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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 13 March 2006

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Joan Halse (Thwaites Trust) checks out the brochure at Sandpipers with centre manager Darren Holloran.

ALL the delights of Southport are to be opened up to more disabled holidaymakers thanks to leading northern brewer Thwaites.

A donation from Lancashire based Thwaites’ renowned Charitable Trust will help provide accommodation at Sandpipers, the holiday complex in the resort run by Vitalise, a leading UK charity which provides breaks for physically disabled people and their carers.

Sandpipers, on Fairway, is one of five Vitalise centres across the country and manager Darren Holloran said:- “The support of companies likes Thwaites Brewery is invaluable as we look to make our centres open to more and more people. We cannot thank Thwaites enough for the backing.”

Virtually helping the planet!

MERSEYSIDE businesses are saving money and helping the environment, thanks to an online resource efficiency toolkit by ENWORKS. This bespoke toolkit helps to encourage and assist businesses in the North West to adopt more efficient production and consumption patterns and to quantify the economic and environmental outcomes of improvements made.

Such is the success of this initiative, that it has been shortlisted in the national eWell-Being Awards. The Awards are run by Sustain IT, supported by BT, and seek to uncover pioneering projects that identify and promote the benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Research carried out by ENWORKS shows that an average company can save 4% of its annual turnover by addressing simple processes such as waste, energy use and raw materials, many companies can save much more! The toolkit allows companies to log individual opportunities for resource efficiency, including any capital implementation costs, then calculates the cost savings, payback periods and environmental benefits that each opportunity will bring. Each opportunity has a ‘status’ so its progress can be tracked and companies can view all opportunities together in order to prioritise action and track/manage the implementation process. The average saving on the Resource Efficiency Programme is £21,000 per business.

To date, over 470 companies, working on 1480 separate resource efficiency strategies have signed up to the toolkit and so far it has helped achieve over £9.4 million in annual savings.

Samantha Nicholson, Programme Manager at ENWORKS explains how their initiative benefits everyone:- “We are not here to tell people how to run their businesses; but what we do know is how to manage and reduce their impact on the environment. With the online toolkit we help them manage that process and save not only the environment, but also significant sums of money in the process.”  More info. see:-

Patients being seen sooner and going home earlier

LISTENING to patients, who were anxious to return home as soon as possible, has meant a reduction in the length of stay in hospital for those having hip or knee replacement surgery and as a result patients can now been seen sooner according to Southport & Ormskirk Hospital.

"Over the last two years we have halved the length of stay from between 10 and 14 days to between 5 and 7 days (assuming no complications). We have managed to achieve this by the introduction of a Planned Discharge Team of occupational and physiotherapists. This team will actually take the patient home and make sure everything is in place for them and follow up patient care out in the community.

Cutting the length of time patients stay in hospital has cut the waiting times for hip and knee replacement surgery. At the moment there are 162 patients waiting an average of 2 months with a longest wait of 6 months, compared to 386 patients waiting an average of over 3 months with the longest wait being 9 months in January 2005.

Patients are contacted well in advance of their operation to assess any special needs they may have once their operation has taken place. For example, they may need special equipment at home, or help with social care once they are discharged. Any healthcare problems such as high blood pressure are also assessed at that stage.

At that time the patients are given a care plan which details not only what they can expect from the hospital, but also what the hospital expects from them. We believe patients are more psychologically prepared for the operation as they know what support is available to them afterwards and they can see the various steps on the road to recovery.

Most patients then come in to hospital on the day of their operation, rather than the night before. After the operation they come under the care of the multidisciplinary team of surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Because patients know what their role is in their recovery, they become part of the team as well."
said Pat Keeley, sister on the orthopaedic ward at the Ormskirk Hospital.

It is planned to extend pre-operative assessments making them far more comprehensive, so reducing potential post-operative complications and in as a result the length of stay. Then two weeks before their operation, most patients are seen to make sure they are well enough for the operation.

New local Website for the Wirral

THE Wirral has become one of the first communities in the UK to have access to a new online service, with the same ideas as ourselves, that is providing a low cost, highly effective tool to reach potential customers, via the web.

The website is part of an online service called, Ok, this is a national idea, not 100% like ours, but still worth a note.   Other sites like the Post Office's have been operating for years and we have all been behind the scenes in close contact. What makes this one different is that the service is run by local people, like just we are!

The franchise has been set up by husband and wife team, Greg and Sarah McTear Smith.   Sarah said:- "More people than ever are using the web and it’s only going to be bigger. Currently UK online retail is growing 31 times faster than the High Street. You only need to think about how many people you know that did their Christmas shopping on the internet

When people have needed to find a local company or service in the past, they often used a traditional directory such as the Yellow Pages. But with continuous access to broadband Internet both at work and in the home, online searches for local services are growing at an exponential rate. The Kelsey Group, leading global business commentators, expects 20% of Internet searches to be local in nature in 06 and predicts that within three years a third of the total directory market spend will be on the Internet.

This growth of the internet and the knowledge that people overwhelmingly prefer ‘local’ providers of goods and services gives us the confidence that ‘thebestof’ will provide all the information needed by the residents of the Wirral."

Good luck to them and we look forward to hearing more from you all.

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