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Needle exchange denied disabled woman help for not being drug user

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A wheelchair user who needs to self-inject with anti-sickness drugs five times a day was turned away from a North East needle exchange because she was not using illegal drugs.

Philippa Donegan has incurable Ehlers-Danlos-Syndrome.

Her GP prescribes vials of the drugs she needs but the NHS won't supply the needles and syringes that she needs to inject herself.

But when she took her used needles to the Live Well Centre in Middlesbrough's Dundas Shopping Centre she was turned away.

Philippa and used syringes
Teesside Live
Philippa Donegan

Live Well Centre's needle exchange is provided by a charity called Change Grow Live.

The charity's deputy director Joy Ainsworth explained that government funding for it meant that the group could only help prevent harm to those using illegal drugs.

She added: “We do not hold equipment for people who are clinically required to inject prescribed medication. “This requires tailored advice and equipment, which sit outside of our remit as a Substance Misuse Service. “In this instance, we directed the lady back to her GP.”

A South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group explained why people with chronic illnesses are not prescribed needles and syringes.

A CCG spokesman said the decision had been made at a national level.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that while there are national and local prescribing guidelines, ultimately the decision on what doctors and nurses prescribe is based on their clinical expertise and the medical needs of their patients.

The lack of access to needles and syringes is just one of the issues that Philippa and local support group, Ehlers-Danlos Teesside, will be bringing before Middlesbrough Council’s Health Scrutiny Panel this year.

Cllr Philippa Storey, Labour councillor for Linthorpe and Health Scrutiny Panel member, said: “The fact the NHS is supplying the drugs but not the needles is absolutely ridiculous. “It’s putting patients at risk. They are prescribing something that, because they aren’t prescribing the needles, could harm people.”

Concerns over streaming of council meetings

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The live-streaming of council meetings has been called into question by councillors despite a 2014 law forcing councils to allow it.

Middlesbrough Council’s Constitution and Members’ Development Committee Agenda met on Monday to discuss the council’s recent move towards filming and live-streaming council meetings.

June’s meeting of the full Middlesbrough Council was the first ever to be live-streamed on Facebook.

Middlesbrough Mayor, Andy Preston, said it was a move towards the council being more open and transparent.

UK law protects the public’s right to film, record and live-stream all public council meetings.

But committee members considered making changes to the council’s “filming of public meetings code of conduct” due to concerns for council officers and members of the public.

North East weather: Mainly cloudy with a risk of showers

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

It will be dry this morning but it will be rather cloudy too, with only limited sunny spells.

Late it will be mainly cloudy and there will be an increasing risk of showers.

Maximum temperatures should hit 21C (70F).

Weather map
Naby Sarr

Michael Beardmore

BBC Sport

An early bath, Sol's first win and a groundsman with a festive feel are among five things you may have missed in Saturday's EFL action.

Read more

Tees youth orchestra performs at famous New York venue

The musicians of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra performed at New York's famous Carnegie Hall.

The 120 musicians were there in the orchestra's 50th anniversary year.

The orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Nowicki, performed at the famous hall following three-and-a-half years of planning and raising £65,000.

Carnegie Hall opened in 1891 and among those to have performed there are Tchaikovsky, George Gerswhin, Billie Holiday and The Beatles.

The orchestra is formed of music students from Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton as well as from the wider North East.

Dr Kate Cushing described it as a "truly magical" event.

She said: "It was an absolutely fantastic concert. Flying the flag for the North East."

Carnegie Hall
Tees Valley Youth Orchestra sign at Carnegie Hall
Tees Valley Youth Orchestra on stage at Carnegie Hall

Man charged with robbery after woman allegedly threatened

BBC Tees

A 24-year-old man has been charged with robbery following an alleged incident inside an address on Wylam Street in Middlesbrough.

Two men allegedly entered the address and stole cash from a 45-year-old woman occupant on the evening of 11 July.

The man is to due appear at Teesside Magistrates’ later.

Police inquiries are ongoing.

Steph McGovern confirm she's expecting her first child

Middlesbrough-born Steph McGovern has announced that she is expecting a child.

The BBC broadcaster has joked that her baby bump is not in fact a "pot belly".

She had previously laughed off rumours she was expecting a baby by claiming that her apparent pregnancy was just extra weight.

Steph McGovern

The Breakfast and Watchdog presenter has now confirmed that she is "with child" in a post on Twitter.

She said: "I see my news is out! Yep, I am no longer with pot belly...... I am now with child. #babyonboard."

The post followed rumours in the press that the presenter was expecting a child.

News was greeted with joy online from fans of the the presenter, and her own fandom was also recognised.

The social media account of Middlesbrough FC, posted a message of congratulations to the team's famous supporter, saying "Congrats, Steph!".

North East well represented in England's Cricket World Cup champions team

The North East is well represented in the England men's Cricket World Cup winning squad.

Man of the match Ben Stokes plays for Durham alongside bowler Mark Wood, who was born in Ashington, Northumberland.

Bowler Liam Plunkett, who took three wickets during the victory over New Zealand was born in Middlesbrough.

You can read about the full team here.

Here's a video Durham Cricket Club tweeted of their players' reaction to England's victory.

View more on twitter