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Tuesday 21 February 2012

MP’s 112th report

Edward Timpson MP

Monday 20, February 2012

Welcome ...

Welcome to this my 112th news bulletin.

I recently spent two more days working in Leighton Hospital to experience the day-to-day work of employees at all levels on the 9th and 10th of February. You can read more below.


Apart from slicing the top of my thumb off on a shoe repairing machine when aged 18 (as well as watching the odd episode of Holby City), I have never had cause to see what goes on in an operating theatre. As I change into my green scrubs, white croc-like shoes and disposable head bandana, I feel hugely unprepared for the experience.

To break me in gently, two nurses, with over fifty years service between them, guide me round an empty theatre, one of six on the same corridor. Accessed through the anaesthetic room, the theatre is much smaller than I imagined, partly due to them having never being altered since the hospital was built at a time 40 years ago when the recommended size of each theatre was significantly less than today.

Although much of the equipment, including the ventilating machine and lighting, are state of the art, I am convinced from what I see that the support I have given to the recent bid made by the hospital trust to the Department of Health for funding to build brand new operating theatres is well founded.

Later on in the day, a quick tour of the treatment centre, opened by the Duke of York in 2005, and its four modern theatres, gives an idea of what the main theatres could be like in a few years time.

We view a theatre in use where a patient's blocked artery is being operated on. There are ten clinical staff in the room, eight to perform the procedure and two student nurses observing as part of their training. Each theatre has a daily list of operations to get through which often means them having to work through lunch to avoid falling behind. This particular procedure should normally take up to two hours, but unforseen complications mean it could take twice as long.

Despite the pressurised environment, there is a sense of calm amongst the staff which helps steady my constitution. As we head back out into the corridor, a bed rushes past on its way to the 24/7 emergency theatre, a reminder that the hospital can only control so much of its work.

Next it is down to the Sterile Services Department to discover where the instruments used in each operation are cleaned for re-use. With
47,000 trays having to be sterilised each year, and with between 5 and
95 separate and specific items on each tray, it is a mammoth and massively important task.

The whole area is divided into "dirty" and "clean" to avoid contamination. To wash, check by hand, re-pack and sterilize an individual item takes about 3 hours. The staff I meet (including Jane Harrison, who I promised to mention!) are clearly proud of what they do and rightly feel it would be good for others working on site to come and see it for themselves, so that they can really appreciate what happens behind the dirty door.

Like every other hospital, Leighton is not perfect. As the local MP, I receive complaints about the hospital from local residents.

Despite best endeavours, mistakes happen. The quality of care can on occasion fall short. In referring on constituent's concerns, I trust that lessons are learnt and practices improved where needed.

To understand that process more fully I head to PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service), where I learn that the top concern raised is around communication. Accurate, timely and consistent information is crucial in the delivery of any professional service, but I suspect for patients and relatives in contact with a hospital it is even more so.
By dealing with as many complaints as possible face to face, the hospital hopes for more acceptable outcomes and a better understanding of how to avoid the same situation happening again.


It's not every day you go searching for gonorreah. I am in the sexual health clinic that was built in 2008, looking through a microscope at samples on slides in an effort to detect evidence of this sexually transmitted disease.

I am told that gonorreah is on the rise in our area, along with syphillis and HIV. In 2011 the clinic saw over 11,000 patients, 10% up on 2010, and today is proving to be another busy morning. Its good to see some young adults of both sexes in the waiting area taking their sexual health seriously.

I move on to the maternity ward, and am standing in the delivery room where my first child Sam was born almost exactly 8 years ago. I recognise the room instantly and feel quite emotional. I then learn that, with a £1million revamp of the ward happening very soon, this is my last chance to view the scene of my son's birth.

The revamp will bring in a midwife-led delivery area, which I applaud, as well as, amongst other things, better waiting facilities for nervous nail-biting dads to be. Before leaving I meet Helen, a midwife who, despite delivering hundreds, if not thousands, of babies, recalls bringing our youngest Lydia into the world four years ago. What a memory!

Upstairs I visit the neonatal ward where Sam spent his first few days after suffering some post-birth trauma. As with much of the hospital estate, this is another ward that is in real need of structural modernisation. It is quite cramped, and for anxious new parents it lacks flexibility around privacy.

What it lacks in environment it makes for with concentrated, round the clock care. The new born babies in their incubators are all surrounded by banks of sophisticated monitoring machines that dominate the room.
I remember well the amazing care Sam received whilst in the Special Care Baby Unit and am delighted to have been asked to be patron of the One in Eleven charity (so named because one in eleven babies born in Mid Cheshire requires some form of additional support) set up to help raise a million pounds for a new neonatal unit at Leighton.

With a six figure sum already pledged, the campaign is well on the way. Anyone who wants to find out more and/or donate can go to

At the Krishnan Chandran Children's Centre, young outpatients come to the hospital for treatment from one of the paediatric consultants. In reception there are babes in arms right up to teenagers waiting for their appointment. I discover that there has been a steady rise in the number of children suffering from allergies such as nut and celiac, as well as diabetes type 1.

The Child and Adolescent Unit is like a hospital within a hospital.
With 435 admissions in January alone, staff have to be prepared to deal with all medical eventualities that for adults are spread across the whole estate. The average stay is just 1.6 days, but for some children there can be long and frequent periods spent on the ward. As I walk the long main corridor it is hard not to be touched by some of the vulnerable but brave faces I see looking back at me.

My time at Leighton is coming to an end. I began my stay by believing that 4 days would be ample for me to cover the length and breadth of hospital life. I come away feeling 40 days would not be enough.

Intensive care, the renal unit, x-ray, ENT, audiology, cardiology, the Macmillan cancer unit, the Breast Care unit, the list of places still to see is substantial. I realise that I can only write about what I have experienced in the short time spent at the bospital, and other people's experiences may differ.

One thing I can be sure about is that it is not an experience I will easily discard, and have already fed back to senior management my observations and thoughts, both critical and complimentary.

Working in a hospital is tough but rewarding in so many ways. My huge thanks and appreciation go to all those who made my self-inflicted "back to the floor" adventure so memorable. I suspect I will be back again. You have been warned.

Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me.

You can forward the bulletin on to your friends and family, who can sign up themselves by clicking here for my website.

Best wishes 

Edward Timpson
Member of Parliament for Crewe & Nantwich

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Edward Opening the Improved Crewe Library

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Community News

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Community & Voluntary Services Cheshire East

Looking to find opportunities to help out in the community? CVS (Community & Voluntary Services) Cheshire East is a Registered Charity whose aim is to be valued as the leading support and development organisation for the Voluntary and Community Sector in Cheshire East.

The CVS's volunteer  team can support you in several ways:

  • Help you to find a suitable volunteer role
  • Help organisations to find suitable volunteers
  • Encourage best practice in volunteer management
  • To promote volunteering and the added value that it brings to our community

To find out more visit their website by clicking here
Do you have community news to share? Email me and it could be here too!

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Crewe gypsy site campaigners say they have concrete evidence of plan's flaws

Crewe Chronicle

CAMPAIGNERS against the council’s proposed Gypsy site in Crewe say they’ve found concrete evidence the plan is ‘seriously flawed’.

They believe they have come up with a ‘defining document’ to suggest the Parkers Road site is too small for its intended purpose, and could end up putting tenants’ lives at risk.

Members of Crewe Against Traveller’s Sites (CATS) are once again urging the council to withdraw the plans immediately.

Aided by Government guidance on good design practice for Gypsy sites, the document centres on the site’s unsuitability to house 10 pitches and an amenity block.

It states: “Using measurements on the plans, the pitch for each static is only seven metres long. Government guidance states the site should be capable of providing sufficient space for the average-size trailer of up to 15m.

“Thus, the pitches are of insufficient size to accommodate the average-size static caravan.”

Concerns are also raised surrounding the accessibility for the emergency services.

The plans show the site road is only 4.5m wide, meaning emergency vehicles would struggle to pass to reach some pitches.

The document concludes: “The Parkers Road site is by far the smallest of all proposed sites. We believe the assessment of alternative sites was a sham.”

Chairman of CATS Glenn Perris said: “We believe this is a defining document as to the serious flaws within the planning application.

“The overriding factor is that this site is too small for its intended purpose, to the point that tenants’ safety could be compromised.

“It’s now time for Cheshire East to stop its arrogant march on the good people of Crewe and bring a halt to this ill-thought out proposal. The taxpayer is seeing their money being wasted on a scheme that simply isn’t fit for purpose.”

Edward Timpson MP added: “This is a fascinating and devastating technical deconstruction of a flawed planning application.

“This is clearly the wrong location, and the council should ensure the plan is shelved as soon as possible for the good of my constituents.”

The council has always maintained the site is the most suitable location and submitted a planning application on January 18.

The plans are due to be discussed at the next meeting of full council on February 23.

To view and comment on the application visit

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Official re-opening of Crewe Library

Cheshire East Council

MP Edward Timpson was joined by a host of Cheshire East Councillors for the official re-opening of Crewe Library on Saturday, February 3.

The Crewe MP was welcomed by staff and members from the local authority, following a recent refurbishment programme.

The library was partially closed over the Christmas and New Year period, with improvements made to many aspects of the well-used facility.

Self-service terminals, a new cafe area and a bigger children’s library are just some of the improvements library-users can look forward to.

New shelving, carpets, ceiling panels and energy-efficient lights have also been installed.

Cheshire East Councillor David Brown, Cabinet member with performance and capacity said:

“Here at Cheshire East Council, we recognise the importance of our libraries; they are no longer simply a place to borrow books, they are a place to find information, use the internet and to meet people.
“I would like to thank Edward Timpson for his support and all the staff who have worked so hard to keep the library up and running through the refurbishment.

“I hope that the improvements are welcomed by the local community and it encourages more people to use this much-loved library.”

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Edward Timpson backs work of still birth and neonatal charity

Crewe Chronicle

SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, believes as many as 1,200 stillbirths every year in the UK could be avoided.

Edward Timpson MP has attended a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons organised by Sands for the launch of its new report, Preventing Babies’ Deaths: what needs to be done.

About 6,500 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every year in the UK.

The charity’s report proposes that hundreds of babies’ lives could be saved every year through a combination of more research, better care and greater awareness of the risks of stillbirth and newborn baby death.

Mr Timpson said: “I was shocked to discover the scale of baby deaths in the UK. 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day, with stillbirth being the largest contributor to child deaths under the age of five years.

“These deaths have a devastating impact on parents and their families, and I fully support Sands in their call for urgent action to prevent baby deaths in the future.”

The report highlights that advances in neonatal medicine have led to small but welcome reductions in the number of newborn babies dying.

However, Sands remains extremely concerned by the UK’s persistently high stillbirth rates – stillbirth numbers in the UK are the same today as they were in the late 1990s, with one in 200 babies being stillborn.

The UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates when compared to similar high income countries, yet Sands strongly believes that with the appropriate commitment and investment in research and improved care, a reduction in these rates is achievable and should be a key focus for all those concerned with maternity services.

ŠNeal Long, chief executive of Sands, addressed MPs and said: “A third of stillborn babies – about 1,200 babies – are perfectly formed and born at gestations when they might safely be delivered.

“But routine antenatal care is failing to detect far too many babies who need help.

“These babies’ deaths are those that Sands, researchers and clinicians working in obstetrics, believe are avoidable deaths.

“We want lives saved and families spared the desperate heartbreak of losing their precious baby.”

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5 ways to contact Edward Timpson

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1 comment:

BG said...

4 days in the Hospital and our MP has produced a report which is about the level of a 10 year old's report on his school trip to Blackpool.
We all know that the hospital has a maternity unit, operating theatres etc. I would expected the MP to already know that as well.
What we need to know from Mr Timpson is what pressure he is putting on the Hospital to improve its performance. An improvement up to the average level of Hospitals in the UK would be a start, but the current board have so far failed in even that objective.
Even when our MP decided to discuss complaints, he wnt to PALS. Pals is not where the serious complaints are handled - our MP clearly allowed himself to be kept away from the serious complaints.
Our MP took 4 whole days to be taken on a guided tour of the Hospital without tackling any of the isseus - what a waste of time and space.
The man has shown on many occasions that he simply doesnt want to get involved, unless there is a good news photo oppertunity.
Ihave never beenpolitically active, but if this MP is the best on offer, we are in a sad state of affairs.