Your Letters – Friday December 15, 2017

I think our NHS is already on life support

Letter of the Week: Karen Pickard, Liversedge

I have just had a spell in hospital which was not one of my better experiences.

I went to my doctors with what I thought was a bad chesty cough, only to be told to get myself up to Dewsbury District Hospital ASAP.

So I came home told my husband that I needed to go to Dewsbury Hospital now.

We arrived at A&E, letter in hand from my GP, went to the window and handed over the letter which stated quite clearly suspected pneumonia.

The receptionist asked: “Do you have chest pain?”

Me: “No, just a very tight chest.”

“Right take a seat in the waiting area, waiting time is 3hrs 50minutes.”

So we take a seat and wait to be seen.

Over the time we were waiting my condition deteriorated and I felt extremely unwell. 

After two hours approximately I was called through to minors. My husband literally carried me into the cubicle as I was struggling to breath.

The first thing the nurse said was you should have gone to Pinderfields. I just looked at the nurse as I didn’t have the strength to answer her. 

They then proceeded to take my temperature, pulse, heart rate and oxygen levels.

The nurse shouted to another nurse to bring a chair and get me into resus as I was struggling to breathe and my heart was racing.

I don’t remember much over the next two hours but I was put on oxygen, intravenous antibiotics and nebulisers.

Once I was stabilised the doctor came to speak to me and my husband. 

She said I had a severe lung infection and I would need transferring to Pinderfields by ambulance. This was at 1.20pm.

I arrived at Pinderfields at 8.50pm after laying in resus on oxygen for over 7.5 hours. We apparently no longer have the facility at Dewsbury District Hospital to look after patients overnight.

The ambulance that took me to Pinderfields was a St John’s Ambulance. The guy who was sat with me on our journey to Pinderfields told me that the NHS employed him and the reason was because they have insufficient ambulances. 

He also told me they work 11hrs and 55mins shifts, and not 12-hour shifts like the NHS ambulance personnel.

The reason for the five-minute shorter shift means that they don’t get an hour dinner break, just 30 minutes.

Once we got to Pinderfields I was put in the Acute Assessment Unit as there were no beds in the respiratory ward. 

On the Acute Assessment Unit there were 72 patients and counting.

After the initial paperwork and the drips put up I was left on oxygen until 7am the next morning, so if I’d died in the middle of the night no-one would have known till the morning.

The reason for my letter is A: The staff at Dewsbury District Hospital were absolutely fantastic. 

I was looked after and cared for with skill and great empathy. Laying on a bed waiting for over seven hours for an ambulance was totally out of their hands.

B: The care and empathy given at Pinderfields is sorely lacking, however 72 patients on a unit is a lot of work for anyone.

So I would like someone to explain to me why Dewsbury District Hospital is being scaled down, when from my observations it is clearly needed in our community.

Also, how do people who have no transport manage to get to Pinderfields? Buses are there but the times are not always convenient.

To finish off my letter, visiting is now open 10am until 10pm, this is so that relatives can come in and feed, wash, toilet and generally do the job that nursing staff used to do.

I’m sorry to say our NHS is on life support and the plug is ready to be pulled.

In response Trudie Davies, director of operations – hospital services at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Trust’s aim is to offer all our patients prompt and appropriate access to treatment. The changes delivered through our Acute Hospital Reconfiguration, completed in September, are designed to ensure that our critically ill patients are able to access specialist clinical care in a more co-ordinated way.

“We are very sorry to hear about Mrs Pickard’s experience and will address her specific concerns personally. Our Acute Assessment Unit does get busy from time to time; however its maximum capacity is 58 patients.

“Patients calling 999 will see no changes to the services they may have experienced in the past. Those with life-threatening conditions can expect to receive treatment from the ambulance team on their arrival with ongoing care delivered at the most appropriate hospital site to meet their clinical needs.

“Dewsbury Hospital will continue to offer the local population access to a 24/7 A&E Department. We have invested upwards of £500,000 last year to increase our department’s capacity further.”

I applaud you heartily

From: Richard Stones, Batley

How Len Gardner’s communiqué in last week’s edition did not receive letter of the week is beyond me, probably letter of the year in my opinion. 

Not at all the product of a rambling old mind, Len, but the thoughts of the sensible middle ground, salt-of-the-earth common people who can see through all the BS and so succinctly and politely expressed. 

I applaud your sentiments heartily and appreciate The Press for publishing it.

Put children above banks

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

In the autumn budget the Government continued to hand tax giveaways to the biggest banks, while funding for children’s services like foster care, adoption and Surestart continue to be cut.

These tax giveaways will see about £5billion handed back to banks.

Meanwhile, cuts to children’s services have pushed the system into what charities have called a “crisis” and have warned it is nearing a “catastrophe”.

It’s time the needs of the most vulnerable children were put above the financial interests of the largest banks.

Stop this traffic lunacy

From: John Gautry, Heckmondwike

The filling-in of the old railway cutting between Houghton Street and Walkley Lane, to accommodate 96 dwellings, will mean two years of heavy wagons travelling through Heckmondwike.  

How can Councillor Hall say that it will be good for Heckmondwike with all the dirt and dust that it will cause?

Do I really need to point out to him that Heckmondwike is already over-congested? 

It’s over 30 years since (after years of haggling) it was decided to build a bypass around Heckmondwike.  

What did our wise councillors of the day do? They allowed Morrisons to build a supermarket on the only route the bypass could take.  

I seem to remember they said that would be good for the town too. What a joke!

With regards to the housing development, I implore to the sane councillors to take a good look at the congestion all around Heckmondwike and not just at peak times, especially Church Lane, Church Street, Brunswick Street and Walkley Lane.

The estimated extra 150-plus vehicles accessing these roads will cause gridlock every day. 

Stop this lunacy.

Do you want them to close?

From: F Jones, Batley

Last Thursday my partner and I attended the Musica Batley Christmas Concert at Dewsbury Town Hall.

This was £5 well spent, until we came out later to find we had a parking ticket issued by the usually diligent Kirklees wardens, who must wait until they have a captive audience in Dewsbury and then come out at 7pm to catch as many people as possible.

We parked approximately 40 yards from the town hall, as we usually do, on Manor Street, at 6.45pm, and the ticket was issued at 7.10pm.

Goodness knows when they stop issuing tickets in Kirklees – they make it pretty obvious they are not willing to support the youth or the parents who pay their wages.

£70 full price for the parking fine; £35 discount if paid within 14 days – a total of at least £45 for myself and partner for two hours entertainment. Wake up Kirklees – do you want your town halls to close?

PS: Not the only one.

Sorry incident at museum

From: Frances Stoner, via email

I read with interest your article on the front page of last week’s Press regarding the cancellation of a Tory party dinner at the National Coal Mining Museum, due to alleged threats and intimidation of event staff from left-wing bullies.

Not only does this sorry incident deprive a local museum of much-needed funding when it needs it the most, but it also highlights a wider and more serious issue in our society.

It appears that we now live in a country where left-wing organisations, like Momentum think they have carte blanche to bully and intimidate whenever they see fit. 

This cancellation, which they will see as a great victory, will only embolden these factions who will seek to destroy our democracy if given the chance. 

I was also bitterly disappointed with Dewsbury Labour MP Paula Sherriff’s reaction to the event cancellation in your article. 

Rather than respond by saying what most mature and intelligent politicians would do, on the lines of “where the Tory Party host their events is entirely their business”, or an even better line of “the alleged bullying and intimidation of a private business is an outrage”, she decided to revert to type and attack the Tories for the audacity of wanting to support a local museum.

This whole incident seems to suggest that we are heading towards some very dark times, and God help us all if Jeremy Corbyn and his Momentum thugs were ever to get near power. 

Should he become Prime Minister, I can envisage a situation where we will be told where we can and can’t go, what we can and can’t do, what we can and can’t say, what we can and can’t think. 

Sounds dramatic? After this incident, I think not.

An opportunity missed

From: David Pinder, chair, Mirfield Community Partnership

Entirely due to its own incompetence Kirklees Council is without a local development plan. 

As a direct consequence of this they are assailed by national building firms determined to cram in as many poorly-built houses as they can without regard to either the environment or the local residents.

Sadly Kirklees Council’s record in imposing and achieving ‘Section 106 contributions’ from these large firms is equally woeful.  

Therefore it is doubly ignorant of Coun Paul Kane to seek to impose an unjustified contribution from a small local family building firm. 

Ignorant in the sense that it is arrogant and bullying; ignorant in that it shows a complete lack of local knowledge of the work which Darren Smith regularly undertakes in the local community.

Under the current regulations, Kirklees has no grounds for demanding any contribution from this project; a project which will, in fact, enable more people to actually downsize – thus freeing up more housing for young families.

However, in partnership with Mirfield Community Partnership, the Canal and River Trust and other partners, Darren Smith has already resurfaced the area around the nearby church, completely rebuilt a large stretch of dry stone wall, repaired and resurfaced a long stretch of towpath, planted flowerbeds and trees; and most recently, in partnership with the above organisations and the local Co-op, completely renovated, relaid and enhanced a further long stretch of previously neglected towpath along the river.

Most significantly, instead of seeking to cram in more flats Darren Smith is offering to build a new community centre and library. 

One might have thought that, at a time when Kirklees claim to be desperately trying not to close libraries, they would have jumped at the chance of this entirely voluntary and generous gesture.

Critics often claim that the Labour Cabinet in Kirklees will always seek to prevent Mirfield thriving – whether that is true or not they have the perfect opportunity here to show that they have the best interests of Mirfield residents at heart. 

If Coun Kane has the time and inclination I would be happy to meet up with him on site and show him that this local firm has already done much more to enhance the community and environment then could be expected under Section 106 payments which, in any case, do not even apply under this development.

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