31/10/2011 Inside Out South


Jon Cuthill looks at what is at stake should the region lose its specialist child heart unit. Plus, the residents of a tower block put the idea of The Big Society to test.

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Hello and welcome to Inside Out. I'm here, you're there, so what's


coming up? On tonight's programme... We're going to put him out with gas


and air and then say goodbye. surgery for the south under threat.


Southampton General Hospital fights to keep its life-saving unit.


seems a great shame to move the services away from where the


patients are. We put the Government's Big Society dreams to


the test. That looks fantastic. It's for the community. I like to


put a bit back. But is this high rise, high-problem block in


Portsmouth up for the challenge? Tower blocks are the ruination of


family life. Do you think we can change it? I don't think you can.


And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...


Yeah, it's going well. I'm getting very wet. Moving home, big style.


Killers of the deep head to Berkshire. It's just making sure


they are happy in their new environment. This is Inside Out


First tonight, imagine the stress as a parent if your child has a


heart condition. Add to that the threat that the very unit which


could save your child's life may be about to close. That is exactly


what is happening here in Southampton. We have been behind


the scenes to see what is at stake. Meet two-year-old Harry Rogerson.


His dad, Ben. And mum, Cerys. Harry may look like a healthy boy, but he


has a very unhealthy heart. It is very difficult sometimes to put the


heart condition together with the personality of the child, because


he is such a life force and he deals with it all so well. It is


very inspiring for me to watch him. Harry was born with transposition


of the great arteries, which meant blood flowed round his heart the


wrong way, causing a lack of oxygen. Harry will need a series of


complicated operations during his childhood to keep him alive.


Nothing is ever very straightforward with these things.


Extremely complex, what they're trying to do with Harry. Anything


can happen. When they're telling you that his heart is fundamentally


malformed, and he is going to need a big operation to fix it, it is at


extreme odds with that happy, smiling little fellow in your arms.


And he is going to be kind of made ill. We're going to put him through


an operation. He will feel dreadful. Harry is having his life-saving


heart operation at Southampton General Hospital. The children's


heart unit rates as the top performing centre outside London.


Right, I've got your special medicine. 300 children born with


serious heart conditions are operated on here every year. There


are what ifs. Of course there are what ifs that wind you up. But it's


the things that I know are going to happen. But I don't think he


realises it. For the next day or two, he will feel very ill. When he


goes downstairs, they're going to put him out with gas and air and


Harry is about to have a valvotomy - an operation to widen the


narrowed valve. This will help increase the blood flow through his


struggling heart. The operation will take three and a half hours.


There is a long wait ahead for his 15-year-old Hallam Stuckey from


Wareham is also a patient here. Like Harry, Hallam was born with


transposition of the great arteries. He had major surgery as a baby, but


now needs a life-saving operation to replace a failing valve. I'm 15.


I enjoy just hanging out with my mates. Gaming. That sort of thing.


I enjoy cycling to work. I work down a cafe. I go to a public


school in Wareham, doing history, geography, more GCSEs. And short


course French, which I'm terrible at. I just generally tend to forget


that I have a heart problem. I feel like any other normal kid. But


surgery is going to be a little scary. I've got my little brother


over there. He's OK. But he's not getting anything in the will. I'm


joking, he can have that! It's had quite a devastating effect. There's


no point pretending this kind of thing isn't upsetting. It's very


hard to come to terms with. It's a serious operation. But you have


just got to put a lot to the back of your mind and get on with it. If


everyone mopes around, everyone will be upset all time and that is


not really good for Hallam. He needs to be as positive as possible.


We all do. On the children's cardiac ward, the team is preparing


Hallam for a long and complex operation. Marcus Haw will be


performing the surgery. He has been operating here for 14 years, but


there's never anything routine about open heart surgery. The heart


is growing. The volume of the heart is increasing faster as you're


getting bigger. So that means there is a situation where the leak is


beginning to stretch the heart. We wanted, really, to get a solution


for you that fixes you for everything you want to do but also


lasts you potentially for the rest of your life.


This major operation is not without its risks and Marcus has to explain


them all. If anything acute were to happen,


any part of the body can be affected. Southampton is one of 11


children's cardiac units in the country.


The government says it is looking to improve services across the UK


by merging children's heart surgery into fewer but larger and better


performing units. But better performance comes at a price.


Almost half the surgical units may close, including Southampton. The


NHS group believes skills are spread too thinly around the


country and that these changes, although tough, will improve


quality of care for children. Everybody agrees that we need


bigger centres and that we can improve things and make them more


sustainable in the future by having the centres, but nobody wants it to


be their unit to change. Everybody has built up a unit and it has been


through hard work, teamwork and putting their heart and soul into


it. It is understandable that people do not want to change that.


But it is the right thing to do. We need to make these difficult


decisions about which units will continue doing the same things in


the future. But surgeons here are concerned about the effects of


breaking up local teams. You can't just send them to different centres


all over the country and expect them to perform in exactly the same


way. Different units are different. This team has taken decades to


assemble. It has evolved. It has not just been placed. It has


evolved over 40 years. It's very difficult to actually keep


everybody together and move them. Harry's operation is over. First


thing to say, Harry is safe. We have finished the operation.


The valve will now keep him healthy until his body is fully grown.


Eventually, he will need a complete valve replacement. It's all smiles


for Harry's parents, but for Hallam's mum, the wait is about to


OK, you will feel that going a bit tight on your arm. Give him a kiss.


He is off to sleep. I think he is! Good night. I will see you in a bit.


Marcus is going to replace one of Hallam's leaky heart valves with a


mechanical one made of carbon. It is a delicate and complicated


procedure, made even more difficult by scarring from previous


Hallam's heart goes into an abnormal rhythm. Shock. Go for it.


Quickly. OK. Good. Well done. it is reset and the operation


continues. The first thing you feel is that you're sorry for the


patient to have to go through it. You feel a number of different


things. You do not feel emotional, but you feel very proud of the team


that you work with because you know you can do this effectively.


Hallam's blood is now circulated by machine. His heart can now be


stopped so the valve can be fitted. Sometimes, you have to pinch


yourself to think, gosh, we are really doing this! It is a very


unusual type of work to do. Obviously, you train over decades


to be able to do this sort of work. The new valve should last forever,


but Hallam will have to take blood thinning drugs for the rest of his


life. Every part is vital.


If you get the diagnosis wrong, you don't interpret things right, make


the wrong decisions, then it can be a disaster. It is a very well


controlled process. The operation has taken five hours.


Hallam is moved to paediatric intensive care. If the children's


unit is closed, half the beds in here will disappear.


The consequences of the closure of the cardiac surgical unit will mean


that the resources available to critical young children across the


south coast will be reduced dramatically. This unit has


developed over the last 10 or 15 years to be one of the best


children's intensive care units in the country. It was not always here.


We will return to a situation which the children of the south


experienced 10 or 15 years ago. They're very much more likely to


have to be moved to Bristol, London or Birmingham for the care they


need. It has been three weeks since the


surgery and Hallam is making a speedy recovery at home. But he


knows if he needs another operation, it may not be at his local hospital.


The wonderful thing about the service in the UK at the moment is


every unit's population is doing a superb job. That is great. The


problem is that is not sustainable in the future and that is why we


have to change. We have to look people in the eye and tell them


they're difficult decisions, but they must be made. We have a


responsibility to children in the future to take these difficult


decisions now. We should find out by the end of


the year whether Southampton's unit will stay or go, but in the


meantime, good luck to young Harry and Hallam.


This idea of a Big Society is starting to get interesting, given


the cuts we face here in the region. People power will save the day,


according to the politicians. We thought we would put that to the


test. Handsworth House in Portsmouth.


Built with the high-rise dreams of the post-war era. Full of the low-


down problems of modern life. 154 flats over 17 floors. A complete


little society, if you like. What better place to try out the


Government's plans for a Big Society? I moved here in 1965. I


was in an old house and never had no bathroom. I came to a place like


this. It was like a palace. year-old war veteran Cyril Wheelan


has lived here ever since the flats were built. It was good. All the


people in the flats, you knew everybody. Everybody. Now, it has


deteriorated. I don't have no conversation with anybody on this


floor. And I like talking to people. I would say good morning or it is a


cold day, and they don't want to know. Do you think we can change


it? I don't think you can. I don't think you can. Well, if anyone can


change things, it is this man, Gerry Stoker. He is the person who


helped come up with the idea of a Big Society. It was his research


that has been taken up as a mantra by the Government. The Big Society


is about a huge culture change, creating a country that feels like


a community to try and build a bigger and stronger society. People


call it responsibility. I call it the Big Society. If you're going to


create the Big Society, you need people with skills and resources.


That is not evenly distributed in our society. You also need to


recognise that people need to be asked in the right kind of way,


which encourages them to get involved. Our work is focused on


the practicalities of creating the Big Society, often in very


difficult circumstances. Circumstances I find at Handsworth


House. It does look quite foreboding in some ways. But it is


a good test, because if you can create the conditions for the Big


Society here, you can probably create them virtually anywhere.


Gerry will be coming to the Handsworth coffee mornings. This


weekly event is the only get- together for the entire block of


flats. It is here that the woes of the estate are aired by the few who


bother to turn up. Tower blocks are the ruination of family life.


You can go three months without actually seeing a neighbour. People


are no longer interested in their neighbours, in loyalty to


neighbours, in friendships with neighbours. We had six warrants in


here last week for drug dealers and doors being smashed in. We should


not have to live like that in our old age. This community room used


to be in use every single day of the week. Monday was the gymnastics


class I used to take. Tuesday was stroke club. Wednesday, a be used


to have a tea dance. Thursday was bingo. Friday, I used to do a


really big coffee morning and we used to get 40 people to do the


raffle. It was good then, but I want to get it good now. I don't


think it will ever go back to that. Really? No. Why? Because you've got


too many different cultures and too many different age groups. The


youngsters don't want to come down and sit down there with the old


wrinklies like us, do they? But Big Society expert Gerry Stoker doesn't


think it's an age issue. The modern generation, just as much as the old


generation, value caring for others and looking after their community


and trying to make a wider contribution to society. But we


live in a much more pressured society. I actually think it means


that we have to work a lot harder on creating the conditions for the


Big Society in today's world, compared to the 1950s. This is the


fifth floor. We get trouble sometimes with rough sleepers here.


Do they sleep in the hallway? usually go in the back stairs. But


the worrying part is the children. One man was thrown out the window


at the other side of my landing. Poor old me, I had gone over in the


morning to get my paper and I walked in there to put my rubbish


in the bin and I thought there was red paint dripping on me. No?!


I looked up and saw this arm and leg hanging over the parapet. It


was blood. Gerry is going to help us make


things better. But you have to want things to be better.


Gerry has a huge challenge - selling his Big Society to the


unhappy coffee group. What are the things which do actually give you a


chance to come together? The coffee morning. The coffee morning. We


could maybe build on that. What about if we had some sort of lunch


where people could bring different things together, kind of like a


community picnic. So, a resident's buffet meal seems


the popular choice. All those in favour?


Aye! OK, well, that is pretty unanimous!


Posters go up, invitations go to every single household, so that


three weeks later, on the day of our Big Society meal, I am hopeful


that apathy may give way to expectation.


Has anyone been talking about the lunch? Yes. Do you think they're


going to come? Yes, I don't see why not. If they don't, they're nut


cases. As mouth-watering dishes appear, it seems some residents


have really got into the spirit of being good neighbours. Can we have


a sneaky peak? Wow! Look at that. We have some rice. And then down to


the 10th floor, because we have two fresh quiches that have just come


out of the oven. Is it nice to see people talking? Yes, it is. That


looks fantastic. What is it? Lasagne? Yes. The amount of food


being donated is astounding. Don't worry about me, I'm fine! And most


of it seems to be coming from hard- up pensioners, for whom every penny


counts. I didn't have to come up but when it's for the community, I


like to put a bit back. That one is vegetable curry. This one is beef


stew. The end one is a Jamaican pork curry. What we have tried to


do is just a little lunch. The whole idea is to see if we can


build something that will last and give them a way of working with one


another and making a better community for themselves in the


long run. Although the room is full, it is mostly local volunteer groups


who have come to lend support. They're outnumbering residents


three to one. I'll be honest, I'm a bit disappointed. On the basis of


153 flats, 17 floors... There weren't a lot turned out from this


block. Yeah. It's like the old army days, isn't it? There is still a


good vibe, even if only the coffee group regulars and a handful of


others have come from the flats. Yet again, it is the older


residents who are willing this to succeed. Most of their younger


neighbours have stayed away. I only thought it was going to be


sandwiches. I didn't expect this. This is what was wanted.


Unfortunately, the reality is that the people who are keen on doing


something, they are involved, they are engaged, but it's getting that


wider community involved that is much harder. That is why, when his


activists step forward, we need to think hard about how we can support


them, and give them the strength and courage to carry on in very


hard circumstances. People start to leave.


The piles of lovely prepared food go mostly uneaten and the kind


chefs who made such an effort head home.


Those two are pillars of the community. They worked so hard to


try and get everything off the ground. But it is an uphill


struggle. If there were more people like those two in the world, the


Big Society would be easy. Sadly, it appears there aren't. People


outside are more friendly. I wish they would get together and get to


know each other more. Then you could have parties and more of that.


But they won't. They're all stick Don't forget to tell me what's


happening where you live. E-mail me at this address.


They say moving house is as stressful as it gets. Don't believe


a word of it. Moving sharks in a lorry from Weymouth to Windsor is


as bad as it gets. You have to be as cool as a sea cucumber.


This ambitious project has been two years in the planning. The aim is


to fill this massive aquarium with over 50 species of shark, ray and


tropical fish. All of them are coming from Weymouth. The man in


charge of welcoming the new arrivals will be Iain Grieve.


we're doing here is just checking all of the levels to make sure that


when the fish come, there is enough water, so we can move the water


from the truck into the aquarium. Everything looks OK. We're good to


go for the fish transport. Meanwhile, in Weymouth, where some


of the fish have been bred, preparations for the moves are


under way. It is Chris Brown's job to make sure all the sharks are


ready and fit for travelling. Is there a risk moving them? There


is always a risk moving animals. It is the most stressful time for them.


We have had years of experience of this and we really know how to


reduce the stress levels to the animals. This lot have not been fed


for a while, have they? Not for three days. This is very important.


If you move an animal once they have just been fed, they might be


sick into into the tank or produce waste, so the water will get dirty.


This would affect the animal. Altogether, they will be moving


over 250 fish tomorrow, including a dozen sharks and 25 stingrays. It's


all about timing, isn't it? Once the clock starts ticking, that's it.


Once we move the first fish and its transport container, for that


animal, it is a race against time to get it to the aquarium as


quickly as possible. It is 5:05am. The trucks are here.


The clock has started to tick. The sharks are about to be moved.


The team is split into two, with one half having to pack over 200 of


the smaller fish and the others are moving the rays and the sharks.


How's it going? Yes, it's going well. I'm getting very wet. Which


is normal. Lots of pressure. don't want to be the ones letting


the side down. So pack like mad men for the next couple of hours.


It is essential that everybody keeps to time so the fish do not


stay too long in the transport tanks.


Just watch your foot there. These are the ones with the stings, so we


have to be careful where they are. That is why we're using long-


handled nets. The team has kept to their timing


and the fully loaded truck is Ethically, I strongly disagree with


animal circuses and that side of things. I certainly wouldn't have


any of our animals performing tricks. That is the opposite way to


the way we want to go. Lots of people don't ever get the chance to


travel abroad or to go scuba-diving to see some of these wonderful


creatures and to see what is happening underwater. We're


bringing that to the UK so that the children can actually experience


I am hoping for some nice energised rays swimming round. Perfect. Very


We're just going to try and send them off out into the main body of


the tanks so they have lots of space to swim round and orientate


themselves. As they are introduced, you are watching their behaviour to


make sure everything is good. What you looking for? It is important


that when we move them from the lorry to the tank, that is their


highest stress point. We hold them still so they have a chance to get


used to their surroundings but be in the safe confines of the net.


Once they have calmed down a bit, we release them. We want release


them so they go straight into the main body of the tank. How long


before they are really comfortable in their new surroundings?


ideal thing to tell you is really when they start feeding. That is


when they are truly happy in their home and feel relaxed enough to go


on the feed. That would take two or three days, really. Lovely.


So we're kind of halfway through the unloading now. Rays and sharks


and smaller fish have all gone into the tank. It is just making sure


that they're happy in their new This is it, Chris. It will be very


exciting see this one swim off into its new home. The final one.


fact that they are feeding so early, does that mean that they're quite


settled? Yeah, it means they are relaxed enough to feed. Sometimes,


they won't feed for three or four days after transport. This shows


that they have settled straight away, which is just the kind of


news I want to hear. A perfect end for you? Absolutely fantastic.


And I bet they all taste delicious with chips. That's it for tonight.


I will see you next week. We ask what would you do if squatters


invaded your home. It that they have changed the locks and they are


Will the South lose its specialist child heart unit? Jon Cuthill looks at what's at stake if it goes. We test the idea of the 'The Big Society' with people living in a tower block, and an operation to move hundreds of fish and sharks from an aquarium to a new home.

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