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New volunteer teams to help Portsmouth's elderly

Queen Alexandra Hospital launches new scheme Credit: ITV news

A new scheme to help prepare elderly patients return home after being discharged is being launched at Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital. Volunteers will assist with shopping, collecting prescriptions or medication, and transportation to medical appointments for up to six weeks. The measure has been found to halve the number of people having to be readmitted within three months.

The scheme will be run by the Royal Voluntary Service. Research conducted by the charity, assisted by the Kings Fund, identified that older people returning home from hospital without enough support are more than twice as likely to be readmitted within three months.

As part of the service, the volunteer will prepare the person's home, making sure the heating and lights are on and that the kitchen is stocked with essentials.

David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: "This service will mean more older people will receive the support of a caring volunteer who will be there to help them get back on their feet after a stay in hospital. We know that placing a volunteer at the centre of a person's recovery plan can make a huge difference."

Linda Field, Head of Nursing for Medicine for Older People, Rehabilitation and Stroke at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "These volunteers will make a significant difference to the lives of older people after they are discharged from QA. Their support will be invaluable in helping our patients, some of whom may have been in hospital for a length of time, to settle back into their own homes. This ongoing support benefits patients hugely, and has a positive impact on physical health as well as emotional wellbeing.

A & E at Royal Berkshire Hospital fully reopens after three days

Royal Berks A&E reopens Credit: ITV News

The A & E department at the Royal Berkshire Hospital has fully reopened after three days. It follows problems caused by a fire, flooding and a power-cut. Officials say, though, that the hospital is still under extreme pressure and is urging people with non-emergency concerns to consider other alternatives.

Mary Sherry, Chief Operating Officer for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I want to thank our staff for working tirelessly to keep our patients safe despite the challenging working conditions since Thursday morning. It was a real team effort from all staff across the hospital to keep our essential services running - including our nurses, doctors, catering staff, cleaners, porters, administrators, maintenance staff, volunteers, and managers, to name a few. I recognise that staff in Battle and North blocks have worked in some very difficult conditions over the last few days and I'd like to thank them specifically for their commitment to their patients and their colleagues during this period."

– Royal Berkshire Hospital

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Royal Berkshire Hospital A&E 'gradually reopening'

Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading Credit: ITV News Meridian

A water leak meant the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, lost power in Battle and North Block of the hospital, which also resulted in power outage. Areas affected included elderly care wards, critical care unit, stroke unit and some outpatient areas.

Mary Sherry, Chief Operating Officer for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We have completed all necessary patient moves within the hospital due to yesterday's power outage, resulting in 89 patients safely moved from Battle Block. We are working to restore power with additional temporary generators at some point over the weekend.

"From 9pm this evening we started to gradually reopen our A&E to receiving ambulances. The hospital still remains on internal incident alert and is still under extreme pressure. We would ask for the public to consider and only attend our A&E if critically ill. I would like to extend a very big thank you to all staff within the hospital and also to those who have assisted from South Central Ambulance Services and neighbouring hospitals.”

– Royal Berkshire Hospital

Help at hand with Silver Line

It's a growing problem that's often under-estimated - loneliness among elderly people. Many don't speak to another person for days - or even weeks on end. But help is at hand.

A helpline set up by veteran campaigning broadcaster Esther Rantzen has received half a million calls in the last 18 months. It's called Silver Line and arranges for volunteers to phone elderly people for a much appreciated friendly chat. David Wood has more.

Royal Berkshire Hospital's A&E 'formally closed'

Royal Berkshire Hospital formally closes after power outage Credit: ITV News

A water leak that occurred in the early hours of this morning meant the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, lost power in Battle and North Block of the hospital, which also resulted in power outage. Areas affected included our elderly care wards, critical care unit, stroke unit and some outpatient areas.

Mary Sherry, Chief Operating Officer for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"Our staff have been working hard through the night to ensure areas impacted by yesterday’s power outage and isolated fire are back to normal.

“All water has been restored across the hospital. We now have the majority of power back on in North Block; however, we continue to have power issues on the north side of Battle Block, due to the extent of water damage. Our engineers on site are doing all that they can to ensure full power is restored as quickly and as safely as possible.

“Patients from the Coronary Care Unit were moved to Lodden Ward because of the smoke from yesterday’s isolated fire. These patients will remain on Lodden Ward until the area is ready for them to be returned safely.

“The hospital is currently in major incident status due to the uncertainty of when full power will be restored to Battle Block and North Block. To ensure patient safety, we will be moving patients from Battle Block to other areas of the hospital.

“Our A&E is formally “closed” to anything other than life-threatening conditions. Members of the public are asked to either attend an urgent care centre, a walk in centre or A&E at Wexham Park, Stoke Mandeville, Frimley or Basingstoke with whom we have arranged a formal divert.”

– Royal Berkshire Hospital

Medical staff save great grandmother's life after hornet sting

Irene with members of the Minor Injuries Unit team Credit: Kent Community Health NHS Trust

Great grandmother Irene Elliott has praised nurses at Sittingbourne’s Memorial Hospital for their quick actions in saving her life after she was stung by a hornet and went into anaphylactic shock.

The 69-year-old, from Sittingbourne, was visiting her late husband’s grave in June when she felt something sting the back of her neck.

Irene said: “My partner Tony and I had just finished as sidesman at Tunstall Church and I went to visit my late husband’s grave, which I tidy regularly.

“I just hesitated by a tree and it felt like I had a needle prick in the back of my neck – I think it was a hornet sting. I said to Tony I didn’t feel that great and didn’t think I could manage delivering the church magazine. I wanted to go straight home.”

But by the time arrived home, Irene was already unconscious in the car.

Tony, 71, said: “When she got in the car there was a bug on her sleeve and we brushed it off. I thought she was sleeping at first. But by the time we were home, I tried to wake her but I couldn’t even get her out of the car. We only live a couple of minutes from the Minor Injuries Unit and my neighbour came out and said I should take her there."

Once at the MIU, which is run by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, receptionist Clare Jeffries alerted Senior Nurse Practitioner Joan Hogben to a woman who was unwell in the car park and Joan rushed out with a wheelchair. Recognising the seriousness of her condition, Joan called for the support of her colleagues Sasha Caridia and Marie Vining.

Joan said: “By this time, Irene was in full blown anaphylaxis. Sasha gave Irene a shot of adrenalin to stabilise her, while I called 999. Sasha and Marie helped to maintain Irene’s airway which was starting to shut down while I gained intravenous access with a cannula. It was thanks to fast recognition and immediate treatment that saved her life.”

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Protesters fight on against plans to cut hospital beds

The protest against bed cuts Credit: ITV

Campaigners protesting at plans to cut the number of beds at Henley's redeveloped hospital say they'll keep fighting, after Oxfordshire health bosses voted to press on with the plans.

The board of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group met this morning to discuss the model of care which will be used at the revamped Townlands hospital.

Henley was originally promised 18 beds to replace the 14 currently in the Peppard ward, which is due to be demolished in November.

But that has since been reduced to eight, with the proposed introduction of a Rapid Access Care Unit, or RACU, with support from the neighbouring St. John's Care Home.

Today the board voted to endorse those plans, while promising to look at improving the transition period. They did not rule out the 18-bed option.

Two weeks ago, 2000 people marched through Henley in protest at the proposed changes.

Bishop tells Fred: "Come forward if you are concerned about hospital treatment"

More than 90 elderly people died after treatment at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Their deaths have been investigated by police.

An appeal has begun to find out if there are MORE families with questions about how their loved ones were treated.

Fred talked to Bishop James Jones, who is leading an Independent Panel. The Bishop is anxious to hear from anyone with concerns about treatment at the hospital, dating back to the 1980s.

Southampton study aims to improve patient care

Credit: ITV news

A University of Southampton study will investigate how the provision of nurses in hospitals affects the care and safety of patients. The research will examine the relationship between nurse staffing levels, failure to observe patients' vital signs and possible consequences - such as cardiac arrest calls, unanticipated admission to intensive care and death. Missed opportunities to observe and act upon the deterioration of a patient's condition are thought to be important factors in preventable hospital deaths.

Professor Peter Griffiths of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton will lead the research and comments: "The potential for inadequate nursing care to do patients great harm has emerged as a factor in several recent reports into failings in NHS hospitals. These have often noted that staffing levels were an important issue associated with poor care and deaths which could have been avoided. Our study will help give a clear picture of the relationship between staff numbers and negative patient outcomes, using data routinely collected on hospital wards, during thousands of nursing shifts."

In partnership with the Clinical Outcomes Research Group at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust , the researchers will gather information from 32 general inpatient wards across 100,000 shifts. It will use data on nurse staffing levels, combined with vital signs observations and information on the outcome of patients' treatments.

Debra Elliott, Deputy Director of Nursing at PHT, says: "Patient care and patient safety are at the heart of everything we do, and we are delighted to be working with the University of Southampton on this very valuable research. Our participation will enable us to look in unprecedented detail at how staffing levels can impact on patients, and this will be an invaluable learning experience."

Decision day for Oxfordshire hospital

Local support for Townlands Hospital Credit: ITV news

A crucial decision will be made today about the future of an Oxfordshire hospital. The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group will consider how many beds the Townlands Hospital will be allocated as part of its redevelopment. Eighteen were initially promised - but it's feared that could be cut to just five.

The decision follows a public consultation. Hundreds of people have taken to the streets to protest at the plans. Health bosses say reducing the number of beds will mean more services can be provided. The new hospital is expected to be ready next year.

David Smith, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We have been very clear from the outset of the consultation that the CCG would be listening to what people had to say, reflecting on those views and paying full consideration to them as part of the review and further development of our proposals."

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