A world first at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital may offer fresh hope for patients with advanced heart failure.
A new generation of miniature pump is being pioneered in just a handful of countries and here in the North East.
Harry Chivers, who had a heart attack, has become the first patient in the world to be fitted with an MVAD system, the latest generation of heart pump, which is no bigger than a golf ball.
It supports the heart by helping to pump blood to the aorta. Patients can keep control using a computer box which is connected to the tiny pump fitted inside.
Consultant heart surgeon, Professor Stephan Schueler said it could transform the lives of many patients, including children.
"With this new device, we're expecting the patients to have a near normal life at home, waiting either for their own heart to recover or just to treat their advanced heart failure, or potentially have a heart transplant in the future."
The pump will continue to go through a trial period.
- Claire Montgomery's report
The site of the first Proton Beam Therapy cancer treatment centre to be built in England will be unveiled today in Northumberland.
The centre, which will be built in Bomarsund, Northumberland, will open in early 2017.
Proton Beam Therapy is a type of radiotherapy, most often used to treat cancer. Protons are used to target cancerous cells, causing less damage to surrounding tissue than conventional radiotherapy.
The treatment is not currently available in the UK, leading to some patients travelling abroad in order to receive it.
It was the subject of widespread media coverage last year, when the parents of five-year-old Ashya King took him out of an NHS hospital to travel to Prague in order for him to receive the treatment.
The British Transplant Games are due to begin on Tyneside today.
More than 600 transplant recipients will take part in the four-day event which will see more than 20 sporting events taking place at venues across Newcastle and Gateshead.
The opening ceremony will be held in Newcastle City Centre this evening. The event, which runs until Sunday, was last held on Tyneside in 2000.
"The Games aim to demonstrate the benefits of transplantation, encouraging transplant patients to regain fitness, whilst increasing public awareness of the need for more people to join the NHS Organ Donation Register and discuss their wishes with their families. They also seek to thank and celebrate donor families and the gift of life."
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A report released today by Ofsted has criticised Sunderland Council's children's services, pointing to major inadequacies in the way it deals with vulnerable children.
The NSPCC has said in a statement that pressures on council budgets should not be used as an excuse for delivering poor services.
The local authority must take urgent action to ensure children at risk of harm get the protection they need. Problems with staffing levels can increase the strain on services but this cannot be an excuse for jeopardising child protection. It is unacceptable that some cases have been caught in a bottleneck for many months.
High quality and effective child protection services are a non-negotiable part of what local authorities must provide and this should include a high level of support for frontline workers. Keeping children safe from harm is everyone’s responsibility, from local communities to councils and statutory agencies and we welcome the council’s development of an improvement plan to improve these services as soon as possible.
Leader of the Council Paul Watson gave an interview to ITV Tyne Tees in which he accepted the failings in Sunderland Council's children's services highlighted by today's Ofsted report.
The main challenge facing the authority is clearing the large backlog of cases involving children at risk of neglect and abuse.
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A shocking report into children's services in Sunderland has criticised widespread failures and poor leadership.
The report by Ofsted has said that children are being left unsafe.
Among the areas ruled inadequate are:
- Child protection
- Children in care
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has written to the Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan, calling for action to be taken as soon as possible.