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December 2018

Baby and Child Remembrance Service at Ormskirk Hospital

On Wednesday 5 December, the annual baby and child memorial service will take place at Ormskirk District General Hospital.

Baby service

All who have experienced loss, whether recently or in the past are invited. Everyone is welcome to come along and join in this non-denominational service of carols, Christmas music and readings. Music will be provided by the Salvation Army Band.

Refreshments will be provided from 6 pm and the service begins at 6.30pm, in the baby garden at Ormskirk hospital. The service will last for approximately 20 minutes. There will be an opportunity to record names of loved ones on a Christmas bauble, and place these on the tree during the service. Visitors will be able to take a bauble, with their loved one's name, home after the service to hang on their own Christmas tree. One staff member also makes personal candles for families to take home as a keepsake.

Hospital Chaplain Martin Abrams will be leading the service and he explains:

“This is the fifth year that Southport and Ormskirk Hospital has offered support in this way, to families remembering lost loved ones at Christmas.

“The run up to Christmas can be a fun exciting time, but for many, it can heighten a sense of loss, grief and isolation. We hope that this short, informal service will be supportive to anyone who has lost a baby or child, not just recently but anytime in the past.

“We know many some people appreciate coming every year and some many years after a loss. Anyone who would find the service comforting is welcome to come.”

For more information please contact Martin or Jan on 01704 704639 or email:

During December there will also be an opportunity for people to record the name of a loved one - of any age - on the trees of remembrance in the prayer rooms at Ormskirk and Southport hospitals.

The Trust started using trees of remembrance four years ago, giving people an opportunity to remember loved ones by recording their name and placing it on the Christmas tree in the prayer rooms. In 2017 approximately 200 names were registered across the two sites.

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.

Pregnant flu. Dolly Loftus
Dolly Loftus, a Sefton resident receives her flu jab

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 potentially 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 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 the flu.

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.”

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.

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, but it’ll also 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 if you have any further queries simply ask at your GP practice or pharmacist.

Triathlete Michael raises £690 for children with diabetes

Champion fundraiser Michael Barlow raised £690 for the Southport and Ormskirk hospitals’ paediatric diabetes charity.

Michael Barlow triathlon

Michael, 38, took part in the Chester Triathlon in September. A keen cyclist, he competed in the half-triathlon competition, training for 14 weeks.

The event was made up of a 500-metre swim, a 21km bike ride and a 5km run which he completed in two hours eight minutes.

Michael, from Skelmersdale, raises money for a different charity each year. He was inspired to fundraise for the diabetes fund by the child of a family friend who is a patient at Ormskirk hospital.

Dr May Ng, Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist, said:

“The team was delighted to receive Michael’s generous donation and I want to thank everyone who sponsored him.”

She said the money would go towards essential learning and teaching materials for patients, and for the team to hold regular evening education sessions for families and children with diabetes.

It's time to take the signs of diabetes seriously this World Diabetes Day

People across Southport and Formby are being urged not to ignore signs and symptoms this World Diabetes Day (14 November 2018).

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes the blood sugar level to be too high.  Across Sefton, 6,500 are classed as being 'at risk' of developing type 2 diabetes - but it is preventable.

Dr Doug Callow, GP and diabetes lead at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “It's really important that diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated. 

"Making sure you know the symptoms means that you can work to make the changes you need to, to make sure it doesn't get worse."

The signs to look out for are:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
  • itching around the penis, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • blurred vision

Not being diagnosed or not managing diabetes properly once diagnosed can lead to serious health problems - heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, problems with your feet, blindness and problems with your kidneys.  In women, it can also contribute to miscarriage and stillbirth.

Dr Callow added:

“Not managing diabetes properly can lead to serious complications, this is why there is lots of support for you, including our Diabetes Education Programme.”

Provided by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, ‘Diabetes and You’ is a programme for people who have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  ‘Diabetes and More’ is for people who have been living with the condition for more than a year.

These sessions are free, informal and are a great way of meeting other people who are also keen to learn more about managing their condition and are designed to make living with diabetes as manageable for you as possible.

Diabetes Dietitians
Lucy Haworth, Erin Foley, Laura Chatt, Elizabeth Bletcher all community Dietitians for Southport & Formby.

John Bennett, 65, who was diagnosed with diabetes several months ago said:

“I’m retired and I was a driver in my last job.

“I went to the GP for a 65 MOT and that’s when I learned that I had diabetes. I don’t have any symptoms and I was referred to the service via my GP.

“When I visited the service, I found them very useful and helpful. I have no complaints whatsoever. They are very clear, they don’t patronise you and they tell you what is what when it comes to diabetes. The clarification is perfect.

“The service gives you a lot of confidence in dealing with diabetes and I would recommend other people with diabetes to visit the Diabetes Education Team and ensure they get help early on.”

Erin Foley from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Diabetes Education Team said:

“Locally 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

“With support to maintain a healthy diet, keep active and keep to a healthy weight, people with diabetes can stay well and reduce their risks of long-term health problems. Diabetes can have an impact on the health of the whole family. So, families have a key role to play in supporting lifestyle changes.

“Learning how to self-manage diabetes is a must for anyone who has the condition. People with diabetes are at risk of developing health problems that include renal disease, blindness, cardiovascular disease and lower limb amputations, and it is because of this that we hold regular diabetes sessions to help people with diabetes to understand their condition better and how to successfully manage it to keep themselves well.

“The sessions are free and extremely useful in learning how to live with diabetes.”

The courses are held in various venues across Southport and Formby and at various timings throughout the day, including evenings and weekends.   They’re designed to make living with diabetes as manageable for you as possible.

To find out more about these programmes or to book directly onto a course, contact the Diabetes Education Team on 01704 387271 or email  

To find out more about diabetes, visit the NHS Choices website:

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.  

CCG Headers

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 breastfeeding
  • 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: /