Closure of Lydiate Ambulance Station – Lib Dem Councillors demand that NW Ambulance Service look at all the options

Following a meeting on Tuesday 10th June between Sefton Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee and representatives of NW Ambulance Service Maghull and Lydiate’s 3 Lib Dem Borough Councillors Tony Robertson, Bruce Hubbard and Andrew Blackburn say they are very unhappy with the lack of detailed information provided at the meeting.

We asked NW Ambulance Service a number of searching questions such as:-

Did you look at sharing space at Maghull Police Station instead of simply telling us you are moving to the Fire Station at Netherton?

Why has NW Ambulance Service not even considered basing a local ambulance here?

Why has NW Ambulance Service not even considered basing a local ambulance here?

Where is the detail of your financial case for closing Lydiate Ambulance Station and moving to Netherton?

What are your anticipated response time calculations following the proposed move away from Maghull and Lydiate?

Bearing in mind that Lydiate is surounded on 3 sides by Lancashire surely you should be considering how your service will interact with West Lancashire based ambulances before making any far reaching decisions?

Sadly we did not get detailed resonses and with regard to examining other options to place the ambulance station locally we were told that Maghull Police Station had not even been considered! This is staggering as surely all options must be considered before decisions are made.

We expected to hear a well polished case which tried to justify the plan to close our local ambulance station but that did not happen and we left the meeting with even greater concerns than before we went to it.

Outdoor Fitness Equipment at KGV Park Maghull

Like Lydiate, Melling and Aintree Village in the East Parishes part of Sefton, Maghull now has some outdoor fitness equipment and it is in KGV Park next to Meadows Leisure Centre.

rsz_kgv_outdoor_fitness_equipment_05_13

I am all for this equipment although I accept that others are not. Interestingly, I predicted that some would be upset by the installation because Lydiate Parish Council had previously looked into providing similar items and it provoked letters to press in objection. That was 3 or more years ago but the same has happened this time in that a letter has appeared in the Aintree and Maghull Champion blaming Sefton Council for spending scarce cash on the equipment whilst cutting other services.

Whilst I am the last person to defend Labour led Sefton Council I have to say that the NHS paid for these items not the Council.

Oh, and one further thing. I have been asked by a few people why the Maghull KGV fitness equipment was sited well away from the buildings so compromising the grassed area for games etc. I wondered that too and don’t understand why Maghull Town Council chose to put it where it did. To me it would have been best at least on the other side of the path through the Park if not where the old putting green used to be.

Maghull Homes – Now Parkhaven Trust – 125 years of social care in Maghull

From the age of 17 to my mid 30’s I worked on a part-time basis at what was then the Maghull Homes which was originally set up as an epileptic colony. My job was assisting the disabled residents to participate in social and sporting activities such as snooker (I was taught to play this by residents of the Maghull Homes), cricket and football on the charity’s Liverpool Road South site.

rsz_photo0212

The second site, located off Deyes Lane, was where a school for children with epilepsy was based and which operated until the mid 1980’s, if I recall correctly. The Liverpool Road South site is substantially intact and still serving the needs of those with disabilities but the Deyes Lane site is very much smaller these days with grand houses covering some of what was attractive parkland that the epileptic residents helped to maintain. Indeed, the redevelopment of a large part of the Deyes Lane site, which also had a number architecturally pleasing buildings, was recently approved in extremely controversial circumstances I am sorry to say. I think it is also fair to say that those who fought the redevelopment will never forgive those local socialist politicians who allowed it to happen in the way that it did. We have indeed lost a significant green lung in the Maghull community.

Anyone living in Maghull when I was growing up (1968 onwards for me as I came to live in Maghull then at the age of 10) will have been used to seeing the residents of the colony out and about on Maghull’s streets going to the shops etc. Of course, being epileptics they had attacks and a group of folk surrounding someone on the floor in Maghull inevitably meant one thing – someone was having an epileptic attack.

You can imagine that this was all new to me as a 10 year old lad and not easy to get your head around but I quickly began to resent the remarks and attitude of some of my fellow school children who would make fun of the residents of ‘The Homes’. I appreciate now that the poor taste remarks were little more than fear of the unknown and a childlike reaction to such but never the less those reactions have never left me.

At some point whilst I was a young teenager my Mum started work at the Maghull Homes organising holidays and social activities so I found out more about the charity, its residents and indeed epilepsy. I got to know many of the residents and in due course enjoyed working with and helping them.

Some of them had been put there many years previously as having an epileptic in your family particularly during Victorian and Edwardian times was an embarrassment; hence the setting up of epileptic colonies such as the one in Maghull. There were others and Langho, up Blackburn way, was another that I became aware of. Indeed, when Langho closed some of its long-term residents came to live in Maghull.

The majority of Maghull Homes residents that I knew throughout the 1970’s, 80’s and early 90’s have now passed on but I like to think of them as my friends who were both unfortunate to have a condition that was hard to control and which in some cases made their families find them to be an embarrassment. Of course some had other disabilities as well but a more cheery group of folk you would look hard to find.

I know that those residents had a profound effect on me and the way I look at the world and I would not have missed the opportunity to work with them for the world. I lost count of the number of huddles of folk on pavements I came across when driving around Maghull. Of course I stopped, had a look and often put the Homes resident in my car to take them home. On the odd occasion the attack would lead to a serious injury as the epilepsy sufferer hit a hard object as they fell and medical attention would be required.

And my reason for relating this? The Maghull Homes, now a social care charity catering for all kinds of disability called the Parkhaven Trust, is 125 years young in 2013 having ben established in 1888.

These days epilepsy is well controlled by medication and we may all know a person well who has epilepsy without ever being aware of their condition. Indeed, I know two people well who take medication for this condition and they have no connection what so ever with the friends I made at the Maghull Homes many years ago.

http://www.parkhaven.org.uk/

Closure of Lydiate Ambulance Station – Why did Labour sit on the information and say nothing until Lib Dems made it public?

The proposed closure of Maghull Ambulance Station, with the ambulance based there being moved to Buckley Hill Fire Station, is a concern to us all and that is why Cllr. Andrew Blackburn and I made the issue public via the Champion newspaper (24th April) and this blog site.

rsz_photo0213

But hang on a minute, Labour run Sefton Council knew about this closure at least as long ago as the 12th March (some 6 weeks previously) when they were written to by the North West Ambulance Trust.

On that basis why did it have to take us opposition Lib Dem councillors to ferret out the information and make it public? Why did Labour sit on the information? Why indeed. What’s more it seems that the comrades are now scuttling around raising a petition against the closure that they did nothing about at all until we, with the Champion’s help, put it in the public domain.

That’s not community leadership dear comrades it’s band wagon jumping.

Lydiate gets outdoor gym equipment

rsz_lpc_gym_equipment_04_13_2rsz_lpc_gym_equipment_04_13

This was the scene as work to install the outdoor gym equipment was all but finished at Lydiate Parish Council’s Village Centre site on Lambshear Lane.

It is looking good and is NHS funded but I remember when a far seeing Lydiate Parish Council suggested installing such items a few years ago. It was attacked in the press for even thinking about it! How times move on.

Lib Dems raise concerns about closure of Lydiate Ambulance Station

Plans by the North West Ambulance Service to close their ambulance station in Lydiate’s Kenyons Lane and relocate the ambulance housed there to Netherton’s Buckley Hill Fire Station have met with big concerns from local Lib Dem Sefton councillors.

The worrying news came in a letter to Sefton Council dated 12th March from the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust signed by Bob Williams the Trust’s Acting Chief Executive.

Says Cllr. Andrew Blackburn “My worry is that not having an ambulance based in the Maghull and Lydiate community will mean that the level of response to emergencies could well be less.

We have had a local ambulance station for as long as most people can remember and taking into account the size of the Maghull and Lydiate population, which has grown significantly since the ambulance station was built, it must surely be the case that an ambulance should continue to be stationed here.”

The Lib Dem councillors view is that the Trust needs to consult local people about this proposal and explain things to local people. The plans need testing against local opinion and residents need to have a say before the Trust takes any binding decisions.

I fear that this has been under discussion for quite some time but no consultation with residents has taken place. This is a big decision and I want it taken with the views of local people before the Trust Board. But for that to happen information needs to be put before residents clearly stating where all the ambulances that serve Maghull and Lydiate will be based and the estimated response times following any relocations.

I am particularly concerned about the large rural area of Lydiate to the north of the Parish which the present ambulance station can serve very well. The proposal to relocate to Netherton could mean that rural Lydiate becomes not so well served.