Hospital needs help

ELIZABETH Kemble’s piece in last week’s Journal about the shocking number of serious falls by patients at Salisbury District Hospital was illuminating. Despite quoting two senior managers in the article, both omitted to mention the root cause of the problem which is widely known by hospital staff.

As a close relative of one of the victims highlighted in the piece, I’ve seen first-hand some real, ongoing issues severely impacting what I have always thought of as a first class hospital.

The clinical care at SDH can’t be faulted. The hospital food, remarkably good. The nurses at the front-line work with dedication, but are stretched beyond belief.

Talk to them, as I have, and many nurses admit that there are massive gaps in cover – risks are being taken daily when patients with dementia are left unattended by nursing staff for extended periods. Hospital visitors like me end up having to repeatedly intervene to prevent falls when dementia patients attempt to get out of bed.

Seeing SDH’s non-executive director Ian Downie’s suggestion to tell the staff to “be aware” and “take a bit more care and think through the risks...” makes me angry. He’s clearly oblivious to, or in denial about, the real cause of these issues: a lack of front-line nursing staff.

Meanwhile, nursing director Lorna Wilkinson’s ‘Share and Learn’ sessions would be far more effective if there were actually more nurses to hear them. As for her absurd ‘deep-diving’, she’d be far better served personally helping out on one of the many wards with totally inadequate nursing cover.

Patients come to hospital to get better – NOT to pick up life-changing injuries whilst in their care.

Name & address supplied

Councillor has to quit

I WAS profoundly shocked to read about the appalling conduct of Conservative city councillor Matthew Dean on the London to Salisbury train in September (Journal, Oct 13).

The fact that Cllr Dean reportedly looked very much the worse from drink does not justify this disgraceful incident in the slightest and makes me wonder if he possibly needs professional help.

Currently Mr Dean is Chairman of the Salisbury Conservative Association, where its leading lights such as John Glen MP and Lord Marland (association president) seem more than happy to allow him to act as a holder of the highest Conservative values, by their inaction to suspend him from office.

What is much more disturbing is the fact that Cllr Dean is also the Conservative candidate for the St Paul’s Ward in the May 2017 Wiltshire Council elections.

Surely in all decency Cllr Dean should resign as Chair of the Salisbury Conservative Association and remove his name from the prospective Conservative candidate list for Wiltshire Council?

It may be construed that by Cllr Dean’s refusal to accept what really happened on that train he is tarnishing the name of the Salisbury Conservative Association and all its members and their belief in wholesome family values. Such a misguided stance benefits nobody in the long term, especially not the Conservative Party who now risk losing many marginal city seats in the next Wiltshire Council elections in May.

Chris Devine, Farley

Poor lack of accuracy

THE article that detailed the service of Capt Vivian Hastings Clay during the First World War was most welcome, but it was badly let down by the hyphen added to his surname, which was Clay.

His brother was our family doctor and he was rightly very proud of his brother’s action. Given that the article contained pictures of original material, surely accuracy should not have been a problem. A little more care should be taken for this type of piece.

Michael Glover


Watercress warning

Earlier this week I encountered two people picking watercress in the river in such quantities to lead me to think that it was for a restaurant rather than private consumption.

Commercial watercress production is heavily regulated to ensure a safe product reaches the consumer. However, wild watercress from the river is obviously not regulated and may have liver fluke on it and therefore presents a possible health hazard to the public.

I really don’t think the people taking the watercress away realised or understood the risks. I never eat watercress from the river but I do eat lots of watercress and I love it, but I only buy it from registered producers or bagged from the supermarket.

The possible consequences could damage the legitimate watercress industry who do an amazing job locally at Broadchalke, Ludwell, Deverill etc. I am very worried that people will be made seriously ill.

Hilary Sharland

Winterbourne Gunner