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Scams and Health Services on Forum Agenda

Residents living in the East Shields and Whitburn areas of South Tyneside can learn how to better protect themselves from scams when their local community area forum meets this Thursday (21 March).

The Council's Trading Standards Team is set to deliver a presentation to the Forum about the methods that tricksters use to entice people to part with their money. Forum members will also hear about the wealth of work carried out by the team, and its partners, to raise awareness of the issue and prevent people falling victim.

Councillor Alex Donaldson, Chairman of the East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum, said: "These unscrupulous predators will use every trick in the book to exploit and deceive people to get them to part with their cash.

"It doesn't matter whether they are targeted by letter, email, telephone or on the doorstep - anyone can fall victim to this type of crime, though vulnerable and older people are particularly at risk from fraudsters. The impact on those individuals can be absolutely devastating, leaving them feeling depressed and isolated, even leading to a deterioration of their physical and mental health. Yet only five per cent of scams are reported.

"It is important that we all work together to take a stand against this disgraceful practice. Our meeting offers us an opportunity to highlight the issue, encourage residents to look out for one another and encourage victims to report incidents so that the authorities can take the necessary action."

Forum members will also receive a presentation on the pressures facing the NHS and the case for changing hospital services in South Tyneside and Sunderland, with an update on Phase Two of the Path to Excellence programme, which involves emergency care and acute medicine, emergency surgery and planned care.

NHS providers are also thinking about how they improve and develop clinical support services across both hospitals such as therapy, pharmacy and radiology services.

Councillor Donaldson added: "Our Forum meetings are specifically for local communities and give residents a chance to get information about things that affect their area. We always talk about a range of issues that directly impact on members of the public.

"Health services are clearly a priority for local residents. That is why we would encourage people to come along to the meeting. It is a chance to find out more about the challenges ahead and how people can get involved in helping to shape potential solutions."

Members of the press and public are welcome to attend the next meeting of the East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum, which is taking place on Thursday 21 March, at 6pm, at St Gregory's Church Hall, St Gregory's Court (off Borough Road) in South Shields.

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