Letters: 07/01/14

TV star Paul Hayes with Donald Duck who was selling the Credit Car Christmas CD in aid of St John's Hospice, pictured with Donald Duck.
TV star Paul Hayes with Donald Duck who was selling the Credit Car Christmas CD in aid of St John's Hospice, pictured with Donald Duck.

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, his recent 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 8,000 face to face visits and provided telephone support to over 7,000 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. While 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.

Sue McGraw

CEO St John’s Hospice

Tax evaders must pay up

How disappointing to read Coun Mace’s recent letter 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.

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 EC, 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.

While 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.

Is second bridge vital?

As the M6 has three lanes and is only lightly used around the Lancaster area could we not use the inside lane of the M6 bridge to provide access across the river?

Thus taking away the need for a second large bridge at this point. If an additional River Lune bridge is needed anywhere surely it is needed between the Lancaster end of the end of Morecambe Road and across to near where the old Williamson’s works was.

Tony Holloway

Address supplied

More loss to concrete

The deeply unimaginative, unnecessary Northern Link Road that’s about to start ploughing its dismal way through our local countryside is just one miniscule example of what’s happening on a monstrous scale worldwide, at this very moment.

Our precious planet is being consumed by sheer greed, bit by remorseless bit.

Ask any older person you know about the nature they’ve seen disappear under tarmaccadum and concrete since they were young.

We’ve hypnotised ourselves into believing that it’s a really positive thing to keep on building, building, building.

Keep on truckin’!

The irony is that this very belief will be our ultimate undoing. Get ready for more wild weather folks.

Steve Langhorn

Lancaster

Great care and fast too

We often read and here 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!

I have to say my treatment by everyone I came in contact with was swift and thorough.

Joan Ashworth

Address supplied