Suicide: where to find help

The North East of England has some of the country's highest rates of suicide. Here are organisations which may be able to help.

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Savile: Whitby Hospital nurse allegation

A nurse at Whitby Hospital claims Jimmy Savile inappropriately touched her during a visit in the 1960s. The claim has been investigated by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, one of 28 Trusts publishing the findings of Savile investigations.

The investigation began after a former member of staff at the Whitby Memorial Hospital, which was demolished in the 1970s, made a complaint. Savile is alleged to have 'put his arms around her and touched her inappropriately', though not in a sexual way, and made an inappropriate comment.

She claimed Savile visited the hospital occasionally, sometimes alone and sometimes with a driver and was very 'touchy feely' and used to 'paw you'. She didn't make a complaint at the time but said she told him not to behave inappropriately.

It is important the NHS plays its part in investigating allegations relating to Jimmy Savile and we took our duty to do this seriously. Our investigation centred on a single allegation at Whitby Hospital, which was an isolated incident that does not appear to have caused long term harm to the individual concerned. Our investigation also highlighted that, 50 years ago, society was very different and we now have much greater awareness of the dangers to vulnerable people, with systems and processes in place to better protect them."

– Mike Proctor, Deputy Chief Executive, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Read more on the Savile investigations here.


Savile: Nothing untoward at Newcastle Hospitals

Jimmy Savile visited the children's wards of the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Newcastle General Hospital in the 1980s and 1990s. An investigation by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals has found nothing untoward happened during the visits.

Arising out of an exhaustive investigation, these presentations appeared to coincide with the Great North Run. Nothing untoward occured and there was continual supervision."

– Sir Leonard Fenwick, Chief Executive, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals
  • Read more on the Savile investigations here.

Savile: No connection with Durham's Dryburn Hospital

28 NHS Trusts have published their findings after investigations into links with Jimmy Savile.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust carried out an investigation after suggestions there was a possible link between Savile and Dryburn Hospital. It then widened the investigation to include a visit by Savile to the children's ward at Shotley Bridge Hospital in 1981.

The investigation has found no evidence of any connection between Jimmy Savile and Dryburn Hospital and no evidence of any untoward incidents taking place during the visit to Shotley Bridge Hospital. A small number of potential improvements in our procedures have been identified and are being actioned. The Trust is not, however, complacent in any regard and will seek to learn any lessons from the reports concerning other hospitals, in line with our duty to safeguard patients from harm."

– County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Read more on the Savile investigations here.

New pacemaker helps South Tyneside patients

Dr Mickey Jachuck with Brian and Maureen Marley. Brian was the first patient at South Tyneside District Hospital to receive the pacemaker

South Tyneside heart patients are among the first in the North East to be given a new type of pacemaker, which allows doctors to monitor them remotely at all times, anywhere in the world.

Doctors at South Tyneside District Hospital have implanted the devices, which transmit alerts if any problems arise, in the first two patients.

One recipient said, 'I was always panting for breath before but now I’m as fit as a butcher’s dog.'

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust will offer this technology to more patients in the future.


Veteran support service to expand across Tyneside

A support service to help armed forces veterans make the transition back into civilian life is to be extended across Tyneside.

Gateshead Council appointed an Armed Forces Community Outreach Worker last year to provide advice to veterans and their families. The project will now be extended across Newcastle, North and South Tyneside.

“Settling back into the community after leaving the armed forces can present serious problems after a life spent moving frequently to new postings, particularly for single people.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a serious mental health condition, is also increasingly common among soldiers returning from combat zones, and this can prevent ex-service personnel from finding suitable employment or living unsupported.”

– Mick Downworth, Gateshead’s Armed Forces Community Outreach Worker

Almost 200 Gateshead veterans and their families have so far received help and assistance on issues such as housing, employment, benefits and healthcare since the scheme was launched in Gateshead in 2013.

“What many people don’t realise is that armed services personnel leaving the military after a life spent serving their country can sometimes find themselves out of their depth and they can be acutely vulnerable.

“What our Outreach Service has shown is that a little help and support can go a very long way in easing that difficult transition. It is hugely encouraging that former members of the armed forces right across Tyneside will now be able to access that support.”

– Councillor Stuart Green, armed forces champion for Gateshead Council

Time capsule marks one year to new hospital opening

A time capsule will be buried at the site of the new Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington to celebrate a year to the opening of the new hospital.

Ten members of staff including doctors and nurses will bury the time capsule containing items such as a pack of swabs for screening MRSA and a staff magazine.

“I wanted to show clinicians of the future how they have been actively fighting to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance to ensure that antibiotics will work for future generations”

– Consultant microbiologist Dr Bryan Marshall

“This ceremony marks a year to go to the opening of the hospital and a new era in emergency care. This is an exciting time for everyone at Northumbria Healthcare."

– Medical Director David Evans

£30m expansion plans for Freeman heart unit

Heart units
Plans to build new £30 million heart unit Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Planning permission is being sought for a £30m expansion of heart services at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

The specialist service provides care for all types of heart and respiratory conditions in adults and children.

The move comes at a time when uncertainty surrounds the future of heart services in the region as the national review of Congenital Heart Disease continues.

Findings of the review will be released later this year.

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