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Wirral private hospital reaches hygiene landmark


A private hospital has reached a landmark figure in its battle to wipe out infections.

The rigorous hygiene regime at Spire Murrayfield Hospital on the Wirral has enabled them to maintain high infection control standards with 700 consecutive infection-free days.

The latest figures show hospital acquired infections like MRSA and CDiff showed a rate of zero per cent at the 57-bed hospital, part of the Spire Group, currently Hospital Group of the Year for the second year running.

The news has been welcomed by Mark Swatton, Spire Murrayfield’s Acting Clinical Services Manager, who said: “We have a very good record in relation to infection control. The fact that we have individual rooms for patients means that more effective barriers against the transmission of infection can be created.

“We are also rigorous in our approach to traditional methods of combatting infection such as hand-washing and we even have our own cleaning teams rather than relying on contractors.

“Clearly we know about the pressures elsewhere as far as occupancy rates are concerned but we are happy that our infection control figures are very impressive.”

The hospital, which has been open for 30 years, carries out over 8,500 operations a year in three operating theatres, two of them with laminar flow clean-air systems to guard against infection.

Over 5,000 of the operations are carried out on day care patients are able to return home to convalesce.

Consultant Vascular Surgeon Mr Leith Williams, who also practices at the Countess of Chester Hospital, deals with a range of outpatient and day care operations and he said: “The hospital has a zero infections rate in its three operating theatres and the fact is that you are also far less likely to develop complications if you spend less time in hospital.

“It all helps in delivering the high quality service which our patients deserve.”

Spire Murrayfield, which employs 260 staff and a team of specialist consultants, has also invested over £1 million in its systems and equipment in the past 12 months with a new care centre costing £330,000 opened earlier this year and an £850,000 state-of-the-art MRI Scanner, the most advanced of its kind in the area, installed last year.

It is part of an upgrade to the facilities at a time when the hospital is experiencing growing demand from self-paying patients.

Ward Sister Debbie Hardwick, who is in charge of infection control, said: “We have made considerable investment in infection control with the clean air systems we have and the protocols we follow to ensure absolute cleanliness.

“Spire Healthcare are a national company with almost 40 hospitals in the group and they believe in reinvesting into their hospitals. Locally we’ve been allocated close to £500,000.

“We’re very proud of our record on hospital acquired infections. The latest outcome statistics for MRSA bacteraemia and C Diff for Spire Murrayfield showed a rate of zero per cent.

“We have a very high level of infection control at the hospital but there is no room for complacency. We are very vigilant because it’s about making sure that everything that needs to be done is done to make sure we maintain our high record.”

Acting Hospital Director Julie Watkinson said: “It’s a very important issue and when patients come into hospital it’s one of the first questions they ask.

“It used to be all about waiting lists and finance but now one of the key questions is about the infection rates within the hospital.

“It can have a really bad effect on the outcomes of surgery so it is a paramount priority is to make sure that everything is spot on.

“There has been a recent increase in the number of cases of MRSA and C Diff in the NHS so we are pleased that our rigorous attention to procedures like hand-washing and the use of our own team of cleaners is keeping them at bay here.

“Our aim at Spire is to be world class and to do that you’ve got to invest in the business to ensure the best possible treatment for our patients.”

Village Bakery clinches major Tesco deal

Catherine Bletcher from Village Bakery with Tesco-bound bread products

A growing bakery business has clinched a major deal with supermarket giant Tesco to supply their stores in South Wales.

The contract coincides with a 14-day TV advertising campaign that’s being launched by the Wrexham-based Village Bakery on ITV Wales.

Unlike a rival bakery who hired film star Sylvester Stallone for their ads, a Village Bakery loaf being baked is front and centre in their adverts which uses slo-mo to emphasise their “use of slow dough to make better bread”.

The Village Bakery already sell their bread products in 16 Tesco supermarkets in North Wales and the expansion means they will now also be available in further 27 stores in South Wales.

The Tesco deal comes on top of other contracts with the Co-op and Asda.

The Village Bakery supply 116 Co-ops and were rewarded last year with an award as their Best Local Community Supplier.

The family run firm has submitted plans to build the UK’s biggest craft bakery next to their current premises on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

If permission is granted, the 215,000 sq ft super bakery – which could accommodate three football pitches – will be built on land next to their two existing bakeries on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

Last year the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall officially opened the new £4 million Baking Academy and Innovation Centre.

Account manager Catherine Bletcher said: “These are exciting times for the Village Bakery as we have a major expansion in South Wales and the new campaign of TV adverts which is about to start.

“In Tesco, we’re going to have a range of breads, our barm cakes, a range of breads including the Welsh batch and Village sliced,  in other words our top sellers.

“We have similar lines in Asda and in the Co-op we’re selling savouries, our range of pies and pasties and also we’re in on the Meal Deal in all the stores in the Co-op.

“We’ll get some sales momentum once the Tesco customers in South Wales taste the products.

“Although we have grown considerably, we are still a family run firm of craft bakers.

“We make a loaf of bread with traditional methods and traditional values and it’s all about the time we take in letting the bread ferment.

“With our slow dough rolls and bread, we make a sponge which ferments for 18 hours before we make the bread and it just adds to the flavour. That’s the only way that you can honestly add flavour to bread.

“Sales are up and it’s all very positive. While the craft bakery market is in decline overall, we’re bucking the trend.

“I think now people realise and appreciate a really good loaf of bread and the only way we can do that is to take our time making it.

“Hopefully, that will be reflected in the TV adverts. It tries to emphasise the care and attention we take in making our bread and also emphasises the slow dough principle.

“Similarly, the Co-op appreciate locally sourced products. They like our ingredients because we use Welsh beef and Welsh lamb and also our dairy products, we source locally and have done for many years.

“The secret of success is making volume products whilst staying true to our craft baking skills and traditions.

“Our emphasis is always on making a great tasting product that can be scaled up without compromising on quality.”

Top tech company wins Conwy Business Award

Paul Levy of Livetech with the Conwy Business Award.

A pioneering tech entrepreneur who helped put a hotel on top of the world and save red squirrels on Anglesey has been named as business person of the year in Conwy.

Paul Levy, the managing director of the Livetech digital creative agency, was honoured at the prestigious Conwy Business Awards at Venue Cymru.

The accolade capped a momentous 12 months which saw the company move into new town centre offices in Llandudno, formerly the North Wales headquarters of the National Trust in Trinity Square.

According to Paul, the new premises, with 5,500 square feet of office space and two car parks, represents a major investment in the future for Livetech.

Livetech have also just been accredited as official Full Google Partners and part of an elite selection of companies that are certified by Google to manage AdWords accounts.

They are the only company in Conwy, Gwynedd, Anglesey or Denbighshire to achieve the coveted status and permitted to use the Google branding in their own marketing materials.

There are only 5,000 Full Google Partners in the whole world with three billion web users.

Paul’s CV includes being a Stress and Performance Engineer on the landing gear of several variants of the European Airbus, the A321, A330 and the A340 aircraft.

He later retrained as a teacher and taught Design Technology and IT, most of the time at Prestatyn High School but also at Ysgol Friars in Bangor and Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno.

Paul established Livetech in 2000 and the company has continued growing ever since, doing everything from web design over masses of different fields from visitor attractions to accommodation providers, online retail, construction and engineering.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be accorded this massive honour by the Conwy Business Awards, it is a fantastic reward for the hard work of all the team at Livetech who have played a blinder.

“Livetech’s mission is to make their clients successful. Our aim is to provide the digital oil that keeps the wheels of business and commerce turning.

“We have laid the foundations for further growth by investing in the company’s new office complex which is teeming with technology, including two super-fast channels.

“Putting them together creates a commercial connection beyond anything else that is available locally to small businesses.

“There are hard-wired data points throughout the building as well as robust wi-fi systems that have helped future-proof the premises.

“The wealth of experience of the Livetech team is also something that sets us apart from the competition.

“When the company started the digital industry was in its infancy and as a result we have been able to successfully surf the technology wave that has transformed the world of business and commerce.

“As a result, we have developed a talent for seeing what’s around the corner, what’s working best, what to steer our customers away from what would trip them up.

“What’s popular and being heavily marketed today isn’t necessarily going to be the best option in 12 months’ time. Inn this way, we are also future-proofing our customers.”

Paul says that providing first class customer service is at the heart of everything Livetech do.

Among the accommodation providers being helped by Livetech is a Llandudno hotel, Lauriston Court, that hit the international headlines when they were hailed by TripAdvisor in 2013 for having the best service in the world.

Livetech run Lauriston Court’s website and introduced online bookings, ensuring consistently high rankings on Google through Search Engine Optimisation. Paul Levy is proud of the part they are in Lauriston Court’s ongoing success.

Long term clients Duckworths has also snapped up awards in the past 12 months. They have been awarded a Gold Trusted Merchant status for 2015 from Feefo, a Global Feedback Engine where customers are invited to leave reviews regarding their shopping experience.

Livetech are also doing their bit to save red squirrels. They were asked by the Red Squirrels Trust Wales to create the Squirrel Location Map to keep track of the loveable ruddy rodents.

The application, which can be used on iPhone, iPad and android devices, allows people to pinpoint where they’ve spotted the native red squirrels, which faced wipe-out from Britain before a huge conservation effort was launched on Anglesey two decades ago.

Another innovative project has helped show the Houses of Parliament are full of old fossils.

Livetech created the first interactive map of fossils embedded in London’s historic buildings – including our historic seat of government in Westminster.

They teamed up with retired geologist Dave Wallis, from Colwyn Bay, who worked in the oil and gas industry, to build the ground-breaking London Pavement Geology website.

The map has revealed the Clipsham limestone used to repair the Gothic parliament building since the 1920s includes the fossils of echinoids or sea urchins dating back to the Middle Jurassic period more than 160 million years.

Paul added: “We tailor a bespoke service to meet the needs of individual clients so they can achieve their business goals – and it works.

“Our primary focus is on local SMEs, providing them with a platform to promote their businesses.

“We need a part of the building in Trinity Square, so we are offering the rest out as serviced offices to other businesses – small, medium or large.

“Our aim is to be an increasingly influential part of a vibrant community helping other businesses to thrive and prosper.”