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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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Independent panel asks for Gosport relatives to come forward

Gosport War Memorial Hospital Credit: ITV

Bishop James Jones, Chair of the Gosport Independent Panel, would like to hear from anyone who is concerned about the treatment of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital from the 1980s through to the early 2000s.

Today marks the start of a campaign to invite anyone who may have concerns to contact the panel in confidence. A series of adverts will appear in the regional press, and posters will be displayed in libraries and other organisations.

The Gosport Independent Panel was set up last year to address historic concerns raised by families over a number of years about the initial care of their relatives in Gosport War Memorial Hospital and the subsequent investigations into their deaths. The Panel is reviewing documentary evidence held by a range of organisations and individuals.

Simple test by GP could detect cancer

Of all the different types of cancer, those that attack the throat and oesophagus are among the most difficult to treat because they're often caught too late.

But now scientists have come up with a simple and inexpensive test, which could be done in GP surgeries when even the most minor symptoms first occur. Olivia Paterson reports.

Pride of Britain nurse retires but continues raising money for sick children

Rosie was made to dress as Ellie' the PICU mascot on her last day!

Just two weeks after hanging up her nurse's scrubs for good you'd think Rosie Mitchell would be looking forward to a restful weekend. But for Meridian's Pride of Britain winner it means she can now spend even more time raising money for critically ill children.

Tomorrow is one of Rosie's biggest events - the annual PICU Funday. It's hosted by the landlady of the Cleveland Arms in Chandler's Ford who has seen first hand how Rosie's charity 'Friends of PICU' helps youngsters. Jade Whitfield's son Jenson was rushed to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Southampton suffering breathing problems when he was a small baby. One of around a thousand children to receive treatment on the unit every year.

"I want to see the unit continue to expand and remain to be one of the best in the country."

– Rosie Mitchell, retired nurse
Rosie was sad to leave the unit but can now concentrate on raising money for PICU

For the past fourteen years Rosie has nursed youngsters like Jenson who require round the clock care from some of the country's best trauma medics. But she quickly realised that the NHS couldn't provide all the specialist life saving equipment the unit needed.

Within eight years of launching the charity, Rosie and her supporters had raised a staggering £1million for the unit. It enabled them to buy medical kit that makes procedures less invasive for the unit's tiny patients as well as three special ambulances, specifically designed to collect critically ill children from across the south coast and bring them to Southampton for urgent treatment. It also helped to pay for accommodation for parents whose children are being treated on the unit so that they can be on site 24 hours a day.

But with much more on the shopping list it's meant that when Rosie hasn't been working on the unit - all of her spare time has been used raising money for it. Her departure from the ward earlier this month was tinged with sadness but Rosie says her passion is for fundraising and she wants to keep the money coming in so that the unit can remain one of the best in the country.

"I was very sad to leave the wonderful unit but I realised I was not as young as I used to be and kept getting stuck on the floor checking drains! Now that I am retired I will have lots more energy to keep on fundraising."

– Rosie Mitchell, retired nurse
Rosie will continue fundraising for PICU Credit: Rosie Mitchell

When Rosie won ITV Meridian's Pride of Britain award last summer it was clear to see how much she meant to the unit. She was nominated by five different people including PICU's medical director, and parents whose children benefit from everything she has done both medically and charitably say she is simply 'one in a million'.

So as this 'one in a million' aims to make her next million, on Saturday July 25th her funday will see pony rides, face painting, bouncy castles, and tombolas and by making many children happy - it should also help to make many others healthy.

PICU Family Funday 10am - 4pm. The Cleveland Bay, Pilgrim's Close, Chandler's Ford SO53 4ST

Poisonous hogweed spreads throughout South East

Giant hogweed along the banks of the River Medway Credit: ITV Meridian

The threat of the giant hogweed - a plant that can blister, burn, and blind - is being taken seriously, say authorities in the south east.

Along riverbanks, like the Medway in Kent, they've been spraying and cutting back the plant, which can reach fifteen feet high.

But despite their efforts, it's spreading elsewhere - and at an alarming rate. And with its spread, comes the warning from plant experts and environmentalists, that the weed is dangerous. And unless efforts to eradicate it are redoubled, more people will be injured.

Abigail Bracken reports on the hogweed menace.

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Campaign to make streets safer for the blind and partially sighted

A woman is campaigning to make the streets safer for blind and partially sighted people.

Dianne Woodford - who is herself blind - wants shops, pubs and restaurants to reduce the number of signs and so-called 'street clutter' on the pavements because of the dangers they pose to those who are visually impaired.

It comes as the Royal National Institute for Blind People is warning that a third of people with sight problems have suffered an injury due to pavement signs. Fiona Dwyer reports.

Woman is jailed after stealing doctor's identity

Oluwadamilola Opemuyi was arrested at a pharmacy Credit: Kent Police

A woman who admitted stealing a doctor’s identity to fraudulently gain work treating patients throughout England has been jailed for two years and four months.

Oluwadamilola Opemuyi, 29, formerly of Bridgeside Mews, Maidstone, used the doctor’s details alongside a number of false documents to find employment through a locum agency.

From 12-23 January 2015 she treated patients at three separate locations in Essex and Liverpool, as well as at two prisons on the Isle of Sheppey.

Opemuyi’s crimes came to light when she was arrested at a pharmacy in Maidstone on after attempting to collect two prescriptions she had written for herself.

She was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation, three counts of forgery and two counts of possessing a false identity document with intent.

Warnings about giant hogweed as it spreads in region

Several people have received severeburns from the plants Credit: ITV

Giant hogweed is spreading throughout the region and has left several people with severe burns. In other parts of the country, children have received third degree burns.

One child unknowingly sheltered from the rain under giant hogweed.

She said, “I was out with my dad fishing, and it was raining and I was underneath a big bush. It didn’t burn straight away. I woke up in the morning and my hands were just pure red.”

Medical advice is to wash immediately with soap and water and stay out of the sunlight - this seems to activate the sap in Britain's most dangerous plant.

We will have a full report later today.

Video report: Brighton beach to be smoke-free zone?

Brighton's beaches could be among the first in the country to be officially smoke-free. The city council is to decide tomorrow whether or not to put the question to residents.

Any ban would cover not just the beach but also public parks. As Derek Johnson reports the idea is to keep smokers as far away from children as possible.

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