Council support Lib Dem motion to safeguard Southport A&E

Councillors Sue McGuire , David Pulline, Lynne Thompson, JOhn Dodd & Tony Dawson are leading the campaign to retain full A&E services at Southport Hospital

Councillors Sue McGuire , David Pullin, Lynne Thompson, John Dodd & Tony Dawson are leading the campaign to retain full A&E services at Southport Hospital

Last Thursday (17th November), in Southport Town Hall, councillors supported a motion from local Lib Dem councillors who hope to bring the Council and residents to together to work to retain this vital local service. In the controversial ‘NHS Sustainability & Transformation Programme’ (STP) Southport’s A&E Department has been threatened with being downgraded rather than the current 24 hour coverage.

The campaign to retain the A&E service in Southport is being spearheaded by Southport Liberal Democrat councillors and John Pugh MP, who has a debate on the matter in Parliament next week – but local elected representative are seeking involvement from all sections of the community.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Sefton, Councillor Sue McGuire who proposed the motion at the Council meeting on Thursday said

“I’m delighted that the overwhelming majority of councillors supported our motion, with just the small Conservative Group voting against. Sefton Council now needs to work to ensure that residents are informed of the proposals which are likely to have a big impact on their local heath services. The Sustainability & Transformation Programme is an attempt to disguise cutbacks in the NHS which is being presented as if it were simply a ‘re-jig’ of services.

“The decisions and plans have been made behind closed doors with no input from patients, residents or local healthcare professionals. These proposals will impact on the health and wellbeing of all our communities. They now need to be discussed honestly in the open with input and discussion from the people who will be affected.”

The secret plans for Southport & Ormskirk Hospital only came to light because the plans for Cheshire & Merseyside STP were leaked to the Liverpool Echo.

Councillor Tony Dawson, spokesperson on Health and Adult Care for the Lib Team team, says:

“The plans that I have seen clearly show a possible downgrading in A&E service at Southport. The people of Southport, Formby and West Lancashire must all work together to send a clear message to Health Chiefs that this is not an option for our town.”

 

Efforts to save A & E Services at Southport Hospital are stepped up this week

Campaigners to save Accident & Emergency Services at Southport Hospital are stepping up their efforts this week.  Petitions are available on-line  at  www.southportsays.co.uk  and www.westlancssays.co.uk  and many hundreds have been collected in the first few days.  Petitions are also being collected in the streets and in shops and workplaces.

On Thursday evening, in Southport Town Hall, councillors will be debating a motion from local Lib Dem councillors who hope to bring the Council and residents to work together to retain this vital service in Southport. The service has been threatened in secret plans by health bosses which have been ‘leaked’ recently. These plans are called the ‘Cheshire & Merseyside NHS Sustainability & Transformation Programme’ (the STP).

The campaign to retain the A&E service in Southport is being spearheaded by John Pugh MP and Southport Liberal Democrat councillors but these elected representative are seeking involvement from all sections of the community.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Sefton, Councillor Sue McGuire who is proposing the motion at the Council meeting on Thursday says:

“The Sustainability & Transformation programme is an attempt to disguise cutbacks in the NHS which is being presented as if it were simply a reconfiguration of services.

“The decisions and plans have been made behind closed doors with no input from patients, residents or healthcare professionals. These proposals will impact on the health and wellbeing of all our communities and, at the very least ,should be made in the open with input and discussion from the people who will be affected.”

The secret plans for Southport & Ormskirk Hospital only came to light because the plans for Cheshire & Merseyside STP were leaked to the Liverpool Echo.

Councillor Tony Dawson, spokesperson on Health and Adult Care for the Lib Team team, says:

“The plans that I have seen clearly show a possible downgrading in A&E service at Southport. The people of Southport, Formby and West Lancashire must all work together to send a clear message to Health Chiefs that this is not an option for our town.”

The full motion is as follows:

“That this Council deplores:

  1. the severe threat to local NHS Services created by the draft ‘Merseyside and Cheshire Sustainability and Transformation Programme’ (STP) which has been developed in secret to cope with the effects of cutbacks in real terms NHS spending imposed by the government;
  1. in particular, threats posed in the published plans to NHS services presently provided within Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, especially its A&E service; within the Aintree Hospital Trust and in respect of Mental Health Services across the Borough; and
  1. the fact that this STP plan, addressing a £900 million ‘black hole’ in NHS finance across Merseyside and Cheshire over the next five years, has been ‘worked up’ in private with no input into the process from any democratic representatives.

This Council notes:

  1. that these proposals come at a time when the cash available for Local Authority-delivered care has also been under a substantial reduction and would be placed under unacceptable pressure by further cuts in NHS services.
  1. recent denials which have been issued following the public ‘leaking’ of these plans but also that these denials have not included any explanation of where else the money would come from; and
  1. the all-Party NHS Parliamentary Committee, chaired by Dr Sarah Woolaston, has drawn attention to the factual deficiencies in government statements about future funding of the NHS.

This Council resolves:

  1. to publicise the Cheshire and Merseyside Sustainability and Transformation Programme Plan and to inform the people of the Borough of Sefton of the effects which the changes proposed therein are likely to have on the health and social services provision provided to the local population; and
  1. to notify the Merseyside and Cheshire NHS Sustainability and Transformation Programme lead and the Secretary of State for Health of its opposition to any programme of cutbacks locally and nationally in the NHS created to meet underfunding by the Conservative Government.”

Cllr Sue McGuire says “Every year I promise my father I will never forget”

My thoughts when I stand at the Cenotaph

I doubt there is anyone who is not moved by Remembrance Day and there are few who don’t know someone or have a family member who has fought over the past century for our country.

Both of my grandfathers served in WW1 and my paternal grandfather was actually left for dead by the British army in no-mans land. He was picked up by the Germans who treated his injuries and held him as a prisoner of war.

Or the case of my father who signed up at the age of 20 in 1940 to fight against Nazi Germany – VE day was announced on his 25 birthday – over the 5 years he served he fought in North Africa, was part of the invasion force into Italy and was in the second group of soldiers to enter Belsen. He saw his childhood friend shot at his side and didn’t get home for nearly 2 years.

But despite everything he experienced and the suffering he saw, he would not talk about his time in the army or the war. He never watched a war film saying that to him they glorified something that should never be celebrated.

The 5 years he served left a lasting scar on his soul which time did not heal. When I stand at the Cenotaph I feel very privileged and use the time to remember both my grandfathers, my dad and all other servicemen and women to whom we owe so much.

Every year I feel humbled and thankful and every year I promise my father that I will never forget.

Cllr Sue McGuire urges residents to sign petition to save Southport A&E

Cllr Sue McGuire & John Pugh MP following hospital visit

Cllr Sue McGuire & John Pugh MP raise concerns about the future of Southport A&E

“Secret plans to downgrade A&E facilities in the Merseyside and Cheshire Region have been hastily withdrawn by NHS bosses but that does not mean they are forgotten or won’t happen. In the plans Southport A&E was to be downgraded despite being heavily in demand. Critical emergencies might have to go to Whiston or further. The plans demanded by the Conservative government are called “Sustainability and Transformation Plans”

M.P. John Pugh believes that the threat has not gone away and is urging all Southport residents to register their opposition online at www.southportsays.co.uk and West Lancs residents at www.westlancssays.co.uk.

“Fear of a public backlash is the only thing stopping NHS insiders proceeding with this plans” , says the MP ,” and we must show the measure of the opposition to these proposals which are fundamentally dangerous and desperate. Its all about saving money by reducing critical services.”

 Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Sue McGuire added “This is the second time a plan has been hatched to downgrade Southport A&E, lacking a permanent Chief Executive there is no-one but the public and the staff to fight its corner. “
Councillor Sue McGuire added “Its vital that we send a clear message to NHS chiefs that downgrading Southport A&E is not an option.”

Rubbish Friends celebrate a job well done at West Lancs Yacht Club

Rubbish Friends celebrate a job well done

Rubbish Friends celebrate a job well done

Rubbish Friends had a great morning cleaning up the area around West Lancs Yacht Club and the sand dunes around the Marine Lake including the inlet.

Over 20 bags of rubbish were collected which Rubbish Friends hope will make a huge difference to the area.

Volunteers again raised concerns about the amount of litter from the fast food restaurants in the area.

Councillor Sue McGuire has agreed to raise the issue with the restaurants to see if they can extend their current litter picking operations to include a wider area around the sea front.

Councillor Pat Keith added “A huge thank you to the volunteers who continue to work so hard to make Southport a litter free zone”

Lib Dems are calling all cake lovers to their Macmillan Coffee Morning

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Southport Liberal Democrats are calling all cake lovers to join John Pugh MP at their Macmillan Coffee Morning on Saturday, October 1, 10.30 – 12pm at St Patricks church, Marshside Road, Southport.

All donations of cakes very much appreciated and if you can’t bake cakes please come along and eat some in aid of this great cause.

Councillor Sue McGuire, who lost her own brother to cancer says

“Macmillan were there when my brother and family needed them and that’s why I am delighted to be doing my bit to support this fantastic charity”

Councillor Pat Keith added

“Cake certainly tastes better together so please join us and helps make it a great success.”

Sefton Borough – Review of bus network – commercial and subsidised

This is a vital issue for bus users as it could lead to changes in the bus network across Southport. Those with an interest in local bus services need to ensure that their voice is heard. The rest of this posting is taken directly from Merseytravel’s briefing note. Please read on:-

MerseytravelLogo

 

Merseytravel Briefing Note:

Sefton Bus Network Review

We are currently undertaking a phased approach in reviewing the bus network across the Liverpool City Region. The next area to be reviewed is Sefton, following work in Kirkby and St Helens earlier this year.

A key aim of the work, and that of the Bus Alliance (a formal partnership with operators Arriva and Stagecoach), is to create a simpler and clearer, and where possible, more direct network to help encourage people on board, driving more investment for bus services.

Historically bus routes have been considered on a piecemeal basis and the idea is to consider the commercial network and the supported network – that which relies on public subsidy via Merseytravel – as a whole for the first time, to ensure it best reflects current working and living patterns and new developments and how they are served.

As part of the reviews we are looking at how working in partnership can help us make efficiency savings – ensuring that increasingly limited resources for supported bus services are focused where there is most need.

We are working innovatively at a time when other areas across the country, due to budget pressures, are looking to significantly reduce or even remove their supported bus services, leaving some communities without services altogether.

As part of this review, we are looking for people to tell us how they use the bus network in the area, particularly any supported bus service.

A series of drop-in events are being held, starting next week, where members of the public will have the opportunity to speak to representatives from Merseytravel about bus services across the area. Previous events in Kirkby and St Helens provided useful feedback which helped to inform the changes to the bus network.

There will be six drop-in events taking place across the Sefton borough and in Liverpool over the next few weeks:

• Monday 26th September, 10am – 3pm – Maghull Central Square
• Tuesday 27th September, 10am – 3pm – Crosby Village
• Thursday 29th September, 10am – 3pm – Marian Square, Netherton
• Friday 30th September, 10am – 3pm – Chapel Street, Southport
• Monday 3rd October, 9am – 5pm – Bootle Strand
• Wednesday 5th October, 9am – 5pm – Williamson Square, Liverpool

There will also be an opportunity to provide feedback on bus services in Sefton via an online survey on the bus review pages on the Merseytravel website at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/busreview

With help from the feedback received from these events and via the Merseytravel website, proposed changes to the network will be drafted and an additional drop-in event and online consultation scheduled to give the public an opportunity to comment on them, details of which will be published on the Merseytravel website.

As in other areas where we’ve already undertaken these reviews, it is anticipated that we will work with the operators to extend or re-route some commercial services (i.e. those without public subsidy) to cover areas previously served by publicly supported services.

To make the network easier to understand we are also planning for services on the same routes to operate under the same number whatever the time of day where possible.

While there will be some changes to how people make their journeys as a result of the review, there is opportunity to make the network better reflect demand. Reviews in Kirkby and St Helens have seen improved services to key areas of employment, education and leisure.

We will be working with all operators, to endeavour that passengers will have alternative provision available within their area if a service is removed or changed. Any changes will come into effect in January 2017.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jeanette Townson, Bus Development Manager on email at comments@merseytravel.gov.uk

Thanks to Cllr. John Dodd for the lead to this story.

Councillor Sue McGuire raises concerns on Southport Hospital A&E survey results

Cllr Sue McGuire & John Pugh MP following hospital visit

Cllr Sue McGuire & John Pugh MP following hospital visit

At a recent Health & Adult Social Care Committee meeting Southport & Formby CCG presented a report comparing expected targets for a range of Health Services available in Southport including those provided by Southport & Ormskirk Hospital.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Councillor Sue McGuire who is a member of the Health & Adult Social Care Committee said “It is pleasing to see that a number of services provided by Southport & Ormskirk Hospital exceed the targets set. It is particularly good news in the treatment of cancer, were the service significantly surpasses its various goals.

Councillor Sue McGuire added “However, there are some services that fall far short of the national average. I am primarily concerned with the responses from the ‘Friends & Family’ survey for both inpatient and A& E visits for Southport Hospital. The most startling figure was that 17% of those who responded to the survey said that they would not recommend the Accident & Emergency department at Southport Hospital to others. This figure is way above the national average figure of 7%.

“This does not paint a very good picture for our local hospital especially at a time when increasing financial conditions are putting more pressure on our already stretched services. I will be raising these concerns with both the hospital and the Clinical Commissioning Group at their “Big Chat” event next week.

Councillor McGuire added “I would encourage anybody interested in the current state of our health services in Southport to attend this “Big Chat” event to give their views and experiences.”

The “Big Chat” event is being held on 27th September from 1.00 p.m. at Christ Church, Lord Street, Southport.

Councillor Sue McGuire argues “Council Parking policy needs to be reviewed”

Cllr Sue McGuire inspects one of the new parking machines

Cllr Sue McGuire inspects one of the new parking machines

Residents and visitors to Southport are being penalised for an outdated parking policy which takes no account of the new modern technology now available at parking meters.

The Council have invested in new parking machines which now allow motorists to pay for parking using their bank card but Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Sue McGuire has raised concerns that the policy regarding parking tickets needs to be reviewed and updated.

Councillor McGuire said

“I understand the current Council policy that it is the motorists’ responsibility to ensure that a valid parking ticket is displayed at all times whilst the vehicle is parked. But what concerns me, is when a motorist appeals a parking fine for non-display and is able to provide evidence that a parking ticket was purchased by card, Sefton Council still insist on payment of the fine.  This is grossly unfair – surely if you can show a receipt for payment, that should be enough for the fine to be withdrawn”.

Councillor McGuire added,

“The law says that, ‘An authority has a discretionary power to cancel a PCN at any point and that authorities have a duty to act fairly and proportionately’. In the situation outlined, the law seems pretty clear, proof of purchase has been provided and I don’t understand how it can be deemed ‘fair’ to penalise a person who paid to park”

Councillor Mike Booth has also raised similar concerns about fines being issued when parking tickets are not displayed.

Councillor Booth explained,

“Most places in the UK now provide tickets which have an adhesive strip that allows them to be fixed to the windscreen.  Why, when the Council were investing so much in new machines, was this option not considered?”

Councillor Booth added

“I have asked Sefton Council to explain their decision and have been given a range of reasons including hot weather and condensation – but if most other places can manage, why can’t Sefton?  It would save a huge amount of stress for motorists who are sometimes being penalised for a draft of wind.”

 

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Additional information:

Advice of the DfT and the Secretary of State.

Paragraph 85 from the Secretary of State’s Statutory Guidance to Local Authorities advises;

85. An authority has a discretionary power to cancel a PCN at any point throughout the CPE process. It can do this even when an undoubted
contravention has occurred if the authority deems it to be appropriate in the circumstances of the case. Under general principles of public law, authorities
have a duty to act fairly and proportionately and are encouraged to exercise discretion sensibly and reasonably and with due regard to the public interest

This statutory guidance is given legal authority by section 87 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 whereby statute instructs that the council must have regard to this guidance. Any failure to have regard to this guidance is a procedural impropriety as defined by regulation 4(5) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007;

4(5) In these Regulations “procedural impropriety” means a failure by the enforcement authority to observe any requirement imposed on it by the 2004 Act, by the General Regulations or by these Regulations in relation to the imposition or recovery of a penalty charge or other sum and includes in particular

Rubbish Friends out whatever the weather!!

Rubbish Friends were out again on Saturday 3rd September despite the weather. The team of intrepid volunteers donned waterproofs to clean up the Sand Dunes around the west side of the Marine Lake.

Councillor Sue McGuire, co-founder of Rubbish Friends said

“Rubbish Friends try to time their clean ups to coincide with social events happening in Southport to put an extra sparkle in our town for visitors and residents alike. This time we are tackling the sand dunes and area around the West Lancs Yacht Club in time for both the Air Show and the 24 hour Yacht Race.”

Southport resident and long standing Rubbish Friend Doug Southern said

“I’m really proud of our team of litter pickers who have been turning out every six weeks since 2012 to clean up grot spots across Southport. They are a great group of people who voluntarily give their time and effort and do a great job for Southport.

Doug Southern added

“I would encourage more people to get involved. There is a real sense of pride and community spirit when we see the amount of litter we collect and the positive impact we make on the areas we tackle. Everyone is very welcome to come along. The more volunteers, the more litter collected, the tidier we can all make Southport.