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Thursday, 31 July 2014 (3055088)
Southport Hospital Radio could return to the airwaves
by Ollie Cowan

SOUTHPORT HOSPITAL could potentially see the return of its own radio station thanks to a charity project in West Lancashire

The radio station at the trust's sister hospital in Ormskirk will be supported this year by the Mayor of West Lancashire and her Consort's official charity - helping in part to fund plans to reintroduce a similar project in Southport

Councillor Doreen Stephenson and her husband John are to raise money for Ormskirk Hospital Radio as well as Homestart Central Lancashire, and a football team in Skelmersdale during their Mayoral year.

Councillor Doreen Stephenson, Mayor of West Lancashire, said: “I have chosen these charities as I wanted to support small deserving local charities that help West Lancashire people.

”I have heard a lot about the good work of these three very worthy causes and I am looking forward to working with them and the charity committee.“

Ormskirk Hospital Radio plays requests, dedications and health promotion messages for patients and staff at the hospital 24 hours a day.

Volunteers run the service and they hope to use the money to buy new equipment and the group are currently working with the Hospital Trust on plans to start broadcasting to Southport hospital.

Brian Conlan, programme controller, said: ”We are really pleased that we have been selected to be one of the Mayor’s charities and it has come as a complete surprise to us.

“We are hoping to make the most of this year, not just in terms of raising funds but to also to promote the radio station to the community of West Lancashire and Southport.

”We want to let people know about us and if groups have events they want to publicise we are here to help them.“

Southport Hospital's own radio station was taken off the air in June 2013 due to a number of volunteers failing to provide Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks.

At the time Sharon Partington, Director of HR and Communications, told The Champion: ”It is with regret that the Trust has closed the Southport hospital radio studio.

“We have been in discussions with the radio volunteers’ representative since November 2012 when the chief executive of NHS England, Sir David Nicholson, asked NHS trusts for assurance they had robust processes in place to protect the interests of patients in the aftermath of the allegations made against the late Jimmy Savile.

”The Trust has such processes for recruiting employed staff including a requirement to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check (formerly a CRB check).

“We wrote to Southport Hospital Radio’s volunteer representative in November 2012 and again in March 2013 outlining this requirement. It was made clear in March that the checks must be completed no later than July 1.

”To date we have received only one application and there is no prospect of checks being completed to the deadline. Therefore, the Trust took the decision to close the studio.“

”I realise this decision will come as a disappointment and it should not reflect on the contribution made by radio volunteers over the years.“

Johnny Collins, a former Hospital Radio volunteer at Southport welcomed the news.

He told our reporter: ”Hospital radio is a vital service not just for patients but for youngsters and students looking for a way into the industry.

“I remember my days there fondly and it was a sad occasion when the decision was made to close it down. I hope that these new plans are going to work out and we will have out station back!”


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