Letters: Hospital closure is about money, not patient care

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I was deeply concerned to read of NHS Lothian’s plans to close Liberton Hospital in Edinburgh (News, April 29).

This hospital, although small, provides focused care for our elderly, and often, our most frail residents. It proved excellent care for my grandmother in the final weeks of her life after a severe stroke at the end of last year. This superb care was in sharp contrast to the failures in care experienced at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary immediately after her stroke.

In the same report in which NHS Lothian discusses closing Liberton, the health board reports that by 2020, the number of over-75s in Lothian will have increased by over 22 per cent. With this in mind, what sense is there in closing hospitals where specialist care for that very age group is standardised and of a good quality?

The argument is that the location isn’t suitable, or the building is not up to standard. The reality is, however, that NHS Lothian is failing to meet its savings targets and is feeling financial pressure. It wants to sell land to property developers. At the very least NHS Lothian should be honest about the reason for rationalising sites in Edinburgh. This isn’t about patients. It’s about money.

While NHS Lothian will formally tell people that they “have no plans”, their own proposals contained within Our Health, Our Future make clear that three hospitals are being considered for closure, with Liberton being one of them. What else does looking for opportunities to “safely move off site” mean? Closure is on the cards.

That’s why I’ve set up the Save Liberton Hospital campaign. I hope that your readers will join this campaign. Events will be organised in the next few weeks, but people can sign up to the Save Liberton Hospital Facebook page and also follow the campaign on twitter @saveliberton.

The excellent care that Liberton provides for our frail and elderly residents should be valued, celebrated and protected – not threatened by closure by a health board which is simply trying to dig itself out of a financial hole, part of which is of its own making with its manipulation of waiting times.

Alan Laing, Craighouse Terrace, Edinburgh

City decision not to have Porty elections

As a member of Portobello Community Council I write to clarify some points made in the letter by Sean Watters (Numbers on Porty council must change, April 26).

The proposal by the City Of Edinburgh Council is to reduce the number of group positions by more than 50 per cent, from 15 to seven, and group positions from 15 to 14.

Mr Watters claims that: “on occasions, candidates standing as individuals have been found groups to represent instead, specifically to avoid having an election”. I am not aware of this occurring more than once but it happened at the change of community council in 2009, at the insistence of the City of Edinburgh Council, as they wanted to avoid the hassle and expense of an election. There were no community council elections anywhere in the city.

Blame is being laid at the door of PCC for not having an election, which lies fairly and squarely with the council itself. The reduction of group numbers on the community council will lead to a decrease in diversity of views and representation, one of the key tenets of the Scheme for Community Councils. If the reduction of nominated groups goes through, then the community council is likely to be taken over by a cabal, leading to a danger of group thinking and becoming less representative of the 
community it serves.

Diana Cairns, Portobello

Growing number of events is security risk

In the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing, can it be assumed that security for the Edinburgh race will be beefed up?

People should of course be able to take part in these events without fear of attack and the need for security should be kept to a minimum, but in an increasingly volatile world this would appear to be no longer the case.

Not only that, but perhaps the time has come to review the trend for hosting large scale public events since there now seems to be an ever increasing number throughout the year.

These events might bring out the best in people and considerable sums may be raised for charity but perhaps things have now been taken too far.

Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh

Let’s return to days of gardyloo in Old Town

I am sorry that Edinburgh’s Old Town has now to suffer the sight of black communal wheelie bins.

Why can our council not return to a traditional solution? A nightly shout of “gardyloo” would surely appeal to our tourist industry, whilst the clearing up in the morning of the resultant fenestral effusion of refuse would be a sensible source of gainful employment for our increasing army of indigent persons who, in these days of austerity and reduced social security, seem to be reduced to similarly littering the streets with their begging bowls.

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh

No one is fooled by depiction of Antarctica

In the film The Day After Tomorrow, the Antarctica ice caps are portrayed as rapidly melting, yet in reality the ice caps are growing in length and height and are now covering more distance than ever before.

Why on earth do the people who make these factually false films never stop to think that their scaremongering not only isn’t working but also that we realised a long time ago that global warming/ climate change is nothing more than a relentless con with the only desire to make people look important and also to give our governments an excuse to rip us off?

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar, East Lothian