Archive for December, 2014

Examine Your Options this Christmas and New Year

December 18th, 2014 | News | 0 Comments

With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, Sefton residents are being urged to consider how they use 999 and A&E over the holidays and beyond.

As many prepare to tuck into turkey, celebrate with friends and family or enjoy a festive night out,  NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and  NHS South SeftonCCG are reminding people to think before dialling 999 or visiting accident and emergency departments over the bank holiday.

The message is part of the Examine your Options campaign, which aims to give people information so that they know where to go to in the first instance, to get fast, expert advice when they need it and how to help themselves if they have a common illness or ailment – and help ease the pressure on A&E and 999 services at the same time. 

It also reinforces the message that A&E and 999 services are for serious and life-threatening conditions such as heart-attacks, strokes, serious accidents and breathing conditions.

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:  “With the increasing pressure on emergency services over the busy Christmas and New Year period, we are stressing the importance of ensuring A&E and the 999 number are kept free for genuine medical emergencies.

Dr Clive Shaw, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, added: “It is vital to remember that the ambulance service and A&E should not be used as an alternative to your GP if your surgery is closed.  If you require medical assistance outside of normal surgery hours this bank holiday, there is a wide range of alternative health services available including GP out-of-hours services, walk-in services and pharmacists who are qualified to offer advice and treat common, everyday illnesses quickly and conveniently.”

Here is how you can Examine Your Options:

  • Self care – stock up on medicines for coughs and colds at home to see you through the winter and make sure you are up to date with repeat prescriptions
  • – to check symptoms, get answers to common health questions, enquire about non-urgent health matters and find local services
  • Pharmacist — for advice on common winter illnesses, and the best medicines to treat them –  find your nearest pharmacy
  • Litherland Walk-in service – provides treatment 365 days of the year for illnesses you can’t treat yourself from 8am-8pm. They treat people of all ages and there’s no need for an appointment
  • GP – If you need medical attention your GP is your first point of contact for non-emergency illnesses which you can’t treat yourself, and practices can offer same day appointments if necessary.
  • GP out of hours service – When the surgery is closed, you can still see a local GP by calling your usual practice number and following the instructions to connect to the service
  • NHS 111 – when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 111free from landlines and mobiles


New Alcohol Recovery Centre – a first for Southport

December 18th, 2014 | News | 0 Comments

Alcohol Recovery Centre Dec 2014 webSouthport 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 Rob Caudwell, 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.”

Moira McGuinness, 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.

Alan Owens, 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.”

Bob McGowan, 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, Darren Wilson, 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.

Andy Bishop, 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– Carole Holt 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


Pharmacy opening times

December 17th, 2014 | News | 0 Comments

Care at Chemist

You will find a list below of pharmacy opening times over the festive period:

Christmas Day:

19 Elbow Lane, Formby L37 4AB
12pm – 1pm

Cambridge Road Pharmacy
137 Cambridge Road
Churchtown PR9 7LT
11am – 1pm

Woodvale Pharmacy
779 Liverpool Road, Ainsdale PR8 3NT
1pm – 3pm


Boxing Day:

ASDA Pharmacy
Central 12, Derby Road,
Southport PR9 0TY
9am – 6pm

Unit 3, Central 12, Derby Rd
Southport PR9 0TQ
9am – 6pm

31-39 Chapel Street,
Southport PR8 1AH
10am – 5pm

19 Elbow Lane, Formby L37 4AB
12pm – 1pm

Crossens Pharmacy
164 Rufford Road, Southport PR9 8HU
11am – 1pm

Rowlands Pharmacy
22 Liverpool Road, Birkdale PR8 4AY
1pm – 3pm


New Year’s Day

ASDA Pharmacy
Central 12, Derby Road
Southport PR9 0TY
10am – 4pm

Unit 3, Central 12, Derby Rd
Southport PR9 0TQ
11am – 5pm

Fishlocks Chemist
17 Station Road, Ainsdale PR8 3HN
1pm – 3pm

Rowlands Pharmacy
15 Chapel Lane, Formby L37 4DL
12pm – 1pm

Sainsburys Pharmacy
St.George’s Place
Lord Street, Southport PR9 0AF
10am – 5pm

Hospital nurse joins fight against ebola virus in Sierra Leone

December 16th, 2014 | Events | 0 Comments

Kath Higgins

It was going to be a luxury cruise to New York on the Queen Mary – but now Kath Higgins is flying to Sierra Leone to help in the fight against ebola.

The senior Merseyside nurse, who is a member of the Army Reserves with the Queen Alexander Royal Army Nursing Corps, will travel with 207 Field Hospital to West Africa next month.

“I had an inkling that I might be called up but I was caught by surprise with the timing,” said Kath. “I booked a cruise on a Sunday night and my call-up papers arrived the next day.”

Instead, Kath squeezed in a holiday to the Canary Islands with husband Andrew between standing down from her role as Head of Nursing for Planned Care at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and four weeks’ specialist training in the UK.

As Major Higgins, she will be in post as a nursing officer near the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown, shortly before Christmas and be away for up to four months.

“I’m going to be doing very much what I do in Southport and Ormskirk – being a nurse – but in a very different environment.

“Local doctors and nurses in Sierra Leone are particularly at risk from infection because they are treating people who already have ebola. Our field hospital’s role is to treat health care staff and aid workers who become ill through their work.”

Sierra Leone is one of a number of West African countries hit badly by the ebola virus which typically kills more than 50% of people who become infected. Ebola emerged in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa and currently has no known cure.

Kath joined the Army Reserves, formerly the Territorial Army, in 1981 when she began training to be a nurse at the former Park Hospital in Davyhulme, Greater Manchester. She was commissioned in 2005 and served at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in 2010.

Service life is very much a family affair. Her father was in the RAF and son, Duane, was formerly in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Husband Andrew is Combat Medical Technician and Warrant Officer (Second Class) in the Army Reserves and only recently returned from a tour of Afghanistan. They live in Burnley.

“In fact, from the date I get back, we will have only spent five weeks out of the previous 12 months together which reflects the value the military places on Reserves,” said Kath.

Reaction among Kath’s hospital colleagues to her posting has been mixed: “A number of people are quite jealous and said ‘I so envy you’ but others think I need my head testing.

“I’m confident I’ll be fine. The Army is very good at making sure their people are kept safe and properly trained for the challenges they face, both in terms of their own ability and resources they’re given.”

She also believes the skills and experience she learns in Sierra Leone will benefit the Trust.

“I’ll be bringing back first-hand experience of dealing with the most serious types of infection control issues which has to be to the benefit of everyone.”

Your say on plans to close Out of Hours Pharmacy

December 16th, 2014 | News | 0 Comments

Litherland Town Hall webSefton residents are being asked to give their views on proposals to close the restricted opening Out of Hours Pharmacy at Litherland Town Hall Health Centre.

NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby CCGs are asking what people think about their plans and about their experience of using the service to help the CCGs make a final decision about the future of this service.

It comes after a review of the Out of Hours Pharmacy earlier in the year which included speaking to people who use the pharmacy. The review found that only a small number of people used the pharmacy and that if it closes there are other ways the CCGs can ensure people get their medicines outside the opening hours of normal chemists.

This would also enable the CCGs to better spend the money it costs to run the service on more priority health services that benefit a greater number of Sefton residents.

The Out of Hours Pharmacy was set up 10 years ago to support Sefton’s GP Out of Hours service and to help people get their medicines when high street chemists were closed. Because of this, the Out of Hours Pharmacy has only short opening hours, mainly in the late evening and for part of the weekend.

Things have changed since the service was set up and there are now chemists on the high street and in superstores that match and, in many cases, exceed the opening hours of the town hall pharmacy – several are in walking distance of the health centre – so there is more choice for the residents of Sefton.

If the current Out of Hours Pharmacy is closed, patients would be advised to use any of the chemists nearby, the closest being 100 metres away. When these regular chemists are closed we would provide a ‘wrap-around’ GP prescribing service which would ensure that patients are not disadvantaged during these times.

The GP ‘wrap-around’ prescribing service would involve the doctors from the Out of Hours service supplying medicines directly to patients. This would be available when all other chemists nearby are closed on a Saturday night (9–10pm) and on a Sunday night (4–11pm).

Why we are proposing to close the service

  • Around 99% of people in the borough do not use the Town Hall Pharmacy and less than 0.1% of total prescriptions across Sefton are dispensed from this pharmacy
  • Compared to high street pharmacies the service is not well used and currently costs £124,000 to run, which could be better spent on providing more priority health services that benefit a much greater number of Sefton residents
  • When we reviewed the service people told us they valued the service and found it convenient, but they did not use it as, or viewed it as, an emergency service
  • Some patients felt the proposed GP ‘wraparound’ prescription service could lead to Out of Hours doctors spending more time dispensing medicines, impacting on waiting times and the quality of GPs’ advice to patients. We have looked at the number of patients who would use this option and these are small and manageable numbers – an average of two patients on a Saturday from 9–10pm and around five patients per hour on a Sunday between 4–11pm

During December through to the start of January, the CCGs have been speaking directly to patient using the service to gain their views about plans to close the service. Alongside this, people across the borough are being invited to have their say by completing a quick and easy questionnaire

How can I give my views?

You have until 16 January to complete a questionnaire. We are asking people to follow the two simple actions below to make sure they have their say…

  1. Read an information leaflet giving full details about this process
  2. Once you’ve read the leaflet, please complete a copy of the survey online

Alternatively, people can request a printed copy by calling , which they can complete and send back to the CCGs using a freepost address.

Transforming Cancer Care consultation outcome

December 16th, 2014 | Partner News | 0 Comments

TCC logo

Patients, the public and local authorities have given their resounding approval to proposals to develop a new specialist cancer hospital in the heart of Liverpool.

A Joint Health Scrutiny Committee of eight local authorities has also voted unanimously to support the proposals.

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust carried out public consultation from 28th July to 19th October to get views on plans to expand and improve cancer services in Merseyside and Cheshire with a new hospital on the same site as the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the University of Liverpool.

Its current sites in Wirral and Aintree would be retained, along with its network of chemotherapy and outpatient clinics in hospitals throughout the region, although inpatient beds and the most complex care would move to Liverpool.

Independent experts from Liverpool John Moores University reviewed all the consultation responses and found that:

  • 91% supported the vision
  • 88.5% believed the proposals would achieve the vision and improve quality of care

The Transforming Cancer Care consultation team engaged with 100,950 people, including 10,433 face to face, at 117 roadshows and other meetings and events, as well as distributing 38,749 summary consultation documents.  There were 1,054 formal consultation responses from individuals and 14 from groups/organisations.

Meanwhile, the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee for Cheshire and Merseyside – which was set up by Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helen’s, Warrington and Wirral to review the proposals – has voted unanimously in favour of them, after hearing evidence from witnesses including frontline staff and patient representatives at a series of meetings in public.

It means The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre can now develop an outline business case for the project, which is expects will be approved next summer.  That would be followed by a full business case in 2016.  If approved, the new hospital would open in 2018 with further improvements to the Wirral site completed in 2019.

For more information visit

Sefton pilot awarded 75k to lead children’s health initiative

December 11th, 2014 | News | 0 Comments

Debbie Simone webAn innovative pilot scheme being led by Sefton’s two CCGs has scooped £75k to help transform services for children and young people with mental health issues across the region.

A consortium, comprising of South Sefton CCGs, Southport and Formby CCG, Sefton Council and the local voluntary sector, will use the pilot cash to put in place youth-focused emotional wellbeing services in the community which will deliver specific services that meet the needs of young people.

They are one of eight schemes in the country to have been given a share of £500k. All the pilots are about creating time for staff to reassess the systems in place to commission Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – from schools up to inpatient beds – and try to affect change through new ideas.

Fiona Clark, chief officer for both CCGs in Sefton, said: “This money will enable us to look at the system which is currently in place and assess how it can be improved for the benefit of patients in Sefton using the voice of the child, young people and families to design the process.”

Pilots in NEW Devon, Derbyshire, Newcastle, Tameside and Glossop, Norfolk, Southampton, Wolverhampton and South Sefton have all been awarded up to £75k to develop their plans.

Examples include: improving services for children who might not need inpatient CAMHS care but have serious problems with self-harm or drug abuse; helping schools to manage early signs of mental health problems in pupils; training pupils and families to be involved in the commissioning process.

Dr Martin McShane, NHS England’s director for people with long term conditions, said: “Vulnerable children and young people need services they can rely on in a crisis. He said: “However, we know that by intervening effectively for young people when they begin to show signs of mental health problems we can significantly lower the chances of them needing specialist inpatient care.

“We want to accelerate breaking down barriers in the system and give commissioners, across a range of organisations, the time and space to take a step back and consider new and more effective ways of working.”

Ninety four bids, from 149 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), were received outlining the basis of their plans. The successful schemes were chosen by a panel of representatives from the Department of Health, the Department of Education and NHS England.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said: “I am absolutely determined to make sure any child with a mental health problem gets the best possible care, which is why I convened a Taskforce to look at how we can improve services. I congratulate these regions for their innovative work, which will help us transform care for young people across the country.

“I’m also really grateful to the 94 areas that submitted proposals – this shows a remarkable appetite for change. There is a growing consensus that we can improve the way we commission and organise children and young people’s mental health services.”

Many of the applications were jointly between CCGs and their partner agencies in local authorities and education, demonstrating their commitment to work together to improve high quality and better coordinated care and support.

Funding for the pilots has come from the £40m announced in October by NHS England CEO Simon Stevens and Deputy PM Nick Clegg.

They will now have until April to get their new approaches up and running and will then share learning across the CAMHS sector.

The pilot schemes will cover the whole care pathway for CAMHS care, from universal services provided in locations like schools through to inpatient services.

Care at the Chemist for you and your family

December 10th, 2014 | News | 0 Comments

Care at ChemistWith the festive holidays fast approaching, Sefton’s two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are reminding local residents they can save themselves time and worry by getting Care at the Chemist for a range of everyday illnesses and ailments.

So, whether you are at your pharmacy to pick up your supply of medicines to cover the holiday period, or simply popping in to pick up a box of plasters, why not ask about how to sign up to the Care at the Chemist scheme?

NHS Southport and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG  have re-launched Care at the Chemist, which provides fast expert advice and medications for a wider range of conditions – from sore throats, coughs and colds to general headaches and thrush.

Susanne Lynch is the CCGs’ Head of Medicines Management and the Sefton mum of two uses Care at the Chemist too if her boys are under the weather.

She said: “My local chemist is the first port of call if any of my family are suffering from common ailments and illnesses because I know we’ll get fast and expert advice from the pharmacist, who will also be able to provide any medications or preparations that we’d otherwise have needed a trip to the doctors for.

“Care at the Chemist has saved me booking an appointment at the doctors on more than one occasion and with a number of pharmacies near where I live that are open from early until late, it’s reassuring to know we can get help for everyday sniffles, sprains, or minor scrapes so quick and close to home.”

Susanne added: “If you do need to see a doctor the pharmacist will let you know and whether you choose to sign up for Care at the Chemist or not pharmacists will still give you free health advice. They can also carry out a review of your medications or save you some time with repeat prescription services, essential at this time of time so you’ve always got a sufficient supply of your medication when the surgery is closed over the Christmas holidays.”

Anyone of any age who is registered with a Sefton GP can get Care at the Chemist. Medicines will be free for people who do not pay for their prescriptions. Those who do pay will be charged the price of a prescription or lower if it’s cheaper over the counter.

New Asperger service for Sefton

December 3rd, 2014 | News | 0 Comments

Asperges service launch December 2014Sefton has launched its own service to provide support and diagnosis for those living with Asperger Syndrome after a campaign from the local carers’ group.

The new service was launched on 1 December in response to a campaign by local patients, who had previously had to travel into Liverpool for diagnosis and support, and has already received over 100 referrals even before it had opened.

The team will provide specialist support for those people who may have previously fallen through the gaps by not being regarded as having a mental health problem or a learning disability.

“It is very gratifying that, after many years of battling for this team, it is now to be launched,” said Mary Maxwell of the Sefton Carers’ Group.

“A small group of women met in the Carers Centre in South Road Waterloo and we managed to get a voice, hence an Aspergers Team for Sefton and a groundswell of carers and service users is burgeoning. Many thousands of people living in isolation with this condition will now benefit from this much needed service.”

The service, which aims to provide assessment and diagnosis in addition to providing advice, support and education to partners and families of people with Asperger Syndrome, is available to adults aged 18 years and over.

Fiona Clark, chief officer of NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “It’s exactly because we are a new kind of healthcare commissioner and because of the tenacity of local families that we have this new service.

“We do listen to what local people tell us and we want to translate this into better care whenever it is possible to do so. We have designed this service in true partnership with local families, and it is a testament to their tenacity in campaigning long and hard for the best care possible for their children.

“We will continue to listen and work with the families to ensure that this new service goes from strength to strength in the future.”

Patients can contact the new service at or email:

Christmas gift appeal

December 2nd, 2014 | Partner News | 0 Comments

The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Kevin Cluskey, is asking as many people as possible across the borough to get behind this year’s Christmas gift appeal.

Once again Sefton Council is again teaming up with Asda (Southport) to help as many young people as possible with gifts right across the borough.

The annual appeal asks all residents in Sefton to try and provide presents for some of the borough’s most deserving children and make this Christmas extra special for them.

Gifts, for children of all ages, can be taken to either Bootle or Southport Town Halls or dropped at the Asda store at Central 12 in Southport until Monday, December 22. Gift tokens are particularly welcome to be given to older children.

All presents collected will later be distributed to children and young people throughout the borough by volunteers from Sefton Council and Sefton Children’s Trust on behalf of the Mayor.

Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Kevin Cluskey, said: “This year we have again teamed up with Asda for the Toy Appeal which should hopefully help so many children across the borough.

“I would ask anyone who lives or works in Sefton to try and donate a present for the annual Mayor’s Christmas Gift Appeal. Every year the generosity of people is amazing, so please make this year just as special for those less fortunate.

“We are looking for gifts for all ages from babies and toddlers to teens. To ensure we can get the right gift to the right child may I please ask that the gifts be new and be left unwrapped.”

Sharon Gregory-Wareing, Asda Community Life Champion, added: “Please bring your un-wrapped toys or gifts and put them into the sleigh in store.

“We couldn’t do this without your support. You really do make a difference to these children in Southport making sure they have a toy to open on Christmas day. Thank you so much for your support this year.”

For further information on the Mayor’s Christmas Gift Appeal please call .