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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 104

Date:- 21 June 2003

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ON the 4th June, David Lammy, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, informed all Community Health Councils in England that their abolition date of 1st September 2003 would be changed to 1st December 2003.

Margaret Yarwood, Chief Officer of Southport and Formby CHC, stated:-

"The government has eventually yielded to pressure from CHCs, MPs and other organisations to accept that Patient Forums, one of the new organisations to replace CHCs, will not be viable on September 1st. It has been agreed that patients, carers and the public would suffer if CHCs were to close in September."

Community Health Councils waited two and a half years for an abolition date. Once government announced the date, an exit strategy was implemented. This was a phased approach to closing the CHC by the 1st September 2003.

David Lammy's about-turn will cause problems. Some CHCs will not have premises on 1st September and many have already lost staff, who have moved on as abolition was imminent. Fortunately, fully staffed and with committed membes, Southport and Formby CHC have been running a comprehensive service whilst moving towards September closure. It is hoped to continue offering this service until 1st December 2003.
Harry Potter mania struck our area, like the rest of Britain as
JK Rowling’s new book , "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", became available to the public after midnight on 21st June. In Formby, the queue stretched from Pritchards’ Book Shop right back along Chapel St to Elbow Lane with adults and excited children eager to obtain their precious volume. Similar queues formed in Southport, a scene duplicated in many other places throughout the land.
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SCIENCE Minister Lord Sainsbury today welcomed the award of a key contract worth about 30 million euros to a UK firm to lead the development of Europe's first satellite navigation system.
The European Space Agency has announced that a consortium led by Surrey Satellites Technology Ltd, will build the first satellite for the Galileo System Test Bed v2 (GSTBv2) demonstrator.

Lord Sainsbury said, "The European Space Agency's decision to award such an important contract to a UK company is recognition of the leading edge innovation and expertise in our space industry.
"SSTL have a proven track record in building small, innovative satellites for specialised needs and in producing high technology solutions to challenging timescales."

Galileo is the European programme to develop and operate its own satellite system for navigation, positioning and timing applications. It will improve traffic management systems for all transport and in commercial, industrial and other strategic areas. 

The GSTBv2 will be the technology demonstrator satellite for Galileo. It will enable equipment manufacturers and ground service providers to develop equipment as well as proving the compatibility and interoperability with GPS.

ESA believe that SSTL can meet the challenging timescale required for mission objectives to be met. This requires delivery of the satellite to ESA by July 2005 in order to ensure that the launch can take place in Q3 of 2005 to secure the required radio frequencies for the Galileo programme.
Lord Sainsbury added, "It is satisfying to see that Astrium UK too has been rewarded for their continuing efforts in the development of Galileo.
With the Government's continued investment in Galileo there will be more opportunity for UK industry to become involved in the development of this satellite programme, maintaining the UK's leading position in the research and development of space technologies now and in the future."
The SSTL bid, based around a MOSAIC - GEMINI platform is a project led by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd to develop a low cost small geostationary communications satellite, to support a diverse range of services such as telephone, television and radio.

Lord Sainsbury launched the project funded through the British National Space Center's MOSAIC programme, in 1999, in which the GEMINI project received £4.25m support from BNSC.
The purpose of this support is to co-fund initial demonstration missions in partnership with UK companies and users, to stimulate the market for the development of key small satellite technologies and payloads, to ensure full commercial and user exploitation of the UK small satellite capability, and maintain a competitive manufacturing base in the UK.

Report with thanks to SEDS and ESA

Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.