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Charity appeal to bring vital cancer treatment to Wiltshire

Artist's impression of what the radiotherapy centre would look like. Credit: Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Cancer patients forced to make a 70-mile round trip for radiotherapy treatment have welcomed a campaign to build a facility closer to home.

Great Western Hospital in Swindon has launched an appeal to raise £2.9 million for a radiotherapy centre, so that thousands of patients no longer have to make the long trek to Oxford for up to seven weeks of treatment.

With support from the public and final approval, it is hoped that the centre will be open by the end of 2017.

The appeal was launched at Great Western Hospital today, with 284 balloons released to mark the number of patients diagnosed with cancer there each month.

Brighter Futures, the Great Western Hospitals Trust charity organising the appeal, hope to inspire local people to get involved in fundraising events.

Bringing radiotherapy treatment to Swindon will make such a difference to local patients and their families, friends and carers and will be an excellent addition to the facilities already available at GWH.

We are working closely with our colleagues at Oxford to make this vision a reality and I am sure that local people will get behind the fundraising appeal.

– Dr Guy Rooney, Medical Director, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Dementia research needs more participants, say scientists

Bruce Wilson, 77, is being scanned as part of a clinical trial at Bristol University. Credit: ITV News

Researchers in the South West are urging more people in the region to consider volunteering for dementia studies.

Scientists at Bristol University are looking into the devastating condition but say efforts can be hampered if researchers can't find people willing to take part.

There are currently 39 studies looking for volunteers, including several studies running in the Bristol area. They include a clinical trial to investigate whether a blood pressure treatment could slow memory decline, as well as study investigating the earliest brain changes in the disease.

Bruce Wilson, 77, from Nailsworth is taking part in a clinical trial at the university looking into dementia. While he does not have the condition himself, he has been diagnosed with 'mild cognitive impairment', a possible precursor.

The trial, which has been running for more than a year, is looking for the early warning signs of the disease.

Not only is dementia a condition with no cure, it is a growing problem - with somebody in the UK developing it every three minutes. The number of people it affects is predicted to double in the next 30 years, and it costs the UK more than £26billion.

As an optimist, Mr Wilson believes scientists will get there, and hopes the small part he has played will help.

Researchers are hoping enough people feel the same.

People with and without dementia can sign up online here or contact one of the charity helplines: Alzheimer’s Research UK, on 0300 111 5 111, or Alzheimer’s Society, on 0300 222 1122.

Wizzybug: The set of wheels transforming young lives

Daisy Holt wishes she could keep Wizzy for longer. Credit: ITV News

A four-year-old girl says her life has been changed after a charity loaned her a special wheelchair.

Daisy Holt, who lives in the Forest of Dean, has spinal muscular atrophy - a rare genetic condition which will never allow her to walk. The NHS does not normally supply electric wheelchairs to children under five - but thanks to Bath-based charity Designability, Daisy's now riding in Wizzy the Wizzybug

Her family say it has made a huge difference to all their lives - allowing Daisy to go to nursery, get out and about and do things that others take for granted.

Daisy and her family want other young children in her position to have the same chance at independence.

Harmonie-Rose has also been riding in the Wizzybug. Credit: Family

The Wizzybug has also helped Harmonie-Rose Allen, the little girl from Bath who lost her limbs to meningitis.

Passing exams with puppy love

Research suggests looking at cute things can help improve concentration. Credit: ITV News

Exam stress at this time of year has given Bristol University paws for thought - so it's trying something different to help students.

The university has set up a special 'puppy room' today, where stressed students take a break from exam prep and dissertation deadlines by cuddling guide dogs and their puppies.

Over 600 students signed up for 15 minutes with the dogs Credit: ITV News

Research published in Japan suggests pictures of cute things such as puppies and kittens can help improve concentration and performance.

About 20 dogs and puppies are being rotated throughout the day with the support of local owners and trainers. Each 'cuddle slot' lasts 15 minutes.

Over 600 students have signed up, and are being asked to make a suggested donation of £2 to the Guide Dogs charity.

While I'm more of a cat person myself, I'm really excited that the University is providing this for students. It's really important to do fun and different things to de-stress during exams and cuddling a puppy is a perfect way to release some endorphins.

– Jo Woods, Union Affairs Officer at Bristol Student Union
This time of year can be stressful for students with exam and deadline pressure. Credit: ITV News

Guide Dogs are most pleased to be able to work with the University of Bristol and allow students the chance to de-stress at this busy exam time. We are sure we will meet lots of students who miss their own pet dogs whilst away at University.

– Sarah Knox, Community Fundraiser for Guide Dogs

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Student who beat severe anorexia now wants to inspire others with her recovery

A student whose weight plummeted to just under 5 stone as she battled with anorexia is hoping her recovery will inspire others to get help.

24-year-old Beth Hall would go for three days at a time with no food - and became so thin she could wear clothes meant for nine year olds.

Even when doctors told her she would die, she still believed there was nothing wrong.

Emily Knight's report contains photos you may find distressing:

If you or someone you love are suffering from anorexia, there are many services and helplines to turn to.

Visit a support group such as B-EAT to find online help, or click here to find NHS services near where you are.

Prince Philip visiting Wiltshire

The Duke of Edinburgh became a great-grandfather for the fifth time on Saturday. Credit: Leon Neal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Prince Philip is opening a specialist dementia care centre in Wiltshire today, his first solo engagement since becoming a great-grandfather for the fifth time.

The Hayward Care Centre in Devizes is named after Wiltshire war hero Reginald Hayward, who was awarded the Victoria Cross and served in both world wars. His regiment is now part of The Rifles, of which the Duke of Edinburgh is Colonel-in-Chief.

The centre, which is run by the Orders of St John Care Trust, will offer specialist care for 80 residents with dementia.

Norovirus closes six wards at Musgrove Park Hospital

Pepole should check the website before visiting Musgrove Park Hospital Credit: ITV News

Six wards remain closed at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton due to an outbreak of Norovirus.

Visiting restrictions are in place and people are being asked to stay away to avoid spreading the infection.

People wanting to visit are being asked to check ward closures on the hospital's website. A further two wards are being deep-cleaned but should reopen today.

NHS privatisation fears spark Bristol protest

The 100-metre-long petition has been signed by thousands of Bristolians. Credit: ITV News West Country

Balloons emblazoned with pro-NHS slogans and a 100-metre-long petition against privatisation have been part of a protest in Bristol today.

The 300 balloons carry the message 'Vote for a Public NHS'. Credit: ITV News West Country
Protestors march up Bristol's Park Street. Credit: ITV News West Country

The petition is addressed to the Clinical Commissioning Group because it was set up by the present government with the specific purpose of contracting out sections of local NHS services in such a way that profit making companies can run them as money-making concerns. It is this fracturing and marketization of our integrated national health service which local people are protesting about.

– Protect Our NHS, the campaign group that organised the event

5,000 people have signed the document demanding that Bristol's NHS stays out of the private sector, and a procession of protestors are delivering it by hand to the city's Clinical Commissioning Group.

The even has been organised by the Protect Our NHS campaign group Credit: ITV News West Country
Protestors with carry balloons with political slogans. Credit: ITV News West Country
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