Health Trusts earn
two star ratings
by David Skentelbery
WARRINGTON’S two main health organisations – North Cheshire Hospitals Trust and the Primary Care Trust – have been awarded two stars in the annual assessment carried out by independent watchdog the Healthcare Commission.
For the hospitals Trust – which runs Warrington and Halton General hospitals – the two star rating confirms a similar performance last year.
But the PCT – which runs GP surgeries, clinics, dentists, etc across the borough – has bounced back after losing its two stars last year and ending up with a zero rating.
The maximum number of stars available is three – and both organisations achieved seven out of eight key targets.
Ian Dalton, chief executive of North Cheshire Hospitals Trust, said: “It is excellent to have the Healthcare Commission’s external validation that we have high levels of performance. The report confirms the very real improvements to our care which have been made over the last 12 months.
“The Trust has moved from being a low two star organisation last year to being at the very top of this band and this has only been made possible by the commitment of all our 4,000 staff to improving hospital services for the people of North Cheshire.”
PCT chief executive Allison Cooke said: “This is an enormous achievement. We are delighted that the hard work of our staff and partners in helping to improve local health services has been recognised.”
The Healthcare Commission says hospital services in North Cheshire have performed well in the last year.
Indicators in which the Trust achieved the highest score included child protection, participation in audits, A&E emergency admissions, breast cancer treatment, and waiting times for the chest pain clinic.
The one key target the Trust did not achieve related to elective patients waiting longer than the target. The Trust admitted 99.7 per cent within nine months rather than 100 per cent.
This was due to problems with administrative systems earlier in the year and new systems have since been introduced.
The PCT achieved 100 per cent targets for patients being about to see their GP or primary healthcare professional within two days and helped 1,151 people to quit smoking – `10 more than the target!
They were also particularly successful in meeting targets for cervical screening, infant health, child protection and ensuring older people are protected against flu.
However, the PCT acknowledges there is still much to do to modernise the town’s primary care health services.
This summer they are to carry out a telephone survey of 2,000 people across the town to better understand primary healthcare needs. The results will be used to help plan future services.
The one area in which the PCT underachieved related to patients waiting longer than the standard for elective admission. They also blamed problems with administrative systems earlier in the year which had now been replaced by new systems.
Family fun day to
celebrate new park
by Lesley Wilkinson
A FAMILY fun day was enjoyed by scores of Warrington people to celebrate three years of hard work in transforming an open space into a community park for local residents.
Residents from the Watkin Street area celebrated the ?120,000 transformation of Brickfield Park.
Les Stewart, chair of the Watkin Street Tenants and Residents Association welcomed the deputy mayor and consort Coun Linda Dirir and Alan Dirir to officially open the event.
There was also a surprise visit from Warrington Wolves mascot Wolfie.
The new park includes play equipment, all weather pitch, seating, pathways and lighting funded from a variety of sources including BIFFA Waste, Warrington Borough Council and WREN.
Les said: “This is the culmination of three-years hard work from all the members of the Watkin St Tenants and Residents Association and I am delighted that the community have come together to celebrate this achievement today.”
The council contributed ?17,500 towards the scheme.
Ward councillor Yvonne Fovargue said: “This is really an example of the local community working together to realise a dream. A once derelict site is now an open space at the heart of the local community.
“I was delighted that local business and the Warrington Wolves were able to contribute towards the success of the day and I know that the park will be valued by all members of the community,” she added.
Wiz of a show!
by Gary Skentelbery
MEMBERS of Warrington’s CODYS operatic dramatic group are staging the classic “The Wiz”, an updated version of the Wizard of Oz, from tonight (wed) until Saturday.
The show takes place at Sir Thomas Boteler School’s theatre and tickets are priced ?5.50 – although Saturday is already a sell out.
The show is being produced by Nick Cupit assisted by Irene McGee.
Tickets are available by calling Irene on 01925 638215.
wins gold medal
by Lesley Wilkinson
A WARRINGTON-based landscape gardening firm won a much-coveted gold medal at the recent RHS Tatton Flower Show, near Knutsford.
The Garden Studio, based at Hawleys Trade Park, created two neighbouring gardens in partnership with Reaseheath College, Nantwich.
It was the first time in the RHS history that a show garden had been divided to create two individual plots.
Two strikingly different gardens were created, both focusing on texture, using similar materials and colours.
The first plot was aimed at a mature couple and featured a complex planting scheme with a relaxing outdoor settee. And the second plot, designed for a young professional couple, featured a relaxing black reflective pool and low maintenance paving and decking.
Tina Crossley, of The Garden Studio, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the gold award – particularly as there was so much strong competition at this year’s event.”
MP wins praise
by staff reporter
MP for Warrington North Helen Jones has been praised by Chancellor Gordon Brown for her work on the Make Poverty History campaign.
In a letter to the MP he thanked her for her work with churches, faith groups and community organisations in her area.
She is also the secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD group, which lobbies on these issues in Parliament.
Ms Jones said: “It was kind of the Chancellor to write to me as he did and I appreciate the comments he made.
“I do believe lasting change for Africa is within our grasp. Debt cancellation, increases in development aid, and trade justice are urgent and are the building blocks that will allow African countries to invest in universal education and healthcare and escape the cycle of poverty.”
She said the G8 had made progress on these issues, partly as a result of pressure from the public, including many Warrington people.
“I believe we do have a Government committed to ensuring that the progress continues and the work the Chancellor is doing in this area deserves high praise.
“I will continue to do my bit along with groups in Warrington and in Parliament by lobbying as an individual MP and as part of groups like Friends of CAFOD,” she added.
Green belt protection
moves a step closer
by Lesley Wilkinson
PLANS for a Green Belt boundary around Warrington and villages such as Lymm, Culcheth, Burtonwood and Croft are moving a step closer.
Warrington Borough Council’s proposals, outlined in the Draft Unitary Development Plan (UDP), have been the subject of uncertainty for many years.
Following a number of objections on the UDP, a public inquiry was held last year and the inspector’s report earlier this year supported the council’s Green Belt proposal. Objectors – mainly house-builders – had wanted additional Green Belt land allocated for future development.
The inspector also su
pported the council’s approach to the development of the Omega site, subject to traffic impact consideration. Recommendations in the report have been accepted by the council.
Final UDP modifications are soon to be published for consultation, one of the final steps before it can be adopted.
Coun Terry O’Neill, the council’s executive member for sustainable regeneration, said: “This is an incredibly important document for Warrington as it helps us put an end to the uncertainty that has dogged the council’s attempts to get the security of an adopted development plan for the borough.
“We want to concentrate on regenerating the older areas of the town. Prime investment sites such as Omega will have huge potential to bring about greater opportunities and employment not only within our inner wards, but to all areas of our town and the wider region.”
Copies of proposals will be displayed at locations throughout the town, including libraries, for six weeks from Friday (July 29). The draft UDP can also be viewed at www.warrington.gov.uk/udp
Wartime story of GIs in town
A WAR-time musical about the Burtonwood Base was enjoyed by scores of people when it was staged over several nights at Cinnamon Brow Farm, Warrington.
The show, I Will Come Home, was performed by GLR Productions and enjoyed by packed audiences, young and old, and residents from Ryfields Retirement Village.
George Greenall, of GLR Productions, said: “Residents commented on the realism of the dialogue and the portrayal of the GIs themselves.
“Members of the audience included Irene Hart whose memorabilia had been used in the production of the show and also a genuine GI bride who was visiting family”.
During the production’s Gala Performance members of the Burtonwood Association were guests. George presented a ?181 cheque to Pete Boardman of the association, for its work.
George said: “This cheque although only a small amount can hopefully help in some way towards keeping history like that of the Burtonwood Airbase alive. This is not just a cheque in the memory of those who served on the base, it is as a mark of respect to those who regularly attend the base and give up their efforts for the cause.”
The audiences enjoyed performances from Simon King and Paul Dawson as convincing GIs and Elizabeth Coop, as a young evacuee, and singing from Jade Spurrell and Kirsten Done among others.
Fire crews in battle
with major grass blaze
by John Hendon
FIRE crews from Warrington and Newton-le-Willows fought for several hours to control a major grass fire in a large field off Hall Lane, Burtonwood.
Children playing with lighters are believed to have started the outbreak which destroyed acres of stubble.
At one time the fire was blazing out of control and threatening nearby buildings, but firefighters using hosereel jets and beaters managed to extinguish it.
A Fire Service spokesman said a number of lighters were found at the scene.
He said: “We would warn children not to play with fire in fields, particularly in dry weather and when there is a strong wind. There is always a threat to nearby property and, even to life and, of course, it keeps fire crews tied up for hours when they might be needed for a more serious fire somewhere else.”
by staff reporter
FIRE crews were called to a house in Lovely Lane, Warrington when fire broke out.
The blaze involved a pan of food left unattended on the cooker. The occupier tackled the fire himself and it was out by the time firefighters arrived.
But the house was filled with smoke and the crews used a ventilation unit to clear it away. No-one was hurt.