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News Report Page 13 of 22
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Ambulance communicators recognised as 'unsung heroes'

RECOGNISED for their creative campaigns and quirky social media tactics, North West Ambulance Service's (NWAS) Communications Team has been celebrated at the Unsung Hero Awards 2020. Taking place at The Hilton Hotel, Manchester, on 28 February 2020, the Unsung Hero Awards are exclusively for non-medical, non-clinical NHS staff and volunteers whose achievements go above and beyond in support of our National Health Service. With tough competition from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the team took home the award in a new category for 2020, NHS Communications.

Recognised for:- "launching successful campaigns that are set to make a positive difference to both staff and the general public's lives," the judges' comments reflected on the team's winter campaign which made people aware of actions they could take to stay well and what to do when needing help.

The campaign used popular phrases and cheeky acronyms such as:- 'fake news' and 'WTF - ways to fail' to grab attention and highlight real life examples of people who had used 999 inappropriately.

Working on all aspects of communications, the team is also responsible for the trust's press office and an out of hours service as well as internal and external communications, public affairs, stakeholder and community engagement, FOI requests, videography, social media and the trust's web and intranet content.

In their nomination, managers cited the work of the communications team as:- "boosting staff morale, when staff were really feeling the pressure."

Salman Desai, Director of Strategy and Planning at NWAS said:- "It's fantastic to be recognised at this prestigious national awards ceremony. The team are great at shouting about the achievements of their colleagues so it's a real treat for them to take centre stage and be celebrated for their hard work too. The team supports all the services the trust provides from our 999 emergency response, to patient transport, NHS 111 and corporate projects. They act as the voice of the organisation and aim is to bring to life our organisation's vision and values through compelling narrative that connects with our wide variety of stakeholders. Putting patients at the heart of everything they do, the team use creative and innovative approaches to make their messages stand out whilst using money responsibly. This award is great achievement and very well deserved, I am incredibly proud."

Worry over National Living Wage and Social Care Prevision

THE UK Government announced on 31 December 2019 that the National Living Wage for over 25 year olds is to increase from ₤8.21 to ₤8.72 on 1 April 2020, that is a 6.2% from the current level.  This sounds good, but this increase will cost Council's an extra ₤220 million this year; this is to cover increased contract costs to Home Care and Residential Care providers.  If every Social Care Authority uses the 2% Council Tax Social Care precept this year they will raise around ₤570 million for Social Care Services. This means over a 3rd of this extra Council Tax income would be at risk of being swallowed up by covering the cost of this NLW increase rather than improving social care services. Councils support the National Living Wage, but residents should not be left to pick up the bill for new national policies. The Local Government Association's Resources Board are calling on the Government to provide additional funding to Councils to meet this additional cost.

Responding to research by CIPFA into Council Tax increases this year, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association's Resources Board, said:- "Faced with ongoing funding pressures such as homelessness and looking after vulnerable children, Councils continue to be left with little choice, but to ask residents to pay more to help them try and protect their local services. This will help offset some of the financial pressures they face this year, but more than a third of the extra Council Tax income for Adult Social Care Services will be needed to meet the cost of paying for the Government's unforeseen increase in the National Living Wage this year. Council's within England face an overall funding gap of almost ₤6.5 billion by 2025 just to cover basic inflationary and demographic pressures. Council Tax income cannot be expected to plug the growing funding gaps they face. The Budget and the Spending Review need to provide a sustainable, long term funding settlement for Councils which means they can improve services and not just keep them going."

Will this affect you? What our reader's thoughts, your thoughts, on this issue?  Please email them to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com and let us know!

Blind people from Merseyside invited to influence change

THE SLC is holding its VI Forums, on Friday, 13 March 2020, in Liverpool, where people who are bind or partially sighted can share what challenges they face and discuss what improvements could be made. Iain Mitchell, Engagement Manager for Merseyside Sight Loss Council, said:- "The Forum is a pivotal opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to have their voices heard by sharing the challenges they face in the local area. This feedback is crucial and will directly influence priorities for our work." VI Forums are a place where bind or partially sighted people can learn more about the Sight Loss Council's recent work, such as encouraging shops in the City Centre to consider people with visual impairments in their layout and lighting and working with transport providers to introduce features that help blind and partially sighted people know they have got on the right bus. People will be able to share their experiences at the forum; what challenges and issues they have faced in and around the City - to help shape the future activities of the Council. There will be an opportunity to hear from guest speakers on the important issues that are affecting local people and network with other blind or partially sighted residents.  The event will take place Friday, 13 March 2020, from 11am to 1pm, at:- 'Bradbury Fields Centre For Blind and Partially Sighted People,' that is located on:- Youens Way, West Derby, Liverpool, L14 2EP. Places are limited at the event so people should book a place via the website. There is no charge to attend this event and refreshments will be provided. Please visit the Sight Loss Council website to book a place:- SightLossCouncils.Org.UK.

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