We are not being given all the facts
Letter of the Week: Mark Wilberforce, Dewsbury
I have a background in health research and so have certain expectations when it comes to reading arguments about important NHS decisions.
Having read the consultation document I was rather taken back at how one-sided their presentation was.
Either this really is an â€˜open-and-shutâ€™ case, or the Trust is not being candid that another side of the argument even exists.
I thought Iâ€™d have a look at the evidence myself since I am particularly concerned about the closure of Dewsbury A&E to critically-ill patients.
Although I am a complete amateur in this particular field, I found a few medical papers that worried me.
A few years ago, eminent researchers from Sheffield University looked at over 10,000 ambulance journeys taking critically-ill patients to UK hospitals, and they found that the further the ambulance travelled to A&E, the greater the chance that the patient would die.
When considering the case for closing local services in favour of larger specialist departments, the researchers concluded that the evidence is â€˜oalmost non-existentâ€™ except for a few conditions where specialist units already exist (eg burns, major trauma).
In addition, there are at least three separate studies which showed that patients with respiratory problems are most at risk from longer journeys to hospital: in one, an extra six miles to the nearest hospital was found to increase the relative risk of death amongst asthmatics by 10 per cent.
Pinderfields is about nine miles from Dewsbury Hospital, a fact not lost on me since my asthmatic son has previously been in need of urgent hospital care that would no longer be available locally under the proposals.
So it appears that there may be another side that is being glossed over.
Maybe the Trust is right, maybe these changes save both money and lives.
But it seems to me that we are not being presented with a balanced view, and this immediately raises my suspicions.
Government to blame for mess
From: Sarah Cook, campaign co-ordinator, Mirfield Labour Party
Nowhere in your lengthy front page article (April 5 2013) do you explain that it was Mirfield Labour Party that first suggested the Town Council should accept responsibility for Mirfieldâ€™s last remaining public toilets.
Nor do you explain the root cause of the cuts that are being forced on Kirklees Council.
It is only massive cuts in government grant that are leading to service reductions. Kirklees has already reduced the number of people it employs and, so far, the effects of this have not been very clear. It is no longer possible to stop government cuts from impacting on the general public.
The government is hiding behind local councils. It hopes the councils will be blamed for their financial cuts and legal restrictions. The question now is whether people will recognise what is really happening.
The government deserves the blame. If it had maintained public spending our economy would be in better shape.
Public toilet closure is only the tip of a massive iceberg that threatens our continued wellbeing. It all goes to show that you cannot trust the Tory-led Government to act in the local or the national interest.
I trust doctors more than most
From: Andrew Farrow, Dewsbury
I read your Ed Lines comments with interest over my observations of the Dewsbury Area Committee Meeting deliberations of the proposed NHS changes.
I donâ€™t want to get into a tit for tat letter writing contest, but like you, Iâ€™ve seen politicians fiddling expenses, journalists hacking phones â€“ even policemen giving their own version of events at football matchesÂ â€“ but doctors?
I donâ€™t know about you, but if the doctor says something, I start from the proviso that the (specimen) bottle is half full, not half empty.
And not just any doctor, but 29 of the 31 local practices, the consultant in emergency medicine, the head of West Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the consultant in obstetrics.
Now, it could be that you are right and they are wrong.
As I said, I simply donâ€™t know - but I cannot bring myself to believe that they are just out and out lying.
Mind you, I said that about the police at Hillsborough and PlebGate, so what do I know?
What time is it, Heckmondwike?
From: Norman Walker, Heckmondwike
I donâ€™t think any of the elected councillors in Heckmondwike ever come to the town.
If they do, they must have their eyes closed! Why? I refer, of course, to the Fountain clock in Market Place.
It has stood at 6.30 since Christmas when the lights and fairground rides were wired up to it, and not corrected since.
It is about time something was done. Besides the clock not working, the clock faces are never illuminated at night.
This could be done on a timer, so it is lit up at night and out during the day.
Also the beacon light above the clock is never lit and hasnâ€™t been for over 30 years, to my knowledge.
If this clock was in Huddersfield, I think these faults would have been corrected very quickly.
I am sure these faults are minor cost-wise, and any qualified electrician could correct them within, or less than, an hour.
Come on councillors, waken up! Let us see how long it is before anything is done.
Sponsors wanted for West Mills
From: Paul MacDonald and Keith Johnson Battyeford Sporting Club
Re West Mills Playing Fields and The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge.
You may be aware that Battyeford Sporting Club and Kirklees Metropolitan Council have been working together to secure the fields at West Mills as a place for sport and recreation in perpetuity for the enjoyment of Mirfield residents and indeed all those who visit the site.
The initial work has resulted in the West Mills site being accepted under The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge as being a site worthy of being declared a â€˜field in trustâ€™.
Work now continues to secure the legal framework for this. and on securing funds to make some significant improvements to the site for all to enjoy.
To further enjoy the site there is a need for some benches to be placed on the site and it has been decided to allow the opportunity for local people (who have long been supportive of retaining the West Mills Fields as a recreational area) to have the opportunity to sponsor provision of one of these benches.
The cost of sponsoring one of the council-approved Solway benches is (top side estimate) Â£500 for a backless seat and Â£600 for a seat with back support, which includes delivery, installation and a commemorative plaque recognising the sponsor.
Initially Battyeford Sporting Club have been asked to broadcast the offer of such sponsorship amongst its members, firms and oranisations who have supported the club over the years and the local population via the press.
If any individual, group of individuals or company would like to consider such a sponsorship please contact 07901 698670 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whatâ€™s the story with the toilets?
From: Mrs BM Senior, Mirfield
I read with interest about the toilets in Station Road. Has anyone thought about if they move them into Mirfield Library, that may close, and are they going to open at 8am until 8pm? I donâ€™t think so!
What about if they close a day or a week? What about weekends?
Andrew is doing a wonderful job, but where are the other councillors? Why donâ€™t they have a week each?
We pay enough council charges.
Why build new toilets at ratepayers expense and then want to close them?
Kirklees has a lot to answer for.