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Issue Date:- 7 April 2008


AA patrols get on 2 wheels to tackle record city congestion

Chronic congestion has reached record levels in cities across the UK, with Liverpudlian motorists suffering some of the slowest traffic in the country. In response, the AA is introducing patrols on electric scooters and motorbikes to tackle the problem.

The UK’s biggest breakdown organisation today launches a trial that will see patrols use bikes to cut through traffic and reach breakdowns. Starting in central London, where traffic speeds in the morning peak are at their lowest in 40 years, the bikes could be rolled out in other cities too, if the trial proves successful. This would include Liverpool, where the traffic speed of just 17.8mph makes it the fourth slowest city in the UK, as revealed in the AA’s City Speed League Table, compiled in conjunction with Trafficmaster:-

City (excluding London) Average traffic speed (mph)
Bristol 16.8
London 16.9
Glasgow 17.3
Southampton 17.8
Liverpool 17.8
Manchester 18.3
Cambridge 18.8
Birmingham 19.4
Sheffield 19.6
Cardiff 21.8
Newcastle 24

 Source:- Trafficmaster**

Edmund King, President of the AA, says:- “On busy city roads, one flat tyre can delay thousands of motorists and further aggravate congestion. By cutting through traffic, AA bike patrols will reach breakdowns in London more quickly and get our members and other drivers back on the move with the minimum delay.   We need radical action to beat record slow traffic in our cities and decided that two wheels are quicker than four. By fixing breakdowns more quickly, we will improve service to our members, and help reduce congestion and emissions. Our analysis of traffic speeds in major cities shows that congestion is not just a London problem with Liverpool, Southampton, Glasgow and Bristol less than 1 mph quicker than London.  Given the national scale of the problem, we want to assess the success of the trial quickly, and hope to be able to use bike patrols to assist AA members in Liverpool in the future.”

The bike patrols will targetquick fixbreakdowns such as flat batteries, wheel changes and simple electrical faults. These problems cause over a third of the 3.6 million breakdowns attended by the AA each year, often causing lengthy traffic jams.  The new bikes, which include environment friendly zero-emission electric scooters, are expected to cut up to 25 per cent from peak time breakdown wait times. The AA’s response times are already market-leading as supported by a recent Which? survey.

Stewart Topp, AA motorbike patrol, says:- “I am passionate about motorbikes and love my job as an AA patrol, so being a motorbike patrol for the AA brings these two areas together. I am still there to help members with breakdown problems, just without my usual van! The response from the public has been fantastic. They all seem excited to see us out and about on the bikes.”

Free diabetes kit upgrades from Rowlands pharmacies in Knowsley

DIABETES patients in Knowsley are being offered a free upgrade of their existing blood glucose monitoring kits from Rowlands pharmacies, as part of a commitment to improve diabetic care in the region.  Rowlands, the UK's 4th largest pharmacy group, has 11 branches in knowsley. The group is working with meter manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson LifeScan, in a bid to make life easier for patients with diabetes and eliminate outdated meters that take time to use, require a large blood sample and are questionable as to their accuracy.

There are currently around 6,500 registered diabetics in Knowsley, some of whom may be using old testing equipment that can take up to 40 seconds to produce results, compared to a 5-second wait for readings from the latest meters. An inaccurate reading can lead to patients miss-managing their diet or medication in a way that can result in temporary periods of high or low blood sugar.

"Our exchange scheme is proving extremely successful.  Patients have really appreciated the service. It's also given us an opportunity to make sure they're monitoring themselves properly. We've upgraded around 40 units since December and have replenished our stocks 3 times." said Nik Parekh, pharmacist and branch manager at Rowlands' Westvale branch.

Kenny Black, managing director at Rowlands, explains:- "Our upgrade scheme in Knowsley is an important part of our ongoing development of diabetes services that is taking place nationwide.

As a pharmacy, we have a front line role in improving the health of the people of Knowsley.

Our exchange service helps to ensure that high quality diabetes care is delivered to patients and their families and carers in line with national targets.

Our new LifeScan meters make life so much easier, they are simple to use, produce fast, accurate results and only need a quarter of the amount of blood required by older kits.

This makes the whole testing process much quicker and less painful for patients."

Patients can choose from 2 different meters, including an easy to handle version suitable for the elderly and a smaller, more discreet meter for younger patients. Together with the free meter upgrade, Rowlands is providing full training on how to use them. As soon as patients upgrade, their GPs are notified so that their prescriptions are also updated accordingly.

Rowlands plans to rollout this exchange service to a further 300 branches across the country.  Free meter upgrades are currently being offered at the following Rowlands branches in Knowsley:

17 Broad Lane, Southdene, Kirkby T: 0151 546 6016

Tower Hill, Ebony Way, Towerhill, Kirkby T: 0151 549 1308

Park Brow Drive, St Laurence's Medical Centre, 32 Leeside Avenue, Kirkby
58 Copplehouse Lane, Fazakerley T: 0151 525 1160

Westvale, 11 Richard Hesketh Drive, Kirkby T: 0151 546 9708

St Chads, 54-58 St Chads Parade, Kirkby T: 0151 549 1818

For more information and advice, call into your local Rowlands pharmacy or visit

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