September 15, 2016: some of this week’s letters
Let’s talk health
The recent publicity surrounding the Sustainability Transformation Plans, or STPs as they are known, has highlighted the growing disconnect that is taking place between local communities and the organisations that are making their plans in order to present them to the Department of Health. No consultation, no discussions with local people or even local focus groups and nothing to explain the pressures that are building up in the system. The STPs will be agreed in London at the Department of Health and then we will be consulted if needs be. The test of any genuine consultation and engagement is what changes or improvements can be made? As Prof Andy Hardy, who chairs the process in Coventry & Warwickshire, said (Advertiser, September 1): “For too long, the focus has been on supporting our communities when they’re in crisis or ill rather than on keeping them healthy and independent. This is an old fashioned way to care for people which is often unequal across the same area and more expensive than helping keep people well in the first place.” So prevention is better. It is a shame that the Government has therefore cut Public Health funding along with reductions elsewhere. It is clear that change is coming. The Coventry & Warwickshire STP plan will be looking five years ahead and the word ‘sustainability’ is used which normally means that there will be savings to be made. We are told St Cross is safe, but we are a growing town, we have increasing pressures and I would certainly expect to see the services provided expanded at St Cross especially to meet the growing demands. The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will also have to bear its part of the STP but we need to ensure that they also provide the local services needed. There is general agreement that a discussion needs to start as Chris Hopson CEO of the NHS Providers stated, ‘a public conversation is needed now’. We all recognise the pressures and growing demands. Surely a good place to start this public conversation would be Warwickshire’s Health Scrutiny Committee taking the lead, after all that is where locally-elected councillors sit and at least they are accountable.
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse
Traffic will only get worse
Secondary School has opened with a fraction of its final intended pupil and staff count and this has already caused severe congestion and general traffic chaos within the local area. We have seen cars blocking drives and pavements and several near- misses between manoeuvring vehicles and pedestrians. With this much impact in the first week, I shudder to think of the impact that circa 1,700 pupils (across three schools) with all of the associated staff will bring to the quiet residential streets of Hillside and Rokeby. Forcing this volume of traffic through narrow streets into a corner of the suburban area ill-equipped to absorb this is completely irresponsible and will inevitably lead to serious incidents. Hopefully, common sense (which appears to be not so common) will prevail and the planning authority will agree that this is not an appropriate location for development on this scale.
As a resident of Long Lawford, I feel very much part of Rugby which, of course, is only a mile down the road. Nuneaton is 15 miles away. Whilst accepting the need, nationally, to try and equalise constituency boundaries, moving Long Lawford from the Rugby to the Nuneaton constituency makes no sense at all. Children from Long Lawford attend Rugby schools, there is no bus service from the village to Nuneaton and there are few reasons to shop or go out socially in Nuneaton given its distance from here. If constituents feel little empathy with an area, they are even less likely to participate politically. In my view, and with totally no disrespect to Nuneaton, I will argue strongly for Long Lawford to remain within the Rugby constituency. I am sure Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will have more to say on the proposed boundary changes once we have had time to study them in detail,