Letters: 09/01/14

St John's Hospice.
St John's Hospice.
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This week’s letters.

Quality care at end of life

I would like to congratulate The Lancaster Guardian for its admirable campaign to support our local hospice.

The combination of advances in medicine, an ageing population and an increase in those living with long term conditions and complex care needs are putting unprecedented pressure on a healthcare system that was designed to meet the needs of previous generations.

If the NHS is to continue to meet patient needs now and in the future then radical change to historic ways of providing and using healthcare is essential.

The hospice movement was founded by Cicely Saunders because the NHS then needed support to provide compassionate quality care for people at the end of life.

That support is still needed. Local GPs greatly value the care and support provided by St John’s Hospice and I would urge everyone in our community, patients, their families and also health professionals to support The Guardian’s campaign in any way they can.

The hospice service allows patients to have a greater chance of ending their life with dignity in the place of their choice, increasingly at home but sometimes it is undoubtedly better to be cared for in the hospice.

Most people would choose not to end their life in our acute hospitals.

The capacity in hospitals is limited and best used for dealing with people who have medical conditions that can be corrected.

Dr Peter Nightingale

National Clinical Lead for End of Life Care

GP Rosebank Surgery

Lancaster

Focus on the tax evaders

How disappointing to read Coun Mace’s letter in the Lancaster Guardian on the city council’s budget. Once again it is all the fault of the previous Labour Government – I suppose they were also responsible for the storms which hit Britain recently.

Let’s be clear about this. This country’s economic problems stem almost entirely from the world banking collapse.

Yes, the last Labour administration made mistakes, but it wasn’t their errors which caused Britain to take such a tumble, any more than it was immigration, the EEC, nurses, teachers, disability benefit claimants, or any other favourite coalition government target.

If Coun Mace wants to make meaningful criticism, I suggest he rethinks his basic approach. Whilst he’s at it, he can lobby his national colleagues to take effective action in protecting this country’s finances now and dealing with those who were responsible for depleting them in the past.

In simple terms – eliminate tax evasion and avoidance and bring the guilty bankers to trial.

Who knows if we got all the tax in there might be a bit more funding available for city councils.

Simon Set-Aright

Name and address supplied

Abuse was out of order

In the Lancaster Guardian, David Taylor’s letter about David and Goliath descended into personal abuse towards David Gate, the chairman of TSLM (Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe). In his letter David Taylor set out the risible argument that “David” is Lancashire County Council and that “Goliath” is the whole legal apparatus that David Taylor thinks is set against the county council.

The analogy only works if “David” is David Gate and “Goliath” is the county council. This is a far more accurate version of the analogy and pits TSLM against the county council, with David Gate representing the wishes and real concerns of thousands of people across the district who have got no protest voice other than through TSLM.

The county council has ridden roughshod over the residents of North Lancashire for years and continues to do so even today.

David Taylor’s demeaning piece calls David Gate “nimby-like”, playing the system and delaying the construction of what will be one of the most damaging and utterly needless pieces of infrastructure in this part of Lancashire.

So far both sides have set out their arguments reasonably properly and each has made its pitch for public support. How sad that David Taylor should seek to lower the tone by making a personal attack on someone who genuinely believes that the proposed road in unwanted and harmful.

Yet David Gate does not represent vested interests and nor does he stand to gain anything commercially whichever way the legal argument pans out.

To castigate David Gate in this manner is to totally misunderstand how the ordinary person can “take on” the combined forces of the county council and other more local bodies, seeking to ensure that, whatever the outcome, at least it has been done properly and legally which, up until now, has rarely been the case with the county.

Hundreds of local people pledged cash to permit TSLM to follow through the legal system on their behalf and that is what TSLM has been doing. To give in at an earlier stage would have been a betrayal of all those who oppose the road.

Peter G Crowther

TSLM member

Reasons to be cheerful

The reduction in Government funding for the county and city councils is going to affect the services we all enjoy; but not all is doom and gloom.

* Lancaster Castle is on its way to becoming a major tourist attraction.

* Now the objectors have lost their court cases (at £2.6m cost to Lancashire’s residents) the M6 link road will boost employment and reduce traffic jams.

* The indoor market site is set to be redeveloped for a major occupier, adding to Lancaster’s shopping mix.

* The Frontierland site is set to be redeveloped – here’s hoping that M&S make a return to Morecambe.

* Leighton Moss has gained even more recognition after being featured on BBC’s Autumn Watch – which didn’t do its lemon drizzle cake sales any harm either.

* And I hear rumours that progress is being made on plans to have a new Booths store in Scotforth.

The district is growing from strength to strength – what a fantastic place to live.

Colin Hartley

Alderman Road

Lancaster

Politically motivated

At December’s City Council meeting the Labour-led administration approved a measure which – for only an estimated £5,000 of benefit to the City Council’s budget – will remove an estimated £36,000 of council tax support from around 220 households in Lancaster District.

I warned recently of the temptation for Coun Blamire to introduce a politically motivated budget so as to give emphasis to the austerity measures of the current Government.

I added then that the omens were not good – yet already I see Coun Blamire’s actions speaking louder than my
words.

The responsibility of local government is to minimise the impact of reductions in government grants on local services, but already these 220 households with residents in receipt of benefit have been singled out to pay an average of an extra £163 per annum.

Those who think it unfair that they are required to find an extra £163 per annum need to be aware that this burden is the outcome of a local proposal put forward in council by the Labour Party.

Coun J R Mace

Kellet Ward

Drivers take note

In this season of New Year resolutions may I suggest a most urgent resolution for motorists to take up.

Please motorists, kindly rediscover a once very common courtesy – namely to always signal your intentions a few seconds before the manoeuvre takes place, when approaching a roundabout, turning a corner and entering or leaving a kerb side parking space.

The almost universal disregard of these conventions is something that should be confined to the past.

Let us all strive to make 2014 the year that motorists rediscover the Highway Code.

Coun Ron Sands

Heysham North Ward

Lancaster City Council

Danger on pavement

In reference to the mobility scooters, riding up and down pavements – they do not have insurance or a licence.

On December 18 I was knocked down from behind and broke my wrist. He did not stop and had been drinking.

There was also another woman knocked down by another scooter in the infirmary who had suffered a hip fracture.

Why can’t they ride on the road like everybody else?

So what can be done about it?

Mrs M Copeland

Peel Crescent

Westfield Village

Lancaster

Devastating effects

In the North West, over 42,130 people are living with the devastating effects of stroke. Yet many of these strokes could have been prevented if the warning signs of a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA – also known as a mini-stroke) had been spotted.

A TIA is similar to a stroke, but the symptoms do not last as long. We want more people to recognise that, like a stroke, TIA is a medical emergency.

The Stroke Association is running a survey for people affected by TIA.

We have had a huge response, and due to demand we are extending the survey’s deadline. Anyone affected by a TIA, including stroke survivors and their families, is welcome to take part in the survey and help us make recommendations for improving care and support.

Chris Larkin

Regional Head of Operations for the North West of England

Stroke Association