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Issue:- 21 March 2013

EU takes action on dangerous chemicals

LABOUR MEPs supported EU action to ensure that chemicals found in everyday household products including food packaging, skin care products, cosmetics, building materials, certain electronic goods, furniture and floorings are safe in the future.

An overwhelming majority of MEPs, voting in a full session in Strasbourg, supported further research leading to regulation on so-called 'endocrine disruptors'.

An endocrine disruptor is a substance which alters the function of the body's hormone system and then causes adverse health effects.

"Children are regularly in contact with some of the products where these chemicals are found. Consumers should be able to expect the highest possible safety standards for everything we buy on the European Single Market. There are alarming trends linking a number of diseases and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. Current chemicals legislation is insufficient for establishing whether a substance has endocrine-disrupting properties. More research is still needed and tough EU action needs to be taken." said Local Labour Euro MP and consumer champion Arlene McCarthy. 

Today's legislation would:-

(1) Ensure the criteria for endocrine disrupting properties are based on comprehensive hazard assessments using the latest science, taking into account potential combination and long-term effects.

(2) Ensure the European Commission reviews all relevant legislation by June 2015 with a view to reducing human exposure, especially among vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children, to endocrine disrupting chemicals.

(3) Set no 'safe upper limit' for endocrine disruptors unless manufacturers can provide scientific evidence that there is a threshold under which no adverse effects occur.

(4) Ask the European Commission to develop research methods which minimise animal testing.

Public welcome at Trust board meeting

SOUTHPORT and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust will hold its next board meeting on Wednesday, 27 March 2013, from 9am. The meeting will be held in the Board Room in the Corporate Management Office at Southport and Formby District General Hospital. 

Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe the meeting. Anyone with a special requirement should contact the Trust in advance on:- 01704 704714. 

The agenda will be available on the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital's Trust website in advance of the meeting. Supporting papers will be made available on the day.

National Army Cadet Band Band Concert

THE National Army Cadet Band and Corps of Drums are to perform at Formby Sports and Social Club (formerly Formby Royal British Legion Club), Whitehouse Lane L37 3LT on Tuesday, 2 April 2013, at 7:30pm. Admission £5 on the door, concessions £3.for information ring:- 01704 871927 or 01704 874101. This event was held for the 1st time last year and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Half the proceeds goes to the Poppy Appeal to help service and ex-service personnel, the other half goes to provide instruments for the Band..


NHS workers including nurses, paramedics, therapists and midwives face another year of financial hardship following the Governments decision to impose a 1% increase. Condemning the 1%, UNISON the union which represents 450,000 health workers, said that the "squeeze on pay coming on the back of a 2 year pay freeze has left many health workers and their families struggling to make ends meet".

The union hit out at the Government for undermining the independence and integrity of the Pay Review Body system saying that imposing a 1% increase, means that inflation will have stripped up to 12% off the value of NHS wages.

Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health, went on to say:- "What kind of message does it send to health workers about the value this Government places on their work? And what incentive is there for young people to join the NHS when they are so undervalued?  Freezing and squeezing pay is crushing morale and heaping financial misery on more than a million NHS workers. At the same time, the NHS is going through a massive reorganisation and staff are dealing with job cuts, rationing and ever increasing patient numbers.  Low pay is still a massive issue in the NHS, with thousands of staff being paid less than the Living Wage of £7.45 per hour."

The union has reported more health workers including nurses turning to its welfare fund for help with rising fuel bills, debt advice and emergency loans.

UNISON's Evidence to the Pay Review Body built up a picture of the pressures facing staff including:-

► The competitive position of public sector pay against the private sector has been declining, with the gulf between private and public sector pay settlements growing ever larger over the last year and average earnings in the private sector running ahead of the public sector for most of the year.

► In the NHS, tiered pension contribution increases are likely to lead to a further reduction in take home pay, varying between 0% and 6% by 2015.

The NHS non-medical workforce shrank by 2.1% over 2010/11. Thousands have suffered redundancy and estimates put expected job losses around the 50,000 mark.

► While staffing has been contracting, demand for services is on the rise across most of the NHS. Signs of stress are also showing on service delivery, with the largest fall ever recorded on public satisfaction levels by the British Social Attitudes Survey backed up by staff perceptions of decline in the quality of care. Furthermore, sustained pay suppression has undoubtedly fuelled industrial tension across the service.

► Incredibly, the vacancy data so crucial to assessing the competitive position of pay in the NHS has not been collected in England for the past 2 years. However, Scotland is showing vacancy rates on the rise.

► Projected commissioning of most professional groups within the NHS continued to show a decline after the major falls over 2011/12.

► It is anticipated that NHS finances will be under acute pressure from the Government's reduction in the NHS financial settlement. Nonetheless, the NHS in England recorded a surplus of £1.6bn for the 2011/12 financial year and foundation trusts are predicting a further surplus of £326m. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also shown surpluses in their most recent accounts;

► The latest estimate of the impact of planned incremental rises from the Department of Health puts the annual increase in paybill costs at 1%, though a third of staff do not benefit from increments as they are at the top of their pay band.

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