Monday, 20 April 2009

Councillor's Advice Centre

We will be holding our monthly advice surgery on Saturday 25th April at Marshside Day Centre, Marshside Road from 10:30am to 11:30am.
As councillor Sue McGuire explained
"The morning gives people a great opportunity to meet their councillors and to discuss any local issues which may be of concern."
Councillor Carmel Preston added
"No appointment is necessary, residents can just come along at anytime."

Friday, 17 April 2009

Did You Know - Recycling Electrical White Goods

We've decided to post information which we hope you will find useful - very much a did you know that ...

So for the first of our did you know entries
Did you know that household electrical products, sometimes called "white goods" can be collected by Sefton Council from a residents house and then taken to the waste site in Bootle which includes facilities for recycling these goods.

The collection service is the "Bulky Items" team and any collection can be organised by contacting Sefton Plus on 0845 140 0845 or by filling in a contact form on the Sefton Council web site.
We have also been told that there is no minimum size for the electrical goods collected.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Concerns over Ambulance Sercvice grow

John Pugh, Liberal Democrat MP for Southport, has called for a top-level summit of Health Chiefs to address the problems which repeatedly caused to up to 11 Ambulances to queue outside Southport A&E amid chaotic scenes last winter.

Before the peak winter period, Southport hospital managers asked NHS Sefton for cash to open an extra ward for coping with the predicted increased pressures on A&E during the winter. NHS Sefton refused - and the NW Regional Health Authority did not intervene.

The result was that at the busiest times, when there were icy paths and flu outbreaks, patients were often held up in the A&E department, waiting for staff to try to find them a bed in the hospital. Meanwhile, other patients were forced to queue in ambulances at the entrance of A&E. This meant they were not ‘officially’ in the hospital – sometimes being left for over two hours. As hospital staff would not triage these patients, ambulance staff had to stay with them.

The result was that emergency ambulances were not available for fresh emergencies in the area. Ambulances were called to Southport from as far away as Blackburn, resulting in pensioners enduring long waits on icy pavements after suffering falls.

Ambulance staff representatives have subsequently briefed Dr Pugh. They have highlighted their frustration at knowing there were injured patients out on the streets of Southport not receiving attention, but being unable to help.

The effects of ambulance diversion spread across Lancashire, with reports of similar problems at Blackburn A&E, which has recently had to cope with the closure of the nearby Burnley unit.

In early 2009 Dr Pugh raised two specific cases with the Ambulance Authorities, one in Norwood Avenue and one in Ainsdale. He also knows of other cases where the waits were abnormally long, where residents had fallen and had to lie on frozen pavements in the cold. Dr Pugh asked Ambulance chiefs to provide him with statistics showing occasions where there were turnaround times at hospitals lasting more than 90 minutes.

However, the Ambulance Service response to Dr Pugh’s enquiries have raised fresh issues of concern. Emergency ambulance cases are apparently being prioritised according to a ‘traffic light’ system with different priorities for attendence time being ascribed to ‘red’, ‘amber’ and ‘green’ cases. Paramedics attend many call-outs in a ‘fast car’ to stabilise patients before ambulances arrive. Yet paramedic representatives have told Dr Pugh that they are often not happy with attending certain emergency calls where they know in advance there should be a fully-fitted ambulance going out in the first place.

It further appears that these problems are not confined to winter months. Only last week Dr Pugh was told of a lady who fell in central Southport. It was not considered safe to move her while waiting for paramedics to arrive. This led to the lady concerned having to lie for almost an hour in an upside down position at the bottom of a flight of stairs whilst she waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Lib Dem Councillor Sue McGuire, who represents Cambridge ward, is concerned that the situation may have gone unreported to the Sefton Council Health and Social Care Committee. She praised Dr Pugh for his insistence on taking action now to prevent further crises next winter.

However she added: “I am concerned about this ‘traffic light’ system. The questioning of anxious passers-by or relatives by non-medically trained staff may present a false picture of how urgent the call is. I do not think the people of Southport will consider it acceptable for anuybody to lie on cold pavements for up to two hours waiting for an ambulance.”

“Nor, as far as I am aware, have they or their elected representatives ever been asked about this new ‘traffic lights’ system being introduced. I would urge anyone who has had a difficult experience with emergency ambulances to notify John Pugh MP so that he has the fullest picture possible when he next meets health chiefs.”

Action on Marine Parade Bridge

Councillors Carmel Preston and Sue McGuire are working with the Community Saftey team, Lesiure Services and the police in a bid to tackle the growing problem of graffiti on the Marine Parade Bridge. The proposed plan includes coordinating the overpainting of the skate park and the cleaning of graffiti from the bridge in order for the whole area to be a "blank canvas" - which will allow the Council to monitor any subsequent graffiti more effectively.

As Carmel explains “This bridge is a main gateway to the sea front and so how it looks reflects on the whole of Southport.”

Fair deal for churches & sports clubs

John Pugh MP asks for “Fair Deal for Southport’s churches and community sports clubs

Your local Liberal Democrats have joined John Pugh MP in his call for the Government, the Water Regulator (OFWAT) and Water Companies to recognize the significant community and charitable role of churches, places of worship and sports clubs urging them to ensure that for the purpose of levying water charges these addresses are not treated as though they are commercial or business properties.

Currently United Utilities are proposing a moratorium on the new charges for churches and community sports clubs. As John explains “This moratorium might just be a postponement of execution but there may be the possibility of a permanent concession or dispensation. However, whatever happens, community sports clubs need to apply to be included in the moratorium this year.”

If you would like further information on the above please contact John Pugh MP on 01704 533555

Working with United Utilities

Lib Dem Councillor Sue McGuire arranged for United Utilities staff to visit Elswick Road and Marshside Road to discuss on-going problems with drainage in this area.

Sue & John Pugh MP also raised a number of other issues with United Utilities including problems with a loss of water pressure in the area and complaints regarding re-instatement of footpaths and roads following on-going replacement work.

Concerns over derelict property

Residents have contacted Cllr Sue McGuire to highlight the on-going issue of the derelict property on Alexandra Road. Cllr McGuire has met with officers from Environmental Health at the address to discuss the possible problem of pigeon infestation here.

Councillor McGuire has also spoken with the Vacant Premises Officer to discuss what, if anything, the council can do to improve the address. As Sue explains “The council have little power when a property is in private ownership - building enforcement can ensure that the property is made secure which has happened both here and also at the vacant property on Henley Drive but overall responsibility remains with the owners of the property.

Councillor McGuire will be continuing to work on this issue.

Vince Cable MP proposes Green Road out of Recession

Vince Cable MP recently set out the Liberal Democrat proposal for a Green Road out of the Recession, creating jobs and leaving a legacy that will save energy, put money back into people’s pockets and fight climate change.
The plans will cost £12.5bn, which would be paid for by scrapping the proposed VAT cut. The vast majority of that money will be spent immediately, making a real impact on the economy and people’s lives right away.

Green Road out of the Recession proposals include:
* A five-year programme to insulate every school and hospital, with 20% completed in the first year
* Funding insulation and energy efficiency for a million homes, with a £1,000 subsidy for a million more
* Building 40,000 extra zero-carbon social houses
* Buying 700 new train carriages
* Reopening old railway lines and stations, opening new ones, electrifying the Great Western and Midland mainlines and beginning the Liverpool light rail network
* Installing energy and money saving smart meters in every home within five years

Click here for more information on the Liberal Democrat Economic Recovery Plan

Carmel is working to fix potholes

Councillor Carmel Preston and your Lib Dem team have been working to identify pot holes in the roads around our area. So far repairs have either been undertaken or have been reported on Knowsley Road, Park Avenue, Leyland Road and at the junction of Radnor Drive/Marshside Road.

If you know of any pot holes in your road please let the FOCUS team know.

Bench repaired on Albert Road

Following action by Councillor Sue McGuire, the bench on Albert Road, by the bus stop, has been repaired and repainted.

As Sue explained “This bench was in a very poor state but there was little money available to replace it with a brand new one so I asked the council to try to renovate it.”

Sue added “I think more and more people now understand that recycling and then reusing equipment makes a lot of sense.”

Carmel cleans up at the Fog Bell

Councillor Carmel Preston has taken action to clean up the Fog Bell following reports from residents that the site had been targeted by vandals.

As Carmel explained "This is a permanent reminder to everyone of the heritage of our area and so its important to respect the site. "

Crocus Walk 2009 - Thank you

Over 40 walkers stepped out in style on Saturday 28th March in support of this years Mothers Day Crocus Walk to raise funds for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity.

Local residents were supported in their efforts again this year by local star of Heartbeat, David Lonsdale, John Pugh MP plus many other Lib Dem councillors.