.

This included the adoption of a process to handle applications to be exempt from having a vaccine.

The Trust could also consider whether future contracts of employment would require staff agreeing to have the Covid vaccination.

 

Urgent treatment remains the priority as Blackpool Victoria Hospital warns of ‘unprecedented pressure’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Some non-urgent treatment has had to be cancelled at Blackpool Victoria Hospital as medics battle to prioritise the sickest patients while coping with the impact of rising Covid infections.

Urgent procedures remain a priority, a meeting of the hospital’s board of governors was told on Thursday, as health chiefs are faced with keeping services afloat in the face of rising demand and staff absences.

An internal critical incident was declared on Monday by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTH) in response to beds being at full capacity.

BTH chief executive Trish Armstrong-Child told the meeting: “We didn’t have enough beds for the 24 hours coming up so we had long waits in our emergency department.”

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

But she reassured the board and the public “this is an organisation and a team operationally and clinically in control and doing all they possibly can to keep our services going and our patients safe.”

It also means a setback for efforts to restore surgery and other treatment after waiting lists increased during lockdown.

There were 916 patients waiting more than a year for treatment in November, down from 1,046 the previous month, and 18 waiting for two years compared to a peak of 50 in July.

Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at BTH, warned the hospital was “under unprecedented pressure” but measures were being taken to “keep services running as much as possible.”

She told the meeting the hospital was maintaining its clinically urgent procedures as well as treatment for those patients waiting longest.

But some non-urgent in-patient procedures and out-patient-clinics had had to be stood down “to redeploy medical doctors, to get them on the wards to support our ward rounds.”

The Emergency Department also continues to be under pressure with more than 200 attendances a day being a regular occurrence in November, and more than seven per cent of people waiting more than 12 hours in A&E.

The Trust had the second highest ambulance attendance in the region in November, with 2,554 people conveyed to hospital, of whom nearly 300 had their transfer delayed by more than an hour.

Janet Barnsley, executive director of operations at BTH, told the board these pressures had worsened in December, and were predicted to become more challenging further into January.

An increase in Covid patients from 35 on Christmas Eve to 125, along with a staff absence rate of 12 per cent, had exacerbated matters.

At the same time there were currently 95 patients who no longer needed to be in hospital but had nowhere to be discharged to with the average waiting time for a care package mounting up to nine days.

However action has been taken including to increase the area which ambulances can use to offload patients, and finding more support for patients who no longer need to be in a hospital bed.

 

Staff sickness at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has doubled as Omicron levels soar

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Victoria Hospital says a doubling of staff sickness levels, worryingly long waits in the emergency department and problems with safely discharging patients were key reasons for declaring an emergency incident there this week.

 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

And Dr Jim Gardner, Medical Director at the hospital trust, says the fact that community Omicron infection numbers in Blackpool and the Fylde coast have risen rapidly in the space of two weeks has also been a factor.

He said a week before Christmas the number in Blackpool was 800 per 100,000 people, but the latest figure had risen to 2,015 per 100,000.

The latest figure for Fylde was 1,853 and for Wyre it was 1,174.

Staff sickness levels within the hospital were at 12 per cent when the normal rate was five per cent, he revealed.

Dr Gardner said: “The numbers around Covid are very interesting because we have seen this extraordinary rise of infection levels with the Omicron variant.

“These numbers are rising very rapidly and are reflecting the community numbers, doubling essentially in a week.”

He said there were 116 in-patients who were Covid positive within 14 days of their first positive test, including 91 in general beds and 21 at Clifton.

In the last two weeks there have been five Covid-related deaths within the hospital, taking the total up to 908 since the pandemic began.

However, he insisted that the hospital was still open for business and said people with urgent health care needs should still visit the Vic’s accident and emergency department, adding: “That is what we’re there for.”

 

 

‘Critical incident’ declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust amid Covid staff crisis

Home | Blackpool Gazette

An internal critical incident was declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals as health leaders warned the NHS was “in a state of crisis”.

Trish Armstrong-Child, chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, confirmed an “internal critical incident” was declared due to “operational challenges across the organisation”.

These included Blackpool Victoria Hospital running at “full capacity”, long waits in A&E and “high staff sickness absence levels of above 10 per cent.”

Outbreaks of Covid in the community also resulted in more people being admitted to the hospital each day than those discharged.

The trust is responsible for Blackpool Victoria Hospital and two smaller community hospitals – Clifton Hospital and Fleetwood Hospital.

Natalie Hudson, Chief Operating Officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTH), said: “Like hospitals across the country, we are currently seeing very high demand for our services and long waits to be seen in our emergency departments and across our urgent care pathways, continued challenges to discharge patients who no longer medically need to be in hospital but have nowhere to go or no care package in place, and very high levels of bed occupancy, all of which is exacerbated by rapidly rising rates of Covid-19 in our communities and rising rates of admission to hospital which is creating further pressures around discharge, as well as a significant impact on staff absence rates across the organisation.

“Because of the pressures the trust is under, we have made the decision to declare an internal critical incident which means staff across the trust will be working together today to take actions immediately to attempt to alleviate the pressure we are under including stepping down some non-urgent activity in order to deliver all of the things we can and need to do to provide the very best care possible.

“We will also be working across the Fylde Coast with our partners too, to ensure care packages and support are provided as quickly as possible to aid discharge, and encourage the public to help us respond to this period of high demand by doing everything they to protect their families and friends by ensuring they are fully vaccinated and following guidance around social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing their hands, and crucially seeking help from the most appropriate health services, only attending A&E for serious accidents and emergencies, and using NHS 111 first to seek advice about the most appropriate care for your needs.”

An internal critical incident was declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals

An internal critical incident was declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals

The news came after Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health in Lancashire, said health officials were “bracing for a tsunami of Omicron cases” in the county.

“Lancashire is beginning to experience what London did at the beginning of last month,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We are only at the foothills of this particular wave in Lancashire.”

Dr Karunanithi added that the spike in Omicron infections across the region was “leading to more staff absences,” warning that Covid restrictions in the area may be too lenient because “staff absences don’t always get presented in dashboards”.

Multiple hospitals across the country have declared critical incidents amid warnings the NHS was “in a state of crisis”.

Prime minister Boris Johnson insisted on Monday that no further Covid restrictions were needed in England, though he admitted pressure on the NHS was “going to be considerable”.

Defending his light-touch approach – in stark contrast to crackdowns in the rest of the UK – Mr Johnson said: “We have got plan B in place, people should never forget that.”

He added: “The way forward for the country as a whole is to continue with the path that we’re on.

“We’ll keep everything under review – of course we keep all measures under review – but the mixture of things that we’re doing at the moment is, I think, the right one.”

 

Relatives still allowed at Blackpool Victoria Hospital as other hospitals suspend visiting

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Victoria Hospital is still allowing patient visiting, unlike other nearby hospitals which have suspended visiting.

 

Yesterday Royal Preston Hospital and three hospitals run by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) announced that visits had been suspended with immediate effect and until further notice.

The hospitals, including the UHMBT’s Westmorland General Hospital, the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital, cited the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the local community as the reason for the decision.

Visitors to these hospitals are only allowed under exceptional circumstances, such as the patient receiving end-of-life care or being pregnant, and numbers are restricted to one visitor only.

Visiting is still allowed at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Visiting is still allowed at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

However, Blackpool Victoria has today (Saturday January 1 2022) confirmed that visiting is still allowed, albeit with continuing Covid-safe restrictions.

The hospital trust outlined its current visiting policy but did not issue a comment.

Currently the visiting policy is one named visitor per patient for their hospital stay for a specified one hour each day with time slots set for 2-3pm, 3.30pm-4.30pm or 7pm-8pm.

Visitors will need to agree with ward staff which slot they would like to attend.

Inpatient arrangements allow patients to be able to nominate one named visitor who can attend once per day.

In exceptional circumstances, such as for patients receiving end of life care or where the visitor themselves needs assistance, two visitors from the same household may be allowed with extended visiting times if agreed with the nurse in charge of the ward.

For adult patients, no children under 16 are permitted to visit except in compassionate circumstances. This must be arranged in advance with ward staff.

In cases of end of life care for patients who are near end of life, up to four family members may be permitted at the discretion of the ward manager.

These visitors will be required to provide a negative lateral flow Covid test which will be facilitated by the ward staff.

For maternity services a nominated birth partner will be able to attend the delivery suite and the birth centre for the duration of their stay in these areas.

A second birth partner can attend once established labour had been confirmed. There are some wards where visiting is still not permitted due to caring for Covid patients.

Both parents can attend Neonatal Unit to keep the family unit together, with no changes to previous arrangements.

For the Children Ward / CAU, both parents or carers can attend Children’s Ward to keep the family unit together only (one parent on the Children’s Assessment Unit).

In exceptional circumstances, depending on the needs of the patient and with the agreement of the Nurse in Charge, other visitors may be allowed.

Restrictions dictate that people must not visit or attend an appointment with a patient if you or they:have tested positive for COVID-19; are isolating as a contact of someone who is COVID-19 positive; or been to an overseas location where the foreign office has advised two weeks isolation.

Similarly, people must not visit if they been contacted by Test and Trace to say you or they are a contact of a COVID-19

positive person; have any symptoms of COVID-19.or are shielding due to anticipated surgery.

 

 

The Blackpool care home where residents slept in stained sheets and didn’t get their meds

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The home has been rated ‘inadequate’ after lack of safety, care and leadership was discovered during an inspection

 

Ambassador Care Home, Lytham Road, Blackpool
Ambassador Care Home, Lytham Road, Blackpool

A Blackpool care home has been slammed by watchdogs after a recent inspection uncovered multiple failings which put residents at risk.

Ambassador Care Home is a residential care home providing personal care to 31 people who may be living with dementia and after a recent inspection carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), staff were found to be in breach of regulations.

The recent inspection was carried out after the CQC received concerns in relation to the management of medicines, infection prevention and control,nutrition, risk and staffing.

They also received concerns on how people were supported to maintain their dignity.

During the inspection, which focussed only on the caring, safe and well-led aspects, it was discovered that the administration of medicines proved to be a major issue for staff at this home with a lack of adequate management causing further problems.

In an report published on Christmas Day, CQC inspectors said that staff didn’t always know how or when to administer medicines to the residents correctly as one person who was in need of eye drops was not safely given them.

People missed some doses of their prescribed medicines because there was no stock available in the home for them while a resident was not given one of their tablets for over three weeks because staff had not checked their medicines carefully on admission to the home.

Access to risk assessments- tailored to each resident weren’t available for staff and inspectors to see which put vulnerable residents at risk of harm.

The report states: “On the three days of the inspection we were unable to access the electronic system to review people’s weight management.

“We spoke with two agency staff members who told us they did not know if people needed help to eat as they could not access the electronic system. They had not been informed of the help people needed.

“An agency staff showed us the documentation they had been given- there was no accurate information in relation to a person’s abilities and the record did not contain the name, or any information of the person.”

Fire risk assessments were also not up to standards as the provider hadn’t ensured the safety of the home- several fire doors within the home did not shut properly, posing a risk that if a fire occurred, it would not be contained.

As well as risk assessments, the lack of effective management lead to further failings as during the inspection its was found that audits were not properly carried out.

The CQC report outlines: “The provider failed to have oversight and management of the service to protect people from harm. Audits of falls were carried out. One entry recorded, “A pattern of falls appears to be in their own bedroom between checks.”

“We reviewed the accident and incident records and saw records which showed some people were having falls and/or sustaining injuries. There was no action to show how this risk was to be managed and lessons learned shared.”

Documentation to guide staff and information to support other health professionals make clinical decisions was not always available.

Inspectors from the CQC said: “We were informed a new electronic care record system was being introduced and the existing electronic care record system was unavailable.

“On all three days of the inspection, electronic care records and risk assessments from the existing electronic care records system were not available at the home.

“The new system did not contain sufficient information to enable staff to give the care people needed. For example, one person required a mobility aid.

“The record viewed did not explain the abilities of the person or the person-centred help they needed. We were told there were no paper care plans to support staff knowledge and understanding.”

Serious hygiene issues were also discovered during this inspection- some beds, had urine marks on the bedding and other stains.

Equipment was also found to be in a questionable state as commodes had a build-up of dust and matter on them, a sensor mat was dirty and there were faeces dried on the side of a toilet.

Prevention and infection control didn’t meet the standard requirements as the CQC found a lack of assurance in the provider effectively using PPE- a staff member did not wear a mask when working and said they had one in their pocket.

Recruitment was also in question as agency staff had been provided to help people; however, they did not know the help and support people needed.

The report states: “We observed one person being pushed across the lounge by another person who lived at the home, an agency staff intervened to prevent the risk of harm.

“The staff member said to us, “I don’t know anything about anyone, I don’t know how to help.”

“Two agency staff told us they had not received an induction to the home. They said they had received no information about people and had not had a tour of the home to familiarise themselves with the layout.

“We asked an agency staff member what they would do if there was a fire, or the fire alarm sounded. They said,”I’d run around like a headless chicken because I don’t know anything.”

Another failing found in the running of this care home was the care aspect given to residents as the provider did not consistently ensure people’s privacy and dignity were maintained.

The CQC report states: “On three separate occasions we saw a person in communal areas and their continence aid was on view. We raised this with staff to support the person’s dignity.

“The downstairs bathroom contained a whiteboard with people’s names on and ‘bathing routine’. This practice did not promote people’s individuality and shared personal information about them.

“The downstairs bathroom door had a lock that could not be locked. We saw this bathroom was in use by people who used the service. There was also a toilet in use with no handle and lock.”

With the current strains of the pandemic adding to the pressures in care homes, the CQC ensured this was taken in to account during the inspection.

It states in the report: We are mindful of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our regulatory function.

“This meant we took account of the exceptional circumstances arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic when considering what enforcement action was necessary and proportionate to keep people safe as a result of this inspection.

“We will continue to discharge our regulatory enforcement functions required to keep people safe and to hold providers to account where it is necessary for us to do so. We have identified breaches in relation to the safe management of medicines, record keeping and good governance.”

LancsLive contacted the care home for a comment.

 

 

The Royle Family actor praises Blackpool hospital staff for their hard work this Christmas

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Ralf Little posted a video on Twitter thanking the NHS workers

 

The Royle Family actor, Ralf Little, has thanked Blackpool Teaching Hospital’s staff for their dedication over the Christmas period.

The actor, who was born in Bury, took to Twitter to post a video thanking staff for their hard work during this festive period.

He shared the video while his brother was making gravy for their Boxing Day lunch.

Many people have to celebrate Christmas either early or late because they have to work on Christmas Day and Ralf and his family were no exception to this.

He said: “Hey everybody, Ralf Little here with a quick Christmas shoutout to everyone working at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals over Christmas, specific love to the emergency department I know you guys have been through so much in the last two years, the pressures have been enormous.

“My brother Ross and his Mrs, Steph, work at the Royal Liverpool and they are frontline workers as well, so I am well aware of how difficult and busy things are which is why we are having our Christmas on Boxing Day because they have been so busy.

“I know that with additional Covid cases and on top of business as usual it’s going to get tougher, so thanks to all of you for all the hard work and I hope you still get to enjoy yourselves when can.”

Ralf, 41, played Antony Royle in The Royle Family and Jonny Keogh in the first six series of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

 

 

 

New Year pharmacy opening times 2022: This is when Asda, Tesco, Whitegate and other local pharmacies will be open in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Details of this year’s New Year pharmacy opening times in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have been released by local Clinical Commissioning Groups.

 

While there will be changes to opening times over the festivities, some pharmacies will be open over the New Year holiday period.

If you are concerned you can speak to your GP or pharmacist about ordering repeat prescriptions online.

This is when your local pharmacy will be open over New Year in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre:

 

Pharmacies opening times in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre during the festive period

Pharmacies opening times in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre during the festive period

MONDAY, JANUARY 3, 2022

Norchem, 54-56 Norbreck Road, Blackpool FY5 1RP – 10am-midnight

Whitegate Pharmacy, Whitegate Health Centre, 150 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool FY3 9ES – 8am-9pm

Tesco Pharmacy, Clifton Retail Park, Clifton Road, Blackpool FY4 4UJ – 9am-1pm

Asda Pharmacy, Dock Street, Fleetwood FY7 6NU – 10am-4pm

Kepple Lane Pharmacy , Kepple Lane, Garstang PR3 1PB – 10am-1pm

 

 

Christmas and New Year pharmacy opening times 2021/22: This is when Asda, Tesco, Whitegate and other local pharmacies will be open in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Details of this year’s Christmas pharmacy opening times in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have been released by local Clinical Commissioning Groups.

 

While there will be changes to opening times over the festivities, some pharmacies will be open over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

If you are concerned you can speak to your GP or pharmacist about ordering repeat prescriptions online.

This is when your local pharmacy will be open over Christmas and New Year in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre:

Pharmacies opening times in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre during the festive period

Pharmacies opening times in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre during the festive period

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25

Whitegate Pharmacy, Whitegate Health Centre, 150 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool FY3 9ES – 8am-9pm

Wesham Pharmacy, 22 Station Road, Wesham PR4 3AD – 10am-4pm

Kepple Lane Pharmacy , Kepple Lane, Garstang PR3 1PB – 10am-1pm

MONDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2021

Norchem, 54-56 Norbreck Road, Blackpool FY5 1RP – 10am-1pm

Whitegate Pharmacy, Whitegate Health Centre, 150 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool FY3 9ES – 8am-9pm

Tesco Pharmacy, Clifton Retail Park, Clifton Road, Blackpool FY4 4UJ – 9am-1pm

Asda Pharmacy, Dock Street, Fleetwood FY7 6NU – 10am-4pm

Kepple Lane Pharmacy , Kepple Lane, Garstang PR3 1PB – 10am-1pm

MONDAY, JANUARY 3, 2022

Norchem, 54-56 Norbreck Road, Blackpool FY5 1RP – 10am-midnight

Whitegate Pharmacy, Whitegate Health Centre, 150 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool FY3 9ES – 8am-9pm

Tesco Pharmacy, Clifton Retail Park, Clifton Road, Blackpool FY4 4UJ – 9am-1pm

Asda Pharmacy, Dock Street, Fleetwood FY7 6NU – 10am-4pm

Kepple Lane Pharmacy , Kepple Lane, Garstang PR3 1PB – 10am-1pm

 

 

Campaign to help Fylde coast teenager struck down by devastating illness

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A teenage girl from Cleveleys who was previously fit and healthy has been struck down by a rare debilitating illness which has left her unable to walk unaided.

 

Maddison Porter has had  to use a wheelchair after becoming ill

Maddison Porter has had to use a wheelchair after becoming ill

Maddison Porter, 14, who is known to friends as Maddie, started passing out at school in April this year and began to lose weight.

Her worried parents, Mark and Lucy Porter of Derby Road, Cleveleys, were told by one doctor that she had an eating disorder but they insisted it was something else and took her for further tests.

Eventually, after suffering a full blown seizure, Maddie was diagnosed with Encephalitis lethargica, an illness characterised by high fevers, double vision, lethargy and in extreme cases, deep coma.

Maddie Porter before her illness

Maddie Porter before her illness

Maddie a pupil at St Aidan’s High School in Preesall, spent almost three months in Manchester Children’s Hospital, during which time she had to undergo a series of gruelling plasma transfusions.

Although Maddie, a former pupil of Shakespeare Primary School in Fleetwood, is now out of hospital, she cannot walk outside independently and needs a rollator frame to move about indoors for very short distances.

The once confident and independent girl who enjoyed sports now needs help with daily living from her parents and can only stay awake for a couple of hours at a time before having to sleep, and has to be home-schooled.

But in the face of such trauma, there is thankfully one thing that seems to be helping Maddie – hydrotherapy.
Mark and Lucy Porter are doing everything they can to help their daughter, Maddison

Mark and Lucy Porter are doing everything they can to help their daughter, Maddison

Now Lucy and Mark, who are both NHS health workers and are originally from Fleetwood, have set up a fundraising page to help them pay for regular hydrotherapy sessions at a facility in Over Wyre.

Lucy, 37, a district nurse at the North Shore practice on Bristol Avenue, says she has been staggered by the generosity of people on the Fylde coast, some of them complete strangers,

She and Mark, 39, who works as an occupational therapy assistant at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, were trying to fund the hydrotherapy sessions themselves so friends set up the funding page on their behalf.

Lucy said there had been many tears but as parents they are doing all they can to help Maddie recover, even though they don’t yet know how her illness will progress.

The marathon fundraiser at the Unique Training Centre

The marathon fundraiser at the Unique Training Centre

She said: “It has been tough to see our playful, confident girl have to go through all this, it just came as a bolt from the blue.

“All that time at the Manchester Hospital was so hard on Maddie and it was difficult for the whole family because while I was there, Mark had to look after our son Thomas, who is only nine.

“But we were able to stay together for a few weeks at Ronald McDonald House, who do a brilliant job.

“Maddie’s medication makes her anxious and she has lost so much weight but when she was in Manchester Hospital, she was having hydrotherapy sessions and they were really beneficial.

“We’ve managed to book a few weeks of sessions at the Lakeside Hydrotherapy Pool in Hambleton and we’re still trying to raise funds so we can afford some more.

“We didn’t want to ask people for help but friends said we couldn’t afford to be proud about it.

“The kindness that people have showed has been incredible, people who we don’t even know have helped us.

“Maddie’s school, St Aidan’s, helped us set up our home schooling classes, they’ve been brilliant.”

Among those helping out have been Gary Savage and his Savage MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) club onChurch Street in Blackpool, where 39 year old Mark is a member.

And another club, the Unique Training Centre on Talbot Road, Blackpool, run by Scot Tudhope, joined forces with Gary’s group and raised f£400 for Maddie by staging a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Rollathon.

Scot said: “We all got together because we wanted to help raise funds for a lovely young girl going through a really bad time.”

Anyone wanting to help raise can visit the funding page on https://gofund.me/371178c3

 

 

Blackpool GP surgery ‘could close’ after plans rejected

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A GP surgery in Blackpool has lost its bid to build new consulting rooms to cater for it growing number of patients.

 

Blackpool Council’s planning committee unanimously rejected an application from the Arnold Medical Centre on St Annes Road in South Shore despite being told it needed to expand to meet demand for health care from the community.

The surgery had sought permission to build a single storey rear extension in order to create four new consulting rooms for use by practioners including physioptherapists, podiatrists and pharmacists as well as doctors.

But council planning officers, who had recommended refusal, said the property which began life as a doctor’s house, had been extended six times already and there was no longer any room on the site for further expansion.

Arnold Medical Centre

Arnold Medical Centre

Architect Richard Maudsley, representing the surgery, told the committee patient numbers had increased from 4,300 to 5,200 over the last eight years, with up to 50 new patients a month currently registering.

This was due to the practice’s “excellent performance and ratings”.

He said: “If this application is not approved there is a real chance the practice will have to stop taking on new patients or at worst case close.”

He said the practice also needed extra space to accommodate trainee GPs.

Mr Maudsley added: “Accommodating more trainee GPs would bring more GPs into the region which would be very beneficial to the patients in Blackpool.”

However in their report, planners said “the site is small and the practice has already been expanded significantly beyond the footprint of the original building.

“The proposal would therefore result in a detrimental impact on residential amenity.

“The need to develop the practice to benefit the community is acknowledged but it is not considered that the current application site is sustainable as a location for the type of development proposed and the growth desired.”

 

 

Blackpool mum’s thanks to staff at Ronald McDonald House who helped when her baby needed lifesaving care

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool mum is looking to say a special thanks for the help she received when her baby needed lifesaving hospital care.

 

Emma Cowley is planning to send some Christmas parcels to families staying at Ronald McDonald House in Manchester, where she and her own family received so much help earlier this year.

She is busy putting the parcels together but is hoping local businesses or other would-be donors could help.

Emma , 29, of Grizedale Road, Mereside, needed to spend more than two months in Manchester when newborn Ava was born in January with spina bifida as well as a life threatening cyst on her back.

Emma Cowley with little Ava

Emma Cowley with little Ava

While little Ava fought a life-or-death struggle at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, Emma and husband Dan needed to be with her, but their other two other children, Ella, 12, and three year old Reuben, had to stay with relatives.

Splitting up the family was tough, especially for little Reuben but vital help came from Ronald McDonald House.

Emma said: “The whole family ended spending nine weeks in accommodation at Ronald McDonald House, just opposite the hospital.

“Without them I don’t know how we would have managed.

“We couldn’t have stayed in a hotel, because we couldn’t afford it, or spent nine weeks crashing out at the hospital.

“It was such a tough time, especially when you have a very ill child and you’re worried sick about them.

“The staff went above and beyond and I just wanted to give something back.”

Ava later had to battle through deadly meningitis but now, aged 11 months, her health is more stable.

The adult parcels she is putting together include items like shampoo, conditioner, body spray and chocolate for adults, and nappy and selection boxes for youngsters.

Emma has already received some donations and said: “Poeple have been very kind and I just want to thank them.”

Anyone able to help can contact on her Facebook page.

 

 

New ward to open at Blackpool Victoria Hospital will cut down long waiting lists

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The plans are part of the hospital’s restoration programme and aims to help the hospital restore its routine surgery capacity to 100%

 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital will get a new 24 bed ward (Image: MEN MEDIA)

Measures including the addition of a new 24-bed modular ward are being taken to try and help Blackpool Victoria Hospital cut long waiting lists.

Hospital bosses are also sending some patients for treatment at Blackpool’s Spire private hospital, and bringing in private companies to treat NHS patients at BVH when NHS staff are unavailable.

The number of patients on the waiting list at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals in August 2021 was 21,229, which is an increase of 1,710 patients from 19,519 in August 2020.

Treatments are being held up as doctors are unable to discharge some patients due to the staffing crisis in social care, a meeting of Blackpool Council’s adult social care and health scrutiny committee was told.

At one point recently there were 106 patients medically fit to go home, but they were kept in hospital as care packages were unavailable.

Meanwhile new patients are arriving at A&E with more serious illnesses and requiring a hospital bed because of delays in seeing a doctor when their symptoms first appeared.

Janet Barnsley, executive director of operations at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “There are some patients that are ready to leave us but due to shortfalls in care packages and domiciliary care, we are unable to discharge a cohort of patients which adds pressure to the front door.

“That is combined with patients presenting at A&E whose acuity has increased and they are presenting in a very poorly condition and need admission.

“We feel some of that is also associated with the pandemic as people didn’t present when they first became unwell and therefore their condition has deteriorated.”

The meeting heard recruitment difficulties in the social care sector was a further obstacle.

But Ms Barnsley said the hospital had been able to restore all its services, with up to 95 per cent of surgery restored, and diagnostics restored by 103 per cent.

She added it had been important for staff not to “burn out” after working hard through the pandemic so additional capacity had been found from external providers.

This includes a contract with the Spire Fylde Coast Hospital, and also external companies coming in with their staff to use BVH facilities such as operating theatres, which would otherwise be under utilised, to treat NHS patients.

The hospital has also received funding to install a new 24-bed modular ward at the BVH site which would will help reduce waiting lists for routine surgery.