Institute Chairman Shaughn O’Brien Bows Out

Wade Conference Centre

After three long years as chairman, Professor Shaughn O’Brien is leaving the North Staffordshire Medical Institute. The obstetrician and gynaecologist takes a moment to reflect on his time at the helm.

“It’s a lovely building for meeting and conferences,” he says. “It’s a good focus for research, a good focus for postgraduate education, it’s a good focus for the community and it’s a good focus for people people putting on meetings an conferences of a high standard.”

During two separate tenures as chairman, Prof. O’Brien has seen the Institute through some challenging times. His first, from 2002 to 2005, included the biggest shake-up in the charity’s history when the hospital trust’s Clinical Education Centre, part of Keele University’s Medical School, was built at the University Hospital of the North Midlands.

The Institute, which had been the area’s main teaching centre for postgraduate medicine, was suddenly left with less purpose and little funding.

“The medical library was moved and all the funding went with it,” says Prof. O’Brien. “In the process of that we had to really set up the Institute as a conference centre. One of the key things we achieved was to make sure we took ownership of the land rather than leasing it from the NHS – and more importantly for conferences, the whole of the parking facilities.

“We also made a lot of changes to the structure of our grants, making them pump-priming for new researchers.”

Appointed vice chairman of the Royal College of Gynaecologists (RCOG) in 2004, Prof. O’Brien stepped back from the Institute to concentrate on the role and his own research. He found himself taking the reins again in 2015, admitting: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The chairman went on to face another period of change with his trademark creativity and vision. His legacy at the Institute includes their support for the annual Firelighter Awards, organised by Keele University’s Dr Adam Farmer, which give NHS staff the chance to pitch for medical research grants in a Dragon’s Den-style competition.

He also arranged Institute funding for the ASPIRE programme at Keele University, designed to help medical students engage with academic research. The scheme is led by Professor Divya Chari and Dr Samantha Hider.

Prof. O’Brien is now behind plans to rebrand the Institute as part of a major refurbishment project. The facility will even be given a new name – as yet being kept under wraps.

He says: “We’ve had a significant donation to allow us to redevelop the Institute as North Staffordshire’s  high-profile, named conference centre. It should highlight our ability to hold conferences which are not only medical, while retaining the loyalty we’ve built up with our existing customers.”

While he hopes to remain involved with the building work, the father-of-two already knows how he will fill his semi-retirement. It will begin with his valedictory meeting at the RCOG in September.

As well as his continuing research and private practice, he plans to devote the extra hours to his artistic side.

He says: “I’ve already begun to go to sculpture school in London, I’ve got some pieces in the Medical Art Society’s Annual Exhibition at the Royal Society of Medicine in July. I also want to get back to playing the clarinet and saxophone some more.”

Prof. O’Brien has been replaced as chairman by Mr John Muir, the UK’s longest-serving NHS consultant.

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NSMI Staff Celebrate Defibrillator Fundraising Success

Wade Conference Centre

North Staffordshire Medical Institute is set to save lives after raising an incredible £1,999 to buy and install its own public defibrillator.

The emergency equipment has been mounted on the outside wall of the charity’s headquarters on Hartshill Road, Stoke, ready to be used if a member of the public has a cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of Britain’s biggest killers, causing the deaths of around 100,000 people every year.

But a victim’s chance of survival soars from just six per cent to 75 per cent if they are treated with a defibrillator within five minutes.

Shaughn O’Brien, chairman of the Institute, said: “I think this is the only defibrillator in the area and it has the potential to be of so much benefit.

“The community has raised the money for this equipment and we are very grateful to them for the success of this appeal.”

The Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) works by delivering a series of electric shocks through a casualty’s chest to help their heart rhythm return to normal.

It first automatically analyses their heart rate to make sure it can only be used when it is needed.

The state-of-the-art machine is one of 1,100 around the country supplied by Stone-based charity AED Donate.

A similar device mounted outside the Signal Radio offices on Stoke Road has been used on average once a month since it was installed.

Josh Cope, Community Fundraiser for AED Donate, said: “The idea that we want to push is that the community itself can be the fourth emergency service.

“We recently spoke to staff members at an air ambulance and they said that to get their helicopter just to take off takes three minutes. In that time you could have someone doing CPR and giving the first shock of a defib.”

Eventually, thegroup aims to make sure no-one in the UK is ever more than two minutes’ brisk walk away from a defibrillator.

Josh added: “We always aim to put a defib in high footfall areas. Believe it or not we’ve actually had a few installed at funeral parlours.

“We’ve got more than a thousand from Wales down to London and they’re all over the place, from high streets to the middle of nowhere.”

The AED has been mounted in vandal-proof, heat-regulated cabinet that opens with a security code available from the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

It is designed to be easy to use by members of the public, even without training, under guidance from 999 operators.

The device was installed after a year-long campaign to raise the funds, led by Institute manager Jacqui Robinson.

It was supported by councillor Sean Pender, Hartshill and Harpfields’ Occasions, the local Residents’ Association and the Rotary Club, as well as residents of the area.

The NSMI itself contributed the final £337.41 to the fundraising total.

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Community Fun Day to Celebrate Diversity in Stoke-on-Trent

Wade Conference Centre

Different cultures will come together to celebrate Stoke-on-Trent’s diversity at a vibrant community event.

Hartshill International, organised by Hartshill and Harpfields Occasions (HAHO), will celebrate the 50-plus nationalities of the people who live, work, study or worship in the area and the wide range of languages spoken.

Locals from all over the world will share their costumes, food and flags at the North Staffordshire Medical Institute on Saturday, May 5th from 10am to 3pm.

There will be music, singing and dancing, information stalls and craft demonstrations as well as Traidcraft toys, gifts and homewares for sale.

HAHO chair Joe Andrew said: “According to recent research, Hartshill is the most diverse area in the city. There’s something like 50 languages spoken in the area.

“It’s partly because of all the hospital and university staff living around here, but for other reasons as well.”

Maps, jigsaws and language guides will be available to buy on the bookstall, while refreshments will be provided by Bentley’s Catering.

He added: “There are all kinds of displays illustrating international life, there are stalls with food from all around the world, there are flags and games for children to play.”

Now in its fifth year, the event at the NSMI’s Hartshill Road site will be officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Councillor Ross Irving.

Programme of Events

The family fun day is just one of a packed programme of events organised by HAHO throughout the year, many of which use the Institute’s facilities.

Joe said: “We organise a series of activities on an annual schedule. The very first one was celebrating the centenary of the federation of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent.

“We also do more low-key things – we have four seasonal quizzes, we have a Christmas fair and an annual lecture.”

This year’s lecture, taking place at the Medical Institute on October 16th, will be given by Archbishop Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

HAHO was founded in 2010 with the aim of “promoting community cohesion and inclusion” and gained an official constitution in 2012.

It has received funding from local councillors Randy Conteh and Sean Pender, as well as the Big Lottery Fund.

The community group is a generous supporter of the NSMI charity, which provides grants to support pioneering medical research in the North Staffordshire area.

The NSMI has awarded more than £58,000 so far this year to fund studies into heart disease, cancer and muscle wasting in the elderly.

For more information, visit, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Anyone interested in making a bequest is asked to email manager Jacqui Robinson at

For more information on HAHO, visit or drop in to the Institute for a leaflet.

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Institute Reaches Fundraising Target for Community Defibrillator

Wade Conference Centre

NORTH Staffordshire Medical Institute is thrilled to announce it has reached its fundraising target of £1,999 for a community defibrillator.

The lifesaving machine, supplied by Stone-based charity AED Donate, will be mounted on an outside wall of the Institute’s premises in Hartshill Road, Stoke-on-Trent, for members of the public to use in an emergency.

It is due to be installed following a year-long campaign to raise the funds, led by Institute manager Jacqui Robinson.

She said: “I’m thrilled because it’s such a good cause and it’s great to see how the community have come together to help. It has been very rewarding.

“We’ve had support from AED, councillor Sean Pender, Hartshill and Harpfields’ Occasions, the local Residents Association and the Rotary Club, as well as local residents.”


The Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) will be mounted in a vandal-proof, heat-regulated cabinet that will open with a security code available from West Midlands Ambulance Service.

It is designed to be easy to use by members of the public, even without training, under guidance from 999 operators.

The equipment will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, should anyone suffer a cardiac arrest in the Institute or surrounding area.

Jacqui added: “So many people die from cardiac arrests every year – you just have to look at the statistics.

“The defibrillator will be of benefit to the whole community as well as visitors to the Institute. We would like to thank everyone for all their kind donations.”

The Medical Institute recently contributed the final £337.41 to the fundraising total.

Around 30,000 people suffer Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests in the UK each year, of which 20% take place in public places.

If a defibrillator is used and effective CPR is performed within three to five minutes of a cardiac arrest, survival chances increase from just 6% to 74%.

For more information about AED Donate, visit their website at

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