Closure myth

I AM very concerned that there is still a view that the very much loved and needed Friarage Hospital in Northallerton is going to be closed, and that the present challenges will be a catalyst to this happening.

Anyone who attended one of the meetings about the future of the Friarage Hospital organised by the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, should have been reassured that very considerable effort has been made by the Trust to try and recruit anaesthetists to the Friarage Hospital.

No one present could have reasonably doubted Dr Dunbar’s sincerity. He clearly told his audience in Hawes and Leyburn that there is a national shortage of anaesthetists. Janet Probert told an audience in Askrigg the same thing in October. Three anaesthetists were recently offered a job at the Friarage but only one accepted the offer. Although members of the public may find it hard to accept, doctors have a right to choose where they want to work – and it may not be in this part of the world.

It is a total myth that there are plans to close the Friarage. No one in their right minds closes a hospital that is benefitting from a multi-million pound investment and with an increasing number of outpatient clinics. But if there is no anaesthetist to keep you alive, why would you want to go there in an emergency? There is no suggestion that patients can’t receive nursing care at the Friarage once the emergency phase is sorted.

We are enormously fortunate to have a brand new MRI Scanner at the Friarage and for the substantial investment in the Hospital in the form of a new cancer centre that is currently being built. We also have a number of innovative community NHS beds called step-up/step-down beds across Hambleton and Richmondshire allowing patients to be cared for nearer to home. We have access to three night-flying air ambulances. We have both the excellent and specialist services of James Cook and the much appreciated care given to patients at the Friarage.

I believe we have commissioners who genuinely want patients to have the best medical services possible within the very challenging budget set by the Government. This budget is not big enough to pay for all the health services that doctors and patients would like and as patients we need to be more realistic and understand that the NHS is not the same it was - even five years ago.

If a CCG overspends, then the local NHS may not have a choice as to which services remain or not – so the public may not get a say at all!

Jane Ritchie, West Burton

Care questions

AS a nurse working in general practice in the area I believe it is time to speak out.

How does the Government hope to care for its people if they are moving the care further and further out of reach?

In general practice our role is constantly expanding to help out with secondary care, yet we have nowhere to expand to. The Lambert in Thirsk is ideally situated to provide space for two GP practices to expand into.

For example: education for our increasing diabetic population, podiatry, outreach clinics for James Cook consultants, chronic wounds, minor ops - even (though has been dismissed) beds for palliative care.

To travel from Bedale to James Cook for A&E is a massive distance by taxi or in the car for a sick person or injured child.

At what point will the Government stop giving the Clinical Commissioning Group limited resources to run our primary care?

All our health care issues are increasing, with local population growth, increasing elderly needs and unhealthy lifestyles.

We are already exhausted with trying to accommodate these issues yet we are having our resources and options to help taken away.

Clare Hickman , Cowesby

Youth view?

I DON’T like leaving questions unanswered, which is why I am responding to R Hildyard's question (D&S Times, Dec 1); what has made Leave-voting readers so hysterically angry about the EU?

What we don't appreciate is that, despite the fact that Parliaments are traditionally the place for democratically-elected members to propose, create, debate, amend and repeal legislation, the European Parliament offers no such purpose. All the legislative control lies with the European Commission, which is packed full of political has-beens from years gone by and have not been voted into their current positions by the electorate.

Due to the bureaucracy, we the people have absolutely no say over how long these people decide our laws for or even what laws we have to live by. Our country has gone from one which could decide what quality of people can come here and on what basis we trade on, to one which has to ask the permission of, then wait for, 27 other countries to even consider a change in legislation.

The UK has suffered for decades from the EU's selfishness and we were never originally asked whether or not we wanted to be part of it. And now that our politicians can't escape the fact that the majority of British people want no part of EU membership, the political establishment are trying their damndest to overturn the result.

When the will of the people is constantly being supressed, is there any wonder young people aren't interested in voting anymore? I would also like to remind R Hildyard that the 17.2 million Brexit voters are not guilty of “ugly and ignorant nationalism” but we will, however, take full responsibility for enabling our deep-rooted patriotism help save our glorious country.

Also, despite the claim that Brexit “should have no place in our politics,” we live in a democracy, every decent cause has a place in our politics. It is high time for this Government, or a replacement Government, to enact what they were told to do and respect the UK's wishes for the sake of democracy, this country and the world.

Joseph Lambert, Youth Chairman, UKIP Richmond

Brexit guesses

THERE is a vast difference between the rules of politics and the rules that I grew up with.

When I was at school I was told that when taking a maths exam I should always write down my workings out, not simply doing the calculations in my head and writing down the answer. This was because if I got the answer wrong I would get no marks but if the examiner saw that my workings out were correct at least I would get some marks.

With Brexit the Government have said that they are prepared to pay the exit bill that was due for them. Parts of this bill we are told is to pay our proportion of MEPs pensions, then there is our proportion of the commitments that we have agreed to in the last few years, also there is the money that we will have to pay for the additional two years transition that Mrs May has said we need to prepare ourselves for Brexit, and then I am sure that there are other things that I am not aware of.

Initially we were told that the exit bill could be £100 billion whereas Boris Johnson simply said that the EU could go and whistle. The Government are not adding things up but simply guessing, they say “negotiating” with the EU, and now appear to come up with a figure of £50 billion. MPs should have at least the basic training of business - the people would surely be annoyed if proper calculations were done and the sum came to £30 billion. That difference could go to the NHS, so please can we see the workings out that our government have used.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham

Irish question

THE Government's Brexit negotiations are in difficulty over borders in Ireland, yet there is a simple solution - stay in the single market and customs union, as the LibDems have consistently advocated.

Before Mr Nicholson (D&S Times, Dec 1) reaches for his pen, I am not talking about staying in the EU (although that would be my choice) but about a Brexit solution which might actually work for commerce and industry, and so in the long run for all of us.

Richard Short, Great Ayton

Shopping local

THE Richmond Co-op supermarket closed November 2016. This was not a sudden decision as it had been allowed to fail over a period of years.

I had written to the company on more than one occasion over this time about all of many the problems and had never received a reply. This included no staff at checkouts, no staff appearing when called, out of date stuff on shelves and wet trollies – a wet trolley is wonderful when buying newspapers and flour for example as well as getting a wet coat. The only good thing the Co-op did was when they closed the people had the use of the car park and solved parking in Richmond. They also left us with that travesty of a shop in the Market Place.

Now according to the Liberals Focus magazine Lidl is not opening as promised and it will be next year before they do so. So all the banners saying Opening soon and Opening in November 2017 were completely wrong.

The company must have known what work was needed (if they did not I would sack the surveyors) and once again this town struggles on. If they are not opening very soon why put new block paving in at the entrance when machinery must still be required? Why do renovations and trundle machinery over the new and not the old?

I shall continue to take my money to Catterick Garrison where I can park in peace, shop and have a coffee and not have to worry about my two hours disc parking.

I have never seen so many supermarket delivery vans around Richmond as I have this year and once people get into the habit of shopping on line for the basic food items they will stick to it and all the other businesses in the town will lose out.

Lynne Kemp, Richmond

War memories

I PUBLISHED a book, “Wensleydale Remembered,” in 2004 and two years later published a second book, “Swaledale and Wharfedale Remembered.”

The main theme of both books was the stories of the lives and deaths of all the servicemen in those dales whose names are inscribed on the many village and town war memorials, having lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars.

I received a great deal of help from many of their families, from whom I was able to receive information and copies of photographs of the servicemen involved.

I am now researching a further book on those who lost their lives in the Second World War, dealing with some of the villages and towns that I did not include in 2004 and 2006.

They include those from Masham, West Tanfield, the Grewelthorpe area, Bedale, Hunton, Barningham, Kirby Hill and Ravensworth area, Gargrave, Hellifield, Long Preston, Settle, Giggleswick, Clapham, Austwick, Hauxwell, Stainforth, Langcliffe, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Ingleton, High and Low Bentham, Sedbergh, Dent and the Malhamdale area.

It is always a privilege to find out the details of the men and women whose names are on the memorials, in order to honour their names.

I would appreciate any help that can could be provided by families of these servicemen, friends of the families, and members of the public who could put me in touch with these people or anyone with relevant information, however great or small.

A wonderful bonus for me would be the possibility of a copy of a photograph of the person, whether it be a school photo, family grouping in civilian life or one in service uniform. Any photographs of local Home Guard units would also be of interest.

I can be contacted on 01629-732622 (mobile 07790 575077) or by post Keith Taylor, “Wensleydale’”, 4 Oker Road, South Darley, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 2JQ. Thank you for any help that you can provide.

Keith Taylor, Matlock

Vets praised

WITH regards to your recent story (D&S Times, Dec 1), I most write in defence of Skeldale vets. I live in Thirsk, and would recommend Skeldale vets to anyone.

I have used many veterinary practices over the years, and none of them have shown the diligence and care of animals as the Skeldale team. My cairn terrier Sal, had been ill for four years when I moved to Thirsk - it took Skeldale vets four weeks to diagnose and treat my little girl. I can never thank the Skeldale team enough for what they have done for my Sal

Karen Howitt, Thirsk

Snail’s pace

WE are so pleased that most of the 70- odd souls who live in the hamlet of Ellerton-on-Swale are now connected to superfast broadband. We are not connected as the "capacity in the cabinet is full.”

So which is more frustrating? Having no superfast broadband available or still being on snail pace whilst neighbours do have it?

Presuming 70- odd souls live in approximately 35 homes, surely capacity should have been for everyone to get the service? Perhaps Rishi Sunak could ask why only the first come were served.

Anne Rose, Ellerton on Swale


ON my return from a hospital appointment recently, a note on my doormat from Royal Mail stated a parcel too big for the letterbox could not be delivered. I contacted the national Royal Mail office by email, as invited, and arranged a re-delivery two days later, when I would be at home. That day came and went, with no parcel evident. My wife enquired at my local Post Office and was told that it could well be delivered later. That did not happen. I tried to ring the Stockton Delivery Office but the call was not answered.

Finally my busy wife drove to that office on a Sunday morning and was told that it could not be delivered as it bore no postcode. She was then grudgingly given the parcel which showed our full address, albeit without a postcode. I now have my birthday present from the Isle of Man more than seven days late.

I appreciate that with automation postcodes are essential to efficient handling of items; but it is not unknown for them to be delivered without one.

However, Royal Mail must be mindful of the stiff competition it now faces from private carriers; and cannot afford to take a high-handed attitude with its customers.

Ian Gravestock, Yarm

Police issues

I’VE got two questions to ask Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, who pays lip service to the importance of neighbourhood policing as he searches for a new chief constable.

If Barry values neighbourhood policing so highly, why has he not done more to revive it in East Cleveland, rather than fobbing us off with an additional couple of PCSOs?

What impact can two PCSOs make on an area of more than 50 square miles, containing many scattered settlements, ranging from small towns down to numerous hamlets and small farmsteads?

Steve Kay, East Cleveland Independent Councillor

Magical evening

AS an ordinary citizen of Richmond, may I extend a huge vote of thanks to the many, many people, volunteers and council employees alike, who helped to make the switching on of the lights on Friday such a joyful, magical evening.

From the Methodist Church Tree favourite was 'Le Tour de Swaledale'...with songs and soup, through the music and lights in Friary Gardens, the Richmond School Music Group by Trinity Tower, the mulled wine and mince piesin the Market Hall, to the King's Church singing carols in Finkle Street and giving children a gift telling the real meaning of Christmas, all was simply splendid.

Thank you to all concerned,

Daphne Clarke, Richmond

Town shines

NORTHALLERTON experienced a wonderful festive weekend enjoyed by everyone I am sure.

Father Christmas arrived on his sleigh with the reindeer, followed by the big double decker bus, with elves, parents and children waving, the band playing and singing carols as they paraded along the high street.

Children and parents gathered to see Father Christmas for a photograph and present.

Crowds were there for the music, singing, puppet show, food and drink, roundabouts, reindeer and a donkey. The police and the Street Angels were there chatting to the public explaining what their role is in Northallerton. Local groups assisting with first aid and safety for the public.

Another splendid event in All Saints Church over the weekend was the Christmas Tree Festival. There were approximately 50-plus trees on display sponsored and decorated by various businesses and groups and schools. Refreshments were available, also singing by choirs and school children.

The fellowship was truly special as everyone chatted to people they possibly hadn't seen or spoken to for some years, as they walked around the displays which really were splendid. Well done to everyone who decorated, organised, and voted for the trees.

A weekend to remember for everyone whatever age. Northallerton really did shine.

Susan Dodsworth, Northallerton

Heartfelt thanks

MAY I through your columns express my heartfelt thanks to the lady and

gentleman customers, Barkers assistant and the rapid response ambulance team who looked after me when I had a heart attack in the store on Sunday, November 26.

I was rushed to James Cook Hospital and operated on immediately. The care and attention I received from all the coronary unit was exceptional. Everything went well and I am now back at home recuperating.

Eric Stainthorpe, Battersby