Free cancer community events aim to spread awareness

Public Health Walsall and the Black Country Integrated Care System (ICS) are running a series of community events to raise awareness of cancer screening and support services.

Free to attend, the events will take place throughout February and March at the following locations from 10am until 2pm:

  • Willenhall Chart Centre – Wednesday 21 February
  • Pelsall Community Centre – Wednesday 6 March
  • Bloxwich Active Living Centre – Friday 22 March

These drop-in events will give visitors the opportunity to talk with NHS organisers, charities and independent organisations and cancer symptoms, how to spot signs and get support.

Diabetes and health checks will also be available free of charge.

The events have been organised jointly by Public Health Walsall and the Black Country Integrated Care System (ICS). Each event will raise awareness of cancer screening and support services available, how residents can reduce their risk and create opportunities for anyone affected by cancer to meet others, as well as getting support from clinical specialists, local providers and experts.

Free health and diabetes checks will also be offered at these events.

Park Street will also see the arrival of the cancer bus on Wednesday 28 February, where wellbeing and cancer screening advice will be available to passers-by.

Walsall joins national early years recruitment campaign offering £1k incentive

As part of a new government initiative to encourage recruitment in the early years section, Walsall Council is offering new recruits a £1,000 cash payment.

The incentive aims to boost capacity, address unemployment concerns, and increase the availability of childcare services. The trial will ensure that new recruits and returnees receive a tax-free cash reward shortly after commencing their positions.

This initiative aspires to bolster recruitment across the sector by shedding light on the diverse array of career paths and progression opportunities within childcare. It aims to emphasise the availability of on-the-job training, flexible work hours, and, most notably, the chance to have a meaningful impact on the lives of young children.

Recent statistics from the Department for Education reveal that 102,480 two-year-old children are currently registered within the system, laying the foundation for the largest-ever expansion in childcare services scheduled to commence in April 2024.

This includes the ability for parents to save £6,500 annually through full utilisation of  30-hour entitlements. Furthermore, by September 2025, the initiative aims to extend this offering to all pre-school children of working parents, starting from the age of just nine months, providing them access to 30 hours of childcare during term time.

For more information on the childcare support expansion roll out from April 2024, please visit the Childcare choices website: 


Friends and family pay tribute to much-loved Walsall family man

Tributes to NHS worker Mark Rainer, who passed away early this month from a rare form of cancer, have flooded in.

Mark Rainer with his son, Josh

The 46-year-old family man from Walsall was a devoted public servant when he was diagnosed with Pericardial Sarcoma in 2022. Mark lost the battle with his illness when he passed away peacefully on 2 January with his partner by his side. 

Mark was known as a very supportive colleague, having worked for the NHS for over 20 years, most recently as a Senior Pharmacy Assistant for the Trust at Walsall Manor Hospital.

Outside of his professional commitments, Mark proved to be a devoted partner to Nikki and a caring father to his 15-year-old son, Josh, as well as to his 8-year-old stepson, Wilton. He was widely recognised as a gentleman with a wonderful sense of humour.

Mark was also a devoted fan of Walsall F.C., and both the club and its fans paid tribute to his life with a minute’s applause at the third-round FA Cup tie in Southampton.

Walsall fan goes on 16-hour hike to raise money

One Walsall fan went even further to help raise money for Cancer Research in Mark’s memory. 32-year-old Josh Piddock embarked on a gruelling 48-mile walk that took him to six football stadiums: Coventry City, Birmingham City, Aston Villa, West Bromwich, Wolves, and Walsall.

Starting at Coventry City’s stadium, he walked for 16 hours through the night, visiting the home grounds of Birmingham City, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Walsall.

Fundraiser arrives at The Poundland Stadium to a warm welcome

Smashing his initial target of raising £500, Josh told Pioneer Magazines: ‘I was inspired to raise money for cancer research after seeing all the messages on social media about how kind Mark was and how sorely he will be missed. It was clear that Mark was one of the good guys who had been taken away too soon.’

A separate GoFundMe campaign also raised over £5,000 to establish a trust fund for Mark’s son.

Both campaigns are still open for donations:

Sandwell Nurse To Run New York Marathon In Memory Of Sister-In-Law

A Sandwell nurse is preparing to run the New York marathon in memory of her sister-in-law.

Stephanie Coates, an advanced clinical practitioner working for the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, will take to the streets of New York in memory of Donna Coates who lost her life to Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) while in her thirties.

Stephanie Coates (left) with her sister-in-law Donna

Donna was also a senior nurse working for the same trust when she passed away in 2019.

Stephanie said: “Donna was the life and soul of the party, with the most infectious laugh – she was very strong, and you’d never have known what she was going through. She always had a positive mental attitude in the face of whatever she was going through. Her loss has left a huge hole in the lives of those who knew and loved her.”

A Go Fund Me page, raising money for the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Charity has been set up.

Walsall NHS Workers To Tandem Sky Dive for Well Wishers Charity

Two Walsall Healthcare NHS workers are plucking up the courage to take part in a tandem skydive to raise money for the Well Wishers Charity.

Sarah Want from Willenhall and Emma Haldron from Bloxwich will be leaping from a plane at 14,000 feet on 9 July at Nottingham’s Langar Airfield and are hoping to raise £900.

“We have both signed up to do it which is exciting!” said Sarah. “We saw it on one of the internal staff emails, advertising for a charity sky jump and she said ‘if you do it, I will’.

“I’ve always wanted to do a sky dive and, with it raising money for a good cause, I just thought it’s probably the best time to do it.”

The plucky pair, who have worked for the Trust for a combined 13 years, have set up individual Just Giving pages for donations – Sarah Want, Emma Haldron.

“Now it’s getting closer, I’m getting very nervous but the more money we keep raising for a good cause I know will be worth it. I just hope someone pushes me out the plane!” said Emma.

“I’ve never done a sky dive before and I’m hoping it’s very safe – I’m living life a bit on the edge!”

The Well Wishers charity supports the work of the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust by helping to fund equipment and resources to help patients and their families.

Walsall College Hosting 1920’s Ball With Live Music And Six-Course Meal

A Great Gatsby-themed ball is taking place at Walsall College’s Wisemore Campus to help raise funds for the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Well Wishers charity.

Organised by two Walsall College students, Megan Bell and Mun Yew, the event includes a six-course meal, music and a live auction.

Promising to capture all the glitter and atmosphere of the of 1920’s era, the Gatsby Charity Ball takes place on Wednesday 25 May at 7pm and tickets are priced at £30 per person.

Attendees are invited to dress up for the event in Roaring Twenties outfits.

The two students who have planned the event said they wanted to give back to the community after the stress and strains of the COVID 19 pandemic, and chose the Well Wishers charity to benefit due to the great work the NHS has provided to the town, particularly over the last couple of years.

To find out more, or to purchase tickets for the Walsall College Ball, contact: 01922 657090.

Improvements Made To Air Quality At Walsall Manor Hospital

Over 100 air purification devices have been installed at Walsall Manor Hospital courtesy of GAMA Healthcare.

With support from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), Estates and Facilities and Electrical and Biomedical Engineering (EBME) services, the Rediair instant air purification devices help to capture airborne particles, including fungi, bacteria and viral aerosols in spaces that are poorly ventilated.

Head of Infection Prevention and Control, Amy Wallett, said:

“I am really pleased that we are one of the first Trust’s in the country to purchase these to a large scale to help protect our patients and staff. We have learnt a lot in the last two years during the pandemic and have increased our understanding of the importance of indoor air quality. This is fantastic progress and I feel really proud that we have implemented these devices here at Walsall.”

She added: “Delivery, assembling and installation of 134 devices in one day was no easy task. The teamwork displayed from our colleagues in Infection Prevention, Estates and Facilities, EBME and from the company was exceptional.

“Comments from staff have included ‘these are amazing’ and ‘I love that the Trust is doing this, makes me feel safer at work’ while comments from patients have included ‘I feel much more comfortable being in hospital having this near me’ and ‘wow that’s so quiet!’

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Walsall Manor Hospital Wards Ready To Open Up To Visitors

Due to the decline in Covid-19 cases, Walsall Manor Hospital will be accepting visitors back into wards from Wednesday, but slots will need to be booked.

manor hospital walsall

Bookings can only be made on the day you wish to visit between 8am-1pm with slots allocated between 1pm to 7pm and time spent on the ward will be restricted to one hour per day per patient, with only one patient allowed to visit daily.

All visitors will need to go to the main reception before visiting the ward with proof of  a negative lateral flow test and to pick up a pass that will allow them access to the ward.

Debra Hickman, director of nursing at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “We have, where possible, supported visits on compassionate and certain other grounds throughout the pandemic and have worked hard to keep families connected with each other through video calls. We also set up our Messages to Loved ones initiative and delivered essential items to the wards.

“Even with these arrangements in place we do understand that this has been an exceptionally difficult time for patients and their loved ones as we have all worked to keep everyone as safe as possible, including our own staff. We are now really pleased to be able to offer controlled visiting from next week.”

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Great Barr Medical Centre Put Under Special Measures

The Great Barr Medical Centre has been put under special measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The centre, which cares for approximately 11,740 patients, was reported to have multiple failures, including the management of medicines, leadership and training.

The service was immediately put under special measures with the threat of further action taken if improvements are not made.

“The practice did not have effective systems and processes to keep patients safe,” reads the CQC report.

“We found you did not have effective systems for the safe and proper management of medicines.

“We found patients prescribed high risk medicines, and patients with long term conditions were not monitored in line with guidelines.

“Medication reviews were incomplete and did not record adequate information for safe prescribing.

“You did not have effective systems to ensure that persons providing care and treatment had the necessary qualifications, competence, skills and experience to do so safely.”

Other failures included an inefficient complaint handling system and lack of infection prevention and control training, as well as lack of safeguarding training with non-clinical staff.

The Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group will be supporting the medical centre with an improvement plan and have stated that the centre is making a “significant effort” to improve.

Walsall Healthwatch Want Your Views On Local Pharmacies

Walsall Healthwatch is conducting a survey of residents to help plan for the future of local pharmacies and understand the current challenges faced.

The Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment can be completed online by Walsall residents or print versions are available in libraries and local pharmacies.

The deadline for completion is 25 February 2022.

Councillor Stephen Craddock, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “If you use your local pharmacy and live in Walsall, then please take a few minutes to answer some questions about your local pharmacies. 

“The results of the survey will directly help us and our NHS colleagues to shape the services provided by community pharmacies in the Borough to ensure they meet the needs of all residents.” 

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