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Issue:- 3 October 2013


THE North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) has launched:- #Team999; a new initiative designed to educate people in Merseyside about what can happen following an emergency call to the ambulance service. Through this campaign, the public will 'meet' different representatives of the service and find out how the individuals make sure each and every patient receives the right care.

The initiative aims to educate the public about the changing role of the ambulance service and in particular, how it no longer simply sends ambulances to all incidents or takes every patient to the emergency department. Last year alone, 15% of patients seen by NWAS paramedics were treated at home without the need to go to hospital. The #Team999 campaign will help the public better understand what to expect when they call 999, by introducing them to all of the team members they could come into contact with.

Bob Williams, the acting chief executive of NWAS, said:- "We want to break down any myths that exist about the outcome of calling 999 – predominantly that it doesn't always mean a visit from an ambulance crew or a trip to hospital. Our aim is to provide every patient with the right care, in the right place. Sometimes this will be an ambulance and a visit to the emergency department, but not always. Around two thirds of our 999 calls are for non-life-threatening incidents. Because of this, we have changed the way we work to make sure patients get the most appropriate care for their specific needs and, most importantly, keep emergency ambulances free for those who need them most."

The 7 representative team members making up #Team999 are an emergency medical technician (EMT) and paramedic, rapid response vehicle paramedic, emergency medical dispatcher, resource dispatcher, hazardous area response team (HART) paramedic and urgent care desk specialist paramedic. Over the next 6 months, the representatives of #Team999 will be introduced one by one to enable the public to get a greater understanding of their roles and the part they play within NWAS and patients' lives.  The representatives will each take part in activities and events including live Twitter Q&A sessions, roadshows and short films – giving the public a glimpse into the day to day responsibilities of the full team.

Bob continued:- "#Team999 really brings to life all of the elements that make up NWAS. It's the first time the public will get the chance to 'meet' the individual team representatives and get a clear understanding of what happens in the emergency ambulance service. We hope the public in Merseyside enjoy getting to know #Team999 and we look forward to receiving their feedback about the campaign over the coming months."

"Affordable rural housing is essential." says Countryside Alliance

THE Countryside Alliance welcomes news that the Government, since 1 October 2013, has taken steps will be taken to curb abuse of the village green system by those opposed to building projects.   Village green status was created to protect land that is regularly used for recreation from development, but loopholes in the system have increasingly been exploited by campaigners trying to stop local development.  While legitimate applications will remain well-protected, changes to the system will stop spurious village green claims, Defra has said.  Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said:- "Earlier this year we heard, from the National Housing Federation, that the number of people aged between 30 to 44 who live in the countryside has dropped by nearly 9% in the past decade, proof that we need more affordable homes in rural areas. A lack of affordable homes creates a vicious cycle which if not broken leads to the break-up of communities, a loss of services and results in villages that have no long term future. We need sensible development of housing and businesses to meet the need in the countryside."  

The rural population has grown by 800,000 people in the last decade, but figures compiled by the Countryside Alliance in 2011 demonstrated that there is an 80% shortfall in the delivery of affordable housing when compared against identified need.

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