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Letters to the editor 01/03/18

Of course Ann Moss unit should stay open

Thank you for highlighting the issue regarding Ann Moss Specialist Care Unit in last week’s Southwark News.  Your leader is headed “Why get rid of something that is working?” and I could not agree with you more.

SLaM has been angling to close Ann Moss Unit in Rotherhithe for a couple of years.  I am convinced this is why the occupancy is low and not because there isn’t a chronic and increasing need for these places.

I learn from your piece “Mum will lose her ‘forever’ home”  that the planned closure is August this year.  I have been invited to a consultation about this proposal by Cha Power, Deputy Director of Operations at SLaM, but this does not give a date.

You have already published letters from me on this subject on 9th June 2016 and 27th July 2017.  The arguments against closing Ann Moss Unit have not changed.  The elderly people of Southwark will lose a very good service for those of us who suffer from advanced dementia either now or in the future.

At one time, SLaM had six specialist care units in Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Croydon.  If Ann Moss closes, only Greenvale in Streatham will remain.  It is also proposed to locate acute dementia care at Chelsham House at the Royal Bethlem Hospital near West Wickham in the London Borough of Bromley.  Both Greenvale and Chelsham House are a long way from Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.

This means that family and friends will be less likely to visit and the loneliness and confusion associated with dementia will be exacerbated.  There will be considerable distress in the immediate future for the current residents who will have to move to a totally different environment with different staff.

I have been informed that the closure of Ann Moss Unit is ‘part of a national strategy where the emphasis is long term community care and short stays in inpatient and specialist care’.  The reality is that it will be extremely difficult and often impossible for family members to care for their elderly relatives at home if they are suffering from forms of dementia with challenging behaviour even if maximum support were made available which it usually isn’t.

The probability is that the kind of residents who have been admitted to these specialist units will have to move in future to private nursing homes at considerable expense and where the staff are less likely to be properly trained to care for them.

At one time, SLaM provided day care at Felix Post Care Unit in the Maudsley and Holmdene Care Centre in Herne Hill but they have long since closed.  A Home Treatment Team for elderly people in Southwark has been established but this provides a short-term service and the carers of deteriorating elderly people need long-term support.  This is increasingly devolved on to voluntary organisations, support groups, friends and family.

I appreciate that policies of the current Government are imposing cuts and seriously affecting both SLaM and Southwark Council but I think this is short-term planning and not much to do with what is best for the people of Southwark.  There will be good equity in the Ann Moss site so close to the river but it’s ‘selling off the family silver’ once again.

Sally Lynes, Camberwell

Paid for doing nothing?

Would you like to have a job where you get paid for doing absolutely nothing?

A job where you can spend all day just wandering around, talking to your friends on your phone, going on social media on your phone – in fact doing anything that you want on your phone.

A job where you can sit in a nice warm place when the weather is cold or wet.

A job where you can just wander around outside soaking up the rays when the sun is shining.

By now you must be thinking “Surely a job like that couldn’t exist and there must be a catch somewhere”.

You’re right, there is a catch. You have to wear a hi vis vest / jacket that says “Fire Warden” on the back of it!

Don’t believe me? Just have a walk around Bermondsey now and look at the places where there used to be huge old council estates.

Estates that were well built, were mainly lived in by council tenants, were places where a true community spirit existed and a lot of which even survived getting hit by bombs during the Blitz of World War 2.

In their infinite wisdom, Southwark Council decided to demolish those old estates and sell the land to property developers who have built new estates which are mainly occupied by people who can afford to pay ridiculous prices to live in a new flat in “The new trendy Bermondsey” and who probably think that “Community Spirit” is some kind of a new alcoholic beverage!

After reading that last bit, you’re probably thinking “What has any of that got to do with the thing at the beginning of this about a job where you can get paid for doing nothing, that sounds to good to be true”?

Well, following investigations that took place after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, a lot of these new estates  (and keep in mind these new estates replaced perfectly safe estates that survived WW2) have been considered to be unsafe because of the cladding used on them.

How do I come to the conclusion that these new estates are unsafe (even though it has not been stated publicly)?

It’s quite simple really: Why would anybody pay people to hang around doing nothing if there were no safety concerns?

Just one other question: Who is paying these people. Southwark Council or the property developers?

Tony Moorcroft, Bermondsey


Toilets needed in Blue

Kate was right in her recent letter to Southwark News, February 8, 2018, about the Blue.

Stallholders have no toilet or hand-washing facilities, neither do the local shoppers. Young mothers need baby changing rooms. Surely people cannot be expected to queue in the library or the Old Bank public house.

On Saturday afternoons when visiting teams come to play Millwall the Blue is packed are we expected to walk through all these people to access the toilet?

You must ensure facilities are available for hygiene sake and signage to help visitors.

We locals love our Blue, where we can meet up with old friends and have a chat.

Losing our Coop was a bad mistake, thank God we still have Iceland.

Referring to the letter ‘Blue Momentum’, Southwark News, February 15, 2018, from Councillor Leo Pollak, Labour Member for South Bermondsey Ward, perhaps he and his team could visit local schools and colleges and ask the young adults what they would like to see in the Blue, perhaps record shops or milk bars.

Councillor Pollak take the team back to have another look and please give us back our toilets.

Pat Dukes, Bermondsey 


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