Reader’s letters - Wednesday April 29, 2015

North West Air Ambulance is part of an excellent health service in Lancashire
North West Air Ambulance is part of an excellent health service in Lancashire
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Tribute to caring hospital

In these days when the NHS seems to receive nothing but criticism, I would like to let you know of the wonderful service and support we received last Friday.

My 82-year-old father, Don, collapsed at home, in South Cumbria, in the early evening and was unconscious. His wife Jean, after putting him into the recovery position, rang the emergency services.

The lady who answered stayed on the phone offering advice and being really supportive to Jean. Within 10 minutes the first responder arrived, quickly followed by a paramedic, ambulance and because he had hit his head, the air ambulance. They all acted quickly and with great professionalism to stabilise Don. The decision was then made to airlift Don to the Royal Preston Hospital where we arrived some 30 minutes after he did.

They immediately did a CT scan and chest X-ray (he had COPD and a chest infection). The consultant and sister were patient, compassionate while also being open and honest with us.

Throughout the rest of the evening and night all the staff went out of their way to make sure Don was comfortable and that we were alright.

At 2am they even went to the trouble of moving Don to a side ward on the fifth floor, so we could have more privacy.

Sadly Don did not recover consciousness but even after he had passed away we could not have received more compassion and respect then we did from all the night staff and afterwards from the bereavement services.

Kevin Matthews, via e-mail

Shale approach has been wrong

As a resident of Fylde with some oil and gas experience there has been too much said and written about ‘fracking’. Let’s strip it down to basics, the technology exists (with one exception) to carry out this process with as close to zero risk as any human activity. The only ‘frack’ in the UK which represents the future was done at Preese Hall in 2011. The Environment Agency tested the water which came back to the surface after fracking. They discovered a cocktail of toxic and carcinogenic materials in the water but these can be removed – at a cost. The technical exception is the radioactive content of this water.

This was substantially in excess of what is allowed for routine disposal. In the case of Preese Hall it was disposed of, untreated, by dilution because the quantity was relatively small. That would absolutely not be acceptable for production quantities. One idiot official suggested existing treatment processes and facilities would cope with dilution as a solution. They will not even begin to cope. I searched the recently delivered four page glossy from Cuadrilla ‘ The Fylde Explorer’ for some information on this issue but found none.

I am aware a company called Remsol, based in Penwortham, has been working with Cuadrilla to deal with the issue of waste water management. That is to be applauded but I could not find on their website any reference to radioactivity. Based on the volume of water from Preese Hall transported for decontamination and the maximum size of tankers on UK roads the estimate of HGV movements included in ‘The Fylde Explorer’ seems remarkably low.

And that takes us to the main reason for public hostility. You do not need technical expertise to see that a monitoring of regulations (which do NOT cover all aspects of fracking - despite what is claimed) to ensure compliance, conducted by a group of agencies each reporting to a different Government department, is a recipe for chaos.

This gas is an important strategic resource. It was never going to be ‘cheap’ if extracted properly. It could all have been so different if those who knew what they are talking about had been listened to in the first place.

Mike Turner, CEng FIMMM, Lytham St Annes

Happy days at the hospital

Referring to the memories of Preston Royal Infirmary, I started my three year nurse training in October 1948 and the NHS started in August that year.

I had been interviewed by matron to see if I was educationally suitable eg a grammar school education and to be told I would be living the hospital nurses home for three years.

No make-up, no jewellery, not allowed to miss meals and to attend all the lectures given by the consultants and nurse tutors in the lecture rooms. Black stocking and shoes (flat and quiet soles) and to always remember that the patients come first.

We had one day off every few weeks and lights out was 10pm. There were no male nurses and even the ward maids lived in. If anyone wanted to marry they had to leave. Matron, deputy matron, home sister, tutors, doctors all lived in, also domestic staff.

The wards at PRI had 30 beds and we were on our feet all day! Nowhere to sit down. The sisters had a desk and chair in the office.

The patients were confined to bed a lot longer in those days before keyhole surgery etc. and were prone to getting bed sores but as it was considered a bad thing if any patient got a bed sore or infection we worked really hard to prevent it happening.

All the sterilisation of instruments, syringes, gowns, masks and other equipment was done in the autoclave rooms and there was a laundry to do all the washing. There was a hospital management committee consisting of consultants, matron, deputy matron, home sisters and finance officers plus a few signatories who met up on a regular basis to discuss and make plans for the running of the hospital. It all ran smoothly and efficiently.

Our training was like an apprenticeship as we were learning all the time while working on the wards and in the theatres. We were constantly monitored until we took our finals after three years and got our blue belt and SRN badge.

I worked as a staff nurse in A&E then left to get married and had two children but returned as a sister in A&E until I retired after 34 years in PRI and the RPH but it was so different when the university took over the training.

Our training at PRI was second to none and every year in May there is an annual PRI nurses’ league get together which takes place at the RPH and ex-nurses from PRI meet up for a reunion and some come abroad for the occasion.

Joan Grimshaw,Preston