Former midwife urges people to have their say about NHS changes

Healthcare in Sefton will only work if people get to have their say – urges former midwife, Anne Major.

Anne, from Southport, who also used to be a neonatal nurse, is encouraging others to speak out as part of the national ‘What Would You Do?’ campaign, led by independent health and social care champion Healthwatch Sefton.

The campaign aims to encourage people in Sefton to share their views about how extra money from the Government should be spent on local NHS services.

The Government is investing £20 billion a year in the NHS as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Local organisations are now being asked to explore how services should change locally to make the NHS work better for people.

Anne, who is also Healthwatch Sefton locality representative for Central Southport, said: “When I have been at listening events at Southport and Formby hospital with Healthwatch Sefton we get fantastic comments and feedback about health services through talking with and listening to people.

“Patients are the experts. Each and every one of them has a story to share – whether that’s good or bad. I would encourage others to take part in the campaign and make sure their voice is heard.”

Anne has had plenty of first-hand experience with health and care services in the borough, having worked as a midwife and neonatal nurse for more than 30 years. She has personal experience of the NHS due to her husband having had a quadruple heart by-pass and is passionate about ensuring that the care of her family and community is the best the NHS can provide.

Maureen Kelly, Chair of Healthwatch Sefton, added: “The NHS only works when the voices of the people who use it are heard. This is a once-in-a-generation chance for local people to help decide where this extra money from Government should be spent in our NHS services in Sefton.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible about what works, what doesn’t and how they think local health services should be improved. No matter how big or small the issue, we want to hear about it. Sharing your experience with us is quick and easy – and could make a big difference.”

People can share their views via this online survey.

Betty and Anne at S+O outpatients
Anne Major (left) with Betty Boner, Healthwatch Sefton Engagement and Participation Officer, at Southport and Formby Hospital

Public invited to April’s governing body meeting

Members of the public who are interested in hearing more about health across Sefton are invited to attend forthcoming governing body meetings for local clinical commissioning groups (CCG).

NHS Southport and Formby CCG is holding its governing body meeting on Wednesday 3 April and NHS South Sefton CCG holds its meeting the following day, Thursday, 4 April.

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “These meetings are held in public so people can stay informed about the work we do. At these meetings members of the public will be able to watch our governing body members make decisions and discuss the work that’s been happening in Sefton over the past months and anything coming up.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, local GP and acting chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “I would encourage you to attend one of our meetings as it’s an excellent way to stay up to date on the work of health commissioners.

“We want to ensure members of the public know what is going on in Sefton and can see how decisions about local health services are made.”

NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s meeting takes place on Wednesday 3 April at the Family Life Centre, Ash St, Southport at 1pm. Papers will be made available here beforehand:

NHS South Sefton CCG’s meeting will take place on Thursday 4 April at Merton House, Stanley Road in Bootle at 1pm. Papers will be made available here beforehand:

Attendees have the chance to ask questions shortly before the meeting formally starts. To confirm attendance or for more information please call 0151 317 8456.

Dad’s the word for new community group in Southport

An innovative new network for men has recently been set up in Southport.

Identity Dads brings together dads, grandads and male carers through a combination of local meetings, social media and blogs.

Their first playgroup was a resounding success, bringing dads together to share parenting tips and make new friends, during this Sefton’s Year of Friendship.

The next playgroup, based at St Peter’s Centre, Birkdale, is due to take place on Saturday 13 April between 9.30am and 11.30am.

Find out more about Identity Dads at the Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Make a difference to women’s mental wellbeing in Sefton

The Year of Friendship is the perfect opportunity to think about volunteering for Swan Women’s Centre in Litherland.

Swan is recruiting for its befriending service, where you will lend a kind ear and provide helpful advice and support to women with mental health issues related to social isolation or loneliness.

As a volunteer you can help them to socialise, make friends, make appointments, attend meetings or take them shopping.

For more information on Swan’s befriending service and more, visit the website  

MPs call for tax on social media companies

A group of MPs is calling for a tax on social media companies’ profits, saying the firms are operating in “an online wild west”.

Its report, which follows a year-long inquiry into the health impact of social media, says the industry should do more to protect children and young people online.

The government is due to publish its own proposals within weeks.

It says all kinds of steps are being explored to increase online safety.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing invited experts, charities, parents and young people to give evidence to its inquiry.

It found that although social media had many positive effects, such as acting as a supportive community and a place of learning, it could also expose young people to cyber-bullying, self-harm and feelings of low self-esteem.

The report acknowledged there was still a lack of robust scientific evidence that social media actually causes mental health problems in young people, but it said precautionary measures should be taken to minimise any potential harm.

Last month, the UK’s chief medical officers issued guidance on screen time, saying children should take a break from screen-based activities every two hours and phones should be kept out of bedrooms at bedtime.

The report’s main recommendations include:

• creating a Social Media Health Alliance, funded by a 0.5% tax on the profits of social media companies, to fund research and draw up clearer guidance for the public

• establishing a duty of care on all social media companies with registered UK users aged 24 and under

• reviewing whether the “addictive” nature of social media is sufficient to classify it as an official disease

• commissioning robust research into understanding how social media affects young people’s mental health

The report, written with the Royal Society for Public Health, says companies like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube were starting to address health harms, but there was still room for improvement.

Chris Elmore MP, chair of the APPG on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing said the report was a wake-up call for meaningful action.

“For far too long social media companies have been allowed to operate in an online ‘wild west’.

“And it is in this lawless landscape that our children currently work and play online. This cannot continue. As the report makes clear, now is the time for the government to take action.”

three people using smartphones

Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of RSPH, said the priority was regulation, and a duty of care to protect vulnerable users in a “lawless digital playground”.

She also said she wanted to see industry supporting further research to improve our understanding of the health harms, as well as the benefits, from social media.

“We hope that our findings are recognised and included in the forthcoming White Paper from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport so that we can empower our young people to manage their relationship with social media in a way that protects and promotes their mental health and wellbeing,” Ms Cramer said.

A government spokeswoman said: “The government will soon publish a White Paper which will set out the responsibilities of online platforms, how these responsibilities should be met and what would happen if they are not.

“An internet regulator, statutory ‘duty of care’ on platforms, and a levy on social media companies are all measures we are considering as part of our work.”

Article taken from BBC news website:


Flicks and Friends in March

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the March screening of Age Concern Crosby’s popular Flicks & Friends film at the Plaza Community Cinema.

This month’s film is the newly-released The Aftermath which is a drama starring Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke and Alexander Skarsgard.

It is directed by James Kent and is based on the novel of the same name by Rhidian Brook. The film is set in postwar Germany in 1946 and focuses on the life of a British colonel and his wife who move into a new home in Hamburg which is still being lived in by its previous owners – a German widower and his daughter.

In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

The film is a special seniors viewing for just £1 including tea, coffee and a biscuit.

People are advised to arrive in plenty of time for a start of 1pm. This is a great opportunity to meet new friends.

Put your best foot forward at Sefton run club

Residents are being asked to keep on running, or spring into their first forays at a regular running club in Crosby.

The Friends of Moorside Park Run Club takes place every Tuesday at 6.30pm, although participants are asked to arrive at 6.20pm to register.

Run clubs are a great way to exercise,  enjoy being outside and meet new people.

Find out more at the Moorside Park Running Club website

dawn dusk forest grass
Running is a great way to exercise Photo: Tirachard Kumtanom

Supermarkets misleading shoppers on healthy food, say nutritionists

Products high in salt and saturated fats are being marketed as healthy by leading supermarkets, BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates has found.

The British Dietetic Association said stores including Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s were being “unhelpful” and “confusing” customers.

The Royal Society for Public Health called for an independent supermarket regulator.

Supermarkets said they were committed to “promoting healthy eating”.

BBC researchers visited the top five supermarkets in the UK and found Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco were stocking products high in salt and saturated fat in sections marked “healthier choices” and “healthy and diet meals”.

Morrisons’ “healthier choices” section contained a vegetarian steak slice with almost 10g of saturated fat – nearly half of the recommended maximum daily amount.

The supermarket said the item “provides customers with a red-meat free alternative”.

Sainsbury’s edamame, coconut and lemongrass falafel contained more than 6g of saturated fat per half pack – around a third of the recommended maximum daily amount – and was located in their “healthier choices” section.

In Tesco’s “healthy and diet meals” section, a “lamb hotpot” contained 8.5g of saturated fat, 45% of the recommended maximum daily amount.

Registered nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed said she was “quite shocked” at some of the items being marketed as ‘healthier choices’.

She said: “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with eating them or consuming them in moderation – but telling consumers these are healthier options is a bit misleading.”

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said many products are being identified as “healthy” because they are vegetarian, vegan, free from certain ingredients, or have fewer calories.

Supermarket 2
Nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed

But, it said, many have high levels of fat, salt or sugar, and are highly processed.

“Supermarkets should be transparent about how they classify foods, and provide clear information about products,” the RSPH added.

“There must be incentives and penalties for presenting clear and accurate information. Perhaps there is potential to have an independent supermarket regulator. It is important that the good work done so far on labelling is not undermined.”

A British Dietetic Association (BDA) spokesperson said supermarkets had a “duty of care” to their customers.

“It is unhelpful and confusing to the consumer, and supermarkets should avoid doing this,” they added.

“They should be promoting and educating people to buy foods that actually are healthy – not just marketed as being so.” Continue reading “Supermarkets misleading shoppers on healthy food, say nutritionists”

Sefton Partners unite against poverty

Sefton’s Welfare Reform and Anti-Poverty Partnership (WRAP) held it’s annual conference last month at Linacre Mission in Bootle.

The Partnership is made up of a number of organisations from across Sefton that are dedicated to alleviating poverty and supporting those affected by welfare reform.

This year’s conference was themed around the ‘Power of Partnership to Alleviate Poverty’ and outlined the Partnerships future action plan while celebrating examples of the work that’s already happening in the borough.WARP-300x225

Representatives from Sefton Council, Sefton CVS, South Sefton Foodbanks, the Department for Work and Pensions, Citizens Advice Sefton, Migrant Workers Sefton Community, The Salvation Army and Sefton Council’s Affordable Warmth Team spoke at the event to provide an insight into their work and the pressures they continue to face.

They shared the following statistics:

  • South Sefton Foodbanks gives out seven to eight tonnes of food a month
  • Citizens Advice Sefton has written off £7 million of debt to those in need
  • Last year, Migrant Workers Sefton Community helped 184 people into full time employment
  • Footfall at Sefton’s Salvation Army hit 8,900
  • Sefton Council’s Affordable Warmth team assists over 1,000 households

Attendees also had the opportunity to have their say on six potential projects for 2019/20 including a coat bank, debt project, period poverty, friendship, funeral poverty and taking root.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Many people in Sefton continue to suffer as a result of policies and decisions that are out of their control and I hope that our partnership work can help to rebuild a small element of social security that this Government has taken away.

“I can’t thank all of the people who are involved in the services and activities that are helping to alleviate poverty enough, but rest assured that Sefton Council continues to fight austerity and make it one of our key pledges as we work with partners to help those most affected by welfare reform.”

Residents that may be affected by welfare reform can find information and support at

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