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Winter 2012/2013 Issue 45

FRaEziE ne mag

Surgery while being kept alive ensures heart attack survival STEM CELL DONATION – IT’S SO EASY TO SAVE A LIFE

Brachytherapy patient says NGH staff are ‘fantastic’


John’s heartfelt thanks to team of lifesavers

WIN free tickets to A Christmas Carol – SEE BACK PAGE Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

How can NPPS support me?

We aim to provide a range of flexible services that ensure you are: • Provided with accurate unbiased information on your rights, roles and responsibilities within education. • Given practical support to help in discussions with schools and other agencies, providing opportunities for early disagreement resolution. • Helped to express your views and assist in getting them valued by professionals • Provided with information about other agencies which can help. • Supported to participate in strategic decision making for services for children and young people in Northamptonshire.

We also work with schools and Northamptonshire County Council promoting working partnerships to ensure parents’ views are heard. For More Information: Helpline: 08452 415552 - Telephone: 01604 636111 Email: - Internet:



Welcome 14 26



Welcome to the Winter edition of Insight – an issue that our regular readers may notice is a little weightier than before. That’s because the magazine will now be appearing every three months instead of every two - but with more pages. We’ve made a few other subtle changes in response to your feedback, which we always welcome. Please let us know your views about the magazine, particularly how you think we can continue to improve it. And many thanks to those of you who have written in to say how satisfied you have been with your treatment at the hospital. These letters give a great boost to our staff, and we are now also publishing some of your recent messages on our website. The hospital website (www. is where you can keep up-to-date with NGH news in between your quarterly fix of Insight. Until the next issue, we wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We’ll see you in the Spring! Peter Kennell Editor

10 25 19 Insight, the magazine for NGH patients, visitors and the local community is published every three months by Northampton General Hospital Communications, Cliftonville, Northampton NN1 5BD. Insight is available online at where you can also read all our back issues (go to About Us, Documents and publications) Editor: Peter Kennell 01604 523871 Photos: Medical Illustration 01604 545251 Advertising: Octagon Design & Marketing 01909 478822

4 Our new £2.2m Macmillan unit for HAEMATOLOGY patients has been officially opened 5 Meet the national HAND HYGIENE champion Chris Head – and did you see our YouTube video sensation? 6 Study the draft proposals for local health services from the HEALTHIER TOGETHER Review 8 Read some of the nice things people have been saying about us, here in PATIENT PRAISE and online 9 Our PLAY SPECIALISTS ease the worries of younger patients in hospital 10 When John Thomson had a heart attack he survived thanks to a dedicated team of NHS LIFESAVERS 14 It’s so easy to save a life with a STEM CELL DONATION - as healthcare assistant Vanessa Turvey now knows 16 A team of MIDWIFE SONOGRAPHERS is speeding up ultrasound scans for women in the third trimester 19 Our COMMUNITY STROKE TEAM have achieved a lot in a short time, according to a network review 20 A year on, the first patient given a new BRACHYTHERAPY treatment for prostate cancer praises NGH 22 Read our tips on STAYING WELL this winter 24 Meet some of our staff in this issue’s PEOPLE SPOTLIGHT 26 A new AAA SCREENING programme aims to halve deaths from the condition 29 Our thanks for more donations made to Gosset ward, the NEONATAL UNIT 30 Your gifts to our CHARITABLE FUND help us do that little bit more for patients 33 NGH staff volunteered to be some of the Olympic and Paralympic GAMESMAKERS this summer 34 Oesophageal cancer patients benefit from local SUPPORT GROUP 35 Trish Hughes talks about treating young people with HODGKINS LYMPHOMA 36 Announcements, diversions on the Insight NOTICEBOARD 37 Find your way to departments and wards with the WAYFINDING MAP 38 Read about NGH times gone by in FROM THE ARCHIVE 40 Win tickets to see A Christmas Carol in our Royal & Derngate COMPETITION

It’s a Free for All! Insight is a free magazine, and we encourage our patients and visitors to take one home with our compliments. Please pass it on to a friend or relative when you have read it. Insight doesn’t cost the hospital anything either, as the print and design are provided free of charge in return for the revenue from advertisers. No NHS or charitable donations are used to fund its production.



New haematology suite is a unit to be proud of Our state of the art haematology unit, which welcomed its first patients in February, was officially opened in October by the president of Macmillan Cancer Support, The Countess of Halifax. The unit, which has cost more than £2 million to develop, has been funded by the hospital and a charity appeal by Macmillan Cancer Support, with support from the Chronicle & Echo. Northamptonshire fundraising manager for Macmillan, Cherida Plumb, said: “It’s brilliant to see it finally open and to have the chance to recognise all of the support we have had from people. It has been amazing.”

Medical director and haematology consultant Dr Sonia Swart said the former suite had been too small and improvements had been much needed. She said the charity appeal to fund improvements started when a patient gave a donation after he was treated at the old unit. Dr Swart said: “It has improved immeasurably the facilities for patients with haematological cancers, and the design and layout of the new unit helps our staff to give the very best care to our patients. We are very grateful to everyone who is supporting the appeal. It’s taken 10 years but it’s a testament to everybody involved that we didn’t give up on this. We have now got a

unit to be proud of.” Linda Hudson, aged 68, has been a patient at both of the units. The grandmother of four was diagnosed non Hodgkin lymphoma in 2006 and has since raised £15,000 for the appeal. She said: “The new unit is a very uplifting place even when you are feeling grotty. The ambience of the place is not like a hospital. It’s a much better facility for the patients and nurses.” We are getting near to achieving the £1.55m fundraising target for the Macmillan Haematology Unit. To find out how you can help us, please contact 0300 1000 200 or visit

Staff help to raise funds too In our June issue we reported that consultant haematologist Dr Angela Bowen had successfully run the London Marathon and raised over £6,000 for the Macmillan haematology appeal. In fact now the final total has been confirmed by Macmillan, she actually collected an amazing £8,436.94 - so a big thank you to Angela who is handing over the cheque to acting sister Chris Hipwell.

Three NGH departments joined in with Macmillan’s ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ this year, and raised over £950 between them. Congratulations to all those involved in organising these events, and to all staff who supported them and donated to the cause.



Healthcare assistant Chris receives national hand hygiene award A Northampton General Hospital healthcare assistant has been presented with a national award for Hand Hygiene Champion of 2012 by the Infection Prevention Society (IPS). Christopher Head was awarded the honour for his proactive and enthusiastic teaching of effective hand hygiene - not just to hospital staff, but also to children and adults in his local St John Ambulance group. Wendy Foster, infection prevention nurse specialist at NGH, nominated Chris for the award earlier in the year. She said: “Chris is a very important link between the infection and prevention control team and the ward staff, and he undertakes his role with enthusiasm and passion. He is a very worthy winner of the award.” Chris has taught staff on the emergency assessment unit, Allebone and Benham wards about the importance of effective hand hygiene in reducing the risk of infection, helping to ensure that patients’ journeys through the hospital are as safe as possible.

Not only has Chris been invaluable in this role at work, but he also asked for specialist training so that he could teach hand hygiene to the members of his St John Ambulance group, including children from the age of seven through to adults. Hand hygiene has become increasingly important to the charity since its activities are now registered and inspected by the Care Quality Commission. Chris has been with NGH for eight years, and also had a starring role in the hit YouTube ‘Gangnamstyle’ video produced by NHS Northamptonshire for Global Handwashing Day. He said: “The award came as a complete surprise, it was brilliant. It’s a beautiful trophy and will be taking pride of place on the sideboard.” Chris was selected as the joint winner for the schülke Hand Hygiene Champion of 2012, and the award was presented at the IPS annual conference in Liverpool earlier this month. He received a unique engraved crystal trophy and certificate and was invited to the gala dinner as a special guest.

Did you see this? Chris featured with other NGH staff in a video made by NHS Northamptonshire for Global Handwashing Day on 15 October. The video, based on the Gangnam Style hit by South Korean rapper Psy, quickly amassed over 67,000 views on YouTube and was featured in the Sun newspaper and on the Guardian website. It also led to Chris and Wendy reprising their moves when South Korean TV turned up to film them at the hospital a few weeks later. Many thanks to all our video stars for helping to raise the profile of hand hygiene!

The award came as a complete surprise, it was brilliant. Healthcare assistant Chris Head, president of the Infection Prevention Society Julie Storr, and NGH infection prevention nurse specialist Wendy Foster

To see the video, search on YouTube for global handwashing gangnam or type into your browser.



Working together for a healthy future Healthier Together is a review of the way healthcare services are provided across the South East Midlands. It is looking at the services provided in the five main hospitals in Bedford, Kettering, Luton & Dunstable, Milton Keynes and Northampton. The review is being led by hospital consultants, GPs and health professionals working together with patients and local people.


We have also taken into account feedback from more than 12,000 local people, patients, NHS staff and stakeholders so far.


Since February 2012, the Healthier Together team has been researching and discussing the best way to deliver health services that meet the needs of the population of the South East Midlands both now and into the future. We know that many services do not need to be delivered from hospitals and could be offered closer to people’s homes. Equally we know that for more complex and specialist procedures the best way to get improved results for our patients is to pool expertise and resources across the five local hospitals in Bedford, Kettering, Luton & Dunstable, Milton Keynes and Northampton.

Medically led, with patient input More than 200 medical experts hospital doctors, GPs, nurses and midwives - are involved in Healthier Together, working in six groups with patients and public representatives. They have been looking at the following services: ◗ Cancer ◗ Long Term Conditions ◗ Maternity ◗ Children ◗ Planned Care ◗ Emergency and urgent care

Drawing on national and international best practice, the groups have developed draft reports that have been used to develop scenarios for how patients could benefit from better, safer treatment if services were reshaped. We have also taken into account feedback from more than 12,000 local people, patients, NHS staff and stakeholders who have come into direct contact with Healthier Together so far. Based on what we’ve learned, we’re now looking carefully at draft models of care that would mean that the majority of routine health services remained available locally but that some complex

or emergency care would be offered on fewer sites where evidence shows us this would lead to improved outcomes for patients. Several events will take place over the next two months which will allow greater opportunities for local clinicians to discuss these models and help shape future proposals.

Our key findings so far Planned Care Clinical Working Group emerging themes: ❙ Bringing together staff and resources to create bigger, multi-disciplinary teams carrying out more operations resulting in improved outcomes for patients ❙ Focus on providing the best care in the right place at the right time ❙ Patients may have to travel further to a centre of excellence within the region but they would get better results ❙ All outpatients appointments should be available locally – including some services delivered closer to home in the community Children’s Services Clinical Working Group emerging themes: ❙ Most care for children – including care for long term conditions – should be provided in the community

Healthcare s constantly changing and advancing

❙ Focus on providing earlier access to senior clinical assessment

❙ Critical and more complex care for children to be concentrated on fewer sites

❙ Continued collaboration with specialist centres in neighbouring areas Cancer Care Clinical Working Group emerging themes: ❙ Consolidation of some elective specialties where this leads to improved patient outcomes

We promise… ◗ No hospitals will close. Northampton, Kettering, Milton Keynes, Luton & Dunstable and Bedford will all continue to provide most local services ◗ All five hospitals will have an A&E and maternity service ◗ Our first priority is safe, sustainable, high quality services ◗ Our recommendations will be based on clinical evidence and local need ◗ No decisions without full public consultation

❙ Concentration of some specialist diagnostics on selected sites ❙ Improved co-ordination of screening ❙ Development of co-ordinated pathways for increasing number of people who live with cancer as well as those needing palliative care ❙ Consider developing South East Midlands cancer network Maternity Care Clinical working Group emerging themes:

Our job is to ensure local health services keep up with the changes and opportunities for improvement, so we meet your needs in the best possible way. We want to deliver a healthy future for all our residents and hospitals.

❙ Normalise low risk births as much as possible ❙ Offer choice through high quality midwifery-led units on all five hospital sites and home birth pathways ❙ Consultant-led services for more complex care likely to be concentrated on three hospital sites leading to improved levels of consultant cover Long Term Care Clinical Working Group emerging themes: ❙ Less reliance on unnecessary hospital care leading to significant bed reductions and A&E attendances ❙ Implement common treatment pathways across South East Midlands ❙ Co-ordination of whole of health and social care network ❙ Greater specialist working in the community Emergency Care Clinical Working Group emerging themes: ❙ Delivery of appropriate levels of emergency care using appropriate staff including specialist nurses and specially trained GPs ❙ All A&E departments to work to same clear clinical protocols ❙ All hospitals across the South East Midlands to work as a single network in conjunction with all partners including ambulance trusts.

What people tell us We have been busy asking local people whether they agree that local services do need to change in order to keep up with the challenges around, and opportunities for, improvement. We’ve also been testing out whether there is support for the general direction of the programme. The results have been encouraging. During the past three months we have collected views from over 1,000 people in staff meetings, online forms, emails, written feedback, local meetings and roadshows.

People told us that they supported the idea of a healthcare system that provides as many services as possible locally and more serious emergency and specialist care at centres where this leads to better results. This included strong support for a network of local, midwife-led maternity units supporting low-risk pregnancies and births, working with specialist maternity centres for higher risk/complex births. People did raise concerns about potentially having to travel further for some services and we are looking into this in more detail. More information is available on the Healthier Together website.

Where we are At this stage, we are looking at draft models of care and not specific hospital sites. To get this right, we must take one step at a time. First, we determine the best structure for delivering care in the best way to meet the needs of the population of South East Midlands. Only when the Programme Board is confident they have the right structure will they decide which configuration would lead to the best outcomes for the local population. We will then share these draft proposals and invite comments from the public as part of a full public consultation in 2013. In the meantime we will continue to listen to clinicians and local people’s views to help shape the development of firm proposals. To let us know your thoughts you can: ◗ Email us at healthiertogether@ ◗ Call us on 01908 278735 ◗ Write to us at Freepost RSCU-JUCGRZCE, Healthier Together, NHS 155 Sherwood Drive, Bletchley MK3 6RT ◗ Fill in our questionnaire, and register for regular updates on our website www.healthiertogethersoutheast



Great customer service at day surgery unit

◗ At A&E I was registered, assessed, x-rayed and treated in an hour on a Sunday afternoon! Excellent service and the system was flawless. A big thanks to those who treated me and my appreciation to the NHS.

Most of my conscious time was in the recovery suite where I was handled by Leonor – smiling, friendly, great customer service – a special word for her.

◗ NGH saved my life with a neck dissection operation last year and the care was out of this world

Please pass these comments to the team. They are a credit to NGH and reinforce my belief in the quality of our beloved NHS. My experience will be shared widely with family and friends. Keep up the great work! Best wishes to all.

Staff nurse Leonor Almeida


Nothing but praise for Brampton Ward care

No-one “gave up on her”, nor felt that she was too old for treatment, as we had feared

they might. We were supported the whole way through the final stages of her life and, following her death, were offered bereavement care by the Evelyn Centre. An important memory for us is that, apart from being kept pain free, she was always kept impeccably clean, hair brushed, hands and face moisturised – little things I know, but it has stayed in our minds and demonstrates a mark of respect from the staff to her. Sue Lovesy

Fantastic service in minor injuries unit Just wanted to say a big thank you to all the staff at NGH who were involved in treating my son for a fractured arm. It was his first trip to hospital and despite being an apprehensive patient, the staff in the minor injuries and illnesses department were very friendly and reassuring and were quickly able to put him at ease. Likewise for the radiographer who was also incredibly patient and caring. Thankfully I have not had to visit NGH for a number of years and therefore didn’t appreciate all the changes. The setup in the MIaMI unit is brilliant, I was very impressed at how quick we


Many of our patients and their relatives are kind enough to take the time to compliment hospital staff and volunteers on the standards of service and care they provide. We really appreciate all your comments and publish many of them on our website. Here are some brief extracts from others we have received recently.

I would like to say many thanks and congratulations to the day surgery team who treated me yesterday. From entering the unit at 1pm until leaving at 6pm I was dealt with by a series of superb professionals who treated me with friendliness, care and respect. Support staff, anaesthetist team, the surgeon, the recovery suite team – all were fantastic!

I would like to commend Brampton Ward for their excellent care of my 84 year old motherin-law. We were made to feel welcome on the ward and were involved in decisions about her care and informed of every change in the state of her health. The service we received from all was second to none, and we have nothing but praise for the staff and their excellent care of her.

Patient praise

were triaged, x-rayed and the cast applied. We drove out the car park (all fixed up), just less than an hour after we arrived! Even finding a car parking space was simple and the paying on exit so much easier and less stressful. I know at times there can be a great deal of criticism angled at NGH and the staff, so I really wanted to express my gratitude and congratulate the hospital and staff on getting the service just right in the minor injuries and illnesses dept. A great idea! HS

◗ Dr Bajwa was kind, compassionate and reassuring. He is an asset to the hospital and should be praised for his commitment. ◗ We were treated with respect and were looked after very well. We had a lot of input into Dad’s care and were kept up-to-date daily. Keep up the good work you are doing. We know it can be a thankless task but believe us you are all doing a great job. ◗ Big up to all staff at Creaton ward who looked after me so well. They work extremely hard with some very ‘challenging’ patients. I know I couldn’t do it. ◗ The hospital is very clean, and staff have been fantastic, efficient and reassuring. Being taken to an unfamiliar hospital after a crash was scary but I have been shown the NHS at its best. ◗ Balmoral ward staff were very supportive and a credit to the hospital. Thanks for making mine and my little baby’s two-week stay comfortable. ◗ I have not been in hospital for 30 years, however this experience has given me great faith in the system. Well done everyone.

See more at If you would like to share your positive comments, please get in touch with us - email


Play in hospital eases children’s worries From a child’s perspective, having blood drawn can be a scary procedure. It takes skilled staff to know how to calm an anxious child and get the necessary samples in a quick and painless manner. As well as the skill of the phlebotomist, Northampton General Hospital’s play specialists also play a key role at special clinics that now take place in the children’s outpatients department for youngsters who need to have blood tests. One or more of the hospital’s nine play specialists, normally based on Disney and Paddington children’s wards, are on hand to distract the children and ensure that anxiety levels are kept to a minimum. Nathan Lewis, who is 10 and lives in Hunsbury, seemed quite at ease while he had some blood taken, saying that he could feel only a small scratch as phlebotomist Gillian Coupe carried out the procedure. National Play in Hospital Week took place in October, an annual initiative founded by the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS)

and which was organised for a second year by national children’s charity Starlight Children’s Foundation. The aim of the week was to raise awareness of the benefits of play in the treatment of poorly children across the UK. NGH play service coordinator Sue Faulkner said: “The idea of ‘play in hospital’ may seem unusual but it provides an essential part in the care of children and young people. It helps to provide normality in a strange and sometimes scary environment. Play is used as communication to prepare children so that they have an understanding of the procedures and treatment they may need to undergo. Fears and anxieties can be identified and addressed by using distraction and implementing coping strategies in order to promote a positive experience. “National Play in Hospital Week is an excellent opportunity for us to raise awareness of the benefits of how play contributes to holistic care, while organising a really fun week of activities, games and entertainment for our patients.”

Fact file ◗ Play specialists, working alongside other health care professionals, organise daily play and art activities in the activity centre or at the bedside, providing play to achieve developmental goals, help children master and cope with fears and anxieties, and to prepare children for hospital procedures. They also support families and siblings, contribute to clinical judgements through playbased observations, teach the value of play for the sick child, encourage peer group friendships to develop and organise special events. ◗ Phlebotomists are specialised clinical support workers/assistant healthcare scientists who collect blood from patients for examination in laboratories, the results of which provide valuable information to diagnosing illness. ◗ The paediatric phlebotomy clinic ensures that young patients can be seen in a child-friendly area without the need to visit the main blood taking unit on the lower floor of the same building. The clinics run four days a week, and appointments are generally booked for the following day or to coincide with an appointment to see a paediatric consultant.

The idea of ‘play in hospital’ may seem unusual but it provides an essential part in the care of children and young people. Play specialist Kellie Rhucroft with Nathan Lewis, and phlebotomists Chris Sefton and Gillian Coupe



Heart attack survivor thanks his team of lifesavers A Northampton man who suffered a heart attack at home earlier in the year received life-saving treatment at the NGH Heart Centre – despite being “dead” while he was operated upon. Against the odds, and despite spending nine days in a drug-induced coma in ITU following the operation, John Thomson has since made a remarkable recovery. He recently met up with the paramedics and some of the NGH staff who worked so successfully together as a team to save him, to thank them for what they had done.

John, 60, of Links View, said: “For me the NHS was spot-on, absolutely marvellous. The paramedic was here in minutes, followed by the ambulance with a van full of kit. Everything was in place at the hospital and it all worked splendidly. I owe my life to the whole team.” Back in the warm weather at the end of May, John had ignored two episodes of chest pains, once after walking quickly and then later when doing some physical work. But on the Tuesday after the bank holiday he had more pains as he sat in bed having a cup of coffee, and he called

999. He said: “The paramedic was here so quickly I was still on the phone talking to the controller about my symptoms.” The first paramedic on the scene, Harjot Singh, said: “I was planning to take him to hospital to get him checked over, so I asked the ambulance crew to attend – but by the time they arrived just a few minutes later the ECG had changed so much it showed John was having a heart attack. We managed to get him on to a chair, but halfway down the stairs he suffered a cardiac arrest.” >>

It’s very unusual to see someone who was dead for 80 minutes or so while being artificially supported and then make a full recovery from it. John Thomson with wife Anita and daughter Hollie meet some of John’s team of lifesavers – paramedics, and NGH staff from the heart centre and ITU


John and Anita in their garden

INSIGHT â?˜ 11


John’s wife Anita said: “I saw John before they took him into the ambulance, and it didn’t look good. He made this awful noise as they brought him down the stairs, like an injured dog yelping. He didn’t respond to me. I thought he’d gone. That was it.” Harjot worked with paramedics Lisa Partridge and Sasha Tinston in the ambulance to perform CPR on John. Harjot said: “John’s eyes were open while we were doing CPR on him - which has never happened before – and I remember being in two minds whether to shock him until Sasha shouted at me to do it. Every time we pressed the button he screamed, but we carried on doing it all the way to hospital. Luckily there was a good team there to look after him, and Dr Cox was available in the heart centre.” Cardiology consultant Dr Dominic Cox said: “When I was called about John from A&E and was told that he was in cardiac arrest, my immediate reaction was that he could not be saved. But one of the doctors told me that, remarkably, John was able to respond to commands while being resuscitated, which was a sign that resuscitation had been unbelievably good from the moment he suffered cardiac arrest.” John had been given a number of

defibrillating shocks but they only restored heart rhythm for a very brief period or not at all. So he was in ventricular fibrillation, a fatal heart rhythm, but being kept alive by artificial external cardiac massage. He was kept on a LUCAS artificial heart pump and taken to the cath lab in the heart centre, where the problem for Dr Cox and his team was how to perform a cardiac procedure on a patient who had no output from his heart.

take it hour by hour. We weren’t sure whether he would come out of the coma, or whether his brain would be damaged. His kidneys stopped working properly because of the weak heart output, and filtering them took out the drugs they were putting in. Having to lie still led to a chest infection. How he pulled through it all I don’t really know.”

Fortunately they were able to get into an artery in John’s leg, and there was enough blood pressure being supported by the LUCAS machine to allow an emergency angioplasty to be carried out, unblocking the vessel that was causing John’s heart attack. Two stents were inserted into a major coronary artery. Halfway through the procedure his heart was shocked to restore him out of ventricular fibrillation to what was still a very sick heart rhythm, and an intraaortic balloon pump was inserted up through the leg artery to support his heart in circulating blood. John was then transferred to ITU where his head was cooled to prevent brain damage by the low cardiac output, and he spent nine days in a medically-induced coma.

What made the difference was that he had full CPR from the moment he suffered the heart attack.

Anita said: “When I asked what were John’s chances, Dr Cox couldn’t say. He said at this stage you must just

I don’t remember a thing until about ten days later, although I did have some very weird hallucinations in ITU! John meets consultant cardiologist Dr Dominic Cox, and East Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics (l-r) Lisa Partridge, Harjot Singh and Sasha Tinston


Dr Cox admitted that after the operation his feelings about John were still very pessimistic. “There were as many times I saw him dying rather than surviving, but he gradually made headway and was able to breathe for himself. It’s very unusual to see someone who was dead for 80 minutes or so while being artificially supported and then make a full recovery from it. I’ve seen nothing like this before, and it’s a really remarkable story. “What made the difference was that he had full CPR from the moment he suffered the heart attack, and the chain of survival was unbroken from the paramedic crew through to A&E, the cath lab and ITU. Everything just worked out perfectly for him and, if just one part of that chain had slipped, I don’t think John would have survived.” Subsequently John has had a further procedure to have a third stent inserted and to check the results of the original emergency operation. Despite some mild damage to his heart his prospects are good, and he hopes to start work again in the new year once he has conquered some muscle pain that he is still experiencing. John said: “From when I was taken out to the ambulance I was really just a passenger. I don’t remember a thing until about ten days later, although I did have some very weird hallucinations in ITU! What I do know is that I was in the right place. There was no weak link in my chain, and it was a fantastic team effort from everybody involved.”



Saving a life is so easy For many people suffering from a blood cancer, such as leukaemia, a blood stem cell transplant may be their last chance of life. The Anthony Nolan Register of potential donors aims to provide a lifesaving transplant to every person with blood cancer who needs help. All blood cells originate in the bone marrow from the same type of cell, called a blood stem cell. A blood stem cell, or bone marrow, transplant can replace a damaged immune system in a person with blood cancer – but only if the donor’s cell type matches. Currently, a matching donor can only be found for half the people who are in desperate need of a lifesaving transplant. But it doesn’t take a lot to become a donor, as A&E healthcare assistant Vanessa Turvey told us after she donated stem cells in October. “It was really easy and I had no ill effects at all,” she said. “In fact within half an hour I was out shopping on the streets of London!” Vanessa had given blood for many years, and over 15 years ago she also signed up to the British Bone Marrow Register, which is now operated by the Anthony Nolan Trust. She thought no more about it until a letter arrived in August this year saying they had found a match and asking whether she wanted to go through with a donation. Vanessa said: “I told them I did and they sent some bottles for more blood to test, which they sent a courier to pick up. Soon afterwards they asked me to come down to London for a medical and further blood tests. Then within four days of that they rang to say my blood was a perfect match, and I again confirmed that I wanted the donation to go ahead.” There are two methods of donating stem cells. One method is called peripheral blood stem cell collection, where the blood is

The donated stem cells are packaged up for transport to the recipient


taken through a tiny tube in your arm, and the cells are donated by passing the blood through a machine. The second is by stem cells taken from bone marrow in the pelvis under general anaesthetic. As she was told there is no difference to the receiver which method is used, Vanessa chose peripheral blood stem cell collection. This involved a community nurse coming out on four separate days to give injections which helped her body to produce and release stem cells into her blood. Then she travelled up to a London hospital along with her friend Louise Wilson. “Louise’s son Michael died of leukaemia here on Talbot Butler ward aged 23,” said Vanessa, “and I think her coming with me was of some benefit to her. She took several photos and helped me record a video diary of the experience.” Vanessa’s white blood cell count wasn’t quite high enough so she was given one more injection, and then on the following morning had the procedure, which took about five hours. She also had one more injection and donated again the morning after, because ideally more stem cells are required when the person receiving is heavier. “You’re told to expect tiredness, aching bones and flu-like symptoms,” said Vanessa - but even after two donations I don’t think it had any effect on me at all. I just felt much the same as when I’ve done a 12-hour shift in A&E. My pain level is quite high, but I think they were quite shocked that I didn’t have any ill effects. Within half an hour of the drip being detached we were out shopping in London!” The stem cells have to be given to the recipient within 72 hours of being donated, and donors are allowed to pass on a card and sign their first name. Depending on how poorly the person is, and whether they want to get in touch, they could pass on a reply to the donor through the Anthony Nolan Trust. The recipient could be anywhere in the world, but it is possible that Vanessa could meet up with them at some point. “It’s difficult not knowing whether it was a complete success, but every day since I cross my fingers and hope that it’s working for them,” said Vanessa. “I do think many more people should consider making a donation. It hasn’t cost me anything, it certainly hasn’t caused me any ill health - but it’s a really nice feeling to think that somewhere out there, fingers crossed, you’ve saved a life.”

Steve’s family desperately organised local donor drives to help find a match

Dad saved by blood stem transplant thanks donor The life of a Northamptonshire dad has recently been saved by an anonymous donor. Steve Evans, from Bugbrooke, had weeks to find a successful match to cure his blood cancer when one was found, thought to be by a young man in another part of the country. The transplant came after Mr Evans’s family had desperately organised local donor drives, which targeted younger men who are able to stay on the donor drive for many years. A tearful Mr Evans said: “Until you have experienced this situation, you don’t know how you will react, so I think it is very difficult for teenagers to understand the magnitude of putting themselves on the Anthony Nolan list. The person who did this is an absolute hero.” Despite a long wait for a match, the transplant was over in less than an hour. Mr Evans, aged 57, said: “I’ve been waiting for two-and-a-half years for this and it was so simple, they just put me on a drip with the stem cells in and it was over in 45 minutes. It was a bit of an anticlimax but it was the most important 45 minutes of my life.”

Vanessa making her donation of stem cells

Are you aged 18-40 years, weigh over 8 stone (51 kgs) and in good health? Go on, join the Anthony Nolan Register today at today. 0303 303 0303 INSIGHT â?˜ 15


These midwives are ultra-sound A team of NGH midwives specially trained to carry out ultrasound scans has been boosted by two newly qualified sonographers. A weekly midwife-led ultrasound clinic has been held in the hospital’s antenatal unit since May, when we established a team of midwife sonographers to carry out ultrasound scanning for women in their third trimester. Now two new members have boosted the team to five, and the clinic is proving a quick and efficient way to check babies’ growth and position when a woman or her midwife has any concerns.

It feels very much like a step forward.

Midwifery sister Julie James said: “Women are normally scanned at around 12 and 20 weeks gestation to check for any abnormalities, and for straightforward pregnancies there is no need for more. Your midwife can keep an eye on how your baby

is growing by measuring what is known as the fundal height, plus check that you are keeping healthy by carrying out blood pressure, urine and blood tests. “The most common reason for a scan in the third trimester is to check that your baby is growing normally. The number of referrals to antenatal clinic for this reason has increased since the introduction of customised growth charts, which estimate the birth weight of a baby based on the mother’s measurements and characteristics. “Women needing this assessment used to be seen by a consultant, even though most were found to have normal growth and no other obstetric concerns, so were referred back to their community midwives. “Now we can see women who are otherwise low risk here in the

midwife clinic. It frees up the limited appointments with consultants for more complex problems, but more importantly women can be referred here more quickly, and most of them also like being scanned by a midwife. It feels very much like a step forward.” The weekly clinics currently run on Friday afternoons, although it is planned to introduce more sessions in the near future.

Ronnie’s new challenge Ronnie Heslip, one of the newly-qualified sonographers, has been a midwife for over 17 years, and joined NGH in 1998. She said: “I wanted to do something completely different to my role as a community midwife. This job provided the challenge of learning something new and exciting but still enabled me to have that connection with the pregnant women.” In order to qualify Ronnie completed 120 hours practical ‘hands on’ experience of supervised practice in the antenatal clinic and the ultrasound department. She also had to complete a 3,000-word case study of a particular case she experienced during the course.

Midwifery sister Julie James (front) with (l-r) Maria Maclaren-Love, Ronnie Heslip and Nisha Apabhai. Ronnie and Nisha are the two newly-qualified midwife sonographers. Ann Walsh is also part of the team but is not pictured


Ronnie, who describes herself as committed, enthusiastic, and realistic, said: “I enjoy all aspects of my job. I’ve never lost the fulfillment in knowing you may have made a difference in a positive way, however small that difference.”

Midwife sonographer Julie James carries out an ultrasound scan

INSIGHT â?˜ 17

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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, has not vetted the advertisers in this publication and accepts no liability for work done or goods supplied by any advertiser. Nor does Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust endorse any of the products or services. Every possible care has been taken to ensure that the information given in this publication is accurate. Whilst the publisher would be grateful to learn of any errors, it cannot accept any liability over and above the cost of the advertisement for loss there by caused. No reproduction by any method whatsoever of any part of this publication is permitted without written consent of the copyright owners. Octagon Design & Marketing Ltd. ©2012. Britannic Chambers, 8A Carlton Road, Worksop, Nottinghamshire S80 1PH. Tel: 01909 478822


We are distinctive because we provide a place of support where time is given freely to those who need it, whatever the need or stage of the adoption process. Our specialist team provides lifelong support and friendship for all the family. It is this life-long support that makes St Francis’ Children’s Society a place that people come back to. St Francis’ Children’s Society serves a 50 mile radius from its base in Milton Keynes. It is approved as an ‘Outstanding’ adoption agency by Ofsted. Our work is entirely charitable and non-profit making.


NGH community stroke team praised by review The community stroke service provided by Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust has earned praise from a review carried out by the East Midlands cardiovascular network. The team provides a countywide rehabilitation service to support stroke patients in their own homes. Members of the team, comprising occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses, speech and language therapists, rehabilitation practitioners and assistants, visit patients after they leave hospital following a stroke. They work with patients to help improve their mobility and everyday tasks such as washing and dressing, and help them prepare for return to work or leisure pursuits. It is a service available seven days a week, and is tailored to meet the needs of each individual patient. The network’s report said the reviewers were impressed by “the huge amount that had been achieved by the team in such a short period of time, particularly in delivering such a comprehensive service across such a large and rural geographical area”. They remarked that team members

Some of our community stroke team

showed a “high level of commitment to the service and an enthusiasm for delivering individually targeted rehabilitation”. Notes are retained in the patient’s own home, so information about their progress and treatment is available to the patient, their family and carers throughout their support by the team. The patient and carer representatives involved in the review particularly liked the sheet in the notes which supported communication between the team and the patient’s family. The reviewers were also impressed by the weekly electronic timetabling used by the team which allowed resource to be used most effectively, took into account patient’s wishes and supported the patient and their families in planning their life around appointments. This was seen as an area of good practice that could be shared with other teams. NGH medicine general manager Fiona Lennon said: “The team has proved to be a great success with our patients, many of whom have been very complimentary about the excellent service

Fact file The East Midlands cardiovascular network, which is clinically led, aims to ensure that patients receive the best care and treatment available for certain conditions, wherever they live in the region. The organisation works with commissioners and last year helped to fund the establishment of the NGH service as one of several schemes to establish early supported discharge from hospital. More information is available at Occupational therapist Reem Al-Tamimi working with stroke patient Fred Ansell (from Abington) in his kitchen

they received. The team are a huge help to people who have had a stroke, and they also enable us to care for more patients in hospital by enabling these patients to be discharged sooner than would otherwise be the case. “Referrals to the team are growing on a month by month basis as its reputation spreads, and the number is currently averaging around 50 a month. The majority of patients are visited by the team the day after discharge from hospital, so it really is a great example of joined-up care from the NHS.”

The Northamptonshire Community Stroke Team, managed by Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, was established in September 2011. In November 2011 the team started taking all stroke patients with rehabilitation potential and began delivering a seven day service in December 2011. The team provide a service for patients who have had a recent stroke, have rehabilitation potential and are registered with a Northamptonshire GP. The majority of patients come from either Northampton or Kettering General Hospitals but they also come from a variety and community hospitals and from acute hospitals outside the area. The service is available seven days a week from 8.30am to 4.30pm, 52 weeks a year except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The team provides access to both qualified and support staff across all seven days, although the service at the weekend prioritises new patients, those with an urgent need for timely input and those with a requirement for particularly high intensity rehabilitation. To receive the service the patient must be safe to be discharged home, their package of care and equipment in place, and a stroke physician to have assessed the patient and consented to the referral. The service is split into two teams, based at NGH and Isebrook Hospital, Wellingborough, to cover the whole county.



First patient given new life-saving treatment says NGH staff were ‘fantastic’ In October 2011, NGH introduced a treatment called high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy - an innovative form of internal radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. On the first anniversary of his successful operation, the first patient we treated with this technique has been singing the praises of staff at Northampton General Hospital. Philip Robinson, 60, from Abington, and who prefers to be called ‘Pip’, describes himself as a Northampton boy - born and bred in the town. He said: “I’ve always thought of NGH as ‘my’ hospital, and it’s always been there for me. When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, the staff here were superb. Everywhere we went in the hospital we met fantastic people doing a fantastic job.” Pip’s wife Christine agreed: “Here you just feel like everybody’s your friend. Staff must see I don’t know how many people a day but to us they’re ours, our friends. It’s a real family atmosphere, just lovely.”

I was treated like a king, and was allowed to go home at lunchtime the following day.


In February 2011 Pip had reported some urinary problems to his GP, and a subsequent blood test showed a raised level of PSA (prostate specific antigen) which indicated a possibility of prostate cancer. After this was confirmed he was started on a two-year programme of hormone therapy to help reduce the size of the tumour. Consultant clinical oncologist Dr Christine Elwell told Pip he would be a suitable patient to benefit from the new HDR brachytherapy treatment, a more accurate and effective way to treat more advanced tumours. This new technique is not widely

available, and NGH is one of few hospitals currently offering it. Pip said: “I understood that I would be the first patient at NGH to be treated this way, but the need for only 15 visits for radiotherapy afterwards instead of 37 was a big plus point. I decided to go ahead with it, and I’m pleased I did.” HDR brachytherapy, sometimes known as temporary brachytherapy, involves inserting a source of highdose radiation into the affected area, in Pip’s case the prostate gland, for a few minutes at a time to destroy cancer cells. The high initial dose means that only three weeks of external radiotherapy are necessary afterwards – less than half that needed with conventional brachytherapy, when tiny implantable radioactive seeds are left permanently in place. Consultant radiographer Glenda Logsdail said: “With HDR brachytherapy, the first dose we give to the prostate is very high, but the dose given to surrounding normal tissue is less than with normal radiotherapy – even though these days that can also be shaped to the prostate. Unlike x-rays which go straight through, the brachytherapy dose is all concentrated on the tumour.” Despite all the preparation, Pip almost didn’t have his operation. “I had a phone call on the Friday from urology nurse Sally Mora, asking me whether I had started taking the pills that I had to have for several days before the operation, which was scheduled for Tuesday. I hadn’t, and had to make a quick trip to the chemist. If she hadn’t made that

phone call, my op wouldn’t have been able to go ahead, so that’s another example of how well staff looked after me.”

Here you just feel like everybody’s your friend.

“After the operation I remember coming round in the recovery area and being asked if I would like some toast. Well, that jam on toast was the finest I’ve ever tasted! I stayed in overnight on Hawthorn ward, where I was treated like a king, and was allowed to go home at lunchtime the following day.” So impressed was Pip with his care at NGH that he took on the role of talking to other patients who were planning to have the same procedure, so that he could help to allay their concerns. He is due to finish the course of hormone therapy in February 2013. His PSA score is down from 10 to 0.1, he is feeling well, and is back to leading a relatively normal life. “Without the operation I would probably have had eighteen months or two years to live,” he said. “Now I should have much longer. Everybody tells me I’m looking well, so I mustn’t let them down!” “I know the NHS comes in for a lot of criticism, but I hate it when people do that without having any personal experience. They just don’t know. These people at the sharp end were tip-top, and my treatment here was superb.”

(l-r) Consultant radiographer Glenda Logsdail, Pip Robinson, and NGH urology nurse Sally Mora

Brachytherapy is a form of radiation therapy that utilises radioactive implants placed directly into the body. These implants are placed in or very near the tissue that is to be treated. For prostate cancer conventional brachytherapy, tiny implants or “seeds� are implanted directly into the prostate where they remain permanently. For a set amount of time, these seeds are radioactive and deliver radiation to the prostate, hopefully eliminating any nearby cancerous tissue. With high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, the same idea is at work. Laser-thin, hollow catheters are used to deliver a precise, three-dimensional dose of radiation. The catheters are temporarily inserted in and around the prostate using image-guidance. There are no radioactive seeds left in the body, as is the case with other types of brachytherapy. Because there is no incision and no surgical wound to heal, recovery from the procedure is generally rapid.

INSIGHT â?˜ 21


Stay warm, stay well this winter Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm. Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. If you’re over 65 or at risk of complications from flu, make sure you have a free flu jab – and follow these tips to stay well this winter.

How to stay warm ◗ Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (6570F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). You can also use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you’re in bed. ◗ Wrap up warm, inside and out. Layer your clothing to stay warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems. ◗ Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they’re safe and well. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather. If you’re worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.

Eat well Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.


When it’s cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure that you still keep your diet healthy and include five portions of fruit and veg a day. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead, or sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins. Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat. Winter is the perfect season for a hearty breakfast of porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps you to boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre, which give you energy and help you to feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack midmorning. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals. Make your porridge with semiskimmed or skimmed milk or water, and don’t add sugar or salt. Add a few dried apricots, some raisins, a sliced banana or other fruit for extra flavour and to help you hit the five-aday target.

Stop infections spreading Everyone has a part to play in helping to prevent the spread of common winter infections including diarrhoea and vomiting (sometimes known as Norovirus) and respiratory viruses such as flu. Hand washing with soap and warm water is the most important thing you can do to help reduce the spread of infections. Good respiratory hygiene measures include using disposable paper

tissues when sneezing, coughing and blowing your nose followed by disposing of any tissues and then washing your hands. These simple measures, plus not visiting a patient in hospital if you are unwell yourself, can make a big difference and will help protect you, your family and those around you. If you are poorly with diarrhoea and vomiting, then there are a few simple actions you can take to help yourself feel better and protect those around you. ◗ Firstly, remember to drink plenty of water as you may become dehydrated when you are ill ◗ Stay away from work or school, etc. ◗ Do not go to A&E or your GP practice unless you require urgent medical attention for another condition ◗ Wash your hands regularly ◗ Don’t share washing items or towels ◗ Keep soiled washing separate from other items. They should be laundered on as hot a wash as possible ◗ Clean toilet seats, toilet bowl, flush handles and taps/ wash basins twice a day with detergent and hot water

If the symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting last longer than four days, then seek telephone advice from NHS Direct (0845 46 47) or contact your GP practice.

Choose well You don’t always need to see a GP or go to A&E if you are unwell. A range of common illnesses and complaints can be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest. ◗ NHS Direct provides expert health advice and information via a confidential telephone service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can call 0845 46 47 or visit ◗ Your local Pharmacy

(chemist) can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, without having to wait for a GP appointment or go to A&E. ◗ Your GP can help if you have an illness or injury that won’t go away. If it’s an emergency and you need care after hours, call your GP surgery and listen to the message which will let you know what to do. If you live in Northamptonshire and urgently need a doctor out of normal hours, ring 03336 664 664. The Out of Hours service is available between 6.30pm and 8am, and at weekends and bank holidays (24 hours).

An emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation, and A&E departments or the 999 ambulance service should only be used in these situations.

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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, has not vetted the advertisers in this publication and accepts no liability for work done or goods supplied by any advertiser. Nor does Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust endorse any of the products or services.



Althorp thanks for midwives Bobby and Sally Bobby said: “I was initially apprehensive about caring for such a high profile couple, although need not have worried as they made me feel very much at ease as soon as I met them. Sally and I feel privileged and honoured to have assisted with the birth of the first baby to be born at Althorp House since 1793, and we will always have fond memories of this experience.”

Louisa and Stuart Munro with baby Harry and midwife Bobby Williams

Two senior midwives from the NGH home birth team attended the birth of Lady Charlotte Diana Spencer, who was born at Althorp in July. Babita (Bobby) Williams was Countess Karen Spencer’s named midwife, and attended with Sally O’Connell as second midwife as is normal practice. Countess Spencer said: “The two midwives who helped with the birth were wonderful: calm, caring and professional. It was a quick birth but, thanks to them, largely stress-free.”

Bobby was again in the news when she delivered the baby of colleague Louisa Munro, who for the past two-and-a-half years has also been part of the home birth team. Bobby, who attended the birth despite being on annual leave, said: “It was a real privilege and something really special for me, but there’s a bit more pressure when you’re caring for another midwife. You want to get everything just right.” Louisa, who gave birth to a son, Harry, said: “Bobby was the one who took me under her wing when I first qualified and she had so much experience. Something between us clicked and she was the perfect choice. I was extremely glad Bobby was there, and if I have another baby I know exactly who I’ll call on next time too.”

It was with great sadness we learned of the death of staff nurse Sharon Green, who we featured on the cover of our June/July 2010 issue. Sharon died in November after losing her battle with cancer. She was 51. Most recently, Sharon worked as a valued member of the Main Theatres Admissions team here at NGH. Gill Jones, lead nurse for the unit, said: “Sharon was a caring and compassionate professional who will be fondly remembered for her radiant smile, quiet comforting nature, positive attitude and determination. “She was supported by her faith throughout and was an inspiration to us all. Sharon will be greatly missed by all those who have been fortunate enough to know her as a colleague and a friend.

It was a quick birth but, thanks to them, largely stress-free. Althorp home birth midwives Bobby Williams and Sally O’Connell


Sharon Green

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time.”


Children’s nurse Olivia is ‘an absolute credit’ Olivia King, a staff nurse on NGH Paddington children’s ward, has been nominated as an ‘NHS Hero’ by the mother of one of her youngest patients. After her five-days-old daughter Amélie lost too much weight and was admitted to Paddington ward, first-time mum Philippa Wright was moved to write to the NHS Heroes national website about the care provided by Olivia. She wrote: “Olivia was an absolute rock. She was friendly, positive and available, giving great impartial advice. Olivia helped me bounce back and work out a solution that works best for Amélie and myself. She is an absolute credit to the team and the hospital.” Olivia said: “I remember mum and baby very well, and Philippa thanked me when she was here, but this award came as a complete surprise. I’m overwhelmed by it and really grateful.” Olivia has been working on Paddington ward since completing her training at NGH a year ago. She said: “The first year has been great. Not without its challenges, but recognition like this makes everything worthwhile. I take a great deal of pride in my work, and I absolutely love what I do.” The website was set up to recognise the great work that individuals and teams do every day in the NHS in England. The scheme ran for a limited period during the summer and is now closed, but all NHS organisations continue to welcome feedback about members of staff who provide outstanding care. To nominate staff from Northampton General Hospital, please email or write to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (, NGH, Cliftonville, Northampton NN1 5BD.

Freda is a real diamond

Cynthia says yes to skyfall Cynthia Markstein has been a volunteer with the Friends of NGH for six years, as was her late husband Henry who died of cancer 18 months ago. So when her hairdresser asked if she wanted to join her in a 10,000ft freefall parachute jump for breast cancer research, she rather rashly said ‘Yes’.

Fellow WRVS volunteer Sylvia Jane, who put Freda’s name forward for selection, said: “Freda’s amazing. She has done such good work over many years despite being so very ill. She really deserves the recognition.”

Cynthia flew from Hinton-in-theHedges airfield to the drop zone, and was strapped very tightly to her instructor Simon, ready to jump. She said: “I had had no fear whatsoever for the previous two months, but sitting with my legs drooped outside a plane I was terrified! However, having dropped a mile in 45 seconds, the chute opened and we floated for five minutes to land exactly in the landing zone. What an experience! Apart from the thrill of a lifetime I raised £1,000 for Breast Cancer Research and would like to gratefully thank everyone who sponsored me.”

In many years of fundraising for NGH, Freda has raised a total in excess of £25,000 to purchase vital equipment for the hospital, much of it for the medical outpatients department where she still works one day a week.

Our picture, courtesy of fellow volunteer Brian Dew, shows Cynthia after her jump - wearing Brian’s old parachute smock.

Freda Rimmington has been a tireless WRVS volunteer at the hospital for 27 years, so it was no surprise that she should be selected as one of 60 regional ‘Diamond Champions’ in recognition of her outstanding work for the community. Freda was invited to an award ceremony in Birmingham where she was presented with a Diamond Champions pin that was specially commissioned by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, patrons of the campaign, and a certificate signed by their Royal highnesses.



Screening programme will save lives

Scans aim to halve deaths from condition that affects 1 in 25 men aged 65 and over An estimated 6,000 people each year, mostly men, die from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). It’s a condition that affects the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your chest and abdomen. There are often no symptoms and no warning of a problem until an aneurysm bursts. Now all 65-year-old men in Northamptonshire are starting to benefit as a new national screening programme for AAAs is extended to the county. The aim of the programme is to reduce deaths from the condition by up to 50 per cent by detecting problems early and offering appropriate monitoring or treatment.

My view is that it’s best to know if there is a problem, so what have you got to lose by taking up the opportunity to have it done?


Approximately 80,000 men aged between 65 and 74 in England have an AAA (an aorta measuring more than 3cm), which is around 1 in 25 of the age group. Because they are most at risk from the condition, invitations for screening are being sent out to men in the area in the year they turn 65. Men over 65 who have never been invited for AAA screening can ask for a scan by contacting the local screening service, which is being coordinated for the whole county by staff at Northampton General Hospital. Local programme screening manager Gill Dunn said: “Men who have an AAA will not generally notice any symptoms, which is why screening is so important. It is a very simple, non-invasive scan, which is carried out at your local GP surgery. All you need to do is lie on a couch, lift your shirt, and have some cool jelly on your tummy while a small scanner is moved over your skin. The scan shows a

picture of the aorta on a screen and we will be able to measure it. The appointment takes just a few minutes and you get the results straight away.” Most men have a normal result, and get instant reassurance. If a small aneurysm is found, meaning that the aorta is a little wider than normal, you would be invited back for regular scans to check whether it is getting any bigger. If a large aneurysm is found, you would be given an appointment with a specialist team to have more tests and to talk about possible treatment, usually an operation. Jack Foreman recently attended a scanning appointment at his local Abington Park surgery, and was given a normal result after just five minutes. He said: “It was all very straightforward, and although I am to some extent used to medical tests, the scan is absolutely nothing to worry about. My view is that it’s best to know if there is a problem, so what have you got to lose by taking up the opportunity to have it done?” Consultant vascular surgeon Gabor Libertiny said: “If an aneurysm ruptures, approximately 50 per cent of patients make it to hospital, and around 50 per cent of those will survive, so there is very high mortality associated with this condition. It’s clearly much better to screen patients, monitor those who are found to have an aneurysm, and then treat them with a planned procedure before a problem becomes likely.” Men aged over 65 can request a scan by contacting the Northamptonshire AAA screening programme office on 01604 523276.

Fact file Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a serious vascular condition. The aorta is the body’s largest artery carrying blood to all vital organs. Aortic aneurysms are caused by a progressive weakening of the aortic wall which results in a dilation or “ballooning” of the vessel. The aneurysm will grow progressively larger and eventually may rupture if it is not diagnosed and treated.

Sometimes, the operation to repair the damage has to be carried out by traditional open surgery. Nowadays more repairs are carried out by a ‘keyhole’ procedure known as endovascular aneurysm repair, or EVAR. Consultant vascular surgeon Gabor Libertiny said: “We treat patients using the EVAR procedure wherever possible. It’s safer and less stressful for the patient, their stay in hospital is much shorter, and they recover more quickly.”

Screening technician Natalie Bird carries out a AAA scan for Jack Foreman at Abington Park surgery

INSIGHT â?˜ 27


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Barclaycard raise £7,000 for Gosset Ward Before David Hargreaves retired from Barclaycard he wanted to celebrate his time with the Special Investigation Team and raise as many funds as possible for Gosset Ward at NGH. David has close connections with the ward as his wife Bernie works there as a senior staff nurse. The Specialist Investigation Team spent over 12 months organising raffles, auctions and cake sales within the company and raised £3,500. With the generosity of Barclaycard’s ‘£4£’ fundraising matching scheme this was doubled to create a grand total of £7,000 being donated to the neonatal unit. Theresa (left) and friend Sam (right) present the cheque to Gosset ward sister Wendy Copson and paediatric consultant Dr Nick Barnes

Theresa Wright and supporters raise funds for Gosset A mum who had six miscarriages before finally giving birth has thanked Gosset ward staff for saving her second son’s life by presenting a cheque for over £7,000 to the unit. Theresa Wright and her partner Ashley Higton endured the loss of six babies but were overjoyed when son Lewis came along in 2010. Second son Harrison was born prematurely at 31 weeks last year, and Theresa started fundraising for Gosset to repay the ward for the special care he received there.

Theresa Wright and her partner Ashley Higton were overjoyed when son Lewis came along in 2010.

We do have a parents’ bedroom on the ward which is available for such, but it is now in urgent need of upgrading and modernisation.

The funds from both donations are being used to go towards parents’ accommodation on the ward. Dr Nick Barnes said: “Towards the end of a baby’s stay, it is very often helpful and confidence-inspiring for parents if they are able to spend some time sleeping in hospital overnight with their baby before he or she is discharged home. We do have a parents’ bedroom on the ward which is available for such, but it is now in urgent need of upgrading and modernisation. To do so will cost approximately £15,000. These gifts will help us to completely overhaul the room and provide a modern and comfortable space which will include a double sofa bed and en-suite facilities.”

As well as holding an online auction, Theresa also created a 2012 calendar which solely featured babies that had been treated on Gosset Ward. This was printed free of charge for her by local company Belmont Press. The calendar was sold within the Friends Shops at NGH, and in Kingsthorpe Asda. Both activities added significantly to the total fundraising to date of £7,376.71. Theresa’s friend Sam set up a website to keep people up to date with the fundraising for Gosset Ward. The site is widely used by mums to keep in contact with others in the same position as them, to give new mums information on what to expect if their baby needs to be kept in on Gosset ward, and what fundraising events are happening. Theresa has recently given birth to a third child, a little girl called Faith. Although a little early, she weighed a very healthy 8lb.




ble ChaFruitnad

Northampton General Hospital Registered charity no: 1051107

All donations to the hospital are managed, separately from NHS finances, by the trustees of the NGH Charitable Fund, a registered charity. If you would like to make a donation, or be involved in raising money for NGH, please contact our fundraising office on 01604 545857. Please visit our website for more fundraising stories and details of how you can get involved

Starlight fun for young patients The Nuclear Medicine department have recently been given a Starlight Entertainment Centre - a fantastic new distraction therapy that helps to banish the boredom and fear of hospital stays, giving children the freedom to play what they want, when they want. With the latest HD TV, Blu-ray disc player and library, Nintendo Wii and four portable Nintendo DS consoles, each Starlight Fun Centre helps to make children feel less anxious and worried about illness and treatment. Nuclear medicine clinical scientist Lisa Rowley said: “This is great news for our patients, who are sometimes required to lay still for a number of hours while imaging takes place. That is a long time to ask patients to lay still, especially for children, so this will be a great help to keep them busy.”


A cheque for £1,225 is presented to the Talbot Butler team and Adele Williams from Breast Care Services by students Jade Clark, Cleo Devonish and Ketsia Chattell

Brethren fundraise for Talbot Butler A group of young girls from the Brethren Church raised funds for Talbot Butler ward in appreciation of the care given by the staff to the mum of one of the girls during her course of chemo treatment on the ward. The 12 girls completed the challenge of running 6-10 miles and raising £1,225 through sponsorship. Talbot Butler Ward Sister Jackie Perkins said: “We are very grateful for this donation. It means so much to us when former patients remember the ward and

want to contribute to its continuous improvement.” The funds raised will be put towards setting up an emergency assessment bay on Talbot Butler. This is an existing bay on the ward that is being transformed into an area that will accommodate emergency patients who require treatment for any issues resulting in their ongoing chemotherapy/ radiotherapy treatment. The aim is to assist patients to be able to access emergency advice and care in a more appropriate setting other

than A&E and to assess, investigate, treat and discharge. This emergency assessment bay will allow cancer patients to be treated in a safe, known and appropriate area within the acute setting. The cost of transforming the room is £4,500 - with the additional cost of equipment taking the full cost of the area to £20,000. The Brethren fundraisers have kindly said that they would like to continue fundraising for the ward to help us reach the target.


Former patient digs deep for Urology Our refurbished urology suite, funded by a significant donation from a former patient has been officially opened. Alfred Staden, aged 90, an inventor who has designed shoe manufacturing equipment which is used by companies such as Nike and Reebok, has paid for the development of three new treatment rooms and

a reception area in the urology department.

be able to see what was done.

Mr Staden chose to help the department after undergoing a successful operation for bladder cancer. He said: “I have been given an extra 12 years of life as a result of my treatment. I was planning to leave the department some money in my will but as I get older I decided I wanted to give it now to ensure I would

“I’m glad I have lived long enough to see this opened. I am delighted such a small thing on my part has made such a dramatic difference,” Mr Staden added. Consultant urologist Roger Kunkler said the new urology unit would make a huge difference to patients “for many years to come”.

Pictured above: Andrew Kunman, event organiser, Max Armstrong, KGC Junior Player, Alison McCulloch, Richard Nicholson, event organiser

Golf Day raises £4,000 for Oncology Following a fund raising golf tournament at Kingsthorpe Golf Club, Richard Nicholson and fellow organiser Andrew Kunman presented the oncology department with an incredible £4,000. The money will be used to improve the chemotherapy outpatients area and the chemotherapy suite.

Alfred Staden and his wife with consultant urologist Roger Kunkler and urology nurse Sally Mora

Did the barmaid’s hair survive chemo fundraising?

We are very appreciative of the donation made to the Oncology unit.

Customers of the Peacock pub in Long Buckby helped their landlord and landlady to raise funds for the NGH Oncology department. Landlord Dave Streatfield valued the service he was given from the team so much whilst being treated here that he wanted to give something back. Together with his partner Sue Cook they organised lots of different events involving their customers and staff. One of the favoured events was betting on whether one of their barmaids should have her very long hair cut off. The locals were pledging money on “to cut or not to cut”. This event alone raised over £800. To find out if the

barmaid’s hair survived, why don’t you visit the Peacock Pub in Long Bucky and see if you can get involved with their further fundraising? Altogether an amazing £4,560.69 was raised and was very gratefully received by assistant directorate manager Pat Calcott. Pat said: “We are very appreciative of the donation made to the Oncology unit and we admired the innovative ideas you all had to raise such a large amount of money. It is particularly special when the donation is from someone that has received treatment here. These funds will go towards providing better facilities in the chemotherapy suite in Oncology.”

This was the third year of the RJN Charity Cup, which took place on a soggy summer Saturday. It was touch and go whether the competition would go ahead due to the torrential downpours in the proceeding weeks, but sun shone early on and the 38 teams of four players went out. Despite sharp outbursts of rain during the day the teams had a great time completing the course and arrived in the club house ready for the refreshments on offer. Richard and Andrew also organised an evening of raffle and auction delights. Richard, who has cancer, said: “We had over 70 prizes kindly donated by Kingsthorpe businesses, plus football, golf and cricket signed memorabilia that were auctioned off. The tournament was a massive success, a real community event and I’d like to thank everyone who got involved.” The event raised £8,000 in total with the other £4,000 being donated to the Kingsthorpe Golf Club junior development fund.



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Meet the NGH Games Makers The highlight of Summer 2012 for many people was the stunning success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. And NGH staff were among the 70,000 volunteers who gave up their time to ensure that everything ran smoothly. Fifty thousand people at the Olympics and 20,000 at the Paralympics worked eight million volunteer hours throughout the summer after being whittled down from 250,000 applicants and going through a million hours of training for their 800 different roles. The purple Games Maker uniforms – perhaps most politely described as eye-catching – became synonymous with London 2012 and were the reward for the volunteers’ long hours and exhausting routine. At least three members of NGH staff played their part – Sarah Darby, Kathy Franklin and Emma Timms – and we congratulate them on their contribution to the Games’ success.

Sarah Darby

Kathy Franklin

Emma Timms

Sarah Darby, currently working in Integrated Surgery and the Breast care clinic, did 11-hour stints for 10 days at the Olympics and five days at the Paralympics. She was a team leader within the Press Tribune, ensuring that all the journalists had team sheets and match reports for some of the events.

Clinical nurse specialist Kathy Franklin spent two weeks at the Paralympic Games, supporting the spectators who had mobility needs. It involved long days that she describes as ‘exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable’.

Emma Timms (Junior sister in the Cardiac cath lab) had been a fan of the Olympics since a child, but never imagined in a million years she would get picked to be a Games Maker. She spent ten days at the Paralympics, some of them 17-hour days, working in the basketball arena, supporting wheelchair basketball and rugby (often known as murderball!).

She said it was ‘the most amazing experience that I have ever had’ and that she would happily do it all over again – even the early mornings. As our picture shows, Sarah also got to meet Seb Coe. She said: “He was lovely, and took time to shake hands with all of us.”

Kathy (pictured with six-time Olympian Tessa Sanderson) was fortunate to be one of the 9,000 Games makers invited to attend and watch the GB teams parade down the Mall, and the celebrations on the Monday after the games which she says was a superb end to a once in a life time experience.

Emma, pictured with Team Canada and their silver medal for wheelchair rugby, was a nurse responsible for the whole crowd of up to 12,000 people, and met many of the athletes who she said were really inspiring people. She said it was a ‘privilege and an honour to be chosen’ and is already planning to volunteer for Glasgow 2014, and maybe even Rio in 2016.

Charlotte carries the torch And before the Games themselves, NGH health care assistant Charlotte Preston was an Olympic torchbearer when the flame visited the county, and says she was so proud to take part in the national relay. Charlotte, who works in Pre Op Assessment, said: “My best friend nominated me, saying that I love to entertain people and put a smile on their faces - but I thought she was joking when she told me. It was a real surprise to find that I had been chosen.” Charlotte revealed that the torch is quite heavy and awkward to carry because it is top-heavy as well as being hot. Swapping arms is necessary to ensure that you can wave as much as possible. She said: “I was so proud I can’t even begin to explain how it felt, and I still can’t believe it was real. I watched some of it again on tv the other day and I wanted to cry, thinking ‘I was part of that’. It was magic.”



A recent support group meeting in the oncology department

Cancer patients benefit from support group National chairman talks to local oesophageal cancer patients

Patient gatherings for any cancers are increasingly recognised as of value in aiding recovery and one feels less isolated by being able to talk about one’s illness.


The National Cancer Survivorship Initiative is a joint initiative by the Department of Health and Macmillan Cancer Support. Its aim is to enable survivors of cancer to have access to the appropriate care and support. The NCSI (2010) highlights the need to allow individuals to continue ‘as healthy and active a life as possible, for as long as possible’. Here at Northampton General the Northamptonshire Oesophagectomy Support Group provides support for patients with oesophageal (gullet) cancer. The group is patient-led and was set up by Sue Kells (Macmillan clinical nurse specialist) in April 2007. Guest speakers who attend the group have included consultants, dietitians, welfare rights, ITU nurses and physiotherapists. The group has developed a list of members who are available to talk to others about to start treatment or at any point of their care pathway. At a recent meeting David Kirby OBE was the guest speaker. David is the Chairman of the Oesophageal

Patients Association in Birmingham which he set up following his own experience of cancer. David feels the benefits of patient support groups are immense. “After recovering from my operation for oesophageal cancer 32 years ago I began visiting new patients and their carers while they were in hospital, having asked the surgeon if there was any way I could help others. To meet someone who had been through the surgery seemed to be immensely helpful, and when patients come to our meetings and meet so many others it adds to the positive approach. Speaking to medical experts at these meetings in an informal way also adds to their knowledge. A positive attitude when faced with such treatment is enormously helpful and some experts believe it may enhance the outcome. “Patient gatherings for any cancers are increasingly recognised as of value in aiding recovery and one feels less isolated by being able to talk about one’s illness. Doctors

and nurses also gain from such meetings by learning of patient experiences and problemsin private discussions and from questionand-answer sessionsand such David Kirby OBE knowledge may have an influence on treatments.” Sue (who co-ordinates the group) agrees that healthcare professionals and the service benefit from such groups. She said: “The group has supported me in developments for the service such as producing patient information leaflets. I would like to thank the group members and consultants Guy Finch and David Hunter for their help in making this group so successful in its continuing aim to support patients and carers following oesophagectomy.”

Hodgkin lymphoma Trish Hughes, Macmillan Haematology CNS, on treating young people with Hodgkin lymphoma Lucy* was 19 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. It was August and she was due to go to university the following month to study biomedical science. Lucy and her parents were naturally very distressed. A diagnosis of cancer in this age group is the last thing people expect. Young people are often at university or college or may even have young families, so this has a huge impact on their lives. They are often very frightened and it is my role to support them through this experience.

booklet written especially for young people with cancer called I’m still me. You can order these for free from or call 0800 500 800. * Name has been changed Reprinted by kind permission from Macmillan Voice magazine

As a key worker for young people like Lucy, I provide psychological support and information for the young person and their parents. This includes spending time explaining the diagnosis and treatment options.

Ongoing support I kept in regular telephone contact with Lucy while she was undergoing tests before commencing treatment. I also contacted her tutor to organise for her place at university to be deferred.

As a key worker for young people, I provide psychological support and information for the young person and their parents

Lucy was given chemotherapy by haematology clinic staff, who also played a part in providing the holistic care for Lucy. At the end of treatment I supported Lucy with her transition back to university by organising some work experience for her with our laboratory staff. Lucy did this for a few months after completing treatment and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I saw Lucy in clinic recently and she has just completed her first year of university and remains very well.

Survivorship When a young person has finished treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma there is regular follow-up through the haematology department. In the past I have had an informal chat with patients, however I am about to commence a holistic needs assessment clinic for people at the end of treatment, where we will discuss concerns and make a care plan.

Related information Macmillan has a booklet about Hodgkin lymphoma. It also has a

Trish Hughes, Macmillan Haematology clinical nurse specialist at Northampton General Hospital

Fact file Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. Around 1,870 people are diagnosed with it in the UK each year.

Symptoms These can include a painless swelling of a lymph node (lymphadenopathy), night sweats, fevers, fatigue and weight loss and itching. In some cases there is no visible swelling and a young person may present at the GP with vague symptoms such as itching.

Diagnosis A lymph node biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis. Other staging tests include a CT scan or a PET scan, a bone marrow test and blood tests.

Treatment Depending on the stage of the lymphoma, treatment is usually chemotherapy. If the lymphoma is localised to one group of lymph nodes radiotherapy can be given.

Hello from Radio Nene Valley We are on a bit of a high at Radio Nene Valley. We have just celebrated forty years on the air. The new Hospedia System means more patients than ever get a reliable, high quality stereo signal to enjoy our programmes. New volunteers are being trained and so we have now returned to our flagship After Eight request show going out every weeknight. Our teams of volunteers go out on the wards to say hello and ask about records to play for our audience; we’ve got a big library of CDs and vinyl and we like to show it off. After Eight is just a part, although a very important one, of our hospital radio station. You may not know that we transmit twentyfour hours a day, seven days a week using our Raduga computer system. Details are in our Smile Magazine that you’ll find around the hospital; please pick up a copy and thumb through it, the publishers and advertisers will love you if you do. Something has changed for the worse over forty years; it is nowhere near as easy to get finance. We try to be frugal but it costs £3,000 a year to run our little station. The commercialisation of charities and the lotteries have pulled the rug away from bedpushes and shaking the tin so now we rely on grants and sponsors. If you can help please let us know and we’ll follow up any lead you give us. David Oliver Programme Organiser Radio Nene Valley Email enquiries@radionenevalley. Telephone 01604 545454





“You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks.” – Stewart Francis



“Last night me and my girlfriend watched three DVDs back to back. Luckily I was the one facing the telly.” – Tim Vine

Sunday 9 December at 3.00pm

“I was raised as an only child… which really annoyed my sister.” – Will Marsh

in the Hospital Board Room (Area R) with the Northampton Male Voice Choir

“You know you’re working class when your TV is bigger than your book case.” – Rob Beckett

A service of Traditional Carols and Readings

“I’m good friends with 25 letters of the alphabet … I don’t know Y.” – Chris Turner

All are welcome. Refreshments and Mince Pies

“I took part in the sun tanning Olympics – I just got Bronze.” – Tim Vine


“I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!” – Stewart Francis “I waited an hour for my starter so I complained. It’s not rocket salad.” – Lou Sanders “My mum’s so pessimistic, that if there was an Olympics for pessimism … she wouldn’t fancy her chances.” – Nish Kumar

SUDOKU Fill the grid so that each row, column and 3x3 block contains the numbers 1 to 9.

96% of us rely on the other 4% to give blood. Please don’t leave it to someone else.

Who can give blood? Most people can give blood. If you are generally in good health, age 17 to 65 (if it’s your first time) and weigh at least 7st 12Ib you can donate. You can give blood every 16 weeks, that’s approximately every four months. For more information please visit The next donor sessions at St Giles Church Rooms, St Giles Terrace, Northampton NN1 2BN are: Monday 03 December 10.00am to 12.30pm; 2.00pm to 5.00pm Friday 14 December 1.00pm to 3.30pm; 4.30pm to 7.30pm Monday 17 December 1.00pm to 3.30pm; 4.30pm to 7.30pm Friday 22 February 2013 10.30am to 12.30pm; 2.00pm to 5.00pm

Christmas Eve Monday 24 December at 7.00pm. Please come and sing with us around the wards of the Hospital. Meet in the Cliftonville Restaurant at 6.45pm Refreshments and Mince Pies afterwards. RETIRED (or soon to be?) NHS Retirement Fellowship (Northampton Branch) meets on first Wednesday of each month at 2.15pm at Northampton East Salvation Army, Northampton, NN3 8EZ. Range of speakers and activities. Open to ex NHS staff, together with spouse or partner. Please contact the chairman Mrs Pat Oliver on 01604 839085.

To advertise in Insight, please contact us on

01909 478822 BACK ISSUES of Insight are available online at - go to About Us > Documents and Publications

Come and join us By becoming a member of Northampton General Hospital you can have a say in the way your hospital develops, and you can be sure your voice is heard. You may want to simply sign up for our members’ newsletter, or you may want to attend meetings and local focus groups, or even stand for election to become a member of our Governors’ Council. The choice is yours. All you need to do is fill in the form and return it to the Freepost address below; or you can call us on 01604 523894, or email us at . We look forward to hearing from you. Please return your form to this Freepost address – there is no need for a stamp: Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, Membership Office, Freepost RRBA-RGGA-TEEL, Cliftonville, Northampton NN1 5BD. Title and name ..................................................................................................................................... Address ................................................................................................................................................. ....................................................................................................Postcode ............................................ Telephone . ............................................................................................................................................ Email address ...................................................................................................................................... Please write clearly in BLOCK CAPITALS, thank you


Find your way around the hospital Follow the signs to the area letter, then look for local signs to the ward or department you need DEPARTMENTS D Accident & Emergency L Antenatal Assessment Unit K Antenatal Outpatients K Audiology W Billing House H Biochemistry K Blood Taking Unit R Centre for Elderly Medicine E Chapel D Chest Clinic L Child Development Centre K Children’s Hearing Clinic K Children’s Outpatients U Chiropody J Cripps Centre K Day Surgery Unit K Dermatology J Diabetes Centre E Discharge Lounge C Echocardiography K ENT L Eye Unit B Forrest Centre D Fracture Clinic R Genitourinary Medicine K Gynaecology Outpatients R Haematology (temporary location) D Hand Therapy C Heart Centre Q Human Resources B Integrated Surgery W Limb Centre F Main Theatres Admissions Unit A Manfield day case L Maternity day unit R Maxillofacial Unit K Medical Outpatients H Mortuary and Chapel of Rest J Neurophysiology E Nuclear Medicine N Oncology Centre S Pain Relief Clinic R PALS and Bereavement Service G Pathology K Pre-operative Assessment D Radiology (X-ray) D Rapid Access Chest Pain J Research and Development F Respiratory Laboratory F RESTART C Rheumatology W Sunnyside Q Training & Development

WARDS E Abington (Orthopaedic) 545982, 544945 C Allebone (Cardiac, respiratory, medicine) 545804, 545336 S Althorp (Elderly medicine) 544410, 544415 L Balmoral (Maternity postnatal) † 545434, 544955 D Becket (Respiratory) 545981, 544972 C Benham (Emergency assessment - male) 545537, 545337 R Brampton (Elderly medicine) 544460, 544462 A Cedar (Trauma & orthopaedic) 545553, 545353 A Collingtree (Medical) 523870, 523780 A Collingtree (Surgical) 523944, 523939 C Creaton (General medicine) 545539, 545339 M Disney (Children’s) † 545518, 545318 C Dryden (Cardiology) 545540, 545340 C Eleanor (General medicine) 545804 D Emergency Assessment Unit (Female) † 545613, 545304 D Finedon (Renal) 523530, 523560 M Gosset (Neonatal) † 545520, 545320 A Hawthorn (Orthopaedic) 545551, 545351 S Head & neck 545509 C High Dependency Unit (HDU) † 545544, 545344 R Holcot Stroke Unit † 544430, 544432 C Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) † 545542, 545342 S Knightley (General medicine) 544620 M Paddington (Children’s) † 545319, 545519 M Paddington HDU (Children’s) † 545836 L Robert Watson (Maternity) † 544928, 544819 A Rowan (General surgical) 545549, 545349 L Singlehurst (Ophthalmology) 545483, 545083 S Spencer (Gynaecology) 545525 M Sturtridge (Labour ward) † 545058, 545426, 523629 M Sturtridge HDU † 545055 G Talbot Butler (Oncology & Haematology) 545534, 545334 S Victoria (Elderly Medicine) 545326 A Willow (Vascular) 545548, 545348 Visiting 2.00pm – 4.30pm; 6.00pm – 8.00pm unless marked with † (please check with these wards)

INFORMATION Northampton General Hospital, Cliftonville, Northampton NN1 5BD Tel: 01604 634700 D Reception Cliftonville. Open Mon-Fri 9.00am – 6.00pm. Dial 0 from any corridor phone and ask for “operator” when prompted. E Restaurant Hospital Street, open Mon-Fri 7.15am – 7.00pm; Sat-Sun 7.15am – 6.00pm. D Café Royale Main reception, Cliftonville, open Mon-Fri 8.00am – 7.00pm. WRVS shops E South entrance, open Mon-Fri 7.00am – 8.00pm; Sat, Sun, bank holidays 10.00pm – 4.00pm. T Billing Road entrance, open Mon-Fri 9.00am – 4.00pm. Buggy service Guiding and transport service provided by Friends of NGH volunteers Mon–Fri 8.30am – 4.00pm. Dial 88 then 4501 then enter your extension number to request the buggy. D Travel office For car parking permits, and travel info. Open MonThurs 9.00am – 4.30pm; Fri 9.00am – 4.00pm. 01604 545966 or 544600. E Bank Cash dispensers in lift lobby near south entrance and near Billing Road entrance E Chapel Open to all. For details of services or to contact the chaplains, call 01604 545773.


Notes from Christmas Past

From the Archive Christmas 1925 on the children’s ward at Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital

◗ A Christmas party for the

crippled children in 1908 was held in the Guildhall, Northampton. Each child received a large cake, orange, warm garment and a Christmas card from the Mayor. The evening ended with a cinematograph display by Messrs. Cobb and Collings. This event was organised by the Northampton County Crippled Fund (NCCCF) who at that time were caring for almost 400 children in the town.

◗ Christmas at NGH in 1912

Local residents and organisations would contribute generously at Christmas each year with items for the patients and staff, which included: ◗ Dolls, toys, scrapbooks, sweets

and crackers for the children.

◗ Turkeys for the wards ◗ Evergreens for the Christmas decorations ◗ Gifts of money for trees

and entertainment

The nurses were not left out with gifts of fruit, chocolates and theatre tickets.

Fiftieth anniversary for Cobalt-60 Unit November 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of a major step forward in providing radiotherapy treatment at this hospital. It had taken 19 years of planning, led by consultant radiologist Dr Benjamin Jolles, to achieve the goal. The building which was to locate the Cobalt-60 radioactive capsule, the source required for radiotherapy, was built at a cost of £120,000. The room itself had concrete walls over a metre thick. The observation window through which the radiographer would observe the patient had a frame of two square feet and the special glass cost over £1,000. On 12 October 1962 the cobalt capsule arrived from Harwell Atomic Research Centre. The capsule measuring around 10mm square was encased in three and a half tonnes of lead. Over the lifetime of the Cobalt unit the capsule would need to be replaced as it would decay with use. Sir George Godber, from the Ministry of Health, officially opened the new unit with a key handed to him by Mr WJ Jobson, architect for the Oxford Regional Hospital Board. Mr Talbot Butler paid tribute to the

◗ Extract from a Christmas Show

programme in 1928 at NGH:

WANTED AT ONCE PROBATIONER cated “Capable and well edu brows eye young lady, no hair or st Mu . uty bea of or any points ber ub iar ind s, nce ere ref have good e. enc sci con feelings and cast iron ir the – ply ap Angels need not way.” wings would be in the

The Cobalt unit being delivered in 1962

Dr Jolles and others at the official opening

generosity of the Barratt family who had donated £70,000 for building the unit. This sum was part of the Barratt bequest of £285,000 left by Mrs Alice Barratt, who died in 1958. He was quoted as saying, “Blessed be the name of William and Alice Barratt.” The Archdeacon of Northampton, the Venerable Goodchild spoke a prayer of dedication for the new unit. The Cobalt-60 unit was removed in 1993 and replaced by the new linear accelerator in 1994. The first reference to radium at the hospital was in a house committee report in 1914 when radium applicators worth £750 were purchased, and rules laid down for their use. Protection for the operators was not discussed until 1921. In 1935 radium with a value of over £300 was lost, it was assumed it was thrown away in the dressings. Instructions were issued for stricter recordings of usage, patients’ names and wards they were sent to following treatment. In WW2 a deep bore hole was made behind the theatres to lower a canister containing the radium, this was a precautionary measure in case of bombing raids.

Learn more about the history of the hospitals in Northamptonshire by visiting the Historical Archive at NGH. Open on Wednesday mornings 8am to 1pm Telephone: 01604 544868 Email:



Bah humbug!

Win free theatre tickets A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens, adapted by Neil Duffield

The most famous festive tale of all time is brought to life in a charming new version for all the family, in celebration of Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday.

For a chance to win a family ticket* to see A Christmas Carol on Saturday 29 December 1.15pm, answer the five questions below.

Wealthy miser Ebenezer Scrooge is all set to greet Christmas Day with his traditional “bah humbug”! Not this year… the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future have other ideas and appear on Christmas Eve to show Scrooge the consequences of his bad-tempered ways.

Send your entry to arrive by Friday 21 December to – or by post to Insight Editor, NGH, Cliftonville, Northampton NN1 5BD. Please note that your entry must include a daytime telephone number.

Featuring some of the best-loved Dickensian characters including Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit and his son Tiny Tim, this heart-warming adaptation of the timeless classic is housed in the exquisite Victorian Royal auditorium and is directed by Gary Sefton, who was behind the hilarious, critically acclaimed Diary Of A Nobody and Travels With My Aunt for Royal & Derngate.

Wed 28 November – Sun 06 January

Tickets £21 - £10 For more information and to buy tickets for A Christmas Carol and other productions at Royal & Derngate, call the Box Office on 01604 624811 or visit

1 Who wrote A Christmas Carol? 2 What number should you ring to find out more about being a stem cell donor? 3 Where should you meet on Christmas Eve for carol singing around the NGH wards? 4 When was Global Handwashing Day this year? 5 How many of the five hospitals in the Healthier Together review will still have an A&E and maternity unit following the review? *A family ticket is equivalent to four tickets. Max two adults.

◗ The winner of the ‘Radio Times’ tickets in our last competition was Patricia Morgan of Boughton Green, Northampton. Designed & Published by Octagon Design & Marketing Ltd, Britannic Chambers, 8a Carlton Road, Worksop, Notts. S80 1PH Tel: 01909 478822

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Insight Northampton Winter 2012/2013