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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  29 May 2006

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GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR RENEWABLES REMAINS STRONG

NOP survey finds 85% public backing for renewable energy.  Malcolm Wicks reaffirmed the Government's commitment to renewable energy this week during a keynote address to the All Energy conference in Aberdeen.

The Energy Minister also highlighted the positive findings from the first DTI commissioned NOP survey, published last week, into public attitudes towards renewables and announced details of £1.2 million in grants that have been awarded to 16 separate solar energy projects.  One of which will be part of the Hebridean Isle of Eigg's groundbreaking renewable energy scheme.

Wicks said:- "The Prime Minister's recent speech to the CBI put renewable energy firmly on the agenda and that is a message I want to re-iterate.  The Government's target is that 10% of the UK's electricity will come from renewable sources by 2010 and this will provide a solid foundation that can be built on in order that they can make an even greater contribution to the mix as we look to bridge any future energy gap.

To do this we will need more schemes like the Whitelee wind farm which was recently given the green light by the Scottish Executive.  This project will be the largest onshore wind farm in Europe when it is completed and will provide clean energy for 200,000 homes, almost the whole of Glasgow.  Interestingly, the NOP survey commissioned by the DTI finds that despite all the hot air and scepticism from certain quarters, 85% of the general public support the use of renewable energy, 81% are in favour of wind power and just over 3/5ths would be happy to live within 5km of a wind power development.

But it's not just large scale renewable energy projects that we want to encourage but also more localised generation, such as micro wind turbines, solar panels and combined heat and power biomass boilers.  That is why I am pleased to announce details of the successful applicants from the final round of funding under the Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme. The 16 schemes across the UK will share almost £1.2 million to help install solar panels and reduce the carbon emissions from their buildings.  Funding support for solar and the other types of microgeneration technologies will now continue through the £80 million Low Carbon Buildings Programme that was announced in the spring."

Physiotherapy Week 2006. Prevention is better than cure

HUNDREDS OF UK physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants will highlight the role they can play in improving the public’s health during national Physiotherapy Week 2006, which is organised by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and runs from 19 June to  23 June.

During the week, physiotherapy staff from the NHS, private practice and the independent sector will promote the message that ‘prevention is better than cure.’  They’ll explain how simple lifestyle changes can put us on the road to better health and help us avoid illness and injury.

CSP Chair of Council Sarah Bazin said:- ‘Increasingly sedentary lifestyles are contributing to rising levels of obesity and ill-health. With their focus on enabling physical activity, even for people living with long-term or chronic conditions, physiotherapists are well placed to help reverse this trend.  ‘During Physiotherapy Week, CSP members will be opening the doors to their departments and practices and showing people how they can ward off illness and injury by adopting healthier lifestyles.’

This year, CSP members taking part in Physiotherapy Week will be hosting stands in supermarkets and shopping malls, giving talks to schools and colleges, providing commuters with postural advice and helping employers by offering occupational health advice.

INVOLVEMENT IS POWER...

A FURTHER step towards making it easier for people to get involved in their local health services was announced by Health Minister Rosie Winterton this week. A new national Patient and Public Involvement
Resource Centre to develop and support NHS staff and organisations to involve people in local health services will open its doors on 1 June 2006 after a contract with successful bidders was signed yesterday.

The Resource Centre will promote the value of involving people and will work with NHS organisations, staff and patients to build on the foundations of involvement that are already in place in many parts of the country.

Bids to run the centre were sought last autumn for a group who could demonstrate that they were experienced in patient and public involvement and already had good networks. The successful bid came
from a consortium made up of The University of Warwick, The Centre for Public Scrutiny and the Long term Medical Conditions Alliance.

Addressing the Patient Involvement, Empowerment, and Information conference in London, Rosie Winterton said:- "It is essential that we support those working in health and social care to enable user involvement. In the new NHS structure, there is an increasing plurality of providers - the NHS, the third sector and the independent sector - and it is increasingly important that they all involve and consult people who use, or might one day need to use, their services.  The Centre will be a one-stop shop for information and advice and will identify learning opportunities to improve consultation at a national, regional and local level. The Centre will give encouragement to those organisations which lead the way in PPI and support and advice to those who need it."

Harry Cayton, the Department of Health's Dorector for Patients and the Public said:- "There is much active engagement of service users and patients already; cancer networks, mental health user groups, patient surveys and public consultations. The new centre will bring all this expertise together as a focus for learning and innovation."

Dr Jonathan Tritter, Executive Director of the Centre said:- "In developing the Centre, the consortium has discussed its plans with many key stakeholders including the NHS, the Royal College of Nursing Institute, the National Consumer Council, the Royal College of Physicians and the National Association for Patient Participation to ensure that the Centre reflects the different needs of NHS staff and organisations. The overriding issue from talking to these organisations is that although patients have been involved in one way or another with their own health, or the health of their friends, family or loved ones, their views and experiences may not have always been sought or indeed, their voices heard.

With the many reforms that are coming on stream such as patient choice and practice based commissioning, it is essential that systems are put in place to ensure that views and preferences of patients' and the public are listened to and incorporated into the planning, design and delivery of current and future services.

What is important is that whatever factors people use when deciding which style of patient and public involvement to use when developing services, the overall aim should be to understand how best to shape and influence the governance and management of health services, to inform the policy and decision-making and to promote service change and improvement.


The National Patient and Public Involvement Resource Centre will be able to act as a gateway to help NHS staff, health professionals and colleagues in the voluntary and statutory sector to turn patient and public involvement into everyday practice."

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