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 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.”

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


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.”

Dementia event at Atkinson hailed “great success”

Southport Dementia Friendly. MP John Pugh joined representatives from public health, the Alzheimer’s Society, Person Shaped Support and Lib Dem councillors Pat Keith and Sue McGuire at the Atkinson yesterday when information and advice about the condition and its care will be available to members of the public and dementia carers.


John Pugh Mp pictures with Cllrs Pat Keith & Sue McGuire with representatives from Alzheimer’s Society, Southport Library, PSS, Age Concern and PSS who all supported the event

“We’re delighted to provide the venue for this very important event, one which we feel will benefit many people in Southport and Sefton generally,” said the Akinson’s community partnership manager Philip Wroe. “We’re hoping a lot of people will come along and share their experiences with us.

Latest figures show that Sefton has one of the highest percentages of adults with dementia in the UK.

Councillor Keith said: “It’s hugely encouraging that so many people from such diverse organisations realise the importance of this campaign and have willingly come on board to help. We hope to welcome representatives from Southport businesses who want to lead the way and help make day-to-day life easier for people with dementia and their carers.”

Councillor McGuire said: “This event was a great opportunity for the business community to arrange free staff training on the day. We need businesses, residents and the third sector working together to deliver Southport’s Dementia friendly initiative.”

Make Children Aware’ says councillor Pat Keith

My sex education was shrouded in myth and legend with the devil playing a starring role. Fear and superstition abounded but there was very little substance. These embarrassing monologues always ended with the same remonstration from my Mother: ‘Don’t bring shame on your family by getting yourself pregnant.’ BUT, how on earth you got yourself pregnant was never explained.

Thankfully times have changed and the past, as they say, is a foreign country. However, even in these enlightened times parents still struggle to have a conversation with their children about how to keep themselves safe from abuse.
Those of us who are parents can understand why. We don’t want to scare the wits out of our children, we struggle to find the right words and childhood is precious and fleeting and we don’t wish to mar it.

This is why I proposed a motion to Sefton Council asking them to encourage schools in Sefton to take up a service offered by the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and aimed at primary school children aged nine to eleven. This free service takes the form of an assembly and interactive workshop. The assembly covers definitions of abuse, places for children to go for help and an introduction to ChildLine. This is followed by interactive classroom-based sessions which reinforce the key messages given in the assembly.
The other initiative I wanted to draw attention to is

‘The Underwear Rule’ .

This is an NSPCC guide to help parents explain to their children, in an age appropriate manner, that no one should touch them on the parts of their body usually covered by their underwear and that they should not touch others in those areas.

It reinforces the message to children that their body belongs to them and they have the right to say NO!
Both Sue and I believe that if exploitation of children is to be prevented victims and potential victims must be given a voice. This is why we advocate giving children information and knowledge in an age appropriate manner. We want to empower children to speak out.”

The motion has been passed to the Children Schools and Families committee for further discussion in March.


Food Labelling Consultation – Have your say

I was having a conversation with a friend last week about weight loss (mine not hers!) when the discussion shifted to food labelling. The Department of Health are currently running a “Consultation on Food Labelling” to gauge how people feel food should be labelled and what those labels should include.

This makes perfect sense to me – having clear easy to understand information on the front of packs will make choosing foods easier. In addition, if all food manufacturers and retailers use the same system to show how much salt, fat, sugar and calories is in their products consumers will be able to compare the nutritional information on the food they buy. This in turn will help people, like me, improve their diets and help to control calorie intake.

So if like me you have an on-going battle about which brand or which cereal to buy now is your chance to influence what the labels of food will say in the future.

Have your say on front of pack labelling
or Read the full front-of-pack labelling consultation document

Residents take to their bikes

As Southport basked in the sun on Sunday, I was struck by the number of people I saw riding their bikes. During my two journeys from the Plough Roundabout to the Woodvale Traffic lights I counted 89 people “on their bikes” from families with small children to elegant ladies with wicker baskets. This total does not include the 15 Lycra glad cycling gods I saw eating breakfast at Macdonalds on Ocean Plaza.

Cycling is a great way to save money and keep fit. As someone who takes to her 1950’s sit up and beg bike regularly its also one of the best ways to enjoy Southport. As a local councillor when I’m on my bike I can see issues/problems and also feel far more connected to the community I represent.

I just wish that motorist took more notice and took greater care when overtaking cyclists giving us more space and time.