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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 188

Date:- 19 February 2005

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GOVERNMENT BREAKS PENSIONS PROMISE

UNISON, planned a number of events throughout the North West to mark the TUC's Day of Action on the 18 February over cuts to pensions for public sector workers. Workers from nurses and home carers, police staff to town hall chief executives will be affected, with cuts to the pension they will receive, as well as a rise in the age of retirement from 60 to 65. This will force longer working on the least well off, people who often have the hardest working lives and shortest retirement already. As well as holding local events on the 18 February, UNISON balloted almost 105,000 local government workers over proposed strike action on 23 March.

Regional Secretary Frank Hont says:- "UNISON members will not accept these changes. The average pension for a public sector worker is just £3,800, and now this is to be cut! The Government is breaking it's promise to public sector workers, while MP's have voted to give themselves one of the best pension schemes in Europe

We are asking the Government to reconsider rushing these changes through and to bring an end to this attack on our members and their families, who are facing future poverty." 


Workers will hold a number of events in their workplaces, including:-

Rallies at Town Halls at lunchtime in Chester, Crewe, Sale, Trafford, Stretford, St Helens, Gate protests at Chorley, Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Blackpool and Rossendale Hospitals

Meetings, seminars and rallies for Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, and Cheshire Police 

Demonstrations at lunchtime in Liverpool, Bootle and Manchester and Bolton 

Lobbying of MP's throughout the Region to sign Early Day Motion 579 to call a halt to the proposed changes (128 MP's have signed so far). 

GP Cover facing cash problems?  "No" says David Carson and Allan Wood!

NEWS reports this week suggest that patients' out-of-hours care may suffer because of poor funding, not so says David Carson, Chairman of The Healthcare Foundation and author of the Government's report into Out of Hours Care. Carson says:- "Although there is a risk that the Government's changes to doctors' contacts and their responsibility for out-of-hours care may result in transition issues new commercial and mutually operated organisations will successfully resolve the problem"

Carson continues, 'Now doctors are released from their obligation to provide care outside of normal hours many have put their feet up for a well deserved rest. With too few doctors now volunteering to fill rotas the employment cost have risen in some areas. The solution is to ensure the best use of all staff including doctors." 

Squeezed between tight Government budgets and increasing staffing costs PCTs need to find an efficient solution to their out-of-hours patient care problem, without compromising care. Allan Wood, CEO of WCI tells how their Joint Venture with Healthcare provider Harmoni provides this solution. Allan says:- 'I'm very proud of our JV with Harmoni. Launched late in 2004 our service has already delivered throughout the toughest period - Christmas. This demonstrates the strength of clinical and operational Best Practice. I'm delighted to say that our service is now providing out-of-hours patient care to over 5% of the UK's population!"

WCI and Harmoni's solution is a Clinical Process Outsource which provides a unique Nurse Triage solution. The JV combines the strengths of a healthcare and commercial outsourcing organisation to create a solution, which delivers excellence in patient care. Underpinned by the commercial principles of shared services the new joint venture is delivering an outstanding and efficient service to resolve PCT's out-of-hours problem.

NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP BODY FOR VOLUNTARY SECTOR UNVEILED

THE yellow recycling bug has hit schools in Warrington as the race is on for pupils to collect Yellow Pages and turn them into cash. They are competing in the 2005 Yellow Woods Challenge, which was launched at St Thomas CE Primary School on Tuesday 8 February, and is a simple, educational and fun environmental campaign run in partnership between Yellow Pages, the Woodland Trust and Warrington Borough Council. The schools that collect the most directories per pupil will win cash prizes from Yellow Pages. For every pound awarded to schools, a matching pound will be given to the Woodland Trust to support its new tree planting campaign, 'Tree For All', and enable hundreds of schools to plant native tree saplings in their grounds. 

The challenge aims to get children into the recycling habit while learning all about paper, recycling and woodland conservation through Kirk's, the recycling bug and mascot, lively teaching materials and Challenge video. Kirk is urging school children, their families and friends to bring old Yellow Pages directories to school for recycling into corrugated cardboard.

Richard Duggleby, Head of External Relations at Yell, the publisher of Yellow Pages directories, said:- "Since 2002, more than half a million school children have taken on the Yellow Woods Challenge. This year, we expect 300,000 pupils across the UK to have fun recycling Yellow Pages directories and learning about the environment with Kirk." 

Cllr O'Neill, Executive Board Member for Environment and Regeneration, said:- "This is the second year that we are recycling Yellow Pages directories with schools. We hope it will become something teachers, parents and pupils all look forward to in the school calendar. It not only keeps old directories out of landfill, but will also help us deliver lots of other recycling messages to schools." 

Residents who do not have a child attending a participating school can recycle their old Yellow Pages directory in the cardboard recycling facilities at the Recycling and Household Waste Centres in Warrington. 

For details of the nearest location, call 01925 442604, contact the Directory Recycling Helpline on 0800 671 444 (lines open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm) or visit: www.yellgroup.com 

WEST KIRBY RESIDENT TO POUND CAPITAL'S PAVEMENTS

A WEST Kirby man will be pounding the capital's pavements on 17 April when he attempts the Flora London Marathon in aid of the British Lung Foundation.

Stephen Scott, a hospital doctor, said:- "This is my first marathon and I am really looking forward to it. My training has been going very well and I have had great support from my family and friends."

Stephen, 32, added:- "I am hoping to raise £1500 for the British Lung Foundation. This cause is close to my heart because I work in respiratory medicine and have contact with many people with lung disease and know about the important work the BLF do."

The British Lung Foundation is the only national organisation working for people with every kind of lung disease, including asthma, lung cancer and COPD. 

The charity funds research into all lung diseases provides support through its Breathe Easy groups network and provides information to those affected by lung conditions. Lung conditions affect more than eight million people in the UK alone.

Karen Boyle, Special Events Manager, British Lung Foundation said:- "We are delighted Stephen is running in aid of the British Lung Foundation. His training has been going very well and my colleagues and I will be out in force on 17 April to cheer Stephen and the rest of Team Lung on before they will join us for a celebratory reception at the end of the gruelling race."

If there are any readers who would like to sponsor Stephen, please contact him on 07798 793972 or email s.j.scott@liv.ac.uk.

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