Your Letters – Friday August 10, 2018

From: Iain Wilson, Batley

Sir,I just read your comments on Dr David Kelly re death rates in Dewsbury. Dr Kelly may be keeping quiet but I am not.

Three years ago I was diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer while living in Ossett, in the Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group. My cancer is very high risk and has spread. I was prescribed Prostap and part of my treatment included intense monitoring. 

However in March last year I moved to Batley and joined Blackburn Road Medical Centre in Birstall. My regular treatments were not followed up anything like as thoroughly as before. I was told by my GP “it was a postcode lottery”. Had I been diagnosed in Batley, I would have seen the same Pinderfields consultants but not had the same follow up.

I contacted Pinderfields and they sent a nurse to Dewsbury Hospital to do the monitoring. This caused huge problems and the extra work for Pinderfields eventually led to failures in my treatment. After my January 2018 blood test no one gave me the results. Pinderfields failed to update my treatment regime on three occasions, then in late March did not send the blood test form. 

Again, no monitoring until I complained and the consultant apologised and sorted it all out. He said NKCCG’s position was a real issue.  

Now for Kelly. As a result of the refusal by him and his overpaid colleagues to accept the same standard of care for prostate cancer patients as Wakefield CCG, I contacted the Care Quality Commission. On their advice I contacted the CCG directly and was invited to a meeting in Ravensthorpe last December.

They agreed change was needed and wrote (much later) to say they would introduce a template for GPs but that nurses would need training, it would need to go before ‘X’ number of committees, blah blah blah...

Healthwatch North Kirklees and Healthwatch Wakefield tried to get Kelly and Co to change this policy. I even went to Dewsbury Town Hall a few weeks ago where Kelly had  laid on refreshments and told an audience of 50/60 people how wonderful the NHS was at 70 years.

I recounted my experience – and wow, what a reaction from a doctor. Arrogant, bullying, dismissive and unbending. He was aware I had complained to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the case, so far as he was concerned, was closed. 

He said they were looking at the monitoring but it would not be introduced immediately and gave no further information. He also dismissed complaints by other guests at his little party. My wife and I walked out in disgust.   

On Wednesday 1st August I met Healthwatch Wakefield, the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance and CCG. All agreed that NKCCG must change their policy for primary care and want me to address their staff and clinicians in September to help change attitudes.

The Ombudsman sent me guidelines that cover Wakefield and North Kirklees and they clearly state that GPs who prescribe Prostap must ensure they do the follow up monitoring. Kelly and his chums ignore these guidelines. 

It is a disgrace that for the last five years NKCCG has been rated as ‘In need of improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission ie given a rating of 3 out of 4 for its performance and 3 out of 4 for cancer care (4 being lowest).  

How can his grossly inflated salary be justified when the organisation he chairs is in dire need of an overhaul?

This for me is where the NHS needs an overhaul. Not billions being thrown at it by the government where people like Kelly will quietly pocket it. Getting rid of top heavy bureaucratic CCGs would be the first place to start.               


From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury


I wish to offer my opinion on the Mid Yorkshire Hospital situation, after attending numerous CCG and Trust meetings, during the Meeting the Challenge discussions to downgrade Dewsbury and Pontefract Hospitals. 

We have far too many overpaid managers who obviously are not capable to do the work required of them as they have to employ advisers to help – £9 million was a figure for Ernst & Young accountants.

Former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s plan to downgrade Dewsbury and Pontefract hospitals and make Pinderfields the only hospital with major trauma and critical facilities, was a difficult plan as cuts had to be made of £20 million. 

Without these savings being achieved extra payouts which had to be applied for would not be made. Where is the sense in this, it is an impossible unsafe task?

We have all these people coming into our country expecting health, education, houses and benefit services – we have to build more houses, who for? We haven’t the facilities to support them, just look at our doctors’ surgeries and hospital departments, who are using these services most?

A friend of ours who emigrated to Canada in the 1960s.came to stay a few weeks ago. We were discussing the health services there and he took out a gold card from his wallet which was given to him from the Government. He has paid contributions necessary to have health care, he could choose a doctor’s surgery or hospital just by showing his card – why does this not happen here?

There is no good care for our elderly, who have gone through one or two World Wars, worked hard and were not given benefits like today. They had to sort themselves out, no work, no pay.


From: Bob Marshall, Liversedge


By’ eck Danny I bet you’re quaking in your boots with Mrs Pugh’s tongue lashing! (Forum, August 3rd).

I’m sure I can’t be the only reader of the paper who appreciates your refreshing honesty. You only need to look at this week’s headline to see the diverse serious subjects you highlight. 

Perhaps when she gets more acclimatised to living round here she may appreciate we all want a better area for all – with or without a ‘Great Get Together’!


From: John Sheen, Dewsbury


Yet again I see a complete lack of imagination, bordering on incompetence, by our elected councillors. More than 30% of the town’s shops are empty and have been for years, so they’ve heralded the fact that they’ve obtained a grant to “tidy up the fascias” on one of Dewsbury’s shopping arcades. Nothing said about the other truly iconic arcade bereft of shops and looking more like a bomb site.

I questioned a councillor as to why the owners didn’t seem interested or have any urgency in securing tenants as the rates must be extortionate. His answer shocked me. “They don’t pay any as It’s a “listed” building. 

No incentive, whatsoever, to invest in the town or its beleaguered and dwindling shoppers.I suppose some investment through the grant scheme is welcome, but Dewsbury needs a massive shot in the arm if we’re to see any significant change in my lifetime. 

I’m surprised the town has retained so many of its loyal traders after and during a ten year recession. Business and general rates appear to have deterred many new retail investors. 

If a shop isn’t trading it’s bringing nothing to the town, including any rates revenue.

My final thought rests with the young, local entrepreneur who, when times were extremely difficult, opened the Novo coffee bar opposite the Town Hall on the Long Causeway. Our councillors, knowing full well that to open another coffee shop right next door would be counter productive, not only gave permission to another operator, they gave it to the multi million dollar, global brand Costa.

 Excellent for the town but the kiss of death for the young entrepreneur who invested in Dewsbury when others wouldn’t. Both outlets could have traded successfully, I’m sure, if the council had given sufficient incentives and persuaded the Costa senior executives to take over the Bailey’s site in the heart of the town.

The town continues to “tick over” but its heart is slowly losing the will to live. Bailey’s empty. The old Essoldo building empty. The Black Bull premises empty. The iconic arcade totally empty and now the Poundland shop empty. 

It is sickening to witness this desolation. Continued parking charges are transferring shoppers to free retail parks and high business rates are making the town unattractive to potential retailers. Kirklees is totally lacking in any imagination for the once prodigious town of Dewsbury. 

We see a recipe designed to ensure even more internet shopping. 


From: Simon Roadnight, Batley


On Yorkshire Day there was a unique event at Batley Library to honour possibly the town’s most famous son, Malcolm Haigh. The look of total shock as he walked in to a crowded room of people lining up to pay homage to him was simply priceless.

Family members, friends and former colleagues all lined up to pay their own tributes to this quite remarkable gentleman. One of the many highlights was your own newspaper’s Danny Lockwood paying an absolutely fantastic tribute to Malcolm.

The tributes kept on coming and at the end an astounding portrait of Malcolm was unveiled by the artist who had done the painting, Steve McGrath.

Malcolm was then presented with his very own big red book, which bore the legend ‘Malcolm Haigh - This Is Your Life’!  He was then presented with a fantastic cake that been designed to look like his very first book he had published.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of this same book being published, which was the reason for this absolutely brilliant and heart warming occasion.Many thanks must go to The Friends of Batley Library and the library staff for helping to organise such a fantastic, memorable day.

As explained amongst the many glowing tributes, each and every town in the country could do with a Malcolm Haigh. Fortunately for Batley, we already have one!

Yours sincerely, one very proud Batelian.


From: Steve Benson, Mirfield


In response to LR, Hirst Planning Woes are ancient (Forum August 3rd). Very wise words from LR Hirst and correct on some of the facts, however, I must take this opportunity to correct the author. 

Myself and Project Mirfield members have not wasted our time, quite the opposite.

The facts are that in 2015 Bellway homes placed a live application to build 136 new homes on the 11.4 acre site, but little did they know a new, more advanced technical group had been forged from the movement from Save Mirfield.

Objections to the surface water drainage scheme, and historical coal workings and the relationship between the two meant our objections were too robust for the developer.

One hour before the application went before the committee Bellway Homes pulled out – now that is not wasting our time. 

When it comes to wasting taxpayer money, not only the wages and expenses – good lord no, the list is endless from Kirklees operators to admins, meetings, emails, consultants, LLFA, highways, parks, a public right of way, Yorkshire Water, Environment Agency, Coal Authority, planning officers... 

But for me and the rest of the group it’s a huge learning curve and reducing the number of homes from 136 to 61 on this new application is a victory.

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