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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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One worker discharged after Ebola tests in Newcastle

The two workers were flown back from Sierra Leone in a Medevac aeroplane and taken to the RVI by road ambulance. Credit: North News

One of two military health workers being tested for Ebola in Newcastle has been discharged.

Public Health England confirmed that they would be kept in secure accommodation and monitored for symptoms of the disease for the rest of their incubation period.

The pair were flown back to the UK from Sierra Leone last night because they may have had contact with another worker, also from the UK military, who has Ebola. That worker is being treated in isolation at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

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Colleagues of Ebola patient taken to Newcastle hospital

Two military healthcare workers who were in close contact with a servicewoman diagnosed with Ebola have returned to the UK for monitoring but are not showing any signs of the disease.

The two, who have not been diagnosed with the disease, travelled on separate EU Medevac flights to Newcastle, before being taken to the city's Royal Victoria Infirmary for monitoring over a 21-day incubation period in line with Ebola response plans.

The UK healthcare worker infected with Ebola was taken to hospital in London yesterday.

The pair were identified alongside two other medics as having been in contact with the infected worker.

The two medics and the infected worker were transported back in an RAF plane to the Royal Free Hospital in London yesterday, with the remaining two brought back today.

A spokeswoman for Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "This is a precautionary measure. The risk to other patients and wider public from Ebola is very low but all appropriate actions are being taken to protect the public's health."

Hugh Bayley praises Ebola workers in Sierra Leone

York Central MP, Sir Hugh Bayley, has expressed his concern that a military healthcare worker from Headquarters 2nd Medical Brigade at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall, who was serving in Sierra Leone, has tested positive for Ebola and is being flown to the UK for treatment, along with two of her colleagues who will be tested at the RVI in Newcastle.

Sir Hugh visited Queen Elizabeth Barracks in December last year to meet the Commanding Officer of Medical Brigade, Colonel Steve Archer, and his team to hear about the work they are doing in Sierra Leone.

“I hope that the healthcare worker who has been confirmed with Ebola will make a full recovery, and that her four colleagues will not contract the disease. I cannot praise highly enough the work that the 2nd Medical Brigade are doing in Sierra Leone, and by eradicating this devastating disease in Africa they are preventing it from spreading to other parts of the world and protecting people here in the UK.

“I have contacted 2nd Medical Brigade to ask them to pass on my best wishes to the personnel concerned, and to ask whether they have identified the point at which the health worker was infected and whether this will require a change in their working procedures.”

– Hugh Bayley
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