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New charity ambulance service launched

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A new charity ambulance service that will transport child cancer patients to the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle is due to be officially launched today. Daft as a Brush Cancer Care's ambulance, which will be decorated with patients' artwork, will help children from as far afield as the Scottish Borders, west Cumbria and Yorkshire get to Newcastle for treatment.


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Terms of endearment ...... or just plain patronising?

esidents asked for name preferences Credit: PA

A care home in Harrogate has hit back at claims its staff should not use terms of endearment such as "love" with residents.

Whilst staff at Brackenley home were said to be "150 per cent caring", according to one resident, the Care Quality Commission objected to staff using terms such as "sweetie", "darling", "love" and "handsome". It said although the language was meant to be friendly it could be regarded as demeaning and patronising.

Relatives we spoke with told us they thought that staff usually spoke respectfully to people. However, relatives also told us about other occasions which they had witnessed when staff had spoken inappropriately.

– Care Quality Commission

Stephanie Kirkman Meikle, chief executive of Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre Ltd, which runs Brackenley said the issue was not as 'starkly black and white' as it may be portrayed.

I am confident that staff at Brackenley, our residential care home comply with the CQC guidelines and that Inspectors can see recorded in people’s care plans, how they like to be referred to. The issue is not as starkly black and white as it may be portrayed. We talk to every person, individually in a manner which meets their needs and suits their communication preferences. Certain people respond to certain pet names well and want us to use the terms of endearment appropriate to them.

– Stephanie Kirkman Meikle

Dementia patients 'at risk' at Darlington care home

Credit: PA

A care home has been accused of putting dementia sufferers at risk and failing to protect their dignity after it was placed into special measures.

Darlington’s South Park Care Centre was branded inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which highlighted one incident in which a person had taken soiled clothes off in their bedroom and was found shortly afterwards wandering the corridor without trousers.

Managers of the the nursing home, which looks after dementia sufferers and other vulnerable people, say it is now improving after staff and management dedicated themselves to turning matters around quickly.

Addressing a catalogue of failures at the centre, the report said people’s dignity and privacy was not always respected on the nursing unit.

On another occasion, a person was found slumped forward and “drooling onto a rug on their knee” in a room with open windows and leaves blowing around the bedroom floor.

Although praised for being caring, staff were criticised for failing to ensure medications were dispensed correctly, care plans followed and the nutritional and hydration needs of clients met.

A lack of appropriate staff training was also highlighted.

Ron McNamara, group chairman of home operators Roseberry Care Centre, said problems arose shortly after the company took over the care centre.

He said there had been an over reliance on agency staff after a number of nurses left within a matter of weeks.

He said:

“This undoubtedly had an effect on our ability to maintain the quality of service we had worked so hard to achieve.

We have improved the environment for people who have dementia and increased staff training and development.

We are confident that the measures taken have addressed the main concerns raised in the report.

I am satisfied that the service users in our care are now receiving the correct level of care to meet their individual needs and that the measures taken to resolve issues at the home have been very effective.

– Ron McNamara

Experienced nurses and other staff have been recruited since the inspection and an interim visit from the CQC found improvements had been made.


Missed appointments cost South Tees NHS Trust millions

Health chiefs are urging patients not to miss hospital appointments after 67,500 were wasted last year at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust, which runs The James Cook University Hospital, Friarage Hospital and services at a number of community hospitals, had a “did not attend” (DNA) rate of 8% in the last financial year.

This cost the trust more than £1.6million in wasted staff time – the equivalent of paying for 74 registered nurses – and approximately £5m in lost income.

Sue Clark, assistant practitioner, and Julie MacDonald, cardiothoracic administrator, in the cardiothoracic outpatients department at The James Cook University Hospital (left to right) Credit: South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

This does not take into account those cancelled at short notice which subsequently could not be filled.

Members of the public are being urged to:

  • turn up to appointments on time
  • let hospital staff know as soon as possible if they are not going to be able to attend
  • ensure their GP surgery has their correct address and contact details.

Appointments can be cancelled by calling individual departments or online at

Ambulance 'reverses up' Northumberlandia for rescue

A woman has been rescued from the top of the huge land sculpture Northumberlandia in Cramlington after injuring her ankle.

Northumberlandia is a huge land sculpture in the shape of a reclining female figure. Credit: Jamie Welsh, Cramlington Camera Club

Amatuer photographer Jamie Welsh was walking his dog when he found the woman sitting down and went to help her yesterday, September 6th.

Speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees Mr Walsh said he called an ambulance, but once they arrived at the sculpture it had to "reverse up the structure" to be able to reach the woman safety.

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