09/03/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Nick Owen and Suzanne Virdee.


The headlines tonight: A world first as a hospital here


performs an operation that'll save thousands of patients.


I am not saying it is going to be common, but I think it is something


we will see. Genuine signs of recovery as


companies take on more workers than expected and report increased


activity. The positive news is that people


have come back and they are placing orders again. It is positive for


the West Midlands. From the Caribbean to the Black


Country, the first competitors arrive to prepare for the London


Olympics. And hidden in an attic for 50 years,


now published for the first time - poignant front line memories from


Good evening and welcome to Friday's Midlands Today from the


BBC. Tonight, a world first in heart surgery, performed right here


in this region. 81-year-old Henry Beirne was too ill to undergo


normal surgery, so doctors implanted an aortic valve in his


heart and repaired an aneurysm using a pioneering new technique.


Surgeons performed the two lifesaving operations together. If


they'd been done separately, he could've died. Our health


correspondent Michele Paduano reports on the new technique that


could now save hundreds of other lives too.


Meet a medical first. 81-one-year- old Henry Beirne was a ticking time


bomb. He had a large bulge in a main artery - the aorta - and a


leaking heart valve. Doctors knew he'd already had a heart bypass,


had suffered a stroke and had kidney problems, so further surgery


wasn't possible. But they gave Henry an option.


It was either that or I would go to the play's upstairs!


Specialists had worked out that if they repaired his aortic valve, his


aneurysm could burst from the increased pressure. If they


repaired the aneurysm, the pressure on the valve could cause sudden


heart failure, so they decided to do both without open surgery.


There's double jeopardy. He has got an aneurysm, which is a timebomb,


as well as the valve. Both things are fortunate, but it is something


we may see increasingly. I am not saying it is going to be common,


but it is something we will see because we are treating a much more


elderly population. Following careful planning, a team


of doctors used a keyhole technique and went in through the two main


arteries in Mr Bierne's thighs to reach his heart. While one placed a


man made valve inside his aortic valve, a process called Tavi, the


other placed a tube inside his aorta to cure the bulge in the wall.


I knew that was the only hospital which could do it.


This image of Mr Bierne's insides shows the two repairs.


Over 170 patients have been treated with this procedure in


Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Stoke on Trent. They are people who would


previously have died. Mr Beirne is still able to drive


and enjoys visiting friends and the odd trip to the pub.


Just to live as long as I can. Quality of life, really. As long as


you have got good quality of life, it is the most important, do you


know what I mean? For his doctors, it means they


don't have to say so often, "I'm sorry, there is nothing more we can


do for you." I'm joined now by Dr Peter Ludman,


who's a consultant cardiologist for University Hospital Birmingham.


We saw the double there. It is rare, but you are excited, aren't you,


about the one part of the procedure. Why is that?


It is a real breakthrough. There are a lot of patience in the


population getting older, and this lethal disease of a narrowing of


the main valve through which all the blood from your heart is pumped


out into your body, this disease can kill you. But it affects


elderly patients, and they often have other things wrong with them


as well. So the normal surgery cannot be


done? It can, but at higher risk. It is difficult for patients in


their eighties to undergo surgery. It is a big burden for him to


overcome. How many people could be saved?


Many hundreds. In the UK, we are performing somewhere between 709


hundred Procedure per year. It all started in the UK in 2007. --


between 709 hundred procedures. We always hear that the NHS cannot


afford these procedures. What will happen in this case?


We are going to find that this is a cost-effective technology. Patients


have terrible quality of life with this disease. They are breathless


and cannot walk around. They repeatedly are admitted to hospital


in heart failure. If you can fix the Val, they have an independent


life. They don't go in and out of hospital, and they live longer. If


you put that into an equation to work out whether it is worth it,


almost certainly it is going to come out as cost-effective.


Thank you very much. You're watching Midlands Today at


the start of the weekend. Later in the programme:


It's been our driest spell for decades, but why? Hear from the


experts later! Encouraging news on the economy


this evening - recruitment in manufacturing and the demand for


products appears to be on the increase. A survey of companies in


the West Midlands has seen an unexpected boom. Businesses


reported they were seeing a rise in orders both in the UK and from


abroad. But many firms also said they were having to tighten their


profit margins so they can compete. Bob Hockenhull has the details.


This company in Birmingham makes products for cars and is one of the


success stories helping to boost manufacturing output in the West


Midlands. Lander Automotive has increased its workforce by 100 to


400 since September as orders grow. It's a far cry from the gloomy


economic picture that's often been painted in recent years.


We are really seeing a buoyant market place. In the last six


months of last year, we introduced �12 million of business into this


factory. We have another �5 million in next six months.


The latest research by the Engineering Employers Federation


reveals many businesses are optimistic - that's compared with


the last survey, which revealed a drop in confidence caused partly by


the euro crisis. In the West Midlands, the number of


firms expecting an increase in orders has gone up from 30% in


November to 38% now. The number of companies expecting to take on more


staff has risen from 25% to 29%. Good news, too, for young workers


like Sam, the first apprentice to be taken on here in 10 years.


There's a lot of fun of all people out there, and for somebody like me


to have a good opportunity, it is amazing.


It's a step in the right direction, but engineering leaders are


cautious as well as optimistic. We still have significant problems.


We have got problems in terms of unemployment, so the news that jobs


will be created is good, but it will be a small dent in the


unemployment, I am afraid. Even so, the Engineering Employers


Federation is predicting manufacturing will continue to grow


throughout this year and into 2013. A mother and her partner have been


charged with the murder of her four-year-old son in Coventry. The


boy was found unconscious at a house in the Holbrooks area of the


city last Saturday. He died two days later in hospital from a head


injury. The 26-year-old woman and a man, who's 32, will appear before


magistrates in Coventry tomorrow. A former Roman Catholic priest from


Staffordshire has been sentenced to 22 years in jail for sexually


abusing young boys over a period of 18 years. The judge described him


as "shameless," saying he'd manipulated God's teaching for his


own devices. 58-year-old Alexander Bede Walsh from Abbots Bromley was


convicted last month of 21 charges of abuse. The abuse was described


in court as serial and predatory. Walsh committed the offences while


working as a priest across the West Midlands. The Archdiocese of


Birmingham says it's begun the process of removing him from any


standing within the Catholic Church. We have already said that we would


start the process, which has begun. The archbishop has already said


again today that his door is open to meet any of the victims of this


terrible abuse. One of them spoke to me after the case, and I think


we'll take up the offer. The organisation that represents


rank-and-file police officers in the West Midlands is warning


against former politicians filling the role of elected police


commissioners. The public will vote for who they want to take on the


new job in each of the region's police forces in November. The


government says commissioners will set police budgets, decide policing


priorities, and have the power to hire and fire the Chief Constable.


I would like to think in the West Midlands that the people who are in


touch with us are doing so for the right reasons, but I'm sure that


across the country there are people standing who have not had the


political career that they wanted and are now seeking out another


high-profile job in order to fulfil themselves.


And you can see the full report about police commissioners and what


their role will be on the Sunday Politics Show, which is on at the


earlier time of 11 o'clock on Sunday morning.


Campaigners wanting an elected mayor in Birmingham are warning


that too few people know the city's holding a referendum on the issue.


It comes after a Populus poll for BBC WM revealed that more than half


of the people living in the city were unaware that it was taking


place in May. BBC WM will be holding a debate on the subject


this evening, and our political reporter Susana Mendonca is there


now. So tell us more about this poll.


There are some interesting findings. As you can see, this place is


filling up with people wanting to discuss whether Birmingham needs a


male. That poll shows that 59% of the people asked did not know that


the referendum is taking place in May. 54% of people said that they


supported the idea of an elected mayor, and 74% of people said that


they would be voting in the referendum. I am joined by a couple


of the panellists. Sir Peter Soulsby, Elected Mayor of Leicester,


elected last year without a referendum, and David Williams from


Birmingham Green Party, also a member of Vote No to a Power Freak.


This poll suggests not a lot of people are interested.


If you had had a similar poll in less that of months ago, you would


have had a similar result. If you ask them now if it is the


democratic way of deciding Ladyship, you get an overwhelming yes.


David Williams, the poll does suggest people support the idea.


Does that mean that your campaign in Birmingham is losing ground?


There's no demand at all for this. This has come from the top. There's


no demand for many community for a directly affected neer. -- a


He what would you say he's the reason for banning him to have won?


-- what we do say is the reason for having an elected mayor?


It works in less than it would work here.


David Williams. Leadership. You don't agree with this.


Birmingham is made up of many communities. To have one man, and I


use the word adviser be because I believe they are all men elected to


the division, is actually a bad way of going about the democratic


process. There we must leave it.


You can hear the debate in full from 7pm on BBC WM.


As the dry spell continues, you might be wondering if this is a


sign of a changing climate and if we can expect similar or worse


conditions in years to come, and what, if anything, we can all do to


cope with the effects. Ahead of National Climate Week we sent our


environment correspondent David Gregory to Coventry, and a


conference of experts from across the Midlands to find out more just


what is going on. It is tempting to think that


conferences on climate change produce so much hot air that they


make the problem worse. But the people here today are at the sharp


end, some of them thinking up to 40 years in the future.


The what we see now is how the weather affects the water. We are


now going through a dry spell. What it shows us is that it paints a


picture of the type of events we are likely to see more often in the


future. This is how Severn Trent, for example, are coping today. Just


a few miles away, they are topping up the reservoir using water from a


river. Water companies are already talking


to the regulator about what they plan to do for the next five years


in terms of infrastructure. But of course, with climate change, they


are starting to think as much as 40 years ahead. That means spending


cash on something that has not happened yet. How do the company is


make sure they don't spend our money on precautions which may not


What we are looking to do is, our approach to adaptation is that we


are planning to build things that are flexible and adaptable. We can


build them incrementally over time and if the situation gets worse we


can accelerate. There are no regrets on those decisions. Right


now. Everyone is praying for rain. Our reporter is at a reservoir in


Birmingham. They are lots of other organisations that are worried


about climate change. These are the ones that have got hardest about


this. The two big things in the Midlands are going to be drought,


this reservoir is looking pretty well, and also flooding. These are


two things that really worry what a company's. This idea that they have


a long-term plan but it is small changes, so they can accelerate


things if the need to, but do not spend too much money on it if they


do not need to. You mention this long-term plan, I do any bed, a


radical idea has to cope with this? Severn Trent published his report


just a euro. They call for a water trading to be allowed to sell water


between regions. The sake regulation has to change and there


is a PR battles to be had there too. There is a lot to be said, but


there will be benefits to customers from this idea. You said what a


levels were looking pretty well where you wear, what is the


situation in the Midlands with water and drought? Next week on


Tuesday it is the next report from the Environment Agency about the


drought conditions in the Midlands. I suspect we will see more eyrie


has to be at higher risk of drought. -- regions.


Memories from the front line nearly a hundred years ago. A glance into


the forgotten diaries of a nurse in World War a one. The weather does


not look like giving us the rain we so desperately need this weekend.


Is there any end in sight to this very dry spell? Join me for the


forecast later. Port Vale are now officially in


administration after a hearing at the High Court this morning. We


pretty much expected this. It is a legal formality. On Tuesday, they


made their application to move to the High Court. Let us hope that


this will be the beginning of their end of the financial troubles. In


the Premier League, Wolves are facing up a very different set of


problems. Team captain Roger Johnson turned up a bit worse for


wear for training on Monday. Tomorrow they have a real six-


pointer against relegation rivals Blackburn.


Just opposite the chippy you will find Crazy Wicks, and inside Crazy


Wicks I found Stuart Russell. He is possibly the only man in the


Midlands who shares his passion for the will sweat his passion for her


scented candles, healing crystals and dreamcatchers. That is a very


popular one at the moment. Popular with will stands? Yes. We have a


lot of greens and one of the genes is to stay end their Premier League


-- dreams. A dreamcatcher will trap all its -- or you're bad dreams in


its web and they will disappear in the sunlight. Will survive last


year by a single point in the final day of the season. -- Wolves. They


will not be cheering if the same opponents, Blackburn, achieve a


similar result tomorrow. We need to try and go out and the bold and


when the game of football. The lads are professional, this is their


home pitch and they want to win on their home pitch. Come Saturday


there will be ready to go. I will hope until the last game that


Wolves will stay in this is a -- division. If you can smell blue


coconut and white mask in the Stan Cullis Stand tomorrow that will be


Stuart Russell. If Wolves are transformed into a fire-breathing


dragon against Blackburn, that could be Stuart's dreamcatchers,


working hard to keep the club in the Premier League.


Anne's to find out if your footballing dreams come true this


weekend, you can find the action on your local radio stations.


Allsop's local swimming championship can look after lunch


and we do at -- put forward to London 2012. Ellie Simmonds became


the first person to break a world record at the newer Olympic


aquatics centre. She beat her previous best by have the second.


have had quite a bad week in my front crawl races. They were not


ones that I was happy with and I felt I could definitely swim faster.


I just cannot believe it. Even though it was only a world record,


I just cannot believe it. Elliott sentences not the only swum


her -- Ellie Simmonds is not the only scunner, Sascha Kindred also


race end of the Men's MC 50m Buttefly Final. With just over four


wants to go, boxers from the Commonwealth of Dominica are in


Wolverhampton. A new credit -- I unique relationship has been formed


between the city and they went state.


Hewlett Lucien and rowing Christopher R Dominica's fineness


middleweights. They are 4,000 miles from home having a light breakfast


in Bilston. We have been adjusting to the whole environment, but we


are looking to keep up in the common -- coming weeks. I just want


to make it to the Olympics. Andrew Pettey is helping them adjust to


life in the Black Country. His house is now their training base.


They are no trouble. They are very well house-trained. They look after


themselves. Dominica is in the Caribbean with a


population of just 75,000. A few years ago, Wolverhampton-based


boxing coach returned to his homeland and took a humble boxing


ring from the city's amateur club. It has inspired a generation of


youngsters. Hewlett Lucien and Rowain Christopher are products of


this unique relationship. We are giving them every possible


opportunity to win. The club itself has been going since 1936 and we


are applied of -- proud of a club. Not one of us get a penny.


These boxers will be in Wolverhampton until the end of


April. Then they will head to Brazil, hoping to make it to London


2012. I would like to thank her court is for giving us the


opportunity to be at the Olympics. We could not fail to miss out on


the Molineux, and time FA Premier League picture. And another treat -


and the city's brand new bus station. Sadly, that we as a we had


time for. These boxers are only really interested in one thing -


Olympic gold. It has been revealed that the


Olympic torch will pass outside Wolverhampton Boxing Club on June


30th. Thank you very much. Almost 100 years after the First World War,


a starring first-hand account of life on the front line has been


published. It has happened almost by accident. Edith Appleton nest,


injured and dying soldiers. -- and her staff. Now in association with


their Imperial War Museum, her family are able to tell her story.


For more than half a century, these diaries lay in a drawer. Now the


voice of Edith Appleton has been brought back to life. We have had


over 600 through ever hospital today, badly wounded and fearfully


collapsed. Edie, as she was known, spend the


whole of the First World War as a nurse in France and Belgium. It is


a mixture of every day horrors that she was dealing with, and then she


would be off on a picnic and writing all this in her diary,


beautifully. There are heaps of dead. English, French and Belgian


are lying all across the town. This first hand account of the work


may have remained untold until the Dick was spurred into action.


At this phone call. It said, these diaries are incredible.


When you read the diaries in detail, you know the day after the agonies


of the people that she was dealing with. It is very powerful.


Sadly, sections of the diary are missing, but what remains is


touching and very human. Pc! Thank God for that. It feels very clear


to. Perhaps she might be pleased that people were reading her


perspective on the war. Edith Appleton's diaries will be handed


to their Imperial War Museum for safe keeping and posterity.


It is bad news for all those farmers growers and perhaps the


water companies looking for some rain. This is the set up at the


moment, high pressure for the south. Although they will move around a


bit, this will be in charge of our weather for the foreseeable future.


For the next few days and beyond it will stay dry and very mild.


Certainly dry through this evening and to eight. They will be. Spot of


drizzle a crossed the moorlands. For the rest of us, some decent


spells. A very mild night to come. A fine day tomorrow, that ridge of


high pressure still in charge, which means it will be dry. The


Clyde will break up quite nicely as well. -- declared. There will be


highs of 16 Celsius. It is try again through tomorrow night.


Sunday will be dry and bright. Quite a lot of cloud initially. We


should see some sunny spells coming through. If you are heading to


Birmingham for the St Patrick's Day parade on Sunday then it should be


dry and bright. Sunday sunny spells, 14 Celsius. This is the situation


as we enter Sunday, the big red of high pressure is still in place. It


is a protective bubble. As we head into next week, that will stay with


us. If you are looking for a rainy will have to look away beyond the


middle of next week. The headlines: the Italian


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