Some local (and otherwise) news


News courtesy of Kevin Foster

(MP for Torbay)

GP Funding Announcement

One issue that has concerned people for some time is the problems with recruitment and retention of GPs here in the bay.

A number of practices across the bay have struggled to recruit Doctors and recently this has resulted in the announcement that a local surgery is closing due to not being able to recruit new GPs.

The Health Secretary has unveiled a five year plan for General Practice which promises the funding and support that the Royal College of General Practitioners has been calling for through its high-profile Put patients first: Back general practice campaign.

The document contains a commitment to increase the funding of general practice by a minimum of £2.4bn per year by 2020/21, which will bring the proportion of the NHS England budget spent on general practice up to at least 10.3%, a figure which could rise to 10.7%.

The Forward View also pledges to expand the general practice workforce by bringing in a further 5,000 doctors and 5,000 other practice staff by 2020/21, which will increase patient access, improve safety and reduce GP workloads. A key part of this will be dealing with issues of recruitment and retention. You can read more on the RCGP’s website by clicking here.

Open Air Meeting on 60\61

It was not just standing room only at the meeting held this week to discuss the future of the 60\61 Bus…..It had to be moved outside due to the sheer numbers who attended!

Lots of residents along the route of this service have been in touch with me about how it is a vital service for those living in St Lukes, Preston and Livermead. 200 attended the meeting held at Occombe Farm this week where Cllr Mark King, the Council’s Executive Lead for Transport, outlined a proposal to keep the route running for at least the next year.

In short he is proposing that given the social benefit of the service the Council should provide a subsidy of up to £100,000 to keep it going for at least the next 12 months. This proposal will go before the Council meeting on 11th May, just in time to stop the service ceasing next month. You can read more about the meeting on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

This proposal is welcome news, but the caveat to it is that usage of the service has dropped recently and to secure its long term future more residents do need to hop on board regularly.

PCC Elections Near

In just under two weeks Devon & Cornwall will have a new Police & Crime Commissioner as the current incumbent elected in 2012 is retiring.

Six candidates are standing, including Alison Hernandez a former Torbay Councillor who worked in my office before leaving earlier this year to focus full time on her campaign. You can find out more details about all the candidates standing for election on a dedicated website by clicking here.

In addition to the vote for PCC on Thursday 5th May there will also be a Referendum on the Elected Mayoral System and a By-Election in Tormohun Ward. For all three elections the Polling Stations will be open from 7am till 10pm.

EU Referendum Information Hub Launched

As the debate continues about the EU Referendum a lot of residents are asking where they can find more information about the issues being discussed.

The House of Commons Library has recently set up an online information hub where you can find all the research documents it has produced on issues related to the Referendum debate. This followed a large number of requests from MPs for briefing documents on individual subjects related to it.

The researchers who work for the House of Commons Library are required to be politically neutral, (as such they cannot take a position on the referendum question itself) and many are recognised experts in their field. They are also employed by parliament directly and are not part of the Civil Service to ensure their independence.

You can visit the online hub by clicking here.

Paignton Colour Rush Launched

The most colourful fundraiser of the year is set to return to Paignton Beach this September.

The Colour Rush in aid of Rowcroft Hospice, is a 5K Run, walk, or even dance along Preston and Paignton beaches, while being showered with powder paint at four paint stations.

If you want to take part in this year’s event registration has just opened and you can find details on Rowcroft’s website by clicking here.

From past experience spaces on the Colour Rush can be sold out quite quickly, so it’s wise to book your space soon to avoid disappointment.

Heard A Cuckoo?

Have you heard the first Cuckoo of 2016 yet?

Residents across Devon are being asked to record cuckoos seen or heard in the county as part of a conservation project that has received 2,000 reports of the species from the general public in the last two years.

April is the month when cuckoos will start arriving and breeding on Dartmoor and its surrounding areas, after wintering in the African Congo. The birds will spend as little as ten weeks in the UK before departing for warmer climes.

The cuckoo has shown sharp declines in recent decades, figures suggest up to 70% in the last 20 years. This research hopes to identify possible strongholds and inform local conservation measures.

To record sightings and soundings you can visit a dedicated part of the Devon Birds website by clicking here.

Unemployment Figures

The latest unemployment figures confirmed that Unemployment is continuing to fall across South Devon.

Given the approach of the summer season and the start of seasonal jobs it is better to compare with last year’s figures. The latest figures show fewer people claimed Job Seekers Allowance and Universal Credit in March when compared with March 2015. Torquay JobCentrePlus had 1,500 claimants in March, but that was down on the 1,600 figure in March last year, a fall of 6.3per cent.

Interestingly the figures also showed that there are more women working in the South West than virtually anywhere else in the country. At 72.9 per cent the female employment rate was the joint highest in the UK.

You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

Priory School Cleans Up

Year 6 Pupils from Priory RC Church in St Marychurch got stuck into clearing litter on Torquay’s iconic Torre Abbey Sands this week.

The Beach Clean Up was part of SAS’s (Surfers Against Sewage) national Beach Clean programme and their Civic Award. This environmental initiative bought together thousands of volunteers at beaches around the country to help conserve and enhance our beautiful coastline for the whole community.

You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

Bank Holiday Pharmacy Opening Hours

Torbay Council’s Public Health Team is encouraging residents to ensure they have enough prescription medication to see them through the May bank holidays as many Pharmacies throughout Torbay will have different opening hours.

The bank holidays in May take place this year on Monday 2 and Monday 30 May 2016.

The Pharmacies at Sainsburys, the Willows and Yalberton Road, and some Boots stores will be open with amended hours. Other pharmacies will be closed on these dates.

If you require a prescription around this time it is advisable to collect your medication prior to the bank holiday weekend. Sainsburys and Boots will be available on bank holiday trading hours if a prescription is necessary.

To see the full list of pharmacies with their opening hours on the bank holidays click here.


School Art 2016 – Showcasing Torbay’s Young Artists

21st April 2016 – 24 April 2016, – Torre Abbey (Spanish Barn)

For more information, click here

Fundraising Yard/Jumble Sale  – in aid of local film & theatre show Mordred

23rd April 2016 – 12:00 – 16:00 – 12 Goodrington Road, Paignton, TQ4 7LG

For more information, click here

Torquay United vs Barrow – Torquay United’s last home game of the season

23rd April 2016 – 15:00 Kick Off – Plainmoor, Marnham Rd, Torquay, TQ1 3PS

For more information, click here

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