Category Archives: Uncategorized

New enhanced medicines service

A number of pharmacies across Somerset will provide what is known as “the Enhanced Service for the Availability of Specialist Medicines from now until 31st March 2020

By agreeing to provide the Specialist Medicines Enhanced Service pharmacies are required to ensure that the service is available at all times during their contracted opening hours and on any bank or public holidays on which they open.

The medicines these pharmacies will supply are as follows:

  • Alfentanil
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Cyclizine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Diamorphine
  • Diamorphine
  • Gentamicin
  • Haloperidol
  • Hyoscine butylbromide
  • Hyoscine hydrobromide
  • Levomepromazine
  • Metoclopramide
  • Midazolam
  • Morphine sulfate
  • Oxycodone
  • Phytomenadione
  • Sodium chloride
  • Water for injections

The following pharmacies in Somerset will be involved in the scheme:

Asda Pharmacy East Quay Bridgwater TA6 5AZ 01278 720410

Tesco Pharmacy Ben Travers Way Burnham-on-Sea TA8 1EZ 01278 252000

Tout’s Pharmacy Budgens, Roynon Way Cheddar BS27 3RB 01934 743991

Crewkerne Pharmacy Crewkerne Health Centre, Middle Path Crewkerne TA18 8BX 01460 72781

Asda Pharmacy Warminster Road Frome BA11 5LA 01373 475210

Tesco Pharmacy Wirral Park Road Glastonbury BA6 9XE 01458 769503

Tesco Pharmacy Seaward Way Minehead TA24 5BY 0117 2913890

Asda Pharmacy Creechbarrow Road Taunton TA1 2AN 01823 252701

Boots Pharmacy 37 Middle Street Yeovil BA20 1LS 01935 426673

Please use the phone number above to check opening hours and the format in which any particular medicine is provided.

A poignant meeting

Jo Roundell Greene will be known to readers of The Leveller and LevellerLive as a South Somerset District Councillor for St Michael’s ward. What is perhaps less well known is she is Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s granddaughter.

Today at the Houses of Parliament Jo Roundell Greene was introduced to 90-year-old Paul Willer, who as a 10-year-old boy fled Germany with his family in 1939. He was initially taken in by Clement Atlee, then leader of the opposition. The pair stood in front of a plaque that commemorated the humanitarian effort that saved his life. 80 years ago the UK decided to create the Kindertransport, a programme that rescued 10,000 mainly Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia.

Mr Willer stayed with the Attlees for four months before the war, and said he felt loved by the family, but had to get used to having cold baths. Mrs Roundell Greene, who only learnt of Mr Willer’s existence a few months ago, said: “I feel like I have got a new bit of my family – and I think we’re going to remain friends. Both described their meeting as “an overwhelming experience”. Mr Willer, who lives in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said he and Mrs Roundell Greene had hugged many times.

The pair were brought together at the House of Commons by the Association of Jewish Refugees, which organised a poignant event at Speaker’s House to mark the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, with MPs and parliamentarians narrating excerpts from the debate that led to its creation.

Information provided by Mark Duffy / UK Parliament

Editors to go at Gazette?

We understand that the Western Gazette and other Trinity Mirror (now renamed “Reach” plc) titles in Somerset are planning to remove five of their editors in the New year. The matter has been discussed in the House of Commons having been raised by James Heappey MP and more recently at a meeting of Wells City Council. There will be a full report in the 15th December edition of the Leveller.

As it is, we understand, the roles that are being made redundant, it begs the question as to how the hard copy titles will function in the future, presumably without an actual editor.

Closing down?

Somerset County Council have certainly got financial challenges ahead of them. In an attempt to save money they are consulting with the public on closing down a range of parenting support groups. There are 39 of these around the country under threat. We will be including a full report in the Leveller, but in the meantime we thought you would be interested to see some details. Here is the list of activities SCC are thinking of stopping:

Mendip District

  • Bumps and Babes, Mission Church, Street
  • Bumps and Babes, the Key Centre in Frome
  • Bumps and Babes, Glastonbury Children’s Centre
  • Bumps and Babes, Salvation Army, Shepton Mallet
  • Bumps and Babes, the Vallis Community Rooms in Frome
  • Messy Play – Offered on an ad-hoc basis at various locations
  • PEEP, Glastonbury Children’s Centre
  • Stay, Play and Learn, the Vallis Community Rooms in Frome
  • Stay, Play and Learn, The Key Centre, Frome (Wednesdays)
  • Stay, Play and Learn, The Key Centre, Frome (Fridays)
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Glastonbury Children’s Centre

Sedgemoor

  • Bumps and Babes, Sydenham Children’s Centre in Sydenham
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Highbridge Children’s Centre in Highbridge
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Sunny Side Up Café in Hamp
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Sydenham Children’s Centre in Sydenham

South Somerset

  • Bumps and Babes, Chard Children’s Centre in Chard
  • Bumps and Babes, Reckleford Children’s Centre in Yeovil
  • PEEP, Chard Children’s Centre in Chard (Monday)
  • PEEP, Birchfield Children’s Centre in Yeovil
  • PEEP, Chard Children’s Centre in Chard (Tuesday)
  • PEEP, Reckleford Children’s Centre in Yeovil
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Chard Children’s Centre in Chard
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Oaklands Children’s Centre, Yeovil
  • Stay, Play and Learn, St Peter’s Hall, Yeovil
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Martock Church of England Primary School, Martock

Taunton Deane

  • Bumps and Babes, Hillside Children’s Centre in Priorswood
  • Bumps and Babes, Acorns Children’s Centre in Halcon
  • Bumps and Babes, Norton Fitzwarren Village Hall in Norton Fitzwarren
  • Drop in, Wellington Library, 16 Fore Street, Wellington
  • PEEP, Acorn’s Children’s Centre in Halcon.
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Acorn’s Children’s Centre in Halcon
  • Stay, Play and Learn, The Methodist Church in Wellington
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Wiveliscombe Community Hall, Wiveliscombe
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Hillside Children’s Centre in Priorswood

West Somerset

  • PEEP, Watchet Community Centre, Watchet
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Williton Children’s Centre, Williton
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Knights Templar School, Watchet
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Sainsbury Hall in Minehead
  • Stay, Play and Learn, Watchet Community Centre, Watchet

If you use any of the facilities above, then you might want to respond to the consultation. The decision is not yet made. Obviously the consultation is a prelude to closure. What happens next is up to you. As with the library consultation, if enough strong feeling comes back, SCC could change their mind.

The consultation, which ends on 31st December, is open to anyone who has an interest. Documents explaining the proposals in more detail can be found online www.somerset.gov.uk/getsetconsultation along with a questionnaire to complete to share your views.

Somerset MP gives view on Brexit deal

While many of our local MPs have been hammering out their views in the most vocal fashion, some have preferred to hold back. You may agree or disagree with the views aired below, the only observation we would make, is this. Whatever side of the argument you may lie on, it is perhaps better to offer a view once you have actually read the document on which you are opining. There is nothing especially clever about giving vociferous opinions on a document that you have not actually read, at least in full.

In an exclusive interview with LevellerLive, David Warburton, MP for Somerton & Frome offers his view on the Brexit deal currently being discussed. We neither endorse nor take issue with the view he expresses, but present it for information and so you can make up your own mind…..

They say that time is the great healer. In the normal course of events, that may be true. But the past few years have not been normal.

The 2016 referendum was a seismically divisive event and, for many, the turbulence of the division around the issue of leaving the EU has only grown.

My postbag is split into three fairly equal parts.

  • One: I must support the Prime Minister, back her plan and not let us plunge from the cliff or face another election and more uncertainty.
  • Two: The Prime Minster is a traitor and must go; I must reject her plan, which is no proper form of Brexit, with the EU holding the levers of UK power for the foreseeable future.
  • Three: I must accept that the referendum result was a fix, ill-informed, fed by lies, people’s views have changed and so we now need a second referendum – another crack at it.

I very much appreciate that there’s something to be said for each of these very different perspectives, and that’s exactly why the nation is so divided. People have become increasingly fortified in their positions, seizing upon any material evidence supporting them, while throwing rocks at the others.

And there’s no sign of this entrenchment diminishing. Time is not healing us. As we reach the final stages of agreement with the EU, the blow-by-blow diet of Brexit news fuels the flames of hysteria and ideology.

As you’ll have realised, it’s impossible for Members of Parliament to satisfy the appeals of all sides. Many people write to say that they will withhold their future votes, or will actively campaign for opponents, should their MP not acquiesce to their view. Many say that their MP has some kind of constitutional duty to represent their opinion. This though, thankfully, isn’t how a parliamentary democracy works.

In November 1774, Edmund Burke set out, with some eloquence, to the electors of Bristol how a representative system operates. And it’s his model that we’ve followed since. As he said, “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

So what is my own judgement? These are politically precarious times, and now is not the time for ideology to override pragmatism, compromise and common sense: each qualities of British politics which have historically set us somewhat apart from the politics of the continent, and which, ironically, led those shouting loudest against the deal to wish to depart from the EU in the first place.

The consequences of the alternatives – further instability, ongoing and enhanced uncertainty and a possible Marxist government – are all too great a risk, and would put those aspects of the proposed deal which are not entirely as we would like to have chosen firmly in the shade.

In a negotiated settlement – where different sides have competing agendas and contrary aims – ground will be conceded in order to reach agreement. So some aspects of any agreement will be less than optimal, and some will be more favourable.

Therefore of course, the proposed Brexit deal – the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration which will form the basis of the future negotiated partnership – is not entirely perfect for the UK.

I look forward, for example, to more clarity over removing the EU’s backstop (our ‘backstop to the backstop’) to resolve the Northern Ireland border. Equally, we must ensure that there isn’t either an unlimited time period in which the UK is bound to the EU before a future partnership is enshrined, or an incentive on either side to seek such an unlimited period.

But I believe we must be pragmatic in how we implement the result of the referendum. This is a time for neither idealism nor intrepid imprudence with the future of our country.

Serving on the European Scrutiny Select Committee, I am deeply concerned about the consequences of leaving the EU with no deal. This would be extraordinarily difficult for UK businesses and for the whole country. It would send a tremulous shock through the City and its consequences would be far reaching and long lasting.

The clock ticks on until Article 50 is enacted and, on the 29th March next year, we leave the European Union. The deal as proposed by the Prime Minister is the only one on the table and it secures much that we want. 

Voltaire rightly realised that “the best is the enemy of the good”. This deal means we will control our own borders and end free movement. It means visa-free travel in both directions for holidays and shorter term work. It means we will no longer send colossal sums of money to the EU from which we are allowed some in return. We will be able to decide ourselves how we wish to spend more on our priorities.

It means we will, at last, be able to strike free trade deals around the world, which will be good news for consumers, for jobs and for business.

It means, contrary to a torrent of misleading claims, that we will take back control of our laws, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.  And it means we will continue to work as closely as ever with other European countries to keep people safe from crime, terrorism and other threats.

It means the integrity of the UK remains as it should be. Most obviously, it means no tempestuous bumps ahead. And that itself means certainty for us all, for business, for the economy and therefore for jobs and the security of people’s livelihoods. 

As ever, this situation is extremely fluid with every day bringing new twists and turns, but should the Withdrawal Agreement be defeated in the Commons, despite anything you may have read, no one knows what would happen next. Perhaps the PM can bring more concessions back from Brussels and perhaps Parliament can then have another go. But perhaps it’ll mean a change of leader, a restart of negotiations, a consequent no deal exit from the EU and a General Election. Perhaps again, such chaos will demand another, second referendum, where the man and woman on the Somerset omnibus must stand in judgement on the 585 page Withdrawal Agreement and subsequent Political Declaration on our future relationship with the EU: more division, misunderstandings, emotive slogans, utter confusion, with the British people being led down ill-considered paths by those with the loudest, most disturbing voices.

So, while we dance on the head of a pin about the possible likelihood of the backstop to the backstop, or the desirability of any prospective ECJ jurisdiction over aspects of cross-border trade with the EU, and while one or two of the usual suspects posture, puff and present themselves as possible future leaders, the wolves circle.

Nothing has changed since Bismarck pointed out that “politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best”. 

In common with others, I have concerns about the proposed deal. But, I have to say, my concern is not at all in step with the delirious rage of some. This is no sell-out. It is not May crumbling before the EU. It is broadly what was asked for: an escape from most aspects of the EU and its movement of people, laws, single market, and customs union, while ensuring we continue to work and trade with our European neighbours as smoothly as possible.

For me, the original vote was about political accountability – no more MEPs, no council of ministers, no European Council, no decisions over which we have no control. For the most part, these principles have been maintained.

As I say, from my postbag, I’ll guess that around two-thirds of my constituency will disagree with me, and a third or so will agree. Yes, many in the country will accept nothing less than the total removal of any EU influence whatsoever in any form over our country. And others want us to remain in the EU at all costs and will never give up the fight for another referendum. But I hope many others want a pragmatic outcome. They are concerned about uncertainty, understand the difficulties of the position, just want to get it done and will not tolerate endless fighting.

There is little, in my view, to be gained by holding fast to one side or the other on the basis of ideology. We need to look to those who are hoping for a sensible, practical and successful outcome, and seek something which is, as far as possible, workable for us all.

As an MP, it is my responsibility to distrust ideological targets and aim for that which lends itself most readily to securing stability and cohesion by protecting jobs, investment and the economy on which we all depend. Then we can again focus properly on our domestic agenda while time begins its healing process.

 

Shoppers warned to be vigilant in Wells

The Wells City Council meeting last night was warned of an epidemic of shoplifting in the town. Today Avon & Somerset Police issued an official press statement warning shoppers in the city to be vigilant. A number of  purse snatches have been reported in recent weeks with the latest incident yesterday (Thursday 21st November) between 3.20-4.30pm during the market day.

Police told us the victim left her home to go shopping in the High Street in Wells. She noticed that her purse was missing from her bag, when she was in a shop and about to pay for a purchase. Since then the culprit used a bank card from the purse to obtain cash but it was subsequently refused twice at a shop in Shepton Mallet when the suspect tried to use it again.

Other incidents in Wells have involved shoplifting, last week on market day fourteen Cashmere jumpers were stolen.

Avon & Somerset Police have committed to having extra officers patrolling in the area – including High Street and Market Street – but the public are also being urged to be vigilant and ensure that purses and wallets are kept out of safe in a secure location.

Inevitably the bigger Christmas markets are likely to be targeted by the thieves. Anyone who sees anyone acting suspiciously, stealing or trying to steal items should contact us immediately quoting reference 5218259928

Buying more local produce

As Black Friday casts it’s big fat American shadow over our shopping habits, it is comforting to know that not all of our shopping behaviour is putting money into the hands of overseas tech giants. According to research published today by Cornish Mutual Somerset consumers are buying more local produce than this time last year.

Thirty-two percent of Somerset respondents to a survey of consumers across the South West said they now buy more locally produced food and drink than they did 12 months ago. And nearly a third (31 per cent) said they were prepared to pay up to 10 per cent more for local produce.

That must be good news for the plethora of small local producers and retailers that dominate the Somerset economy. 50 per cent of respondents from Somerset said they had bought local produce within the last week. When asked why they chose local food and drink, ‘supporting local farmers’ came out as the top response (70 per cent) with ‘it tastes better’ (45 per cent) the second most popular reason.

Food for thought and lots of encouragement for local business. Cornish Mutual Managing Director Alan Goddard told LevellerLive “From Cheddar cheese to Portland lamb, Red Ruby Devon beef to Cornish clotted cream, we think the South West makes some of the best food in the world. Our survey suggests this is a view shared by people who live across the four counties where we work.  It is fantastic to see that so many are choosing homegrown produce to support their local farmers.”

Long may it continue. And as your hand strays towards your mouse on Black Friday, just give a thought as to whether you can’t buy locally, buy better and support your local economy.

More Rail Strikes

South Western Railway are warning passengers of another day of travel disruption this Saturday 24th November.

They reckon they will be operating about 50% of their normal Saturday service so definitely check before you travel, especially if you are planning to use their services to and from the rugby international at Twickenham.

South Western say they are working with other operators to get ticket acceptance for alternative routes where possible and some bus replacement services have been organised.

The Somerset services impacted should be only on the Exeter to London line through Crewkerne, Yeovil Junction and Templecombe. EWe understand all GWR services are expected to run as normal.

Stayin Alive

There has not been a lot of good news this year. The announcement this morning that road deaths in Somerset have fallen is at least one thing to be cheerful about. The figures announced today are for 2017, there is always a time delay. But according to Department for Transport (DfT) figures, there were 22 deaths recorded on the county’s roads in 2017. That is a drop of 12% when compared with last year. It was also the lowest level for five years. Percentagewise, nationally death levels were flat and in the

The figures for 2018 are currently being monitored and up to the end of June 2018, being the latest available,  there were 14 fatalities, 76 serious and 499 slight injury casualties recorded.

Given that Somerset plays host to both the A303 and M5, notoriously riddled with accidents each year, the numbers are something to be happy about, although of course any road casualty is a cause for regret and a reminder that we can always take more care on the roads.

Police launch swans investigation

Avon and Somerset Police have launched an appeal for information following the death of a number of swans at Muchelney. A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police told Leveller Live “We were made aware that up to nine dead swans had been found in a field by the side of the river in the Muchelney area, near to Langport on Friday afternoon (16th November).

They have confirmed to us that the swans were reported as shot and “…it is possible they were shot the previous evening (Thursday 15th November) between 6-8pm.

The shooting of swans is still illegal because they are a protected species. Up until the law was tidied up in 1998, under royal prerogative established by 1186 and possibly a lot earlier, as the swan was the property of the monarch, killing them was a treasonous offence. I’m sure some people wish it still was especially when confronted with wholly gratuitous killing of wildlife on this scale.

In the meantime police enquiries into the incident are continuing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police quoting reference 5218256956

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