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17.02.23 – Electronic Check in Process at UHNM, Catalytic Converter thefts in Newcastle, Flood Risk Management Survey

Written by on 16 February 2023

University Hospitals of North Midlands is the first hospital Trust in the UK to introduce a new online electronic check-in process for patients who are scheduled for surgery.

The innovative solution allows patients to check-in online three weeks before their operation and is designed to help to significantly reduce cancellations on the day of surgery which in turn will reduce delays in treatment and maximise the use of theatres at the Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital, Stafford.

A link is sent by email and text message for patients to answer questions regarding their availability and any changes in their health or medications. Any issues are picked up and resolved before the surgery.

Dr Veera Gudimetla, UHNM Consultant Anaesthetist and project lead, and Surgery Division Clinical Information Officer, said: “We have been working on surgery check-in project at UHNM for the last four years. We sincerely hope that this will improve communication between patients, clinicians and secretarial staff and result in fewer cancellations on the day of surgery.

“This will also allow secretaries to pick up cancellations well ahead of time and allocate the slots to other people waiting on the list. I am really proud to see this idea become a reality thanks to UHNM IT and Nexalus teams. We are very proud of our team achievement.”

The project is expected to run for six months and the results will be regularly reviewed to assess effectiveness.

Phil Windsor, UHNM Head of Operations – Surgical Division, said: “As we strive to reduce elective surgical waiting times for our patients post pandemic, we are acutely aware of the need for innovative and creative approaches to maximise use of our theatres. The collaborative development of this software solution is a really exciting opportunity to do exactly this while also keeping in very close communication with our patients. Early identification of intent and potential cancellations enables us to re-schedule and backfill theatre slots that could otherwise go unfilled.”

Patients who do not have access to internet and therefore not able to use it are flagged up by the system for immediate secretarial attention.


Officers from the Newcastle-under-Lyme local policing team (LPT) are urging residents and businesses to remain vigilant after a number of catalytic converters were stolen overnight.

Between the hours of 7pm on Monday and 7am the following morning, catalytic converters were stolen from several VW vans which were parked inside industrial forecourts on Lowfield Drive, Wolstanton.

We’ve since spoken to the business owners and have started making initial inquiries.

Anyone with any information, CCTV or Dashcam Footage or those who noticed anything suspicious in the area at the time are asked to get in touch through Live Chat on the Staffordshire Police Website – Home | Staffordshire Police – or by calling 101 and quoting incident 343 of 14 January.

Sergeant Caldwell, from the Newcastle-under-Lyme LPT, said: “These types of thefts can have a profound impact on businesses and residents who face costly repairs and unwarranted hassle as a result of opportunists.

“We’re keen to speak to anyone who has any information, CCTV or dashcam footage which could help us identify those responsible.

“There are also a number of ways which the public can protect their belongings in order to prevent future thefts from taking place. Where possible, vehicles should be parked in highly visible, well-lit areas with clear CCTV coverage. Off-road parking areas or secure forecourts with strong fencing and security lighting should be used whenever possible.

“It’s also possible to mark a catalytic converter with a unique reference number which can help us identify them should they be stolen. Additional locks and guards to the underside of vehicles can also be installed and can be sorted through car dealerships.

“Patrols in the area have been increased and we’re working hard to proactively target those intent on stealing the hard-earned belongings of our community.”

For further security advice, please read: Prevent theft from a vehicle | Crime Prevention | Staffordshire Police


Residents, businesses and organisations across Staffordshire are being asked to shape Staffordshire’s approach to help manage the risk of floods in the county.

Staffordshire County Council has launched a four-week consultation to gather views on is updated strategy to minimise and mitigate floods.  This will help the council to set out goals to make communities more aware, informed and prepared for flooding from sources, such as ground water, sewers and rivers in heavy rainfall.

Simon Tagg, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Change, said,  “Flooding can have devastating impacts on communities and the local economy. This revised strategy will help by setting out how we will work with partners to encourage everyone to minimise and manage the risk of flooding in Staffordshire.

“As a county council, we are particularly keen to look at more sustainable and innovative ways to manage the risk and impact of flooding and we would encourage everyone to have their say.”

The consultation closes on March 20th.

“Since 2018 there have been nine significant flood events in Staffordshire and climate change is only likely to increase the frequency and intensity of the rain we see.

“It is therefore more important than ever that we work with local communities and organisations responsible for water courses, sewers and development to minimise the risk of flooding to properties.

People can find out more about the strategy and take part in the consultation at