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Recorder letters: King George hospital, Oakfields and successful Recorder campaign

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 February 2018

King George Hospital, Goodmayes. Picture: KEN MEARS

King George Hospital, Goodmayes. Picture: KEN MEARS

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

We must not sell off hospital land

Andy Walker, Blythswood Road, Ilford and Carol Ackroyd (on behalf of NE London STP campaign), write:

It is shocking that plans to close King George A&E and sell NHS land to housing developers have not been jettisoned.

The population of north-east London is set to rise by 15 per cent, but already occupancy rates for acute beds at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust regularly exceed safe levels.

Patient safety is severely compromised by lack of beds and lengthy waits for A&E. The trust doesn’t publish occupancy rates for critical care beds, but we believe levels are equally unsafe.

We demand no sell-off of NHS land until you have produced concrete data and evidence (not the usual empty rhetoric) demonstrating just how the local NHS can meet our needs.

We understand the NHS is being forced to make cuts, but we expect health service managers and local politicians to keep local people fully informed of all the risks this poses (through the local paper and other means) so we can let our MPs and councillors hear our priorities for safe and comprehensive healthcare.

Back Oakfields application

Cllr Joyce Ryan, Howard Berlin, Ruth Clark, Fairlop Action Team, write:

At last Thursday’s council meeting we heard another example of the Redbridge Labour administration not listening and not understanding a key local issue.

Howard Berlin asked the council to support a Fields in Trust application at Oakfield Playing Fields. Fields in Trust is a wonderful organisation that used to be called National Playing Fields Association and was formed in 1925. The object of the organisation has not changed since 1925 and is to ensure that everyone, young or old, should have access to free local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation. As their website says “these places are vital to building happy and healthy communities”.

To their credit our council unanimously supported a Fields in Trust application at Wanstead Rugby Club back in 2016. There are many similarities between Wanstead Rugby Club and Oakfield. So we ask the question why Redbridge Labour administration voted down the Conservative motion for Fields in Trust at Oakfield last November and why did Cllr Bain say no to Howard Berlin’s request for a rethink?

Cllr Bain and Cllr Athwal have both stated that Oakfield is not publicly accessible. Our response to this is will you please both go to Oakfield and Wanstead Rugby Club and see for yourselves why you are both wrong and look at the similarities.

Why is this so important? The reason is because it gives an extra layer of protection to Oakfield Playing Fields from development. Another reason is that membership opens other ways for the sports clubs who use Oakfield to gain additional sponsorship in order to improve the facilities. All of this will enhance what should be the common objective of building happy and healthy communities. It will be a win/win situation for the council, the sports clubs and the local community.

Cllr Athal has said “I looked at the requirements for Fields in Trust and one of them is there must be public access”. We say the decision whether Oakfield is appropriate or not should be made by Fields in Trust themselves and not by Cllr Athwal. We are again asking Cllr Athwal to do the right thing and support an application for Fields in Trust status at Oakfield Playing Fields.

Prostitution piece shocked me

Gurpreet Bhatia, Barking, full address supplied, writes:

I read with interest your recent in depth expose on prostitution in the borough and a reader’s suggestion to tackle this growing issue (Terry Sykes).

It was shocking to note that 60 per cent of men caught soliciting women were residents of the borough and importantly afraid of their actions becoming known. I believe that this is another way in conjunction with fines and other legal avenues to fight this epidemic. The publication of photographs and names of men fined just as in the case of many other crimes in the local paper should not be underestimated as a deterrent. The wave of resentment and shame that such published photographs would bring to oneself and their families within many ethnic minority communities would be a powerful preventative tool.

In this year of the women I applaud the council and the police for their recent initiatives to reduce this problem and protect many vulnerable women from physical and emotional harm.

Congratulations on Recorder homeless campaign success

Terry Sykes, Trinity Road, Barkingside, writes:

Congratulations to you for reaching your target for the Recorder’s ‘Winter is Coming’ appeal.

I first became aware of the growing numbers of homeless people living on the streets about 25 years ago when I was working in the City of London. I then realised how the numbers were increasing further when I saw homeless people on the streets in other cities such as Canterbury and Cambridge. During the last few years I’ve only needed to go the Gants Hill or Ilford (or even Barkingside High Street) to witness the plight of the homeless.

As a result of those experiences, I became a firm supporter of Shelter and Crisis.

Homelessness is ‘just the other side of the front door’ and is a situation that all sorts of people from all ages and from a variety of backgrounds have found themselves in, for many different reasons.

I was pleased to read that the Recorder is going to continue to keep the issue of homelessness in the public conscience by dedicating two pages a month dealing with the crisis.

While charitable organisations – and Ilford Salvation Army, are to be congratulated for the valuable work it they are doing making a vital and major contribution, homelessness has become far too great a problem for it to be left to those charities. I agree with Wes Streeting’s comment that “It’s now up to the government to invest in the homes and support that people need”.

Isn’t it a fundamental human right that everybody should be entitled to a decent place in which to live? The fact that people have been allowed to die on our streets because that right wasn’t afforded them is a national disgrace. This state of affairs has continued for far too long – it’s high time that the government put a stop to it.


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