I’m Back!

I have been absent from blogging for the last 3 weeks as a result of a real bout of the flu, compounded by a secondary chest infection, which left me in bed for 9 days and the last 12 days recovering slowly.    I have said on many occasions when I have had a nasty cold that I have got the flu, I will never say that again about a cold, as bad as it may be, it could never compare with what I have just gone through!  

I would like to say a huge thanks to my friends and colleagues for all their offers of help, special thanks to Steve Williams who picked up and delivered my batch of Newslines, and to Ian and Leah for looking after the Wallasey Office, and to all those Councillors who stepped in to print the Newslines and organise the canvass cards.    Also special thanks to Andy and Clare in Esther McVey’s office for picking up the baton and keeping the office running efficiently.   And not forgetting my Merseytravel colleague, Cllr Les Rowlands for filling in at Mersytravel in my absence.  It really is at times like these that people pull together.   Anyway enough of the history and back to reality work and blogging.

Wirral’s Healthy Homes Pilot

This morning, in my role as the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety I was delighted to open a stakeholder event about Healthy Homes.

Healthy homes is a new way of delivering front line services to some of Wirral’s most vulnerable individuals by bringing a wide range of partners together to address a range of factors that can impact on their health and wellbeing.     It’s primary aim is addressing health inequalities by ensuring an effective, targeted and co-ordinated response to an individual needs via an outreach approach; an approach which embraces the spirit of localism, efficiency and joined up working.

Staff from the Council’s Housing, DASS and Community Safety Teams are working together with the Police, Fire Service and agencies such as Energy Projects Plus, Involve North West and VCAW to engage difficult to reach groups and ensure help is accessible to those who need it most.    This initiatives support Wirral’s Sustainable Community Strategy, LAA and Corporate Plan by contributing directly towards key improvement targets for the borough.    The inititive will help to improve the health and well being for all, ensuring people who require support are full participants in mainstream society, contributing to a prosperous economy and regeneration objectives and helping to create a clean, pleasant, safe and sustainable environment in Wirral.    

The pilot for this project, which will be in New Brighton will start in just a few weeks.      We hope this will be an evolving process from which we can learn valuable lessons in partnership working and improve engagement skills so that resources are targeted at those who need services most.   If successful the Council plans to replicate the approach in other parts of Wirral.    You can read more on this by clicking HERE

NHS – Seems Like Millions Have been “Data Captured!”

Back in February I blooged on the introduction of Summary Care Records and the unfair system of the ‘Opt Out’ system.

In July I blogged another report on the ongoing difficulties of this system, and what I consider to be deliberate obstacles being put in the way of people who do not want their records uploaded on to what can only be described as a dodgy and unsecure database.  

Today, in the Dail Mail it has been revealed just how devious and underhand the process for this has been, and that millions appear to have already had their data uploaded without their knowledge.   You can read the Mail report by clicking HERE

This is a disgraceful way to treat people, and seems to be driven by the NHS insatiable appetite to know everything about us.   Its time this scheme, just like the little blue card scheme thety tried to introduce a year or so ago was scrapped.     I have opted out, I hope lots more do

WHAT? Wirral Help & Alcohol Treatment!

This morning, along with my colleagues, Leah Fraser and Ian Lewis I attended an alcohol challenge event at Wallasey Town Hall, ‘Taking Steps To Rethink Drink’ organised by NHS Wirral.    The event was well attended by about 80 people, many of whom who are involved in delivering programmes and advice about drinking.

We had presentations from Marie Armitage, Director of Public Health in Wirral, Shyamal Mukherjee, Medical Director NHS Wirral and Andrew Bennett, Centre for Public Health, LJMU.     The theme throughout demonstrated that alcohol consumption is a very real problem in Wirral.   We were bombarded with lots of statistics, some really shocking, and linking alcohol to Cancer, Liver failure, Stroke, Heart Disease and many more health issues.      Perhaps  one of the most alarming stats was the fact, that even if people who drink follow the Government guidelines, they still run the risk of a one in a hundred chance of dying from an alcohol related illness.      

I do not class myself  as a heavy drinker, however after this mornings event I will be committing to cut back on my alcohol intake.    Are you drinking too  much, want to cut down or simply want to find out more click HERE

Can YOU Help?

A Wirral woman who faces a race against time to find a matching bone marrow donor is appealing to the chinese community to help provide the lifesaving transplant she needs to beat leukaemia.

Jenny Wilkinson, 44, of Wallasey, was diagnosed with leukaemia in May 2009. After three unsuccessful courses of chemotherapy, she is now taking part in trials of a new drug, which it is hoped will put her in remission. However she was forced to abandon the trial after it left her desperately ill.

After recovering, she now is taking the drug again, and if, as is hoped, the drug succeeds in putting her in remission, she will then need a bone marrow transplant.

However Jenny says the chances of her finding a donor are complicated by the fact that she is of chinese origin – and has not been able to find a match yet.

Jenny’s parents – her mother died just a week ago – are both Chinese, and Jenny has been told that her best chance of a donor lies with someone of Chinese origin.

However, national donor registers are chronically short of potential donors from ethnic groups, and urgently need to recruit more volunteer donors from all ethnic backgrounds, including chinese.

Said Jenny: ‘I was shocked to find out that, due to my background, the odds of finding a suitable donor are much worse than if I was a Caucasian patient.    Most matches are found from within the same ethnic community as the patient.

‘This is the chance for someone to make a profound difference to someone’s life.    I’m trying hard to stay positive but I need to find a match as soon as possible,’ she added.

There is only a short window of time that Jenny could receive a bone marrow transplant, and patients only have a chance at one transplant too, so the best match possible is vital.

Now Jenny is appealing to everyone – particularly the chinese and ethnic minority communty – to join the national bone marrow register.

Jenny feels that some people may be put off my outdated perceptions of what a bone marrow transplant entails. Thanks to advances in medicine, donating bone marrow is now much easier, and, for most people pain, free.

Jenny is calling on people to register for bone marrow donation by calling the Anthony Nolan Trust on 0303 303 0303, visiting www. anthonynolan.org.uk or going to the Wirral Leukaemia Awareness Day event in the aerobics studio at West Kirby Concourse on Saturday February 6 from 9.30am-4pm where they will be able to take a simple test to see whether they are suitable.      Anyone aged between 18 and 50 and in general good health would make a potential donor.

October 31st

Today is perhaps best known as halloween, however today is also designated as a Breast Cancer Awareness Day.    Whilst Halloween in most cases is a bit of fun, breast cancer unfortunately is not in anyway funny, it is a killer.    I personally am aware of six people who over the years have sadly lost their battle with this killer and I really do not want to see anyone else or their families go through this trauma.     Today, you and I can do something positive.   Today is dare to wear pink day, I will be .    Why dont you?  You can read more about the campaign by clicking here

Sorry, you will have to die, sooner rather than later?

Ok, so the headline may be emotive, but for many, many people that is the possible outcome of the recent decision of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), in saying new drugs that can extend life for those people who have advanced kidney cancer are simply too expensive to provide on the National Health Service.   Read more here.