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Letters to the editor: 05/01/17

Our elderly should come first

While our own old people are in such need, it simply grotesque that we are spending £12 billion a year on foreign aid.

Much of it either squandered on going straight into the pockets of despots and their lackeys.

Remember back in 2013 when ministers gave us a categorical assurance that the elderly would never again have to sell their homes to pay for social care.

This was billed as a ‘universal’ scheme allowing everyone to defer costs until their deaths far from being open to all, the policy will apply only to those with savings of less than £23,200. As for the rest, they will have to pay upfront for their care, spending their life savings and giving up every advantage for which they have sacrificed so much during their working lives.

Inevitably, many will be left with too little to maintain their homes and will be forced to sell up.

Is it best to squander all your money when you’re young and don’t worry, the state will look after you in your old age?

But woe betide those who do the right thing, pay their taxes and national insurance and put something aside for their retirement. They’ll get nothing for their pains but more bills.

If more money is to be raised by increasing council tax to invest in better elderly care the government must stop squandering our cash on vanity projects and foreign aid.

The £1 billion spent on ‘foreign aid consultants’ is £1 billion not spent on training care home assistants to treat their elderly residents with dignity, rather than behaving inhumanly towards them.

There is no getting around the fact that looking after old people, especially the growing ranks of the 90-year-olds, is a very expensive business.

Britain is one of the most charitable nations on earth and will always continue to give both publicly and privately. But charity should be given on the basis of need, not some arbitrary target.

And our own elderly and vulnerable should be at the very front of the queue.

One of the benchmarks of a civilised society is that it treats its elderly with dignity and guarantees they will be looked after when they can no longer look after themselves.

Reg O’ Donoghue, Walworth


Get psychiatrists to see sense

The recent report that a mental health patient was in King’s A&E for 46 hours, because of a shortage of a specialist psychiatric unit, though shocking, is not the blame of the King’s A&E staff!

The fact that the once Maudsley A&E is just across the road and is empty, is what is really shocking.

We at Southwark Pensioners Action Group (Spag) know there are psychiatrists who agree with us, but cannot be named as they do not want to lose their jobs! It is the senior ones who hold the purse strings that refuse to see sense!

The A&E unit is empty but obviously needs staffing. We should be working together to make the Government provide funding for the mentally ill!

However, South London & Maudsley (SLAM)  need to change some of their tactics. They are happy to say it is difficult because of the stigma that goes with mental health. We at SPAG believe we should be promoting there is no shame in having a mental health problem. For those who are not aware stigma is the same as shame.

To combat stigma, King’s have a clinic for the elderly called the Betty Alexander. It is excellent.

The first thing you see on entering, is a large sign saying WELCOME. So the first thing I would do if they reopen the Maudsley, it to have a large sign overhead saying WELCOME.

Actually, I believe we may have the law on our side, as when SLAM closed the A&E , parliament decreed they can only close it , if there is something in place at King’s which is ‘fit for purpose’.  As we all know, this never happened.

Tom White, SPAG health spokesman


Do you know my gran’s house?

This image is of my great grandmother Elizabeth Catherine Birch who lived at 70 & 72 East Surrey Grove in from 1930 until death in 1952.

I’m not sure if this image is Pre 1940. I just wondered if different architects added extras to the front. I am really trying to find this house.

I looked at the East Surrey Grove houses from the Blitz, but they looked very basic.

I believe the 1940 Bomb just missed 72 and hit 66. Also on the image are these flowers, veg grown under the windows. Are there any other images of buildings/houses of this design?  Any idea where this house is would be great. It seems many streets had different designs around Peckham. If you can help email birch1966@aol.com

Stephen Birch, via email


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