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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 March 2006

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Life in the Fast Lane

SPEEDY 21st century Brits go into overdrive online.  Broadband internet, the microwave and the humble teabag, are the UK's favourite speedy inventions of all time,  reveals a new study.   The survey shows how an array of time saving inventions has sped up modern life,  from hairdryers to ready meals, automatic car washes to the electric toothbrush.

But it is broadband internet that has had the greatest effect on the speed of 21st Century life. With broadband speeds of up to 8 Meg available, more than 8 in 10 Brits agree it shaves hours off weekly chores such as shopping, booking holidays and banking, allowing such activities to be conducted at twice the speed. Second in the list is the microwave, while the teabag, invented way back in 1908, is still going strong as a 21st Century labour saving invention, according to 7 out of 10 people.

But it's not all great news. The survey discovered that many of us, that is15% of us, are using our newly found free time to work harder!  Men are the most likely to extend their office hours 19%  vs. 13%, while 7% of men grab their dusters and allocate extra time to housework.

Philip Mehl, managing director for sales & communications at Wanadoo said:- "Despite these fantastic inventions meaning we are able to complete tasks quicker, very few of us are sitting back and enjoying the extra time they save us. In fact, our study shows that modern Britons clearly find it more therapeutic to surf the web or go back to work than put their feet up."

Rather than opt for more leisure or rest, 67% spend the extra time surfing the net, women more so than men (68 vs 62%). In fact, going online far outstrips such pastimes as socialising with friends (28%) and relaxing (22%).

Philip Mehl added:- "Having food processors, grooming appliances and broadband commonplace in most homes, life has truly accelerated. With even faster broadband speed such as up to 8 Meg, life is set to get even quicker."

Top 10 inventions accelerating Britain:-

1. Broadband internet (84%)
2. Microwave (73%)
3. Teabag (69%)
4. Hair drier (47%)
5. Ready meal (44%)
6. Electric toothbrush (37%)
7. Fast food (35%)
8. Blender (35%)
9. Car wash (24%)
10. 2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner (23%)

New survey highlights scale of NHS deficits in north west

NEARLY 66% of NHS nurses in the North West say their Trust is struggling with deficits, a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey revealed this week. The survey of 1000 nurses across the UK also shows that deficits are hitting patient services and leading to redundancies and job losses. This includes nurses in specialist areas such as infection control, sexual health and cancer care.

The RCN, with over 45,000 members in the region - began tracking the level of deficits and the impact on staff and services during 2005. Trust actions - including deleting posts and postponing patient treatments - to balance the books are now having a direct and detrimental affect on patients and staff.  29% of nurses in the region reported that their Trusts were deleting posts, while 59% said their trusts were freezing posts. 35% reported ward closures and 32% said their employer was closing patient services. 55% have seen their Trust stop the use of nurse bank and agency staff to cover shortages, and 20% cited that patient treatments were being delayed in order to save money.

Steve Flannagan, RCN, North-West Regional Director, said:- "Nurses across the region are telling us that patients are suffering and nursing posts are being lost as Trusts struggle to balance the books. We are also concerned about reports that specialist nursing posts are under threat. These are nurses giving high quality individualised care, and these roles allow nurses a career progression without losing direct clinical contact with patients. We will resist attempts to make compulsory redundancies as a response to deficits. Significant progress has been made in addressing historic low staffing levels and any attempt to turn back this progress is counter productive and short-sighted.  Trusts have to be given more time and flexibility and time to get themselves out of deficit, so that patients do not suffer and nurses do not lose jobs because of government inflexibility."

The RCN is seeking demonstrable engagement of staff and the public in developing recovery plans before any attempts are made to implement job freezes, restructuring, or cuts in services. It believes that Trusts should be allowed to operate within a more flexible financial regime.

Gallimaufry Barn Dance

THE Gallimaufry Barn Dance is to be held in Aughton Village Hall, on Friday 31 March 2006 from 8pm.

Tickets £5 each but family tickets are available.

For more details please contact Abacus Music on 01695 585400.

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