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  • Help to improve services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in Luton

    by Debbie Manning | Nov 05, 2019

    Do you have or look after children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the Luton area? 

    Luton Council and Luton Clinical Commissioning Group have launched a consultation to seek views on services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND):

    The council and Luton CCG are committed to improving services and aim to work with parents and carers to make these improvements.

    Both organisations share a vision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities which is the same as for all children and young people and their families in Luton. They want them to:

    • lead happy purposeful and fulfilled lives within a safe environment
    • achieve their full potential in early years settings, at school and at in college in order to provide a firm foundation for adult life
    • have choices and control over the decisions that affect them

    Cllr Mahmood Hussain, portfolio holder for children and young people said: “We want to find out what is important for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families. And we also want them to tell us what their education, health and social care needs are so that we can plan services to meet their needs and improve their outcomes.

    “We appreciate that some individuals may find it difficult to complete a survey online or would prefer to give their views face to face so officers are carrying out meetings with parents and young people in schools to ensure we give everyone the opportunity to have their say.”

    Uzma Sarwar, Clinical Director for Children and Families and Primary Care Development, said: “Luton Clinical Commissioning Group are committed to working closely with our parent-carer forums, children and young people to transform local services. We want to hear your views and concerns so that we can be sure that the support available for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities in our area is the right support and we need your help to shape services.”

    The outcomes of the survey will also help to shape a set of values and principles to guide how council and health services works together and with parents, carers, children and young people.

    To complete a survey online visit The consultation closes on 29 November.

  • EU Exit Information for Patients

    by Sarah Turner | Oct 30, 2019


    The NHS, the Department of Health and Social Care, and medical companies are prepared for Brexit. Plans are in place to help ensure you keep getting your medicines and medical products.

    What you should do:

    If you or someone you care for regularly takes medication you should:

    • Keep ordering your prescriptions in the usual way
    • Take your medicines as normal

    If you’re concerned about treatment, please speak to your pharmacist, GP or specialist.


    • The government, NHS and Public Health England have been working closely together to ensure vaccines will continue to be available as needed after the UK leaves the EU.
    • Where vaccines need to be brought in from the EU they are covered by the government’s contingency plans, which means the products can be quickly imported at short notice if necessary. This will include air freight for products which have a short shelf life and cannot be stockpiled.

    Did you know?

    • Companies supplying the UK with medicines and medical products already have additional stocks in the UK in preparation for Brexit.
    • The Department of Health and Social Care has secured more warehouse space to keep the extra medicines in.
    • The government now has contracts with transport services to keep the flow of medicines and medical products coming into the UK. This includes aeroplane courier services to get medicines into the UK within 24 hours if needed, as well as priority space on other routes such as ferries.
  • Paediatrician showcases hearing device to HRH The Duke of York

    by Sarah Turner | Oct 29, 2019

    Children’s doctor, Tamsin Holland Brown, showcased an innovative hearing device she created to The Duke of York during an official visit to Cambridge today. Entrepreneurial advances in medical technology are of particular interest to The Duke, and a core focus of HRH’s Pitch@Palace initiative, which amplifies and accelerates the work of entrepreneurs. Dr Tamsin Brown showcasing hearing device to Duke of York

    Dr Holland Brown, who works for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust explained: “In nine out of 10 sufferers, Glue Ear clears up within a year.  Some children are unable to hear well while they have glue ear and this can in turn affect their speech, language, listening and learning abilities. Duke of York Dr Tamsin Brown and Delilah O'Riordan

    “When my daughter experienced glue ear in 2014, I could see she was struggling.  I wanted to find a solution for the many other children being affected by this common condition.  

    “In my own time, I set up the Hear Glue Ear research project and put together a cost-effective headset and microphone. The headset uses a bone conduction transducer which transmits sound as a vibration, through the cheekbones directly to the inner ear, missing out the ear drum and any glue ear.”  

    Using Bluetooth technology, the headset can connect to a small microphone attached to the lapel of a parent or teacher enabling the child to hear everything being said.  The headset can also connect to an app which was developed with Cambridge Digital Health and the Cambridge Hearing Trust and which is available free of charge from the Apple and Android App Stores:

    The app is designed to help children develop their listening, speaking and auditory processing skills through specially designed songs, games and audiobooks.  It also provides parents access to reliable information about glue ear, speech and language therapy can be uploaded onto the app, and parents are also able to track their child’s progress.

    Tamsin’s daughter Lilac – now aged 9 - is in no doubt that the headset helped her enormously: “Mum noticed that when I got a cold or an ear-ache I asked “what” some of the time and got words wrong.  I started school and I wasn’t that good at reading because if I asked the grown ups what the word was maybe I wouldn’t hear it right. It also made spelling difficult. Lilac Brown - the inspiration for HearGlueEar

    “I remember once I thought the teacher said to get my lunch box, and I walked out of class, she hadn’t said that, so I got into trouble. It’s hardest to hear when I’m in a crowded place and that is when I most liked to wear the headset.  Now my glue ear has gone.  I think my mum’s an amazing doctor.  To other children who have glue ear remember it’s the glue ear that’s difficult and not you!”

    Looking to the future, Dr Holland Brown said: “We’re aiming for affordable headsets to be available for patients since they are a fraction of the cost of previous bone conduction hearing aids.  This wouldn’t have been possible without generous research funding predominantly from the Cambridge Hearing Trust. The support of many colleagues has also been invaluable, including Josephine Marriage (a leading audiologist and current director of Chear, the Children’s Hearing Evaluation and Amplification Resource), Alex James-Best, Speech and Language Therapist; and Roger Gray (a Cambridge-based ear nose and throat specialist).

    “Our local hospital has recently approved the use of the headsets and microphones and we’ve received interest in collaborating on research from Manchester Children’s hospital and abroad.  

    “The vision is for the headsets and apps to be available across the NHS as well as hospitals abroad who need more affordable solutions. We shouldn’t let children with glue ear and similar middle ear conditions fall behind with their development, speech or learning. We should create affordable solutions to provide better care and better life chances for these children.”


    Editor's notes:

    • Glue ear (also known as Otitis Media with Effusion, OME) is where fluid and mucus builds up behind the ear drum in children when they have a cough, cold or ear ache. The fluid behind the ear drum stops sound from transferring to the inner ear (cochlea) which often leaves children with a mild or moderate deafness. 
    • Glue Ear affects children in every primary school classroom. 80% of children in the UK have at least one episode of glue ear before the age of 10 years. Data from school hearing screening across Europe identifies 1 in every 10 pupils has Glue Ear. Globally, it is estimated that nearly 1 billion children are affected by Glue Ear.
    • The Hear Glue Ear research project identified that children with Glue Ear could hear speech better when wearing the headset (p value <0.001) and was published in Trends in Hearing Journal in August 2019.
    • A manufacturer has been identified for the production of the headsets and funding identified to achieve a CE marking (a certification mark that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards).
    • Dr Holland Brown and the Hear Glue Ear project:
      - was one of three finalists in the 2018 Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Innovation award
      - won the Child Journal Prize at the 2018 British Association of Community Child Health conference
      - won the overall prize in the national 2019 Forward Healthcare Awards
      - is a finalist in the 2019 UK App Awards (winner to be announced on 26 November 2019)
    • Dr Holland Brown secured a place on the 2019 NHS England Clinical Entrepreneur Programme

    Photos: 1) Dr Tamsin Brown showcasing the hearing device to HRH The Duke of York 2) Duke of York meeting Dr Tamsin Brown and Delilah O’Riordan who has suffered recurrent Glue Ear and explained to the Duke of York how the hearing device has helped her at school and home 3) Lilac Brown, Dr Tamsin Brown’s daughter when she was originally diagnosed with glue ear (now aged 9) – Lilac was the inspiration for the Hear Glue Ear project

  • Local sheltered housing scheme raises £500 for dreamdrops children’s charity

    by Kirstie Flack | Oct 25, 2019


    Kind hearted residents frodonation to dreamdrops from broadleas courtm Broad Leas Court, a sheltered housing scheme in St Ives, have raised £500 for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust’s charity, ‘dreamdrops.’

    The money was raised through events organised by residents including making or donating stuffed toys, donating prizes for a monthly raffle and a Bring and Buy sale.

    Suzanne Milham, one of the residents said: “We decided to raise the money for dreamdrops because we wanted a local children’s charity to benefit from our fundraising and we know the charity provide wonderful support to children and their families in the area.”

    Anne-Marie Hamilton, Chairman of dreamdrops said: “To raise so much money for dreamdrops represents a fantastic effort from everyone involved. We cannot thank the residents enough for their kindness and the money raised will go towards making the lives of the children we care for that little bit easier.”

    For further information on how you can help raise funds for the charity please visit or email

  • Double success for Luton nurses at Zenith Global Health Awards

    by Debbie Manning | Oct 10, 2019

    Luton nurses have won prestigious international awards at the Zenith Global Health Awards fighting off teams from around the world

    Specialist Paediatric Epilepsy nurses picked up the award for ‘Advancing Health with Technology’ with their virtual clinics via video links.  Similar to Skype, this allows teenage patients to attend appointments with the epilepsy nurses via computer, tablet or phone. Its success has come from the fact that young people can choose a time and place to suit them, such as their bedroom.   

    Epilepsy and Rapid Response Team Winners

    (Liz Stevens, Tabs Mirza, Gary Meager, Deborah Olivant, Laura Cameron, Kirstie Eastland, Jo McDonnel and friend Elizabeth Joshua-John from Luton and Dunstable Hospital who also received an award for Nursing & Midwifery.)

    The Children’s Rapid Response team won the ‘Team Recognition’ award for their work with children, many with highly complex needs.  The team is believed to be the first in the country to introduce direct referrals from NHS 111 for infants and young children under five,  in a bid to reduce hospital emergency attendance.  The initiative allows the team to receive direct booking appointments into their clinic from NHS 111 alongside existing referrals from GPs, and in a year has led to the avoidance of more than 800 hospital admissions.

    Liz Stevens, Children’s Epilepsy Specialist Nurse, said:  “It is an honour to have won this award and I feel privileged to be included among leading health professionals delivering innovative and quality work.  One of the contributory factors has been management listening to ideas which led to us developing our virtual paediatric epilepsy clinics.   I would also like to pay tribute to all our amazing parents, young people and children it is our privilege to serve.”

    The small team of two nurses work in partnership with Dr Tekki Rao, Consultant Paediatrician from the Luton and Dunstable Hospital who has proactively supported the project.  The project is also supported by the National Epilepsy 12 audit team who invited the team to present at its conference last year.

    Speaking on behalf of the Rapid Response team Lynn Fanning, Team said:  “It is a huge privilege and honour to receive the team recognition award at these awards.  The expertise and knowledge within the room was incredible and for us to receive this was a high honour.  

    We are a very united team and work closely together to ensure the children of Luton receive a high quality service which is provided by highly experienced, knowledgeable nurse practitioners.  Our aim is to provide care for acutely unwell children in the community and keep them out of hospital.  It is a nice recognition of our teams’ hard work but this would not have been possible without our close connection and collaborative working with Luton Clinical Commissioning Group to enable these clinics to operate smoothly and 111 to have eight directly bookable appointments everyday with our team.”

    Both teams are part of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust recently recognised as ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC. 

    Anita Pisani, Cambridgeshire Community Services Deputy Chief Executive, said:  “I am incredibly proud of our children’s services who have been rightly recognised for their great work in winning these awards.  They provide outstanding care and they should be really proud of all they have achieved in leading the way in children and young people’s services across Luton.”

    The Zenith Global Health Awards took place on Saturday 5 October 2019 at the Leonard Royal City Hotel London.   More information can be found here:

  • NHS Community Trust Delivering Services Across the East of England Rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission

    by Sarah Turner | Sep 05, 2019

    Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which delivers a wide range of services for children and adults across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Luton, Peterborough, Norfolk and Suffolk has been awarded the highest rating by the Care Quality Commission; the independent regulator of health services across England.We are Outstanding CQC Announcement

    Matthew Winn, Chief Executive, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust said: "I am incredibly proud that the Care Quality Commission has rated our Trust ‘Outstanding’. Staff across the Trust have worked hard to develop innovative and accessible services for local residents and this rating reflects their dedication and passion for delivering the very best outcomes for the communities we serve. I was delighted the CQC recognised what I witness all the time, that our staff are caring and compassionate in the way they provide care to local residents - all of our local teams have so much to be proud about.”

    Responding to the Care Quality Commission’s rating, Simon Harwin, Service Director for Bedfordshire and Luton Children’s Services added: “Having recently joined the Trust, I have been astounded by the level of innovation underway and the sheer commitment from staff to delivering the very best outcomes for local children and young people.  I look forward to continuing to work with staff and families across Bedfordshire and Luton to build on this fantastic achievement.”

    Tracey Cooper, the Trust’s Service Director for Ambulatory Services (community dental, musculo-skeletal physiotherapy, integrated contraception and sexual health, and neuro-rehabilitation services) added: “Our staff are making a real difference on a daily basis to the quality of people’s lives, enabling them to access care in innovative ways closer to home or in their local community; often avoiding the need for hospital-based care.  I am so pleased that their commitment and achievements have been recognised by the Care Quality Commission - I couldn’t be prouder!”

    John Peberdy, Cambridgeshire & Norfolk Service Director of Children & Young People’s Services said: “Ensuring children get the very best start in life and supporting families to achieve this is at the centre of all we do. The complex levels of care delivered, including in the home setting, and the commitment from staff to putting families first is simply phenomenal. I look forward to continuing to build on this fantastic rating from the Care Quality Commission and commend staff across our services for their ongoing passion and commitment.”

    The Care Quality Commission’s ratings for the five specific areas assessed are as follows: 

    Overall rating

    The Care Quality Commission’s ratings for specific services were as follows:

    Specific services

    The Trust delivers the following services across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Luton, Peterborough, Norfolk and Suffolk:

    Cambs and Peterborough

    Norfolk and Suffolk

    Bedfordshire and Luton

    For further information please contact Karen Mason, Head of Communications, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust on 07754 01480 308266 or email


  • Baby Hearing Loss Test is a Team Effort

    by Sarah Turner | Sep 05, 2019

    A team effort to quickly detect and treat a virus which is the leading cause of hearing loss in babies has been launched in Cambridge following a team effort by NHS experts.

    Community paediatricians, neonatologist, audiologists and virologists, who are studying latest national and international research into cytomegalovirus (CMV), pooled expertise and resources to introduce a test to identify infants who might be infected.
    The team was drawn from Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which worked in collaboration with Peterborough, Southend, Basildon and Norfolk and Norwich hospitals.
    CMV is a common virus that can infect people of all ages. Some can have symptoms of a common cold and some can have almost no signs or symptoms. CMV is related to the herpes virus that causes cold sores and similar to chickenpox which stays in the body forever.Hearing photo
    What is not widely known, however, is that congenital CMV can pose a risk to unborn babies if a pregnant woman catches it for the first time - accounting for up to 20 per cent of permanent hearing loss in young children.  
    At CUH  the test, which will be applied to all well babies who have concerns raised on their newborn hearing tests, is being carried out by members of the nine-strong Rosie maternity hospital’s Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NSHP) who were instrumental in implementing the initial pathway.
    The new pathway involves taking a simple swab of saliva from the inside of a baby’s mouth and taking it to the hospital’s nearby laboratory block, staffed by virology experts from Public Health England.
    The DNA is extracted using high-tech equipment and if CMV is detected babies are brought in for a paediatric medical examination and if appropriate they are then given urgent anti-viral treatment to slow or prevent further deterioration.
    Dr Tamsin Brown, community paediatrician, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said:  “Congenital CMV is one of the leading causes of hearing loss in children and can sometimes cause additional complications such as learning difficulties.

    Dr Tamsin Brown“When national research identified hearing loss caused by the CMV virus could potentially be treated within one month of birth, a study day was organised and clinicians were invited from across the East of England. The response from clinicians was overwhelming with many from around the region forming a working group to see if joint working could improve current guidelines and improve outcomes for children.

    “It took many dedicated clinicians across the region to get this off the ground and is an example of how the NHS is run by such incredibly dedicated staff.”
    CUH NSHP local coordinator, Vicki Banks, said: “As soon as the research had been explained we set about introducing a simple test which would enable us to detect and treat more quickly babies with CMV.

    “Although it involves more work, everyone was happy to help since early detection and treatment it is really good news for our babies, and their parents. It means more children will avoid the devastating impact of hearing loss caused by CMV and community paediatricians like Tamsin are less likely to see children with hearing loss conditions caused by it.”
    Dr Tim Wreghitt is the honorary virology consultant overseeing DNA extraction in the Addenbrooke’s labs. He has studied CMV for 42 years and won an OBE for his research into it and its effects on patients, particularly those undergoing transplants.

    He said: “The beauty of this latest work is that it is another successful collaboration between different parts of the health service. The key benefit is that it compresses the time it takes to diagnose and treat a baby with CMV.”

  • Staff Donate Thousands of Vaccines to Unicef UK After Successful Flu Campaign

    by User Not Found | Sep 03, 2019

    Unicef UK Donation 1


    Staff at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust rallied round in their support of Unicef UK’s child vaccination programmes last winter, simply by receiving their own Flu jab.

    As part of the ‘Get A Jab – Give A Jab’ campaign, the Trust pledged to donate vaccines to Unicef UK on behalf of all staff members who received their FREE influenza vaccination, either through the Trust, their GP or local pharmacy.

    By receiving their FREE vaccination to protect themselves, their families and their patients against influenza during winter 2018-19 staff donated 3,450 vaccines to Unicef UK to help fight measles, tetanus and polio around the world. The donation breaks down to 1150 doses of measles vaccines, 1150 doses of tetanus vaccines, 1150 does of polio vaccines and 23 large vaccine carriers to keep the vaccines cold and effective.

    Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases like smallpox, polio and tetanus that used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or seen very rarely. Other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by up to 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced.

    However, many for these diseases are still prevalent in poorer parts of the world. Unicef UK’s immunisation programme protects children against these serious diseases and vaccines play a central role in ending preventable child deaths.

    Over 1.5 million children die annually from diseases that can be prevented by vaccination and nearly one in five infants in poorer countries miss out on the basic vaccines they need to stay alive and healthy.

    The donation made by staff at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust will help fight these statistics and ensure Unicef UK can ensure every child around the world has the right to survive and thrive.

    Julia Curtis, Chief Nurse for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust said: “By protecting themselves and our patients, our staff have helped provide protection to some of the most vulnerable children in the world.

    “The seemingly easy and simple task of getting their flu jab has meant that the Trust has donated a phenomenal amount of vaccines to Unicef.

    “I want to thank our staff for getting behind this campaign and hope that we can go on to provide more flu vaccinations and therefore donate even more vaccines to Unicef UK this coming flu season.”

    Heidi Bartlet, Children’s Occupational Therapist Team Lead said: “I have the flu jab every year as I work with children who would be vulnerable if staff did not protect their own health.

    “The fact that the Trust has donated vaccinations to Unicef UK on my behalf is brilliant. It’s such an easy thing for me to do to get my flu jab and in doing so I’m protecting the children I work with and others worldwide.”

    Oscar Serrano Oria, Nutrition and Early Child Development Specialist for Unicef UK said: “The kind donation received from the Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust enables Unicef UK to reach the most vulnerable children in the world, and contributes to saving three million children’s lives every year due to safe and effective immunisation.

    “The Get a Jab, Give a Jab initiative is a brilliant way to make a tangible difference to communities who would otherwise not be able to receive these life-saving vaccines.”


    Unicef UK Donation 2

    (L-R) Chris Sharp, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust Matron for Infection Prevention and Control, Steffi Camm, Unicef UK Fundraising Officer, Oscar Serrano Oria, Unicef UK Nutrition and Early Child Development Specialist and Julia Curtis, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust Chief Nurse.

  • Online Learning Launched in Luton - Solihull Approach

    by Debbie Manning | Sep 02, 2019

    An award-winning free online training programme offers Luton parents, carers and grandparents help with all those challenges and unanswered questions they face when caring for a child.Solihul Approach Branding banner

    The exciting interactive Solihull Approach went live on 29 August but is being officially launched on 3 September and brings together advice and learning for all stages of parenting from conception to age 19.

    The programme is being introduced in the borough by Luton Council’s Flying Start and Luton 0-19 Children’s Community Health Services with a particular emphasis on fathers.

    The Solihull Approach learning is split into three sections: understanding pregnancy, labour, birth and your baby, understanding your baby and understanding your child.

    The training – accessed via - is available in English and Polish with audio options also available in English and Urdu. Those wishing to use log-in with the access code HATTERS, select their course and register their details. An animation giving information about the Solihull Approach can be found here:

    Steph Cash, Senior Flying Start Business and Project Support Officer said: “The Solihull Approach is a fabulous tool which offers well thought out learning for anyone bringing up or involved with child development.

    “Every parent or carer has faced situations where they don’t know where to turn or how to solve a particular problem. Now hopefully the Solihull Approach will offer that help at their fingertips.”

    Ginny Lomax, Clinical Lead for Luton 0-19 Team added: “This learning is interactive and easy to understand and those caring for children – parents, grandparents, carers and professionals - can be confident that all the information has been approved by the NHS.

    “At every stage of child development there are a host of issues that present themselves; the Solihull Approach offers an easily accessible place to go to find the answers.”

    The official launch is taking place at The Mall Luton on 3 September between 9am and 4pm.

  • Party Time for Beads of Courage Children

    by Kirstie Flack | Aug 13, 2019

    Children and families enjoyed a fun filled afternoon at the Bridge Church, St Ives earlier this month to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Beads of Courage in Cambridgeshire.

    Children living with long term life-limiting conditions and their families celebrated alongside characters including Iron Man, Paw Patrol, Calamity Clown whilst enjoying popcorn, drumming and glitter tattoos.

    The day was a celebration of the courage of the children throughout the year during their treatment, looking back at the beads they’ve received and what they’ve overcome. The Beads of Courage help alleviate treatment induced stress and anxiety which can occur in children living with long term life-limiting conditions.

    The children and their families were joined by members of staff from Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.

    Mags Hirst, Play Specialist for the Children's Community Nursing Team said: “We are thrilled to see so many of our young patients here today.

    “We are so grateful for the amazing support from many local companies and individuals who have given their time and expertise freely to enable us to hold the fun filled party for our very brave and courageous youngsters.”

    Siana Hay, Kayla’s mum said: “The team are everything; they are so supportive of the children and families. This party just shows how much they care.

    “The beads are something beautiful and positive in such a turbulent time. They are so important to the children and provide a great distraction, even for parents.”

    Maria Nowshadi, Team Lead for the Children’s Community Nursing Team said:  “The Bead party is a fabulous celebration of our brave children and their families.

    The day was made even more amazing by the kindness of local companies who donated time, money and their specialist skills to make sure the children had a good time.”

    Anita Pisani, Deputy Chief Executive for the Trust who attended the event alongside the families and staff thanked everyone for coming: “I want to thank the children and their families for coming along to such a wonderful event.

    “The Community Nursing Team spends all year supporting people across the county and today is a day to celebrate that with the children and their families. Therefore, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the team who do such a fabulous job throughout the year.”

    If anyone would like to donate to this worthy cause the charitable fund for donations is TSC13 /1108920/Cambs mental health and primary care trust charitable fund.

    Beads of Courage 2019 collage

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