Letters round-up: More joined-up thinking needed on NHS

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A plea for more joined-up thinking in the NHS features on this week’s round-up from the letters page.

PROTECTING BUDGETS

The NHS is criticised from all directions and, in many cases this is fully justified.

However, not only do the very best managers have to fight to keep within budgets whilst trying to provide excellent patient care, they have their hands tied by other departments of The NHS and local Government.

One must sympathise with The National Spinal Injuries Centre as however hard they try to discharge patients when rehabilitated or treated successfully, the lack of combined co-ordination defeats their best efforts.

In order for a spinal injured patient to be discharged safely they need a wheelchair, their home adapted, a care package to be in place, and equipment to be procured.

I am aware of a tetraplegic patient who was unable to be at home for Christmas despite being ready for discharge for about two months ago.

There is a waiting list of at least two months for a wheelchair (local NHS wheelchair service), numerous multi agency meetings have failed to agree a care package (NHS Continuing Health Care and Social Services to name but two)and some adaptions to his house. Local Government control planning and social services which invariably delay being able to leave hospital.

Each department is busy protecting its own budget, therefore endangering other budgets. The money ultimately all comes from the same government pot and is wasted by the fragmentation.

Until there is really well organised joined up thinking and departmental co-operation the deficit of The NHS Trusts will continue to grow.

Mike Mackenzie

Hill Farm Cottage

Thame Road

Piddington

CAROLFEST

Last Sunday evening, my wife and I attended the Carolfest at it’s hastily re-arranged venue in St. Mary’s Church, the location having been changed at the last minute, following weather reports to indicate very high winds and generally bad weather would possibly make it dangerous to hold it in the Market Square as originally planned.

Congratulations should go to all concerned, especially the sound engineers, in the hurried movement of everything needed to ensure that the event went ahead on time and in, as it happened the much more suitable interior of the church, which seemed to encourage the couple of hundred people present to sing even more lustily, especially when we were cajoled into standing to sing instead of remaining seated.

The Wingrave Singers,the Caduceus Brass Quintet, together with the children from Bierton Combined School provided the music to lead the congregation in singing all our favourite carols. In addition scouts and other volunteers were on hand to provide refreshments in the form of soup, and mince pies and the whole evening was superbly compered by Dez Kay from Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio.

Hopefully this free event arranged by the Mayor of Aylesbury and the Town council will have raised a large amount of money for the Mayor’s specified charity CHAT to help with the fine work that they do.

Stan Ball

Elmhurst Road, Aylesbury

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

A new year means new beginnings, and this is exactly what we, at Headway Aylesbury Vale, can offer to survivors of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

Headway is here to support people who have suffered an enduring injury through an accident, illness, brain tumour or stroke.

We offer activities, companionship and shared experiences – and can help survivors learn or relearn the skills necessary to operate in the community.

We are firmly established at our new premises in Fairford Leys, Aylesbury, and are delighted at the way the local community has rallied around to support 
us.

At our official launch event in November, we were thrilled at the number of people – including a whole host of dignitaries - who turned up to see what we offer

So, I am writing to thank those people for their attendance and to ask them to continue to pass on the word about Headway and what we do.

We meet twice a week but are expanding to reach out to others and give them and their carers the help they need. The more survivors and volunteers we attract, the more services we can offer.

I am grateful to MP David Lidington for his kind, but true words after he attended our launch event.

He asked for the community to give us support and said: “Survivors don’t just need the best possible medical treatment and rehab therapy but also emotional and moral support to come to terms with the devastating impact of the injury on their 
lives.”

I sincerely hope ABI survivors and their carers will pay heed to what he said. If they do, we can become a part of their pathway from the time of the incident to living life as independently as possible.

Many people who suffer devastating brain injuries believe they are alone.

Our message is: You are not. So please get in touch and help us give you a fresh new start in 2015.

Peter Preston

Chairman of Trustees, 
Headway Aylesbury Vale

ACTION FOR CHILDREN

This has been a landmark year for me and for Action for Children.

I became the chief executive of this wonderful charity in March, and in July we celebrated our 145th anniversary. That’s 145 years of supporting the most vulnerable children and young people in society. I have spent my first year really getting to know Action for Children, and I have been humbled and inspired by the impact of our work through services such as Aylesbury’s Bucks Activity Project and Kite Ridge House in High Wycombe.

As well as providing innovative and effective services, Action for Children also speaks out on behalf of the most vulnerable children in society and I am pleased to say we had some important wins in 2014.

In June, the success of our campaign to change the law on child cruelty to include emotional as well as physical harm was announced in The Queen’s Speech.

This change will save lives: emotional abuse may not leave visible scars, but its impact both long and short-term, can be devastating.

We also held a whole host of entertaining, unusual and sometimes challenging events this year.

Beloved children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar celebrated its own anniversary – its 45th – and together we held the Giant Wiggle, a fundraiser that saw children from across Buckinghamshire join thousands across the UK for a sponsored wiggle that was enjoyed by all.

Arguably less enjoyable was Byte Night. I was one of more than 1,500 people who slept rough to highlight the issue of youth homelessness.

It was cold and uncomfortable, but we raised more than £1 million for our homelessness services so it was definitely worth it!

I would like to thank your readers for everything they have done for Action for Children in 2014 – from making donations, to backing our campaigns, to taking part in fundraising challenges.

Together we have achieved a lot, but sadly there is still more to be done.

Our frontline services are increasingly supporting children and families on issues such as depression and self-harm. We’re committed to doing everything we can to stop situations getting worse and to transform lives - but we need your support.

To find out more about how you can help Action for Children make 2015 a happy New Year for children in Buckinghamshire and across the UK, please visit actionforchildren.org.uk

Sir Tony Hawkhead

Chief executive of Action for Children