Itâ€™s purely about money
Letter of the Week: Mark Eastwood, Dewsbury
Having attended Monday nightâ€™s NHS Commissioning Group consultation at Dewsbury Town Hall, I have to say that the presentation made by the host panel failed to convince anyone that the proposed downgrade of A&E and maternity at Dewsbury Hospital was anything but an exercise in saving money due to the high debts attributed to the local hospital trust.
They failed to reassure local residents present about the financial hardship placed upon patients and visitors travelling to and from Pinderfields, or that the proposals made â€˜clinical senseâ€™, as one panel member put it in his slick Power-Point presentation.
Surely, it would make â€˜clinical senseâ€™ to expand existing services at Dewsbury, but we know that canâ€™t happen due to the dire financial situation.
But perhaps most disturbing of all, the chair and the panel failed to allay the audienceâ€™s fears about the potential loss of life for anyone requiring urgent emergency care and maternity assistance, all due to the increased distance and travelling times getting to the other side of Wakefield.
In some quarters, the situation at Dewsbury Hospital is being looked at from a political point of view.
The left argue that the plans for the hospital are part of a Coalition plan to privatise the NHS. The right argue that the previous Labour Government was at fault for the high level of debt caused by the PFI project.
Compassion and caring for your local hospital, however, is not the sole domain of the left, or the right, and the perceived winning of the political argument wonâ€™t protect services at Dewsbury Hospital.
It certainly wonâ€™t save peoplesâ€™ lives. Besides which, unlike many other local and national issues, the decision on whether to downgrade services at Dewsbury Hospital will not be made by elected representatives.
As a local resident who has lived in Dewsbury and the surrounding area all my life and whose mother was a senior Sister on A&E at the hospital for more than 20 years, I hope the people of Dewsbury and North Kirklees unite in opposition to the planned changes put forward at the Commissioning Groupâ€™s consultation.
I donâ€™t know what Khanâ€™s smiling about
From: Derek Cartwright, Batley
Re. the Smile of Khan â€“ hardly the â€˜Wrath of Khanâ€™ (See The Press 8/3/2013). This is the man that told us the local Coalition of power (thatâ€™s Labour/Liberals Democrats) was inspirational. Well, now we know it was not realistic.
Khan and his fellows, with their heads buried firmly in the sand, were marching from 2008 to the tune of the Labour years of growth with the onward march of the financial services and the service sector.
As bankers and others in the financial sector largely planned for job cuts, re-structuring and in the light of the miss-selling scandals withdrawal from giving consumer advice, our local politicians believed things would go back to how they were before 2008.
For anyone who has not heard or read me before on this subject, I went before those ignorant councillors (never again, and got heckled by them for my trouble) and pointed out the councilâ€™s official employment statistics.
So what, they donâ€™t matter...
Well, they do, because they are the best pointer to where the money is coming from to pay for the local services.
Manufacturing lost 11,688 jobs from 2002 to 2010/11 which is only mitigated by an increase in the construction sector â€“ growth of over a 10,015 jobs (that I find hard to believe in the current market) â€“ still, the numbers are there.
Thatâ€™s an overall shrinking workforce to pay for services, the reality of which was ignored by the smiling Khan â€“ a man who believed, or said, Kirklees would employ 30,000 more people and so require over 20,000 new houses.
Whilst we keep reading the national news that the financial sector is shrinking in Kirklees the employment numbers were still in 2010/11 greater than they were in 2008, and we employed 4,572 more than in 2002.
That tells me that there are still more job losses to come.
How Coun Khan can expect job growth in Kirklees is not explained â€“ heâ€™s not telling us where they are going to come from next year, let alone in 10!
He may keep smiling; I am not, when I see increasingly derelict shops in Batley, and nothing done about putting them to alternative uses.
Why is that necessary? Ssupermarkets are cheaper than high street shops so we shop there; if I want a book, I donâ€™t spend Â£5 on bus fares going to Leeds, I get online get the book cheaper, and I get it delivered to the door, saving on the bus fares.
What does Kirklees do about changing the limitations on planning regulations on businesses â€“ nothing, â€œcarry on regardlessâ€.
Which will be the next local retail branch to shut its offices?
But donâ€™t worry, come the next election, nothing will change, people will still vote in our local failures who regard us with disdain, who cannot, by appearance and behaviour, even be bothered to read their own officialsâ€™ reports.
The councillors can always, like Coun Khan, add to his job portfolio â€“ no wonder heâ€™s smiling.
And whereâ€™s all the development Kirklees said was funded by the private sector?
Itâ€™s not a science fiction film, more a â€˜Carry Onâ€™ film â€“ just a set of jokers.
Pensioners are not to blame
From: Angry pensioner, Mirfield
I am sick and tired of hearing about our ageing population being blamed for the state of this country â€“ in other words we are living too long.
Ooops! And this government and council would have us all die before we draw our pensions, only they are cowards and yellow bellies, and havenâ€™t the guts or backbone to come out and say it.
Itâ€™s not the pensioners who are to blame for any of it. Itâ€™s this government and councilâ€™s fault for letting too many foreigners into our country; they all know where the free bank is.
They go straight onto benefits; most bring their elderly with them, who get a pension.
How many National Insurance stamps have they got on their cards, and how much money have they paid into the system?
Thatâ€™s the reason our country is in such a state.
From: John Cross, EDL Dewsbury Division
On the face of itÂ justice seems to have been done, with the long sentences handed out to the evil scum found guilty of those appalling sex crimes (Press, March 8).
Or is it just another papering over when a crime is committed by members of the Muslim community?
We all know that there is no chance of these men serving the long sentences issued.
On a TV programme the same day, a victim, who was subjected to the same horrendous attacks, and whose attackers were issued withÂ long sentences, became appalled when she found out that they had been released after four years, and not only that, they were residing in her town.
In fact, after passing one of them in the street itâ€™s this poor victim thatâ€™s doing the sentence.
Chief Supt Williams in her statement seemed almost apologetic that the men had been given such long sentences.
She also wondered why they had targeted Keighley.
If her officers, and MP Ann Cryer, instead of courting the Muslim vote 20 years ago, would have listened, they would have found the answer. People tried to tell them and they wouldnâ€™t listen.
However, there are questions that still need asking, and we would like answers.
If a pub landlord has people taking drugs in his pub, or committing any other crimes, he takes the rap.
How come then that nobody questions the hotelâ€™s attitude in this?
Didnâ€™t anybody think that a young girl constantly being taken into their hotel with adult men was suspicious?
Weâ€™re a nation of spendthrifts
From Andrew Forrester, Cleckheaton
A country can only produce so much wealth, depending mainly on its resources and industrial infrastructure.
Basic economics and maths tells us that if more and more people are wanting a slice of the cake, then there is less to go around, especially with a â€˜surplusâ€™ population, and some not content unless they are grabbing 40 times the average wage.
For example, in Norway, their 4.5 million population have government savings of Â£40,000 per person, while the UK, with about 64 million, have nothing saved.
Two exceptions are China and India, where wealth is created because most workers are paid poverty wages, and this country is drifting the same way, with the massive influx of unskilled workers from abroad.
We can no longer risk having any government like the last LabourÂ one, who had magical powers of turning Â£1 million into 1 penny.
If we Brits carry on crying the poor tale, itâ€™s only what can be expected.
People only now realise how well off they used to be, but what did many of them do?
Spend above their means, vote in wasteful governments, go on strike, and spend their money on Japanese cars!
Batley deserves an NHS meeting
From: Tom Hinchcliffe MBE, Birstall
Regards A&E consultation. I read with some interest the list of places where there are public meetings, or roadshows, with regards to the downgrading of Dewsbury A&E department.
I notice that the major town centres get a public meeting EXCEPT the people of Batley â€“ why not?
Do the people of Batley and surrounding areas not deserve a public meeting so that they can put the questions they want answering face to face with the so-called managers of their hospital?
Surely they deserve this opportunity.
With regards the rise in rents for council tenants.
I do not think the tenants would have been so offended if the council had been honest from the start, instead of sending letters out that make it look like they had a rent cut, except hidden in a small paragraph at the bottom of the letter saying that they were doing away with the free weeks.
These are not free weeks, as the rent at present is calculated over 52 weeks, but you pay it in 48 weeks.
I work out that, in fact, I will be paying Â£148 per year more under the new system.
Were the so-called managers so afraid to spell it out up front, maybe if they had there would not be all this anger.
Not a consultation
but a Trust sham
From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury
Re: the consultation meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall on Monday March 11.
This was supposed to be a public consultation meeting.
It was not, it was a meeting to tell the public what the Trust and the CCG boards are going to do at Dewsbury Hospital, which is downgrading A&E, closing the childrenâ€™s ward and changing the maternity unit to a midwife-led unit.
Please go along to all their meetings and stop this.
A great charity night at the Town Hall
From: Pat Crisp, Batley
I write just to let you know what a great show it was on Saturday by Songsational at Batley Town Hall in support of the Mayorâ€™s charity appeal for the Yorkshire Regiment.
I hope they raised a lot of money, it was a full house.
I also met the Mayor and had a long discussion about the work we do in Batley â€“ the neighbourhood watches, Batley Cemetery Group and Batley Festival.
A great night.