NHS funding

FURTHER to the letter from Mr Glover titled “massive loss” the board papers for Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust are on its website salisbury.nhs.uk and the papers for April 2017 include a detailed explanation of the financial challenges facing the Trust in the current and indeed future years. If you go back further you will see a trend over several years where government cuts to hospital funding have led to a growing underlying deficit. In previous years this was offset by one-off savings, but after eight years of large nationally imposed savings targets there comes a time when the savings requirement becomes unsafe. Salisbury is currently struggling to achieve savings targets.

For Salisbury the position was exacerbated by the Treasury-sanctioned approach to NHS ‘control totals’ which meant that if you achieved a prescribed financial target you would receive cash to help with your financial position. The national calculations were flawed, but also rewarded hospitals which were relatively inefficient and could more easily make savings, whilst penalising those which were already efficient such as Salisbury. As a mechanism for distributing public money, the methodology is appalling and has caused many hospitals to be further financially undermined.

For the current financial year, the Salisbury Trust board felt that the size of savings being required, in order to accept the offered ‘control total’, was not achievable. The board therefore understandably declined the offer and the related financial support, thus leading to a sizeable decline in the financial position (£7.8m was received in the previous year). The regulator did not disagree with the board’s decision.

Malcolm Cassells, Winterslow (Former director of finance at SDH)

Free parking?

IT is painful to realise that by increasing car-parking charges, while reducing lethal and illegal levels of air pollution in the city, the Council is also bringing down footfall, and thereby SMEs’ chances of success.

So why don’t they give free car parking to all electric vehicles for the next four years, until the next review? Charges for non-electric vehicles could be raised on certain sites to maintain revenue for county bus services.

This would be a powerful incentive for residents, visitors and business-people alike to consider going fully electric when they next buy or hire a vehicle. We urgently need to stop using fossil fuels, to avert the impacts of climate change. The writing is on the wall for petrol and diesel. Vehicles powered by renewable energy are the future.

Wiltshire Council and Salisbury City Council need to be on the front foot over this issue. Air pollution would be dramatically reduced (though not entirely, until manufacturers eliminate particulate emissions from tyres and brakes).

The city centre should be fully pedestrianised, and a modern network of cycling and walking routes is long overdue. Car-sharing through the local Co Cars scheme will reach a tipping point and become the norm. A transition to electric vehicles in Salisbury would propel us towards clean, green transport and trade.

Alison Craig, Lower Bemerton

No mandate

JANE Hurst’s letter regarding the NHS was interesting. I also have contacted John Glen and been unsatisfied with responses.

Cameron’s 2012 Health and Social Care Act had no mandate. It made privatisation much easier. It abolished the government’s obligation to provide health care, replaced by the mere requirement to ‘promote’ care. This despite Cameron organising the privatisation of the NHS and massive reform. The reform following the Act was massively expensive. The Conservative Party plans were never admitted in the election campaign, nor in the Coalition pact. They were kept secret. The Conservatives haven’t monopolised destructive policies, Blair’s health trusts destroyed valuable co-operation between hospitals.

The NHS consistently tops international tables on inclusivity and cost-effectiveness. The King’s Fund analysis of 34 years of British Social Attitudes Surveys on the NHS, reveals 83 per cent support for increased government spending. Over 90 per cent believe provision of health care is the government’s responsibility. This makes clear why Cameron was secretive, his plans directly opposed public demand. Jane Hurst’s partner’s moves reflect the closure of far too many beds, despite repeated warnings. I was caused great distress by being moved like an unwanted parcel. I complained to the Healthcare Commission. An expert witness upheld my complaints. That the NHS should be non-political is certainly right. Political parties have repeatedly refused public demands for the NHS in favour of the narrow party view.

Veronica Burton, Wilton

Open mind

HAVING just read the letter by Andy Rhind-Tutt, (‘More tunnel vision’), in the Journal of February 8, I feel his statements should not go unchallenged. Mr Rhind-Tutt has used gross exaggerations and made unscientifically-proven arguments to put his points across.

He and the rest of the Stonehenge Alliance have a hidden agenda, so are doing everything they can possibly think of to stop the tunnel scheme.

So all I would say to any readers interested is to go along to one of the Highways England presentation events with an open mind and take part in the consultation. I did, and as a former sceptic I was very impressed with the amount of thought that has been given to every issue that could possibly arise. Those interested in the environment and wildlife will see that the World Heritage Site will be greatly improved by the scheme.

As keen walkers (and cyclists) my wife and I will look forward to the day when we can walk (or cycle) from Larkhill in the north to the Woodford Valley in the south without crossing a road.

Jan Belza, Durrington


I WENT into Salisbury library in order to express my views on the Stonehenge tunnel proposals to Highways England as part of their consultation but was most disconcerted by the paperwork and form on which I was asked to give my views.

No opportunity to say what I thought of the proposal in general, no information on costings and no cost benefit analysis at all. Just some generalised environmental background, drawings very lacking in detail and then a series of questions allowing me to talk about the detail of the design.

Like many others I am bemused by the scale and costs of the project, have a suspicion that a major motivation is to prevent people seeing the Stones unless they pay English Heritage’s exorbitant changes and remain not at all convinced that this multi billion pound vanity project is a national priority. (Housing, skills training, NHS and adult care anyone?) Not to mention the huge objections from archaeologists. No place on the form to express any of this. Of course we need to resolve the dreadful traffic problems for Amesbury and the villages but this is overkill.

I have to ask, is Highways England asking the questions in this way yet another example of what makes the term “consultation” a dirty word?

Anne Trevett, Lower Bemerton

Stop digging

CHRISTINA Mason (Journal Postbag, February 15) is too modest; her question why the tunnel option is being pursued rather than a less expensive alternative, is absolutely pertinent. At a time when all public services are under extreme financial pressures, the decision to spend £2 billion on a tunnel seems misguided.

We are extremely skilled at tunnelling; look at the incredible achievement of Crossrail. However, just because we can do something, doesn’t mean that we should. We have world class engineers; we also have world class landscape architects.

A surface route to the south, using the natural folds in the land, seems to me a perfectly sensible and affordable option. The setting of the stones would be improved , and it would surely provide unprecedented archaeological opportunities.

Unfortunately, if the last two years have taught us anything, it is that we are very good at creating big holes for ourselves – and don’t seem to know when to stop digging.

DC Coatham, Hyde

Under carpet

IN reply to Ian West’s letter last week I wholeheartedly agree regarding the lack of safety in Shrewton and the London road. Highways England and Wiltshire Council have a duty of care to its residents which they are clearly disregarding on every front. They cannot just sweep this under the carpet. As Ian said, we need these traffic-calming measures at Rollestone crossroads and the build-outs on London road now, not in five or 10 years time. Otherwise we fear there may be a serious accident or even a fatality while they just sit on their hands.

Claire Johnson, Shrewton

Tesco thanks

ON behalf of the members of the Jo Benson Day Centre for disabled adults, a Salisbury charity that gets no local council, county council or national financial support, I would like to publicly thank the management and staff of the Southampton Road Tesco store for their continuing and generous support for the centre.

They have done so much to improve the centre and thus give more enjoyment and happiness to those who are not so fortunate in life.

Jim Murdoch, Chairman, Jo Benson Day Centre

Lazy arms

I HAVE to report that Salisbury currently appears to be in the grip of an outbreak of Lazy Arm Syndrome. This tends to affect drivers in particular. The symptoms include the inability to reach or manipulate an indicator switch, or raise a hand to acknowledge simple acts of courtesy on the road. If you are unlucky enough to encounter someone suffering this way, you are likely to experience feelings of extreme fury and chronic indignation. I sincerely hope that the afflicted make full recoveries very,very soon.

Yours, furious and indignant,

DC Coatham, Hyde

Good sport

THE Shrove Tuesday pancake race organised by St Thomas’s Church was enjoyed by all ages as the excellent Journal photos showed. The Babylon School of Language have often won. However, runner Wulf Joerck from Germany tied with the young lady he was running against but let her go forward. When I congratulated him he said it was all about sportsmanship. A great example.

S Warrander, Salisbury

Mental health

I HAVE listened to debate on the plans to close the Fountain Way place of safety for people in a mental health crisis. I have also raised this with colleagues in Wiltshire Council.

After inspections by the Care Quality Commission, quality and safety issues were identified with the facility in Salisbury and one in Swindon. The result has been for NHS England to approve the temporary closure for 12 months, from end of February and use a bespoke facility in Devizes.

A number of us have reservations over this situation but I do also understand that new legislation means that people in a crisis have to now be helped in a more speedy manner. I will continue to both monitor this situation and work with both Council and health colleagues on this.

Atiqul Hoque, Wiltshire Councillor for Salisbury St Edmund and Milford

Crazy world

AM I having vision problems or did I actually see this monstrosity parked outside the Five Rivers Leisure centre?

If indeed I am not seeing things, what on earth do the fire brigade think they are doing painting their machines in these ludicrous colours to appease a minority group?

If I saw this in my rear view mirror, I would think the fair had arrived.

More to the point, I would like to know who is paying for this lunacy. If, as I suspect, it’s the tax payer, surely there are many more worthwhile things that our hard-earned money could be spent on.

The fire, police, and ambulance services (which are all going down the same rainbow road) are, in the main, highly respected and do an amazing job. But I implore them not to go down the route of insanity with this rainbow craze. For heaven’s sake, please, keep your dignity in this crazy world.

Mrs J A Cooke, Salisbury


I AGREE with Michael Glover. Archives of 50 years ago are much more interesting to me as they cover my childhood in Salisbury. Please re-instate them.

Gillian Sheppard, Salisbury

Wool jumper

THE first thing to be done for Edgar Malata (Journal, February 15) is to give him a woolly pullover. Any of us sitting in winter dressed like that would feel the cold.

Frank Lockyer, Salisbury