Letters to the editor: 01/06/17

News Desk (01 June, 2017)

News readers give us their views on Jeremy Corbyn, the Maudlsey's recent 'good' rating, and the council's housing promise


It will only be ‘good’ when A&E is reopened

I am absolutely appalled that the Care Quality Commission seem to accept that Slam [South London and Maudsley], can fail in 16 out of 38 services to provide a good service! (Maudsley gets ‘good’ rating from Care Quality Comission’, Southwark News, May 25, 2017).

I want to make it clear that no blame is put on the understaffed but very good mental health staff. The blame is entirely on the shoulders of SLAM themselves. They have made it clear they do not want to take on the burden of providing an A &E service at the Maudsley hospital!

Yes, the Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (SCCG) needs to commission it. But despite the Maudsley being one of the world experts on mental health, they simply do not want to be involved in running it. They prefer the burden of looking after people in a mental health crisis is taken on by King’s A&E.

Mental health patients in a crisis having to queue up first at King’s A&E is outrageous. This includes children, which I think is scandalous.

In my role of health spokesman at Spag (Southwark pensioners action group), I had a meeting at King’s recently with the head of nursing and the psychiatrist based at King’s, who told me persons with a mental health issue, would be seen within 30 minutes and taken to a quiet area.

A week later I was with a person attending a health clinic, the consultant was more concerned with the mental issue, so rang down to A&E, and spoke to someone from mental health, who said to come down to A&E. We were seen after two hours 10 minutes.

The first thing the member of the mental health team did was to apologise for the delay, but said there was only one of her.  She then said sorry about the noise. The quiet place we were expecting to be seen in, was actually in a bay, behind a curtain opposite the main desk in majors. You can imagine how quiet that was.

Recently a patient having taken an overdose, was taken into King’s, then was certified.

I know security staff have a difficult job, but I would question that they were all mentally health trained, there were some that appeared more like bouncers in a night club.

The person was then taken in an ambulance the 50 yards across the road to the Maudsley.

So many problems could be solved simply by reopening the Maudsley A&E.

It would make life a lot easier for King’s A&E staff, and mentally ill patients would be seen in the right environment.

I can assure the SLAM board, though I am in my 76th year, I will not go away until my last breath, until the mentally ill are treated in the proper environment.

Tom White, Health spokesman for Southwark pensioners action group


Volunteers needed

The average bag of items donated to Mind’s East Dulwich shop is worth around £30.

£30 that could support three people to take part in a group ‘Wellbeing Session’ or enable a pregnant woman to access support to help them successfully understand and manage their own perinatal mental health. But bags of stock are worth nothing if we don’t have volunteers willing to clean items, sort them, create brilliant displays and assist our customers.

Our shop relies on volunteers, which is why for this year’s Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) we are telling volunteers ‘you make the difference’ and asking the local community ‘how can you make a difference?’

I am calling on readers to support Mind’s East Dulwich shop by giving just a couple of hours twice a week.

Volunteering at the Mind shop in East Dulwich is a great way to give something back to the local community and it also provides a chance to develop new skills or build work experience, and can even support you in obtaining an NVQ.

I urge readers to pop in and find out more about how they can support us to help secure a better life for the one in four people who experience a mental health problem every year.

Steve Symonds,  The Mind shop in East Dulwich, 96 Grove Vale, Southwark, SE22 8DT www.mind.org.uk/charityshops


Great British Bee Count

Our bees aren’t just an iconic sign of a British summer, they are vital for pollinating much of the food we enjoy every day, and the wildflowers that decorate our countryside.

But Britain’s bees are under threat, with around 35 UK species considered to be at risk of extinction, from loss of habitats, pesticides and intensive farming.

This is why Friends of the Earth is running the Great British Bee Count, which runs until 30 June.

By downloading a fun, free app you can find out more about the bees that visit your gardens, parks and neighbourhoods, and find out what you can do to help them – such as creating bee-friendly spaces. And you can also send in sightings and photos of the bees you spot too.

Join the buzz at www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk or search for ‘Great British Bee Count’ in your app store.

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive,  Friends of the Earth


Homes promise not met

The Labour party in Southwark must not be allowed to get away with their council housing scandal.

For over seven years they have allowed developers to get away with building 100% luxury flats, completely unaffordable to local people.

We were told, time and time again, that this justified because the council would build thousands of council homes off site. But actions speak louder than words.

Since 2010 the Labour council have built less than 200 council homes for social rent. Yet over 2000 have been sold or demolished. So it came as no real surprise that last week’s Southwark News reported that the Labour party has finally admitted it won’t meet its own building targets by next year. Residents must make a stand and vote for an MP who will fight their corner and not the corner of property developers. We need to Bring Back Simon on 8th June.

Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, Leader, Southwark Liberal Democrat Council Group


Corbyn will defend public services

I want to write to defend our public services in Southwark.

I love my country, and I will fight for its decent services and social justice.

All my life I have lived in Southwark, and have never seen things as bad as they are now, and I  am 74.

I am now disabled, and I can see the value of the system I paid into all my life. Only Jeremy Corbyn will stand up for ordinary people in UK.

Opinion polls are irrelevant after Donald Trump. The media say that supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are delusional, but far from this myth of a weak leadership, disabled people believe that Jeremy Corbyn is a man of exceptional decency, integrity and honour.

Yes – I have grey hair but I am a Corbyn supporter. Our logic is that it takes a fantastically strong man to stand up for the weak and the vulnerable. We think that Jeremy Corbyn is actually displaying an awe-inspiring rectitude, we think that Jeremy Corbyn is actually very noble.

In contrast we point to the parlous jungle capitalism of a feral elite, using everything in their power to destroy Jeremy Corbyn along with their Blairite chums.

We think of the Tories as brutal bullies. Once upon a time, there were some decent Tories, but all that remains seems to be a disgusting detritus.

Please vote Labour at the General Election. Please defend the public services of Southwark.

Gabriel Pepper, via email



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