Letters, December 13, 2013

Staff cuts will hit the patients

Having read Lara Norris’ letter raising staff’s concerns about cuts in the Mental Health Service, and the response from a desperate family, I felt compelled to write in.

My daughter Louise tragically took her own life whilst sectioned in Northgate Hospital in 2010. Her death should and could have been prevented. The coroner and Care Quality Commission identified huge failings in Louise’s care and instructed the hospital to make many improvements.

I attended regular meetings with the chief executive and other senior management, during which I was assured “lessons have been learnt” and that changes had been made so that Louise’s death would not be repeated. It was, therefore, with a feeling of dread that I read about the cuts which are having a negative impact on patient care.

People who are suffering from mental illness are unwell- they should not have to beg for medical care (whether the lack of care is due to cuts to resources or, as I believe is sometimes the case, the stigma surrounding mental health).

I empathise with the family who wrote in last week, as trying to get my daughter the right care made the already awful situation of her illness even harder. I also understand how difficult it must be for the Mental Health Service staff, most of whom are very caring (and it would do that majority an injustice to dwell on those who are not in this letter) and doing the best they can with limited resources.

It is clear from Lara Norris’ letter that staff feel the cuts will increase the risk of patient suicide.

Most Read

It is unbearable to think another precious life could be lost and another family would be shattered by grief. It is unfair that hard-working, committed staff would have a death on their conscience. If this worst case scenario did occur, there would almost certainly be a senior management team apologising and telling us that “lessons have been learnt” when it is crystal clear that they have not.


Winterton on Sea

Church welcome for its ‘family’

We have over the past few weeks and months heard a great deal about what the church should or should not do and that as a church should consider what their parishioners want.

Can I please comment on one of these issues that has arisen at my church, yes I say my church as that is the one I attend and participate in

But that ‘church’ is just like the place we all (most of us) call ‘home’ as the church is made up of the complete family and like all families not all members will agree on all points all of the time but will agree to disagree but helpfully still in harmony with each other, which is what as good Christians we all endeavour to do, and I hasten to say even Christians do not get it right all of the time, but we do know that by asking God he will at least listen and forgive us in so many ways.

We have in the past few weeks undergone a complete transformation of the interior of St Andrew’s with the removal of the pews to be replaced by modern light chairs and a new carpet. This has now opened up the building and made it fit for a new and exciting future and it has become a warm and welcoming building rather than being that regimented, staid and dull one that was (and loved by some) in place and served well over many years.

We are now a revitalised, vibrant and exhilarated ‘family’ that will ensure our ‘family’ building will be fit for purpose for many years to come.

Well done to all members of the ‘family’ for making this happen and please can we extend to all of the ‘family’ members that have not felt part of their ‘whole family’ to come and join us, ‘your family’, either for the first time or after a break, you will all be so welcome, and enjoy a comfortable seating experience at the same time.



What became of Maynard family?

I was interested to read the article in connection with members of the armed forces mentioned on the Great Yarmouth war memorial. I have information about a soldier who I imagine is included on the memorial: Maynard, I believe Cedric, a member of the Public Schools Battalion. I understand he died in 1916 or 1917.

I believe his family lived in Yarmouth or Gorleston and I understand his father was a businessman in the area; it may have been he owned a sweet factory?

It is very likely the family were Baptists or Methodists and I believe Cedric was Mr Maynard senior’s only child.

My contact with the Maynard family is due to the fact that Mr Maynard awarded a scholarship in memory of his son and it was to enable a boy from Yarmouth or Gorleston to attend Elmfield College in York.

Elmfield was a private school which specialised in encouraging boys to enter the Church. My father’s name was Collett and he lived with his family at St Andrew’s Road, Gorleston. His parents and sister were all Baptist preachers. My father won the scholarship and this of course enabled him to have the sort of education which would otherwise not have been available to those without wealth.

My father did well at Elmfield but he went into the Army not the Church.

I would be interested to know if any members of the Maynard family still reside in the area or whether the family has died out, which I suspect may be the case.

It has always been my practice to remember Cedric on Remembrance Sunday. There is no doubt his father’s generosity gave my father knowledge and experience he would not otherwise have had and this was reflected in the views and ethics he passed to me.


Grimmer Lane,


Let’s debate our local services

Local government is under attack from central government with directions on how to spend money (Mercury 29/11) and transfer of power to other bodies. Why bother with electing councillors, if central government is to control them?

Elected local councillors have lost powers to unelected local enterprise councils and local transport bodies who do not always even publish their agendas and minutes on time. Millions are being spent on police commissioners instead of the former elected police committees. It cannot be right that one person acquires these powers.

Social housing is now largely provided by housing associations and the private sector (with tax payers subsidising landlords investing in the housing stock). Schools are gradually be transferred to academies and free schools.

Central government provides huge grants to local councils to provide local services but should they be insisting how this should be spent? The idea that a chief executive in South Holland has spare time to administer Great Yarmouth is ridiculous. What would they know about our borough and how come they have so much spare time they can do two or three jobs?

One could have unitary councils but the Government stopped the proposals for Norfolk and suggests fudge-like shared services.

I am sure councils can cut costs - library hours further, adult education, coastal defences, uneconomic rural buses, close uneconomic rural roads (like Beeching did to the railways), sell off leisure facilities (like football and cricket pitches, tennis courts and bowling greens), cut grants to voluntary groups and parish councils, run down and sell parks and gardens.

Likewise, charges for services such as weddings, adult education, residential care, planning and burials, could be increased. Is it sensible to start to provide free school meals again?

It seems to me every time there is a cut proposed, people and MPs are leaping about resisting the cuts. The government and public need to decide what they want, cuts or public services.

Likewise, do we want locally decided budgets or centrally controlled budgets?

Ultimately, we could revert to basic public services like the Victorians provided and perhaps even re-introduce workhouses so the unemployed could work for their benefits or toll roads so road users directly pay for road use (the Acle New Road would be a start). Could more money be raised through local taxation?

There is a debate to be had about what local services are needed and how they should be run and paid for. Is less better?


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Is this sensible use of space?

At a public meeting last Tuesday about finance, one was also able to see the refurbishments at St George’s. Please, is this a theatre, concert hall or public meeting place?

The ceiling is high enough to absorb “hot air” from speakers and public. Perhaps it is in reserve, rather like an airship hanger or missile base, for use in the next war?

Surely to have lowered the ceiling, building an upstairs room for conferences would have been a more sensible use of space? The side galleries are useless.

But the Gilbert and Sullivan show last Friday was a reminder of a fine marathan sing through of their works in 1982.


Mill Lane,


Pothole fall left me injured

Last June I was shopping at the retail park at Gapton Hall when I walked into a large pothole and fell flat on my face and sustained a few injuries, namely a broken tooth, bruised chin and rose, twisted shoulder, rubs damaged and bruised knee.

I was badly shaken and some kind people from Acle and three others came to my aid.

I declined the offer of an ambulance which, in hindsight, I wish I had taken up. But I decided to get as quickly as possible and recover there.

I called the owners of the site and told them what had happened. The next day at 11am I went to take photographs of the pothole and to my surprise they were filling them in all over the car park.

I was too late to get a picture of the one in question as it was when I fell into it, although I did get a photo of it filled in.

The point of the letter however, is that in my opinion the owners of the site have “stalled” and the car park had been left in a terrible state for ages. I understand others have suffered a similar accident to myself.

I would be grateful if they would phone me on 01493 659199 or email jeanstacey57@yahoo.com.


Pound Lane,


Terminally ill will not travel to JPH

Re the letter in last week’s Mercury by B Taylor regarding the two proposed hospices; one the independent East Coast Hospice, the other on the site of James Paget Hospital. She talks about the distress and discomfort of being ambulanced from ECH to hospital and back.

What is a hospice? On my own inquiries it is used for terminally-ill patients who have a few weeks to live where their symptons can be controlled and they will be pain free and peaceful, a place where those dear can stay overnight when death is imminent and where their families will receive counselling and support.

Hospices have specialist nurses and doctors providing excellent care and support for dying patients and will control symptons so they will have a peaceful and dignified death.

Hardly any need then to travel to a hospital.

A survey has shown that most people want to die at home or in a hospice but many elderly people because of their circumstances, end up dying in hospital, a proportion of them when there is no medical reason for them to be there.

Are we then, if a hospice was built at the Paget, having their patients moved to the hospice to release beds which are in sort supply at the hospital?

Yes, East Coast Hospice will cost a lot to build and run but nothing would be achieved is everyone took such a pessimistic attitude.

Look what they raised in this area for Children in Need and I’m sure people will be just as generous to fund an independent hospice in our area which is one of two places in the country which is without one.

Painful memories of the death of their loved ones can long overshadow happier memories as I know to my cost at the death of my husband, who died at home, inconveniently on a Saturday when doctors and carers were in short supply.


Well Street,

Great Yarmouth

Opinion change over dredging

Our sea, the North Sea, or as the American oil rig workers referred to it in the 1960s “that little ‘ole pond”.

The Vikings paid little heed to it. The depth in those days was adequate for their ships, as it was for the French galleons.

But, as time passed, ships got bigger. They needed deeper water.

We talk now of ships which measure a quarter of a mile from bow to stern and container ships that take on board 34,000 containers.

These need deeper sea areas to manoeuvre in, especially to the north of Felixstowe where containers are loading into the local road system, clogging the roads as they join other cargoes coming up from the south.

How much easier would it be if we had the ports to transport these containers further north by sea?

What if the sea was deep enough to carry these large ships to Newcastle and beyond?

The Southampton Approach Channel Dredge project means - once the route is operational - terrific numbers of containers will be brought into our road system, and will jam every road south to north.

This, I think, is the main reason for this North Sea aggregate extraction - to ease this road transport situation.

Dredging is going on in most sea areas of the North Sea, from the Humber and the German Bight up to the Forties Oil Field.

Deep water, creating heavier swell and bigger waves unsuitable for coastal areas, must be tolerated if container transport develops into its full potential, with these large ships being able to use the North Sea.

To our annoyance - despite apparent coastal erosion - aggregate extraction is a necessity if we want to move into modern times.

In the past I have been in opposition to this, but realisation of the subject has changed my opinion.


Gonville Road


I was landlord of Star and Garter

In response to the letter in the Mercury, November 22, from Bill Albert of New Jersey, USA, regarding the Star and Garter public house in Hall Quay, I was the landlord with my late wife Pat, from November 1968 to 1978. We took the licence from Mrs Brownjohn, alias Mrs Mac. I also knoew of Fred who had earlier died. Maybe this will be of some help for Bill Albert.