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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 101

Date:- 31 May 2003

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New £56 million drive to reduce blindness and impaired vision

A new drive for priority NHS cataract operations launched earlier this week by Health Secretary Alan Milburn backed by specific funding of £56 million to deliver shorter waiting list and times.

Building on recent success in reducing waiting times and waiting lists for hospital operations in general, the objective is to deliver shorter waiting times for patients so that no cataract patient is waiting more than three months by December 2004, with most areas achieving this by the summer of 2004.

At present, at least 50,000 elderly patients are waiting over 3 months for cataract treatment. By the age of 75, a quarter of all people will have developed a cataract. The condition causes impaired vision and if left untreated and can result in blindness. 

Alongside extra operations in NHS hospitals, a new generation of NHS and independent sector DTC’s will make a major contribution to the drive to reduce waiting for cataract operations. By 2004, the DTC programme will be providing almost 30,000 additional cataract operations - A further £4 million will fund the piloting of improvements to services to patients suffering from chronic eye disease and low vision.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn said, "Across the board waiting times are coming down in the NHS. The hard work and commitment of NHS staff is helping deliver faster, better, services for patients. The NHS is turning the corner.

We can now combine the extra resources and reforms we are putting into the NHS to drive down waiting times for cataract operations. Giving patients a greater choice over where they are treated and using both NHS and private sector surgery centres will help unlock shorter waiting times.

Too many older people are still waiting too long for treatment. This new drive will improve the quality of life for thousands of NHS patients."

Help the Aged's Head of Policy Tessa Harding said:- "We warmly welcome the increase in funds for cataract operations and other eye conditions. Good vision is one of the elements that enable older people to lead full and active lives. Investment in helping older people stay healthy makes thoroughly good sense."

Dream prize for England’s Northwest Dream Team Winner
LAST month the Northwest Development Agency in partnership with the BBC launched a unique competition to find England’s Northwest XI ‘dream team’, aiming to raise awareness of the region in the build up to the UEFA Champions League Final at Old Trafford. 

A spectacular 10,000 entries were considered, but there could be only one winner of the prize of two VIP tickets to the UEFA Champions League Final, which went to Jimmy McAllister from Didsbury in Manchester. 

Jimmy selected the very same dream team as top TV pundit and veteran Liverpool defender, Alan Hansen, in order to bag this excellent prize, which also involves a stay in luxury Manchester hotel, The Lowry, and a dinner for 2 at a top Manchester restaurant. 

Ten runners-up have also been selected to receive a framed drawing of England’s Northwest XI, signed by Alan Hansen. 

Peter Mearns, NWDA Director of Marketing, said:- “England’s Northwest has a rich history of sporting excellence and the UEFA Champions League final is an excellent opportunity to promote this on a national scale. There has been an overwhelming response to the England’s Northwest dream team competition and I send my congratulations to Jimmy and hope he makes the most of this fantastic prize.”



HEALTH Minister Jacqui Smith today launched 'What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused', a clear and concise booklet for people who have concerns about the welfare of children. A summary that provides easily accessible, step-by-step action points will also be available for a wide variety of staff who have day-to-day contact with children. Together, the booklet and its summary will reach over one million people and will mean that, for the first time, all will be working from the same succinct set of advice.

'What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused' has been published in response to the practice recommendations raised in the Victoria Climbie Inquiry Report. In the Report, Lord Laming highlighted the fact that there were many different documents available to professionals working in child protection and that the procedures could be confused. In addition, he said there was also a problem with the use of out of date guidance. 

Jacqui Smith said, "The Government is committed to improving safeguards for children.  'What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused' will help to protect those children who may be at risk. It is shorter and more user-friendly than existing guidance and will help those with concerns to know what to do and how to do it.

By publishing a single set of advice for all those whose work brings them into contact with children, we expect to eliminate any need for local bodies to produce their own. This is in direct response to Lord Laming's concern about the amount of out-of-date local guidance that he found in the services involved with Victoria Climbie.

More importantly, by providing an easy-to-use condensed version of the main document, we are ensuring that staff on the front line are equipped with something of real practical use to help them do their job.

The booklet will also be supported by a comprehensive training resource, details of which we will be announcing later in the year."

Thursday 12 June doors 8pm

Rawhide Comedy @ Southport Arts Centre continues with another night of sidesplitting comedy featuring comedians Keith Carter as ‘Nige’, voted Comedian of the Year at the Liverpool Echo Arts Awards 2002, and Jack Russell, winner of the Buxton Festival Best Comedy Show 2000. 

The evening’s compere David Mulrooney aka R David will ensure that you can relax and enjoy a drink at your table whilst being entertained by some of the finest comedians around, specially selected by Rawhide Comedy one of the most experienced comedy promoters in the country.

Tickets are priced at £8 (£6 concessions) available from the Box Office on (01704) 540011.
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