Readers' letters - January 18
Slash, trash and privatise
The current crisis in the NHS is not, as Theresa May would like us to believe, the fault of
It is due to ideologically driven cuts by an uncaring and nasty Government. The NHS, our greatest social achievement, is on the brink of annihilation. The reasons for this are obvious. Local authority funding for social care, which was cut by almost one-third over the last Parliament, has resulted in more pressure on the NHS, leading to a bed crisis. Coupled with this, is the situation in Mental Health provision which is resulting in people in crisis using A&E because of the dire situation in community services.
Figures obtained from 43 of England’s 56 NHS mental health trusts show that total funding for mental health services dropped in cash terms from £6.7bn in 2010-11 to £6.6bn in 2014-15.
The figures amount, in real terms, a reduction of 8.25 per cent, or almost £600m, once inflation has been accounted for.
The national picture shows that community mental health teams have been cut by five per cent whilst referrals have increased by 20 per cent. So Theresa May’s recent announcement of an extra £15m for community mental health services goes nowhere near resolving the problem. So the situation in the NHS is bleak. It is however about to get much worse.
On December 23, the Government announced its intention to go ahead with the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).
These plans, unless they are opposed, will be the final nail in the coffin of our NHS.
In total, there are 44 regional STP “footprints”, which between them must cut £22bn from the NHS budget by 2020. A recent survey of NHS Commissioners found that 52 per cent plan to close or downgrade a community hospital, 46 per cent plan to reduce the number of hospital beds, 31 per cent plan to close or downgrade A&E departments and 23 per cent plan to end provision for children and young people in one or more hospitals.
Figures also suggest that 20 per cent of maternity and children’s hospitals could be cut and plans are being developed which will see GPs and health services relocated to hubs, meaning more travel for all.
It is also estimated that 25 per cent of community pharmacies will close. But the most worrying aspect is that more care will be classified as “social care”– not free NHS care!
The new NHS structures created by STP will, as the Government intends, leave massive
chunks of the service vulnerable to takeover by private health care corporations.
So when you hear Jeremy Hunt mention STP, interpret this as code for Slash, Trash and Privatise.
To find out more and what you can do visit www.keepour nhspublic.com
Sign the petition for a properly funded NHS to scrap the proposed STP:
Lancashire People’s Assembly Against Austerity
What’ll happen to council?
Fifty years ago Lancashire County Council was a great organisation, with a domain stretching from Coniston in the North West to Ashton under Lyne in the South East.
It had distinguished chief officers, leaders in their professions – James Drake, county surveyor and motorway building pioneer, Roger Booth, county architect – overseeing a massive building programme of schools, libraries, homes for aged persons, homes and training centres for those with learning difficulties, police stations and many other projects.
As well as its statutory obligations, it provided for an improved quality of life with its Countryside Service, museums and libraries.
It seemed at that time to be an empire upon which the sun would never set.
Since those great days, I’ve always supported the LCC when attempts to set up unitary authorities have been made.
The LCC has always been the living embodiment of a proud and historic county.
But what a sorry state it is in now. Libraries and museums are being closed, many side roads are crumbling away into potholes, expensive projects that nobody wants are built and then abandoned, £60 penalty notices for driving down Fishergate, Preston, are issued like confetti. LCC is becoming increasingly dysfunctional.
The big question now is – how much longer can it survive?
Helpers were Pride of Chorley
My disabled daughter, who suffers with severe epilepsy, had a bad seizure at Botany Bay, Chorley, on January 8.
She collapsed and had further seizures and we struggled to bring her round, hence we rang paramedics.
A nurse who was on a shopping trip with her hubby stopped, assisted and stayed with us, giving my daughter her upmost care until paramedics arrived.
I also want to thank the first aider and other staff who assisted us whilst paramedics arrived.
We were blocking the entrance to Botany Bay and causing all sorts of mayhem yet their kindness and care were their priority. I was moved by their help and kindness.
From us they get the Pride of Chorley award. I can’t thank them enough. Emma was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital and, after being looked after there, she is home now.
To the staff of Botany Bay and the nurse who stopped and gave us help, thank you from the bottom of out hearts.
Mrs Karen Andrews via email
Help youngsters regain control
The Prime Minister’s pledge to implement new measures to improve mental health services for young people couldn’t be more timely as new figures from The Prince’s Trust reveal that one in three young people in the North West don’t feel in control of their lives. In response to these findings, we are launching our own mental health strategy. We welcome the Government’s pledge to improve these services for young people.
The most important thing we can do to empower these young people is to continue to help them find work, education or training. Now, more than ever before we need to work together to help them take positive steps and regain control of their lives.
Jonathan Townsend, Prince’s Trust Director for the North of England
Searching for Uncle James
I am trying to trace a record of my uncle James O’Loughlin, who lived in Chorley from the 1950s up to his death in the 1970s. He was married to Vera but had no children.
I am afraid that is all the information I have. Many Thanks.
n If you have any information, contact the Guardian via email or by ringing 01772 554537 and we will pass your details on to Colm.