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Council Tax Energy Rebate payments to Council Tax Band A-to-D households in Sefton underway

Energy RebateSefton residents eligible for the Government’s Energy Rebate Scheme are being recommended to look out for the one-off, £150 payment arriving in their bank accounts.

Payments

Payments to over 75,000 Sefton households in Council Tax bands A to D are underway. Sefton Council is making two main batches of payments, to 45,000 households and 30,000 households, based on the date when people’s Direct Debit payments are made from their bank accounts.

The Government announced the Energy Rebate Scheme in February. It is a national, one-off, £150 payment to households living in properties that are in Council Tax bands A to D.

After the Scheme’s announcement Sefton Council urged households across the Borough to sign up and pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit as this would be likely to mean they would receive the Energy Rebate sooner.

Automatic payment

Council Tax for over 75,000 of the Borough’s 111,000 Band A to D properties are now paid by Direct Debit. The households will receive the payment automatically.

In early May, the Council will be writing to those eligible households who don’t pay by Direct Debit asking them to provide bank account details so that the £150 can be paid to them directly.

Letters will include a unique code which the household can use to register for payment securely online. The code can only be used once, and the household will need their Council Tax account reference to hand.

The Council will also be writing to households where the Direct Debit is being paid from a bank account not in the name of the person(s) liable for the Council Tax bill.

People receiving these letters are being asked to respond by the end of June.

Credited

In cases where people’s bank details are not provided, the £150 will be credited to the property’s Council Tax account.

Households that don’t pay Council Tax because they are on a low income or subject to exemption will also receive letters inviting them to register for the rebate via an online form. Households will not be able to apply without this letter.

There are also some cases where people have moved in the last few weeks and the Council is following up on these changes of address to ensure payments are made to the right people.

Those receiving a letter from the Council about the scheme are encouraged to respond as quickly as possible with the information requested to ensure payment can be made. Anyone receiving a payment not due to them should contact the Council as not declaring it could be classed as fraud.

Beware

Sefton Council is reminding residents that it will never ask for bank details over the phone or by cold calling at the door and to beware of anyone that does.

Sefton’s Council Taxpayers can still sign up to pay their Council Tax by Direct here. 

They will need their Council Tax account reference to hand.

Council Taxpayers in Sefton can also opt to receive their bill electronically, which is easier plus it saves paper, here.

Once again, they will need their council tax account reference to hand.

Information about the Council Tax Energy Rebate Scheme can be found here  

Getting healthcare help in Sefton this May Bank Holiday

photo of a pharmacist and shelves of medicationsAs residents in Sefton make plans for the May bank holiday, NHS leaders are sharing advice for getting healthcare help should you become unwell.

Services like pharmacies, walk in centres and GP practices may not be open on bank holiday Monday (2nd May), so residents are advised to plan ahead to know how to get the help they need.

Think 111 first

People who need urgent NHS care, but it is not a 999 emergency, are advised to contact NHS 111 which is staffed by trained professionals and clinicians who will direct people to the most appropriate health service.

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “If you’re feeling unwell, there is always help and advice available from NHS 111, even on bank holidays they are there to help you.

“We should all remember to ‘think 111 first’ – you can visit 111.nhs.uk online or call 111 over the phone to get healthcare support.”

Have you got your prescriptions?

Residents are also advised to make sure they have enough supply of any medications they need by ordering their repeat prescriptions early, and getting their medicine cabinet stocked up with essentials.

Dr Pete Chamberlain, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Pharmacies may change their opening hours on bank holiday Monday, so it’s best to think ahead and get your prescriptions stocked up early on to avoid being left short.

“Your local pharmacy can also help you to stock up on essential medicines for common ailments and injuries. They are highly qualified and can give free, confidential advice on many healthcare concerns.”

Grab a jab

COVID-19 vaccinations are available for 5-11 year olds and NHS leaders in Sefton are recommending that parents and guardians get their children vaccinated as soon as they are able, to boost their immunity and increase their protection against the disease. Children aged 5-11 with no underlying health conditions will be offered two paediatric (child) doses of the vaccine, which are smaller doses than those given to people aged 12 and over.

Anyone looking to book a COVID-19 vaccine for themselves or their children over the bank holiday weekend is advised to find a nearby appointment by calling 119 or visit the National Booking Service website at: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine

Bookable appointments are available at a range of locations in Sefton, but residents can also find opening times for nearby walk in vaccine sites by visiting www.nhs.uk/grab-a-jab, to get their vaccine with no appointment needed.

May Bank Holiday pharmacy opening times

A number of pharmacies are open on Monday 2 May. Opening times for these pharmacies can be found in the link below, but residents are advised to call their local pharmacy before travelling, to confirm that they are open at the advertised times. Information will be added to the links as more opening times come into the CCGs.

Residents can find the pharmacy times here   

Residents can also find lots of healthcare advice and services in the Sefton good health checklist, which you can view online at: southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/good-health-checklist

 

Sefton resident urges others not to dismiss the signs of bowel cancer

Photo of Erica Squire
Erica Squire

Local resident Erica Squire has shared the story of her bowel cancer journey during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and urges others to get checked out if they spot the signs of the disease.

Treatable

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer, but it is treatable and curable if it is diagnosed at an early stage.

Erica, who lives in Sefton, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2017 after attending hospital with liver pain. She was referred for a colonoscopy and five tumours were found on her liver.

She said: “My prognosis wasn’t good and I was put on palliative chemotherapy, but despite the odds I am still here, after a very long battle.”

All clear

Erica responded to her chemotherapy treatment better than expected and was referred to a specialist at Aintree Hospital after her tumours had shrunk enough to be able to operate on. In January 2018, she had part of her bowel removed and the tumours removed from her liver, followed by further chemotherapy and surgery. All of her scans to check for cancer have since been all clear.

More than 90% of people with bowel cancer have one of the following combinations of symptoms, which Erica urges other residents to look out for:

  • a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain.
  • blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids.
  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss.

Screening

Erica said: “When I was diagnosed I had a 10% chance of survival and I went through two rounds of chemotherapy. This had a huge impact on my mental and physical health, but this can be avoided if the disease is caught early. Everyone should go for screening as soon as they are eligible, and if you have any symptoms at all, get them checked out.

“There is a lot I have learned in hindsight. I now realise that there were signs that I ignored. I was tired a lot in the six or seven months before my diagnosis. I wasn’t yawning as though I wanted to go to bed, it was a general weariness and heaviness and I felt worried, but I dismissed it.

“I had been to the doctor the previous year when I had passed a bit of blood and she asked if it could be something superficial and I said that it could be. She offered to examine me and I said it wasn’t necessary. In hindsight I should have had it investigated further.”

Early diagnosis saves lives

Dr Debbie Harvey, Macmillan GP and cancer clinical lead at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We’re urging people to be aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer and if any of these develop, contact your GP to get them checked out and not be embarrassed. Early diagnosis really does save lives.”

Dr Graeme Allan, clinical lead for cancer at NHS Southport and Formby CCG said: “NHS bowel cancer screening is available to everyone aged 60 or over and 56 year olds. If you are also eligible for bowel cancer screening, make sure you complete your home test every two years when it gets sent out to you.”

You can hear Erica tell her story here.

Support in Sefton for Homes for Ukraine scheme

Sefton Homes for Ukraine logoTo help sponsors in Sefton offering their homes and their Ukrainian guests when they arrive, Sefton Council has set up web pages containing the information they may need, including a set of Questions and Answers.

These can all be found by visiting www.sefton.gov.uk/homes-for-ukraine and following the links.

Households

Sefton Council’s and its partners are in touch with households across the Borough offering their homes to people from Ukraine fleeing the war, under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

To ensure the scheme is safe for sponsors and their guests when they arrive, the Council is carrying out the required checks. It is also putting safeguarding procedures in place and organising for payments to householders and their Ukrainian guests once they arrive.

Essential services

The Government has said that under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, Ukrainians will be guaranteed free access to NHS healthcare, including mental health care. The Council has been working with healthcare colleagues to ensure that those arriving under the scheme will have access to essential services and any specific support they need.

School places will be available and Ukrainian children arriving under the Scheme will also be able to work and receive benefits.

To help support Ukrainian individuals and families arriving Sefton through the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ initiative, Sefton CVS and Sefton 4 Good, in partnership with Sefton Council and local VCF sector organisations, has launched a Sefton Ukraine Welcome Appeal.

Community response

The Appeal will help to provide a community response, such as settlement grants for individuals and families; providing social, cultural and community networks and activities, language support, travel cards, clothing, IT and equipment and other needs as they are identified.

You can donate here, via the Sefton Ukraine Welcome Appeal fundraising page here.

 

 

Two Sefton COVID test sites, in Crosby and Netherton, being dismantled this week

This week, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will be dismantling the former COVID testing sites at Crosby Library and Netherton Activity Centre.

Additional vehicles

Work to demobilise the sites on Wednesday 13th & Thursday 14th April is likely to mean additional vehicles around both sites, which could cause some short-term delays.

Netherton Activity Centre will remain open and Leisure Centre users are not expected to be affected by the work. Crosby Road Car Park will, however, be closed.

Both sites are scheduled to be officially handed back to Sefton Council on Tuesday 19th April.

Plan

All Sefton COVID testing sites for people with and without coronavirus symptoms were closed by 1st April in line with the Government’s ‘Living with COVID’ plan, which saw free testing for people without symptoms end.

Some people can still access free rapid lateral flow tests if they work for the NHS or in social care, are going into hospital, or if they are at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

Details of groups that can still access testing and guidance can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/get-tested-for-coronavirus

People with coronavirus symptoms can book a PCR test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or calling 119.

Symptoms

Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in adults can include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature);
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours;
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste;
  • shortness of breath;
  • feeling tired or exhausted;
  • an aching body;
  • a headache;
  • a sore throat;
  • a blocked or runny nose;
  • loss of appetite;
  • diarrhoea;
  • feeling sick or being sick.

Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones, is still stressing that to be full protected from COVID, adults need to have had two jabs and a booster.

To find more local vaccination sites in Sefton, people can visit the NHS South Sefton CCG website at www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk/get-informed/latest-news/walk-in-or-book-a-covid-19-vaccine

To find out more about the COVID-19 booster vaccine, who is eligible, and to book an appointment online through the national booking system, people should visit the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-booster-vaccine .

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