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Issue:- 05 August 2010

Equality heading in right direction in Liverpool

LIVERPOOL City Council’s work to promote equality and provide inclusive services has received recognition.  Local Government Improvement and Development (formerly the IDeA) has awarded Liverpool the ‘Achieving Level’ of the Equality Framework for Local Government (EFLG). It means, although there is still work to be done, the city council is making good progress on equality and diversity.

Assessors acknowledged the city’s commitment to build equal opportunities into its services. Successes include work with minority groups - including Eastern European communities - to identify and deliver the services they need; and the work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups over hate crime.

Strong managerial and political leadership on equalities is highlighted, along with more effective work with partners, such as the police and the Primary Care Trust.

Also acknowledged is the council’s work with young people to improve equality of opportunity and celebrate diversity, through initiatives such as the Children in Care Council and Liverpool Schools Parliament.

Liverpool’s Staff Diversity Forum, which gives officers a voice, is highlighted, as well as the council’s commitment to create a diverse workforce which fully represents Liverpool’s communities.  And the important role of the city’s 11 One Stop Shops in providing flexible services which adapt to meet the needs of diverse communities is recognised.

City council Assistant Cabinet Member, Councillor Louise Baldock, who has responsibility for Equality and Diversity, said:- “I’m pleased with this recognition - but we certainly won’t be resting on our laurels, as there’s much more for us to achieve if we are to earn the ‘excellent’ level. There’s still a lot of work to do around creating a diverse workforce and providing fully inclusive services – but it’s something we are firmly committed to.  It’s vital that we fully meet the needs of every single one of our residents and we have made it a priority to build equality into every service we provide, from housing and business, to culture and education. It’s about delivering services which are fully accessible for, and tailored to, all our diverse communities.”

Local Government Improvement and Development supports improvement and innovation in local government. The award follows a detailed, two-day assessment by inspectors which saw them closely scrutinising the work the city council does.  The assessment also details improvements the council needs to make to continue its progress and to work towards reaching the ‘Excellent’ Level of the EFLG.

Head of equal opportunities at the city council, Andrew Nembhard, said:- “It’s good news that our work to build equality and inclusion into all our services has been recognised at a national level. At the same time, we are doing a lot of work to promote equality of opportunity within the city council, removing the barriers to employment and making sure our workforce reflects the city as a whole.  There still remains much to be done if we are to make sure that every single person is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of disability, gender, age, race or sexuality. But we are heading in the right direction.”

Liverpool City Council’s Equalities team works to combat discrimination and promote equality, both as an employer and provider of services. It delivers a range of projects to improve services for disadvantaged groups, as well as making it easier for people to access services and promoting equal opportunities within the workforce. 


YOUNG people in Liverpool are putting their health in jeopardy with high blood pressure, a new report revealed.  While high blood pressure is often prevalent in older people, the study of 8586 people over the age of 16 across the UK showed that 25% under the age of 34 in Liverpool had a high blood pressure reading.

The average blood pressure reading for Liverpool was 139/86, with 58% of those tested showing signs of high blood pressure, while only 25% of people in the area had ideal or normal blood pressure.  Men seem more at risk than women with a troubling 74% of men in Liverpool showing signs of hypertension compared to just 52% of Liverpool’s women.

Research conducted by Lloydspharmacy shows that more than 70% of people in the UK have never had their blood pressure checked. With 20% doing no forms of exercise, it is perhaps no surprise that blood pressure in Liverpool is soaring, and begs the question as to whether the hectic ‘have-it-all’ lifestyle of modern Britain is causing our blood pressure to spiral out of control.

The figures show that Liverpool is just one of many places in the UK where residents are showing signs of high blood pressure. Across the UK, the average blood pressure is 140/86, with 10% of people over the age of 55 showing signs of severe or very severe hypertension.

Shafeeque Mohammed, clinical pharmacist and heart health expert at Lloydspharmacy, said:- “Although we must bear in mind that a one-off blood pressure test is not conclusive, cumulatively the average readings were higher than anticipated. It was particularly worrying to see the number of younger people with readings that put them in the hypertensive category. We would certainly want to explore this further.  High blood pressure is something that most people don’t think they need to worry about until later in life, but it can affect you at any age. It often has no symptoms until it has become extremely severe, so it’s vital to have your blood pressure tested regularly.  That's why we are inviting all adults in the UK to have their blood pressure tested in-pharmacy for free. Through our heart campaign we want to encourage a change in attitude and help people manage their own health and to take steps to prevent illness.  There are also a number of factors that can contribute to higher blood pressure including smoking, lack of physical activity, obesity, an unhealthy diet and excess alcohol, so it’s important for young adults to recognise the risk and take action by managing their lifestyles carefully.”

Professor O’Brien, Professor of Cardiovascular Pharmacology at The Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, adds:- “Lack of blood pressure control increases the chances of cardiovascular problems such as strokes, heart attacks or kidney problems.   Recent evidence shows that although prescribing of blood pressure-lowering drugs has increased, BP control has not improved. It is apparent that prescribing alone is not the answer – people of all ages need to take their blood pressure seriously and re-evaluate their lifestyle to reduce the risk of hypertension.”

Lloyds pharmacy has been offering free blood pressure checks in its pharmacies since 2003 and has conducted over 1.5 million checks to date. In addition to the testing service, the pharmacy chain has recently launched a new range of affordable blood pressure monitors which are approved by the British Hypertension Society and offer a convenient way to monitor your blood pressure at home in between GP appointments.

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