Letters, Thursday, June 6, 2013

Have your say

It is time to give something back

WHILE it appears that Backhouse Park has been neglected over the past few years (letter from city visitor, Echo, May 15), the Friends of Backhouse and Barley Mow Park and the City Council Parks Department are trying to improve the situation.

 Due to council cutbacks the number of park workers has been greatly reduced and thus increased the workload of the park staff. Hardly surprising then, that the park appears neglected.

 The friends’ group at the moment is small in number and the work it undertakes is voluntary.

 City visitor’s views are the same as the majority of comments I hear, but making a complaint is easy: making a difference is the tough part.

 The land which now constitutes the park was left by Thomas William Backhouse (1842-1920) and became a public park in 1923.

 The Backhouse family were Quaker philanthropists and gave away tens of thousands of pounds to charitable causes in Sunderland. To leave this amount of land to be used as a public park has to be one of the Backhouse family’s greatest gestures and, personally, I think it’s about time people paid something back.

 If anyone is interested in joining the friends’ group and being actively involved they would be most welcome.

 Meetings are held in Ashbrooke Sports Club and the details can be seen on the group’s Facebook page. All those interested can share opinions or ideas and keep updated on events in the park.

Don Simpson,

Chairman, Friends of Backhouse and Barley Mow Parks

A waste of time

A LETTER by P Todd, of Sunderland, concerning the time wasted trying to contact a person at a call centre prompts me to write.

 Calling British Telecom, a communications company, is a classic example of how to waste time when trying to speak to a “real person”.

 A major fault has caused parts of Whitburn to be without a landline for varying periods (two-and-half weeks in my case).

 It is a test of stamina and patience to get past the automated, initial ritual to eventually be asked to hold while a voice tell us: “We are experiencing a high volume of calls, thank you for holding. We know you are waiting, your call is important to us, you will be answered by our next available adviser.”

 Eventually in the case of repairing a fault, a very polite but difficult to understand person, in an Indian call centre, tries to deal with the problem by asking more questions, then they talk to someone in the UK.

 A most intelligent communications service.

 These time wasting call centre systems really need to change.

Ld’Hon J R Oliver,


End blame culture

I AM very upset and angry about how the Registered Nurse, Rani George, has been treated.

 The remaining staff on that ward seem to be working within a “blame culture”.

 She was named after the inquest as if she was a criminal, when all she was trying to do was help a patient. She has had no support from her managers and because of this situation she has been very ill with stress.

 The ward is extremely short staffed and the staff work very hard. They are told to just get on with it as the ward has spent its budget and cannot employ bank staff.

 What Nurse George did was what every nurse would have done, administer oxygen to a patient whose oxygen levels were low. What she did wrong was not documenting it. The staff on this ward are not happy, they require support and not to be told to “get on with it”.

 Because some abusive practices have been reported in other hospitals by the media, some people have now lost trust in hospital staff and this is wrong, as the majority of nurses and health care assistants are thoughtful and caring.

 Mistakes are made by ward staff when they do not have enough time to physically care for their patients and document everything.

  One nurse and one health care assistant to 14 patients is unsafe. I have seen this myself as both a patient and a nurse.

 Bring back the nurse training I had in the 1970s, where student nurses were trained on the wards for 90 per cent of the time. The wards were well staffed and students learnt a lot from day one.

 Everyone is upset when someone dies but please look at the nursing staff’s side too.

J Jones,


Dreading the fair

WHEN the decision was made to allow Newcastle Hoppings to come to Herrington Country Park was anyone in Penshaw, Herrington or Newbottle consulted about how it is likely to affect the residents?

 Personally, I am dreading what is likely to be nine days and evenings of very loud music.

 The height of summer when we can enjoy relaxing in our gardens now promises to be a problem.

 If the folk of Penshaw plan to escape to the seaside with the children or go into town during it all, I image the traffic problems will be horrendous.

 What advice was given regarding the effect it will have on the wildlife in our beautiful country park.

 No other affairs celebrated in the park have been on such a large and long scale.

 In fact, the County Show was refused a few years back. I believe because of the cost of policing it.

Joyce Dixon,


Reuniting pals

WHILE on holiday in Cyprus we met a Scot called Terry McLoughlin. Terry would like to get in touch with Al Newton who was last heard of in Washington.

 They both served in the RAF at RAF Crompton Bassett and RAF Church Fenton in 1962-63.

 Terry can be reached on 00357 96295480 (Cyprus) or at janicemcloughlin@yahoo.co.uk

 Here’s hoping two old pals can be reunited.

Joyce Mann,


Here to stay

FURTHER to Neil Johnson’s stated “amusement” that people are fans of UKIP (Echo, May 23), he obviously agrees with Cameron’s low opinion and insults of UKIP supporters, 5,988 of whom voted UKIP in the South Shields By-election.

 Support populist rabble-rousing standpoints? Nothing could be further from the truth.

 If Mr Johnson has a serious look at UKIP’s policies instead of his stated “cursory glance”, he will find that UKIP’s policies include no tax or NI on minimum wage of £13,000, protection for the NHS against privatisation, providing the best education for our children and improving social mobility by ensuring they have equal opportunity, enhancing old age pensions plus a wide range of other common sense policies aimed at helping the hardworking people of this country.

 We also have a sensible immigration policy, similar to that of Canada and Australia, which will ensure we have sufficient quality homes, school places, hospitals that are not over burdened and jobs for our youngsters.

 UKIP voters are are sick of successive Labour and Conservative governments with their self-serving career politicians, who have never done a proper job, as well as part-time Labour Councillors in the North East (who awarded themselves a 20.8 per cent pay rise last year when everyone else had to accept a pay freeze or cut).

 UKIP voters are people who view UKIP as a real alternative to New Labour, a party that will recognise and reward hard working people and put them first.

 After decades of loyal support the Labour legacy to the North East is the highest unemployment of any region in the UK.

 Insult UKIP voters at your peril, Mr Johnson. They’re here to stay.

Richard Elvin,

UKIP candidate

South Shield by-election

Be a volunteer

THIS week is Volunteers’ Week.

 On behalf of Royal Voluntary Service, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our volunteers in the North of England for their unwavering dedication and hard work.

 For 365 days a year our 40,000 volunteers provide meals, transport services and companionship to older people. It is their dedication and compassion which allows older people to live fulfilled lives while staying independent in their homes for longer.

 I would like to encourage more people to volunteer. Making a difference to someone’s life is something that our volunteers do every day.

 Whether you can spare a few hours once a week or fortnight or can give a couple of days each month, we will have an opportunity for you.

 For more information visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or call 0845 600 5885.

Carol Nevison,

Royal Voluntary Service head of operations, North of England