Discounts for local
Mersey Tunnel users and budget savings to the Combined Authority
REDUCING the level of funding from
the local authorities for Merseytravel's operations, discounts for Mersey
Tunnels' Fast Tag users and a freeze on cash tolls were supported by the
Merseytravel Committee at its meeting.
Members considered Merseytravel's budget recommendations which include
reducing the transport levy for the second year running on local authorities
from £113.7m 2015/16 to £105.4m for 2016/17, which equates to a reduction of
over £22 million in the last 2 financial years.
These savings have been made possible through reduced operating costs and
additional income generated by Merseytravel as part of its medium term
Savings have also been made through efficiencies over a number of years
including more efficient service delivery and savings in our commissioning
and procurement processes.
As part of the budget setting process, Merseytravel also agreed its
Corporate Plan for next year and identified improving connectivity for the
City Region, developing a City Region Bus Strategy, delivering its own
transport services effectively, promoting affordable public transport and
supporting the Combined Authority as its 5 key priorities for next year.
At the same meeting, Members also supported four proposals regarding the
Tunnel Tolls and a £27.8m grant to Merseytravel for the safe operation and
management of the tunnels on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Combined
A task group, set up at the request of the Combined Authority to review the
Tunnel tolls, put forward recommendations that form part of the proposals
regarding the tolls for 2016/17.
The proposals include a freeze on cash tolls, increasing the Fast Tag
discount by 20p for Class 1 vehicles; with proportionate discounts for
other classes of vehicles, allowing all emergency services liveried vehicles
free travel through the Mersey Tunnels and free travel for all users between
10pm on 24 December and 6am on 26 December each year in recognition that
public transport services are not available during these times.
Said Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of the Merseytravel Committee:-
"It has been our policy for many years to drive down costs and as a result
significantly reduce the levy required from the Combined Authority while
still demonstrating value for money. As a result, councils are able to
retain more funds to support directly delivered services at a time when
they, like all public bodies, are being required to do more with less. This
year's budget proposals reflect that commitment as we have reduced the levy
again this year, and by 17% over 2 years, and we have a package of proposed
savings measures for consideration. Merseytravel has achieved this by making
significant savings in the cost of managing our assets and in the operation
of our direct services. We are also looking to retain the resources we need
to deliver our corporate priorities for the benefit of the Liverpool City
Region from taking forward big infrastructure projects to further developing
smart ticketing and our work in improving Merseyside's connectivity through
Transport for the North. In relation to the Mersey Tunnels, the
proposed tolls will result in savings and targeting discounts through the
Fast Tag scheme is the best way to help regular and local users. The savings
for even infrequent users are still significant at the rates of discount
that are being recommended and I would urge all Tunnel users to consider
Fast Tag even if they are not using them every day."
As the Mersey Tunnels are now assets of the Liverpool City Region Combined
Authority, it will consider the recommendations made by the Merseytravel
Committee and take a final decision on the level of tolling and budget
setting at its meeting.
Wirral NHS Trust leads
the way in global fight against Alzheimer's
STAFF and patients at Wirral mental
health Trust CWP are taking part in a pioneering research programme that
could lead to a new way combat Alzheimer's.
Members of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's (CWP)
research team, led by Consultant Psychiatrist Joe Ferran, along with 6 local
service users, are working with Swiss pharmaceutical and research company AC
Immune to trial a brand new vaccine that inhibits the growth of the
neurofibrillary tangles in the brain (a typical characteristic of the
disease) and aims to slow the cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease.
CWP is working closely with colleagues in the Clinical Research Unit at
Royal Liverpool Hospital to provide the trial therapy to 6 Wirral-based
patients. This is a significant number of the programme's overall patient
cohort, which includes just ten in the UK and 24 globally. If successful,
the vaccine, called ACI-35, could pave the way for a simple jab that slows
the effects of the disease.
Dr Anushta Sivananthan, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director at CWP,
said:- "I am delighted that CWP is able to be at the forefront of such
international research. There are currently over 850,000 people in the UK
living with dementia, and Alzheimer's makes up 62% of these cases. Research
into this field is absolutely vital, and as an NHS Trust we are committed to
working in partnership to do all we can to support research and innovation
in this area as well as provide care to existing sufferers."
Pat Mottram, CWP Research and Effectiveness Manager, said:- "We had to
screen over 1500 people to ensure we found suitable people for this study.
We have just finished recruiting for this phase of the trial. If the results
look promising then we will be recruiting further patients in late summer."
Junior doctors' industrial action,
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
public is being asked to use NHS hospital services responsibly again ahead
of industrial action by junior doctors planned to take place on Wednesday, 10 February
It is the 2nd strike by junior doctors in their dispute with Government
over a new contract. The 24 hour strike will start at 8am, on Wednesday, 10
February 2016 and run until 8am, on Thursday, 11 February 2016. It will affect all hospital
services except emergency care.
Rob Gillies, Executive Medical Director, said the Trust was working with
doctors not affected by the strike, nurses and other clinical staff on
robust plans to ensure that appropriate care was delivered. "Many of
the planned services our hospitals provide will be affected and we are in
touch with the patients concerned. However, if you have an appointment on
Wednesday and haven't heard from us, we still want to see you."
The following services are not affected by the strike:-
► Ear, nose and throat (ENT)
► Maxillo-facial care
► Children's services
► Maternity care
Mr Gillies added:-
"Patients in need of emergency hospital care will continue to receive
the treatment they need when they need it. In all cases priority will be
given to those patients with the most pressing health needs.
A&E is for medical emergencies and people facing life-threatening conditions
such as serious accidents, serious burns, breathing problems, heart attacks
Anyone who needs help in such circumstances should not hesitate in calling:-
999. There are other healthcare options available for less serious
situations; such as visiting your pharmacist or GP, calling NHS:- 111 or
using NHS Choices (NHS.UK)."