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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 96

Date:- 26  April 2003

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LIVERPOOL has won national praise for its efforts to beat the problem of bed blocking in the city's hospitals.

Director of the Social Services Inspectorate in the region Richard Jones described the hard work of social services and NHS staff as a 'significant achievement', which had seen Liverpool more than meet its bed blocking targets.

The target, set nationally, was that no more than 47 people should be in hospital beds in the city once declared fit to leave at any one time. The average over March this year was 32.

Executive member for health and social care Dr Jeremy Chowings said, "Our number one priority is to make sure elderly and often vulnerable people are supported in every way in what can be a difficult time. We have also made it clear that it is not acceptable to remain in a hospital bed just because there is no place immediately available in your first choice of residential home."

"Of course people can go on a waiting list for their choice of home, but in the meantime we want to make sure they move to intermediate or transitional care while they wait for their place."

"This new policy is proving to be a great success, and we're delighted to win national praise - once more - for our efforts."

Hospital, primary care trust and city council bosses have all been working closely together over the last two years to try to tackle the bed-blocking problem. In January this year, new guidelines were launched and issued to both hospital and social services staff. They state that no one should be in a hospital bed when they no longer need hospital care - and set a limit of two weeks for someone to move out.

At the moment around a third of people still in hospital but judged fit to leave, are there because they have chosen a residential care home which is full, and do not want to go anywhere else in the meantime.

Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust Maggie Boyle said, "We've been working with Liverpool City Council over the last couple of years and have been delighted with the progress made in reducing the levels of delayed discharges in our hospital wards. They've benefited those patients who have completed their treatment and are leaving us, and those waiting to come into hospital."

TOURISM officers in Southport are celebrating this week after securing sponsorship for two of Sefton's major events 

Benedictine liqueur, which plays a key role in community life through sponsoring regional events, has just announced that it will be supporting this year's Southport Jazz Festival and the Summer Classics.

Lord Fearn, Sefton's Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Tourism, said:- "The Jazz Festival and Summer Classics are two of the town's most popular events and an association with high profile sponsors like Benedictine reflects the growing status of Southport as an events destination."

Benedictine’s rumoured healing powers of the liqueur stretch back to World War I, when the British soldiers of the East Lancashire 11th Battalion based in Fecamp, France, during the winter of 1918-19, first developed a taste for Benedictine. Drinking the liqueur mixed with hot water, they discovered that a 'Bene n' Hot' as they called it was an excellent way to keep the winter chills at bay.

However, the summer months call for something more refreshing and visitors to Southport Jazz Festival and the Summer Classics will be able to sample a 'Bene n' Tonic', a long cool drink of Benedictine, tonic water, a twist of lemon and plenty of ice.

Jonathan Kirkham, UK Brand Manager for Benedictine, said:- "In supporting these events, Benedictine remains an intrinsic part of the social calendar in this area. The Southport music festivals are an opportunity for the community and visitors to enjoy their favourite music accompanied by a flavoursome tipple of Benedictine."


THE LORD Mayor of Liverpool is signing off in style - thanks to a massive cash boost for his chosen charities.

A Liverpool Direct scheme to save money and help keep council tax as low as possible has boosted the Lord Mayor's charity coffers - to the tune of £13,000.

The huge donation is the result of Liverpool Direct Limited successful drive to get as many people as possible to pay their council tax by direct debit.

Setting up direct debits with customers is generating massive savings by cutting down on bureaucracy and paperwork. In February, the city council agreed that for new people to sign up to pay their council tax by direct debit, £5 would go to a charitable cause.

Councillor Spriggs said, "I was completely shocked when I heard about this huge donation. Staff at the Town Hall have worked hard all year to raise as much money as possible for my chosen charities, and this gift means we have surpassed all our expectations."

"As my year in office draws to a close, I'm delighted to get this wonderful surprise. The money will make a real difference for many needy people."

The city council's executive member for resources, Councillor Chris Curry, said, "Our direct debits scheme has been a huge success, saving us money, which we are using to continually improve services. It is also allowing us to provide an efficient service for customers."

"I'm delighted that the scheme is also helping us change people's lives, by giving the Lord Mayor's charity fund a huge boost." 

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THE Health and Safety Executive Construction Division is set to target major causes of accidents and ill health in the construction industry during 2003/04 and has identified further priority areas.

In its Annual Work Plan, the HSE Construction Division outlines its priorities and approach for working with industry and unions to address critical health and safety issues. The Annual Work Plan designed to work towards achieving the revitalising Health and Safety targets the construction industry set for itself, and is complementary to the work of the Strategic Forum.

Priority issues identified again this year include falls from height and management of site transport, which together cause most fatal injuries. Occupational ill health problems caused by manual handling, hand-arm vibrations and noise induced hearing loss will also be targeted.

New priorities for the HSE Construction Division in 2003/04 are slips and trips, which last year caused 26% of major injuries, and temporary traffic management standards at road works on high-speed roads.

Kevin Myers, Chief Inspector for Construction and head of the Construction Division said today:- "While there are some signs that the industry is beginning to improve on its poor health and safety record, there is no room for complacency."

"The Construction Division's Annual Work Plan seeks to identify the priority areas and outlines HSE's commitment to working with industry and unions to further improve health and safety in construction." 

Building on last year's work, the plans for 2003/04 targets duty holders within the industry, intermediaries and others that have responsibility for and influence over health and safety on site. For example, last year HSE inspectors targeted eight government sponsors of major construction work in the UK. This work will continue through 2003/04, to make sure that projects sponsored by government operate on best practice principles. 

The HSE Construction Division will also build on the success of the Working Well Together campaign. This campaign uses local safety and health awareness days (SHAD's) around the country, to reach small businesses and sole traders, who are able to attend free of charge and learn what they can do to improve health, safety and welfare arrangements. Last year approximately 2,300 people attended a SHAD, with a similar target aimed to be reached this year.

In 2003/04 HSE's core business of responding to complaints, conducting investigations, inspecting sites and taking enforcement action will continue, but will be more focused on the priority issues.

Kevin Myers continued, "HSE formed the Construction Division a year ago, providing a new focus of HSE resources and effort on working with industry to improve health and safety in construction."

"Much of the work that is planned for 2003/04 will build on projects that began in 2002/03. Successful initiatives, such as the rolling inspection blitzes, will continue, along with more targeted programmes."

"Our priorities remain to reduce the toll of deaths and serious accidents caused by poor transport management and falls from height, reduce the toll of ill-health caused by manual handling, noise and hand-arm vibration, and to prevent slips and trips through a concerted campaign on poor house-keeping and storage of materials and equipment." 

"In the long-term, by developing a competent workforce at all levels, with greater commitment and better communication and co-operation across the procurement supply chain, we can together attain improvements in business, and therefore in health and safety, performance."

Andy Sneddon, Health and Safety Director of the Construction Confederation said, "HSE continue to show a determined focus on the challenges facing UK construction. In particular, I welcome the renewed vigour in driving the message through government departments who procure construction work that features in this years plan. The continued focus on reaching smaller contractors is also of utmost importance as we all strive for an industry where no contractor can use shoddy health and safety practices to gain competitive advantage."

Tom Mellish, TUC Health and Safety Policy Officer said: "The TUC welcomes the acknowledgement in the Annual Work Plan that the involvement of, and consultation with, the work force and their representatives is crucial in improving the construction sector's deplorable safety record."

"The TUC also welcomes the priority given to occupational health issues. The provision of a comprehensive occupational health service is something that both government and the construction industry must address."

"The establishment of the Construction Division was a positive move towards improving the safety record of the construction industry. The TUC looks forward to working with the HSE, and employers, in the delivery of the Construction Division's programme of work that addresses key issues facing the industry today."

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