Your Letters – Friday December 1, 2017

So proud of our World Cup final players

Letter of the Week: Coun Darren O’Donovan (Lab, Dews West)

On behalf of Dewsbury’s councillors and MP, I think it apt to acknowledge the achievements of Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess and Alex Walmsley as part of the England rugby league team that have reached the World Cup final in Australia. 

These lads represent everything that is great about Dewsbury and represent a sport that has a proud history and strong future in the town.

If our local schools and local rugby league teams, namely Dewsbury Celtic and Dewsbury Moor, can produce these internationally-renowned elite athletes then we surely can produce the best of anything. 

Producing players like this says a lot for the quality of the volunteer coaches at clubs, who devote their time to make players the best they can be in order to help get the best opportunities in sport and in life. 

I’ve worked personally with Alex over a number of years at Dewsbury Celtic and saw him grow from great junior player to a stand-out professional.

These three Dewsbury lads are the world’s best at what they do and that makes many people very proud. 

So Alex, Tom and Sam ... Dewsbury wishes you the best of luck for the final on Saturday, the town is behind you.

Thanks for all your efforts

From: Tim Wood, Mirfield

This year’s Remembrance Day parade and service held in Mirfield was another great success.

Attracting crowds in their thousands to make up the numbers of what is now considered to be the largest outside Whitehall, London.

Each year more and more paperwork and planning appears before me, and with heightened considerations for the safety and security of the parade, I am always grateful for any help, however minuscule it may be.

Behind the scenes people in prominent positions within the parade structure work hard at their individual tasks to improve and enhance the occasion.

I have to congratulate everyone who took part in the organisation of the Mirfield parade and convey my heartfelt thanks to everyone who took part and came to support our act of remembrance.

This year I have been contacted by many people who organise and run parades across the country, for practical help and advice.

If in some small way Mirfield can become a standard of hope and resolve towards other parades throughout Britain, let us all be pleased with that sentiment.

We are working away steadily for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice 1918-2018, with more ideas of involvement within groups throughout the district.

In 2018 we hopefully will have the newly-reformed West Yorkshire pipe band back with us to help bolster our ranks.

Once again, a massive thank you to one and all for your efforts for the 2017 Remembrance Parade, we were as proud as punch.

Discussion will be needed

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

Over 300 people have signed a petition to oppose plans to create an asbestos transfer station in Cleckheaton.

The petition warns of the potential health risks associated with coming into contact with asbestos.

Most people today are aware of the dangers of asbestos. The records show it was deadly more than 160 years ago, but it was only banned entirely in Britain in 1999.

Exposure to asbestos is now the biggest killer in the British workplace, killing more than 4,000 people every year – more than die in traffic accidents.

Those most at risk are workers and their families – plumbers, electricians, carpenters, laggers, shipyard workers, builders and other tradespeople who worked in the 1960s and 1970s.

The fibres can be dormant in victims lungs for up to 50 years, and deaths in Britain caused by asbestos are predicted to continue to 2025.

Mesothelioma – almost always caused by asbestos, is now effecting school staff.

Asbestos is present in around 75 per cent of schools in Britain. 

Teachers are not considered to be high risk but in the last 30 years around 180 teachers have died from mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a devastating illness, it has been described by one medical professor as ‘perhaps the most terrible cancer known’.

Sufferers describe it as ‘like having concrete pounding into the lungs’ and it has been perceived as a working class curse.

Residents are absolutely right to be concerned about the health risks of an asbestos site in Cleckheaton, there needs to be much discussion with the company and local people before Kirklees Council even considers these proposals.

Test results are misleading

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

Where has Jeremy Hunt been for the last two and a half years? Has he been asleep? 

He recently wrote to the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to congratulate them on achieving what he considers to be 96% of patients who would recommend their family and friends to use the Trust.

If he had bothered to look at the Mid Yorkshire webpage, he would have seen the Trust had reached that figure back in May 2015. 

I wrote about the way the Family and Friends test results had been distorted in June 2015. The same misleading use of the F & F test is still being carried on.

The 96% figure is a complete distortion of the true facts. 

In May this year, the month Hunt refers to, only 18% of patients took part in the F & F test. So instead of the misleading figure of 96%, the true figure is more like 17%.

I never fill in the F & F test form, although I can’t speak too highly of the treatment I always get at both Dewsbury or Pinderfields from the receptionists, nursing staff, junior doctors and consultants. 

They all carry out their duties in a professional, yet friendly manner, despite being under the most severe pressure due to the lack of funding and staff shortages. 

The F & F test forms are filled in by patients who like to show their appreciation to all the staff who have looked after them, but they are used by Hunt to claim all is well with our NHS, when quite clearly it is not.

Whose NHS is this?

From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury

So what is an NHS Accountable Care System (ACS)? It is not a National Health Service. 

All areas are different, the biggest of all postcode lotteries. Money for health is going to the south. 

So, in the north, we already have the worst health outcomes in England with an underspend of around £800m per year, per head of population, compared to the south. 

Yet, over the last five years we have seen further disinvestment here, at a time when we’re also being asked to make substantial £1bn savings! 

An ACS is a stepping stone to an Accountant-led Care Organisation delivering ‘population health managed care’, known popularly as cuts.

The STPs looked at the dismantled NHS, assessed the number of companies (ie ‘partners’) and NHS providers in an area, working out what they do and are calling it an Accountable Care System. 

Then the plan is to sew them all back together in the Accountant-led Care Organisation bag, where the companies will have the most power, due to their superior finances in the ‘market’ and letting them all fight it out together or ‘negotiate’, as to who does what for how much.

There are the rent extractors with hedge fund involvement, alongside hospital trusts, some of whom are making deals with US health multinationals already in some areas, plus asset strippers, alongside charities which are run more like businesses and charities with real volunteer involvement. 

Whose NHS is that?

Stats don’t mean much

From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge

Another week and we are bombarded with a never-ending stream of meaningless data (statistics) ranging from lifestyle to food, health and economics.

Without some background information, these statistics are meaningless, and are open to interpretation to suit any agenda.

A simple illustration:

Employment at the lowest since 1975 at 4.3%.

Good news?

This equates to 1.46 million out of work.

I seem to recall that in the 70s unemployment breaking the one million barrier was predicted as a portend to economic disaster.

At the time not good news.

However, there are now apparently 8.3 million of us with serious debt problems.

Does this mean that there are at least 6.84 million in work but who don’t earn enough to make ends meet?

Or are we a nation of underproductive, gambling drug addicts?

Not good news either way.

Why bother with the rules

From: Chris Thorne, Dewsbury

After eight months of correspondence to Kirklees Council, including the chief executive’s office over my neighbour’s eyesore extensions (constructed without initial planning), I can only conclude that the so-called rules that should apply to planning and building regulations are completely at their discretion, so in practice mean nothing in real terms.

Why bother with building control and planning permission plus the expense of an architect? 

Well, some of us have to subsidise the system and give the council planning department a few odd jobs to justify their existence.

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