Your Letters – Friday October 4, 2019

NHS? It's the No Hope Service 

Letter of the Week: 'Birstall John'

Having lived all her life in the local area, my wife and I have used our local hospital for life’s bumps, bruises, cuts and sometimes more serious matters.

My wife is due a check-up for an invasive procedure as a day patient.

The first contact was a text message on Wednesday September 25 saying “your appointment is confirmed for Thursday (the following day) ... please use the reference number on your appointment letter to confirm”.

As she had not received the appointment letter she could not confirm the appointment.

My wife did however try repeatedly to contact them to cancel the appointment, but gave up through frustration as her phone calls were unanswered.

I assume that appointment slot was lost, which adds to the waiting list.

On Thursday September 26 she got another text to say she had an appointment for “Thursday October 3 at Northgate Surgery”.

It seems that appointments are allocated without the patient’s prior agreement, plus my wife did not know where Northgate Surgery was.

On Friday September 27, after hanging on the phone for over 30 minutes, she spoke to the LivingCare Health Service to cancel the appointment for October 3 as my wife had an unrelated engagement for that day and to discuss a more suitable date.

During the conversation she was told that Northgate is in Pontefract.

My wife said that she usually attends Dewsbury for this procedure, to which the reply was “Dewsbury has a longer waiting list”.

Then without any further discussion (wait for it) my wife was offered a free return taxi for the appointment in Pontefract!

On Saturday September 28 she received a confirmation letter for the appointment on Thursday October 3 which she’d cancelled the previous day.

We now await the confirmation letter for the agreed appointment on October 18 at Morley.

Unnecessary texts, unnecessary letters, unnecessary taxis (estimated cost £50) when with a simply initial phone call? Job done.

Don’t get me started on Brexit...

We’re desperate to find walking stick

From: Margaret Brooke, via email

Is anyone able to help? Inadvertently, my 90-year-old sister left behind a walking stick of great sentimental value while out shopping in Dewsbury on Wednesday September 25.

The wooden stick was made by a friend of mine, from whom I bought it in the 1970s for my late father. The shaft is of dark wood, the handle being of lighter wood and shaped like a goose’s head.

I named the stick after a gander we had at Nursery Farm, Caulms Wood in the 1940s and 50s.

My sister thinks she probably left it either in Sainsbury’s café or on the bench outside when she went forward to her taxi with a shopping bag in each hand.

Enquiries at Sainsbury’s and the taxi firm have been unsuccessful and my sister and I are very distressed at its loss.

We should be grateful if anyone with information about the stick would be good enough to contact The Press office. Thank you.

Lots of opportunities for you to volunteer

From: Name and Address Supplied

Recent correspondence in the national and local press seems to show that some people are not enjoying retirement, finding their lives extremely boring outside the world of work. 

I would like to remind such people that there are many opportunities to meet new people and learn new skills while helping their local community as a volunteer. 

There are certainly many opportunities in the Batley area for volunteering. 

As well as national charities, like the RVS, who are always looking for people able to spend a little time visiting people who live on their own, there are local groups including The Friends of Batley Library, The Friends of Batley Station, Batley Food Bank and many others who appear in our local press.   

The Friends of Batley Library are holding their annual general meeting on Monday October 14 (7pm) in the library. Anyone considering volunteering would be able to hear about events in the library in the past year and what is planned for the future, and there will be a lively talk about the many cinemas that used to exist in Batley and Dewsbury. 

The Friends of Wilton Park are holding their AGM on Sunday October 20 (2pm), also in Batley Library. 

The park committee is very interested in hearing what people would like to see happening in the park in the future and how to improve amenities there.

Gridlock shows how much they really care

From: Harry Teale, Mirfield

Now that the school year has started, we can see exactly how concerned students are about global warming!

Travelling the roads around North Kirklees at school times, the area is gridlocked with cars and buses taking students to or from school.

Many of these students travel miles from their home to school instead of walking to the school nearest them! 

Anyone with intelligence knows that the main reason for climate change is because of the daily increase of living organisms extracting oxygen from the atmosphere! 

The fact that we are replacing vegetation with concrete and tarmac to cater for the ever-increasing population, means that the flora cannot replace the oxygen fast enough!

An act of Parliament

From: David Williamson, Emley

It was great to see that local MP Tracy Brabin has retained the majority of her acting skills from her previous role alongside Curly Watts in Coronation Street and used them to full effect in the House of Commons last week.

Although I feel her performance in Westminster was slightly overshadowed by that of our other MP Paula Sherriff.

I am sure that most readers would agree with me that any casting director worth his salt would now want to see this talented pair in the lead roles of any future remake of ‘Moorside – The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews’.

But on a more serious point of order, may I respectfully remind the two honourable ladies that as live coverage of the House of Commons is now available on the BBC, members of the public will decide, based upon what they have seen and heard, what has actually happened in Parliament, without the need for our MPs resorting to the media to put forward their own particular version of events.

We need help

From: Tim Wood, on behalf of Combined Services Parade Associates, Mirfield

Well, it’s that time of year again folks, where I am swamped with paperwork for both the Poppy Appeal and Mirfield’s Remembrance Parade.

October and November go by faster than a meteor, and there is always massive amounts of work to be done the old-fashioned way, and not by the click of a button on social media. 

We are always short of people to staff our static stall in Mirfield town centre and to deliver and collect the poppy trays and tins to over 200 outlets locally.

It’s always a big task, so if anyone has got any spare time on their hands to help out with the Poppy Appeal or as a static point marshall on the Remembrance Parade, please contact me at the Old Colonial on 01924 496920.

High time to curb pay of fat cats

From: Robert Cowan, Sandal

The recent demise of that age-old tour operator and British institution Thomas Cook once again highlights the corporate greed of company directors and other chief executives, who in this case drew millions in bonuses as the company balance sheet went from bad to worse, eventually revealing a black hole of some £3billion.

As the company went down the proverbial tubes, leaving 9,000 staff jobless and 150,000 passengers stranded in far-flung corners of the world,  the outrageous revelation emerged that its last three chief executives had benefited from a combined take-home pay package of £35million over the past 12 years.

Chairman Peter Fankhauser is reported to have received in excess of £8million in pay and bonuses since his appointment in 2014.

Meanwhile, at least one of their cabin crew has been evicted from her home because of her present inability to pay the rent.

Companies constantly argue that they need to be competitive by offering very high levels of remuneration in order to recruit suitably qualified and experienced personnel to fill high-level positions. 

I fail to be convinced by this proposition which I regard as a mere rationalisation for the sort of corporate greed that brought us to our knees economically in the 2008 banking crisis. 

I have noticed with dismay incidentally that in that industry too directors’ bonuses have slowly crept up to pre-2008 levels.

I have no objection at all to top managers and directors receiving a realistically generous pay package, provided their companies’ results consistently justify it.

However, how can it possibly be right that the bonuses alone of some directors far exceed what most of us would earn in a lifetime, while many people rely on food banks for their very existence?

We have seen to our cost where an exorbitant bonus culture took us in 2008. 

Is it not high time that something was done to curb it, thereby reducing the staggering inequality that exists in our country?

Thanks to all for festival fun

From: Len Gardner, Batley

Another successful event for Batley. After a one-hour deluge the weather took a turn for the better for most of the day.

There were giant coloured butterflies (some made at the Monday Morning Club at the Butterfly House), Indian food, the Batley Community Singers, a colourful Indian band display, the unique noisy toy stall and the ‘Sheep Show’. 

Not forgetting henna painting, the Kirkwood Hospice stall, guiding tombola, the climbing frame and, if you had time for a coffee, more stalls along the wall under the RAFA club. 

There were security guards, first-aiders and guides all helping to make this a safe, fun, multicultural day. To anyone who helped organise or took part, thank you once again for another successful Batley event. 

The Indian band in costume looked particularly good against our wonderful library building. Perhaps not as many people as usual visited, nevertheless a good crowd with smiles, laughter and good humour all round. 

Thanks for the memory. 

Get Brexit sorted

From: Mr G Dennis, Birstall

Diane Abbott at PMQs, John McDonnell proposing Jeremy Corbyn as interim PM. Are we going mad? Boris, either get it sorted or get Nigel Farage on board, whether you like it or not, for the sake of the UK voting public who backed the UK to leave the EU in the referendum, deal or no deal.


From: Kevin Mort, via email

Paula Sherriff’s piece in the September 27 issue was ridiculously one-sided.

Why does she not balance the point of austerity by adding it was needed thanks to Labour emptying the UK reserves to £38bn from the £518bn of 1997 when they took over. It’s now £137bn thanks to the Tories and UK borrowing is a third of the level they left office with in 2010! 

That’s what’s paying for police, NHS money, building hospitals and more.

It’s called cherry-picking, Paula!

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