I'm sorry for mums-to-be who'll be in Pinderfields
Letter of the week: Emma Murphy, via email
I read with interest Paula Sherriff's letter regarding services at Dewsbury Hospital.
My daughter was born at the hospital in December 2013 and I was admitted two weeks before she was born due to complications.
The midwives and staff were fantastic and I was examined by a consultant every day.
My partner, who works in Dewsbury, visited me every night.
He was holding down a full-time job, preparing the house for our new arrival, washing my clothes for me and visiting me every night, and was incredibly tired.
I could not imagine how either myself or my partner would have coped had Dewsbury not had consultant-led
Having to go to Pinderfields to visit me would have been impossible for him, and would have resulted in a flying visit for me.
The level of care received at Dewsbury by all members of staff, from my admittance into hospital through to the discharge of myself and my daughter after my Caesarean section was impeccable.
Staff who genuinely cared.
Moving services to Pinderfields is not the answer. I feel very sorry for women who will be in my position in future.
Money is not everything and closing important and vital maternity units is not the answer.
Secrecy of ‘footprint’ plans
From: Jenifer Devlin, Dewsbury
I attended the public meeting in Dewsbury Town Hall last week about the changes to be implemented at Dewsbury Hospital next month.
There was all the usual rhetoric from the North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Mid-Yorkshire Hospital Trust about how it will all be for the best in the best of all possible worlds to lose our A&E, our consultant-led maternity service, our children’s inpatient services etc.
But whatever we think about those changes, what we should really fear is the West Yorkshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
The Government recently defined 44 “footprints” to cover England.
These are groups of CCGs tasked with producing proposals to deliver the £22 billion of so-called ‘efficiency savings’ (i.e. cuts).
The West Yorkshire STP, like all the others, is shrouded in secrecy, despite the fact that the drafting of STPs was supposed to involve “public engagement”.
The fact is, the Government is scared to allow STPs to be made public because they will reveal the massive scale of the cuts they are designed to
We need to know what is in the West Yorkshire STP and I was deeply disappointed that no information was forthcoming at the public meeting from the people on the platform.
They must know, if anyone does, and they should not be helping the Government by keeping this information from the public.
Our services are at stake and we should be told what is planned.
Join an NHS support group
From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury
On August 23 in Dewsbury Town Hall, representatives from the Clinical Commissioning Group, the body which buys in services, and the Hospital Trust, a provider of those services, stole time from public questions by justifying for over 20 minutes the changes to hospital provision.
The changes are not backed up by evidence or patient experience, despite protestations to the contrary, nor agreed to by the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee.
In all that time, not once did they refer to the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for West Yorkshire, which promise more cuts to services locally.
A five-ward cut to Leeds Teaching Hospitals is on the cards, plus other savings to contribute to West Yorkshire's share of the £22 billion of savings wanted by the Government.
The Trust said that demand today is unprecedented. Care Closer To Home has been running since December and is obviously not working. HM Government is conducting, through the STPs, an experiment on the health of the English people on an unprecedented scale.
Time to say stop! Local campaign groups paid for the public meeting. Join a campaign group near you today – www.northkirkleesnhs
supportgroup.org.uk or KONP.
Labelling UK ‘racist’ is unfair
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
I really despair of the liberal media’s obsession with equating and comparing the Brexit voters with the rise and popularity of the right-wing Donald Trump version of American Republicanism.
America has a racist problem. Its black population has been and is still being discriminated against, purely on the grounds of colour.
The African-Americans are just as much Americans as their white compatriots.
They are an integral part of the American culture and identity. They have bought into it and have contributed to its values and way of life.
They formed a significant proportion of the combat troops in the Vietnam War. This was promoted to the American people and fought by them, on a platform of the defence of the American way of life against a creeping Communist influence.
By contrast, the UK has a cultural problem with certain sections of the Muslim community.
These people have not, nor ever will, buy into our culture.
In fact they seem to delight in openly condemning and rubbishing it.
Vocalising against these sentiments has become a problem since everyone uses the all-encompassing term ‘Muslims’.
This, of course, inflames those Muslims who are managing quite well in both observing their religion, whilst living a pro-western lifestyle.
My solution to this problem is to coin the phrase ‘strict orthodox Muslims’ when discussing cultural incompatibilities, much the same way as is done when referring to those of a similar mindset within the Jewish or Christian communities. An alternative would be ‘Wahhabi Muslims’.
Also the term ‘culturalist’ should be used instead of racist, for the reasons stated above.
The UK is not, nor ever will be, a racist country. It is unfair to use this derogatory term.
With these changes in place I look forward to reading some sensible debates on immigration, integration and mult-culturalism.
Flaws in jobs report
From Alec Suchi, Allerton Road, Bradford
A recent parliamentary report has advocated special measures need to be taken in order to rectify any perceived disadvantages Muslims may experience when seeking employment opportunities.
The report assumes this would be the best way to improve employment prospects for Muslims who are said to experience considerable discrimination in society.
However, it could reasonably be argued that employment opportunities need to reflect ability and the appropriate levels of qualifications, i.e., a candidate should be considered on merit and not to satisfy political objectives.
Furthermore it is worth noting that considerable sums have been expended encouraging Muslims to join the police and fire services with little success, and this suggests that not all possibilities have been considered by those compiling the survey.
It is also relevant to consider that many Muslims prefer to work in family businesses and this would also influence the outcome of their levels of representation in public services.
It would appear that in an increasingly politicised climate, discrimination and conspiracy is perceived at every juncture.
Inspiring tale of dogs of war
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
Throughout the past 100 years, horses, mules, camels, pigeons and dogs have been on the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East.
‘Dog Soldiers’ is a new book which tells the incredible story of two brave men and their dog partners who served in Afghanistan.
The Army Dog Unit was founded in Northern Ireland in 1973 and ceased to exist in 2007. In 2008, dogs were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan in search of hidden weapons, ammunition and explosives, working in blistering heat with their handlers.
By 2011, many soldiers were victims of roadside bombings, leading to a massive need for search dogs and handlers.
Troops trusted the dogs and said they felt reassured by seeing a search dog up front on patrol and experienced a sense of normality and domesticity seeing a spaniel running around in the dirt.
These dogs saved the lives of soldiers and civilians – I borrowed the book from my local library in Cleckheaton and it is written by Isabel George.
Thank you to the choir
From: Bill Robinson, Dewsbury pensioner
I would like to say a big thank you to the Yorkshire Youth Choir and their conductors, John Pryce-Jones and his wife Alison, who were in concert at Dewsbury Town Hall on Saturday, August 27.
It was an evening filled with pleasure at the enthusiasm of everyone taking part and the quality of the choral items.
At the end of the concert it made one feel proud that such a group exists in West Yorkshire for the benefit of the community. It deserves our full support.
Tracy a fine choice for MP
From: Pat Crisp, Batley
It’s wonderful news that a local girl wants to become our MP – Tracy Brabin.
I’m sure she will do a good job. I met her right at the beginning of Jo Cox’s campaign.
She’s very interested in the community she was brought up in.
I say good luck Tracy, we need someone like you.