This week’s letters.
Thank you for all your support
May I take this opportunity to thank your readers for all their support so far with the “Save our Hospice for Future Generations” appeal.
Many people have asked me whether the hospice is about to close, the simple answer is no.
However, year on year we are spending more money than we manage to fundraise and our reserves mean that in five years’ time we would have no savings left.
Now is the time to take action if we want future generations to have the benefit of this amazing local asset.
Our core services receive around 30-per-cent funding from the NHS, the rest we rely on the public to provide.
Whilst I appreciated Paul Clark’s kind words about the hospice last week, his letter underlined why we need to run this campaign not only to raise much needed funds, but also to raise awareness about the breadth and scale of the work we do.
There is a big assumption that the building you see on Slyne Road is “the Hospice”.
Of course this is our base, but it is only part of the story.
Many of the patients who come in to the hospice have very complex needs or no-one to look after them at home. People are always surprised when I tell them that 50-per-cent of our patients go home again. However, the growing part of our care happens in the community.
Most people, given a choice, would say that they would prefer to spend their last days in the comfortable and familiar surroundings of their own homes.
Our Hospice at Home service enables people to do this. In fact since the April 1 this year, our nurses have made over 8000 face to face visits and provided telephone support to over 7000 people.
Please do not assume that everything happens in the Hospice building.
In addition, we provide day hospice places for people living with any life-shortening condition.
Another common misconception is that the hospice is only for cancer patients, again, this is wrong.
Our care continues even after a patient dies. Already since April this year our bereavement team have supported almost 300 family members for an average of 55 days per case. People often only appreciate the scale of what we do when they access our services.
There is much confusion not just about what we do but also about who we are.
A common misconception is that Hospice and Cancercare are the same organisation. Whilst we share the same site, we are two completely independent charities.
Obviously, there are times when we work together, but many people I speak to assume that we are one and the same charity and this is not the case.
Many towns and cities do not have a Hospice.
We are fortunate that our founders had the vision and drive to build ours here.
My job is to make sure that future generations have access to the wonderful, compassionate care I see every day from the amazing team at St John’s.
Thank you if you have supported us this year.
You might never meet the people whose lives you have touched but, every day at the Hospice, we do.
On their behalf thank you for supporting this campaign to save our Hospice for future generations.
May I take this opportunity to wish all your readers a peaceful and healthy 2014.
CEO St John’s Hospice
Help is available to any sufferers
The British Polio Fellowship held a Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) Day in Winchester in October.
The event was the first of what we hope will be a number of similar events across the country next year marking the charity’s 75th Anniversary, but we need your help to make this a reality.
Andrew Love MP tabled early day motion 573 in the House of Commons on behalf of our charity calling for the Department of Health to address the needs of those living with Polio and PPS and to publicise those needs within the medical profession.
You can make a difference by asking your local MP to add their name to the growing list of signatures supporting the motion.
Our hope is the motion will highlight not just our work, but the plight of those still living with Polio and the 120,000 people with PPS in the UK.
By writing to your MP, you will be demonstrating that this forgotten condition is still a reality for many constituents like you.
While contacting your MP, we also urge those living with Polio and PPS to contact us.
PPS Day in Winchester proved there are many out there with Polio and PPS who are unaware we are here and ready to help.
Our support is a call or a click away.
Our 75th Anniversary and this motion are part of our attempts to reach out to those across the country who still need us.
The charity’s website at www.britishpolio.org.uk has details of how to contact your MP as well as a template letter or call us on 0800 018 0586. From people who survived Polio only to face PPS in later life, to those in the Asian community living with Polio – or medical professionals seeking information on PPS, on behalf of our members and all those living with Polio and PPS, we thank you in advance for your understanding and support.
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship.
Work conditions most important
The Lancaster Guardian dated November 28 leads on the story of Primark coming to Lancaster.
A council officer is quoted as saying: “the council welcome the plans and that the deal would benefit tax payers in the long term”.
It was only a few months ago that 1,132 workers died in a sweatshop in Bangladesh, many of whom were working for Primark.
While Primark are far from the only company that produces clothes here on the back of extreme exploitation of children, women and men in the poorest parts of the world they are notorious transgressors.
I hope that the comment of the council officer is not one held by most tax-payers in Lancaster.
I like to think that for most tax payers the idea that others and themselves have a right to work and live in decent conditions is the most important thing.
I am pleased that Coun Barry who was also quoted did not quite sound so enthusiastic.
Perhaps the most insidious aspect of the sweatshop debate is in the way commentators offer description of the status quo as a defence of it.
They say Bangladeshi workers did choose these jobs, and they chose them on the rational basis that these jobs pay more than the available alternatives.
Therefore, sweatshops must be a good thing. But how free a choice is it when the alternatives pay even less than $1 a day, a wage the UN considers the threshold for extreme poverty?
If all humans are assumed to be equally free and rational in their choices, if we are all homo economicus, then all the choices we make must be good ones.
Instead of tackling moral questions, we are losing the ability to imagine a better world where wealth is distributed more equally and the eco-system can breathe.
Time for people to pull together
Now the War of the Roads is over the people of this area need to pull together.
Stop being so blinkered to the world around us.
We are a little town and city on the scenic North West Coast of England.
What have we got to offer the world and how do we make them want to come here?
The answer is quite a lot but it will take investment, hard graft, public support, and probably 10 years to make it work.
No more Blobby mistakes.
Look towards our Roses rival York as an example, nice shops, nice castle, nice quayside, history, two hours train ride from London.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? But they don’t have the coast, the stunning views and the potential to attract high tech industry. Wake up people.
We just need to strike the right balance.
It’s a big world out there and it’s getting smaller.
If grown-ups with kids of all ages want to visit from far, far away then we have a winning formula from which we will all benefit for generations to come.
Little success at traffic proposals
In the letter last week titled “A Heavy Price To Pay”, A Brook says that people who are against the M6 Link road are not nimbies.
I just wonder however whether TSLM would have been formed if the Western route for the road had been chosen from the start.
TSLM are noted for their opposition to the road, but they have been less successful in proposing solutions for the region’s chronic traffic problems, despite their title.
Thorough and swift treatment
We often read and hear negative reports to do with the poor care and attention many patients receive from the NHS. This letter must be a rare exception.
I recently had a health scare which was dealt with due haste.
I visited my local surgery on Wednesday, was offered an appointment at the same day clinic.
That was booked at for 5.30pm, was told I would be contacted by the appropriate clinic the next day, yes I did think, I’ll believe it when I see it.
However, the clinic rang me at 3pm the next day with an appointment for the same evening, which I attended, and within 24 hours of my initial visit to my surgery I had been examined then finally told there was a problem but nothing to be too worried about.
What a relief!
Any health scare is a shock but just before Christmas, you know what I mean.
I have to say my treatment by everyone I came in contact with was swift and thorough.
Best wishes and Happy Christmas.