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Child dies from suspected meningitis

Microscopic image of bacteria. Credit: ITV News

A 6-year-old boy from Wiltshire has died from suspected meningitis.

Paramedics were called to an address in Highworth on Friday morning and although the boy was taken to Great Western Hospital he died a short time later.

Public Health England have said they are identifying those who had close contact with the child and offering them antibiotics, but that there is no need for wider groups of children to take medication.

They have also warned parents to be alert to the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, including vomiting, a severe headache, neck stiffness, drowsiness and a rash.

We pass our sincerest condolences to the family at this tragic time. It is important to emphasise that the risk of this suspected case spreading to others is extremely low.

We reassure people, particularly parents who may be feeling concerned, that all necessary actions are being taken to protect the public.

– Dr Ayoola Oyinloye, Swindon Borough Council Public Health Consultant


Firefighters hold Santa's grotto for hospital children

Santa's Grotto organised at Cosham fire station Credit: Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service

Firefighters at Cosham Fire Station in Hampshire have turned their station into a Santa's Grotto to host a party for children who have been receiving treatment at the nearby Queen Alexandra Hospital.

The party included a petting zoo, a children’s entertainer, and a chance for the youngsters to watch firefighters rescue Santa from a tower using an aerial ladder platform.

“Each year we organise this event to give something back to the community, to put smiles on the children’s faces and to give families the chance to come and spend time together in a fun and enjoyable setting.

“This year, the station has been completely transformed into Santa’s grotto, with firefighters and volunteer students from South Downs College on hand as his ‘little helpers’.”

– Crew Manager Stu Vince, party organiser

Reserves leave Brize Norton to help Ebola victims

UK Reserves prepare to leave for Sierra Lione Credit: MOD

This morning saw the first UK reserves and 100 of their regular counterparts depart for Sierra Leone where they will help to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

UK Reserves prepare to leave for Sierra Lione Credit: MOD

The regular and reserve personnel from across the three Services departed from RAF Brize Norton alongside members of the Canadian military.

UK Reserves prepare to leave for Sierra Lione Credit: MOD

Once in country, personnel will take over from clinicians attached to 22 Field Hospital, who have been deployed since October, manning the 12 bed facility reserved to treat healthcare workers with Ebola.

Cafe receives "0" rating in food hygiene

Aldershot cafe inspected and cautioned by council for poor food hygiene Credit: Rushmoor Borough Council
Aldershot cafe inspected and cautioned by council for poor food hygiene Credit: Rushmoor Borough Council

A café in Aldershot has been formally cautioned by Rushmoor Borough Council for poor food hygiene and safety standards.

The council issued two simple cautions to the owner of Hafeez at 17 Station Road, Aldershot, on Thursday - one for six food safety offences and one for a health and safety offence.

The offences were discovered during a food safety inspection of the business by the council’s environmental health officers on 12 November, and included a lack of effective cleaning of the premises and food equipment, the inadequate separation of raw and ready-to-eat foods in storage and during production, and a poor understanding of food hygiene by staff.

During the inspection, officers from the council’s food team also noted the smell of gas leaking from cooking equipment and arranged for an emergency examination of the gas supply.

The supply was subsequently cut-off for safety reasons.

As a result of these issues, the owner agreed to voluntarily close until it could be made safe.

Due to the serious failures in food hygiene, the business was rated as a “0” – “Urgent Improvement Necessary”, under the Food Standards Agency's national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

The rating given to a business reflects the standards of food hygiene found on the date of inspection.

A follow up visit two days later established that problems with the two gas appliances had been rectified and food hygiene had improved sufficiently for the business to reopen.

Further visits have been made since to help assist the business maintain compliance.


Extra beds open in Hampshire hospital to cope with winter demand

Gosport War Memorial Hospital gears up for winter rush Credit: ITV news

An extra 15 beds will be opened at Gosport War Memorial during this winter, to help maintain good patient care at the busiest time of the year.

The 'step down' beds will be available for people leaving a ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital, who no longer need to be at QA, but who still need extensive support to help them complete their recovery.

Funding for the initiative comes from the £8m investment being made into the NHS in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire this winter, the local element of a national £700m fund to ensure that local health and social services can meet the needs of patients when bad weather and seasonal illnesses are at their peak.

This development comes as another new scheme - the Enhanced Recovery at Home team - gets into its stride. The team, made up of staff from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Hampshire County Council, is working to support people to live independently after a stay in hospital, or to give people the care they need to avoid having to go into hospital in the first place. The team is funded by £900,000 of the winter funding, and can provide a response within two hours for people who need help urgently.

David Chilvers, a Gosport GP and the clinical lead for Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group said: "These new beds will be a huge benefit to patients. Having this extra capacity in Gosport will make it easier for the NHS to move patients out of QA when they are ready to leave, and in turn that will make it easier for QA staff to admit patients from across the area who need their care. It is in absolutely nobody's interest for patients to be stuck in a bed at QA when they no longer need to be there, so we hope this additional capacity will have a positive impact."

Portsmouth Police bring Christmas cheer to city hospital

Police officers deliver gifts to children in hospital Credit: Hampshire Police

Portsmouth Neighbourhood Policing team has spread some Christmas cheer at a city hospital. The St Thomas Neighbourhood Policing team has been visiting children at the Queen Alexandra hospital to deliver some Christmas presents donated by local stores and businesses.

For the past few months the team has been dropping into local shops and asking them to donate some toys or gifts for young people who will be spending their Christmas staying in hospital. The team also visited The Elizabeth Foundation who offer support to preschool children with hearing loss and gave some gifts to children at the centre too.

NPT Sergeant Rob Sutton said: “Our team are really keen to do this every year. We hope that a few gifts will help to make the children's Christmas better. It’s great to see the their faces when we surprise them with gifts. Thank you to all the businesses who donated gifts.”

Zoe Neal, mother of two week old baby Ophelia said: "Thank you to Hampshire Constabulary for the wonderful Christmas gifts. The visit today was a fantastic surprise at such a difficult time for so many. It made such a difference, brightening up the lives of all the children and parents here in QA."

Batteries could 'burn internal organs', say doctors

Doctors in the South want parents of small children to make sure they don't swallow button batteries, because they can kill. The tiny batteries are found in some toys meant for older children, musical christmas cards and gadgets like remote controls.

They are perfectly safe products if made by a reputable manufacturer and used correctly, but if they are eaten they could cause a child to choke and within hours begin to burn their internal organs.

Sally Simmonds has more details:

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