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The NHS: Pembury crisis result of lowest fun
The answer to your headline question (July 27) ‘What’s gone wrong with flagship hospital?’ is… nothing.
Instead of the blame for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s financial trouble being heaped on the hospital, you need to look no further than Government cuts to find the real culprit.
Pembury Hospital is not, in the Government’s words ‘overspent’, but underfunded, plus crippled by a mortgage (PFI) which rips off us taxpayers in a scandalous way. The NHS is in crisis directly as a result of the lowest funding increases (from 2010) ever in its history. It is underfunded as a political choice, not necessity. We spend less on our healthcare than any other G7 country which is shameful.
A more accurate and more understandable headline should have been ‘Underfunded hospital struggles to produce safe care while budgets are cut’.
When I met Greg Clarke MP recently he told me he rarely got letters about the NHS. I would urge the public to start filling his postbag with asking for more investment in health if we are to save the NHS. Mr Clarke has said ‘whatever steps are taken, patient care will be safeguarded’. How can that be when cancer waiting times are rising as a result of his Government’s callous underfunding of the NHS?
Dr Paul J Hobday
Ed: Dr Paul Hobday is Interim Leader of the National Health Action Party that fielded 12 candidates in the 2015 General Election.
Thanks from the old boys
I am writing on behalf of myself and the King Charles School Old Boys, to say thank you for your kind support to us and our association with the super exposure and stories in the newspaper. What a good job Murray [Jones] did with so little aid from us. We have had a lot of well-wishers following the article (July 20). May the Times of Tunbridge Wells go from strength to strength. Thank you again.
Parking: Why not use old cinema site?
I was interested to read Christine Walker’s email (July 20) on disappearing parking spaces, and the council’s response. Particularly as I’d just completed three laps of Tunbridge Wells trying to find a space for 10 minutes (to collect something heavy).
The laps I was driving were around the old cinema site, which used to have dozens of parking spaces. Is there any reason this can’t be used as parking until the site is actually built on? It’s got to be the most centrally located waste of space in Tunbridge Wells.
Education: Let’s applaud state schools
I enjoy reading your paper and was particularly interested in your front page story (July 20) about grammar schools. I had no idea that such a large percentage of pupils who had not passed the Kent Test were then let through into the grammar school system on appeal. This makes a mockery of the whole exam and preparation process does it not?
In my book if you don’t pass something then you clearly weren’t meant to. The same principle wouldn’t apply to a driving test for example would it?
It would be most interesting to know just what the reasons for the pupils who were awarded a place on appeal had in their favour – pushy parents or a school that thought they merited their place at a grammar, despite having failed the 11plus test.
In our area we’re lucky enough to have some outstanding secondary schools but the grammar element to education does mean that some look down on the state alternative. In certain circles it is almost commonplace to think that if your child doesn’t get a place at grammar school they have failed in some way – both academically and socially.
Having come from London where it really is hit and miss with the state offering I have been more than impressed with what we have on offer in Tunbridge Wells for our eleven year olds and beyond. Surely it is time we stopped getting so hung up on the 11 plus and started supporting our excellent state schools?
I agree that if you have a particularly bright child then of course it makes sense to give them the opportunity to succeed and if that’s at a grammar school then so be it. What I do not agree with however is that a child should be hot housed through the 11 plus revision process, fail the exam but then still get through because parents and head teachers have fought hard to get them into the school they feel will benefit their social standing and not necessarily the child’s ability.
Let’s start applauding the excellent variety of state secondary seniors instead of considering them as lowly alternatives.
Rubbish: Action need from landlords
I live in Dudley Road in the centre of town and on a few occasions recently I’ve informed other residents of the correct procedure for disposing of large unwanted items that they were about to dump on the pavement or next to one of the few wheelie bins we have on this road. On each occasion it was apparent that ignorance of the rules was the reason for the dumping. In the absence of any recent publicity from the Council on this matter, would it not be possible to make owners, landlords or their agents responsible for ensuring that occupants are aware of the options open to them?
BML2: Tunbridge Wells would benefit
I was pleased to see (July 27) that the reconstruction of Brighton Mainline 2 is still under consideration. The investment in sound infrastructure projects is needed more than ever in this post-referendum age and I believe that BML2 would qualify as a sound investment.
Not only are we reaching peak capacity on the London to Hastings line – which BML2 could help to relieve – but a connection with Tunbridge Wells will help boost its economy by enhancing its connections with East and West Sussex and further afield.
The creative sector in this town, which has been growing at a rapid pace, would especially benefit as it would cement our reputation as a half-way house between the capital and Brighton.
Villages en route will benefit and most likely get a more reliable service too.
But obviously there will be obstacles, especially whether Tunbridge Wells West station can really be brought back into use and what would happen to Sainsbury’s if the ambitious plan to connect BML2 with our current track through the old tunnel is to be realised.
Of course most obstacles can be overcome and I for one would welcome the business and travel opportunities that BML2 would bring to this town.