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WEEKEND WEB: Spalding Guardian letters

Reader Mark Joy's gorgeous photo of a waxwing.
Reader Mark Joy's gorgeous photo of a waxwing.

Your views on health, politics, transport.... and Jesus

Health centre deserves help and support

John Elson's Guardian cartoon
John Elson's Guardian cartoon

Regarding your report: ‘Inadequate surgery is put in special measures’. This has come as a shocking piece of news at the start of 2018 as I have lived in Carrington Road for 29 years and have been a long-term patient of the Pennygate Health Centre for most of that time.

Like so many people within the community I am very concerned about the centre being rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission inspectors and what must be going through people’s minds as what to do next?

I have the greatest repect for Dr Azmeena Nathu, the nurses and all the staff that work at the centre in Pennygate. I know the doctor works long hours like so many of our valued NHS staff up and down the country.

The report refers to over 3,000 patients, but I would imagine the figure would be closer to 4,000 now because of the increase in the local population. With so few comment cards filled in it must be difficult to judge the views of almost 4,000 patients.

The health centre provides a valued service to the local area – where would we be without it in the worst case? If people moved from one practice to another, this would only have an impact on the few facilities we do have.

Living in a deprived area of Spalding I would be wanting to know the source of the problem here and what can be done to help. As this current government continue to be in denial about the crisis in our NHS, local services are bound to feel the impact.

NHS England figures for October 2016 had 3.9 million people waiting for non-urgent operations, the highest level recorded since December 2007. Now NHS bosses have divided the country into geographical areas called STP footprints (sustainability and transformation plans). This device will only be used to further cut and privatise services to implement £20billion of so-called efficiency savings by 2020. It is totally unfair to ask NHS staff to deliver more and provide better services with less money and resourses. It is time this cruel attack was stopped by giving the NHS proper funding and give services like the Pennygate Health Centre time to care, not time to cut. I hope this situation can be resolved with the help and support that this health centre deserves for the benefit of the local community it serves.

Rodney Sadd


Pompous but an exemplary local MP

John Hayes is prone to Churchilian pomposity, self promotion and a reliance on broad generalities. After all, he is a professional politician.

John is an exemplary constituency parliamentarian. There are few causes he will not support on behalf of any constituent. John is genuinely religious. I have been an agnostic since early childhood but disapprove of any who denigrate or ridicule those for whom, like my mother, their faith is their guide for life.

As a rational empiricist my guide for life is Maynard Keynes the economist. When the facts change I change my opinion. What do you do?

My early life experiences and school taught me to be wary of anyone who always answers Cromwell’s question, addressed to the Scots leaders when seeking a negotiated peaceful resolution to differences between the Scots and English in 1650: “I beseech you, from the bowels of Christ, think it not possible that you may be mistaken?” The Scots leaders emphatically said no. In 1651 Cromwell and his New Model Army so soundly thrashed the Scots that by 1707 they voluntarily surrendered their sovereignty.

John and I both revere 17th Century pragmatic politician and sage Edmund Burke but not always from the same perspective. Burke wrote: “I am not one of those who think that the people are never wrong, they have been, frequently and outrageously, both in other countries and this. But I do say that, in all disputes between them and their rulers, the presumption is at least on a par in favour of the people.”

Burke, a democrat, believed that the views of the people should be given fair consideration through debate.

During my lifetime, politics, feeding on media coverage, has degenerated into a raucous exchange of snippets of information designed to reinforce people’s existing prejudices.

Communication to inform, enlighten and persuade people through compromise to reinstate and reinforce the socal cohesion that the country needs is a rarity in the triumphalist rhetoric of the Leavers.

The systemic weakness in Britain’s economy and social fabric can only be successfully addressed if the country can restore its social cohesion.

So John, less pomposity and waffle in your Hayes in the House column.

Paul Walls


Sort out this muddy, sodden, metal-strewn, road

Following your article about South Fen Road, I would like to make some comments.

Having driven all over Britain and abroad in recent years, I believe South Fen Road to be one of the worst roads I have driven on, if not THE worst!

The local farm tracks are in much better condition.I have written to Lincolnshire County Council and the Highways department on several occasions to complain about the disgraceful state of this road, only to be fobbed off with the same old excuses about limited resources and other more urgent repairs .

Central Government made funds available for Lincolnshire roads, so I fail to accept these excuses.

I fear damage to my car every time I use this road and am absolutely embarrassed to use this road when I have visitors.

The road needs complete resurfacing from end to end. Even the section that was resurfaced a couple of years ago is already showing signs of deterioration.

Every pothole that the council repair is back to a pothole after the first rains, being a complete waste of time and taxpayers’ money, money which could have been spent on doing a proper repair.

There are hidden dips which, to the unsuspecting driver, could easily result in a vehicle ending up in the ditch or serious damage to the vehicle.

There should be a speed restriction for the whole length of road. The central white line needs to be replaced for the whole length of road, absolutely essential for dark, foggy nights!

A parking area for the heavy lorries using the scrapyard should be built.

How they were ever allowed to park along the road, causing road blockages and damage to the road sides, is beyond belief.

I suggest the existing section of road be used by the scrapyard and a new section built alongside to by-pass this muddy, sodden, metal-strewn, puncture-damage section!

This road is also used as a detour route when the busy A15 or the A151 is closed for repair or accident, quite a common practice. I could go on but I think you get the message.

John Broadley

via email

Thought For The Week...

We are journeying into January, leaving 2017 behind, still making mistakes as we date 2017, not 2018!

Thought about the journeys after the arrival at the innkeeper’s stable. The return journeys of the shepherds back to their flocks, singing as they picked up their night job again. The Wise Men on their camels, having outwitted the political game playing of Herod, the baddie in the story, returning to their astrology.

With Mary, Joseph and now new baby Jesus returning to the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth.

A return to the ordinary after a theophany, a breaking in of God to human history, and the dynamic of incarnation, God coming and dwelling in human flesh to come into the human condition.

So a return journey back into our rhythms and routines even ruts for months, until this year ends with weeks of preparation for the Christmas arrival again in the innkeeper’s stable.

Oh dear, that does seem such a waste, returning to our normal and ordinary, leaving behind in 2017 the experience of encountering the Christ child and singing and praising his arrival. Please then can we journey into 2018 sharing the amazing and shocking good news that God is with us, Immanuel, all year round.

Rev Frances Ballantyne

Spalding Methodist Church


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