Letters, Saturday, February 18th, 2012

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Funding checklist must be rewritten

I WONDER if any readers have any experience in applying for and attending a meeting regarding continuous health care funding and completing the decision support tool checklist, which then determines whether the form can be submitted to the NHS PCT Trust to make recommendations for CHC funding toward the applicant’s care needs.

We attended a meeting chaired and led by an NHS CHC nurse co-ordinator from South Tyneside PCT Trust. The co-ordinator explained to us that CHC funding was about looking at the complexity of someone’s needs, the intensity and unpredictability and whether they are above and beyond what statutory services can provide and whether health is responsible to fund the whole package.

Our experience is that the way the checklist is written and evaluated, it is virtually impossible for anyone to fit the criteria for funding.

Incidentally, the “professionals”, whose opinion outweighed the family opinion, consisted of the NHS nurse co-ordinator who had never met our 90-year-old mother but had been the day before to the intermediate centre where mam is at present, to read through the file which holds the daily notes and information on the patient. He also had a computer list of notes from Sunderland Hospital and a list of mam’s medical problems which was sent by her GP.

The second “professional” was mam’s social worker who had met and spoken with her twice.

The third “professional” was a nurse from the care centre who stated that she didn’t know how much she could bring to the meeting.

I was rather shocked how the “professionals” could all agree to score mam’s needs at the lowest score on the checklist, although they didn’t really know her.

The three family members were appalled that their input would be heard at a later stage of the meeting.

Luckily, the meeting was adjourned.

I suggest the PCT and their professional team sit down and rewrite a fairer checklist which will enable funding to go to the frail and vulnerable in our society with complex and intense needs.

As for the “professionals”, I am now in no doubt the only professionals who know their family unpredictability and health deterioration needs are the family members who give unconditional support and care on a daily basis to their loved ones.

Susan Watson, Silksworth

Closure blow

HOW very sad to hear of the proposed closure of The Little Sisters of the Poor in Ettrick Grove. This very large building has wonderful nuns who have served vulnerable residents over many years of caring.

As First Citizen in 1992/93, apart from our two charities for fund-raising, we agreed to give all flowers in that year to the Little Sisters and were present when Sister Agnes reached her 100th birthday with the Right Reverend Ambrose Griffiths and gratefully received a photograph and a small personal gift from that date.

We also started to save postage stamps for the Marie Curie Hospital in Newcastle, which is still continuing.

The outdoor events by the Sisters were always well supported by donations of items, and those residents around the complex will miss them. As the councillors and others have stated, a little bit of Sunderland’s heritage will go, but hopefully any future buyer will consider the same kind of project in its place.

Bill Craddock, Donvale Road, Washington

Group’s hard work

WITH regards to the recent letter from Councillor Colin Wakefield re “Labour jumping on the bandwagon” (Letters, February 11), I feel strongly that I needed to respond to this letter.

I am fully supportive of Rats for their hard work and dedication over many years in trying to ensure that the site is run in a safe and proper manner, or to get rid of the landfill site at Houghton.

I regularly vist my son, who unfortunately lives very close to this eyesore. My son is involved with Rats, and for many years he and all the members have worked together tirelessly by holding regular meetings, which I may add are well attended (not by Labour Party colleagues), leafletting, getting messages over on their Rats website and canvassing support from the Houghton and Copt Hill residents.

I would like to add that the Labour Party have done absolutely nothing to support the Rats group in trying to rid Houghton of this blot on the landscape called a landfill site, so therefore must not take any credit at all.

Maria Marriner

Time to get tough

I COULD not agree more with Mary Metcalfe (Letters, February 9) regarding law and order. If we do not have enough prisons and the criminals do not have the money to pay the fines then what is wrong with resurrecting the cat-o’-nine tails and the birch? Very cheap, very effective.

If Brussels disagrees, then let them use their jails for our criminals.

If the do-gooders disagree, then let them pay the criminals’ fines or the victims’ compensation.

Other countries such as India and Saudi Arabia cane and flog ciminals, yet our Royal Family and Government have no qualms about rubbing shoulders with these regimes.

Let those that frown on flogging frown on the criminals instead, and let the victims determine how many strokes. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.

R. Tomlinson, Seaham