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Sefton Council loses judicial review against Highways England

Sefton Council has lost its legal fight to order Highways England to re-consult on proposals to ease traffic on the A5036  (Dunnings Bridge Road) by building a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley Country Park.

Following a High Court hearing in Manchester on October 23, a judgement was issued today (November, 16) dismissing the application. Mr Justice Kerr ruled that he would not order Highways England to re-consult and include the tunnel option for the proposed Port Access route through Rimrose Valley.

Despite the strong case the Council made that Highways England had failed to include the tunnel option in its consultation or in any event failed to include it in a lawful way, the High Court ruled in favour of Highways England.

The Council believes the judgement was lost because the Government and Highways England failed to make adequate financial provision for the full range of options including a tunnel. The judge was clear in his statement that the budget for the scheme was a political decision and not a decision for the courts.

Sefton Council’s decision to apply for a judicial review was agreed to be valid by Mr Justice Kerr.

Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader of Sefton Council, said: “I’m really disappointed by this decision and I will be seeking legal advice to see if there’s anything else we can do as I firmly believe that the tunnel option is the only option which could balance the need for improved access to the port with the needs of the local community.

“Their failure to include the tunnel as an option in the consultation process has deprived our residents of the opportunity to express a view and this is wrong. It is also completely at odds with the Government’s agenda to improve air quality and a slap in the face for local residents who suffer the resulting implications including the loss of a much loved urban green space.

“This ruling is a further blow to us, especially after learning that Highways England has backed a multi-billion-pound tunnel crossing under the River Thames between Essex and Kent. They have agreed to spend billions on a tunnel under the River Thames but ruled out building one in Sefton because it cost too much. It just smacks of double standards and reinforces my belief that we are treated as the poor relation in the North.

“Throughout this process it seems that all Highways England has been concerned about is the cost of the scheme and not one thought has been shown towards the detrimental impact on our communities. In his judgement Mr Justice Kerr said the scheme and allocated finances was ultimately a political decision so I call on the Government to now show some steel and really reconsider this, make the money available as they have done in the South and start to put the health and wellbeing of our communities first.”

Pregnant women in Sefton urged to get their flu jab

Pregnant women across Sefton are being urged to make sure they get the flu jab this winter by Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG.

While you are pregnant you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge at any point during your pregnancy. Getting the flu vaccine reduces the risk of complications and potential harmful consequences for both you and your baby if you were to catch the flu, such as premature birth, pneumonia and reduces the risk of your baby getting flu in the first few months of their life.

The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu as it reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk – including expectant mothers.

Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result mothers may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing, said: “Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly. It can cause serious complications for at risk groups, such as expectant mothers and people with long term health conditions.

“Despite us having a relatively mild autumn so far, the flu jab may be the last thing on people’s minds, especially expectant mums.

“However, for many people flu is an unpleasant illness but for pregnant women it is extremely dangerous and can be lethal. My advice for anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination is to get it now before flu starts to circulate in the Sefton community.”

Dolly Loftus, a Sefton resident, said: “This is my first pregnancy and I think it’s so important to be vaccinated as it protects both me and my baby, It’s great that the NHS is offering the jab for free to pregnant women like me and that the vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy.”

Free flu vaccinations are being offered to all pregnant women, all children aged 2 to 4, residents of all ages with a long term health condition and everyone aged 65 and over. People who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice or participating pharmacies.

Dr Wendy Hewitt, clinical lead for children and maternity at NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, added: “You can have the flu vaccine at any point in your pregnancy and not only is it safe for you and your baby, it’ll reduce your chances of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu from things like pneumonia, premature birth or even miscarriage.

“The added advantage is that your baby will continue to be protected from flu for the first few months of their life. Talk to your GP, practice nurse or midwife if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to help.”

If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, get it now – it’s free because you need it. Contact your general practice or pharmacist to get it.

You can find a wide range of information about the annual flu immunisation campaign and see whether you are eligible at: www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine  if you have any further queries simply ask at your GP practice or pharmacist.

Crosby’s Festive Switch On: All You Need To Know

Details have been revealed for Crosby Village’s annual Christmas Lights Switch on and Festive Fair.

Taking place on Saturday November 24, the incredibly popular fun day starts from 11am with a children’s funfair that runs throughout the day and into the early evening, while 24 local market stalls from across Sefton will be selling a selection of Christmas treats and presents until 6pm.

At 3pm Merchant Taylor’s Saxaphone Ensemble will start serenading the crowds before Bliss Radio take to the local airwaves with special guests from 4pm.

A performance from Waterloo and Crosby Theatre Company follows at 4.50pm and they will introduce members of the Liverpool Ceilidh band at 5.15pm.

The music continues with the Voice Pop Choir and Another Place Choir taking to the stage from 5.30pm and 5.45pm respectively. 

Make sure you find the best spot for 6pm when the big Christmas Switch on countdown begins and Crosby Village is bathed in the glow of festive lights!

Health commissioners introduce new policy in self care week

During self care week (12 – 18 November 2018) health commissioners in Sefton are launching a new policy which follows national guidance, explaining that prescribing of over the counter medicines is changing.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are explaining to residents that GPs, nurses and pharmacists are no longer recommended to routinely prescribe over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses in their medicines self care policy.

There are exceptions to the guidance which are detailed in the policy and more vulnerable patients will still be able to access the Care at the Chemist service.

Many common conditions do not need a prescription and they will often get better on their own, with medicines that can help with the symptoms, bought easily from pharmacists, supermarkets and local retailers. They are known as ‘over the counter’ medicines and you do not need to have seen a doctor or have a prescription to buy them.  That means you don’t have to wait for an appointment at your GP practice.

The minor illnesses that the policy lists include short-term conditions like:

  • sore throats
  • coughs, colds and nasal congestion
  • dandruff
  • mild acne
  • minor pain, discomfort and fever
  • sunburn and more

Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management at NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “We thought self care week was a good time to tell people about our new policy which will help them to care for minor illnesses without going to their Doctor.

“It is important to say that vulnerable patients can still use the minor ailments scheme, Care at the Chemist which is available in 20 pharmacies across Sefton. I would also like to add that there are exceptions in the new policy for certain circumstances where people will continue to have their treatment prescribed.

“I urge everyone to make full use of their local pharmacist this week and all year round – they use their clinical expertise together with their practical knowledge to give you the best advice.”

Ross Powell, a pharmacist in Sefton, said: “There are changes coming in but there will be some exceptions which are detailed in the leaflet. We’re more than happy to offer advice to you and our teams are all qualified to assist.

“We have a private consultation room for more confidential discussions and can advise on the best over the counter medicines to buy, especially for over the winter months. ”

Cllr Catie Page said: “The changes may confuse people at first but I believe that our pharmacists will give people the support that they need.

“I think self care is so important and I go to my  chemist at the start of each year and think about what I need for my family, that way we are prepared when one of us becomes ill and can treat it and hopefully avoid seeing the Doctor.

“My advice in self care week and beyond that would be to go and speak to your pharmacist, ask them about medications and what you might need for minor illnesses.”

The exceptions in the ‘Sefton medicines self care policy for minor illnesses and/or self-limiting conditions’ where you may still be prescribed a medicine for a condition on the list are:

  • You need treatment for a long-term condition, e.g. regular pain relief for chronic arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease
  • You need treatment for more complex forms of minor illnesses, e.g. migraines that are very bad and where over the counter medicines do not work
  • You need an over the counter medicine to treat a side effect of a prescription medicine or symptom of another illness, e.g. constipation when taking certain painkillers
  • The medicine has a licence which doesn’t allow the product to be sold over the counter to certain groups of patients. This could include babies, children or women who are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • The person prescribing thinks that a patient cannot treat themselves, for example because of mental health problems or severe social vulnerability

This policy does not remove the clinical discretion of prescribers in accordance with their professional duties.

You can read the full policy, see a leaflet and / or a list of where the Care at the Chemist service is available on the CCG websites: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk / www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk

Children from Sefton get involved in anti-bullying awareness workshops

This week, November 12 – 16, is National Anti-Bullying week focusing on the theme of Respect. During the week, the Bullybusters team will be completing workshops and assemblies around schools in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley. Conferences will also be held for secondary school children to attend and get involved in the education and awareness regarding anti-bullying.

The theme of this year’s national anti-bullying week is to ‘Choose Respect’, as respecting yourself and others both face to face and online is a vital message for young people.

‘Respect for me is one of the most important qualities to have and show. If we can’t respect ourselves then how are we supposed to respect others. I feel it is something we should all have and work on daily, not only learning to love and respect ourselves but also showing this to fellow peers and professionals.’ – Fran

The Bullybusters team work hard all year round to spread the anti-bullying message and help young people affected by bullying. The work they carry out within schools around Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley is recognised and praised by school children, teachers, governors, parents and carers.

Bullybusters offer lessons, assemblies and workshops for young people and parents in primary and secondary schools, as well as providing anti-bullying peer mentor training for children to appropriately act upon issues of bullying within their peer group. As well as this, Bullybusters also provide a free and confidential helpline service for young people, parents or teachers available 3pm – 6pm weekdays. For anyone being affected by bullying, or know someone who is, they can call the helpline on 0800 169 6928.

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