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Environmental Information Regulations

Information about the environment, such as details about how much energy we use, falls within The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). You can make a request for information under the EIR the same way as you make an FOI request. However your request will be subject to the regulations governing EIR. Click here for details

Making an EIR request

The Environmental Information Regulations deal with environmental information held by public authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Environmental information is divided into the following six main areas:

  • the state of the elements of the environment, such as air, water, soil, land, fauna (including people)
  • emissions and discharges (gases and fluids), noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances
  • measures and activities such as policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment
  • reports, cost-benefit and economic analyses
  • the state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain
  • cultural sites and built structures (as they may be affected by environmental factors)

The Code of Practice on the discharge of the obligations of public authorities under EIR sets out good practice recommendations for public authorities to follow in meeting their obligations under the Regulations.

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Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests can be made by anyone from anywhere in the world. The Act is one of the ways to make sure that all public organisations are open and accountable. The FOI’s Section 46 Code of Practice details what recorded information we have a duty to provide when we receive a request. We will always try to provide the details that you request but sometimes this will not be possible because the Act says the information is ‘exempt’

Scroll down this page to find out all you need to know about FOIs and making an FOI request. All the details you need are contained under the following headings:

  • How to make an FOI request
  • How we will deal with your request
  • FOI publication scheme
  • Our FOI policies and procedures
  • When and why we need to change for FOIs
  • How to make an FOI complaint
  • Confidentiality 

How to make an FOI request

Before making an FOI request, look at our Publication Scheme as the information may already be there.

If you can’t find the information you want, you can make a request:

  • By email –
  • By fax –
  • In writing – Patient Advice and Liaison Service Customer Solutions Centre Cheshire & Merseyside Commissioning Support Unit3rd Floor

FOI requests must be in writing, as we cannot accept telephone requests. Remember to include your contact details and describe the information that you require in as much detail as you can.

How we will deal with your request

We will send you written acknowledgement of your request by email or post within 2 working days.

You will be given a unique reference number that you should use in any correspondence concerning your request.

  • We will let you know if we do not hold the information requested as soon as we can
  • We may need to contact you to ask you to clarify what information you are requesting if it is not clear enough
  • We will try to provide you with the information that you have requested within 20 working days
  • Occasionally, it may take longer than 20 days because we need to consider if the information you are asking for is exempt from disclosure
  • If some or all of the information that you have requested is exempt from disclosure we will let you know why it is not available, with a reference to the relevant sections of the Act

Publication scheme

The FOI Act requires public authorities to have an approved publication scheme. A publication scheme is designed to help members of the public find information which CCG proactively publishes.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has developed approved model publication schemes that public authorities must adopt.

The Publication Scheme:

  • sets out the types of information that we as a public authority routinely publish;
  • explains the way we can provide the information;
  • states what charges we can make for providing information; and
  • provides and maintains a guide to the information we will provide, how we will provide it, and details any charges that apply

See our FOI publication scheme.

Our FOI policies and procedures

Read our policy for handling FOI requests

When and why we need to change for FOIs 

Most of the information we provide is free. However, if we need to make a charge we will notify you as soon as possible and issue you with a fee note and how to pay if you want to go ahead.

Sometimes the information you are requesting may take longer to gather than the ‘appropriate limit’. When this happens we will tell you that we will need to charge a fee. There may be ways to get the information you need without a cost by changing your initial request and we will help you to try and do that.

The appropriate limit is set out in the FOI Fee Regulations as being £450 for an NHS body. This means that we have to consider if it would take staff more than 18 hours to:

  • Determine
  • Locate
  • Retrieve and extract the information

An NHS body can also make an appropriate charge for:

  • Photocopying
  • Putting into a different format for instance where requested to transfer to CD
  • Providing a reasonable opportunity to inspect the information
  • Postage and packaging

How to make an FOI complaint

If you have a complaint regarding our publication scheme or any aspect of the way that we have dealt with your request you should contact Insert contact details

If you are not happy with a decision to apply an exemption to some or all of the information that you have requested, you should ask for an internal review of the decision. You can do this by sending a letter to the insert contact details or by e-mail to the FOI mailbox:

If you are still not happy following a formal internal review you have the right to ask for a review by the Information Commissioner. You can contact the Information Commissioners Office at the following address:

Office of the Information Commissioner

Confidentiality

The Freedom of Information Act does not change your rights and the rights of our staff to confidentiality. Maintaining your legal right to confidentiality continues to be an important commitment on our part.

To help with this, we have appointed someone who is called a Caldicott Guardian, and who has responsibility to ensure the protection of service user confidentiality. Our Caldicott, Chief Nurse

You can find out more about the role of the Caldicott Guardian on the Department of Health website.

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Get help to make a request

If you would like to make a request for information but need some advice or help, there are a number of ways we can support you:

  • For those without internet access, a printout of the information on the website can be obtained by calling our PALS team on –
  • There may be times when you request information that belongs to another organisation so it will not be appropriate for us to respond. We will try and inform you where best to direct your request, or we can forward it on your behalf
  • If you require any advice or assistance with making an FOI request you can speak to a member of our PALS team on Freephone –
  • Alternatively you may contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) who will help you if you are unsure about how to make, or how to word a request. Call Freephone –
  • The PALS Team also provides confidential advice, support and information on how to make a complaint.
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Who we buy services from

We have a budget of just over £170m each year. We spend as much of this money as possible on planning and buying or ‘commissioning’ nearly all of the local health services that Southport and Formby residents may need to use.

Most of our budget, around 62%, is spent on hospital based services. The majority of the services we commission are from NHS Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust. Since 2012, this has been an integrated care organisation, providing both hospital and community based services.

Our other main service providers include:

  • Mersey Care NHS Trust – the leading mental health trust across Merseyside
  • North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust –providers of patient transport services as well as its network of emergency response vehicles
  • North West Commissioning Support Unit – which provides many of our administrative and operational functions like data management and performance reporting
  • Other NHS organisations – like Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital
  • Community and voluntary sector organisations – like Sefton Carers Centre and the Alzheimer’s Society
  • Independent and private sector providers – including Go To Doc that is led by doctors and provides our GP Out of Hours service

The services we commission are regularly reviewed to make sure they continuously represent best value in providing local residents with the highest standards of care.

Part of this process includes agreeing NHS Standard Contracts with the organisations that provide our services. These contracts include details of the performance standards and levels of quality that we expect for our patients.

In general, the majority of our contracts – including nearly all hospital services – are reviewed and negotiated annually with our providers. However, like all NHS organisations, we are required to ‘re-procure’ a small number of services when their contract comes to an end. Procurement or tendering processes involve stringent processes, set nationally by the Department of Health.

Our contracts

Our procurements

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Feeling unwell?

Many GP surgeries will be closed on the bank holidays over Christmas and New Year and NHS Southport and Formby CCG is reminding people to examine their options and that A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.

The CCG is also reminding people to think about ordering their prescriptions before the festive period but reminding them not to over order. You can download a list of pharmacies opening hours in your area here.

We have put together this useful guide to local services that will help you Examine Your Options if you are feeling unwell. You will also find links to service opening times over the festive period.

No matter what your age there are a range of health services across the area to support you and your family if you feel unwell or have any health concerns. There are services which you may be unfamiliar with, but could be more appropriate and convenient for you depending on your specific issue.

For minor ailments and injuries your best route to recover is likely to be self-care. See below for the variety of services that can support you to do this. If you need medical care for illnesses you cannot treat yourself, then your GP should be your next port of call.

Pharmacy Services

Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can help you prepare for many of the common illnesses like coughs and colds and ensure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet over the holiday period. For a list of pharmacy opening times in your area click here.

NHS.UK

You can find a wealth of trusted advice about hundreds of health conditions and details of GPs, pharmacies and dentists in your local area by visiting the NHS.uk website. It also includes a symptom checker.

NHS 111

When you need medical help or advice fast, but it is not a emergency, you can also call the NHS 111 service. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If you need medical care for illnesses you cannot treat yourself, then your GP should be your next port of call.

Your Local GP

Your GP should be your first point of contact for non-emergency illnesses for you and your children when you can’t treat them yourself. Your GP is available from 8.00am to 6.30pm weekdays.

If you don’t have a GP, you can register with your local surgery. If you’re not sure where this is, you can find out at: www.nhs.uk or call -.

The CCG has funded extra appointments at surgeries in Southport and Formby over the busy winter and holiday period to make it easier to get an appointment.

GP Out of Hours Service

If your local surgery is closed, you and your children can still see a GP with the GP out-of-hours service; just call 111 and you can speak to a local GP over the phone or face to face if necessary. It is very likely that you and your family will be seen and treated more quickly using the out-of-hours service than if you were waiting to see a doctor in A&E, especially at busy times.

Emergency dental services

If you need emergency treatment when your dentist is closed for the holidays you can call – from 9am – 1pm & 6pm – 10pm on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

Sexual health services

All of the sexual health clinics in Sefton will be closing at 3pm on Thursday 24th December and Thursday 31st December. They will also be closed on the Bank Holidays: Friday 25th December, Monday 28th December and Friday 1st January. You can find more information from the service’s website.

Emergency contraception is available at the below list of community pharmacists.

Emergency contraception is available at any hospital A&E or NHS Walk-In Centre. It is also available at the following pharmacies.

  • Boots
  • Boots
  • Boots
  • Hirshmans Chemist
  • Rowlands Pharmacy
  • Tesco Pharmacy

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Archive for November, 2015

Pharmacists in Sefton’s two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will be reminding residents about the range of services available in local chemists, and encouraging them to make appropriate use of NHS services during Ask Your Pharmacist week (9-15 November).

Often, people make unnecessary trips to the GP or even A&E, when their neighbourhood chemist could help instead. In recent years, pharmacists have expanded their role, and now provide a wide range of clinical and public health services, within easy reach of the people who need them most. However, whilst most people go first to their chemist for medicines and medicines advice, many don’t know about the range of other healthcare services on offer in chemists.

NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG have made this easier with their Care at the Chemist scheme, providing fast expert advice and medications for a wide range of conditions, without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

Mr Wear, who has been visiting Ryders Chemist in Formby since 1988, said: “I have been coming here a long time now and the pharmacists have always been approachable. I use Care at the Chemist a lot and find it extremely useful, the advice they give is invaluable and it can save a lot of time rather than getting an appointment at the doctors.”

Susanne Lynch is the CCGs’ head of medicines management and the Sefton mum of two and uses Care at the Chemist if her boys are under the weather. Susanne said: “Our Care at the Chemist service helps keep people up to speed with what is now on offer on their doorstep in pharmacies – a uniquely accessible healthcare professional workforce who can deliver expert medicines advice and an expanding list of public health services.

“Your local pharmacist is a good first contact point for advice on many common health concerns – it is certainly mine. While most people will go first to their pharmacist for medicines advice, many don’t know about the range of other healthcare services provided by pharmacies on their doorstep and the level of expertise there. Pharmacists are available without appointment and are able to deal with a wide range of ailments, as well as offering uniquely accessible advice on maintaining and improving your health.

“Here in Sefton we promote this regularly through our Care at the Chemist scheme but this awareness week will promote this wider and will hopefully alert patients to the services on offer at the chemists on their doorsteps.”

Activities are planned across the country during Ask Your Pharmacist Week including health checks in shopping centres, community talks, chemist window displays and visits to chemists by local dignitaries.

Anyone of any age who is registered with a Sefton GP can get Care at the Chemist. Simply call into your chemist and ask to be registered onto the scheme. It is best if you use your usual chemist but if you are using one that does not know you; you will be asked to bring proof of identity.

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Archive for March, 2015

Diabetes services in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire are among the best in the country in helping patients to manage their condition.

Latest data from NHS England ranks NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) the best in the country in supporting adult diabetic to control their blood glucose levels, with NHS West Lancashire CCG ranked sixth out of 211 CCGs in 2013/14.

In West Lancashire almost 6000 people live with diabetes. In Southport and Formby there are 6500. In West Lancashire a further 2,500 people have had a blood test which indicates they are at high risk of developing the chronic disease, with a similar number of patients across Southport and Formby.

Both West Lancashire and Southport and Formby CCGs commission diabetes services with a real focus on prevention as well as educating people on how to successfully manage diabetes in order to reduce the risk of complications in the future.

Testing blood glucose levels is one aspect of controlling diabetes. While Type 1 diabetics are encouraged to test their levels regularly, many Type 2 diabetics are testing more often than they need to which is proving costly and directing funding away from other areas of patient care as well as causing unnecessary discomfort to the patient.

Dr B.B, local GP and NHS West Lancashire CCG’s lead for diabetes, said: “It is fantastic news that the people of West Lancashire are controlling their glucose levels. By controlling glucose levels, diabetics can help to successfully control their condition and go about their day-to-day business.

There are several key measures that are important in monitoring diabetes – blood pressure cholesterol and blood glucose levels. The latest National Diabetes Audit (2012/13) shows Southport and Formby to be in the top 25% of CCGs in the country for achieving targets against these measures.

Doug Callow local GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s lead for diabetes added: “Improving care for people with diabetes is a priority for us and we’re pleased that all our work in this area is contributing to better support for our patients in Southport and Formby in managing their condition.

“We also work with our partners from public health to ensure that patients at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes have access to lifestyle advice and support through the Healthy Sefton service to help them stay healthy and well and diabetes free.”

Both CCGs commission diabetes services from Southport & Ormskirk Hospitals NHS Trust and part of this includes supporting people to successfully manage diabetes in the community in order to reduce the risk of complications in the future.

Bapi added: “A lot of the work we do at the CCG focuses on giving people the information and access to services they need in order to live with their diabetes. Type 2 diabetics don’t need to test as regularly as Type 1 diabetics so talk to your GP or come to one of the local diabetes services to find out how you can manage your condition.”

A number of diabetes services are available across West Lancashire, including Walking Away from Diabetes which is aimed at people who have been identified as being at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The course helps people to understand their risk and the changes they could make to significantly reduce the chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes. There are similar services in Southport and Formby, which focus on lifestyle diet and exercise available via lifestyle services referral.

NHS West Lancashire CCG’s Diabetes Patient Network gives service users the opportunity to have their say on how diabetes services should be delivered locally and to provide support to each other.

Doug said: “We would urge anyone with questions about their health and diabetes to speak to their GP practice, who will be happy to help.”

To find out more about these diabetes services in West Lancashire, please contact [email protected]

Call Healthy Sefton on –  or visit www.healthysefton.nhs.uk for information about the range of free services to help Sefton residents live healthier lives.

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Archive for February, 2015

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is joining forces with Macmillan Cancer Information to offer free health and well-being clinics for people affected by cancer. The first event will be held on Thursday 19 March 2015.

The clinics will provide an opportunity for people to find out how to access local support, information and advice to help them and their families adjust to life with and beyond cancer. The first clinic will be held on Thursday 19 March, 1pm to 3.30pm, Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.

Jackie Brunton Cancer Services Manager/Lead cancer Nurse at the Trust, said: “We’re delighted to join forces again with the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service, building on the success of the previous two health and well-being clinics in 2014.  We would also be delighted to welcome friends and family to come along as we understand how a cancer diagnosis affects not just the person with cancer.”

Cancer nurse specialists will be on hand to offer advice and support along with local organisations including Sefton Active Lifestyles, local benefits advisors and Sefton/West Lancs Carers Support.

Information on fitness, walking groups, diet, benefits, stopping smoking, and carers’ support will also be available as well as the opportunity to talk to other people living with and affected by cancer, who may have had similar experiences. There will be refreshments available and parking at the NCP car park near the venue is 80p.

Interactive sessions will also be held, including:

  • A presentation on the benefits of physical activity during and after cancer
  • A tai chi taster session
  • Mini make-up classes from Boots No7
  • Healthy food demonstrations
  • Hand massages from Sefton OPERA (Older Persons Enabling Resource and Action)

Barbara Flowers, who manages the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre, a partnership with Southport and Formby CCG, said: “We understand how patients can often feel they lose the safety net of support they receive while attending the hospital regularly for treatment. These events are designed to help people to return to everyday activities and make the most of the good things in their life. If you have any questions, we are here to help.”

Places are free but limited, booking is essential. For information or to book a place contact Helen, Barbara or Sarah at the Southport Macmillan Information and Support Centre on – or SFCCG.-

Further events will be held this year at Southport Theatre and Convention Centre on the following dates:

  • Thursday 9 July               4pm – 6.30pm
  • Thursday 12 November   1pm – 3.30pm
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Archive for December, 2014

Southport is one of a number of locations in the UK launching a new national scheme, the first of its kind, to treat people affected by alcohol over the festive party period.

Based in the heart of the resort, the Alcohol Recovery Centre is operating from 12 December until 3 January on a Friday and Saturday night when pubs and clubs in the town are at their busiest. It will be equipped with several beds and showers, offering those who have become vulnerable due to alcohol on-site support from health care professionals.

The Alcohol Recovery Centre is being led locally by NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) working with Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Merseyside Police and North West Ambulance Service and volunteers from local faith groups. Based inside Parenting 2000 on Mornington Road, the centre aims to reduce the number of visits to accident & emergency (A&E) departments allowing doctors, ambulance crews and police to concentrate on the most urgent cases who really need their care and support.

Dr R.C, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Southport’s night-time attractions are a real draw for people from across the region at this time of year and whilst the majority will enjoy themselves safely, for the small numbers who become ill the Alcohol Recovery Centre will make a big difference to the way they are cared for. We will be able to follow up patients to ensure they have any support and advice they might need around safe drinking levels to prevent more serious health problems in the longer term.”

M.M., alcohol lead for the CCG, said: “The level of emergency hospital admissions for alcohol related liver disease is significantly worse in Southport and Formby than the national average. We also have high levels of binge drinking in pockets of our population. So, this is a great example of partnership working at its best and if it works well we’ll be looking to run it again during busy party periods in the future.”

Southport is the only North West area to be taking part in the programme. The programme is a multi-agency partnership between the NHS, The National Licensed Trade Association (NLTA), the Police and the Drinks Industry. It has been made possible by a £½ million grant awarded by the NLTA with funds raised from another of its initiatives – Barcode. Barcode is at the heart of the NLTA, a not for profit organisation formed to raise awareness of alcohol consumption and retailing. Barcode itself is a member-driven training programme, which aims to redefine the way we think about alcohol by delivering a national standard of competence within the drinks industry.

A. O., Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said: “It is hoped that the opening of this unit will relieve some of the pressure on the emergency services and the accident and emergency department at Southport.  Also, through the work of the Hospital Alcohol Liaison Team (HALT), delivering brief advice will provide a wider benefit to the health economy and the community in general.”

B. M., Sector Manager for Cheshire and Merseyside North at North West Ambulance Service, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this initiative and the aim of the Centre is to ensure that those individuals who are in need of assistance due to the effects of alcohol, and are within the town centre, receive the most appropriate care.  This will positively impact on the number of ambulance resources required to attend incidents within the town centre, and could help reduce the number of patients admitted to local A&E Departments.  If patients do require hospital treatment, they will be conveyed to hospital.”

Southport neighbourhood inspector, D.W., said: “This is an excellent idea and we are pleased to be involved in making it happen in Southport and Formby.

“A lot of people like a drink at Christmas and that’s fine but when someone drinks too much and becomes intoxicated, it becomes a problem for them, the police and the hospitals. Rather than officers being taken off the streets in order to look after someone in a hospital waiting room, the recovery centre will now pick that up during one of the busiest months of the year.

“It means that officers can remain on the beat across Southport and Formby where we are most effective at keeping people safe and dealing with the more serious or pressing issues that the public rightly expect to us to.”

Launching at the same time as Southport’s Alcohol Recovery Centre is a
Alcohol Recovery Vehicle – a state-of-the-art 65-foot-long vehicle based in Bristol – offering similar facilities and support. The NLTA’s Barcode initiative will be rolling out more centres to other parts of the country over the next 18 months.

A.B., managing director, NLTA, said: “We are delighted to be involved with this pioneering national scheme that will have a profound effect on the licensed trade and in turn reduce the pressure of anti-social drinking on the emergency services, maintain ongoing health education and fund increased community support. Although we look forward to seeing the success of the project across the UK, our aim is that, through education, there will be no need for such assistance in our society in the future.”

A trial of the scheme, which ran in Bristol from December 2013, was praised for easing the pressure on the emergency services by saving hundreds of hospital hours and helping increase police visibility within the night time economy. This released ambulance crews and police officers to attend other 999 calls.

Pictured left to right are– C.H. from Parenting 2000, Moira McGuinness, alcohol lead for Southport and Formby CCG, Bob McGowan, North West Ambulance Service, Mandy Smith, lead alcohol specialist nurse, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital, Ex-Everton footballer Gareth Farrelly from the NLTA, Kate McColl alcohol specialist nurse, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital and Darren Wilson, Southport neighbourhood inspector

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Archive for August, 2014

A new report focuses on the health experiences of Sefton residents with learning disabilities.

Last year the CCG funded a project with local organisation, People First. This trained people with learning disabilities to become ‘health champions’ about a range of topics to promote good health and wellbeing.

The champions then led nine ‘Health First’ roadshows where they encouraged others to get healthy. Healthwatch Sefton went along to ask those with learning disabilities what their experience of current health services was like, with some interesting results.

Whilst a quarter of those surveyed reported positive experiences, just under said there needed to be improvements.

They also suggested some changes for GP practices, dentists and hospitals. This included longer appointments, training for health staff, ensuring ‘easy read’ leaflets are available and better wheelchair access to buildings.

The report is being shared with local health services for them to consider. The CCG is organising training for GP practice staff as a result of the comments and it will also be considering some of the other suggestions made by local people with learning disabilities.

If you would like a copy of the report call Healthwatch Sefton on – or download it from www.healthwatchsefton.co.uk/experience-reports