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MP "delighted" hospital is no longer in 'special measures'

9.42am - 21st March 2018

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon is "delighted" Princess Alexandra Hospital has been taken out of 'special measures'. 

He said: "I would like to pay tribute to the incredible nurses, doctors, porters, support staff and management team for their incredible work. It is testament to their dedication and compassion that one of the three areas that the hospital reprieved a 'Good' rating for was 'Caring'. 

"I'm proud that Harlow is among the best performing hospitals in the country in areas including cancer waiting times - number 1 Trust in December 2017; maternity services - rated as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC; ‘End of Life’ and dementia services infection control - some of the lowest MRSA rates in the country.

"I hope our hospital will continue to build on these improvements to provide the best healthcare possible for Harlow residents. 

"However, despite the very best efforts of all the hospital staff, our hospital faces three major problems - difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, being very close by to London hospitals which can pay higher wages; poor infrastructure and buildings which are no longer fit for purpose; amongst the highest A&E use per head in the country. 

"A new hospital would answer to each of these problems. New facilities would be far more attractive to work in and would encourage recruitment. 

"Doctors and nurses would no longer have to treat patients in deteriorating temporary structures, well past their 10-15 year life span. 

"A new development could be tailored to the needs of the growing population of Harlow and the surrounding area that the Hospital serves, increasing capacity and reducing waiting times." 

Mr Halfon added: "I will continue working Harlow to support our incredible NHS workers and get the investment for the new hospital Harlow needs to deliver health care fit for the 21st century."

Hospital out of 'special measures'

8.28am - 21st March 2018

THE Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust has been removed from 'special measures' following a Care Quality Commission inspection. 

The trust was rated 'Inadequate' overall and placed into 'special measures' following an inspection in June 2016. 

Between December 5 and 7 last year the CQC returned and inspected six of the trust's core services - urgent and emergency care, medicine, surgery, critical care, children and young people’s services and end of life care. Inspectors found that, while further work was needed, a number of improvements had been made. 

As a result it is now rated as 'Requires Improvement' overall and Professor Ted Baker, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, is recommending the trust now exits special measures. 

He said: "Our return to The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust showed significant improvement had taken place. This is reflected in the trust’s new rating - which has improved from 'Inadequate' to 'Requires Improvement' overall - and our recommendation to NHS Improvement that the trust now comes out of special measures.

"Our inspectors found a dedicated staff who had worked hard to ensure improvements were made. They also witnessed a number of areas of outstanding care, particularly in the children and young people’s service, all of which was fantastic to see. 

"As a result a number of ratings for the trust’s services and in the key questions CQC asks when it carries out its inspections have changed. 

"While the trust’s overall rating has improved, how effective and well-led the trust’s services also improved to be rated as 'Good' overall. Previously we rated whether the trust was well-led as 'Inadequate' overall, while the rating for whether services were effective was 'Requires Improvement'. 

"We also saw improvements in the ratings for end-of-life care, critical care and urgent and emergency services. 

"However, this trust has to ensure it continues and consolidates this work and makes further changes so that people receive the care they should be able to expect.

"We have given feedback to the trust on where it needs to make improvements and we will return to check on its progress. 

"The trust’s staff and leadership should be proud of their achievement so far and they know what they must do to ensure any remaining improvements are made." 

Inspectors found examples of outstanding practice, notably in children and young people’s service. This included the neonatal unit (NNU) which had recently implemented a project to improve nurse-led discharges in straightforward and low risk cases, which meant nursing staff didn’t have to wait for a doctor to approve patient discharge. 

The critical care unit had implemented a secure medication return bin, which meant staff could return any unused medicines to the pharmacy for recycling or disposal. In the first month of use the bin saved the hospital £1,200 by recycling unused medicines. 

However, the trust has been told it must make a number of improvements. This includes that it must ensure mandatory training improves to meet the trust’s target of 95 per cent and that staff annual appraisal completion rates improve. 

Fridge temperatures in urgent and emergency services must be consistently monitored, and any concerns surrounding this are acted upon. 

Medical records must contain a complete contemporaneous record for each patient and appropriate risk assessments must be completed and documented. 

Patients arriving by ambulance to the emergency department must be appropriately assessed and triaged in a timely manner and the trust must take action to address mixed gender accommodation breaches in the critical care unit. 

In the children and young people’s service, the trust needed to ensure it met the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) requirements to ensure enough staff, with the correct competencies, were available to provide care on Dolphin ward. 

Paediatric life support training needed to improve to ensure staff had the required knowledge and competencies to recognise and respond to patients at risk. In end-of-life care the trust needed to review ‘do not attempt cardio-pulmonary resuscitation’ (DNACPR) forms to ensure they were completed fully and in line with trust policy and national guidance. 

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust is rated as 'Requires Improvement' overall as well as for whether its services are safe and responsive. It is rated as 'Good' for whether services are caring, effective and well-led overall. 

Trust chief executive Lance McCarthy said: "People have worked tremendously hard over the past 12 months to deliver major improvements in quality across our hospital services. These efforts are reflected in our triple achievement of ‘Good’ in the areas of ‘Effective’, ‘Caring’ and ‘Well-Led’, which is fantastic news for patients and the people who work here. 

"The removal of the Trust from ‘special measures’ is something that I’m sure people will be celebrating. I am enormously proud of everyone and have personally thanked our staff and volunteers across the Trust. Together we have shown that we’ve got what it takes to make this Trust outstanding. 

"The momentum we have created continues and, whilst this is a moment to be celebrated, we all remain committed to delivering our ambitious, but achievable quality improvement programme. 

"At the moment we’re not getting it right for all of our patients all of the time, and we are not going to be satisfied until we do - our ambition is to transform Princess Alexandra Hospital into an ‘outstanding’ Trust. 

"With the scale of change we have delivered in such a short space of time, and with three out of five areas now rated as good by the CQC, the next jump to becoming a ‘Good’ Trust overall is clearly within our grasp. 

"I am pleased to say there were no surprises within the CQC report. We know and understand the areas where we need to make more progress. Our quality improvement plan reflects the findings of the most recent inspection and work continues to build on the good practice we have achieved so far. 

"Our services have benefited greatly from the £7.5m we have invested into our estates this year, and we are actively pursuing our plans for a new, modern hospital at Harlow."

Full details of CQC’s inspection, its ratings for the trust, including a ratings grid, are given in the report published online at http://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RQW

Harlow Ballet Association performing Cinderella

1.47pm - 19th March 2018

A BALLET dancer from Epping will be taking the lead role in Cinderella at The Playhouse, Harlow.

Natasha White, 17, who has been dancing with Harlow Ballet Association for seven years, is looking forward to being one of the main characters having previously appeared in Les Sylphides, Snow White, The Nutcracker, Coppelia and Giselle. 

The Harlow Ballet Association production of Cinderella runs from April 12 to April 15.

Tickets are available via www.harlowplayhouse.co.uk or by ringing 01279 431945.

Spring Ball raises over £24,000 for hospice

1.34pm - 19th March 2018

A SPRING Ball has raised over £24,000 for St Clare Hospice. 

The event, attended by 13 local businesses, was held at Weston Homes’ Conference Centre in Takeley.

The 130-plus guests enjoyed a champagne reception and three-course meal with musical entertainment from local bands Frisco Monk and Vintage Vibes. 

An online silent auction and live auction saw 'lots' including two golf holidays, a luxury hotel visit, afternoon tea, football tickets and dining experiences.

Children visited by reptiles

1.22pm - 19th March 2018

CHILDREN at Cooks Spinney Primary Academy were visited by cockroaches, snakes and lizards as part of their latest Wow day. 

The school gets enthusiasm for every new topic started with a Wow day each half-term. 

Year 3 were visited by a bearded dragon, Madagascan cockroach, Tegu lizard, Sinaloan milk snake and a royal python from Animal Experience. 

Year 3 teacher Sarah Brennan said: "Children learnt about the creatures and got to hold and/or touch them. This visit was to tie in with our dragon topic. 

"Children were thrilled by the close encounters with the reptiles. It really was a memorable experience."

Public Health England scientists visit school

1.15pm - 19th March 2018

SCIENTISTS from Public Health England spent a day inspiring students at Burnt Mill Academy to consider careers in science as part of British Science Week.

They carried out interactive science sessions with Year 8 and 9 students who worked with a clinical scientist, quality control supervisor, healthcare scientist support worker and a product and distributor manager for microbial products. 

They got to look at microorganisms through a microscope, grow bacteria on pizza samples and check how much bacteria is left on their hands after washing. 

Francis Collins, Burnt Mill Academy Trust director of science, said: "The event was great. Every student enjoyed it. It was great for the students to get hands-on experience of what scientists do on a daily basis.

"The students were so happy to be given the experience and the visitors were overwhelmed by their excellent behaviour and attention.” 

As well as promoting science-based careers, Public Health England was promoting its planned move to Harlow in 2021, where it will create a world science hub.

Guides receive Baden Powell Awards

12.31pm - 7th March 2018

SIX Guides from 3rd Harlow Guides have been presented with their Baden Powell Awards - the highest award in Guiding. 

To gain the qualification the girls - Jessica Bowes, Sophie Bowes, Zoe Endean, Emily Hibbert, Kelsie Parfitt and Hollie Swaffer - had to complete ten clauses from five zones - Healthy Lifestyle, Global Awareness, Discovery, Skills and Relationships, Celebrating Diversity and provide evidence as to how they met the requirements. 

They then had to attend a weekend adventure with people they did not know which was run by Girlguiding HQ. 

Their work was examined before the awards were confirmed. 

For information on Guiding for females from aged over five visit www.girlguiding.org.uk


#Poowatch man released from police custody after 47 days

11.35am - 7th March 2018

THE man at the centre of the so-called #Poowatch on social media has been released from police custody after being held for 47 days.

In a statement issued this morning, Essex Police stated that officers from the force's West Operation Raptor team had arrested a 24-year-old man in Parsonage Leys Harlow, on Wednesday, January 17. 

The man, Lamarr Chambers, of Villa Road, Brixton, London was subsequently charged and appeared in court on Thursday, January 18. 

At that hearing, and in seven subsequent hearings, the court authorised his further detention (under section 152 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988) to enable him to pass drugs he was suspected to have inside him. 

The statement added that Mr Chambers was detained in police custody for 47 days.

A spokesman added that during this time he was routinely supplied with food and water, received medical visits every day and comprehensive reports of his state of health were provided to the court at each hearing. 

His health, wellbeing and dignity were paramount at all times, the spokesman added. 

The statement added that despite this, nothing was passed by Mr Chambers, who also routinely declined medical treatment and the opportunity to visit hospital. 

On Monday (March 5) the decision was taken by Deputy Chief Constable BJ Harrington, following medical and legal advice, to release Mr Chambers from custody. 

The Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the charges against Mr Chambers in relation to possession with intent to supply a Class A drug and driving matters. 

Mr Chambers was subsequently rearrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug and was released on bail. 

On his release from police custody, Mr Chambers was taken by police car, in company with a medical professional, to hospital for treatment. 

The police spokesman said the force understands that since his release Mr Chambers has been treated in hospital. 

Deputy Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: "Police forces have a legal and ethical responsibility for the welfare of anyone brought in to police custody. 

"Although an investigation concerning the supply of Class A drugs is routine for our officers, there have in this case been some highly unusual circumstances which have attracted national attention. 

"On the basis of all the medical evidence in this case it is most appropriate, both in the interests of Mr Chambers and of justice, to ensure he receives the hospital treatment he needs. 

"Where detainees are suspected of ingesting or concealing drugs inside their body, we must balance overseeing their welfare and ensuring that all evidence is captured to ensure the best possible chance of prosecution. 

"In some cases this will involve seeking the continued detention of a suspect, as authorised by the courts, to ensure that drugs are passed, retained and tested. 

"That evidence will then form the basis of subsequent charging decisions and court proceedings. 

"Essex Police’s Operation Raptor teams spend every day pro-actively hunting those involved in the supply and sale of drugs on our streets. It is a crime that we are not prepared to tolerate in this county and we will go to every length to capture and prosecute those responsible. 

"We will also not shy away from talking about the unpleasant truths that go hand in hand with the drug dealing lifestyle, from the violence often perpetrated by those involved to the expectation on dealers to ‘plug’ drugs to avoid capture."

Man dies in M11 collision

9.01am - 4th March 2018

A PEDESTRIAN has died after he was struck by a vehicle on the M11 at Hastingwood. 

Police were alerted at 8.15pm on Friday with reports of a grey BMW hitting the central barrier on the southbound carriageway at junction seven. 

Officers were then told that someone was believed to have been hit by a black Ford Mondeo and was in a critical condition. 

Despite the efforts of the emergency services, including doctors from the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, a man in his 20s was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 9.15pm. 

The road was closed until about 3am on Saturday with traffic being diverted. 

A 22-year-old man, from Bexleyheath, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving. He remains in custody yesterday. 

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to ring the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 101 or email collisionappeal@essex.pnn.police.uk

Boy, 16, charged over stabbing

8.55am - 4th March 2018

A 16-YEAR-OLD from Harlow has been charged with wounding with intent after another teenaged boy was stabbed in the town. 

The boy will appear before magistrates in Chelmsford tomorrow. 

A second 16-year-old boy who was also arrested following the incident in Hodings Road has been released under investigation.

Hospice's Winter Walkies set to raise £5,000

10.22am - 3rd March 2018

MORE than 100 dogs joined St Clare Hospice’s annual Winter Walkies event which is set to have raised over £5,000. 

The winner of the hospice’s Cutest Canine competition, Milo the Cockapoo puppy, led more than 250 walkers at the start of the sponsored 5km countryside stroll from the hospice at Hastingwood. 

Among the participants was hospice patron, Dame Claire Bertschinger, Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, who took part with her two Bichon Frise. 

She said: "Winter Walkies is a great community event. I can’t think of a nicer way to raise funds for St Clare than by taking part in a walk with dozens of other dog lovers and their pets across the beautiful countryside around the hospice. 

"My dogs loved being with so many other dogs of all shapes and sizes, and it was actually very moving to see hundreds of people gathered in support of St Clare." 

Event organiser Emma Broadbent, the hospice's challenges and events fundraiser, said: "This was the twelfth year we have organised Winter Walkies and it continues to be our best-loved event with hundreds of four-legged friends and their humans taking part. 

"It really was a sight to see so many happy wagging tails as the dogs set off out the hospice gate."

Council's "surprise" at Osler House Surgery closure

9.55am - 3rd March 2018

HARLOW Council has expressed its "surprise" at the news that Osler House Surgery is to close. 

The council, as was the case with Harlow MP Robert Halfon, was not consulted over the closure. 

A council spokesman said: "We understand why local people are concerned about the sudden announcement that services at Osler House will cease from April 30.

"West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision to discontinue services at Osler House gives residents no time to have their say and very little time to make alternative arrangements. 

"This decision came as a surprise to us too and we are very disappointed that we were not consulted. "There are many families and older people in Potter Street who will be affected by this. 

"Our officers met with West Essex CCG officials on Monday afternoon where they were first informed of the decision. 

"A further meeting with the CCG is planned and our priority is to ensure that residents are given a say on a decision which impacts on them. 

"We are encouraging those who use Osler House to attend the drop-in sessions the CCG has organised and to get more information by telephoning the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01992 566123 or emailing WECCG.Comments@nhs.net."

In a statement from West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, which Harlow Council has published on its website - but which was not sent to Everything Harlow by the CCG - states: "‘The Practice Group’, the provider of medical services at Osler House, has resigned their contract to provide NHS services from Osler House, stating that it is not financially viable for them to continue to run such a small service.

"Services will cease as from Monday, April 30.

"We empathise with patients that have to relocate to other health centres within Harlow. However these centres are more modern and offer more patient services. 

"Over the last few years the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), in partnership with Harlow Health Centres Trust (HHCT) and NHS England, has explored various options to redevelop the Osler House health centre. 

NHS England had come to the decision that the patient list of approximately (3,300) proved to be unviable for a new build. 

"Following the decision by the ‘The Practice Group’ (tenants), the CCG has explored various solutions to continue providing health services but unfortunately to no avail therefore we have taken the decision to discontinue services at Osler House Health Centre. 

"Discussions have taken place with neighbouring surgeries Church Langley, The Ross Practice, Hamilton Practice, Sydenham House and Lister Medical Centre who have confirmed they are willing to accept new patients from Osler House Surgery. These surgeries are within very close proximity to Osler House Surgery. 

"More information about GP surgeries can be found by visiting www.nhs.uk, which provides information on the number of GPs at the surgery, what services they offer patients and what people think of those services. 

"If patients fall outside of the identified surgery’s catchment areas this website will also help them to identify the surgeries closest to where they live. 

"Alternatively, patients can contact Healthwatch Essex, an organisation that supports people with healthcare issues, on 0300 500 1895. 

"The external refurbishment of Osler House is part of the Prentice Place regeneration scheme and will remain so." 

The CCG is holding drop-in sessions at Potter Street Community Centre between 1pm and 3pm on Tuesday, March 13, and at Potter Street Baptist Church between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on Monday, March 19.

MP slams "terrible and short-sighted" decision to close GP surgery

10.37am - 2nd March 2018

THE decision to close the Osler House Surgery in Harlow has been condemned as "terrible and short-sighted" by MP Robert Halfon. 

West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group announced last Friday that the surgery would close on April 30. 

Mr Halfon, who was not told about the closure before the announcement was made, said: "I think the closure of Osler House is a terrible and short-sighted decision. 

"Harlow is an rapidly expanding town and it makes no sense to close a surgery which has been serving the Potter Street community for over 60 years. 

"I am very concerned that I received no prior notice of this closure and that the decision appears to have been reached without any consultation with patients, user groups, and the wider community. 

"I have been contacted by patients of the surgery, particularly the elderly, who are worried about how they are going to access GP services because of a lack of public transport to other GP locations and anxious that they might not be able to access a home visit when needed. 

"I have already been in touch with the Chief Officer and the Chair of the West Essex CCG and will be challenging this decision." 

Everything Harlow has received no media release or statement to publicise or explain the reasons why the surgery is to close.

Children enjoy Dress Up Day

8.42am - 1st March 2018

CHILDREN at Cooks Spinney Primary Academy and Roydon Primary Academy were challenged to go into school dressed for their dream job. 

The schools encouraged pupils to indulge in their dreams, whatever they might be. 

Roydon Primary Academy Head of School Michael Clark said: “At Roydon, we are privileged to have such a supportive community; the outfits children came into school in were brilliant! Our school motto is Dream, Believe, Achieve and our dream job day rally did relate to this. 

"Our children have some wonderful dreams and aspirations and we hope we as a school can go a long way to helping them achieve their dreams.” 

Cooks Spinney Head of School Neil Stirrat said: “The aim of the day was simple - to have fun and raise aspirations. 

"We want our pupils to always think about why they attend school and what they need to do to achieve their dreams, however ambitious those dreams may be.” 

Stuart Pope, executive head for both schools, said the Burnt Mill Academy Trust is about helping young people to achieve their goals, no matter where they start in life. 

He said: “My philosophy for achieving outstanding outcomes for all young people was summed up on our simple dress-up day. 

"When challenged to come into school dressed for their dream job, we didn’t follow the example set by some other schools of banning footballer, vlogger and popstar costumes. Why put barriers on young dreams; why not give them the belief all of those dreams - no matter how wild - really are within reach. That’s what I believe and that’s what we teach our children. 

“Once they have that belief in themselves, we give them the tools, the characteristics and the drive to get them there. 

"Our dress-up day wasn’t just full of YouTubers and racing drivers, though, our young people also dream of becoming doctors, zoo keepers, dentists and teachers. “Our young people are imaginative and ambitious. 

"The day really reflected the aspirational tone of our schools. It was more than just a dress-up day, it showed they are already thinking about what they want in the future and what they need to do to achieve it." 

Teachers across the schools also dressed as superheroes, actors and sports stars.

Hospice launching Compassionate Neighbours project

8.40am - 1st March 2018

ST Clare Hospice is launching a new volunteer community-led project, Compassionate Neighbours, which is aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation. 

Compassionate Neighbours is for people living with a life-limiting illness, or who are experiencing loneliness or social isolation. 

The project was founded by St Joseph’s Hospice in east London in 2011 and received national recognition when it won the Charity Times Community Award in 2017. 

Compassionate Neighbours projects have now been established in seven hospices. 

Hospice chief executive Sarah Thompson said: "We know a lot of people living with a life-limiting illness become socially isolated and that there are people facing death and dying on their own in our communities. 

"We also know there is a desire in our communities to be there for one another, and Compassionate Neighbours is about unlocking and enabling this to happen. 

"Compassionate Neighbours is a network of trained volunteers who offer their time and support to people living in their local area. They offer friendship and a listening ear, and help them to continue to do the things they enjoy. 

"We carefully match the Compassionate Neighbours with members of the community so they are suited to each other based on their interests and hobbies.” 

St Clare Hospice is launching the project alongside fellow local hospice charities Isabel Hospice and Garden House Hospice Care. 

The three hospices serve more than 800,000 people across west Essex and east and north Herts. 

The St Clare project is being led by Stacey Towler. She said: "We know very often older people and those who feel isolated would benefit considerably from a simple cup of tea and a chat. 

"The fact that Compassionate Neighbours pairs community members based on their shared likes, interests and shared experiences, means that the support will be even more meaningful and have a positive impact on people’s well-being.” 

To find out more about the project and how to become a volunteer and refer a person to the scheme, ring Stacey Towler on 01279 773279 or visit https://stclarehospice.org.uk/care/compassionate-neighbours/

St Clare Hospice is hosting a Compassionate Neighbours Open Day on Wednesday, March 7 (3pm-7.30pm). 

The event is an opportunity to learn more about the project and find out how to get involved. Local health, social and voluntary sector professionals are encouraged to attend, as well as those interested in volunteering. 

Anyone planning to attend should inform Stacey Towler on 01279 773279 or by emailing stacey.towler@stclarehospice.org.uk

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