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rain from the east. That's all from the BBC News
Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: A reprieve
for 24`hour A services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, but
children's and maternity services look set to be downgraded.
I am pleased with the recommendation on A and that we will keep
consultants on site. I'll be asking the man leading the
campaign to save services at the Alex, where do they go from here?
Also tonight: West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka faces charges from
the FA over this alleged anti`Semitic salute.
We get the fans' view. When is a pothole not a pothole?
We're out on the road with the man who decides.
From Wolverhampton to the West End ` singer Beverly Knight makes her big
stage debut. Thrilled initially, just totally thrilled and then the
fear set in. I was like, great! Great.
And after a misty, murky start today, things are looking a little
clearer for the rest of the week, but the rain is back. For how long?
I'll tell you later. Good evening. Health campaigners
who've spent 18 months fighting to save their hospital's accident and
emergency department are tonight a major step closer to victory. But
under new proposals announced this afternoon by an independent health
panel, maternity and children's services in Redditch are likely to
be downgraded. Here's our health correspondent Michele Paduano.
Playgroup on a cold Tuesday in January but it shows how complex
changing hospital care is. Amelia was born without a thyroid gland and
spends considerable time in hospital. She was on the ward and
under their care for 12 days. Without that she could have
permanent development issues. She could even have brain damage so it
was important she was treated as quickly as she was. I would not have
had time to go to Worcester. These staff at the Alex were fantastic. In
future, Jack's mum would have to be transferred to Worcester. The review
panel also said 1200 of the sickest children would be moved. The
reception we have received from the leaders of the organisations have
been supportive of the recommendations we have made. It has
been a long drawn`out process. In June 2012, the trust 's first
floated concentrating health services on one side. In May, a
takeover bid was put forward. In July, NHS England appointed an
independent panel to sort it out. I am pleased with the recommendation
on A and the fact we will keep consultants on site. That was
something the sea CGE fought for. We are pleased that has happened. If a
patient needs emergency surgery they would likely be brought to Worcester
or brought here. There is a recommendation that the A
department in West has to be made larger.
Let's go live to Redditch and save the Alex campaigner Neil Stote. Your
reaction to today's recommendations? We are pleased we will retain A
with consultants. That was something we were told would not be achieved
back in 2012. Obviously, concerns about overnight paediatrics and
maternity and we need to study the report in detail to understand why
recommendations have been made. What impact will it have on the people of
Redditch? From a paediatric overnight point of view, there will
be one ` two transfers the day to a specialist hospital and as a parent
myself, if your child is that ill, you would want the best care. The
bigger numbers are consultant led maternity and one of the things we
have called for is for capacity to be in the system before changes
happen. The report has recognised that. We need to look at why... Your
website does acknowledge that the hospital trust has a ?50 million
deficit. This is a minimum spec, a blueprint for services and if
Worcester acute hospitals trust cannot afford delivery, let's find
someone who can. This is from a panel of top clinicians. It is not
for the trust to dumb it down because they do not have the money.
Coming up later in the programme: Famed for its foundries, furnaces
and faggots and peas ` the Black Country now has a flag, but where
exactly is it? Four families have been contacted to
say their babies' organs have been kept without their permission for
the last 15 years. Lawyers acting for one family are now demanding a
public inquiry to get answers about why the children's organs were taken
without consent. We can join our reporter Joanne Writtle in
Birmingham City Centre. Joanne, what more do we know? We know that for
families have been visited in Birmingham from environmental health
officers. In one case, one mother was told that a number of her baby
son's organs were removed by a pathologist and they had been stored
at Birmingham central mortuary. In that case, her little boy died when
he was barely three months old. He died of cot death and as is usual in
these cases, the coroner was informed, he instructed a
pathologist to carry out a postmortem. What they have not been
told is why those organs had been removed, under whose request
authority and why they were not returned to the family when the
coroner 's inquest had been closed. Has the mother in this case given
her reaction? She says she is stunned. This is my son, she said,
and she is determined to get to the bottom of what happened. Many people
will remember the Alder Hey scandal from a few years ago when patients
organs were retained without family consent. In this case the baby boy
died a year before the Alder Hey scandal became public. What has
Birmingham City Council said? They are liaising with the families
involved and say they can decide what they want doing with their
babies bodies. Lots of unanswered questions in the case we were
talking about. One mother still does know which of her baby's organs were
removed and it is a cause of great distress.
Police in St Lucia are still questioning three men about the
death of 62`year`old Roger Pratt, who was killed defending his wife
from robbers. A postmortem examination has found that the
yachtsman from Warwickshire was hit and then fell, or was pushed into
the sea where he drowned. Today, his wife Margaret told a St Lucian
government news service that before her husband's death, they found the
island extremely friendly. We have enjoyed St Lucia, we have not felt
unsafe until the events of those final tragic minutes. We have had
considerable kindness from very many people. That kindness is continuing
during the period of the investigation.
A 33`year`old man has been arrested after armed police shot dead a dog
in Birmingham. Richmond Road in Bearwood was sealed off after two
pit bull`type dogs were spotted last night. One dog was shot dead amid
concerns over public safety, while the other was taken to the force dog
unit after being found in a garden. We heard about a gunshot, still the
dogs were barking and then a final gunshot and then it was silent. It
is quite upsetting because I am an animal lover and those dogs were
very friendly, very obedient. The West Bromwich Albion striker
Nicolas Anelka is facing a minimum five game ban. He's been charged by
the Football Association of an aggravated breach of its rules by
making what appeared to be a "quenelle" gesture. Anelka made the
sign, which many view as an anti`Semitic gesture reminiscent of
the Nazi salute, after scoring at West Ham last month. Our sports
reporter Ian Winter is in the BBC WM radio studios for tonight's football
phone`in. What is the reaction? The lines are hot on the phone into
night. Albion supporters have a lot to talk about. The guest is the
format West Brom favourite Richard stickers and we will pop inside to
gauge the mood of fans. Last night I was at the hawthorns to judge if the
Nicolas Anelka controversy would overshadow Pepe Mel's first game in
charge. On a cold night at the Hawthorns.
Nicolas Anelka warmed up for the battle ahead ` his future still very
much in limbo. For 75 minutes, his mind was fully focused on events on
the pitch. By nine o'clock this morning, he'd been charged by the FA
following his controversial gesture last month. Having received a
34`page document outlining the allegations against him. Nicolas
Anelka has until Thursday evening to respond to the charge. If found
guilty he could face a lengthy ban. Will he be well advised to
apologise? He will try to explain the meaning of this was. IM guessing
it was not anti`Semitic and he will say this was a gesture of defiance
and he was showing support for a friend. Nicolas Anelka is a very
good player, a good professional and I am only head coach. Last night
Pepe Mel was given a warm reception by the home fans and he responded in
similar fashion. Four minutes before the break, his team fell behind
before a well worked Everton goal. With 15 minutes left, Albion were
level. Thanks to a fine cross by man of the match James Morrison, and a
firm header from Diego Lugano. Throughout the match, Pepe had
prowled up and down, pointed here and there. And finally, he praised
his new team for their hard work on his debut. Marks out of ten? Eight.
Much more exciting to watch. Seven. Nine out of ten. Eight or nine.
Heroes toying with the rest of the crowd. Nicolas Anelka left last
night knowing he faces a minimum five match ban if the charges are
upheld. You are now live on BBC Midlands Today. What has been the
mood of supporters? Mixed views. We had one found that says that Nicolas
Anelka has served it is an antiestablishment gesture and he
would want him to take it through to the High Court. Otherwise, he would
not be convinced it was antiestablishment. Some fans
supporting him, some saying he should take his punishment.
One other football line tonight and Graham Turner has quit as manager of
League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town. The 66`year`old has called
time on his second spell at the club with the Shrews a point above the
relegation zone. He said today it's very sad decision. The football
phone in continues here. Where exactly is the Black Country?
A simple question or so you'd think. But for years a fierce debate has
been taking place over its precise location in the West Midlands. Not
even this map from the Black Country Living Museum has settled the
argument, as plans were announced to mark Black Country Day. We've had a
huge response to this map on our Facebook page, including this
message from Bill Hollingshead, who's clearly not a fan of maps. He
says: "The Black Country is defined by the way people feel and speak.
So the only certainty seems to be that a special day to celebrate the
region will be held in July. And Dudley was today named capital city
of the Black Country. Live now to Sarah Falkland in Dudley. Sarah, you
are definitely in the Black Country then? Most definitely. But here we
are, you could be mistaken to thinking you are not in the Black
Country because this building and it opened last Tuesday. 800 years of
Black Country history. The launch of the new Black Country flag.
The Black Country, a place west of Birmingham, home to more than a
million people. The Black Country is about the people. We are genuine,
honest and hard`working. Thanks to this schoolgirl they have their road
flag. The Black Country was described as black by day and read
by night and that is why I have done part of it black and part red. The
glass cone in the middle to show all the manufacturing and industry in
the area. We were the core the industry. But it is our accent and
people put you down. The famous dialect aside, July 14 will see the
dawn of the first`ever Black Country day. The Black Country culture is
not celebrated enough. Wales has their dragon, Scotland has a
referendum and we need to proclaim what England is about and the Black
Country is at the centre. You will have heard about its canals, have
the first steam engine was invented here and there is strong IM
production industry. `` are you. 20% was produced here. But today,
somewhere it is a place you can find a casino next to a mosque. What does
it mean to you, the Black Country? Everything, I was born and bred
here. It was where I was brought up. Another man for whom the Black
Country is very special, Doctor Brian Dakin. What do you think is
the essence of Black Country this macro to use a line out of a lyric,
it is strong guns and a warm heart. Hands and heart. Which encompasses
the industry and the generosity of the people. What about the future?
Where is it going? It continues to evolve so it will always be here and
just embrace whatever comes into it. What do you think about the Black
Country day? Busting! It is fantastic, it is a day for us to
celebrate. People are contacting myself about festivals and getting
involved in that, so it will be a wonderful way for people just to
know how proud they of region. And you have written a poem for it? Yes.
The day is the 14th. Our top story tonight: A reprieve
for 24`hour A services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, but
children's and maternity services will be downgraded.
Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly from Rebecca.
Also in tonight's programme: how running a mile for Sport Relief is
helping budding DJs in Coventry. And Wolverhampton singer Beverley
Knight on her first West End stage role.
Last week, we had a huge response from you to our report on the
scourge of motorists across the region ` potholes. We wanted to know
what councils are doing to tackle the problem. Ben Sidwell has been to
meet a man who you could say is Mr Pothole.
Meet Staffordshire 's Mr pothole. This is a severe pothole outside of
a school. We need to make this saving 24`hour. `` safe in 24 hours.
As a senior Highway inspector, what Will Painter doesn't know about
potholes probably isn't worth knowing. This is a rural road. We
will be checking this annually. There is water running down the edge
of the carriageway. In Staffordshire they are repairing around 400
potholes a week. Last year the council added half ?1 million
meaning that more than 13,000 of them were fixed. But in these times
of cuts, even the road maintenance budget is being squeezed. We are a
council and have to make sure all vivant of all people are looked
after as well as the roads. At this garage in blocks which they are
seeing first`hand the effect potholes can have. If you look here,
the core Spring is sticking out. This driver's repair will be around
?200 but some are running into the thousands. Your macro when I first
started 20 years ago, we never had any course brings broken. We are
seeing more of these, probably 10`15 a week. Back in Staffordshire and as
quickly as crews are filling them, yet more potholes are being found.
We have a team working here. We need to make this safe. The battle
against potholes goes on. Sport Relief returns to our screens
in March, with fundraisers being urged to run, swim or cycle at the
Sport Relief Games. Community groups across the West Midlands hope to
benefit from the special weekend of events ` groups like a local radio
station in Coventry. Here's Louise Brierley.
Set in one of Coventry 's most deprived areas, this community radio
station is giving its volunteer DJs skills. Where I come from thereon
not many opportunities and I got here and got to do what I love. I
get to help out other kids as well who come in on a weekly basis. The
line`up reflects the diverse community of Hill Fields, one of its
older DJs has a big Irish fan base. Coventry is like a melting pot. It
is a community radio station so we try to get as much out to the
communities that we can. Like many projects, without donations from
charities like Sport Relief it would not exist. In 2012, the West
Midlands raised over ?1 million which has helped to fund 360
projects across the region. All the funding we get enables us to reach
out to the community and that is important, so we reach the community
in so different ways and funding is allowing us to do that. It doesn't
matter where you have come from, it is a welcoming place to be. A family
that has been brought together thanks to money raised by you.
Wolverhampton's Beverley Knight has been starring in her debut stage
role in The West End. For an award`winning soul singer what has
it been like making the move from singing to acting? Our Arts Reporter
Satnam Rana has been finding out. From Wolverhampton to the West End.
Beverley Knight is wowing audiences in her first role on stage in The
Bodyguard. I was thrilled initially, just totally thrilled and then the
fear set in. I was like, great! Great. I thought I have now got to
actually extend myself beyond what I have been doing. The show is based
on the film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. It sees Beverly
singing big numbers in big costumes. It is a big dress so it is a big
number, I will always love you. Right at the end of the show. It
weighs a tonne. I was always a fan of Whitney Houston. Beverly was
awarded an MBE for her work in 2007 and has sold over a million albums
in the UK but the last time she acted, it was on a school stage.
Little did I know that all those years ago that very rudimentary
training would help me out. A bit of your Wolverhampton experience to the
West End. Exactly! What have the critics made of her debut? Her
talent and her talent alone is making people come to the theatre.
There are only a handful of singers that can do these songs and Beverly
is one of them. I would relish the opportunity to do another acting
role on stage certainly, and if I work really hard and if anyone
thinks I am good enough, maybe I make the transition to the screen.
But who knows, we will see. In the next few hours, audiences will be
coming through the doors here to see Beverly and she has been a hit
amongst them. She has agreed to extend her run by three months until
the end of May. We have had that tricky combination for a forecaster,
Frost and fog. Will they get the same tonight?
Hopefully not but we have got rain so I do not know which is worst. It
has been a 40 few days and Matthew managed to get this picture of the
Broadway in the Cotswolds. A beautiful for the scene. It will
look damper tonight. Do keep your pictures coming in. You can see our
full selection on our Facebook page. It changes tonight because of this
band of rain. We will feel the full effects through the next few hours.
Rain moving through the region. Over tonight it will get more heavy, more
persistent and we could see heavy downpours to calm before it starts
to clear away to the east and behind that, we will get clear skies. Under
those clear skies, temperatures will fall away. We could see mist and fog
patches developing tomorrow morning. Temperatures managing to
stay above freezing. Tomorrow is a day of sunshine and showers. The sun
will help to burn through any mist and fog patches and it will be a
pleasant day with a lighter winds. Temperatures between seven and nine
Celsius. Showers continue to rattle through as we head through the
evening and then it is another clear night. Temperatures will fall but it
is not long before we see the next weather system working its way in.
Temperatures still dropping down to close to freezing. Thursday we seem
to get through one weather front and another one starts to move through.
Squally conditions on this band of rain. Not a pleasant day on Thursday
and more rain in the forecast for Friday.
Tonight's headlines from the BBC: On the eve of the biggest diplomatic
effort to end the Syrian conflict ` shocking pictures of torture by
government forces. A reprieve for 24`hour A services at the
Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, but children's and maternity services
will be downgraded. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be
back with more on the future of the Alexandra Hospital at ten o'clock.
Have a great evening. Goodbye.