Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Nottingham-Jimma link: learning and sharing in Ethiopia

This week five staff from NUH have set off to visit Jimma Hospital, Ethiopia. They will be working with colleagues there as part of the Nottingham-Jimma link project between the two hospitals. Here they share their hopes for the visit.

Susan Taylor, biomedical scientist operational manager in clinical pathology, specialising in immunochemistry and screening services.

I have visited Ethiopia several times over the years as part of the NUH-Jimma link. It is very rewarding to work with people doing the same job as me, but in a very different environment. Some problems are the same, some are unique. I am really looking forward to meeting up with colleagues in Jimma again and working together to initiate direct improvements to the laboratory services provided.

As joint co-ordinator I also expect to be meeting and talking to a wide range of staff in both the hospital and university in Jimma, in order to plan how the link might move forward and grow.

Kate Potter, biomedical scientist specialising in blood transfusion.

I have worked in laboratories in England for 20 years and during this time spent two years working in a laboratory in Malawi.

I am very privileged and excited to be going to Jimma and experience first-hand the great link between Nottingham University Hospitals and Jimma Hospital. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to visit Africa again and work with the staff at the hospital to share knowledge, ideas and expertise.

During the two weeks we are there I hope to give some guidance around blood transfusion techniques and theory, quality control, quality management systems and operating procedure documentation.

Kathryn Draper, practice development matron for specialist support (predominantly based in critical care)
I am excited and apprehensive about the trip. It is an amazing opportunity to be involved in and I feel very privileged to be going. I’ve been told how friendly and welcoming everyone is and I'm excited about meeting everyone. I'm also looking forward to dispelling the myths me and my friends and family have of Ethiopia, I am aware it is no longer a country facing famine but I have very little understanding about what the country looks like, and what daily challenges they face. I'm also interested whether people decide to chose nursing as a career for the same reasons as nurses do in the UK and what training they receive. 

Martin Beed, consultant in anaesthesia and critical care

I have known Dr Yemane, consultant anesthetist in Jimma, since 2008, and look forward to seeing him again and assisting with his anaesthetics teaching program.

It will be good to see how the new hospital is progressing. The new buildings will greatly increase theatres and ICU capacity.

Clare Hepworth, clinical nurse educator, critical care

I have been involved with Jimma since 2004, when I went to help train their nurses for their new ICU. I now co-ordinate the link with Susan.

On this visit I will be helping Kathryn deliver a short ICU course to the nurses in Jimma. I will also be working with Susan to see how we can best work with Jimma in the future. Our colleagues in Jimma tell us which areas they would like support in, and we match our staff to what is needed. We work collaboratively, sharing our knowledge and experience - staff in both hospitals benefit from learning from each other.

We are hoping to post articles during our stay in Jimma. Check back to Trust Talk to follow our progress.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Dr Jane Dewar, Respiratory Consultant, on the new Wolfson Cystic Fibrosis Centre at Nottingham City Hospital

This week we will proudly welcome the first patients into our brand new, purpose built, state-of-the-art Wolfson Cystic Fibrosis Centre, based at Nottingham City Hospital.

The £6.6m facility will completely transform the care we can offer to the 150 patients we already treat, with the potential to widening this to even more.

The health care needs of this group are very different to most patients. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a disease predominantly of young people. It damages many organs of the body and its main effect is repeated chest infections, leading to scarring in the lungs. Sadly, this results over time in respiratory failure and the average survival currently is only 42 years.

When I was appointed as the new consultant in cystic fibrosis around ten years ago, it was clear to me from the outset that this group desperately needed a dedicated facility to address all of their needs. We were only one of two centres in the UK that did not offer this to our CF patients and it was time to put Nottingham and the East Midlands firmly on the map.

We wanted to deliver something innovative, imaginative and inspiring. The NUH charity rapidly signed up to supporting us, recognising that this would be critical in allowing something exceptional to be created. Their support through many generous donors, the Nottingham Post being a key one, has secured this project and enabled this to be a very special facility.

We wanted to create a "home in hospital”, where patients could carry on as many aspects of normal life as possible, whilst accessing gold standard clinical care. We wanted to give patients the skills and motivation and confidence in managing their own health. Physiotherapy, exercise, nutrition, and life-skills will all be addressed in our innovative features: an indoor and outdoor gym; a therapeutic kitchen where patients can learn to cook from our own chef and dietician; and a therapy room for psychological support, crafts, and holistic therapies. A 16 bedded inpatient unit with outpatients on site, we can cater for all aspects of CF now under one roof.

One of the saddest things about CF is that patients carry infections in their lungs, which can spread to other CF patients and so have had to be segregated from one another. For me, the use of videoconferencing throughout our unit is going to open up so many opportunities: friendships and peer support; group treatments such as physio and exercise; and focus group research, discussion and psychological interventions can be undertaken. The possibilities are endless!

The fantastic public, patient and NUH support for this venture means that we have delivered a truly exceptional facility, which will benchmark care for many other chronic health conditions. Certainly nothing I do in my career will ever surpass this.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Pearl Pugh, paediatric dietician at Nottingham Children’s Hospital, on getting a good breakfast

Breakfast is an essential start to the day providing a good source of ‘brain fuel’ to help children concentrate at school and have the energy to play.

Many make claims to be healthy – but what does this actually mean? Healthy foods should be nutrient-rich, whilst low in sugar and salt, and provide a source of wholegrain fibre to promote a healthy bowel.


Many foods display information on the salt content on the front of the packaging. This may be shown as a percentage of your guideline daily amount or a traffic light to show whether the food is low, medium or high in salt. Aim to mainly eat foods that are green or amber.

  • A product is high in salt if there is more than 1.5g (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g
  • A product is low in salt if there is 0.3g or less (or 0.1g sodium) per 100g.
  • As a rule, aim for foods that have low to medium salt content – less than 0.75g salt or 0.3g sodium.  Many cereals contain between 1.25g and 2.25g salt per 100g, that’s the same as eating two to three packets of crisps for breakfast every day in terms of the salt content!


Carbohydrates come in two forms –complex carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and cereals, or sugars which are either added refined sugars e.g. sugar and high fructose corn starch found in biscuits, or naturally occurring sugars found in fresh, tinned and dried fruits.  

Choosing wholegrain varieties of complex carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread and cereals, helps to provide a valuable source of dietary fibre. This also helps the body to use the sugar that is released from these foods more slowly.

Eating foods that are high in refined sugars can cause a rapid rise in your blood glucose, which signals to your brain to release insulin from the pancreas, and instead of dampening your appetite, creates a stimulus and craving for more sugar.

A large serving of a sugar-coated breakfast cereal, typically 50g-100g, provides up to 37g of sugar per 100g, that’s up to seven teaspoons in every portion or the sugar equivalent of up to five donuts. 

What does a healthy child’s breakfast look like?

  • Weetabix with banana slices and whole milk
  • Porridge made with full fat milk, topped with sliced strawberries
  • Shredded wheat with blueberries and whole milk
  • Wholegrain toast with cream cheese
  • Wholegrain bagel or toast with scrambled egg with low salt ketchup
  • No added sugar muesli combined with cornflakes with full fat milk or yogurt
All served with a small glass of fresh fruit juice, full fat milk or water.