A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of January 8.
COUNCIL NEEDS A STRATEGY
In November, the Drummond Care Home in Bury St Edmunds closed. Six weeks ago it was Kent Lodge in Ipswich. Since 2010, the press in Suffolk has reported on numerous failing and closed care homes, not including Suffolk County Council’s own homes.
Since 2010 many home care workers have been paid effectively below the minimum wage, as they are not paid for their travel time between clients.
The availability of home care has been slashed, and vulnerable people are being forced to pay ever more for the privilege. In the same period, delayed discharges from hospital have nearly doubled from 45 to 73 per day. Some people who are fit enough to go home, or into a safe non-hospital environment, have been waiting for weeks. Forcing people to stay in hospital causes enormous unnecessary expense to the NHS. But even more importantly, it poses a real risk to their own health, preventing them from getting the modest exercise they need and exposing them to hospital infections. And it prevents other patients from getting vital help.
Suffolk County Council needs to have a workable care strategy– one which is able to pay for sufficient places, with properly trained and paid staff, so that Suffolk’s residents can be sure their elderly and vulnerable loved-ones are safe when they need to use the care system. We don’t have that. And by taking yet more money out of the system – £6 million in the coming year, and £12 million the year after – the Conservative County Council administration is ensuring that the social care sector in Suffolk can only get worse.
That is why we have demanded that Suffolk County Council should publish a strategy for dealing with delayed discharges and providing safe social care, and why every councillor from all the other parties, with the exception of the Conservatives, supported us.
-- Cllr Sarah Adams, Spokesperson for Health and Adult Care for the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council
HUNT FOLLOWERS ARE NORMAL PEOPLE
I can assure Mary Harvey (Opinions, January 1) that hunt followers are quite normal people – we’re not there for business, part of the whole process or because we’ve been invited, but because we like hounds, horses and hunting. Perhaps she should come out and see for herself rather than rely on her own preconceived conceptions.She would be very welcome.
-- David Tomlinson, Bardwell
MAKE ROAD SAFE FOR ALL USERS
RE: Bury bend sees third crash in four months (www.bubryfreepress.co.uk)
I live in Alicia Court, which is further along Southgate Street. I would suggest that in the area of this junction, pulling out into Southgate Street was more dangerous. In part, this is because it is so difficult to see traffic driving from Southgate and Sicklesmere Road roundabout but also because parking bays overlap, seriously reducing the width of this section for traffic travelling in both directions.
Re accidents at the top of Southgate Street with cars travelling from St Mary’s Square, I would like to see the Highways Department paint ‘20’ on the following roads where 20mph restrictions apply: Westgate Street, Crown Street, Honey Hill, St Mary’s Square and the top of Southgate Street, and then review how this reduces the speed cars travel from St Mary’s Square. There needs to be protection for all road users. We need safe flow of traffic with all drivers slowing down and reducing risks for all pedestrians, cyclists, motor bikes, cars, lorries and buses.
-- David Young, via email
CUTTING BACK ON TOWN MAINTENANCE
Re the letter from L Burroughs (Bury Free Press, January 1) on the town’s vanishing bins. Back in March I contacted the council and asked about the bins that had vanished from College Street, Almoners Field footpath,Westgate Street, Southgate Street and the bin at the back of the Abbey Gardens which was moved to a less useful position. The bins were often overflowing and seldom emptied but were obviously well used.
This seems to be an ongoing drive to cut back on town maintenance costs just as cutting down more trees this year. Also a fallen tree that was across a footpath off Cullum Road was cut back and the pieces left in the river, part of Burys flood plain.
-- R M Shepherd, via email
MOST JUST WANT A ‘THANK YOU’
My first gripe of 2016 has to be the strange thinking behind the end of 2015 honours list.
Barbara Windsor becoming a dame does not really need any comment but to award a knighthood to A P McCoy seems odd to me. I am sure that well known knight Sir Lancelot did not get his award for riding horses round King Arthur’s race track and he almost certainly didn’t get paid as much.
On a less frivolous note, we have Sir Bradley Wiggins for winning the Tour de France once and still only Chris Froome, OBE, although he has won it twice.
I have nothing against sportsmen or sportswomen, as I know they train hard, but those at the top, like the knights, are getting well paid for something they enjoy doing and would do in their spare time anyway.
We have dedicated volunteers in many walks of life, not least all those who give up their spare time in an attempt to safeguard the wildlife of this country and those who look after the less privileged in our money driven society.
Whilst I am sure those sportsmen and sportswomen give a lot to charities that we are unaware of, the relative sacrifices made by them and the ‘ordinary’ volunteers is poles apart.
The majority of those helping others, be it wildlife, humans or whatever, are not interested in awards, just a an acknowledgement that their work is worthwhile, or a ‘thank you’ from those they help.
This is my ‘thank you’ to all you reading this letter who give your time for free.
A happy new year to you all.
-- Name withheld
SUPER CARE AT HOSPITAL
Aren’t I lucky. On December 22 I had to phone the emergency services resulting in my admission to the West Suffolk Hospital until Boxing Day. The care and attention of the paramedic and ambulance service, followed by the treatment received during my stay in wards F5 and F6 were excellent. At all times I was kept informed about what was happening and any requests I had were met with quality care. This not only includes the medical staff but also other departments within the hospital which help to provide a wonderful service. I am now making a good recovery and appreciate all that was done for me.
-- John Cameron Watson, Great Barton
WE NEED AN EXPERT VIEW
Simon Harding questions whether Abbot’s Bridge has the capacity to handle high water flows (Letters, January 1). I think the level of the river Lark in the Abbey Gardens is controlled by the weir a short distance downstream from the bridge, so it seems unlikely that the bridge itself would become the pinch point. However, the dynamics of river flows is very complex and it would be good to hear from an expert.
-- John Wilkin, Bury St Edmunds