#BackBob

Bob Blizzard, Labour Candidate for Waveney

Bob's Updates

From the Lowestoft Journal:

Mental health chiefs insist they have enough beds in Waveney and Great Yarmouth, despite figures showing two hospitals were more than 90pc full before a decision was made to close inpatient beds.

Officials from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and HealthEast announced plans last month to reduce the number of adult acute beds in the area from 28 to 20.

The decision means that all 14 inpatient beds at Carlton Court, near Lowestoft, will be closed next year, once Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth is extended to include more beds.

However, campaigners have questioned the logic of shutting beds after new figures revealed that the two hospitals were full to capacity on many occasions over the last two years.

Figures released under a Freedom of Information request show that on average 93pc of adult acute inpatient beds at Carlton Court were occupied between September 2012 and July 14. The response also revealed that 94pc of Northgate Hospital beds were in use in that period.

Bob Blizzard, prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, spoke of his frustration after the figures were released after a decision was made to reduce the number of inpatient beds in the area.

“These figures prove what staff and patients have been telling us, that the wards are full or overflowing all the time. This is why patients have sometimes had to sleep on sofas or be sent to beds a long way away out of area. These figures do not justify the closure of Waveney Ward at Carlton Court, agreed by decision makers,” he said.

Debbie White, director of operations for Norfolk and Waveney at the mental health trust, said they aimed to reduce pressure on beds in Yarmouth and Waveney by opening 10 new assessment beds at Hellesdon Hospital, Norwich.

“We are committed to using all the facilities and wards at Carlton Court to provide a range of new improved services as we develop it as a centre of excellence for older people’s and younger persons’ care.

“A third of service users in the adult acute beds in Carlton Court and Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth were from the Central Norfolk area. Great Yarmouth and Waveney residents are rarely placed out of area because we have enough capacity locally to care for them,” she said.

Twelve dementia beds on Larkspur Ward in Carlton Court have also been closed as part of the role out of a Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST) providing more community care. However, 10 beds on Laurel Ward for older people with conditions such as bipolar, depression and schizophrenia are being reopened.

'CAMPAIGNERS QUESTION LOGIC OF SHUTTING MENTAL HEALTH BEDS IN WAVENEY'

From the Lowestoft Journal: Mental health chiefs insist they have enough beds in Waveney and Great Yarmouth, despite figures showing two hospitals were more than 90pc full before a decision...

Charity fun match powers home 18 goals

The Renewables team – made up of players from across the sector – won the game at Lowestoft Town’s Crown Meadow 12-6 and were presented with the trophy sponsored by Warren Services.

The match to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance - will now become an annual event.

The Renewables were captained by Dan McKinley, an offshore technician with SSE, joined by other workers on the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm said:

"It was a tough match, but as captain of the Renewables team, I am pleased that we eventually took the title".

"The day was a lot of fun and it was great that we were able to raise funds for a local charity that provides so much support to the Lowestoft area."

Oil & Gas was led by Nick Thomson, of Gee-Force Hydraulics. Players from energy related companies chose their side to play for a good cause.



Among many other businesses involved were Sims Systems, Lokring, Renewable UK, DSL, Cornwall Energy, Subsea Protection Systems and Global Wind Service.

Martine Watker, Commerical and Communications Manager at EEEGR, said players from the nuclear sector had been unable to make the match but would hopefully join the Oil & Gas team next year.

EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray, who was chief executive of the East Anglian Air Ambulance for six years, said: "Much of what EEEGR does is business related and we thought it would be good to do something more social and at the same time raise a few pounds for an excellent cause."

The trophy was presented by Lowestoft Town patron, former Waveney MP Bob Blizzard.

CHARITY FUN MATCH POWERS HOME 18 GOALS

From LTFC: A spectacular 18 goals were scored when Oil & Gas took on Renewables in the first charity football match organised by EEEGR. The Renewables team – made up...

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As we have for some time suspected, the Conservative controlled Waveney District and Suffolk County Councils have, it now seems, abandoned the people of Lowestoft’s deeply held ambition for a third crossing. Almost everyone we’ve spoken to are astonished at James Reader’s proposal to just replace the bascule bridge instead of building an additional, third crossing, and the welcome this received from the Tory Council leaders, Colin Law and Mark Bee, in last week’s Journal.

Just replacing the existing bridge solves nothing. The bascule bridge is unfit for purpose, not because of the number of lanes on it, but because it is the ONLY place to cross Lake Lothing (apart from Oulton Broad over two miles away). It is this funnelling effect that creates a dysfunctional road system which mars daily life and the economy of Lowestoft.

Mr. Reader’s proposal is supported by 11 companies from a survey of just 13 selected businesses, mostly those focused on the port, headed by ABP who have always opposed nearly every proposal for a third crossing. What about the hundreds of local businesses not consulted who go about their daily work trying to make a living, who are fed up with not being able to get around properly, and desperately want a third crossing? These businesses are the main employment base of Lowestoft today, not the remaining small number of boats that use the inner harbour.

At the moment, to get anywhere in Lowestoft, you have to pass through the town centre and contribute to clogging it up, even if you don’t want to go there. Nothing will change with just a replacement bridge. Our barrage crossing, linking the roundabout between Lings and Asda with the roundabout at Peto Way/Rotterdam Road, would enable people to move around Lowestoft without being ensnared in town centre congestion or the tailbacks in Oulton Broad. This would remove congestion for those who do want to go to the town centre, making it more attractive to shoppers. We might even win back trade from people in south Lowestoft who now shop in Beccles.

The plan welcomed by the Tory Council Leaders envisages a lift-up bridge that spans the ‘river’, the railway line and presumably Denmark Road as well, requiring, it would seem, large scale ramps at each end, stretching some way down Katwijk Way and a similar distance on the south side as well. These would not be easy to access from side roads and would have a major impact on the built environment. The cost of all this would be massive, much more than our scheme, and probably beyond reach. It just does not seem to have been thought through.

At the consultation meeting we attended, an official from the Highways Agency told us that the bascule bridge (which was given an overhaul in 2009) is not about to expire and has a good many years more life in it. A third crossing has to be the urgent priority. When it is built, the bascule bridge can be repaired when necessary, without bringing the town to a standstill as it was during the last overhaul.

But can you imagine building a new bridge and then taking the bascule bridge away, so we are no better off than today! People want and Lowestoft needs a third crossing.

Bob Blizzard, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Waveney


Peter Colby, Peter Colby Commercials

BLIZZARD-COLBY JOINT LETTER ON REPLACEMENT vs THIRD CROSSING

As we have for some time suspected, the Conservative controlled Waveney District and Suffolk County Councils have, it now seems, abandoned the people of Lowestoft’s deeply held ambition for a...

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Lowestoft Journal coverage of the recent residents meeting at Whitton Hall, and of this week's planning meeting. Read more here.

JOURNAL: 'DECISION DUE TO BE MADE ON CONTROVERSIAL PLANS FOR MARINA'

Lowestoft Journal coverage of the recent residents meeting at Whitton Hall, and of this week's planning meeting. Read more here.

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Lowestoft Journal coverage of the recent 'Memory Walk', which was started by Bob Blizzard. To donate, visit: the Alzheimer's Society website.

JOURNAL: 'WALK RAISES FUNDS FOR ALZHEIMER’S'

Lowestoft Journal coverage of the recent 'Memory Walk', which was started by Bob Blizzard. To donate, visit: the Alzheimer's Society website.

Following on from last week’s packed meeting at the Whitton Hall and the protest at the perimeter fence of the Jeld Wen playing field, local people are being urged to turn up at the Town Hall next Wednesday October 15th when the planning application for 850 houses on the playing field, the wildlife site and Brooke industrial park will be decided upon by Waveney District Council’s Development Control Committee meeting.

Residents are asked to gather at 5.30pm outside the Town Hall, in preparation for the meeting at 6pm. Already, over 200 letters of objection have been sent in to WDC.

Bob Blizzard, who is assisting the residents in their opposition to the planning application, said,

“This is about people wanting to have a real say on the future of their part of Lowestoft. It cannot be right to take away an industrial site where over 120 people are working and a green area important enough to be designated as a County Wildlife Site. Above all, it is bad planning to concentrate most of Lowestoft’s new housing for the next 15 years all in one place. Apart from the traffic that will be generated onto an inadequate road system, there will be no choice for those wanting to buy or rent new houses.”

RESIDENTS URGED TO PRESS COUNCILLORS AT PLANNING MEETING

Following on from last week’s packed meeting at the Whitton Hall and the protest at the perimeter fence of the Jeld Wen playing field, local people are being urged to...

Did you hear what Liz Truss - the Tory Environment Secretary - announced was top of her priority list last week?

Bringing back fox hunting

That's right - instead of sorting out the mess they've made of our country, and fighting for Waveney, the Tories are fixating yet again on overturning the decade-old ban on this brutal bloodsport.

I'm not going to stand by and let this happen. When I was MP, I was proud to join Labour MPs in voting to ban fox hunting. Let's make so much noise that the Tories have to leave fox hunting in the dustbin of history.

Will you sign our petition against bringing back fox hunting now?

Yes - I'll sign the petition

There is so much that the Tories should be doing right now that would make life better for millions of people in our county, and in Waveney. Doesn't it just speak volumes that they're choosing to obsess over this instead?

Labour consigned fox hunting to the history books - and that's where it belongs. Help us keep it there:

Sign the petition

Best wishes,
Bob.

REALLY - FOX HUNTING!?

Did you hear what Liz Truss - the Tory Environment Secretary - announced was top of her priority list last week? Bringing back fox hunting. That's right - instead of sorting...

The day after decisions were taken on the future of NHS mental health services at Carlton Court, Bob Blizzard finally received from Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust the reply to a freedom of information request he had made back in July!

Mr Blizzard had asked for details of the bed occupancy rates for the acute wards at Carlton Court (Lowestoft) and Northgate (Gt Yarmouth) hospitals since September 2012 when plans to reduce the number of beds and close wards first became known.

The figures now released by the Trust show that Carlton Court was full or more than full for every week of the 102 weeks covered by the FOI request, apart from 3 weeks when the occupancy rates were 98%, 97% and 83%. The picture is very similar for Northgate.

Bob Blizzard said,

“These figures prove what staff and patients have been telling us, that the wards are full or overflowing all the time. This is why patients have sometimes had to sleep on sofas or be sent to beds a long way away out of area. These figures do not justify the closure of Waveney Ward at Carlton Court, agreed by decision makers last Thursday and forced on them by the government’s demand for 20% budget reductions over 4 years.

“These figures should have been in the public domain earlier instead of only being released the day after decisions were made. This will make local people even more  angry.”

Figures relating to patients ‘on leave’ are also included by the Trust. However, when an acute patient is ‘on leave’, his/her bed cannot be occupied by another patient in case the patient on leave has to return in an emergency situation. The Trust did on an occasion try to use an ‘on leave’ bed for another patient, but was reported and reprimanded by the regulator.

OFFICIAL FIGURES WITHHELD SHOW CARLTON COURT ALWAYS CRAMMED FULL

The day after decisions were taken on the future of NHS mental health services at Carlton Court, Bob Blizzard finally received from Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust the reply to...

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Conservative Councillor, Martin Parsons (Postbox Sept 26th), seems to have forgotten that major refurbishment works were carried out on the bascule bridge in 2007/8 at a cost of £3m, designed to last for 15-20 years. However, most of us remember that this work entailed the bridge being closed for three days at a time on several occasions, bringing Lowestoft to a standstill. Everyone could see that this must never happen again.

But the only way to ensure that the bascule bridge can be refurbished again or, if necessary, replaced in the future, without destroying the economic and social life of the town, is to build a third crossing first, as soon as possible. Then we would have another way of crossing Lake Lothing while lengthy work on the bascule bridge is being carried out. Anyone can see this, except, it seems, Cllr Parsons, who is so intent on trying to score a political point that he disregards common sense. To attempt to replace the bascule bridge without a third crossing in place would create a nightmare lasting many months – even worse than the 2007/8 works.

That is why the ‘Lowestoft Transport Infrastructure Prospectus’, drawn up by the Conservative councils, which only makes reference to a third crossing as a distant hope sometime after 2025, is unacceptable.

However, as we can now see from Cllr Parsons’ letters, he and his WDC colleagues seem only to be looking at a replacement crossing and not a third crossing that Lowestoft and its people so desperately need.

REPLY TO CLLR PARSONS - THIRD vs REPLACEMENT CROSSING (2)

Conservative Councillor, Martin Parsons (Postbox Sept 26th), seems to have forgotten that major refurbishment works were carried out on the bascule bridge in 2007/8 at a cost of £3m, designed...

From the Lowestoft Journal:

A call to businesses to back the Blues has led to a good response, with a new main Lowestoft Town FC sponsor being unveiled.

With the club inviting firms across the region to take part in a special ‘grand raffle’ as part of an innovative way of obtaining a main sponsor for their first team, there was lots of anticipation in the Lowestoft Town clubhouse last week as the winner was announced.

Last Thursday night, one of the area’s leading suppliers of fencing, decking, and sheds across the region – who have been based in Lowestoft for more than 55 years – was drawn out as the winner.

Smith Bros Timber were chosen as the winners of the grand raffle initiative, and they will now become Lowestoft’s main sponsors for the 2014/15 season – the Trawlerboys inaugural campaign in the Vanarama Football Conference North Division.

With two branches in Lowestoft, Smith Bros have been supplying timber products for more than 50 years – and now they will be having its name emblazoned across the team’s shirts, tracksuits, match programmes and official merchandise, as well as on a large sign and two advertising boards at the Blues’ Crown Meadow ground.

And with businesses being asked to pay £1,000 plus VAT to take part in the grand raffle, all 14 of the entrants who came forward will receive the choice of an advertising board at the ground or sponsorship of a home game during the 2014/15 season, which runs until next May.

In explaining the prestige associated with the unveiling of the new sponsor last Thursday, club patron Bob Blizzard said:

“We are making history tonight.”

With Lowestoft competing on a national stage, the initiative to attract a new main team sponsor in this way was a first for the club.

Mr Blizzard said:

“We are now the third highest ranking team in Norfolk and Suffolk, and with 14 entries in total a big thank you goes to all the companies who have backed us, and those who continue to support us.”

With representatives of each of the 14 businesses turning out to put discs bearing their firm’s name into a bag, it was then down to The Journal’s senior reporter Mark Boggis to select the winner – with Smith Bros Timber chosen.

Afterwards, joint first team manager Ady Gallagher said: “As Bob said, this is a fantastic deal – and it is nice to see a Lowestoft firm chosen as the new main sponsor.

“It has been a successful idea and I am really thrilled for Smith Bros.”

'TOP RESULT IS NETTED BY THE TRAWLERBOYS'

From the Lowestoft Journal: A call to businesses to back the Blues has led to a good response, with a new main Lowestoft Town FC sponsor being unveiled. With the...

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