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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 211

Date:- 24  July 2005

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Keeping up with childhood

Whizz-Kidz, a national children's disability charity has launched its first awareness campaign, "Keeping up with childhood" in the UK, which will run throughout July and August. The charity is aiming to raise awareness of the importance of independent mobility for disabled children, as well as motivate people to donate on a regular basis. In the North West there are over 50 children waiting for customised mobility equipment whose lives could be drastically improved.

Miro Griffiths (15) Kidz board member from Wirral in Merseyside comments:- "Whizz-Kidz national campaign is great it really highlights what is important to young disabled people - having independence and the freedom to do what you want when you want to. When I received my customised wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz the difference to my life was enormous and I think every disabled child/teenager should have the chance to, "Keep up with childhood."

The campaign aims to highlight the fact that that there are over 70,000 disabled children in the UK who could benefit from the right kind of mobility equipment. The range of mobility equipment that Whizz-Kidz provides is unavailable on the NHS - primarily because of financial constraints but can often mean that the NHS is unable to cater fully for children's individual mobility needs. 

For a disabled child independent movement gives them the chance to make everyday choices, such as going to a mainstream school, joining in at sport, being able to play with friends and family and having the chance to be naughty or to have fun. With Whizz-Kidz' help disabled children can enjoy just being kids.

Splash out for 2005

100s of children's activities will kick off next week as part of Liverpool's biggest ever summer of fun. Splash gives children between the age of 5 and 17 an action-packed line up to keep them busy over the summer holidays. This year's programme, to be launched on Monday 25 July, is the biggest ever, with hundreds of activities being staged throughout the city. Children are queuing up to take part in the free activities which include canoeing, rock climbing, dance, football, clay moulding and even circus skills.

Councillor Paul Clein, executive member for education, said:- "Splash is a great scheme for many reasons. It makes sure that young people have fun over the summer and at the same time it keeps them off the streets and out of trouble. It also keeps them fit, teaches them new skills and helps them to develop socially. Every year, the number of young people making the most of Splash has grown - last year a record breaking 22,000 took part, which really is amazing." 

The scheme has been supported - and funded - by Liverpool City Council and the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. It aims to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by youngsters. 

Splash runs for 6 weeks and people can find out where their nearest Splash scheme is by calling the team on 0800 085 2022.


NHS staff with no professional qualifications 


NHS staff with no professional qualifications will have access to learning accounts Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said today. Announcing £60m funding to continue NHS learning accounts and NVQs she said:- "Learning doesn't just stop at 16 or 18. The NHS can offer more career opportunities for staff than any other and there should be no obstacles preventing anyone on the first rung of the career ladder, such as HCAs, becoming a senior clinician. If you've found your inspiration and application later in life then the NHS wants to support you. If you are hard working, caring, and bright and want to make a difference we want to help you fulfil your potential to be the best that you can be. NHS learning accounts and the skills escalator allow the NHS to be at the forefront of life long learning, encouraging people to perform to the top of their abilities, develop their skills and climb the NHS careers ladder."

Patricia Hewitt spent a morning "undercover" on the wards of University College London Hospital NHS Trusts alongside a midwifery HCA to experience first hand their participation in patient care. She donned an HCA uniform and joined Leila Rumble on the post-natal ward and in the birthing centre at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital. In the course of the morning she helped give a 2-day old baby her first bath.

Naming the 223,000 HCAs of the NHS an 'army of unsung heroes' and praising the outstanding care that they deliver on a daily basis, she said:- "When we ask patients what they think about their local hospital they don't talk about the clinical expertise of the doctors and nurses, they assume they know what they are doing. They judge the NHS on was I treated as an individual? Did I know about my care? Did I feel cared for? Basically the sort of skills, care and service that HCAs provide for patients everyday. I believe it is important that those skills have the opportunity to develop as without the input of the 223,000 HCAs the NHS simply wouldn't function, which is why I will continue to invest and reform the training and development opportunities for all in the NHS."

The speech was Patricia Hewitt's first public engagement since the July 7 bombing and the Health Secretary congratulated the NHS on their response to the attacks:- "I believe that the NHS demonstrated why it is admired the world over. If you were one of the hundreds of staff who treated patients, you should feel proud of what you personally did. But even if you weren't you should feel proud, as I do, to be part of an NHS that can rise to the challenge of such a terrible outrage and bring wonderful care to so many people in such difficult circumstances."

UNISON Head of Health Karen Jennings said:- "I am very pleased that Patricia Hewitt was able to find time to experience first hand, the valuable role that healthcare assistants play in delivering patient care. It is good to see that the Minister shares UNISON's vision for lifelong learning and wider opportunity for career development. The individual learning accounts scheme is also very popular among healthcare assistants and is helping them to develop within their roles and beyond. We would like to see a widening of the secondment scheme to make it easier for healthcare assistants to access nurse training."
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