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Issue:- 19 January  2012

Liverpool Labour Group to hold demonstration against the Health and Social Care Bill

THE Liverpool Labour Group have organised a demonstration against the Coalition Governmentís Health & Social Care Bill. Local Councillors & Members of Parliament will be joined by Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP, at a demonstration against the Health & Social Care Bill. The Royal Liverpool Hospital will provide the backdrop for the demonstration, as NHS staff team up with trade union members and Labour Party campaigners to voice their opposition at the Governmentís plans. The demonstration is to be held on Friday, 27 January 2012, from 11am to 2pm. At the demonstration we will be speaking to the public about the effects the Health Bill will have on their service. The Bill is now in the Report stage in the House of Lords, and the debate will begin again in February 2012. Under the proposals, private patients could be allowed to take up almost half of the 2,400 beds currently reserved for NHS patients across Liverpool. This means over 1,200 NHS beds could go to private patients. A senior Liverpool doctor has also slammed the Governmentís proposals. Dr Richard Wenstone, a doctor at the Royal, has said that the threat posed to NHS services across the country by the Governmentís proposals is severe.  Dr Richard Wenstone said:- "I know that everyone here in the Royal Hospital, from managers to staff, and doctors and nurses, will work as hard we can to keep as many of its beds as possible available to NHS patients. But not every hospital is like the Royal. In other hospitals across the rest of the country, NHS patients will find themselves sent to the back of the queue, at hospitals which are allowed to open up almost half of their beds to private health care providers. I know that doctors all over the country are worried that the NHS isnít safe in the Governmentís hands. I am deeply concerned at the proposals which the Government are putting forwards, and I will join this demonstration to demand that Cameron and Clegg stop messing with our NHS."

Cllr Joe Anderson, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said:- "We used to warn about privatisation by the back door. But this is privatisation by the front door. Very simply, the Tories and Lib Dems. want to turn our hospitals into businesses, where profit will take priority. Those patients who can afford private health care will be given priority for almost half of the space in our hospitals, leaving the other half to everyone else. This will make waiting lists longer for NHS patients. It will threaten the elderly, the sick and those who need health care. It will undermine the basic principles of an NHS which is free at the point of use for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay."

Labour councillor Jake Morrison, who works as a health care assistant in a Liverpool hospital also added:- "I called for this demonstration to be held because these reckless plans will effect people in this City. The NHS will be 64 years old this year, we must ensure that the Tories donít make it the last. We must stand up against these reforms before itís too late. Itís clear that the NHS is not safe in the hands of Tory-Lib Dem ministers. Iíve got first hand experience of the world class care the NHS offers to people across Liverpool. Iíve seen waiting lists reduced under the previous Labour Government, and there are more doctors and nurses helping people now than there ever have been. I know how much people in Liverpool cherish their NHS. It belongs to the people of this city, and all of us rely on it at some point in our lives. But the Government is paying no attention to these people. Vulnerable people in this city will suffer because of this Governmentís reckless plans. Their plans will push NHS patients to the back of the queue, and will let private patients in first to try and maximise their income to make up for Government cuts to their budgets. I am calling on people across Liverpool to make their voices heard, and help to defend our NHS. Labour has launched a petition, at:-, where Liverpoolís people can sign up to help us defend our NHS from the Tory-Lib Dem privatisation plan."

Labourís Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham MP, commented:- "This surprise move, sneaked out just before Christmas, is the clearest sign yet of David Cameron's determination to turn our precious NHS into a US-style commercial system, where hospitals are more interested in profits than people. With NHS hospitals able to devote half of their beds to private patients, people will begin to see how our hospitals will never be the same again if Cameron's Health Bill gets through Parliament. This free-market NHS re-organisation opens the door to an explosion of private work in the NHS, meaning longer waits for NHS patients. It takes us straight back to the bad old days of the Tory NHS, when the only choice patients had was to wait longer or pay to go private. Andrew Lansley was forced to reveal this 50% figure in an attempt to calm nerves in the Lords about his Health Bill. But, in doing so, he has only succeeded in bringing home to the public the full implications of his dangerous and flawed plans. What other free-market plans has he got in mind hat he's not telling us about? Time is running out for the NHS but it's not late. If public and professions stand together, we can stop this Americanisation of the NHS. If people want to do one thing to help the NHS this Christmas, they should take just a moment to sign the 'Drop the Bill' e-petition. Our arrogant Prime Minister needs to be reminded that nobody voted for this re-organisation and that he doesn't have a mandate to privatise England's precious NHS."

Banging the drum for Chinese New Year

LIVERPOOLíS Chinese New Year celebrations are just around the corner and organisers want residents to unleash the dragon within and get involved. For the 1st time a Water Dragon will hit the city streets, taking over Bold Street and the Ropewalks area as part of the festivities on Sunday, 22 January 2012.

Musical community organisation Urban Strawberry Lunch (USL), have created the special water dragon, which is around three metres long and made of old lanterns, fake fur, huge pipe cleaners and glitter balls! They are asking people of all ages to get involved in what will be called the Urban Ritual part of the parade, by bringing something they can play; from old pots and pans to hand held portable drums; giving a musical accompaniment to the performance!

There are short rehearsals taking place at 2pm on Friday, 20 January 2012 and Saturday, 21 January 2012, at St Lukeís Church, or people are welcome to turn up at the church with their music making utensils at 1.30pm on the Sunday.

Ambrose Reynolds, Artistic Director for USL, said:- "We love Chinese New Year. Itís one of those rare times when the whole city can gather together to celebrate. Weíre really looking forward to people getting involved with the Urban Water Dragon parade too Ė itís our chance to bring a bit of Dragon magic to Bold Street and have a bit of fun at the same time!"

Celebrations will take place between 11am and 4pm in the China town area including Nelson Street, Berry Street, Great George Street and Great George Square where at 1pm there will be a firecracker display. For the first time many performers will then move to Bold Street to perform outside the Chinese-related businesses.

The Water Dragon will entertain the crowds before and after the spectacular lion, dragon and unicorn parade, which takes place along Nelson Street and Bury Street just after 1pm.

The hugely successful Taste of China street market will also return be on a much larger scale than 2011 Ė with over 45 food &
craft stalls taking over Great George Street.

Liverpool city councilís cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "Chinese New Year is one of the highlights of our events calendar and itís wonderful to see part of the city centre taken over by the sights and smells of China! Bold Street is taking part in the celebrations for the first time, which Iím sure will mean thousands more people will join together to wish the Chinese community a healthy and happy new year."

Around 15,000 people are expected to take part in the festivities against the magnificent backdrop of Europeís biggest Chinese arch on Nelson Street.

For more information about taking part in the Water Dragon parade, call:- 0771 432 8415.

As a consequence of the event, and in the interests of public safety, there will be a significant number of roads closed in the area. General pedestrian access will be maintained at all times.

Road closures are as follows:-

Tai Chi Demonstrations take place from 8am on the 20 January 2012 to 8pm on the 23 January 2012, so road closure will take place on Hardy Street from its junction with Great George Street to its junction with Grenville Street South. Also from 8am on the 21 January 2012 to 8pm on the 22 January 2012, Nelson Street (entire length) will be closed.

Chinese New Year Celebrations take place from 6am up to and including 8pm on the 22 January 2012, on Great George Street, from its junction with St. James Street to its junction with Duke Street and Duke Street from its junction with Great George Street to its junction with Kent Street. Plus Upper Duke Street, from its junction with Great George Street to its junction with Rodney Street and Berry Street, from its junction with Bold Street to its junction with Duke Street. Road closures are also taking place on Nelson Street, from its junction with Great George Street to its junction with Upper Pitt Street. Grenville Street South (from its junction with Bailey Street to its junction with Cornwalis Street), Sankey Street (entire length), Griffiths Street (entire length), Seel Street, from its junction with Colquitt Street to its junction with Berry Street. Back Berry Street (entire length), Knight Street, from its junction with Berry Street to its junction with Rodney Street), Roscoe Street, from its junction with Leece Street to its junction with Upper Duke Street, Bold Place (entire length), Roscoe Lane (entire length), Back Knight Street (entire length), Cookson Street (entire length), Pitt Street (entire length), York Street (entire length), Raffles Street (entire length), Bold Street (from its junction with Berry Street to its junction with Newington).

The road closure are also taking place from 8am up to & including 8pm on the 22 January 2012 on Duke Street, from Great George Street at its junction with Hanover Street.

Alternative Route will be via either Leece Street, Hardman Street, Myrtle Street, Catherine Street, Upper Parliament Street and Great George Street; or Upper Parliament Street, Grove Street, Oxford Street, Mount Pleasant, Rodney Street or Clarence Street to follow other locally signed diversion routes.

All closures will be signed and staffed. They will remain in force for the duration stipulated in the 'Special Event Temporary Traffic Regulation Order' or such lesser time as indicated by the completion of the event.

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