All councillors received this email a few moments ago from the housing lead at the Council.

I’d like to share as much as possible as it might save people money :-)

Dear councillors,

You have previously asked about and supported the collective fuel switch programme and i thought you may be interested in a quick update

Ichoosr have extended the deadline for those who have their own access to the internet and email to register and consider switching under the summer fuel switch scheme. Households in Walsall now have until 21st July 2014 to see what savings they can make on their home energy bills by registering at: 


 Average predicted savings for households in Walsall are £170 per household with the highest possible savings being shown for those currently with Dual-Fuel paper billing who decide to change to monthly direct debit of over £300.


Simple every day actions parents and families can take to minimise risk and harm to children: two reports are published today by Public Health England (PHE) who commissioned the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) in conjunction with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented.

I will be asking Council officers, and mainly the Director for Public Health, to provide details as to how they are responding to the findings of these two reports and report back to the Health & Social Care Scrutiny committee.

Key findings from the reports include:

  • home injuries (under 5 years of age):
    • an average of 62 children died each year between 2008 and 2012
    • these injuries result in an estimated 40,000 emergency hospital admissions among children of this age each year
    • 5 injury types should be prioritised for the under-fives: choking; suffocation and strangulation; falls; poisoning; burns and scalds; and drowning
    • hospital admission rate for unintentional injuries among the under-fives is 45% higher for children from the most deprived areas compared with children from the least deprived
  • Road traffic injuries (under 25 years of age)
    • there were 2,316 deaths recorded by the police among road users under the age of 25 years, an average of 463 under 25s each year
    • there were 68,657 admissions to hospital as a result of road traffic injuries, an average of 13,731 each year
    • in total there were 322,613 casualties of all severities recorded by the police, an average of 64,523 each year
    • the rate of fatal and serious injuries for 10 to 14 year old’s was significantly greater for children from the 20% most deprived areas (37 per 100,000) compared with those from the most affluent areas (10 per 100,000)

The two reports can be viewed in full here:

Reducing unintentional injuries in and around the home among children under five years

Reducing unintentional injuries on the roads among children and young people under 25 years

I received this today from the area partnership manager: Brownhills-Pelsall-2014 Summer – updated

Please help share around :-)


Dear Councillors,


Please find attached a programme of summer activities for the young people in the Brownhills, Rushall- Shelfield & Pelsall Area Partnership.


Please note on the list that some activities are referenced “open” or “   closed” .  All activities that are classed as “open” will be open to all young people across the borough, whereas the closed activities will only be for young people in the this Area Partnership.  The flyers, that will be distributed  advertising the summer activities will only therefore, advertise the open activities.


The proposed recruitment of 70 nurses at Walsall Hospitals Trust (WHT) is clearly a very welcome development. The fact that the trust is able to make such a commitment at a time when investment is required in other parts of the trust is commendable (e.g. A&E).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently consulting on draft guidance on safe staffing guidelines while the Department of Health has previously stated that “There are over 5,100 more nurses on our wards since 2010 and in response to the Francis Inquiry we have been tough on insisting on compassionate care in our hospitals.”

So, clearly, both organisations see nursing levels as being a key measure to delivering healthcare. Well, no surprises there, but it is the DoH’s statement that captures my reason for feeling a tad cynical about announcements about increased/appropriate nurse staffing levels. While these posts are definitely welcome in absolute terms, I fail to see how “…insisting on compassionate care in our hospitals” actually says anything meaningful. How will this be measured? How will it be achieved? How will we know that 70 new nurses at Walsall’s Manor hospital will be delivering on the ‘care’ word in healthcare – rather than just health ‘processing’?

I have personally seen nurses who have worked nightshifts in our local hospital and I cannot find a better word than ‘heroic’ to describe their efforts. I also know that if they had more time to ‘care’, they would. But I have also seen nurses who, in my humble opinion, should consider other careers; not because of any mistakes they made (and they did), but because of their lack of compassion. And that for me is simply unforgivable. And no, they were not agency workers.

So how can we ensure that existing and newly recruited nurses actually ‘care’? Well, some of them will, because for them it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation. It’s the rest that senior nurses should be made more responsible and accountable for. It might be an outdated notion, but I do believe that if a senior nurse were to have any doubts at all about the ‘caring’ element of their nursing staff’s work then they should have the power to deal with them, but also to be held accountable for them.

And this needs to be managed in a proactive way. It cannot be left just to the analysis of patient feedback forms or formal complaints. I would not be surprised if over 90% of patients and/or their families simply do not complain because of their condition, vulnerability and fear of any repercussions. Once discharged too, patients just want to forget their experience and get on with their lives.

Question: what are hospital trust boards doing about this? While senior nurses should be responsible and accountable, ultimate accountability is with the board. A nurse that does not ‘care’ should immediately translate to a board that does not ‘care’.

So yes, I absolutely welcome 70 new nurses at the Manor. And I also welcome NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer statement that a “sophisticated approach” was needed in hospitals:

Each ward in each hospital around the country is different in size, number of patients, the type of patients and their needs.

It needs a sophisticated approach, using hard evidence and local professional judgement to determine what staffing is right to provide the best care for patients in every setting.

These Nice guidelines are a fundamental part of this sophisticated approach and I look forward to feedback from the public consultation.


But am I disappointed that the sophistication does not seem to include how compassion is ensured?

Yes, I am.

Anybody up for a great night out in support of a good cause?


For anyone interested in knowing the facts about how our hospital is performing, I include below an email to me from the Chief Executive, Richard Kirby. The email was received today and is reproduced unaltered and with Richard’s permission.

These are high-level measures and Richard knows that I remain fully committed to improving aspects of care that still fall short of our jointly-held standards as well as that of specific service areas.

I hope you find this interesting and informative:


I thought you might appreciate an updated on activity and capacity at the Manor Hospital in the light of decisions taken at our recent Trust Board meeting.

As I am sure you are aware we remain very busy with emergency admissions running significantly above the levels of 2 years ago and a continued challenge with identifying the right long-term care arrangements for a number of (mainly) elderly patients with complex needs.  Our high level measures of quality and safety are holding up (mortality rates remain below expected levels, we have reduced pressure ulcers in hospital by 23% in 2013/14 compared to 2012/13, reduced hospital falls by 38% and showed continued improvement in our inpatient survey results with 12 questions now in the top 20% of trusts nationally for the first time ever) but we are still struggling to deliver the 4 hour A&E waiting time standard and are spending more money than we planned to.

I am however pleased to be able to let you know that our board approved the investment of c £4m in a new 30-bed medical ward for the Trust. We are aiming to have the ward open before Christmas this year to support the management of activity next winter. This is the first of the developments funded by the capital that we have been allocated as a result of Mid-Staffs changes and I appreciate your support on this issue to date.

We are also working hard to deliver two change programmes: one aimed at ensuring we improve patient flow through the hospital and in particular improve our discharge planning. The second programme is aimed at making significantly better use of our community services to provide care closer to home and I am also pleased that the CCG have committed an additional £1m investment for 2014/15 into community services. We are currently working with CCG and social care partners on how to best use this resource.

Finally the continued uncertainty about some elements of the future for Stafford Hospital remains a key risk for us. We still need the full £14m we asked for from the Administrators to fully respond to pressures at the Manor although, we you know, we have only been allocated £10m and we continue to work with the Trust Development Authority on how to deal with this gap.

I hope that this helps by way of an update, As always I am happy to answer questions if you have any.



I have been asked to support a Black Country YMCA scheme that is helping young people in very practical ways.

The poster below says it all in a nut shell and more details are included here.

A4 Wanted Poster Dec 13

Local Pelsall residents Judith and John Oliver who already support the scheme have said:

Our own children have grown up and flown the nest and we had 2 bedrooms sitting empty most of the time. I missed looking after people so the project really appealed to me. All the youngsters are vetted before they come to us and we’ve never had any problems really. It can be hard when they move on as you do become attached to some of them. One lad who stayed with us recently said to me when he was leaving ‘If you were my mom I wouldn’t be in this position now.’”

If you want to find out more about the scheme please don’t hesitate to call the number in the leaflets.



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