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Category Archives: Geography

Birmingham City Council sees further fall in unemployment – December 2014

Dear Friends,


Great news, figures released today from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment continues to fall in Hodge Hill – 17 December 2014.


The number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill as of November 2014 was 4,479.  This represents a rate of 9.9% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.


This number is far too high and there is still much work to be done, but the new figures show that the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA) is 1473 lower than November 2013 and 263 lower than October 2014.


These figures show that Birmingham City Council’s efforts to tackle unemployment are making a real difference here in Hodge Hill – we will continue to fight to get more people into better jobs.

All the best,



Hospital A&E crisis: Mum and sick child waited SIX HOURS to see doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – Birmingham Mail – 16 December 2014

Dear friends,


Please find below more concerning news on our local NHS A&E. I gave a statement to the Birmingham Mail on the story – see below.


We have got to get a plan in place to sort out the crisis in our local NHS.





Hospital A&E crisis: Mum and sick child waited SIX HOURS to see doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

New figures show six out of seven Trusts missing four hour emergency admissions target


Accident and Emergency departments are ‘spiralling’ out of control with six out of the seven major West Midlands hospital trusts failing to hit the Government’s four-hour waiting target.

Latest figures showed Birmingham Children’s Hospital was the worst performer, with just 81 per cent of patients being seen within the time limit during the week ending December 12.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) followed closely at 86.7 per cent, with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust recording an A&E waiting time target of 87.2 per cent.

The Government’s national target is 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours.

Birmingham mum Nora Stevenson, 37, of Bartley Green, told how she waited SIX HOURS for her daughter to be seen at the Children’s Hospital after her daughter Maggie, aged three, began coughing up blood on December 7.

Her mother had called NHS 111 at 5pm and it took two hours for someone to call her back. She was given an appointment at Katie Road Walk-in Centre at 9.50pm where a doctor told her to take the youngster to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s A&E department.

Nora said: “It was horrendous. I really can’t fault the staff as they were trying their best, but there weren’t enough of them there.

“Children were lying across the chairs because of the time of night and being sick. Parents were getting annoyed and having a go at the receptionist.”

The mum and daughter had arrived at 11pm and Maggie was finally seen by a triage at 1am – but it took another four hours for a doctor to examine her.

Nora, a part-time bank worker, said: “They checked on her every 90 minutes after that until she saw a doctor at 5am. She was discharged 20 minutes later with a minor stomach illness.“We followed all the correct channels but it took a total of 12 hours from when we called 111, to her being seen by a doctor.

“Next time I will go straight to the hospital.”

Other mums have taken to social media to flag up their experiences at the hospital.

Emma Donoghue wrote on Facebook: “My son was admitted with glandular fever and a secondary bacterial infection. There was a six hour wait in A&E although we only waited an hour as he was prioritised as an emergency.

“There was nowhere to sit and at one point I sat on the floor. There was far too many children there that shouldn’t have been there, running around and playing whilst my son slept through all the commotion.”

Yet while Natalie Hodgkins experienced delays, she also praised medics at the hospital and urged more people to use their GPs and walk-in centres.

She added: “My daughter had just been let home after a week and a half in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The day before we went doctors at our surgery diagnosed a chest infection.

“The next day she had gotten worse and come out in a patch on her arm. It was rammed full of children running around with coughs. The wait time was four hours but we put straight through. She had sepsis. Doctors at the hospital acted very quickly and thanks to them my baby is still with us.

“Definitely people need to use GP and walk in more.”

The Children’s Hospital reported its busiest day EVER on December 1, when medics saw 223 patients in one day. Numbers have been hitting around 205 a day on average, whereas last year’s figure was in the 180s.

Dr Ben Stanhope, a consultant in paediatric in Emergency Medicine, said: “We have seen this problem in the last three to four weeks. There are an unprecedented number of children presenting in our department and we are seeing 20 to 30 more patients a day than we normally would.

“This is a massive increase. And it means that everyone is waiting longer.

“There are a huge number of children coming in with the influenza virus and we know that the national uptake of the vaccine is very poor.

“Many of these children would not be here if they had been given the nasal spray that protects them against the virus. It gives them better coverage than the old style needle.”

MP Liam Byrne (Hodge Hill Lab) said: “These shocking figures show A&E queues are spiralling. Our NHS staff do a great job but they’re being overwhelmed.

“The government’s huge cuts to Birmingham’s social care service mean it’s harder than ever to get older residents home from hospital. That means it’s getting harder to get people in the front door through A&E.”

At HEFT, which runs Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, medics are also seeing a rise in admissions for the flu virus. Restrictions are in place at Heartlands because of flu and the winter bug norovirus.

Dr Ola Erinfolami, clinical director of the Emergency Department at Heartlands, said: “As with the rest of the region we are seeing increased attendance at our A&E departments and the addition of patients suffering from flu and norovirus not only exacerbates that situation but also increases the risk of those viruses being spread within the hospital.”

She added the best remedy for patients was to rest at home.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, in Brierley Hill is the only trust to hit the national target, seeing 98.2 per cent of patients in less than four hours.

WHAT THE HOSPITALS SAY: *Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has a “detailed plan in place” to improve its ability to see people within four hours.

*University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said it has seen an unprecedented year-on-year in emergency admissions in the last two years.

*The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust said pressures had been building for some months. A spokesman added: “Additional resource via the winter pressures money has been made available, which includes additional doctors, nurses, technicians and porters for example.”

*Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust advised patients to also explore other alternatives than A&E.

*Dudley Group NHS Trust said: “We have a dedicated ‘capacity hub’ that acts as a command centre and is aware of current waits, patient volumes in our Emergency Department, how many patients are being discharged from the wards etc.”

Christmas crime prevention from West Midlands Police

Christmas crime prevention from West Midlands Police

All you need to know to keep safe at Christmas

Our Christmas Safety Guide contains lots of useful tips to help you keep yourself, your home, your car and valuables safe over the festive period. Please take a few minutes to read through our safety tips.

Keep your home secure

  • Securely lock all doors and windows before going out or going to bed. Use a timer device to switch lights on after dark.
  • Don’t put presents under the tree until the last possible moment – and close curtains so your gifts can’t be seen from the street.
  • Mark your postcode on new presents with a UV pen. Note down the serial number and record it at so if it is ever stolen, you’re more likely to get it back.
  • After Christmas, remove any trace of expensive gift packaging by taking discarded boxes to the tip or recycling centre.

Keep your car safe

  • Check your fob has done its job – don’t assume your vehicle is secure, always check doors and windows are locked before you walk away.
  • Remove valuables such as sat navs, MP3 players, laptops, tablets, coats and loose change before leaving the vehicle.
  • Wipe away tell-tale suction marks from the windscreen – this may alert a thief to your sat nav being hidden inside the vehicle.
  • Don’t advertise what you’ve bought by leaving gifts on show while you return to the shops – lock everything away in the boot. Take shopping inside immediately when you get home.

Freeze out car thieves

  • Don’t leave your vehicle unattended and the engine running while it defrosts – a thief could drive off with it.
  • Stay with your vehicle and if you’re in a rush, use de-icing spray and a scraper to speed up the process.
  • Sit inside your vehicle while the heater de-mists the windscreen.
  • Claims on insurance policies can be affected if the vehicle owner is deemed partly responsible for the theft.

 Love your phone

  • Be discreet – keep your phone and other valuables out of sight in public.
  • Note down the unique IMEI number – you will need this number to report a stolen phone. Key *#06# into your mobile to display this number on screen.
  • Listen to your instincts – know your route, avoid dark places and if you don’t feel safe, move to a busier area.
  • Trace lost or stolen phones by activating the in-built tracker app or by downloading a reputable one from your app store.

 Beat the pickpockets

  • Keep handbags closed and close to you, and wallets out of back pockets.
  • Try not to overload yourself with bags and coats.
  • Don’t leave pushchairs, shopping bags or trolleys unattended. Take personal belongings with you into changing rooms.
  • Be discreet when handling cash and cards at the till and at cash machines – put them away immediately and keep an eye on who is around.

 Socialise safely

  • Pubs, restaurants and other venues will be crowded, so don’t hang bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body.
  • Have fun but drink sensibly – binge drinking and excessive drinking at home before a night out puts you at risk of crime. Never leave drinks unattended or accept them from strangers.
  • Find out the times of the last tram, train or bus home, or pre-book a taxi from a local licensed operator.
  • Never drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

Response from Park View Educational Trust Trustees – 3 December


Dear friends,


I continue to work with the trustees at Park View Educational Trust as well as representatives of the DfE in order to ensure that Parents can be involved in the school and that we have the best education possible for our young people.


You may remember that I published a letter which I sent to the PVET Trustees after our meeting in November. You can read a copy of that letter here


You can read the response from the PVET Trustees below:




Dear Liam


Thank you very much for meeting with us on Friday.  We appreciate the honest dialogue and your acknowledgement of our efforts to do the best possible for Park View, Nansen and Golden Hillock Schools.  We are also very appreciative of your offer to support a positive way forward and for your assertion that we are the right people to lead the schools to a brighter future.


We completely understand why you would wish to support the elections of parents to the Local Governing Bodies but we are mindful of the extraordinary situation surrounding PVET.  We take our responsibilities very seriously and want to be certain that we are appointing people with the skills and commitment to take the schools forward positively.  Once we establish the Local Governing Body in each school, we will then move on to make arrangements for the elections of parents at Director level.  We will keep you fully informed of our plans and decisions.


Thank you for your specific offers of support, particularly offering to consult with local business leaders as potential new partners and to reinforce messages to parents about the progress the schools are making.  Both these actions will be very helpful and will further support our progress.


You are most welcome to visit the schools to meet students and talk to parents.  The staff are working very hard to get the schools out of special measures and will appreciate your interest.  We know that you recognise the challenges we are facing.


Please rest assured that we are doing everything possible to move these schools forward and reduce anxiety among all stakeholders. We are also working creatively to provide the children at our schools the best possible opportunities. We were pleased to welcome you to Park View’s KS4 Celebration Evening last Friday and appreciate your enthusiasm to offer us continued encouragement and practical support.


Thank you very much for your interest and support and for giving us so much time on Friday.  We feel that we now have a more positive way forward.


Yours sincerely,



Kamal Hanif OBE, Pat Smart, Yvonne Wilkinson and Adrian Packer




Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK – Birmingham Mail – 2 December 2014


Dear friends,


You may have seen my press release on Friday about the concerns that I and local Councillors have around the strain which our local NHS Trust (including Heartlands Hospital) is under.


The Birmingham Mail have today published a story about Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which proves many of the concerns we’ve been hearing in the community recently.


Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK


Three serious complaints made to health ombudsman EACH DAY about NHS Trust, watchdog reveals


A troubled Birmingham hospital trust has been named and shamed as one of the worst in the country for patient complaints.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) received 958 complaints to the Health Ombudsman in 2013/14 – almost three a day.

The shocking figures which places the trust as 13th on the league of shame, come just a month after it was revealed that thousands of patients were waiting more than four hours in A&E. Health watchdog Monitor slammed the leadership at HEFT and just a few days later chief executive Mark Newbold resigned.

New data has also showed that in 2013/14 the trust received 404,697 clinical incidents ranking it the fourth busiest out of 440 NHS Trusts and CCGs across the country.

The figures were released earlier this week by Dame Julie Mellor, the health ombudsman.

Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne (Lab) said: “This fresh evidence proves concerns which have been growing for months. Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is overstretched.

“The staff at hospitals such as Heartlands do brilliant work but mismanaged resources such as our local NHS health centres mean that they are fighting a losing battle.

“More and more people are having to head for the hospital when they should and could be being treated at their local health centres. We need a plan for getting our multi-million pound health centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill fully operational as soon as possible.”

Latest figures show 5,518 patients waited more than the four hour target at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, all run by the Trust, compared to 1,619 in 2009/10 – an increase of 240 per cent.

Action is being taken to improve services and strengthen leadership so patients receive better care. Conditions have been imposed on HEFT’s licence so that Monitor can take further action if it does not perform better.

Waiting times are also said to be too long for routine operations and cancer care patients and there were additional concerns regarding mortality rates.

Heartlands NHS Trust was unavailable for comment.



Hodge Hill weekly crime data figures and detail: 20th -27th of November 2014

Weekly Crime figures and detail

Date Range: 20th -27th November 2014

Recorded Crime 29
ASB Incidents 1





There has been one burglary this week – Eastbourne Avenue where persons faced a window to secure entry, nothing was stolen.

Another attempted burglary where unknown persons tried to force entry into a flat in Warstone tower but were unsuccessful.


Advice – With darker nights here please use timer switches when you are out after dark – so that it looks like someone is in.


Two vehicles had items stolen from them on Morley Rd and Dagenham Rd, both were items left on display in an insecure vehicle.


Advice – Do try and use your garage where you have one to keep your vehicle safe.  Consider visible deterrents such as steering wheel locks to deter thieves.  Remove valuables and ensure you secure your vehicle.


Other Information

Our dispersal area continues to be up and running in the area of Blossom Grove and Collingbourne Avenue and we will be continuing to use this to tackle any ASB taking place in the area.

An offender from a previously executed drugs warrant in Hodge Hill has been charged with production of cannabis and possession of a section 5 firearm and is in the process of being dealt with by the courts.


We would like you to follow us on Twitter @HodgeHillPolice

If you have any information about crime or ASB in your area contact us on 101 ext 7601 6392 or call crimestoppers on 0800555111.


You can email us on

Open letter to Park View parents – 10 November 2014


Dear friends,


Following my meeting with DfE officials and the trustees for Park View Educational Trust I have written to those attending the meeting. You can read a copy of my letter below:


With all best wishes



Open letter to Park View parents - 10 November 2014



A Metro-Mayor for the West Midlands – A proposal from Liam Byrne MP – 6 November 2014


Dear friends,



You may have read my interview in the Birmingham Post this morning entitled; Midland mayor “could run policing, transport and support for business”


The news that Manchester has got the green light for a metro-mayor is great. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the last government, I worked hard to accelerate the devolution of powers to Manchester and its neighbours – and the model Manchester has designed ensures strong accountability of any new mayor to local government leaders.


Birmingham should control it’s own destiny too and a metro-mayor for the West Midlands would make a huge difference.


You can read the Birmingham Post story using the link above. My proposal for a West Midlands metro-mayor and a backgrounder from my time at the Treasury is below:


What Should a West Midlands Metro-Mayor Do


Backgrounder on a Reformed Regional Tier





Update on Park View – Letter to PVET Trustees and DfE – 23 October 2014


Dear all,

Many thanks for those who joined me with Park View Trust trustees and Mr Colin Diamond of the Department for Education.

I thought you would like a copy of the letter I sent as a follow-up.

As soon as I have a response I will be back in touch.


Letter to PVET trustees following up Fri meeting - 23 October P1 Letter to PVET trustees following up Fri meeting - 23 October P2




Press statement from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust on Intervention of Monitor – 23 October 2014



Dear friends,
Please find a press statement below from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust:




The Trust has been working with Monitor, our regulator, over several months  highlighting the plans we have in place to address the increasing demand for our  services.  It has been well publicised that the local health system has experienced a significant upsurge in demand in recent months.  At our Trust  alone we have seen a year on year increase of 13% in emergency admissions and a 10% increase in emergency ambulances arriving at our front door.  The unprecedented demand and consequent overcrowding, particularly in our emergency departments, means that we are not meeting a number of national targets.


Our teams and staff are working relentlessly to ensure that we deliver the best care possible.  Our focus and commitment has and will always remain on safe and quality care for our patients.  We have invested in additional nurses and doctors, equipment and facilities and over the next few years will be investing an additional £85 million in buildings to meet the growing demand for our services.


We have recently made some new key appointments to strengthen our leadership team; their expertise, both clinical and managerial, will add breadth and depth to our existing, experienced team.  We are also working with our partners in the local health economy to address the challenges of increasing demand, ensuring that people are cared for in the most appropriate setting, including their own home and we work together to improve the health of our local population.


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