Keep A&E free for people with serious or life-threatening conditions

People are being urged to avoid using A&E at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals unless they have a serious injury or illness, or face a life-threatening emergency

AandESouthport hospital, in particular, is extremely busy after a weekend which saw four-out-of-five patients on Saturday needing more thorough clinical assessment, investigation or observation before they could be treated.

Therese Patten, Chief Operating Officer, said:

“Local health and social care services are working closely to get patients the care they need where and when they need it. However, we also need our community’s help to keep our hospitals moving at this challenging time.

“Please use A&E services only if you need them and think carefully before calling an ambulance.

“If you have a friend, relative or loved already in the hospital, you can also help by supporting our staff to get them ready when it’s time to go home.”

A&E is for people with serious injuries or illness, or life-threatening emergencies such as severe chest pains, breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness or bleeding that won’t stop.

Contact a GP or a GP out of hours service for help with injuries or illnesses that won’t go away.

For people needing urgent help with minor illnesses or injuries, no appointment is necessary at a walk-in centre. West Lancashire Health Centre at Ormskirk hospital is open from 8 am to 7.30pm all year round. Skelmersdale NHS Walk-in Centre at The Concourse is open from 8 am to 7.30pm weekdays and from 9 am to 5 pm on weekends.

NHS 111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak with a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.

Local pharmacists and the NHS Choices website are also a good source of information and advice.

Coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs, general aches and pains, and flu will usually clear up on their own. Keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and, if appropriate, treat with over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol.


Top 10 rating for maternity staff detecting babies ‘at risk’ of stillbirth

Ormskirk hospital’s maternity unit has been nationally recognised for detecting a condition which can lead to babies being stillborn.

Last week the Wigan Road maternity unit had confirmation it was ranked in the top 10 in the country for detecting unborn babies who are Small for Gestational Age (SGA).

SGA can stop the baby growing during pregnancy and can cause an increased risk of stillbirth and can affect up to 10% of mothers-to-be.


Week old Ava-Marie

Skelmersdale mother-of-two Louise Flavell and her baby Ava-Marie benefited from early detection of SGA. This meant the baby girl - weighing 1.39kg/5lbs 1oz - is now hoping to be home in time for Christmas.

Ava-Marie arrived safely in week 34 of pregnancy on Saturday, 18 November thanks to the expertise of doctors and nurses at Ormskirk maternity unit. The team achieved their rating by implementing the “Growth Assessment Protocol” designed by the Perinatal Institute.

The aim is to reduce the number of stillbirths associated with growth restriction during pregnancy and involves producing a growth chart for each patient. It is tailored specifically to their height, weight and ethnicity.

The growth of the baby is then closely monitored so any concerns can be immediately acted upon. A training programme for the midwives and doctors was undertaken to ensure detection rates are as high as possible.

The Department of Health announced in its new maternity strategy last month that it aimed to reduce the number of stillbirths by half by 2025. This is in line with the Saving Babies’ Lives care bundle launched by NHS England last year.

This looks at reducing smoking during pregnancy, improved detection of small babies raised awareness of reduced fetal movements and improves monitoring of babies’ heart rates during labour.

Doctor Alice Bird, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, said:


Doctor Alice Bird

Congratulations to the whole maternity team on having an average SGA detection rate of 60.3% in 2017. This is far higher than the national average of 41.1%. These figures are excellent and put our trust in the top 10 in the country - excellent news for our patients like Louise - well done to the whole tea

“It’s also positive we are already addressing issues highlighted in the national maternity strategy and preventing the number of stillbirths at Ormskirk hospital. This is reassuring for mothers to be across Lancashire and Merseyside.”

Trust Leads the Way on High Quality Apprenticeships

Last Friday Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust became the first organisation in the country to sign up to UNISON’s apprenticeship charter.


The charter ensures that apprenticeships deliver a positive outcome for both apprentices and employers. The charter commits the Trust to provide apprenticeships that are well-funded, high quality and that lead to a meaningful job.

Apprentices will receive the correct rate for the job they are doing, high-quality training, and a safe and healthy working environment.

Karen Jackson, interim chief executive, said:

“The Trust is delighted to be able to support UNISON's charter. Apprenticeships help us develop our staff, opening new doors in their development so together we can best meet patient needs.”

UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea – who will be in Southport to sign the charter later today – said:

“We are delighted the Trust has decided to sign up our charter, publicly signalling its commitment to structured learning.

“The contribution of apprentices to the workplace is too often overlooked, and unfortunately many young people find themselves exploited, working long hours for low wages, with little support.

“Yet by properly investing in the workforce of tomorrow, employers can nurture talent and help fill the skills gap – and give a boost to the local economy at the same time.

“It’s very welcome that the Trust views apprenticeships as an investment in its future workforce, rather than a short-term source of cheap labour. With the number of apprentices set to rise significantly over the next few years, we hope many other employers will soon follow their lead.”

Simon Bunting is currently undertaking an apprenticeship. He is employed by the Trust and works in the Pharmacy as a Computer services manager. He said:

“I have really valued the opportunity to develop my career through undertaking an apprenticeship at the Trust. It is hard work, but I have learned a great deal which is already helping me to have a better understanding of leadership and management, enabling me to use this knowledge to become better at my job.

“It is great that more people will have a chance to undertake a high-quality apprenticeship in the future.”


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



Laura Gibson who works at NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG gets her flu jab

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 potentially 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 the 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.”


'Safe Refuge' Offer During the Bonfire Period

Merseyside Fire Stations make 'safe havens' offer. 

The Merseyside Fire Service published the following statement on their website yesterday. 

Remember, remember… Merseyside fire stations are community safe havens

Safe haven During the Bonfire period, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is reminding members of the public that they can seek refuge at any Merseyside fire station. 

Over the past four years, all 22 Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service stations have signed up to become ‘Safe Havens’. 

In the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night, firefighters deal with more incidents involving deliberately set fires, wheelie bin and skip fires, bonfires and incidents involving the misuse of fireworks. 

This, in combination with the nights drawing in, can leave some people feeling more at risk at this time of year. 

People who feel unsafe or vulnerable to anti-social behaviour (ASB), or who feel they are being pursued or threatened, can head to a fire station where they will see the Safe Haven signs illuminated at night. 

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “At this time of year, we experience a spike in firework and bonfire-related ASB. Anyone feeling at risk of harm related to this anti-social behaviour can go to one of our 22 Safe Havens. 

“Our firefighters are highly trained in first aid and trauma care and so this initiative allows us to serve our communities and protect vulnerable people. This applies at any time of the year, but is particularly relevant now.” 

To access a station, members of the public should ring the bell by the entrance door. If firefighters are not at the station, assistance can be called in an emergency by using the yellow station phone located at the front of the buildings. 

The Safe Haven scheme was launched in Merseyside in January 2011. As well as fire stations, a number of shops, businesses and community buildings have also been designated as Safe Havens.