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Issue:- 6 May / 5 May 2009

Swapping vacations for staycations

The Royal Daffodil takes to the River Mersey

DAY trippers appear to be swapping off shore vacations for more local “staycations” if Mersey Ferries portfolio of attractions is anything to go by over Easter.  Defying the credit crunch, Mersey Ferries is embarking on one of its most successful first quarters over recent years.  Passengers boarding the ferries over Easter were way above forecasts, almost 45,000 in just two weeks, and more than 30 per cent higher than 2008, Liverpool’s year in the global spotlight as European Capital of Culture.  Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel which owns and operates the ferries, said:- “The ferries figures, particularly over Easter, are fantastic. They seem to show that many people are taking the chance to visit attractions on their own doorstep rather than travelling elsewhere, it’s something we will be keeping a close eye on this year.”  Although Merseytravel is being cautious, the figures could reflect a “staycation” trend being reflected in other attractions across the country, including Merlin Entertainments, who operate Madame Tussauds among its portfolio.  Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, said:- “We’ll have to see how things go throughout the year, particularly during summer, but early indications this year are very positive and we take heart from that. Obviously the good weather we’ve had so far this year has been beneficial, but we’re also continuing to build new and exciting attractions into the Mersey Ferries portfolio – and this too seems to be reaping rewards.”

The U-Boat Story has been a notable success. Launching in February, more than 20,000 people have already visited the attraction to date.

Almost 5,500 visited over the two-week Easter break, exceeding forecasts by some 170 per cent.

The U-Boat, one of only four remaining in the world, is the centrepiece of a stunning exhibition, both informative and educational, which is designed to appeal to visitors of all ages.

The Pier Head Ferry Terminal, set to be officially opened on 21 May 2009, will also boost the appeal of the Mersey Ferries, with the vast majority of passengers embarking on their journey from the Liverpool waterfront.

The new £10.5million terminal, which will transform ferry services from the Liverpool side of the River Mersey, takes Merseytravel’s investment in the Mersey Ferries business over the last ten years to around £60 million.

The building has improved café and retail facilities, new and improved waiting areas and an exciting new Beatles-themed visitor attraction, including four-dimension cinema.

Spaceport, the UK’s most modern space themed visitor attraction and based at Seacombe Ferry Terminal, Wallasey, is gearing up for another busy year following the launch of another world first exhibition called:- “One Small Step”.

The exhibition celebrates 40 years since the original lunar landings and including pieces of genuine moon rock among a host
of other interactive activities and displays.

The numbers of passengers boarding the Manchester Ship Canal Cruises totalled more than 20,000 for the first time in 2008 - a thirty per cent increase on 2007 and double the number of passengers five years ago – with a similarly sunny forecast for this year.

Neil Scales added:- “We took the decision ten years ago to move the ferries into the visitor economy and we haven’t looked back. Our attractions at Pier Head, Woodside and Seacombe complete a ferries tourism triangle which will provide a major boost to the region’s tourism economy. The fact that they are consistently one of the region’s most loved and visited paid-for attractions shows their appeal. Now we just need to maintain this momentum throughout 2009 and beyond.”

Trust named as one of the CHKS 40 Top Hospitals for eighth year

FOR the eighth year running Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has been named as one of the CHKS 40 Top Hospitals 2009. These awards celebrate excellence amongst CHKS clients across the UK and are based on the evaluation of 21 key performance indicators covering safety, clinical effectiveness, health outcomes, efficiency, patient experience and quality of care.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in London hosted by CHKS, the UK's leading independent provider of healthcare intelligence and quality improvement services.

Commenting on the Trust's achievement, Chief Executive Jonathan Parry said:- "We have entered this programme for the last eight years and each year we have been named in the 40 Top Hospitals and this is a fantastic achievement. It is the hard work of all our staff that has enabled us to win this award. Their skill, dedication and commitment have improved the quality of care we provide to our patients and the health community. This award is particularly satisfying as it is an opportunity to be judged against other Trusts across the country."

James Coles, Director of Research, CHKS, said:- "We are delighted that Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has been named as one of our 40 Top Hospitals 2009. These awards recognise outstanding performance in 21 areas which we believe are critical to delivering good patient care."

The CHKS 40 Top Hospital Awards are based on 21 indicators including:-

* Risk adjusted mortality

* Risk adjusted length of stay

* Rate of emergency readmission to hospital - 28 days

* Rate of emergency readmission to hospital following treatment for a fractured hip

* Day case rate for target procedures (case mix adjusted)

* Day case conversion rate (case mix adjusted)

* Overall data quality

* Rate of emergency readmission to hospital following AMI within 28 days

* Rate of emergency readmission to hospital within 14 days - COPD

* % of elective inpatients admitted on day of procedure

* Pre-op length of stay for fractured neck of femur

* Pre-op length of stay for elective surgery

* % Elective In-patient admission with no procedure

* Reported MRSA bacteraemia rate

* Reported C-difficile rate for patients aged 65 and over

* Procedure not carried out - hospital decision

* Inpatient Survey

* A&E survey

* Patient misadventures

* Obstetrics complications for delivery spells

* Outpatient DNA - first attendance.

Added background information:- 2 CHKS Ltd, part of the Capita Group Plc, is the leading independent provider of healthcare intelligence and quality improvement services to the NHS and independent healthcare sector. With over 20 years' experience and working internationally with 480 clients, CHKS has a portfolio of information products, internationally-recognised accreditation programmes and consultancy services which provide clinicians and managers with the information needed to drive improvements
in patient care and experience, financial efficiency, clinical effectiveness and quality. The CHKS Advisory Board was set up in 2007 to provide direction and advice on strategic healthcare issues in the UK and overseas.

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