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Dementia service users turn back time at vintage music afternoon

A specialist Southport day service for Sefton residents with dementia turned back the clock this week and entertained clients with a musical variety afternoon.

Tuneful memories from the last half century and beyond were on offer at Brookdale Resource Centre in Ainsdale which is run by the borough’s leading adult social care provider, New Directions.

Stars of the show were the Tarleton-based Dolly Mops, a 12-strong group of retired singers and dancers who soon had the Brookdale service users singing along to their varied repertoire.

This ranged from songs from shows like Oklahoma, and country and western classics, to hits made famous by Elvis Presley and Liza Minnelli in Cabaret.

Meanwhile, as the concert was staged on Halloween, staff were attired in suitably spooky fancy dress, and items on the afternoon tea menu included edible spider cakes and blood-red beverages.

Brookdale Resource Centre’s day service enables the carers of Sefton residents with advanced dementia to have an important respite break.

Service users enjoy a wide range of activities including arts and crafts, sensory stimulation and music and reminiscence therapies.

Brookdale Manager, Salwa Moustafa, commented:

“This was a really lovely event and we’ve had some excellent feedback from everyone who attended.

“The Dolly Mops put on a terrific show, with a wide-ranging programme and frequent costume changes, which ensured there was something to suit all musical tastes during the course of the afternoon.”

New Directions was established in Sefton in 2007 as the first local authority social care trading company in the country.

Ten years on, the organisation remains at the forefront of the local care sector, with a team of more than 300 staff caring for older Sefton residents, or people with disabilities or mental health support needs.

For more information about the services offered by New Directions, or to find out about joining the team, ring 0151 934 3726 or visit www.ndirections.co.uk.

Health experts in Sefton support antibiotic resistance campaign

Sefton residents are being asked to play their part in Public Health England’s new campaign to help keep antibiotics working.  

 An estimated 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections, so it’s important to take your doctors and nurses advice on antibiotics to keep them working.

 Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, fully supports the campaign. He said: “Antibiotics don’t work for everything. They don’t work for colds or flu and common conditions like kidney infections and pneumonia have started to become untreatable. When it comes to antibiotics, take your health professional’s advice.”

 NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are supporting the campaign alongside the council and have spent a number of years reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions to ensure that only the patients who really need them are prescribed them.

 Dr Anna Ferguson at the Strand Medical Centre in Bootle, said: “It is so important that people realise that antibiotics are not always the answer and that the more they are used to treat minor health conditions; the more likely they are to become ineffective for treating more serious conditions.

 “For minor illnesses such as coughs and colds your local pharmacy can advise you on which over the counter medicines can help. They can also speak to you about self care such as keeping warm during the winter months and looking after yourself and others around you should you become unwell.”  

 Dr Hilal Mulla, at The Corner Surgery in Southport, added: “We’ve done a lot of work already with the CCGs to explain to people that antibiotics are not always the answer but this campaign will hopefully add to this, helping GPs and pharmacists spread the word more and remind people about the risks of taking antibiotics when it’s not necessary.”

 Antibiotics help ward off infections during chemotherapy, cesarean sections and other surgery. They also treat serious bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, but they are being used for everyday viral infections, where they are not effective. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

Furthermore, if you take antibiotics, you are more likely to get an antibiotic resistant infection. This risk is even greater for children who have taken antibiotics.

 Public Health England, Sefton Council and the CCGs in Sefton are calling for the public to play their part in tackling the antibiotic resistance epidemic by trusting their doctor or nurse’s advice as to when they need antibiotics and if they are prescribed, taking antibiotics as directed and never saving them for later use or sharing with others.

 The campaign, which is part of a wider cross-government strategy to help preserve antibiotics, will run from Monday, October 23 across England for eight weeks and will be supported with advertising, partnerships with local pharmacies and GP surgeries and social media activity.

 For further information on antibiotic resistance visit the CCG website for your area: southportformbyccg.nhs.uk / southseftonccg.nhs.uk  

 
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Health experts encourage residents to talk to their pharmacists

Health experts in Sefton are reminding residents to ask their pharmacist about the range of services available in local chemists during November, and beyond.

NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS South Sefton CCG are supporting ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ week, which highlights the range of services and support that is available to people from their local chemist.

Ask Your Pharmacist complements the national Stay Well This Winter campaign, encouraging people to look after themselves during the winter months – reminding them to see a pharmacist if they need advice on managing cough or cold symptoms.

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.

Sarah Halpin, a pharmacist at Alexander’s Pharmacy in Waterloo, said:

“Your local pharmacist is often the best place to go when you have a concern or question about a minor ailment. We can advise you on a number of conditions including aches and pains, sore throats, coughs, colds, flu, earache, cystitis, skin rashes and more.

“Your local pharmacy can help you look after your own and your family’s health by offering advice on healthy eating, physical activity, losing weight and stopping smoking.

“The best part about seeking advice from your pharmacist is that you don’t need to book an appointment, and many pharmacies are open longer hours than some GP surgeries.”

Pregnant women in Sefton urged to get their flu jab

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

If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge. The flu jab is the safest way to protect you and your baby against flu. The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu and of complications and potential harmful consequences for both mother and baby if you do catch the flu, such as premature birth and pneumonia. It also reduces the risk of your baby getting flu in the first few months of its 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.

“The flu jab can be the last thing on people’s minds, especially expectant mums.

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

Laura Gibson, who works at the CCG’s in Sefton, 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. Most people who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice.

Dr Wendy Hewitt, clinical lead for children and maternity, 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 or midwife if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to help.”

 

Thousands of children enjoy hot meals thanks to Sefton’s Access to Food scheme

Sefton Council have once again given food for thought at its annual Children’s Access to Food Programme, supplying nearly four thousand hot meals to those in need.

The scheme, which is in its second year, helps to support families across Sefton who are most in need of help and hot meals, allowing them to end a reliance on school meals to help nourish their children.

3981 meals were served across Sefton during a six week period.

Councillor Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said:

“We had feedback from one mum who said that without this service, she would have had to miss paying bills to accommodate the extra cost of feeding her children during the 6 week period

“During the scheme we also saw a definite reduction in families requesting food vouchers for the food bank at one Centre because they were able to access free meals.

“The huge increase on last year shows that there is a need for schemes such as the Access To Food Programme and we are delighted that we have been able to help and support those families that are most in need within our communities.”

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