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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 17 September 2007

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Henshaws survey ‘looks into’ North West eye care

HENSHAWS - the North West’s leading charity for blind and visually impaired people is launching the region’s 1st ever major survey into good eye health.  The North West has one of the worst health records in the country and the charity is keen to raise awareness of the correlation between general physical well being and eye health.  Henshaws is urging people across the region to take part by requesting a copy of the questionnaire or by downloading a copy at www.henshaws.org.uk. Over 16,000 households will find a copy of the survey, dropping through their letterboxes this month.

Sally Bowden, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Henshaws, says:- “We are asking people across the North West to spare just five minutes of their time to help us carry out vital research into how aware people are of looking after their eye sight and the issues surrounding sight loss. For example, few people realise that stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake, taking regular exercise and eating a balanced healthy diet can actually help us to keep our eyes healthy. 

More than 50,000 people across the region are either registered blind or partially sighted and Henshaws is there to help each and every one of them. And through initiatives such as this, we can educate people about how they can look after their eyes so that the number of cases of preventable sight loss is reduced. 

By completing this survey, local people will be helping us to find out more about the public’s understanding and knowledge of sight loss, as well as providing vital information which will help to further improve our range of services.”

Henshaws Society for Blind People is a registered charity which has been providing practical, caring and imaginative services to blind and partially sighted people and their friends, family and colleagues since 1837. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations and Henshaws is asking people to consider donating a little, often, to help it continue its valuable work.

PPI FORUM CONCERNED ABOUT RISKS TO AMBULANCE PATIENTS

THE Public Forum For The North West Ambulance Service, the patient and public voice in the NHS, is concerned at the recent report that longer ambulance journey’s increase the risk of patients dying.

The Forum spokes person, Salle Dare, said:- “We know this is a very complicated issue and the NHS has to strike a balance. Patients need hi-tech hospital services for emergencies such as strokes, heart attacks and serious accidents, and these have to be in specialist centres, which serve larger populations and so are further apart. But this recent report from Sheffield University suggests that travelling further is a risk for patients too”

The report showed that patients with respiratory problems are at high risk. The Forum, decided at its recent meeting to call on the NHS to make sure that there are enough fully equipped emergency ambulances and highly skilled medical and nursing staff working in those ambulances so that when patients have to travel further to specialist centres they get expert care while they are in the ambulance. This is particularly important in the rural areas of Cumbria, where the distance the nearest specialist hospital can involve a journey of at least two or three hours.

The Forum is undertaking work to look at journey times for patients as new hospital services are introduced and other services are closed. It will be monitoring the performance of the ambulance service and reporting our findings to the Ambulance Trust

The Forum is always keen to hear from anyone with particular experiences of the ambulance service.

You can contact us via post:- Public Forum For The North West Ambulance Service, Black Health Agency, Gaddum House, 6 Great Jackson Street, Manchester M15 4AX, or them a ring on:- 0161 214 3909

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