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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 188

Date:- 19 February 2005

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The fight against benefit fraud continues

A WOMAN who falsely claimed £11.494 in benefits from the Council and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been sentenced to 160-hours Community Service and ordered to pay back the overpayment and costs.

Victoria Egan, 23 of Lock Villas, Latchford, pleaded guilty to the offences on Tuesday 25 January and was sentenced at Warrington Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 15 February. She claimed the money by declaring she was a lone parent when in fact she was living with her partner. Between June 2002 and August 2003, Egan defrauded the Council of £5,406.39 in Housing Benefit and £62.34 in Council Tax Benefit and the DWP of £6,026.05 in Income Support. 

Egan was sentenced to 160-hours Community Service and ordered to pay back the overpayment and £75 court costs.

Adrian Webster, the Council's Benefits Manager, said:- "Benefit cheats must realise that they cannot abuse the benefit system and steal from the rest of society. They are not just defrauding the government, but their own tax paying neighbours and communities in Warrington.

Fraud is theft and this case is a clear demonstration of our determination to tackle benefit fraud. We are introducing new methods of data matching, the message now is benefit cheats will be caught, and we are reducing the amount of money lost through fraud and abuse."


Fraud Operations Manager Roy Paul added:- "This is an excellent example of government departments working together to combat benefit fraud. Our recent research shows that the public is fed up with cheats who steal money from the taxpayer that should go to those in genuine need of help. 

Tough action against benefit crooks is paying off, but we can't do it alone. People around Warrington, supported by local media, can play their part by telling us about alleged fraudsters free and in confidence, on our National Benefit Fraud Hotline 0800 854 440."

Improvements to entrances at Southport & Formby District General Hospital

AS PART of our commitment to improve access to Southport & Formby District General Hospital for patients, visitors and staff, we are installing Automatic Doors at the entrances to the Physiotherapy/Rehabilitation Department and the main entrance to the hospital near the Paediatric Outpatient Department. Both these entrances currently have an automated outer door and a manual inner door. 

The work will start on Monday 21 February 2005 and will last for 3 days. Each entrance will be closed off for approximately 1½ days in order to carry out the work starting with the Physiotherapy/Rehabilitation entrance. Alternative entrances and exits will be signposted both inside and outside the hospital. If anyone needs help, they can see one of the car park attendants for assistance.

Steve Taylor, Director of Facilities said:- "We hope people will bear with us while this work is being done, and apologise for any inconvenience to them. However, it is essential work, which will improve access particularly for the less able."

THE TEACHING AWARDS TRUST ANNOUNCES NEW CATEGORY FOR THE NORTH WEST OF ENGLAND

THE TEACHING Awards Trust has teamed up with the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to introduce their Award for Enterprise in Schools. The new Award for the North West of England, which is co-funded by the Enterprise Advisor Service, will focus on a teacher's ability to lead, inspire and engage others in developing enterprise in schools. Members of the public and school communities are being urged to nominate inspiring teachers for this category online at www.teachingawards.com before the deadline of 18 March 2005.

Steven Broomhead, NWDA Chief Executive, said:- "We are delighted to support the Teaching Awards Trust, which is a valuable opportunity to showcase innovative practice from teachers who work above and beyond the national curriculum in developing and encouraging enterprise throughout their schools. England's Northwest is home to unquestionable talent, drive and pioneering work and it gives the NWDA great pleasure to be able to publicly celebrate the work of these outstanding teachers across the region and give them the recognition they deserve."

Anyone - parents, pupils, colleagues and members of the school community, can nominate teachers for the NWDA Award for Enterprise in Schools or one of the 10 other Award Categories including the Award for Healthy Schools, the BT Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School, the Guardian Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, the DfES Innovation Unit Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Promethean Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School and the RAF Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School. The Awards Panel assess every nomination against a set of criteria and will begin the rigorous process once the nomination period has closed. Finalists from the Northwest will be announced at the Teaching Awards 2005 Ceremony on Thursday 16 June at Manchester Town Hall. Every Category Winner is considered for a National Award. The Teaching Awards 2005 National Ceremony will be televised on BBC2 on Sunday 16 October 2005.

Hospital Trust wins fourth award for exceptional A&E performance

SOUTHPORT and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has again been awarded £100,000 extra capital to develop services across the hospital, as a result of consistently seeing 97% of patients in and out of A&E within 4 hours or less.

This is the penultimate stage of a financial incentive scheme, and the 4th award of £100,000 we have received. Every hospital trust in England delivering faster care for patients in A&E is able to access up to £500,000 in stages between March 2004 and March 2005. 

"We have been able to achieve this target by a combination of estimating expected patient numbers, improved admissions processes and investing in a 24-hour bed management system to monitor bed availability,"
commented Jayne Norbury, modern matron for A&E. "In addition to these improvements to our systems we have employed emergency nursing practitioners for minor injuries who 'see-and-treat' patients from start to finish, set up dedicated assessment beds within the observation ward and worked closely with our partners in the PCTs and local ambulance trusts."

Janette Brookes, Director of Specialist and Emergency Services added, "It is the hard work and commitment of our staff that has enabled us to meet this target, particularly as this award covers the period over Christmas, which is always one of our busiest times of the year. It is a great achievement, which enables us to offer an effective and efficient service to the patients, and I want to thank our staff."

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