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Issue:- 1 November  2012

Get Ready for Winter in Merseyside; prepare for severe weather with the Red Cross

THE British Red Cross is urging residents in Merseyside to gear up for severe weather as the nights draw in.  Snowfall, ice and heavy rain will likely threaten the UK throughout winter and can lead to flooding, road closures, dangerous driving conditions, and power cuts.  But there are simple steps everyone can take to help minimise the risk to yourself and others should the worst happen.

Tens of thousands of advice leaflets are currently being distributed across the country and will also target vulnerable groups such as isolated elderly people. The advice can also be found online.

Preparing an emergency kit at home and for the car can make a difference; being sure to include items like bottled water, contact numbers, insurance details, a torch, spare blanket and warm clothes.

The British Red Cross is conducting a year-long research project into the impact of flooding on households across the country, with 145 people who had first hand experience taking part, including people in Merseyside.

Initial findings show 75% of people said they did not have enough information about how to prepare before being flooded and were keen to have greater advice on what to do before and during severe weather.

Along with the physical damage 78% of people said flooding had a psychological impact; with anxiety, stress and depression being picked out as particular problems.

British Red Cross head of emergency planning and response Simon Lewis said:- "British weather is notoriously unpredictable but it is vital the public are prepared and ready to deal with the severe conditions that will inevitably affect some areas of the county over the next few months. By taking these simple steps and making an effort to look out for people in your community who might be vulnerable, you can make a huge difference."

The British Red Cross has advice on how to plan and prepare for severe weather at home and while on the move this winter. For more tips and information, go to:-

Royal set for regional first in breast cancer care

A revolutionary new service being pioneered at the Royal will help to speed up breast cancer results to see if a cancer has spread following surgery for breast cancer.

The One Step Nucleic Acid Amplification (OSNA) test is the first of its kind in the North West and will mean that patients will no longer have to wait up to 2 weeks to find out whether or not their cancer has spread to the lymph nodes (glands located in the arm pit). This service will help to reduce patients' anxiety and give them faster access to treatment.

Currently patients undergoing surgery for breast cancer will have some of their lymph nodes removed to check whether the cancer has spread. These lymph nodes are closely examined and it may take ten days for test results to be available; meaning an anxious wait for the patient. If the results show that a cancer has spread to the lymph nodes most patients will have another operation to remove more lymph nodes. This can mean a wait of a further 2 to 3 weeks for this additional surgery.

With the OSNA test, the lymph nodes can be tested during the initial breast cancer surgery and these results are available within 30 minutes. If the cancer has spread to the nodes, then surgeons can remove them during the same operation; saving the patient from an anxious wait for results and possibly more surgery with an extra admission to hospital.

Geraldine Mitchell, consultant breast surgeon said:- "This is a great step forward in breast cancer surgery and will benefit patients having their breast cancer treatment at the Royal. The OSNA test means that patients no longer have to wait two weeks to know whether or not their breast cancer has spread to their lymph nodes and then a further wait for additional surgery. The Royal is at the forefront of cancer care in Merseyside and we are delighted to be pioneering this new treatment."

The first patients to benefit from the OSNA test are set to undergo surgery over November 2012.

Keep warm and healthy – and you can stay seated

YOU can keep warm and healthy this winter from the comfort of your own chair.  That's one of the messages of this year's Liverpool Winter Survival campaign which was launched recently at Breck Road Library.

At the launch that was attended by nearly 100 residents, along with radio personality Pete Price, for the re-launched of the very successful 'Healthy Homes Chair' based exercise DVD.  It shows a fun-filled chair-based exercise routine for older people which they can do alongside Pete from the comfort of their own homes. The exercises help them to stay active and warm during the cold winter months when weather conditions may reduce their mobility. The DVD was released last year and is back due to popular demand. Copies of it are available from Radio City.

As well as picking up a DVD visitors were given information about how to prepare their homes for cold weather and how to keep themselves warms and safe.  At the launch event Winter warmer hats, blankets, thermal cups, thermal vests and socks were given out . Further Winter Survival road shows will be held at:-

►  5 November 2012, at the Spellow Lane Library, from 10am to 12 noon

►  12 November, at the Toxteth Library from 10am to 12 noon

►  20 November, at the Old Swan Library, from 12 noon to 2pm

►  28 November, at the Dovecot Library, from  12 noon to 2pm

The campaign is being run by Healthy Homes Programme team – a joint initiative by the City Council and Liverpool PCT.

Councillor Roz Gladden, Assistant Mayor, said:- "This is a very important campaign.  There is lots of practical advice on keeping warm and information how you can afford to pay for heating available and I would urge elderly people to make sure they take advantage of it and keep safe and warm this winter."

Further information about preparing for winter is available from:-

A twist on Dickens classics marks bicentenary

THE venue which played host to Charles Dickens and his famous penny readings is marking the author's bicentenary with two special performances.  St George's Hall's Concert Room, described by Dickens himself as:- "the most perfect room in the world", will play host to the unique A Christmas Carol; as told by Jacob Marley (deceased) and Fagin's Last Hour.   Both productions, which will be showcased in November, have been written by critically acclaimed James Hyland who also takes centre stage in the impressive one man plays.

A Christmas Carol; as told by Jacob Marley (deceased) takes place on Tuesday, 13 November 2012.  The story; as told by Jacob Marley (deceased) has already been a huge box office hit in London's West End and in their review, The Stage said people were bound to be 'enthralled' by the production. Suitable for those from seven years of age and upwards, it is told from the perspective of Scrooge's deceased business partner, delivering thrills, chills as he recounts the tale of his miserly business partner, Ebenezer Scrooge, and the path that lead to his redemption.

Fagin's Last Hour on Wednesday, 14 November 2012.  This adaptation of Oliver Twist and gives a never before seen insight into the character of Fagin the Miser, 1 hour before his execution. This ground-breaking stage production gives the audiences a new perspective on one of literature's most controversial villains and was described by The Dickensian (the official journal of The Dickens Fellowship) as "powerfully portrayed".

Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "The Concert Room is the perfect venue for these productions; not only was it a favourite of Charles Dickens, but the acoustics and the beautiful surroundings make it an extra special experience for the audience. The positive reviews James Hyland has received so far are sure to increase demand for these unique events and so I'd recommend people book their tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!"

James Hyland said:- "I'm absolutely delighted to be performing at St George's Hall Concert Room. To be performing my own one-man show adaptations of two of Charles Dickens' finest works, namely 'Oliver Twist' and 'A Christmas Carol', is a very great honour indeed, especially considering the fact that Dickens had performed his own reduced versions of the aforementioned novels in the very same venue; a venue of immense grandeur and history. Dickens' performances of 'Sikes and Nancy' and 'A Christmas Carol' were world-renowned, performed with a passion and conviction unheard of prior to their release. Following in his footsteps, I greatly look forward to performing in this magnificent venue."

St George's Hall is presenting the productions in partnership with Brother Wolf Productions in association with Harrogate Theatre.  Tickets are £12 per person (£10 concessions) and can be bought  online or by calling:- 0844 8000 410.

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