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Care but at a cost

YESTERDAY we said farewell to Stan Darling, the founder of the Monkspath surgery.

YESTERDAY we said farewell to Stan Darling, the founder of the Monkspath surgery. What a truly wonderful memorial to 24 years of dedicated effort.

My wife and I have also found kindness and complete satisfaction from our treatment at both Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals.

A perfect example of management. Keep the staff happy so they are efficient and obey the two levels of successful management: select the right but reject the wrong.

So why do we have a plethora of trusts, supposedly organising our NHS? They all cost - personal salaries, pensions, attendance allowance, administration etc.

Who peoples them? Are they trained in administration? Do you have to belong to the right union, be in the right party, or the right club?

Reg Drew,

Harvington Drive, Shirley


Help on company

I HAVE been trying to find out about a company that marketed or made jet washing equipment and self-service vacuum cleaners for car washes and service station in the late 1960s. It was Autogroom Distributor, Hampton Engineering Ltd, Grange Cottage, Bickenhill, Solihull. This was an address I obtained from a trade magazine dated March 1968.

This is of interest as after spending many years researching the development of car washing and garage equipment, I have now nearly finished historical research on various firms around Europe and the USA but I have no details of this firm, eg when it started or folded. I am at some time planning to write a book on this subject.

I have tried various libraries who have no details so I am asking if anyone out there has any details of the above firm.

Keith Thomas,

4 High Stobhill, Morpeth,

Northumberland NE61 2TT


In praise of Una

I HAVE noticed over recent weeks considerable correspondence about various GP surgeries. My experience has been that they are staffed by professional people who care about their patients, although they get accosted - unreasonably - by people who have no thought for others.

I happened to be in the NHS Walk-in Centre in Lode Lane, Solihull at about 6.30pm one day - waiting with everyone else. A father arrived dragging his young son, of about six years of age, behind him. The father demanded that the son be immediately seen by a doctor. The receptionist tried to get some details from him, but to no avail. He refused point blank and merely carried on with his demands. A nurse came out, presumably having heard the father shouting, and when she tried to find out what was wrong, the father was particularly rude, indicating that nurses are medically incompetent and he wanted his soon seen by a doctor.

Nonetheless, she coolly and professionally kept talking to the father, whilst she tried to see if there was anything obviously wrong with the child. There was no obvious sign of injury or sickness. The father then explained the child had fallen off his bike at about 10am that morning and got a bruise as a result. The nurse politely stated that she could not see any need for urgent treatment, but the father was welcome to take his turn in the queue and wait for a doctor to become available.

The father was somewhat put out by this response and stormed off, shouting abusive comments at the staff, but some of his comments indicated that he had just been to the A&E Department of Solihull Hospital, where he received a similar response.

He was a rather large and intimidating person, but I was very impressed with the way the nurse diplomatically handled him in a very professional manner, and did not lose her temper. I am not sure that I would have been so restrained had I been in her position. I believe her name was Una Wilson. So I would praise her for the way she handled matters - well done.

Name and address supplied


Shady goings on?

I AM replying to your front page article concerning the WRVS service at Solihull Hospital (Sept 18).

I feel you may have missed the real story here. Some questions should have been asked by your paper, especially concerning if and indeed when the volunteer group was consulted about this closure.

You should have also asked what is to become of the vital trolley service around the wards with essential newspapers, magazines and toiletries. I have spent a very long month stuck in a hospital bed and believe me when I say this is a vital service.

I sincerely hope a proper consultation took place and this wonderful group was not treated as if they did not exist and could be swept away on some junior admin officer’s ambition to achieve their ‘target’ for the year.

You are the local paper and there are some very shady practices going on and you are in an ideal position to get them sniffed out.

Anita Gee, current volunteer

at Heartlands Hospital


Under Scots rule

I READ that you now have to produce a passport if you fly from England to Scotland. I hope this applies in reverse, but I doubt it as we are governed by Scots.

If the Scots think they are so grand as to demand passports from the English, the sooner they claim independence the better, so they can stop sponging off us and get that tartan lot out of our parliament.

M Mason, Chelmsley Wood


Big charity boost

I WISH to thank the residents, manager, families and friends of Oak Tree Court, Hall Green who raised £664.88 for the Macmillan Coffee Morning on September 25.

Sadly, their numbers have depleted over the past three years, but they still managed to raise this magnificent sum. During the year their other fund-raising events donated sums of money to the RNLI, Air Ambulance, Acorns and Troop Aid.

Mrs L Carroll, Baldwins Lane, Hall Green


This debt advice is free

IT is a sad fact of life today that there will be over 70,000 houses repossessed this year in this country.

Over the last few years quite a few new debt agencies have started up trying to help people, but they charge for the services they provide, and very often they tell the client concerned to take out an IVA which helps to reduce the debts, but this puts a great deal of restrictions on the person concerned.

Twelve years ago a national charity started up called ‘Christians Against Poverty.’ The aim of the charity is to get people out of debt through good debt counselling, and sensible financial management.

Last year 6,250 families were brought out of debt by this charity. All debt advice given by the charity is absolutely free. The charity has now set up a national free debt advice line on 01274 760780. To find out if there is a branch near you phone 0800 328 0006, or visit

David Ball, Carlton Terrace, Swansea


Clinic is very impressive

DESPITE narrow-minded, strong objections by Tory MP, Caroline Spelman, and candidate Maggie Throup, the Solihull Care Trust correctly interpreted patients’ true additional medical needs, by building in the grounds of Solihull Hospital a multi-purpose one-stop, valuable, ‘open long hours’ polyclinic.

As a strong public supporter of our Labour Government’s inspired idea I, like Editor Ross Crawford, recently visited the clinic, and was highly impressed by its efficient, speedy, friendly treatment, given every day to a constant flow of users.

Since opening in May 2009, the clinic’s comment book has been filled daily with grateful patients’ words of praise. Caroline and Maggie, plus the local Tory Party, should now honestly, publicly apologise for misguiding their constituents, and start giving well deserved praise to our local and national NHS. Their ‘sudden love’ is dubious and still their increasingly right wing can not be trusted on many subjects. Cameron’s words are shallow and vague. MP Lorely Burt’s belated support is welcomed.

Don Bargery, Solihull


Super club

I REMEMBER the Shirley Stadium club very well. I used to belong to the Co-op Youth Club, above the Co-op shop on Robin Hood Island. Vic Butler ran the club and Joan Riley (née Hall) was secretary. We had dancing, plays, and a cycling club there.

A group of us went with Vic to look at the stadium. I recognised it from once going there with my brother Ian McWilliams who played football for Shirley Town. We all decided that it would be great for a club, so we cleaned it up and the club started. Dennis Lomas, who lived in Marshall Lake Lane, and myself were the first boy and girl members.

It was a really super club to belong to. I remember it being open on Sunday nights. We went to the Odeon in the afternoon and the club in the evening. When it was first opened those of us who belonged to the Co-op club went to both clubs. Then the one must have closed, but I don’t really remember.

I can recall about a dozen names of fellow members, some of whom I am still in contact with. It would be super to have a reunion. We had one for the Co-op club a few years ago but unfortunately only about 20 people attended.

Happy times and even with the war raging people were much gentler and more considerate.

Margaret Grogan

(née McWilliams), Gracemere Crescent, Hall Green


Please reconsider

WITH reference to the article about the proposed closure of the Resource Centre for the visually impaired people of Solihull.

I am partially sighted and I attend the monthly meetings held at the centre where a local RNIB representative and a team of helpers provide us with a cup of coffee after which an invited speaker gives us the latest information and advice on how to cope with visual impairment. It is both interesting and helpful. At the resource centre there is also a large selection of equipment which is designed for visually impaired people which can be tried out to see if it is suitable before buying it.

Most of our members are elderly, but we find that we can get to the resource centre by using public or private transport.

I used to think that VIP stood for Very Important Person. I now realise that it has a more important meaning – Visually Impaired Person. There are a lot of us about and our numbers are increasing every day. So I would implore the chief executive of RNIB and Action for Blind People to reconsider their proposal to close the Resource Centre in Solihull Library.

Ivor Jenkins,

Heston Road, Solihull


Set record straight

I MUST put the record straight regarding the WH Smith takeover of the WRVS shop in Solihull Hospital, and the subsequent hassle the Friends have had.

The Friends of Solihull Hospital had an e-mail from the commercial director of the Trust stating we could no longer take trolleys around the wards. After a very heated discussion with approximately 30 people in attendance (in the Education Centre) with the commercial director, I, and all members present, had the impression that the decision was pushed through without consultation and with no thought given to the effect on patients, and 24 hours later the decision was reversed.

Every penny that is raised by the Friends goes towards the patients’ welfare. We are the only organisation that works in the hospital, that buys vital equipment for the benefit of the patients. There has been some good come out of this as six ex-WRVS staff have joined the Friends.

George Cother, chairman, Friends of Solihull Hospital


Thanks for helping

I WOULD like to thank Tesco and friends and neighbours for their donations to my coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Care on September 25. We all raised £286.40. Thank you all once again.

Pauline Brisker,

Redlands Road, Solihull


A win for the bullies

IRELAND has given a decisive victory for the bully boys, big money and bureaucrats.

The Irish have been terrified by the prospect that a No vote will cost jobs in the downturn.

The conduct of this referendum was a travesty of democracy from start to finish.

A wall of taxpayers’ money has been spent by the ‘Yes’ side.

It is not acceptable that three million Irish votes can determine the future of our country, our democracy and our constitution.

The impact has not been explained to the British people. They do not realise that we can not now leave the EU without the other states agreeing.

There should, of course, be a UK referendum. Will David Cameron deliver? The answer is “No” because the party is euro federalist and the way the MEPs vote proves this point.

Mike Nattress MEP, UKIP


Help for car firms

THE catastrophic news that the Midlands could lose Jaguar or Land Rover is an economic Armageddon nightmare for Birmingham and for Britain. This could result in thousands of jobs being lost and a collapse of house prices throughout the city. It must not be allowed to happen and if needs must the Government must step in and give the motor industry the same kiss of life it gave the banks.

ST Vaughan, Glastonbury Road,

Yardley Wood


Respect us drivers

IT’S party conference time and politicians will be after our votes. Some respect for millions of drivers is overdue. We’ve contributed over £400 billion to public funds since 1997, but haven’t had the service we’ve paid for.

Laws are now so complicated that official bodies have to refund millions for improperly-levied motoring fines and parking penalties. Yet new government rules will land heavy costs on many innocent drivers who successfully challenge prosecutions that should never have been brought. ‘Trial by camera’ is error-prone, and overlooks the fact that most accidents are not caused by speed. Instead, we need more police patrols who can catch drunk and drugged drivers.

Instead of wasting millions on developing unpopular road-pricing schemes, the next government should make best use of existing road space, and stop the gratuitous removal of road space by different authorities.

Increasing congestion doesn’t help anyone, nor does driver fatigue through longer journey times. The Government should resist temptation to reduce safe speed limits on main roads and repair deteriorating roads before they cause accidents.

Cash-strapped authorities should look to improve safety most cost-effectively by engineering out hazards and the ongoing education of road users.

Brian Gregory, chairman,

Association of British Drivers


An act of kindness

I WOULD like to thank the person who handed my gold ring in to Sainsbury’s in Shirley on Wednesday, September 23. I realised I had lost it when I got home. It wasn’t all that expensive, but it was a present from my husband on my 70th birthday, and meant a lot to me. It had been found in the car park by a very kind person who then handed it into the store. On examination, the ring was a little bent from its travels, like me as an 80-year-old! But I was delighted to be reunited with it. Thank you once again to the very kind shopper.

Norah Tuite, Shirley



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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