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
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
2 to 4 hours
4 to 8 hours
Over 8 hours
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."
NEW LONGEVITY FIGURES WILL
INCREASE PENSIONER POVERTY AND RESULT IN A LONG TERM DECLINE IN
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
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
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
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."