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Issue:- 11 August 2011

Trust announces changes to parking charges

THE charges for parking at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals will change from 1 November 2011, but will remain historically cheaper for most patients and visitors.  The cost of short term parking will increase by 10% and is the first rise for more than two years. Charges for longer stays and concessions for regular visitors will remain the same.

In common with many other North West hospitals, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust also plans to charge for disabled car parking within its secure car parks.  However, the Trust will be increasing the number of disabled bays close to hospital entrances and introducing new measures that will increase car park safety for visitors and staff and put a stop to illegal and dangerous parking.  This will include using an outside company issuing fixed penalty notices to motorists who park on pavements, double yellow lines, or block access to essential clinical services and emergency services such as ambulances and fire engines.

All income generated by car parking has always been used for patient care and will continue to be used in this way. The changes to charging will fund the equivalent of 10 staff grade nurses each year.  But the Trust also intends to increase charges for staff car parking.

Jonathan Parry, Chief Executive at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said:- "We are proud of our Which?2 magazine 2011 car parking accolade of ‘performing well’. We believe these changes will allow improved access for disabled passengers and drivers and benefit people who park responsibly and in a considerate manner.  We have worked hard to freeze car park charges for nearly three years despite increases in VAT and operating costs. The increased charges are regrettable but inevitable. However, a large proportion of visitors will still be paying less than they did in the past when we used a flat rate fee of £3 regardless of length of stay."

Future changes to parking will be linked to the Consumer Price Index and be raised annually. The Trust is actively discussing issues with the local authority around the park and ride on Foul Lane, Southport, and the possibility of having a route directly to the hospital. Patients and visitors are encouraged to use public transport where possible.




From 1 November 2011

Up to 20 minutes



20 mins to 2 hours



2 to 4 hours



4 to 8 hours


No change

Over 8 hours


No change

Weekly pass


No change



Charges as above

Tough Fish Fight Ahead Warns MEP

THE battle to reform Europe's common fisheries policy and end the practice of discarding unwanted fish will be tough and hard, an MEP deeply involved in the campaign has warned.  TV Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall highlights again in his Channel 4 'Fish Fight' programme the damage that current policies are causing to the world's seas.  He has welcomed proposals recently announced by the European Commission for major reforms to put fishing on a sustainable basis and allow fish stocks to recover.  But Southport MEP Chris Davies, the founder of the 'Fish for the Future' group in the European Parliament, fears that fishermen may prove to be the strongest opponents of change.  He says that all MEPs have already been told that French fishing interests are building a pan-European network to lobby against the proposals, and that representatives of Scottish fishermen claim that ending the discard of fish is not 'realistic'.  Short term thinking without regard to the long term consequences for fish stocks in our oceans is destroying fish stocks across the planet, he warns.  Davies said:- "We have at last a European Commissioner who understands that if there are no fish there can be no fishermen, and who is determined to make changes.  Fishermen need to understand that a fishing industry that regards it as acceptable to kill fish and then discard them is neither moral nor sustainable. We have to do things differently." Major commercial interests were behind much of the lobbying against change, he claimed, with 80% of fishermen using small boats responsible for catching only 10% of the fish. Adding:- "A small minority of companies own the big vessels that cause the real damage. They are the ones who will lose financially in the short term by a change in policy."


MGM Advantage, the retirement income specialist, says findings issued recently that people are living longer and that 20 year olds are 3 times more likely to reach 100 than their grandparents and roughly twice as likely as their parents, will dramatically increase pensioner poverty. It will also be a further nail in the coffin for traditional fixed annuities where income cannot rise with inflation.

MGM Advantage says that between June 2009 and December 2010, increased longevity has contributed towards conventional annuity rates on average falling by 7.9%, and that a long term decline in returns can be expected.

Furthermore, the mutual estimates that the current level of annual household expenditure where the main occupant is aged 75 and over is more than £16,000. So if someone lived until they were 100, between their 75th and 100th birthday, not including inflation, they would need to find around £400,000 to live. This, combined with falling annuity rates, is leading to more pensioners falling below the poverty line.

Aston Goodey, Sales and Marketing Director at MGM Advantage, comments:- "On the face of it, people living longer is good news, but we should not overlook the fact that this has a huge financial burden on people, and that it will push thousands of pensioners below the poverty line.  As people in retirement look for ways to enhance their income, we expect to see a long-term trend of more choosing investment backed annuities as opposed to conventional fixed term ones. Investment backed annuities give clients the opportunity to grow their income while still giving them the comfort of a minimum income guarantee."

Driver advice for Creamfields Weekender

THE Highways Agency is advising drivers that traffic is likely to be busy around the M56 and M6 over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend with up to 40,000 music lovers a day heading to the annual Creamfields Festival.   For the first time the event is featuring 3 days of events – running between 6pm on Friday, 26 August 2011, through to 11pm on Sunday, 28 August 2011.

Anyone thinking of driving to Creamfields later this month is advised to plan their journey and leave plenty of time to get to the festival site on Daresbury Estate near Runcorn, just off Junction 11 of the M56.  Car parks to the site will open at noon on the Friday and close at 2pm on bank holiday Monday, 29 August 2011.  Traffic approaching on the M6 from the south will be directed via the M56 from Junction 11. Traffic approaching on the M6 from the north will be directed via the M62 from Junction 7.

Traffic Officers at the North West Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows, nerve centre of the regional Highways Agency Traffic Officer Service, will use their electronic motorway signs across the local network to guide festival goers to the site and give information on any incidents or congestion.

Meanwhile, other road users are being advised that the M56 around Junctions 10, 11 and 12 around Runcorn is likely to be busy at key times of the weekend. The M56 interchange with the M6 is also likely to experience higher volumes of traffic. Electronic signs along the M6, M56 and M62 will be used to give advance warning about the event.  Highways Agency contractors will also be deploying portable variable message signs near the venue to give advice to drivers.  The Highways Agency is advising motorists to check the latest travel information before setting out as well as listening for radio traffic alerts and heeding electronic signs once they are on the move.  The North West Traffic Officer Service has been working closely with Cheshire Police and festival organisers to manage the impact on the local motorway network.

Highways Agency Traffic Officers at Knutsford will have particular responsibility for monitoring traffic conditions on the M56 around the festival but will be supplemented by an extra patrol from the Rob Lane outstation at Newton-Le-Willows.

John McTaggart, Regional Operations Manager in charge of the North West Traffic Officer Service, said:- "We will be doing all we can to manage traffic around the event and keep drivers on the move - festival goers and other drivers can help themselves by planning their journeys and keeping themselves up to date with traffic information. Previous festivals have passed off fairly successfully although we have had one or two issues with people from the site walking on the motorway network. We would like to remind everyone that the motorway is no place for pedestrians - it is dangerous and illegal and having pedestrians on the network can cause delays for legitimate motorway users."

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