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Death by a thousand cuts

Letter of the Week: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

A few things I have learned this week. Someone had to pay £64 for taxis to attend Huddersfield Royal Hospital for an operation.

They didn’t drive and had to be there for 8.30am, plus another trip for stitches out.

A man stopped breathing, the ambulance arrived quickly, but was stuck on the motorway for 20 minutes because of heavy traffic.

Someone else said it had taken them one and a quarter hours to get to Pinderfields from Dewsbury because of the busy motorway.

The money being saved downgrading Dewsbury Hospital A&E department is a paltry £3 million.

The shuttle bus from Staincliffe to Pinderfields starts running at 2.30pm – visiting time starts at 2.30pm!

Pinderfields cannot cope at their A&E. They are continually breaking the four-hour waiting time rule.

Dermatology has been sold off to Virgin Group and MRI scanners now belong to another private company.

I spoke to Dr Kelly, the Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, at the meeting in Cleckheaton Town Hall.

I told him a paramedic told me ambulance drivers could no longer take people to Dewsbury Hospital, they had to go to Pinderfields.

He said this was not true. Does he not understand what is happening?

He also admitted to holding shares in part of the private area of our hospitals.

The North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group meeting was a shambles. No-one could hear what was said. I just hope someone is keeping an eye on what they are doing with our money.

Regarding ‘Our Save Local Hospital Services Group’ – I do think this should now be ‘Save Dewsbury Hospital Services’, as it is this hospital having all the cuts forced on it. We are holding a rally in Dewsbury Town Hall on Saturday March 23 at 12noon.

Please come along and show your support.

Housing plan threat to firm

From: Mark G Exley, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you regarding the proposed development of the former Harrison Gardner site in Hightown.

Harron Homes have an agreement with H&G to buy the former Victoria Dyeworks land, subject to getting approval for 100 per cent residential planning permission.

If this development is allowed to go ahead in its current state it could have a devastating effect on the factory next door, Owens Corning (OC) where I and many others could be put out of work.

The company is a specialised fibreglass manufacturing company working 24/7, it employs 82 full-time employees and at least 10 contract and temporary workers.

We also spend millions of pounds with companies in and around the area on spares and repairs.

Over the last 10 years the management and workforce has made major changes to make this factory a successful more profitable, safer and better environment not only for the workforce but also our surrounding neighbours which is very important to OC.

This includes over the past two years working closely with the local community on many projects (Heckmond-wike Sports Club, Cleckheaton model railway and many others).

This has not been easy given the factory layout and old machinery and our close proximity to neighbouring houses.

All the noisy equipment and FLT traffic had been located at the side where the planning application for 56 new homes will be built, which will force OC not Harron Homes into spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in soundproofing the factory in the hope we don’t get any complaints.

I believe everyone would like to see this land developed and brought back to life, but if planning is granted with no safeguard to our factory I think OC will close the factory, losing many more jobs which this area cannot afford.

KMC citadel needs binning

From: Anne Holmes, via email

Dear Sir,

The faceless people who occupy the KMC citadel in Huddersfield must have been a little bit bored; they have invented a new game for its citizens to play.

It is called ‘guess which bin to put out’.

Returning from holiday I had lost track of which bin to put out and I did not have an up-to-date KMC calendar to refer to; so, on Monday, I phoned KMC to ask for a current calendar of bin collections.

I was told that KMC were not issuing calendars, the good people of Kirklees have to work it out for themselves.

I did not believe the nice lady at the other end of this conversation, I thought she had a sense of humour and was having a little joke, but no, she was serious.

Easy peasy, get your own calendar and work it out for the year (it might be a bit trickier for the glass, but perhaps not, if they discontinue that collection entirely).

This is a recipe for disaster, setting up people to fail. There are any numbers of legitimate reasons why individuals may not be able to put their bin out each week and lose track of the routine.

I suspect that cost savings may feature as a reason for a penny-pinching measure that could cause much confusion, with wrongly presented (and so, un-emptied) bins.

Although, as I write, on Friday, I am still awaiting a call from someone to discuss it with me.

Perhaps those who make the decisions sometimes lose track, on whose behalf and for whose benefit, decisions are made. I urge them to re-consider this particular one.

PS: I was once informed that all Kirklees councillors get free parking, all the time: Can this be true? If so, why? Perhaps there are savings to be made here.

Do away with ‘democracy’

From: AS Hemingway, Gomersal

Dear Sir,

Democracy is the word politicians use to cover their never-ending failures, to soothe the public.

Is a vote every five years, and no other say, democracy?

Some other method of government is needed, devoid of Westminster waste and party in-fighting.

A logical, fair, balanced figurehead with about a dozen top, proven, successful advisers from all walks of life; industry, commerce, health care, education, military, farming, banking, transport, foreign affairs, entertainment, sport, social services, energy etc. They couldn’t fail to do a better job than the present bunch, many simply career politicians, doing ‘party before people’ politics.

Any new government spends their first two years untangling the knots the other lot left.

This may be politics, but what good is it for the country?

If Scots Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had deliberately set out to damage England, then in many people’s opinion they could not have made a much better job of it.

Expensive wars, lower spending, gold reserves sold at rock bottom; Soviet-scale bureaucratic expansion; uncontrolled immigration; better off shirking than working; PFIs; giving banks a free reign; leaving the country skint. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Poorest are paying most

From: Steven Potter, Batley

Dear Sir,

RE ‘My rent’s gone down ... but I’ll be paying more’, The Press, March 1st.

With the editor’s permission I would like to reply to KNH’s Mr Buckley, and what I can only call his facetious comments regarding the latest increase in rent.

Does he consider 18 words contained in one sentence, adequate notice to give tenants time to protest against this ill-considered course of action?

And have KNH considered the hardship this will cause to many households who, like me, rely on the non-payment weeks at Christmas?

At this point, I would like to make it clear to the people who look down their noses at people such as me who live in council property, that these weeks are not ‘free rent weeks’, but are paid for over the rest of the year.

Personally I blame the councillors; they sit in their clubroom, sorry, chambers, and have no concept of what hardship they cause people who are really struggling to make ends meet.

How can they justify increasing the rents by over 16 per cent in three years?

Everybody has had zero increase in Council Tax over the last two years, that’s fine until you realise the shortfall was made up by three times the rate of inflation increases inflicted on tenants’ rents.

Not only that, but this council is one of 40 per cent of councils who are going to increase Council Tax – why?

A few weeks ago, a fellow reader of The Press suggested that the number of councillors should be reduced.

Why stop there, when are the Council going to prune the money tree that is KNH?

If you want to save substantial amounts of money, let’s see a wholesale reduction in the ‘manager class’, something KNH is well stocked with.

It is certainly time the Council picked on someone else and left us alone for a while.

The above is just the latest burden which comes on top of the so-called bedroom tax which, by any other name, is backdoor social engin-eering/ethnic cleansing, then having our freedom of choice removed as to how we pay our rent, being forced to pay by direct debit, and if you don’t, well you will be evicted.

What can you say, only ‘Good old democratic, fair-minded Kirklees Council’.

NHS is being privatised

From: Dr H Thimmegowda, GP, Thornhill & Dewsbury

Copy of a letter sent to Health Minister Lord Howe

Dear Sir,

May I add my concerns to the list of hundreds of doctors, nurses, politicians and members of the public, who have all written and protested over the new rules brought in to the Health and Social Care Bill. The rules will apply for all clinical commissioning groups to oblige to put almost all the services to tender, rather than limiting the tenders, to where competition is helpful for the patient’s care.

It is already known that at present up to 30 per cent of NHS patients are being treated by the private sector.

If these new rules were approved and applied the whole of the NHS would be open to mass privatisation by a ‘back door’ and this will lead to profits before the care of the patient.

This of course is a recipe for fragmentation of the NHS across the country.

The effects on the local hospitals are catastrophic and detrimental to local people in the community as a whole.

Accident and Emergency departments are either being downgraded or closed. Hospitals are on the verge of closure or about to be downgraded, which will eventually result in a slow demise.

In my area the Mid Yorkshire Trust with its serious financial difficulties is centralising all the services into one hospital and downgrading the other two hospitals within the trust.

This will lead to more suffering and distress for the vulnerable people locally, mostly children, pregnant women, the elderly and disabled.

This will mean they have to travel the distance of approximately 15 additional miles.

In the United States, President Obama has moved forward providing additional social healthcare and we in this country are taking rapid steps backwards with the privatisation agenda. This is not good for the health of the nation.

The fundamentals of the NHS by its founding fathers said “that it be free of the point of delivery and based on the clinical needs and not the ability to pay” and this is in danger.

If the new rules of tender by clinical commissioning groups for all services are not removed or amended, people of all political persuasions will defend this great institution.

As the founding fathers said: “The NHS will survive as long as people are there to fight for it”. I am sure they will.

Modernisation and an aging population are not an excuse for privatisation.

Rent rip-off is one massive con job

From: Name & address supplied

Dear Sir,

I put pen to paper firstly to congratulate you and the paper’s success.

Secondly, about the story on page three of Friday’s edition, about the Soothill resident’s rent payment.

The whole story is far more involved and, I think, Kirklees is smiling that they appear to have gotten away with it after reading your story.

The truth is that I got a letter saying that I will have to pay my rent by direct debit, but also that it is to be paid to a company, whose name I forget, it has to be paid through a bank account, and if I haven’t got one,  then Kirklees has a system in place to help me get one.

All very well, you say but, some tenants don’t have bank accounts for a number of reasons, usually because banks won’t give them one because they haven’t enough money to put in them.

Ask the local banks how much they want to open an account, and at least one of them wants £100 minimum.

Where are the tenants going to get it?

In the 70s/80s the government started a direct payment scheme so Kirklees got the rent money off them, but now the tenant is responsible for their own rent and bank account.

So, like years ago, those who are poor, or ill equipped to handle finance they will fritter the cash away on other things like food, cigs, alcohol or drugs.

They will then get into rent arrears and be evicted, so ending up on the street.

Kirklees will then be able to find ‘proper tenants’, who probably work, and so improve their own image.

The company who handles the transactions of rent will be making money out of it, so will any councillors who have an interest in it.

Also for those tenants who can manage that, there is the problem of correlating payments from the government with payments to the council, there may be a time difference, where the tenant is in the red with the bank and incurs charges, so where to they get that money from?

All this system is likely to do is increase poverty and crime among the unemployed and low paid, and increase wealth for banks and councils. I feel so ashamed to be living in Kirklees.

A public servant

From: Adele Latham, Soothill

Dear Sir,

I would like to say a big thank you to the community minded lady who, single-handedly, walks along the length of Bradford Road, certainly between Batley and Dewsbury, voluntarily picking picking up the litter from the pavements, gutters and hedges.

I have seen her many times on a morning, and in all weather.

She must be saving Kirklees a small fortune!

Councillors have got lost

From: Jack Bunn, Hanging Heaton

Dear Sir,

After reading Peter Barand’s letter in The Press ‘Our roads are dangerous’, I feel I must endorse his sentiments about Hanging Heaton’s High Street.

I have written several letters to Kirklees Highways, and my local councillors over the past few years, but they appear to have turned a deaf ear to my requests.

This road is a race track, with speeds reaching in excess of 80/90 miles per hour.

Before I retired I was an HGV driver, so I know what I am talking about.

It appears they do not, or they do not want to, know about it.

One of my letters was on behalf of my neighbours in  High Street.

They were so frightened of accidents happening; on occasions the road is blocked at school leaving time (where is that vehicle Kirklees fitted out at considerable expense, to take video recordings of these incidences?), probably somewhere in Huddersfield, I expect.

I suppose my Dewsbury East councillors are too busy with the town centre and Huddersfield to deal with the problems of our forgotten village, as usual, except at voting time.

By the way, I have seen two of my local councillors but the third one, who I believe is a lady, I do not think she knows where Hanging Heaton High Street is.

Why do we need three councillors?

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