Your Letters – Friday January 12, 2018

Great experience, but it felt too quiet...

Letter of the Week: Graham Thorne, Batley

My wife tells me that over the festive season local MP Tracy Brabin was having a rant about the pressures the local hospitals were under. 

On Friday December 29, following a fall in the snow, I took my wife to Dewsbury and District Hospital in the afternoon and was astonished to find only two people already sitting in A&E/minor injuries. 

She was quickly seen, X-rayed and out again in only about an hour and during this time, I only saw about half a dozen other people attending the unit. 

So far, she has had to visit twice more for follow-up treatment and outpatients has been equally quiet, appearing to have more staff than patients. 

This has meant punctual and caring treatment for my wife but we got the impression that, maybe, local people believe they now have to go all the way to Pinderfields for treatment and there is no longer any A&E at Dewsbury. 

From news items on TV, many hospitals certainly seem to have been busy over the festive season, but why has Dewsbury been so quiet? 

I am concerned that Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust may decide to use such statistics to justify further closures of facilities at the hospital?

• In response Trudie Davies, director of operations for hospital services, at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust,  said: “During the week in question, over 1,700 patients attended Dewsbury and District Hospital A&E department. 

“We are pleased to note that the reader in question found the department to be well run and calm at such a busy time for us. It is a reflection of the hard work and professionalism of our staff.

“The Dewsbury and District Hospital A&E remains a fully functioning A&E department and there are no plans to change this service.”

No time for armchair critics

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

I’m old enough to remember the days when many members of Parliament didn’t live in the area they represented, didn’t have an office in the area, didn’t hold constitueny surgeries, didn’t give parliamentary reports to their respective local political parties, didn’t write for their local newspapers and visited the area once a year.

I remember one Leeds MP who only spoke three times in Parliament during his 27 years’ service.

No-one can accuse my MP for Batley & Spen, Tracy Brabin, of any of this.

I note that the two critics of Tracy in the last two editions of The Press don’t live in Batley & Spen either!

I would also question why The Press felt the need to identify the area of Batley & Spen where Tracy has a home, she’s not doing anything illegal.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to criticise public representatives, the hard bit is working and achieving something in the area. No time for armchair critics!

Call for review into A&E

From: Stephen Crossley, Hanging Heaton

I for one am sick and tired of our politicians coming on TV and using the NHS as a political football.

Tracy Brabin’s latest outburst proved one thing – she does not have Dewsbury A&E at heart.

Had she not gone off on one she had the perfect case to reinstate Dewsbury to a front-line hospital. 

The country was warned how bad it would be over Christmas. Instead of taking an hour or two away from the mince pies to go see for herself she waited for second-hand news to come through. 

She flew into action over the sight of a man asleep on the floor at the side of an empty chair and then said there was no chairs.

It’s a small point, but there were plenty of chairs around the hospital.

Her and her Labour buddies seem to forget they are partly to blame for this. Part-privatising a hospital and expecting it to put lives over profit.

The flagship Pinderfields would have sunk without trace had it not been for Dewsbury and Pontefract.

Labour, when it got elected the second time, used every private hospital in the country to bring down waiting lists.

If they can be used to win elections they can be used in emergencies.

There are other things which a joint party group could look into, attacking each other is not the answer.

So Ms Brabin, when you next speak in the house, don’t attack the government, call for an urgent review into keeping Dewsbury A&E open.

On a final note, a lot of people in the NHS feel the thing that would sink the NHS would be a Labour government. 

Happy new year.

Why does he keep going?

From: Anthony Doyle, via email

Would someone please give me a reason why we are exposed to the ramblings of the ‘has-been’ that is Tony Blair?

Time after time we hear “In my opinion” we should do this or that.

Tony Blair of all people is offering advice to Jeremy Corbyn?

Get real, Mr Blair. You are history, your policies whilst in power did nothing for us, crawl back under your stone and listen to what the electorate want! Brexit!

Route changes are a pain

From: Name & Address supplied

I grew up living on Bradford Road, opposite Batley Park.

After getting married in 1968, I have lived most of my married life in Thornhill Lees.

I don’t drive, so I have been a bus traveller. 

What used to be the ‘A’ bus then became 281/282/283, this is the route I have used the most.

If the bus company are wanting more people to use the buses, can someone please tell me why they have split the route?

How can they be giving a better service if, when people who live in Thornhill Lees and Thornhill go to Batley to shop have now to change buses in Dewsbury, with bags of shopping on their way home?

A response from someone at the bus company would be welcome.

• Jon Croxford, area managing director for Arriva Yorkshire, said: “Making changes to services is always sensitive and that’s why we engage with customers prior to these making changes. 

“The changes made eight months ago aimed to provide improved reliability to the whole route and since then we have seen improved reliability of these Thornhill services, as well as simplifying the route numbers for customers.

“We understand the frustrations but unfortunately made the decision to alter the routes as research showed very few people made cross-Dewsbury journeys.”

Yes, we’d have protested

From: Paul Holmes, branch secretary, Kirklees Unison

I refer to the letter from Michael Green (The Forum – December 29, 2017), and the furore against Dewsbury Conservative Association’s dinner at the National Coal Mining Museum.

I would start by saying two things:

Following the booking of the Coal Mining Museum on the nearest week to the 32nd anniversary of the end of the 1984/85 miners’ strike, was either deliberately provocative, or extremely naïve.

It obviously wasn’t a ‘minor’ event as a Tory cabinet minister was due to speak at the dinner.

If it was deliberately provocative, then it was callous in the extreme, when over 100,000 jobs have been lost in the pits in Yorkshire since the strike, thousands of them in the Kirklees/ Wakefield area, where the mining museum itself is situated.

If it was naïve, then the sensible reaction from the Tory party would have been to move it out of courtesy. 

There are a number of events which, if you hold them at certain times in certain areas, will cause affront to someone.

Secondly, I don’t think that the event should have been cancelled. It is a public museum, funded by public money and publicly bookable.

If the booking had gone ahead, the demonstration on site would have been extremely large.

I spoke to many ex-miners and their families, who haven’t been on a march/ demonstration since 1984/5 who would have gone to the coal mining museum to protest at the dinner.

That is their right.

The uproar caused by the booking only goes to show a lot of people how callous many people think the Tories are.

Some may think the Tories are naïve, but I don’t. Naïve political parties in government don’t allow the number of ‘rough sleepers’ there are in Britain today – callous parties do.

As I said, I think that the event should have gone ahead if the Dewsbury Tories wanted it to. They would have then found out what the residents of this area thought about it.

This branch would have been very happy to have been part of any protest.

Tories are killing NHS

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

In last week’s Forum (January 12), Derek Cartwright accused a Labour supporter of re-writing history, when cabinet papers prove the Labour supporter to be correct. 

Can I point Derek back to the Forum in early 2014, where we had a discussion on the same subject.

I would trust the Labour supporter’s historical knowledge 100 per cent.

We must not forget what happened in the 1980s, nor any other time the Tory party has tried to crush the trades union movement, but we must come back to the present, where the Tory party is killing our NHS. 

Both the health secretary Jeremy Hunt, and Prime Minister Theresa May, have apologised to the public for our NHS being in the state it’s in, but they don’t accept the responsibility, they just ignore the fact it’s their policies that have put our NHS in that state. 

The Tory dogma of privatisation is gathering momentum, and if it isn’t stopped very quickly, our NHS will be lost, and we will never get it back. 

The ambulance service is under threat with a private company, Manchester Medical Services, already working for the MYH NHS Trust, waiting to pounce when our under-funded NHS breaks under the strain.

The shortage of consultants, doctors, and other clinical staff is a cause of great concern. 

It costs the MYH NHS Trust £100 per hour to employ a locum. £100 per hour! And all this mayhem is the fault of Tory party policy. 

Seventy years ago the Labour Party formed our NHS, the jewel in the crown, and from then until the present the Tories have tried to kill it off.

We need a publicly-funded NHS more today than ever before, not a privately-owned American-style insurance based organisation only interested in profit and not the patient. 

Our NHS treats the rich, the poor, the young and the old, all as equal patients. 

Our NHS doesn’t ask to see an insurance certificate before treatment can begin. It’s the duty of us all to keep our NHS safe from the privateers waiting in the wings.

Worship if you want to keep churches open

From: Peter Moreland, Heckmondwike

The sad news about St Thomas More Church in Chickenley closing should act as a wake-up call to all the baptised Catholics who use the Catholic schools and church on an as-needed basis, rather than regular mass attendance and support for their parish.

Declining numbers show a steady fall in elderly churchgoers through ill health, but the glaring problem is a lack of young families, who unless they start practicing their faith will find more churches and eventually schools closing.

The good lord gave us 168 hours a week – is it asking too much to give him one hour a week back?

Examples of where we’re going backwards

From: Name and address supplied

Progress? What progress? People say “You can’t stop progress”.

Compare today’s quality of life to what it was not that long ago.

• Scams and cyber attacks;

• Terrorist attacks due to slack border controls;

• Long waiting lists in doctors’ surgeries and hospitals;

• Unaffordable housing and fuel costs (heating etc);

• Traffic hold-ups, no matter what direction you go in;

• Three lanes full of traffic near Kirkhamgate on the M1;

• Yob culture and political correctness; 

• Inconsiderate mobile phone users on buses, trains, pubs, and restaurants. Not content unless everyone can hear their inane rubbish;

• Much increased violence and crime, and falls in standards;

• Charity chief executives, rail bosses, BBC employees, human rights lawyers (eg Cherie Blair and Nick Clegg’s Spanish wife) says it all! University vice-chancellors, example Lenny Henry, so-called comedian, and now vice-chancellor of Birmingham University, all milking the system and living on the fat of the land;

• Mass immigration thanks to the lack of insight from the governments of Heath (EU), Blair, Brown, Cameron and Theresa May, when Home Secretary.

There are many more totally unfair life examples, but I didn’t want to fill the excellent Forum column.

Put party politics aside for sake of the NHS

From: Shaun Gardner, Mirfield

The NHS is in crisis, as we see every night on our news bulletins. 

Operations cancelled. People waiting for hours in ambulances and A&E waiting rooms. Reports that people have actually died waiting for ambulances to arrive. 

I’ve seen pictures of people lying on the floor in hospital corridors. 

I’ve seen doctors and nurses literally pleading with government ministers for more funding. 

I’ve seen our PM apologise and Jeremy Hunt smirk. 

Our own local hospitals are downgrading or closing A&E provision, possibly leaving the entire metropolitan borough of Kirklees bereft of accident and emergency cover.

Surely this has reached the stage where party politics needs to be put aside and our elected MPs work together to sort this mess out. 

And then you see something like this ad for a position in our NHS (see above – ed)!

Seriously? People are literally dying for want of an ambulance and our tax money goes toward this!

Sort it out.

Gravestones could be fixed, but at a price...

From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge

I note the furore in the local press over Kirklees Council laying flat gravestones, which are not upright.

This has understandably upset the relatives of the deceased who have only discovered this after visiting the graves of their loved ones.

Kirklees have blamed that old coverall for all crass decisions, health and safety.

A point: It is not the health and safety legislation that is the problem, but the mindset of the people who administer it.

A suggestion: Load a van with some bags of Postcrete (£4.60 each for 5+ 20kg bags from B&Q) and some water and a spade.

Instead of pushing the headstones over, excavate a couple of spadefuls of earth from either side of the headstone, fill the holes with Postcrete and some water whilst holding the headstone upright.

Wait five minutes for it to set.

And, hey presto, a restored headstone with no fuss. Simple?

However the trouble is, that because this is Kirklees, a consultant and structural engineer will have to be appointed, tenders issued, and a contractor appointed for the work.

And, hey presto, each offending headstone will cost £5K+ to be restored. Oh hum.

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