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Jeremy Hunt launches Hospice Care Week in Farnham

South West Surrey MP, Jeremy Hunt, has visited a hospice in Farnham to launch National Hospice Care Week.

Jeremy Hunt launched National Hospice Care Week Credit: Press Association

The Health Secretary called in to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice on Friday, where he also made reference to the Hospice’s new Dove Lounge, which was partly funded by a government grant, and provides a space for the Hospice’s art therapy group to meet.

“There are some incredible beacons of light in our community and this is one of those beacons,” said Mr Hunt, as he talked about the importance of hospice care as part of the overall healthcare system.

Hospice Care Week is a national week in which Hospices across the UK raise awareness of the work they do. This year the theme is ‘Hospice Care Everywhere’, and Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice has created a signpost to illustrate this.

Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice provides specialist end of life care for patients and their relatives who are facing a terminal illness, across West Surrey and North East Hampshire. The hospice says the NHS covers less than 15% of its costs, and therefore has to raise over £15,000 a day to provide the care which it gives.

Funding cuts could affect children with disabilities and their families in Hampshire

Tough decisions to be made at Hampshire County Council Credit: ITV news

The parents and carers of children with disabilities are being asked for their opinions on plans to cut two million pounds from the budget for short breaks. The county council says it can't maintain the current level of funding. Drop in consultation sessions will be held at children's centres countywide from Monday 6th October until the end of the year.

The council says it gives parents the opportunity to talk, face to face, with Hampshire County Council staff about the short breaks service and proposed changes. The sessions are part of the 12 week consultation - Families can also complete a consultation questionnaire online or on paper.

Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Lead Member for Children's Services at Hampshire County Council, commented: "It is very important that people take this opportunity to have their say on the future of the short breaks service. Their views are important to us and I want to ensure that we capture as many responses as we can, over the next few weeks, so that I can take full consideration of their views when it comes to making a decision on the future of the service. I can assure you that we know how important short breaks are to children and young people with disability, their families and carers however, unfortunately, we cannot sustain the current level of funding and at the same time meet our obligation to provide statutory services such as safeguarding"

Except where indicated, all events run from 9.30am to 4.30pm on the following dates:

6 October: Bushey Leaze Children and Families Centre, Alton 9 October: Sharps Copse Schools Campus, Havant 11 October: 10am to 3pm Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College, Basingstoke 13 October: 9.30am to 3pm Aviary Children's Centre, Eastleigh 17 October: 10.30am to 12.30pm Wells Place, Eastleigh 22 October: 10.30am to 12.30pm The Maltings, Alton 3 November: Oak Meadow Children's Centre, Fareham 11 November: 10am to 12.30pm Ashburton Hall, Hampshire County Council, Winchester 13 November: Reign and Shine Children's Centre, Kings Worthy 14 November: The Bridges and Pathways Children's Centre, Fordingbridge 25 November: Pebbles Children's Centre, Basingstoke 28 November: Maple Venue Children's Centre, Aldershot 3 December: Acorns Children's Centre, Andover


"Don't dice with death" warning issued to motorists who race across level crossings

Motorist dodges barrier at level crossing in Hampshire Credit: British Transport Police

It might save you a few seconds on a journey, but it could also cost you your life. Every year, thousands of drivers and pedestrians dice with death on railway level crossings, racing over as the barriers come down. Now, British Transport Police has launched a campaign to hammer home the message that it's NOT a risk worth taking. The BTP has launched Operation Look - stepping up patrols around crossings and giving advice to drivers and pedestrians about how to keep safe.

In the last year alone, legal action has been taken against 1500 motorists for crossing misuse. Another 2000 have been sent on safety-awareness courses. Network Rail has closed 800 crossings in the last four years to improve safety. But 6000 remain.

Pork sausage was nearly half horse meat

A food import company has been prosecuted after a pork sausage product on sale at a Kent shop was found to contain 46% horse meat.

The case at Dartford Magistrates Court today was the result of a test purchase at the shop in Market Street by KCC Trading Standards in October last year. Tests were carried out at Kent Scientific Services and produced the results.

The subsequent investigation found that the product, a Lukanka Chumerna sausage, had been imported by Expo Foods Limited, based in London. The vacuum-packed food was manufactured in Bulgaria and was labelled as containing pork sausagemeat.

Despite the large media coverage concerning the presence of undeclared horse meat in various food products in January 2013, the company undertook no tests on the sampled product which was imported in September 2013.

The company pleaded guilty today at Dartford Magistrates Court to a charge under the Food Safety Act, that the product was not of the substance demanded. It was fined £5,000 and an award of £2,500 made towards council costs plus a £120 surcharge.

Mother has healthy baby - against all odds

A mother whose waters broke at just 16 weeks into her pregnancy has beaten the odds of less than one per cent to go on and have a healthy baby.

Katy Evans was advised that she would go into labour within a week and that her only option was to have a termination, but she decided to let nature take its course. Emily Knight reports.

Help and support for people with dementia

Berkshire is leading the way in making sure carers - who look after people with dementia - can find the help and support they need.

A new guide has been launched in Reading and, for the first time, all the information - from ways to cope to legal advice - will be in one place.

Penny Silvester reports on a handbook that could prove to be a blueprint for dementia care.


Health warning after 84 people fall ill from mushroom poisoning

Mushrooms can provide rich pickings - at a cost Credit: Meridian

People setting out for autumnal countryside walks have been urged to take care if they are planning to forage for mushrooms after dozens of people fell ill from poisoning. The New Forest is one of the main areas for mushroom pickers.

Public Health England (PHE) said 84 cases of mushroom poisoning have been reported so far this year and the foraging season is only just under way. Last year, PHE's National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) recorded 237 cases of poisoning across the UK, with many involving children under the age of 10.

The health body warned that some varieties that grow wild in the UK can cause serious illness, with some even being fatal.

The dangers of foraging for mushrooms were highlighted in 2008 when the author of best-selling book The Horse Whisperer was taken to hospital. Nicholas Evans and three family members had to be put on kidney dialysis after eating toxic mushrooms they had gathered on a woodland walk.

"As the weather starts to change many people will soon be heading out to the countryside to seek out wild food which can be a really fun thing to do," said Dr John Thompson, director of the NPIS. "But when it comes to wild mushrooms people really need to be aware of the very real potential dangers involved."

Midwives across the region to join strike action

Midwives gear up for industrial action Credit: ITV news

Midwives in the region will be joining others across the country in strike action on the 13th October. It's in a dispute with the government over pay. Eighty two percent of the Royal College of Midwives members backed the four hour walkout.

It was the first time the college balloted for industrial action, and it will be the first time in its 133 year history that members will go on strike. The RCM says it is meeting with employers to ensure mothers and babies are not put at risk during the industrial action.

"New era of patient care" promised in Surrey and Berkshire

New role for Frimley Park Hospital Credit: ITV news

Two troubled hospitals in Berkshire will be officially taken over today by Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.

The hospital which was last week rated as outstanding will provide services for patients at Wexham Park in Slough and Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot.

Today marks the launch of England's newest NHS foundation trust running hospital services for nearly a million people across four counties. Frimley Health promises to be "a new era for patient care"

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust will provide a wide range of services to patients in Hampshire, Surrey, east Berkshire and south Buckinghamshire. Final approval for the new organisation was confirmed by Monitor, the foundation trust regulator, last week which brings together Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot and Frimley Park Hospital in Frimley.

Chief Executive Andrew Morris said: "Today marks a new beginning. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a major difference to the way we deliver healthcare to our communities in the future. We have put in place new management structure and along with strong clinical leadership, we will be focusing on enhancing the quality of care for our patients, ensuring we deliver against targets, working more efficiently and improving things for staff - I believe that happy staff equals great patient care"

Last week, Frimley Park Hospital was the first in England to be awarded an 'outstanding' rating by the Care Quality Commission.

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