Letters from this week’s Lancaster Guardian
Loss of care to elderly
As reported in last week,s Guardian of January 30, it is clear that Dr Gaw and the Commissioners have not made it crystal clear to their governing body, nor the public, that when Altham Meadows closes not only will dementia beds be transferred elsewhere, but also beds for the frail mentally ill group who may be suffering from severe depression, paranoid, psychotic or bipolar disorders requiring admission.
There will then be no, repeat no, beds in the Lancaster and Morecambe area for the frail non-demented mentally ill.
The replacement beds will eventually be at Blackburn or outside Blackpool, severing contact with the local community teams and making person-centred care and visits much more difficult; transport assistance for visitors is not ready, or even decided upon yet.
In September 2012 Oaklands unit in Lancaster was closed which provided 16 beds for the older mentally ill group.
There has been no consultation about this loss of service which had been a resource for this group in north Lancashire, benefiting from purpose-built buildings, since 2000.
So much for an incomplete report and claim to provide more local services!
The Lancaster Pensioners’ Altham Meadows Campaign Group has arranged an open meeting at Lancaster Library at 11am on Saturday, February 15, to meet with the health commissioners for North Lancashire and the Lancashire Care Trust which provides mental health services. Anyone who is concerned about the planned changes will be welcome.
Mary Ann Watts-Tobin
I escaped in time
I am writing in response to Martin Aston’s letter, January 23 (Rejoice at building).
Rather than watching hundreds of trees being felled, huge construction vehicles thundering past and 26ft concrete structures erected metres from my home, I have moved to an area where I see red squirrels, deer, foxes and woodpeckers from my windows most days.
I use existing roads to commute to work and would never be so arrogant as to think the world owes me a road of my own, to reduce travel times by five minutes at peak times only (LCC figures).
So thank you, Mr Aston, for your kind advice regarding moving, but unfortunately you are rather late.
Traffic cut to bridge
Regarding the letter from Michael Pidd (January 16, Where has money gone?) concerning the cost of the Morecambe Road/Owen Road junction, which was recently restructured. I think he said he couldn’t see why it had been altered, and that the money spent had been wasted.
It’s good that local people scrutinise these things.
The main purpose of the restructure as I see it was to change the bus lane into an all traffic lane.
Now there are two lanes of traffic leaving Morecambe Road towards Skerton Bridge instead of one.
This will halve the traffic on Morecambe Road heading for the bridge.
After the link road has been completed it will halve again in my opinion.
Staff should be praised
I was disappointed to read your January 9 headline piece on levels of understaffing on Ward 39 at the RLI (Patients hit out at ‘understaffed’ hospital ward).
Whilst I appreciate the need to produce an article based on the CQC report, I feel you both down played and missed an opportunity to highlight the commitment to service and quality of existing staff on Ward 39.
My father was admitted to hospital in early November and spent the remainder of his life at RLI, passing away on Ward 39 on January 13.
During his stays on Ward 34, Coronary Care and finally Ward 39, my family was struck by how much the RLI nursing staff cared both physically and emotionally for my father.
In simply focusing lazily on the said report without any additional journalistic attempt at producing a thorough and balanced view, this silently damns the hardworking efforts of existing staff as well as contributes to low morale.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ward 39 for the care my father received and extend a hope that you consider producing an equally unbalanced article on the exemplary work done by RLI under very stressful conditions.
Blind can’t be ignored
Open letter to David Morris MP.
As one of your constituents, and a severely visually impaired person myself, I need your support.
Losing your sight has a devastating impact on a person’s life. Not only does it have a massive emotional impact, but it also means having to re-learn almost every aspect of your life.
I and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) welcome the long overdue Care Bill which is currently being debated in Parliament.
I would like you, with your powers sitting on the Care Bill Committee, to act now and ensure the Bill properly recognises the struggles blind people face in their daily lives.
I am really glad that the RNIB is leading this campaign and I believe there are some significant areas which must be addressed in the Bill to ensure the essential needs of people with sight loss can be met both now and in the future.
I want to be reassured by you that all newly blind and partially sighted people are offered rehabilitation, for example to learn local routes using a cane, to help get back on their feet after first being diagnosed.
I would also like you, David Morris MP, to make assurances that the Bill will clearly state that rehabilitation isn’t limited to just six weeks as often blind people need longer to gain the new skills needed to remain independent.
Being left alone to cope with sight loss is wholly unacceptable, no matter how tight the budgets of Government are, this is essential support which must be provided.
No go zone in city centre
A section of the community of the city is to be discriminated against from Monday, February 3.
Disabled drivers will no longer be able to access the library, museum or three of the city banks (HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays).
As a holder of a blue badge I know that I cannot walk from any of the council car parks to any of these amenities, the fact that the car parks are free is immaterial.
I am in fact being kept out of my own city.
What a welcome for any disabled visitors who might be tempted to come.
People will turn to cars
I wish to express grave concern about the proposal to remove evening and Sunday bus services.
Less well-off people in the outlying villages rely on the evening services.
I am aware of people who have to work evening shifts in Lancaster and who would lose their livelihood if the bus service (eg: to Hornby) did not exist.
Furthermore, I consider the proposal to be short-sighted from the environmental perspective: withdrawal of bus services will lead to more use of private cars. Surely it makes more sense to encourage bus use.
The proposed withdrawal of service would only serve to make bus use so unreliable (eg: “I can get there on a bus but I can’t get back”) as to cause people to give up on it.
No service should be withdrawn before alternatives have been actually put in place and shown to work for the community concerned.
An attack on police
Mr Halewood-Dodd, in his column of January 30, would do better to aim his criticism of ‘severe pressure on the police to meet unrealistic detection targets’ at the Home Office, rather than the police.
The police can only work under the rules set out to them by that department, and for Mr Halewood-Dodd to attack the integrity of the police through his weekly column is inappropriate.
He goes on to say that the recently-introduced practice of ‘Voluntary Attendances’ (VA) rob the attendee of their right to a solicitor – this is not the case.
One of the reasons for arranging a future interview is so that the attendee can arrange to bring his/her solicitor with them, so that all those involved – including police officers, who need to be back out on patrol – aren’t waiting around in custody for solicitors. I am reliably informed that there are notices all over the Lancaster Custody Suite reminding those in arrest of their right to a solicitor, and that each and every detainee is also told of this right.
It is not the responsibility of the police to enforce this right, nor can the police be blamed if those attending a VA choose to turn up without legal representation.
Mr Halewood-Dodd should tell us the source of his mischievous comment that “officers routinely fiddle the figures” – I would expect a legal expert such as himself to know that one cannot use such a quote indiscriminately and not expect it to be challenged.
Full address supplied
Crocodile tears by MPs
I can not believe the audacity of our two MPs Eric Ollernshaw and David Morris over their comments about the proposed cuts to evening and weekend bus services.
The county council is only having to consider the cuts because of austerity measures and cuts to public funding made by our MPs’ own Government. So how can they be towing the party line and be opposed to cuts at the same time?
It looks like a case of crocodile tears to me, saying one thing to get votes while doing another.
Name and address supplied