Blackpool trams ‘pile on’ sparks fears over Covid spread in resort

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

“It’s the staff I feel for. Under staffed, overworked and put at risk to their health. Respect to them as personally I would have just told them to stick the job.”

Picture taken by Benjamin Harman of crowded tram he left on Sunday May 6 after feeling it was "too much"

Picture taken by Benjamin Harman of crowded tram he left on Sunday May 6 after feeling it was “too much” (Image: Benjamin Harman)

Pictures of crowded Blackpool trams have raised concerns about the spread of Covid in the town amid an influx of visitors.

The recent hot weather has resulted in a deluge of visitors to the resort, many of whom have relied on local transport to travel to and from various attractions.

One woman said she was horrified when her parents, who are classed as vulnerable, sent her a picture of the tram they had boarded in the afternoon.

Posted on Sunday (June 6) the picture shows a packed carriage with commuters in close proximity with some failing to wear masks.

Blackpool resident, Benjamin Harman, also boarded a tram the same day but said he got off to walk the last mile home as he felt it was “too much”.

Picture taken by one commuter's parents who are classed as vulnerable to Covid-19 of a crowded tram in Blackpool

Picture taken by one commuter’s parents who are classed as vulnerable to Covid-19 of a crowded tram in Blackpool

He told LancsLive: “I really felt for the staff and could see them struggling and no-one listening to them.

“I was also told 70 people is the government guideline. Conductors were simply too busy doing tickets and people were just piling on and ignoring the staff.

“Got to the point I actually got off the tram to walk the last mile as it was too much. It’s the staff I feel for.

“Respect to them as personally I would have just told them to stick the job. It was shocking.”

Blackpool Transport has responded to the concerns, saying that the trams have been ‘extremely busy’ due the recent surge in tourists back to the area.

“We are aware that recently our trams have been extremely busy following the unprecedented influx of visitors to the resort.

“Operationally we deployed every available resource to manage the number of customers travelling with us at the time. As per government guidance we have processes and measures in place to help protect our staff and our customers, but we need customers to work with us to keep themselves and others safe.

“We ask customers to only board the tram if they feel safe to do so and it is an impossible task for our teams to remove customers from the tram once they have boarded.

“This is an issue across all modes of public transport including trains, all of which are operating under conditions where demand exceeds capacity at peak times.

“We have provided extra buses and encouraged customers to take the bus during our busiest times and have found that customers will not do this.

“The capacity limit of 70 customers is our preferred limit to maintain a safe travelling environment and wherever possible until at least 21 June 2021 we will be advising customers to keep to this number.

“We have operated with one conductor since January 2021 and have recruited seasonal conductors to boost the on-board number to two conductors from mid-June 2021. This date is a month before the start of English school holidays and will enable staff to check tickets.

“We are implementing a number of additional measures in the coming weeks to continue to play our role in keeping everybody as safe as possible when travelling.

“We are asking customers to help us by using other means of transport at our peak times wherever possible.”

 

Blackpool hospital’s ‘red alert’ after feeding tube put in patient’s airways

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Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has issued a red alert after a ‘never event’ was recorded within the trust following a feeding tube being incorrectly placed within a patient’s airways

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

A red alert has been issued to staff at Blackpool’s NHS trust after a feeding tube was incorrectly placed into a patient’s airways instead of in their stomach.

The memo has been issued to all clinical staff at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust following the misplacement of a nasogastric (NG) tube in what has been labelled by the NHS as a ‘never event’ incident.

According to NHS England, never events are “serious incidents that are entirely preventable” because safety guidance at a national level “should have been implemented by all healthcare providers”.

The red alert, issued to staff on Tuesday (June 8), must now be communicated for a week at every shift handover.

LancsLive approached the hospital trust about what the outcome was for the patient, however the trust would not give any details due to patient confidentiality.

The memo, signed by trust Medical Director, Jim Gardner, and Director of Nursing, AHP and Quality, Peter Murphy, says that it is being circulated with staff “following the reporting by the trust of a Never Event incident involving the misplacement of an NG tube”.

It goes on to say that “introducing fluids or medication into the respiratory tract or pleura [layers overlying the lungs] via a misplaced nasogastric or orogastric tube is a Never Event”.

Staff have been told that checking the placement of NG tubes in patients via pH testing of aspirate or, when necessary, X-ray imaging is “essential in preventing harm”.

According to guidelines, the pH of gastric aspirate should be between one and five whereas respiratory aspirate is usually seven or higher; indicating whether the tube is placed correctly within a patient’s body so as to avoid foods, liquids or medicines being pumped into their airways.

The misplacement of an NG tube can result in serious injury and death, NHS England says.

NHS staff in Blackpool, which includes Blackpool Victoria Hospital, are also being told to double check if NG tubes are the “right decision” for the patients they are dealing with.

LancsLive is awaiting a statement from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

In March last year, investigations were launched after two never events at Blackpool’s NHS trust after the wrong lens was implanted into a patient’s eye.

The other incident involved a high dose of potassium being given to a patient in error.

Both events were described as wholly preventable by NHS England.

Thankfully, they did not lead to any significant harm.

Blackpool Transport bosses plead with customers to not overcrowd trams and buses

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Bosses at Blackpool’s largest transport firm are pleading with tourists to not overcrowd its trams and buses

 

Blackpool Transport has responded after pictures of overcrowded trams and buses were shared on social media.

The forum said the trams have been ‘extremely busy’ due the recent surge in tourists back to the area.

A spokesman for Blackpool Transport said: “We are aware that recently our trams have been extremely busy following the unprecedented influx of visitors to the resort.

Bosses don't want trams and buses to be overcrowded

Bosses don’t want trams and buses to be overcrowded

“Operationally we deployed every available resource to manage the number of customers travelling with us at the time. As per government guidance we have processes and measures in place to help protect our staff and our customers, but we need customers to work with us to keep themselves and others safe.

“We ask customers to only board the tram if they feel safe to do so and it is an impossible task for our teams to remove customers from the tram once they have boarded.

“This is an issue across all modes of public transport including trains, all of which are operating under conditions where demand exceeds capacity at peak times.”

The company said it has provided extra buses and encouraged customers to take the bus during the busiest times but bosses said that customers ‘will not do this’.

The spokesman added: “The capacity limit of 70 customers is our preferred limit to maintain a safe travelling environment and wherever possible until at least June 21 we will be advising customers to keep to this number.

“We have operated with one conductor since January 2021 and have recruited seasonal conductors to boost the on-board number to two conductors from mid-June 2021. This date is a month before the start of English school holidays and will enable staff to check tickets.

“We are implementing a number of additional measures in the coming weeks to continue to play our role in keeping everybody as safe as possible when travelling.

“We have operated with one conductor since January 2021 and have recruited seasonal conductors to boost the on-board number to two conductors from mid-June 2021. This date is a month before the start of English school holidays and will enable staff to check tickets.

“We are implementing a number of additional measures in the coming weeks to continue to play our role in keeping everybody as safe as possible when travelling.

“We are asking customers to help us by using other means of transport at our peak times wherever possible.”

 

‘Rare and exciting’ chance to become a Blackpool tram driver – how to apply

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool Transport is looking to hire six new tram drivers and conductors

 

A tram in Blackpool (Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

If you’re looking for a career change then a “rare and exciting” job opportunity has arisen in Blackpool.

Blackpool Transport want to hire six new tram drivers and conductors to join their team and applications are open now.

The light rail trams operate along 11 miles of the Blackpool and Fylde coast and carry millions of people around the resort each year.

The job advert states: “Blackpool Transport has a rare and exciting opportunity for six new Tram Driver/Conductors to join the team.

“The Company’s award-winning light rail tram operation is an integral part of the future success of Blackpool and the Fylde coast. It provides an excellent transport service along the famous sea front which will connect to Blackpool North Railway Station via the new tramway extension.”

Those who want to apply should have a full car driving licence with no more than six points, and you should have been driving regularly for more than 12 months.

Applicants will need to pass a medical and a series of assessment tests. Those who are successful will then commence a five-week training programme.

The advert adds: “The successful candidates will consistently deliver the highest standards of driving, providing a safe, secure and comfortable travel experience for all customers whilst showing due care and consideration for all other road users. You promote the company’s image and reputation by providing up to date information about services and facilities to customers.”

The roles are for 37 hours a week, with the first shift starting at 4.30am and the last at 1.45am.

The salary for the job is being advertised as between £19,259 and £20,355.

For more information and to apply for this role, please visit https://www.greater.jobs/search-and-apply/job-details/3825785/

Those wishing to apply have until 11.59pm on June 16 to submit their applications.

Worried mum’s warning after befriending Blackpool sex offender at campsite

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“We just want people to be aware in case she’s befriending more families”

Jade Henderson was jailed for 15 months for breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order

Jade Henderson was jailed for 15 months for breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order

A worried mum has issued a warning to other families after a befriending a Blackpool sex offender at a campsite.

Jade Henderson was handed a suspended prison term in 2016 and placed on the sex offenders’ register for seven years after engaging in penetrative sexual activity with a young boy who was aged 11 or 12.

The judge also imposed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to run for five years, which was meant to stop her from having contact with boys.

But last week the 27-year-old was locked up after breaching the order while at a campsite in North Wales.

Now a mum of three young boys who came into contact with Henderson, formerly of Nelson Road, at the site has warned families to be aware of her ‘in case she’s befriending more families’.

The woman, who doesn’t want to be named, said she was with her sons when they met Henderson and her partner, who was known to the family, the Daily Record reports.

She added: “We knew him as I used to work with his ex-wife.

“I hadn’t seen him for a long time before then. We went to our friend’s caravan and he was there and introduced Henderson to us as his fiancee.

“Then she showed me a picture of a beautiful little boy and girl and said they were her children.

“She said they were killed in a car crash. I asked how old they were and she told me they were nine and seven and it was in 2006, and I sat there thinking, ‘Something’s not right’.

“I was googling for a car crash when a picture of her came up and the story about the 11-year-old boy.

“I told my husband and he went to the other caravan to see [Henderson’s partner] but he said he didn’t know anything about it. They upped and left in the morning.

“We just want people to be aware in case she’s befriending more families.”

The mum contacted cops after discovering Henderson was on the sex offenders’ register.

Police visited the family and took statements from her husband and their youngest son.

“She took pictures of my son, who was only six at the time, and we didn’t think anything of it,” the mum added.

“It was only later that we discovered that she told him that she loved him.”

Henderson, who has since moved to an address in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, to start a new life also failed to comply with the SHPO when she failed to tell police she’d moved into a Blackpool hotel where she worked as a live-in manager.

It was in the seaside town she met another family with four kids in January 2018. Preston Crown Court heard she visited them and offered to babysit.

The family then received a newspaper clipping detailing Henderson’s original offence.

The judge said he could find no alternative to imprisonment, adding that Henderson posed a risk to children. She was sentenced to 15 months for five breaches of the order.

Speculation mounts that Blackpool will allow former Sunderland midfielder Ethan Robson to leave on loan

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Ethan Robson will be allowed to leave Blackpool on loan next season, according to reports.

 

The midfielder made 36 appearances for the Seasiders last season, scoring once, in his debut campaign with the club.

But the 24-year-old, who arrived last summer on a free transfer from Sunderland, ended the season as a substitute, only making fleeting appearances off the bench.

He was also left out of Blackpool’s squad for their recent Wembley win against Lincoln City in the League One play-off final.

Robson was linked with a move away midway through the campaign during the January transfer window, but The Gazette understands that was more of a case of his agent drumming up interest.

Scottish sides Rangers and Motherwell were both linked with his services.

When asked about speculation regarding Robson and MJ Williams – who ended up joining Bolton Wanderers – back in January, Critchley told The Gazette: “We have to look at the balance of the squad and what we think is right, what is best for the club and for the player.

Ethan Robson could be allowed to leave Blackpool on loan next season

Ethan Robson could be allowed to leave Blackpool on loan next season

“No deal at the moment is imminent, but I’d be surprised if at the end of the day there wasn’t some type of movement in and out.

“Until it’s definite these deals happen, I wouldn’t want to comment on individual players at this moment in time.”

According to website Football Insider, Blackpool have given Robson the green light to find a loan club for next season.

They claim the midfielder is attracting interest from clubs in the EFL and in the SPL.

Robson has previous experience of playing north of the border, making 13 appearances on loan with Dundee during the 2018/19 campaign.

He also made 21 appearances for Grimsby Town the following season, scoring three times.

With Kevin Stewart, Kenny Dougall, Matty Virtue and Grant Ward already under contract, Robson’s chances of getting regular game time in the Championship with Blackpool appear slim.

The likes of Teddy Howe, Oliver Sarkic and Joe Nuttall are also likely to be loaned out next season, having rarely featured this season in League One.

 

Blackpool ‘in daily talks’ over avoiding Lancashire and Blackburn Covid travel and social guidelines

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The town was not included in the new measures announced by Matt Hancock yesterday and according to the council, hospital rates remain ‘very low’

Tourists out and about wearing face masks in Blackpool, in September 2020

Tourists out and about wearing face masks in Blackpool, in September 2020 (Image: Julian Hamilton)

Blackpool leaders are in ‘daily discussions’ with the Government on how to manage any surge in Covid cases to avoid the same measures seen in Lancashire and Blackburn.

Yesterday (June 8), all 11 of Lancashire’s districts, which include Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, South Ribble, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, West Lancashire and Wyre, joined Blackburn with Darwen as ‘areas of enhanced response’.

Under the new guidelines, residents are being encouraged to avoid travelling in and out of the areas unless they have to and to refrain from meeting indoors and stay two metres apart where they can.

In additional measures, the areas will see enhanced Covid testing in an attempt to bring rapidly rising Covid rates under control ahead of the next stage of lockdown lifting, which could be as early as June 21.

Announcing the new guidelines, which are not legally enforceable, in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Matt Hancock said the help on offer includes military support with testing and supervised in-school testing, and greater communication with disadvantaged groups.

Local directors of public health will also be able to reintroduce face coverings in communal areas in schools if they want to.

But one authority was notably absent from the Secretary of Health and Social Care’s announcement.

Blackpool currently has an infection rate of 92.5 cases per 100,000 people – higher than the England average of 40.6 and higher than Fylde (70.6), Lancaster (45.9), Wyre (41.9) and West Lancashire (30.6), which have all been included under the Lancashire umbrella.

However, Blackpool Council has since released a statement explaining that it is talking with the Government about how to prevent any surges and why it has remained without enhanced measures.

A spokesperson for the authority said: ““Throughout this pandemic decisions have been made at unitary authority level and therefore Blackpool was not part of the Lancashire County Council discussion.

“Blackpool’s infection rates have been consistently lower than the North West average and our hospital rates are currently very low.

“However, we are in daily discussion with Government and Public Health England about what steps might need to be taken in the short-term if we see the spikes in infection rates that are being experienced in some other areas.”

Big steps have already been taken in Blackpool to see as many of the eligible residents vaccinated as possible.

Last week, Blackpool’s public health boss, Dr Arif Rajpura, said that the area was ‘setting the benchmark’ by getting everyone vaccinated against coronavirus.

Door-to-door enquiries have been launched to ensure that everyone has been for a vaccine if they are eligible.

The latest figures published showed that on June 3, 88,000 people in Blackpool had been given a first jab to protect them against Covid-19, accounting for around 66 per cent of all adults in the seaside town.

More than 90 per cent of those aged over 50 have been jabbed.

Staff are using portable devices to make appointments digitally for residents on the spot, particularly for those without online access.

And from Sunday (June 6), a free bus service was launched by Blackpool Transport for anybody travelling to and from Blackpool Victoria Hospital for vaccination appointments.

Blackpool records 43 new Covid cases in 24 hours

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have now 21,463 Covid cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

There have now been 103,629 confirmed cases in the Lancashire County Council area since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest government data released today (June 9).

Meanwhile, the total across Lancashire, including Blackpool and Blackburn and Darwen, now stands at 134,149.

Latest Covid infection rates: Burnley, South Ribble and Blackburn record biggest…
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The latest Government data has been revealed.
The latest Government data has been revealed.

How many coronavirus cases are there in Lancashire?

Public Health England records cases for each council area. The latest totals for each area in Lancashire are:

Blackburn with Darwen – 20,888 (Up from 20,743) +145

Blackpool – 9,632 (Up from 9,589) +43

Burnley – 10,566 (Up from 10,500) +66

Chorley – 8,496 (Up from 8,464) +32

Fylde – 4,995 (Up from 4,979) +16

Hyndburn – 8,615 (Up from 8,555) +60

Lancaster – 9,720 (Up from 9,703) +17

Pendle – 10,134 (Up from 10,080) +54

Preston – 14,682 (Up from 14,621) +61

Ribble Valley – 4,990 (Up from 4,929) +61

Rossendale – 6,781 (Up from 6,734) +47

South Ribble – 8,744 (Up from 8,702) +42

West Lancs – 9,070 (Up from 9,054) +16

Wyre – 6,836 (Up from 6,820) +16

Heartache as Blackpool mum loses cancer battle before dream wedding

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Family and friends have been left devastated after a Blackpool mum succumbed to cancer just weeks before the dream wedding she had been planning.

Ash Smith and Michelle Jefferson Moore

Ash Smith and Michelle Jefferson Moore

Mum-of three Michelle Jefferson Moore, 40, of Park Road, was hoping to walk down the aisle with fiance Ash Smith in Blackpool this August.

She had been coping bravely after being told at the end of last year that she had terminal cancer.

Despite the terrible setback, she was looking forward to her special day with Ash this summer, with her children, Brooke, 19, Ellie-Mae, 16, and LJ (Lee Junior), 12 set to attend.

Wellwishers supported the couple and a crowdfunding appeal was set up to help make Michelle’s wedding extra special and support her children.

But the family revealed the heartbreaking news of her death on Friday June 4, on social media.

Michelle’s sister, Stefi Jefferson said on her Facebook page: “It’s with an extremely heavy heart that I’m even writing this status. Sadly Michelle Jefferson Moore was taken ill in hospital with an infection which turned out to be sepsis.

“Michelle sadly passed away at 4.30am this morning.”

Stefi, 33, of Collyhurst Avenue, has been raising extra funds for the appeal by riding 100 miles along Blackpool prom in fancy dress with a friend.

She added: “Myself and Jodie Reynolds will be riding the remainder of the miles for Michelle’s GoFundme Flamingos over the next two weeks so we can close Michelle’s GoFund me page.

“I would like to thank every single donor that has contributed to this fund for your generosity and helping Michelle’s mind be at ease knowing that there is security there for her children.”

Michelle’s funeral service will be held at Carleton Crematorium on June 22.

The family are keen to help the children as their father also died, aged just 38 in 2019.

Michelle, who was affectionately called Bruno by many of her friends, had suffered for several years with chronic stomach pain before being diagnosed with cancer, which had spread from her gall bladder.

She told the Gazette earlier this year: “I can’t thank everyone enough for helping out like this, not just our family and friends but complete strangers.”

The fund has so far raised £20, 486

Vicki Oyston appears in court to appeal £660 fine for driving offence

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Vicki Oyston, the wife of former Blackpool FC owner Owen Oyston, has appeared in court today to protest the outcome of a previous hearing she failed to attend.

Vicki Oyston

Vicki Oyston

Ms Oyston, 51, was stopped by police while driving in the Northamptonshire area in October 2020, when she refused to give her name or provide identification.

She was charged with failing to provide driver information.

In a court hearing in February, which she did not attend, she was ordered to pay a £660 fine, £60 victims surchage, £90 in court costs, and received six points on her drivers licence.

A court spokesman said prior to the hearing, Ms Oyston received paperwork from the police to fill in and provide to the court, however, she failed to do so.

She appeared at Northampton Magistrates Court this morning to submit an appeal for the case to be reopened.