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NHS March: 'plenty at stake'

Protestors at a rally in Jarrow say they're campaigning against the proposed closure of the town's walk-in centre, as well as current NHS under-funding.

The health group behind the plan insists that moving the centre to another hospital will improve services. And The Prime Minister, today, said the government had increased NHS spending year on year.

Closure of Jarrow NHS Walk-in Centre based on "hard evidence", say health bosses

Health bosses on South Tyneside have said that a plan that involves closing the NHS Walk-in Centre in Jarrow will lead to more "clinically effective" care.

Under the plans, the Walk-in Centre would close in the autumn and be replaced by a new urgent care hub at South Tynesdie District Hospital.

Dr Matthew Walmsley, a local GP and the Chairman of the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said the decision was based on "hard evidence".

Rehena Azam, one of the organisers of today's 'People's March for the NHS', said it the "civic duty" of people to try and protect local NHS services.

"We understand people’s concern, but it’s important to be clear that our plans are based on hard evidence about the most clinically effective ways to provide health care.

"With the walk-in centre and A&E on the same site, patients will be guided to the best service for their needs, which will free up A&E staff to concentrate on genuine emergencies.

"We have been clear from the start that concerns around access to GPs, transport and raising awareness of advice available from places such as local pharmacists must be tackled before the move takes place in the autumn. So, for example, we have already commissioned a detailed independent piece of work to get the clearest possible picture about accessing GPs locally. This will be available shortly and will help us ensure the work we are already undertaking with local practices is on the right track."

– Dr Matthew Walmsley, South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group

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Campaigners want to save Jarrow NHS Walk-in Centre

A protest rally is being held in Jarrow today to oppose the closure of the town's NHS Walk In Centre.

The South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group made the decision to open a new 'urgent care hub' at South Tyneside District Hospital, in South Shields, and relocate services in Jarrow to the new centre.

At the time the Chair of the CCG and South Tyneside GP, Dr Matthew Walmsley, said:

“Many people continue to queue at A&E for minor ailments, rather than using the walk-in-centre service or their GP. By creating a ‘one stop shop’, with every service behind one front door, we can make sure that patients get the right urgent care, first time, every time.”

But the South Tyneside Public Services Alliance, a trade union-led organisation, is against the move.

They believe parking and travel for people in Hebburn and Jarrow is a big concern.

Quicker treatment for South Tyneside heart patients

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Mickey Jachuck with cardiology and radiology staff in the new laboratory. Credit: South Tyneside District Hospital

Treatment for heart patients in South Tyneside has been speeded up thanks to a new £1.1m state-of-the art facility which is reducing waiting times.

A refurbished laboratory at South Tyneside District Hospital now contains the latest imaging and monitoring equipment, some of which is being used for the first time anywhere in the UK.

The lab is used predominantly for the investigation and treatment of patients with cardiac disease but, also, for some radiology procedures.

Since the previous lab was installed over 10 years ago, we have seen a dramatic change in the way that patients with heart disease are assessed and managed, with a major rise in the numbers of those with suspected angina requiring tests such as coronary angiography. In addition to this, for patients who are admitted with a suspected heart attack, there has been greater emphasis on ensuring that they receive appropriate interventional tests and treatment as soon as possible. This facility allows us to perform these procedures promptly, effectively and safely. We have also seen a steady growth over the years in the numbers of patients requiring invasive cardiac treatments, such as pacemakers. These have previously been performed in operating theatres but can now be performed in the new lab. This means all cardiac procedures can be done in the same place which, in turn, allows us to work more efficiently and reduces the time patients spend waiting.”

– Consultant Cardiologist Dr Mickey Jachuck

Clarke Carlisle: 'No shame' at suicide bid

The former York City footballer, Clarke Carlisle has today said he felt "no shame" about his recent suicide attempt as he joined the Deputy Prime Minister at the launch of a project to tackle mental health discrimination in sport.

The 35-year-old former chair of the Professional Footballers' Association spent six weeks in a psychiatric unit after attempted suicide by throwing himself in front of a lorry in North Yorkshire in December.

Speaking at the Oval Cricket Ground in London during the launch of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation, Carlisle said:

People are very delicate stepping around it - there's no shame invested in it for me. I tried to commit suicide because I was incredibly unwell, but it's changed my life. I stand here today with a very different perspective of what it means to be alive in this world.

A large proportion of society will look at a sports star and say: 'You're doing the job of you're dreams, you're getting paid fantastic amounts of money, you're getting adulation and playing in front of crowds, what have you got to be unhappy about?'

Depression, anxiety, all the plethora of strands of mental health, they've got nothing to do with happiness or sadness. It's an illness. It's not a choice, it's not an option, it needs treating in the right manner.

– Clarke Carlisle

Major sporting bodies including the Rugby Football Union, English Cricket Board and the Football Association, have all committed to sign the charter committing to removing the stigma and prejudice around mental health from the world of sport.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance and Professional Players Federation have brought together around 20 organisations, including leading mental health charity Mind.

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Sir Bobby Robson Foundation tops £8 million mark

Sir Bobby Robson with Professor Ruth Plummer, Cancer Trials Research Centre Credit: Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has announced it has reached the £8 million pound mark.

The news comes on the seventh anniversary of the the charity, which funds research into clinical cancer trials.

Sir Bobby, who lost his battle with cancer in 2009, set-up the foundation with the aim of raising half a million pounds.

Sir Bobby speaking at the launch of the Foundation Credit: Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

The clinical trials, which take place at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, help cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbira

We’re absolutely thrilled by this new fundraising total. It’s incredible really. We had no idea how well-supported we would be when we launched in 2008. Bob would be stunned.

– Lady Elsie Robson, Sir Bobby's Widow

Millennium Bridge lights up for Down's Syndrome Day

The Millennium Bridge shines blue and yellow Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Millennium Bridge, on the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside, has been lit up blue and yellow after a campaign by a North East mum.

Sharon Douglas, from Gateshead, contacted her local council for permission to change the colours on the bridge in support of World Down's Syndrome Day.

Sharon's two-old-year old son, Johnny, was born with the condition. She said campaigns like this help highlight the impact that Down's Syndrome has on families.

Ebola: another health worker tested in Newcastle

Three workers have been tested for Ebola at the Newcastle hospital in the last week

A third British health worker has been tested for Ebola at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The worker, who does not have any symptoms, has been assessed and discharged to spend the next 21 days in isolation.

They were helping to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone, alongside a volunteer from the US, who has been diagnosed with the virus.

Two other people who were being tested in Newcastle have also been allowed to leave. They were identified as possible contacts of a British military worker in Sierra Leone, who was diagnosed last week.

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