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Letter writers praise King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, call for a new build and make observations on school holidays

Here are the letters from this Tuesday's Lynn News...

‘Army of angels’ deserve to be front of queue

In the present climate of what seems to be universal industrial action, it is easy to feel the inconvenience and dismiss it all. Having spent my working life as a teacher and sole earner to a family of four with a mortgage, I find it hard to accept that teachers must demand a salary increase of the size they want or have to rely on food banks. I find it hard to accept Mick Lynch (we’re the working class and we’re back) on a six-figure salary making his demands.

Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital

There is, however, one sector where I have far more experience than I would have wished, which, however, I feel gives me some right to have my say, and I’m referring to our fantastic NHS.

In 2019, I underwent an AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) at Addenbrooke’s - literally a life saver. Then, at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Lynn, the biopsy which had been delayed due to risks before the AAA; that was followed by a course of hormone therapy and radiotherapy at Norfolk and Norwich. Then at the end of January, an emergency call via 111/999 led to a stay at QEH, in the news unfortunately for all the wrong reasons - it is literally falling down round our ears while we wait for our long overdue new hospital.

My knee became swollen and painful to the point I could not walk during Sunday. At 5pm I gave in to the pain, and phoned 111. I was told it was a busy night but they would get back when they could. I phoned again soon after, as the symptoms were getting worse. At 2am the call handler phoned back- he had spoken to the doctor, who obviously picked up on something and said 999, immediately.

At 5am the ambulance service informed me I was on the list but could face a wait of seven hours or more. At 6.30am the ambulance arrived and I was in A & E by 9am on Monday.

By 11am I was with a doctor and my knee x-rayed; there was some delay, but the osteopaths saw me by 4pm, and said the knee had to be aspirated- doesn’t sound bad, but painful in the extreme when it happens. The consultant saw the result and admitted me- as urgent, first operation on Tuesday. The knee was sluiced and drained via keyhole, and I was put on a heavy dose of penicillin via IV four times a day.

It seems I had somehow picked up a heavy dose of staphylococcus, which could have led to sepsis, amputation, death, if not dealt with, as I found out later. Sufficient to say, prompt action has put me on the road to recovery at home, still on a heavy dose of penicillin tablets, twice a day.

During my stay in hospital, I met what I can only describe as an army of angels - consultants, registrars, nurses of various grades, health care assistants, auxiliaries, college students on work experience, domestic staff. OK, to be totally honest, there were one or two agency staff, mainly on night shift, who seemed to lack a degree of patient empathy - as one HCA commented, “You have to care to be in this job; if you’re only in it for the money, you’re in the wrong job.” I say one or two; the vast majority of agency staff were every bit as caring and professional as permanent staff.

They care for us, feed us, wash us and yes, even wipe our bums when we can’t manage; I saw them put up with misogynist, racist, physically threatening abuse from patients with dementia, or suffering a bad reaction to anaesthetic, or short temper from those of us who find that our own suffering makes us rather selfish and forgetful that there are others whose need is at least as great as our own. They know when to cajole and when to bully when getting out of bed and getting moving is just too much trouble.

And they do it all with the same caring, smiling cheerfulness that lets us know that everything will be alright.

I realise that every pay rise has to be funded from somewhere, and debate goes on as to whether more money in the NHS is the answer, or better use of what there is.

But I have to say from my experience, while the powers that be ponder on these questions, we have a dedicated body of caring professionals who deserve to be front of the queue to get all they ask, and who are surely a more deserving case than many others at present taking action.

Pete Widdows


Why the wait for hospital funding?

Ye Gods! How many more reports of blasted meetings with Health Secretaries and MPs and Government Ministers have we got to endure in the Lynn News before the hospital we desperately need gets funding?

One after the other the various bigwigs take their turn pulling a long face and frowning across some official’s table and time-after-time leave with nothing more than soft soap pledges and empty promises to ‘look into it’.

The latest pilgrimage to London by Cllr Dark together with MP James Wild has culminated in another big fat zero from Steve Barclay and it looks like it was another waste of time and oxygen.

What in the name of heaven does this Health Secretary imagine is going to happen if he doesn’t sign that cheque? What’s he waiting for...? An actual section of roof to fall in and injure a patient or a nurse?

If there is a genuine intention to provide the money, my cynical ‘radar’ would expect them to wait until the announcement might gain them some advantages in the polling booth but that would be too obvious even for them surely?

Steve Mackinder


Stop attacking right to protest

The right to strike is a fundamental British liberty, but it is under direct attack from the Conservatives’ draconian strikes bill.

The bill would mean that when workers democratically vote to strike, they could be forced to work and sacked if they don’t comply.

The TUC says this is undemocratic, unworkable and almost certainly illegal.

The government is wasting precious time and energy on

this spiteful bill while millions are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table.

And it will do nothing to solve the staffing crisis in our schools and in the NHS – but only make matters worse.

It’s time our government got its priorities straight.

They should stop attacking the right to strike and give our public sector workers the decent pay rise they are owed.

Tony Wright

via email

Don’t interfere with sick notes

The Government is planning to interfere when people are sick in another meddling exercise. Doctors are to be told not to sign people off sick from work, and instead tell them to find ways to work through illness as a means of boosting the economy.

How can somebody be productive straight after a heart by-pass operation to name one condition? Or is this a stealth policy to increase the work from home culture without any concerns for the welfare of employees?

There are already strategies in industry to combat malingering, especially with self-certificated absences.

To question the competence of the medical profession makes the Government incompetent and at Lynn it shows the lack of concern it has for the state of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Jo Rust, Nick Vinehill, Paul Firmage and Steve Mackinder all have one thing in common through not liking the Tories, and I take issue with the Conservatives proposing ludicrous legislation on the contentious issue of GPs not signing patients off work.

Could hell freeze over with all five of us having a semblance of agreement?

David Fleming


It’s definitely happy holidays

Here it is half-term, isn’t it wonderful, talk about Happy Holidays.

Almost the first thing that everybody we talk to says is “Where’s the traffic?” This is at any time of day. Surely there must be some rational explanation?

Another good point of half term is the lack of food and drinks cartons littering the streets as deposited by the students from schools and colleges.

Richard English


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