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I WAS interested to read your article regarding the closure of the WRVS shop at Solihull.

I WAS interested to read your article regarding the closure of the WRVS shop at Solihull.

I volunteer for the WRVS, taking the trolley round the wards and have done so regularly for the last year or so. This involves taking newspapers, magazines, drinks, sweets etc from the shop around the wards for the benefit of patients. We are told by patients that this service is a real lifeline to them.

This is actually a valuable social service too. There are many elderly patients at Solihull, many of whom do not get regular visitors. I am often told that the time we take to chat with patients is very highly appreciated.

Of course, this trolley service won’t now happen and I am extremely surprised that the Trust would allow this to happen. I actually thought that the Friends of the hospital would take a trolley round in conjunction with WH Smith, but this does not appear to be happening.

I was surprised by the quote from the hospital saying that their research showed that “a wider selection of retail goods and services was required”.

This is clearly not true, and if it is then WH Smith (being a newsagent) is going to deliver no wider a selection of goods than the WRVS did. In fact, in the shop currently you will find (as well as a selection of daily newspapers, magazines, books and puzzle books) soft toys, greetings cards, gifts, baby clothes, painkillers, toothbrushes, tissues etc. If patients required even more than this why not just ask if we could stock any additional items?

What in fact happened is that when the lease on the shop went out to tender and WH Smith submitted a bid that provided the Trust with a greater amount of rent than the WRVS bid did. There is no more to it than that.

Laura Benfield, via e-mail.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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