Radio debate raised some worrying points
Letter of the Week: Stephen Walker, Batley
Off the back of your coverage of the closure of the Oxford Grange care home I was invited last Sunday to participate in a Radio 5 Live programme investigating what was described as the looming crisis in care home provision.
I thought it important to bring some of the points made during the programme to the attention of your readers and to pose a question to our local councillors and MPs as to what they intend to do about this crisis. Some of the highlights (if they can be called this) were:
• Demand will soon outstrip the availability of care home places;
• The major impact will be in the north of England;
• Last year more beds closed then opened in England;
• 2,500 places in England may disappear before the end of this summer;
• Major impact on residents because of closure and subsequent moves;
• Maintaining the elderly in their homes is not sufficiently resourced;
• Small care homes (30 beds or less) will close because they lack economies of scale;
• Population trends will demand more provision;
• 80 per cent of current residents suffer from some form of dementia or are physically frail;
• Major impact on bed blocking;
• Most new care homes are being built in the more affluent south, where residents can pay over £1,000 per week and are not reliant on council funding – reinforcing the north/south divide and the gap between the poor and wealthy;
• In Kirklees 258 places were lost last year alone;
• About 90 per cent of care home places in the north are purchased (commissioned) by councils as compared to 20 per cent in the south;
• There is an ageing stock of care homes which are increasingly not fit for purpose;
• Increased difficulty in meeting needs of people with dementia/Alzheimer’s.
I think you would agree it didn’t make for pleasant listening and the description of a looming crisis was perhaps an understatement.
This is likely to have a major impact in our community and needs action now.
Ballot battle in Dewsbury West
From: Name and Address Supplied
Upon being selected in November as the Labour Party candidate for Dewsbury West, Mussarat Pervaiz told people one thing: “I will start campaigning tomorrow”.
To date, five months on, and despite living in her prospective ward, I have not seen or heard from her.
The conclusion I draw, therefore, is two-fold: either a) she has done no campaigning at all; or b) she has concentrated her campaigning in those areas where she knows she will be more readily welcomed and more easily understood.
As a betting man, I know where I would be staking my money.
This area already has an incumbent who doesn’t live here and regularly misses key meetings.
I hope Ms Pervaiz won’t be following in his footsteps, but the early signs are not promising.
Yours, as a concerned voter.
NHS - make sure you're heard
From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike
Perhaps it’s time we all took a step back and gave some thought as to what we want, (A) for ourselves, (B) for our local area and (C) for the country as a whole.
The one organisation that has a thread running through all three items, is our NHS.
I am the last person to say the Labour Party is perfect, far from it, but in 2010, despite being under the control of Gordon Brown, our NHS was in the best condition it had been in for years.
Waiting times were at their shortest, great for ourselves.
The maternity department had 24/7 consultant-led cover, and we had an A&E with a team of doctors and nurses led by a consultant at Dewsbury District Hospital, great for the local area.
And if you were ill away from home, the same high standards were being provided nationwide.
Sad to say, since 2010 our NHS has gone downhill as fast as firstly the coalition government, and now the Tory government can drive it down.
The health and social care budgets have been slashed.
This has not been done by accident. It’s a deliberate policy by the Tories to run down our NHS, until when they call in the private health providers, it will seem like privatisation is the best thing that could happen, and our NHS will be lost forever.
Please don’t allow the Tories to put profit before patients.
If we don’t keep our NHS publically funded and administered we will have nothing.
If you feel strongly about saving our NHS, then make your voice heard.
Write to the Prime Minister, write to the Chancellor, write to the Health Secretary and write to your MP.
If it takes a riot to make Cameron, Osborne and Hunt to take notice, then we have to riot.
From: Tim Wood, The Old Colonial, Mirfield
On Saturday March 19 the Old Colonial Pub in Mirfield will be the host, once more, for the local branch of the RNLI, who are conducting a fundraising annual pub quiz.
The evening is aptly named SOS night, or Supper of Sausages, as that is what is for supper; Haigh’s Farm Shop have kindly donated the sausages, and we shall be converting them into various supper dishes.
The cost of the tickets is £5, the quiz usually starts at about 8.15pm or so.
You can ring me to book tickets on 01924 496220, or just turn up, it is always a good laugh.
Also, the Mirfield Rifle Volunteers will be drawing our Easter raffle just prior to the quiz commencing, with 10 good prizes to be had, so, please, if you want to enter the raffle, come on down.
Please don’t make the excuse ‘We’re stopping at home to watch the Six Nations’; we’re showing that too.
Please come and support two worthy causes; you will be made very welcome.
From: Debra Oliver, Ravensthorpe
I have been a resident in Ravensthorpe for 49 years, but I am ashamed to say this.
Household rubbish, mattresses and other items are just dumped by people who fly tip.
Kirklees Council come and remove the rubbish, but in a couple of days it’s just as bad.
The problem is this is costing the council a lot of money to remove the rubbish; so why can’t they put CCTV in the area where people fly tip, and prosecute and fine them for doing this?
This would save tax payers money, and earn extra revenue for the council.
Fly tipping in Ravensthorpe has been going on for a couple of years, and the problem is causing rats and a foul smell.
The areas involved are Myrtle Avenue, North Road and Garden Street.
CCTV would catch them and make them think twice if they were to be fined, making Ravensthorpe a much better place.
Repairs needed to town council offices
From: G Robinson, Mirfield
In the town centre of Mirfield the Union flag proudly flies in the March breeze, perched on top of the once-proud council chambers, built in 1903.
This well-made building has survived all the 20th century could throw at it; storms, snow, two world wars and traffic erosion of the 21st century.
It’s now standing with its window frames rotting and now tinned up, not such a proud site for the home of civic pride in Mirfield. So, what’s gone wrong?
Kirklees as a council have a responsibility to repair all council-occupied buildings to a reasonable standard; with regards to the town council building, they have failed to do so.
Mirfield Town Council have an option to transfer the building to themselves, as an asset, but not in its current state of repair.
Kirklees Council, on the other hand, say they can have it but must maintain it themselves; no mention of Kirklees repairing it first.
So, the political see-saw, finger pointing and playground political posturing goes on and on.
In order for the council buildings to be self-sustaining, the offices need to be let to businesses; in order for businesses to rent offices, the building needs to be repaired. By whom, that is the big question?
Once repaired, the letting and leasing of the offices would have to be administered by the town council, presumably.
Last year, Coun Kathleen Taylor was pictured in front of the building, bristling with bulldog tenacity to keep the building.
A couple of months later Coun James Taylor wrote an appealing letter to the newspaper explaining that the damp conditions were having a dramatic effect on their health.
A few weeks later the building was boarded up, the Warmington-on-Sea Platoon in Dad’s Army could have managed this lamentable episode of urban history with more aplomb for both sides. What was Captain Mainwaring’s famous catchphrase?
There is a sign as you enter Mirfield through the Liversedge passport control area. It says ‘Welcome to Mirfield, First Fairtrade Town in Kirklees’.
There should be an addition to the posting, ‘Soon to be twinned with Damascus’.
MPs' debate debacle
From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury
On March 11 the most important bill in recent years was allowed only 17 minutes of Parliamentary time.
The National Health Service Bill presented by Caroline Lucas MP was almost completely filibustered out.
“If enough Labour MPs had turned up it might have been possible to stop the Tory MPs talking, by putting a closure motion. When this was pointed out by Caroline Lucas, the shared smirks on the faces of the silent Heidi Alexander, Labour shadow health minister and the junior health minister Ben Gummer, gave the game away. The Tories didn’t want a proper NHS debate, neither did Labour’s health team and together they made sure it didn’t happen”.
So said Peter Roderick, observer. Jo Cox MP said she had constituency business, so wasn’t there. Paula Sherriff was talking to MYHT and the CCGs, like putting a plaster on an amputation. So she wasn’t there.
The only way they can show they really act on the concerns of their constituents is to turn up for the rescheduled debate on April 22 to debate and vote for the National Health Service Bill. Nobody wants a US-style NHS. All we have to do is give people permission to say so publicly.
Forum had official support
From: Mike Shucksmith, Mirfield
(In response to recent letters commenting on the demise of the Old Bank Local Area Forum)
The failure of the Old Bank Local Area Forum was not due to the lack of support of local council officers or our local councillors.
Not only did council officers support the forum and get it established, it helped with grant applications and representatives were in attendance to provide professional help, support and advice.
Whenever requested it we gained a council officer at the meeting. We were also supported by the local NPT.
Highways also reviewed the issues outside the Old Bank Co-op regarding traffic, parking and the disabled bays. Unfortunately, what we have was the best we could get given the options.
In my opinion, the failing of the forum was the lack of support from the local community. People dropping in to make verbal representation of the issues, but then expecting others to solve them.
Individuals were then not willing to help others in their time of need and simply we never saw them again – like the issues over Kiln Avenue – we worked with KMC to solve the problems/gain help with the drainage and then that area of the community never attended again.
Indeed I returned a £500 grant to KMC which was to further forum activities for which I could not muster any community member assistance.
The forum agreed that we should apply for the funds, but when it came to delivering the project no one was interested. This was the same for the Mirfield In Bloom project.
I spent a lot of time undertaking chair, treasurer, and secretary roles and the like, serving other people’s problems and co-ordinating attendances of suitably experience KMC reps at the meetings and this lack of community support made me rethink whether the forum was wanted or viable.
It was of my opinion that local people did not want the forum as a media to engage the local council and councillors and hence the move to dissolution which is now completed.
I do not blame KMC or its representatives for this dissolution at all, if local people wanted the forum to exist to the betterment of the community, then they should have stood tall and represented themselves at the meetings providing their support.
A forum cannot survive on one or two people attending meetings and only one member on the committee being expected to do its work.
NB: Harold Laycock was a hardened campaigner and did attend meetings. He was a meeting stalwart, but we needed many more like him.
Let’s vote to leave
From: Donald Slater, via email
‘Appeasement’. This was David Cameron waving his triumphant paper negotiations, claiming major benefits for the United Kingdom on his return from his EU negotiations.
Cameron reminds me of Prime Minister Chamberlain on his return from Nazi Germany in 1938 also waving a piece of paper claiming ‘peace in our time!
We were at war with Germany within months of that pronouncement, the second time in the 20th century.
Now, unfortunately, Germany has won the third war in Europe, ‘The Financial War’.
Germany now controls the purse strings of Europe completely. When Mrs. Merkel speaks the EU does.
Examine the dire financial state of say Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the most obvious one, Greece.
I suspect most of the Eastern European countries are or will be in a similar financial state. Something which we never get told about.
Membership of the European Union of these countries was a pot of gold dangled under their noses. Who could or would resist? Recipient countries spent money like no tomorrow thinking the good times were here to stay.
Sadly it did not last, but they have stayed in the EU thinking another pot of gold will magically appear and very likely too frightened to leave with the huge debts the EU would demand repayment of.
Sadly, a large percentage of these ‘pots of gold’ were funded from the very large payments we make every day to the EU coffers.
All these countries, especially Greece have now endured years of misery with no end in sight. With austerity imposed and supervised directly by the EU they now have no control of their own country whatsoever.
Remember also, when France and Ireland voted in referendums against the wishes of the EU they were told to vote again and get the correct answer, which of course they did! Will they tell us to vote again?
Cameron has produced nothing of substance; the little grudgingly granted will disappear quickly into the mists of time if we stay in this false empire.
We would be in a minority and would be outvoted on every issue as dictated by the dominant country, Germany.
To try and scare the people of this country predicting doom and destruction is a very sad reflection of our main miserable political parties.
Vote to stay in this unholy union and you will condemn future generations to little more than servitude and indignity and a total loss of sovereignty of our own country with no prospect of leaving.