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Local hospital experts support changes to fireworks packaging

Plastic surgeons at Queen Victoria Hospital are supporting a campaign calling on the government to change the packaging of fireworks in a move to help reduce the number of people sustaining injuries each year.

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A mock-up of what new firework packaging could look like. Credit to BAPRAS.

Planning on seeing the New Year in at home with fireworks? How confident are you on using them whilst keeping you, your friends and family safe?

According to figures from NHS Digital, last year in England 4,436 individuals attended accident and emergency because of an injury caused by a firework – more than double the number in 2009-2010 (2,141).

Half of those seen in hospitals between 2017-2018 were aged 18 or under and 80 per cent were male. This is despite the fact that legally you need to be aged 18 or over to buy fireworks.

A number of patients from across the South East of England injured by fireworks required reconstructive surgery from specialist surgeons at Queen Victoria Hospital, some of whom had life-changing injuries.

The hospital is a leading specialist centre for reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, helping people who have been damaged or disfigured through both accidents and disease.

A campaign created by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), of which Queen Victoria Hospital’s plastic surgeons are members, is calling for an overhaul of firework packaging in a bid to reduce the number of injuries sustained through the misuse of fireworks.

The association is suggesting the introduction of graphic images of injuries caused by fireworks to be featured on packaging.

Baljit Dheansa, consultant plastic surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital, said:

“People often forget that fireworks are effectively explosives and although they may look like toys, they can cause significant injuries requiring reconstructive surgery. We are lending our support to British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons’ campaign calling on the government to include mandatory warning notices, similar to those found on cigarette packets, on all fireworks packaging.

“We want to ensure that everyone coming into contact or buying fireworks is fully aware of the potential they have to cause harm and the implications on those around them. Ultimately, we hope this change will reduce the number of people requiring reconstructive surgery primarily to their hands or face, after incorrectly using sparklers or misusing fireworks.”

Health & Wellbeing

Don’t miss out on the Lymphoedema Awareness Workshop at Crawley Hospital

The workshop is being held in March.

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As part of Lymphoedema Awareness Week 2019, which is 3rd – 9th March, the Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre is holding a Lymphoedema Information and Education Workshop on Wednesday 6th March 2-4 p.m at
The Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre, Wentworth House, Crawley Hospital, West Green Drive, Crawley RH11 7DH.

This workshop will be led by Yvette Jordan, UK Lymphology Clinics Training Director and she will be supported by Olive Tree volunteer therapists Anna Parsons and Juliette Cross.

Affecting 1 in 5 patients, lymphoedema is a distressing condition and a known side effect of cancer treatment. It is caused because the flow of fluid within the lymphatic system has been disrupted because of surgery and having lymph nodes removed. 

This makes it harder for the lymph fluid to drain away which means that this excess fluid can then build up between the tissues and cause swelling of the arm, leg or surrounding area. 

Lymphoedema can develop weeks, months or even years after cancer treatment but early diagnosis by healthcare professionals and treatment by specialist lymphoedema therapists can help to reduce the severity of the condition.

Attendance will be of great value to anyone affected by cancer, including patients and healthcare professionals and will provide everything they need to know about lymphoedema. 

Topics covered will include:

• What is Lymphoedema?

• How does Lymphoedema happen?

• Who is most at risk?

• Recognising clinical signs of early Lymphoedema

• Best methods and early applications for a preventative approach

• Questions and answers

Yvette Jordan, who will be leading the workshop said:

“Much more awareness is needed with early intervention which is essential to help patients manage this disabling disease”.

To book your place on this informative workshop for 2-4 p.m. please call 01293 534465

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