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Recorder letters: Chemotherapy ward closure, Quietway, antisemitism meetings and cost of town hall pensions

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 October 2018

The Cedar Centre at King George Hospital will close. Picture: KEN MEARS

The Cedar Centre at King George Hospital will close. Picture: KEN MEARS

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Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Trust must replace cancer care staff

Bob Archer, chairman, Redbridge Trades Council and Andy Walker, Blythswood Road, Ilford, write:

The closure of the Cedar cancer chemotherapy outpatient ward at King George due to an inability to find six staff is alarming.

Never before has a unit at King George been closed because staff cannot be found to work there.

King George and Queen’s provide a good cancer service, this high quality care is under threat until these six staff are replaced.

We seek an assurance from Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) that they will work towards replacing these staff to allow the unit to be re-opened and suggest re-opening the Cedar Ward for chemotherapy is placed on the monthly board agenda so that patients and the public can monitor progress.

We are also concerned that BHRUT is not providing an ambulatory emergency care (AEC) unit, despite every other hospital in east London set to be provided with one.

Both the chemotherapy and an AEU were to be provided at King George as residual services after King George A&E was closed in the original 2010 closure plan. In November 2017 we were promised a review of the closure of King George A&E.

This promise needs to be kept and we encourage readers to attend the Save King George A&E/don’t overload Queen’s walk from Havering Town Hall at 1pm on November 25 to Redbridge Town Hall for 3pm.

Quietway good in theory only

S H Grandite, Redbridge Pensioners Forum, full address supplied, writes:

The new Quietway 6 cycle path along existing side roads is in theory good.

Eleven out of 10 cyclists will still use the pavements on main roads while using their smartphone with large headphones which could be fatal as they can’t hear anything apart from the smartphone.

And people who have never driven or seen cycling problems on main roads need to learn road craft.

Wrong to allow meeting in library

Ze’ev Gee and Jonathan Hoffman, address supplied, write:

We refer to the Redbridge Momentum meeting held at Ilford Library on 4 October. You published a letter from one of us (Ze’ev Gee) about the meeting. The following week Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Deborah Fink responded.

Your readers need to know that the anti-Zionist views of Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Deborah Fink are not shared by the vast majority of the UK Jewish population; according to a 2015 survey, 90per cent of UK Jews support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, which makes them Zionists.

It is the fundamental right of a minority to state what it finds offensive.

The Jewish community has expressed its view in the IHRA definition of antisemitism – which inter alia states that it’s antisemitic to call Israel a “racist state”.

Redbridge Council has adopted the IHRA definition. It also has an equality and diversity strategy.

Wimborne-Idrissi disingenuously claims that the meeting was to discuss “the diversity of views among Jews about how to fight antisemitism”! But it was quite clear from the advert for the meeting – as well as from the identity of the two speakers – that its purpose was to encourage the rejection of IHRA definition.

To deny Jews the right to state what is antisemitic is itself antisemitic. That is why those refused entry protested outside the meeting, alongside a former Mayor of Redbridge, Mr Ashley Kissin.

The council should not have offered its premises for a meeting which breached the IHRA definition as well as its equality strategy.

Thirteen Jewish people were denied entry to the meeting.

Wimborne-Idrissi’s suggestion that their barring was because of “a history of trying to ban or disrupt meetings by supporters of Palestine” is the ultimate in disingenuity.

Wimborne-Idrissi also suggests that those who asked the council for the meeting to be cancelled suggested it would be “violent”. No they did not suggest that!

If these extremists want to meet to deny a minority the right to define what offends it, they have the right. What they do not have, is the right to meet in a taxpayer-funded building of a council which has correctly set its face against antisemitism.

Verbal abuse as I left meeting

Keith Hallam, Ilford, full address supplied, writes:

I attended the antisemitism meeting held in Ilford Library on October 4.

In fact I found the meeting so uninteresting I was one of the first to leave. As I left I saw a group of people waving Israel flags, accompanied by several uniformed police, waiting outside the library.

Despite the police presence these people shouted abuse at me. They will find great difficulty in generating support for their political views if they behave in such an odd manner.

If they shout abuse simply because someone is walking on the public pavement, even with police present, then excluding these louts is fully justified.

Where were the ward councillors?

Alexander Sussman, full address supplied, writes:

On Thursday, October 18 a meeting of Muslims against antisemitism took place in Barkingside ward which was very well attended by members of the public and local councillors, however it was most noticeable that none of the three Labour councillors for Barkingside ward attended this important meeting. Shame on you!

It was also very noticeable that the leader of the council did not want to take questions from the floor as he said he had another meeting to go to.

However, he was forced to take one question on Labour’s serious problem of antsemitism and the attitude of the leader of the Labour party regarding this serious matter.

It was the view of many and not the few who attended this meeting that he wanted to rush off so he would not have to deal with more questions on the same problem.

I had to work from 14 to 72

Mr A Still, York Road, Ilford, writes:

I read that £500 of everyone’s council tax goes to fund town hall workers’ pensions.

I think this is very wrong. My pension is way less than what the town hall people get.

I and others should not be subsidising people who retire at 60 and live until they are 90. They don’t get all the stress I had as a salesman on commission.

I worked until I was 72, I had to, and enjoyed it. I worked from the age of 14 (Bearman’s of Leytonstone) than at Harrison Gibson and Waring & Gillow at Oxford Street. That is work, not this 20 to 60 brief work period.

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