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Campaign aims to reduce number of teens risking their lives on train tracks

The campaign, ‘You vs. Train’, targets teenagers to show them the consequences when they make the potentially life-changing decision to ignore warnings and go onto the railway.

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Alarming new figures reveal more than a quarter of teenagers (27%) confess to behaving in a way that could endanger their life on the railway. One in 10 teenagers admitted to walking along the railway line – more than two fifths of those (42%) in the last year.

The number of young people taking risks on the railway track has gone up by almost 80 per cent in the last five years. In the last 12 months alone, seven young people under the age of 18 have lost their lives and a further 48 people have received life changing injuries.

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As a result the rail industry and the British Transport Police have launched a new campaign – called ‘You vs. Train’, which targets teenagers to make them face the serious and devastating consequences for them and their loved ones when they make the potentially life-changing decision to ignore warnings and go onto the railway, with its obvious and hidden dangers.

Shelley Parkes has urged young people to stay away from the railways after her 12-year-old daughter miraculously escaped with her life after falling onto a live rail in Lewes, East Sussex, recently.

Shelley said:

“I felt absolutely heartbroken when I heard what had happened, especially as it could have ended up a hell of a lot worse than it did.

“Please stay away from the train lines, even if your friends go near them, just stay completely clear as it’s so dangerous. The gates and fences are up for a reason.

“Thankfully we’ve still got her here, but it’s still got a knock on effect two weeks later where none of us are sleeping because of the nightmares. We’re lucky she’s still here as other people aren’t so lucky.”

Pictured: Shelley Parkes

Network Rail safety experts visited the victim’s school, King’s Academy in Ringmer, on Monday, July 17th, to raise awareness around the dangers of trespassing on the railway.

At the heart of the You vs. Train campaign is the story of Tom Hubbard – a young boy who suffered life-changing injuries in 2014 when he was electrocuted by the overhead power cables. Tom suffered third degree burns across 57 per cent of his body and he has been left to deal with the serious physical and psychological consequences ever since.

Tom explains:

“I woke up 11 days later in the burns unit at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital wrapped from head to toe in bandages, heavily medicated and unable to string a sentence together. I don’t think I knew what was real and what wasn’t. When the doctors and my mum came to speak to me a few days later, the enormity of what had happened finally hit me. They explained how lucky I was to be alive, but it was going to be a long road to recovery.

“Four years on I’m still affected by the events of that day and every time I look in the mirror I’m reminded by that one decision to go on the railway. The accident has made me more of an introvert and cautious of trying new things, often opting to stay in during the day to avoid people and wear hoodies and long-sleeved tops to hide my scars, even on hot days”

The lack of knowledge about the potential dangers seems to be why children choose the tracks as a good place to take risks, with only a third (37%) believing that the railway is extremely dangerous.

  • Just under a third (31%) don’t believe that severe burns as a result of electrocution or electrocution by the overhead wires (31%) are risks you might face if you go on the railway tracks.
  • 15 per cent think that it’s safe to walk on the railway track if you check a timetable to make sure there are no trains coming.
  • Almost a fifth (17%) think that getting a dropped/lost item (e.g. phone or football) from the railway track is relatively safe as long as you leave again straight away.

The new data also highlights some worrying seasonal peaks in the number of incidents, with the summer holidays seeing more than double the number of young risk takers, compared to the winter months.

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, explains:

“Hundreds of people each year unintentionally take on the railway and lose. This year we have already seen a record number of young people losing their life or being injured on the track.

“The railway is full of both obvious and hidden dangers. The electricity on the railway is always on and always dangerous. Trains can also travel up to 125 miles per hour, so even if a driver can see your child, they can’t stop in time and they can’t change direction. Parents – please help us keep your children safe by educating them about what they take on when they step on the track.”

A short film re-enacting Tom’s story will be launched across social media and shown in cinemas throughout the summer. Tom’s family will also feature in the campaign to show how Tom’s accident has impacted them.

BTP Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said:

“We hope that by sharing Tom’s story, young people who might have previously considered trespassing on the railways will think twice.

“We want his story to be heard – the tracks are not a playground. They’re incredibly dangerous and, as Tom’s story shows, can easily result in serious injury or worse.

“We hope the campaign will help young people to understand the risks, and help them to make the right decision and stay away from railway lines. Equally, it will also help them understand that bad decisions don’t just affect them, but they will have a deep and lasting impact on their families and friends as well. This campaign is not just for our young people but also their friends and family.”

The rail industry is also working together to roll out a new schools engagement programme, where community engagement managers from across Network Rail, British Transport Police (BTP) and Train Operating Companies will be out teaching thousands of children about railway safety. BTP officers will also be stepping-up patrols across the country.

To watch Tom’s video and find out how to keep your children safe on the railway this summer visit: www.YouVsTrain.co.uk

Watch Tom’s video below:

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Health & Wellbeing

Crawley woman among winning nurses at hospital awards

When the Queen Victoria Hospital asked its patients (past and present) to nominate staff they felt went the extra mile for them during their treatment or appointments, they were overwhelmed with the response.

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Pictured: Breast reconstruction nurse specialists Rebecca and Pam pictured receiving their award from Jo Thomas, Director of Nursing and Quality at Queen Victoria Hospital

The ask was for the hospital’s annual patient experience award, which this year generated over 50 nominations. Among the winners were Pam Golton from East Grinstead and Rebecca Spencer from Crawley – breast reconstruction nurse specialists at the hospital.

The duo received an amazing eight nominations from patients who commended Pam and Rebecca’s support during their reconstruction journey following breast cancer Queen Victoria Hospital is a leading centre for reconstructive breast surgery in the South East, performed either at the same time as a mastectomy or after all treatment has been completed. Pam and Rebecca are on hand to help patients throughout their journey and for however long their treatment takes.

Comments from the nominations included:

“All through my journey they have been amazing, going beyond the care and support I have ever experienced in any other NHS trust. They made me realise that I was normal and treated me as a friend.”

And

“they are kind, caring, good listeners, totally dedicated, professional and give you good honest advice and reassurance if you are worried about anything. Above all they just want to ensure you’re ok. I can honestly say I am so lucky to have been referred to QVH and been given Pam and Rebecca as my breast reconstruction nurse specialists. I really don’t know how I would have coped without them.”

Their win was announced on the night of the annual QVH Staff Awards by a special film one of their patients, Linda, helped create, explaining in her own words why she was driven to nominate the duo. You can watch it now on YouTube:

Commenting on their award Pam said:

“I was really thrilled to find out I had been nominated for an award and it was even more special to find out we had won. Rebecca and I are very much a team and it is lovely to be recognised for what in essence is “just doing our job”, but what a job! Helping ladies navigate what could potentially be the most emotional time of their lives is a privilege and one that we both take very seriously. Having recognition in this way encourages us to continue to strive to improve our practice and continue to make a difference to those we care for”.

Rebecca continued:

“I was so delighted we won the outstanding patient experience award, what a wonderful surprise. It is lovely to hear how we have made a difference to the lives of patients, and humbling to see how much we are appreciated. Patients are the focus of everything we do and it is so lovely to be recognised. To hear that I have helped women through a really difficult time in their lives is really rewarding and it makes me feel very proud.”

Jo Thomas, Director of Nursing and Quality at Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) explains why the awards are so important:

“We hope that every member of staff makes the experience of our patients a positive one. But we know some of our staff are extra special. Pam and Rebecca are both very deserving winners and we’d like to congratulate them both and all of our staff who were nominated – it’s a real testament to the positive impact our staff make when patients take the time to contact us.”

Queen Victoria Hospital would like to thank everyone who took time to nominate members of staff for the award and would encourage patients to continue passing on their feedback through its Patient Advice and Liaison service (PALS) by email at qvhpals@nhs.net, or its Facebook and Twitter channels.

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