Dad tees off fundraising thank you for Matt’s spinal injury care 

A fundraising festival of golf is a father’s thank you for the NHS treatment his son received following a life-changing road accident.

Matt Sullivan was 18 in 2005 when his spinal cord was badly injured in the crash, leaving him with a high degree of paralysis and limited hand dexterity 

He spent nine months in rehabilitation at the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Southport and Formby District General Hospital, north of Liverpool.

Matt Sullivan (2)Now 32, Matt is a successful wheelchair rugby player with Leicester Tigers WR – winners of the sport’s Super Series Division One in 2018 and 2019. He was also among players selected for the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby squad in the 2012 Paralympics in London.

He still visits Southport twice a year for continuing care and lives independently in his own specially-adapted apartment at Spinningfields in Manchester city centre.

As a thank you for the care Matt receives, dad John is using his year as captain at Bramall Park Golf Club, near Stockport, Cheshire, to fundraise for the spinal injuries centre.


John, speaking from the family home at nearby Hazel Grove, said:

John and Matt SullivanMatt lives a very active life despite his physical disability – and that’s thanks to the care of the staff at Southport. Their support and his determination during his rehabilitation helped him find the strength of character to become the man he has.

“As this year’s club men's captain, me and my family have the opportunity to say thank you to Southport and for the emotional and well-being aspect of care they gave us.”

Events are taking place throughout the year but the blue riband event will be the Captain’s Golf Day and Dinner, a four-ball amateur team competition, on 18 October at Bramall Park. The club is also celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Entry is £300 per team which includes the competition, refreshments and the evening fundraising gala dinner. Entry is limited to members of recognised golf clubs with a handicap maximum of 28 for men and 36 for women. There are prizes for the top three placed teams plus individual hole prizes, a post-golf dinner, raffle and charity auction.

The three-course dinner package is available to purchase individually or in tables at £50 per person. For more information, email or follow John @Cpt1894 on Twitter.

Donations can also be made through a dedicated Just Giving page.

Emily Hoban, manager of the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, said:

“Suffering a spinal cord injury is a life-changing event but Matt’s story and achievements show it’s no bar to having a full, active and fulfilling life.

“We’re thrilled John has chosen us as his charity in Bramall Park’s 125th anniversary year. It’s fantastic recognition of the work our team of skilled professionals do. The funds raised will help us do even more for people like Matt who use the centre.”


Love your lungs in Sefton

In recognition of Love your lungs week (June 17-23) local organisations are reminding residents of the support they have in Sefton to help with breathing conditions.

Walking Football FGF Team Sept 2017
The walking football team at the Feelgood Factory

As part of the week, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Southport and Formby CCG, Living Well Sefton and Sefton Council are all encouraging people to take the British Lung Foundation breath test and to seek help if they need it.

Dr Nigel Taylor, respiratory lead for NHS South Sefton CCG, said:

“We are keen to raise awareness, not just this week but all year round, about the services that are available in Sefton for those who have lung-related conditions.

“If you have a known lung condition and are feeling breathless you should follow your personal management plan. If you are not improving or you don’t have a plan and are worried then you should attend the walk-in centre or contact your GP practice.”

Dr Kati Scholtz, respiratory lead at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“For simple problems such as a cough or a cold your local pharmacist can help, they can also help by giving additional advice regarding inhaler techniques and providing over the counter Nicotine Replacement Therapies if you are trying to stop smoking.”

The Breathe Easy group is a great support network to encourage people with lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis, to look after themselves and to share ways to do this.

The Sefton south group meets in the Strand By Me shop in Bootle every second Tuesday of the month at 1 pm and the Sefton north group meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the Doves Centre on Duke Street, Formby at 1 pm.

Living Well Sefton partners are also supporting Love Your Lungs Week by encouraging people to take advantage of the activities and classes that they offer.

Over at the Feelgood Factory in Netherton, Philomena Zilinski, says:

“Our walking football and guided walks as well as our physical activity classes  all  improve cardiovascular  fitness leading to  improved lung function.”

Working outdoors in the garden is another great way to keep your lungs fit and both the Brighter Living Partnership in Southport and the May Logan centre, Bootle, have gardening groups to join. People also have the option of joining in the weekly social walk from May Logan too.

And, with Smoke-free Sefton’s support, your breathing and lung capacity will improve once you’ve quit smoking.

For details on the Living Well Sefton support please visit or call 0300 323 0181.

To watch a video on the Breathe Easy group and Smoke-free Sefton please click here:  


You can find out about the Breathe Easy groups in your area here: and you can take the British Lung Foundation breath test here:  


Rapid response by health commissioners to inspection findings

Health commissioners are taking immediate action after a re-inspection of systems and services for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) in Sefton.

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In their report, inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are critical of Sefton’s response to the significant areas of weakness they highlighted in their initial inspection.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer for Sefton’s two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), said:

“We fully acknowledge and accept the shortcomings of our health systems and services for SEND that inspectors’ found and we agree that the support these children and young people receive is far, far below what we and their families expect and for this we are deeply sorry.”

“We want to rebuild parent and carers confidence in the SEND system and whilst we understand this will take time, we will do all we can to work with them, together with Sefton Council and other health partners to make improvements for their children as swiftly as possible.”

In response, the CCGs are working with their partners in the local NHS and from Sefton Council on a joint plan to improve care for these children, young people and their families to address all areas of weakness. Additionally, the CCGs have taken immediate measures to begin to address the elements of health services that were highlighted by inspectors for improvement.

Fiona explained:

“We are carrying out a rapid review of our arrangements for commissioning and monitoring SEND services and we are working closely with our dedicated, professional and compassionate healthcare staff to secure change for our children and young people.”

Inspectors did acknowledge in their findings some of the positive steps made by the CCGs to strengthen leadership for SEND and their investment of resources to accelerate improvement.

In response to the inspection, CCGs have made further investments to reduce waiting times whilst they review what more is needed for the longer term, working with NHS partners who provide these services.

Fiona said:

“We’ve made immediate investments so 60 more children and young people can be seen each month by speech and language therapists to begin to bring unacceptable waiting times down.

“We made some significant investments last year to improve the different services that children and young people with autism and ADHD need support from, and now we’re further reviewing those services to make quicker progress.”

Across Sefton’s SEND partnership, inspectors also noted some progress for those key stage 2 children with an education and healthcare plan (EHC) in reading, writing and mathematics. Positive steps were also highlighted by inspectors around moves to better involve children and young people, through initiatives like the annual young persons’ workshops and the appointment of a ‘young advisors’ coordinator.

Fiona added:

“We are working with services to ensure parents and carers are fully involved in designing and agreeing the health element of their child’s wider educational health and care plan, and that these plans are timely and are of the quality we all expect to enable our children and young people to make the good progress they deserve.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said:

“The CCGs are committed to working closely with and listening to our children and parents in partnership with our health and council colleagues. There is much for us to do and we take our responsibilities seriously.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, concluded:

“The CCG will continue to work with the children and young people’s overview and scrutiny committee as we work towards a steep change in the pace of improvement work for children’s services.”

Ofsted and CQC inspection letters can be found on the Ofsted website from the following link

The inspectors’ letter is also published on the Sefton Council and the CCGs websites. Visit and


Patients in Southport help homeless people get healthcare

Health commissioners in Southport and Formby are encouraging residents to get involved in their local NHS by joining their GPs practice’s patient group this national participation week (10–15 June).

Staff at St Marks and Trinity Medical Centre in SouthportNHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is raising awareness of the role of patient participation groups, which every GP practice in England is required to have. Groups canprovide practical support in the surgery, foster improved communication between the practice and its patients and help people to take more responsibility for their health.

St Marks and Trinity Medical Centre in Southport have an active patient group. The PPG and the staff at the practice have been working closely with its local community to support homeless residents to register with a GP practice. This was started through a suggestion a member of the patient group who was formerly homeless and so has first-hand experience of the challenges people face getting the healthcare they need.

Eric Balki, an executive partner at the two practices who support the work of the patient group, explained: 

“Since this problem was brought to light by our patient group we have been able to register 16 homeless patients at the practice. These patients have received regular health checks and medical assistance, which has helped to prevent the onset of more serious health problems.

"We have also been able to put them in touch with other support services. We would encourage homeless people in this area to come and see us for more information.”

Eric is also encouraging other people to join their practice’s group:

“Our patient group is a great asset to the practice, helping patients to share their ideas about how we can improve what we do. We are always looking for new members. If you are interested just speak to your receptionist at your GP practice. I would encourage people to join because it helps the public understand how general practices work and their feedback helps to shape future services.”

NHS Southport and Formby CCG work with Healthwatch Sefton to regularly encourage more people to join their practice’s patient group.

Wendy Andersen, engagement manager for Healthwatch Sefton, says:

“Our Community Champion network members have been telling us of the difficulties of being able to join a GP practice PPG and we are now glad to be working in partnership with the CCGs to support in the development of PPGs throughout Sefton.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“We are really keen to grow our patient groups in Sefton. They are a way to share your views on the future of GP practices and have your say so please do speak to your practice if you are interested.”

To find out more you can visit: or you can speak to your own GP practice if you are interested in joining. You can also watch a short video about the benefits of being involved in a PPG here:

The week is organised by the National Association for Patient Participation, (N.A.P.P) a national charity, formed in 1978. Uniquely placed as the only umbrella body for patient-led groups in primary care, N.A.P.P has over 40 years’ experience in promoting, supporting and developing Patient Participation Groups (PPGs). There are now over 1500 groups affiliated to N.A.P.P, representing at least ten million patients across the UK.


Diabetes programmes in Sefton gains accreditation

Education programmes in Sefton that support people living with diabetes are the first in Merseyside to be recognised by a nationally respected institute in time for Diabetes Week 2019.

Diabetes blood testThe two patient education programmes offered by NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are Diabetes and You, which helps educate people who have recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and Diabetes and More, which focuses on supporting those who have been living with diabetes for more than twelve months.

Dr Nigel Taylor, diabetes lead for NHS South Sefton CCG, said:

“Our diabetes programmes consist of two, two and a half hour sessions, and are run by a team of diabetes specialist nurses, dietitians and podiatrists.

“Both of these diabetes programmes are incredibly valuable to the people of Sefton. Not only do they support people living with Type 2 diabetes, these programmes also support their carers and family members.”

Following a review by the Quality Institute for Self Management Education & Training (QISMET), the Diabetes and You and Diabetes and More programmes have gained accreditation for their high quality service and effectiveness. QISMET is an independent not-for-profit body that supports self-management providers and commissioners to achieve the highest possible quality service for people living with long-term health conditions.

Residents who have attended past programmes have found them highly beneficial, as this person explains:

 “I found the sessions very informative and will take on board the advice I have been given.”

Another former attendee said:

“I was in a bit of denial because of the healthy diet and exercise elements but this has given me insight and really improved my knowledge.”

Dr Doug Callow, diabetes lead for NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“Diabetes Week is a great opportunity to learn how to manage your diabetes but of course we promote this all year round. These sessions will teach you about healthy eating, your medication, lifestyle advice and more. I would encourage anyone who has Type 2 diabetes to attend.”

The education sessions are held at a variety of locations and times across Sefton. If you would like to attend, you can request a referral from your GP or practice nurse, or you can refer yourself to one of the programmes by contacting the Diabetes Education Team. If you are registered with a GP in Sefton you can call them on 01514754285. 

Diabetes Week takes place from 10 June – 16 June 2019. For more information visit


For more information on QISMET visit their website.