Letters to the editor – week 14

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Kindness and honesty

Sir,

I would like to thank the Lochgilphead Co-op’s kind staff as well as the person who so honestly handed in my purse on Saturday March 31.

I noticed it was gone when about to pay in the Co-op at around 2pm. I then spent a couple of hours searching at home and worrying and calling the police and the Argyll Cafe where we had lovely fish suppers the evening before on our arrival after the long journey north.

Finally, I thought to call the Co-op and some very kind person had handed it in there.

I don’t know how I lost it. I was so happy to have it back as I was flying back south on Monday and would have had no ID to get on the plane – my driving licence, as well as cards and cash, being in the purse.

By way of thanks I am making a donation to Marie Curie Nurses.

A grateful and relieved visitor, London

Paying more for health?

Sir,

Headlines in the local press and in social media over the last month have highlighted significant concerns, expressed by communities, staff and politicians, related to the potential changes which the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership has considered in order to balance its budget.

It is right that these issues are flagged up and that communities feel ownership of the precious services which exist to support people in their local areas. It is also essential that those faced with making the difficult decisions about prioritisation of public finances listen to the voices of those who use services and to local communities.

I worked in NHS Highland until May 2017 and I am very aware of how challenging it is for service managers to meet the growing costs of health and social care from within existing budgets. Continuous efforts are made to address areas of harm, waste and variation in the systems of care and some of these do yield significant financial benefits – for example, reducing the number of people who fall and sustain harmful injuries is beneficial primarily for the people themselves, but it also reduces the financial costs of hospital stays and surgery.

Nonetheless, the growing need for care cannot be ignored and neither can the growing costs of care. The current health and social care budget in Scotland is not sufficient to cover the costs of delivering the kind of care that we would like for all those who need it. Service managers are faced with daily challenges and dichotomies about how the available budget is allocated for those with the greatest need.

Having worked with these managers for many years, I know the level of commitment and hard work that each of them dedicates to the provision of care. In the same way that the frontline teams of care at home staff, social workers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals work for the good of the people of Argyll and Bute, so too do those who are less visible to the public but who are nonetheless focused on doing the right thing.

Political point scoring and one-upmanship serves only to distract from the very real issues that we face.

Rather than vilifying the providers of our services in Argyll and Bute, we must all find ways to work together to ensure that our communities’ needs are met in the best ways possible. Argyll and Bute’s communities hold many of the answers, are committed to sustainable and resilient futures and are keen to work in true collaboration with the statutory service providers.

This will require more active and meaningful engagement by the Health and Social Care Partnership with communities, so that the voices of those who use, and of those who need, the services are not only heard but also attended to. By forging new relationships and egalitarian partnerships we can find innovative and creative solutions to the current challenges.

Finally, as individual tax payers, we need to consider what kind of health and social care services we want in Scotland and whether we are willing to pay more for them. We must address the issues which cause people in more deprived areas to have poorer health, we must increase the investment in primary care and community care to help people to stay independent and well for as long as possible. We must also invest in social care and develop
a career structure that values and recognises the essential contribution of carers to sustaining people in their own homes.

All of this will require a greater percentage of our GDP than we currently pay.

Pat Tyrrell, co-convenor, Argyll and Bute Greens

A place to talk

Sir,

I am writing this letter for readers in the light of the recent social media campaigns #metoo,  #times-up and #weseeyou from survivors UK as well as the ongoing stories of sexual abuse involving men and women in the media.

With these recent campaigns and also the current storyline in Coronation Street concerning David Platt being drugged and raped, it is essential to realise these events happen to both men as well as women and often men find it harder and take longer to talk about their experience.

These stories can often trigger painful memories of personal experiences, and flashbacks of the events that have happened. It can bring back smells, sounds and painful, frightening feelings from that time for survivors.

If you or your family member, partner or friend have experienced sexual assault Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis can help.

We now have a new office in Kintyre covering Mid Argyll and Islay. We can also offer support face to face or through email, Skype and our telephone helpline. We are here to support you.

Our telephone helpline number is 0800 121 4685, email support@ab-rc.org.uk or contact us via our website www.ab-rc.org.uk

Ailsa Wilson, Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis

Ardfern road problems

Sir,

The B8002 at Ardfern is the responsibility of the council’s roads department and it is in a generally dreadful state.

It is many years since any capital repairs work was carried out, and then I believe it involved a 50 yard stretch at a cost of £10,000. Repairs consist simply of filling a few of the many potholes in a very temporary way, which then have to be repaired again a few weeks later.

Recently the road was flooded in two places due to blocked ditches which were eventually cleared. Unfortunately in this case the culvert under the road was also blocked, but as it was not cleared at the time the flooded road remains and the road surface continues to deteriorate.

Clearly the council needs to address the problem of what fraction of its budget is allocated to capital road repairs.

Colin Davidson, Ardfern

PIC:

Flooding on the Ardfern road has led to a crumbling surface. no_a14ArdfernFlooding01