Isle of Man Examiner letters, December 23, 2013

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Not satisfied with the NHS

I write in response to the article in Isle of Man Examiner, November 25, 2013, page 57, ‘Positive response to patient survey. Community health services rate highly with island patients’.

It states more than 90 per cent of patients have expressed their satisfaction with the Isle of Man’s community health services following a comprehensive patient survey. Eleven hundred survey forms were distributed by various sections of the service.

Does this constitute a ‘comprehensive’ survey?

If all 1,100 people completed and returned these forms I think would be exceptional – a 100 per cent uptake or were the 1,100 patients carefully selected?

Either way 90 per cent of 1,100 is 990 this figure is surely not 90 per cent satisfaction to five questions. ‘Were there only five questions in this survey?’ Or. ‘Were the not so satisfied results too embarrassing to announce?’

The five questions listed with these 90 per cent+ satisfaction rates appear to have been carefully drafted to elicit the required positive replies.

The article continues: ‘The Minister for Health said these results are an indication of the high standards of care right across our island’s community health services.’

Two years ago I was referred by my GP to outpatients’ physiotherapy for pain in my shoulder and neck. On my first visit I answered the usual questions, was told four times that as we get older we lose some mobility, I was given a number of exercises to do at home and told: ‘If we don’t hear from you for four weeks you will be discharged.’

There was no examination at all, I was not even asked to remove my sweater.

After two weeks doing the exercises the pain was getting worse by the day, I returned for a second appointment, the same physiotherapist. I explained that the pain was getting worse the longer I was following her instructions the worse it got. She suggested I modify the exercises. When I said it seemed the exercises were making the problem worse, she asked: ‘What did you expect to get from here?’ I replied: ‘Pain relief or a cure.’

She asked: ‘What do you want me to do now?’

I asked to speak to the manager. The physiotherapist left the room and returned after a while with the manager, who stated that the physio had examined my shoulder and given the appropriate instructions. I informed her that there was no examination to which she replied that the physio was qualified and would do what was best. She then left.

The physio then said that because of my age and the medication I was taking she would not consider doing hands-on physiotherapy.

I spoke to my GP about this – her reply was that neither my age or medication were in any way a problem concerning physiotherapy, that it seems was the end of the line as far as community health services were concerned. ‘High standards?’

My wife was referred from podiatry to orthotics but was informed there would be a two-year wait, it turned out to be over two years.

At the present time the wait from referral to first appointment, I am informed, is 12 to 18 months, but if the referral is marked urgent it is six months. This for people suffering pain walking until the pain stops them walking. Is this satisfactory?

Mr Anderson, Health Minister MHK, are you under the illusion that 90 per cent of patients are happy with this, or the explanation that they are only allowed to work a couple of days a week because you say there is no money?

Two or three months ago I tried to make an appointment at our NHS dental clinic for my wife and me to have a dental check-up. I was told we can not give appointments for check-ups. I asked, why not? Orders from the Health Minister, Mr Anderson MHK.

Having read the news article referred to, I asked again and was told that the situation is the same.

I point out to our Health Minister that it’s common knowledge that medical opinion states that bad teeth and or diseased gums can cause serious health problems.

Community nursing is another sad story I am more than willing to discuss with the Health Minister in detail as far as my family is concerned, if the Minister cares enough to do so.

Unfortunately some of our government Ministers treat the electorate, who by the way are their employers, with utter contempt.

Brian James, Onchan.

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Give Bill Dale an honour

With Christmas upon us once again we are approaching the time of New Years Honours to be handed out by the dozen. Many deserving people who work hard for our community along with well known politicians are suitably rewarded for their efforts.

Perhaps someone could whisper in someone’s ear, we’ve missed one gentleman out – a man who never looks for self-publicity and works tirelessly for the island with his band of helpers at no cost to government.

The unmentioned gentleman is Bill Dale whose fine efforts cleaning beaches around our coast and other ‘grot spots’ inland have earned him praise and his reputation for tidying up our environment has now spread off Island, with others taking up the cudgels to keep places clean.

The island owes you a lot Bill – as the song says ‘I did it my way’. You certainly did and not a politician in sight lining you up for a ‘gong’. You’re a star, Bill, I’m sure everyone in the island wishes you a happy Christmas.

D G Dobson, Port Erin.

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Look at your sums, Minister

Here we go again. Chris Robertshaw announcing yet another inflation-busting increase in local authority rents.

Am I the only one thinking that Mr Robertshaw is pulling a fast one, using a statistical sleight of hand to justify his price hikes?

It’s about time we residents called his bluff and demanded his department published the statistical methods they use to collate and form their figures.

Let’s have a look at your sums, Minister. Another bug bear of mine concerns Mr Robertshaw’s almost robotic comparison with the private sector. It begs the question, where was he in 2008 when the private housing sector funded by dodgy credit from immoral banks plunged the world into financial meltdown?

The bailing out of the high street banks by the British government saved many private sector landlords from disaster.

In the effect the poor are paying for the greed of the few, and by association that included the Isle of Man.

We need no lessons from the private sector.

Of course, the rents private sector tenants pay is scandalous but let’s bring those rents down nearer public sector levels.

One final point, when is a subsidy not a subsidy? It seems it’s not a subsidy when the following occur: The Sefton Group need a loan; Icelandic banks investors bailed out; Tax rules beneficial to the rich; Mortgage tax relief; Charitable status for public schools; MHKs’ clocking up more air miles than Biggles.

The list is endless. Now there is little wrong with most of those examples, but the truth is every person on this island is subsidised if you use the criterion applied to local authority tenants.

Mr Robertshaw talks a lot about social housing deficits but is taciturn when it comes to discussing the private property induced debt of his former employer the Sefton Group, and the subsequent taxpayers’ rescue.

Is that the example of private sector efficiency the Manx government boast about?

People in private glass houses should not throw stones.

So, Mr Robertshaw, cut the divide-and-rule rubbish, stop the showboating and, with your fellow MHKs, tackle the cost of living crisis that very soon will devour the hopes of many Manx residents.

R Cowley, Ballasalla.

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Thanks for the exchange

Can I thank Ms Tregellis for her letter (Examiner December 16) regarding our exchanges over geoengineering. I look forward to attending the meeting she has organised.

By saying FoE are not uninterested in, or ignoring, geoengineering as had been suggested, I meant simply that we are in fact interested, as we are in ocean acidification, land degradation, Arctic ice melt etc etc, and FoE members are constantly sharing with each other interesting/worrying reports and news items on all manner of issues. However, we have a small core group of actively campaigning members, and recently we have prioritised local matters, specifically energy (policy, security, renewables), sustainable development and climate change, GM, action for pollinators(the BeeCause), and, with others, a major new eco-initiative, about which it is hoped to say much more in the near future.

Can I also thank Mr Kissack (also December 16) for his charming and helpful letter : positively rib-tickling, and really raising the bar for standards of public debate. On the downside, it is based on a complete mis-reading , or even misrepresentation, of what I actually wrote on the matter, but you can’t have everything.

Can I thank Isle of Man Newspapers’ editorial staff for continuing to find space for constructive contributions on environmental matters, and wish them, and all readers, a peaceful and greener 2014.

P. Christian, Onchan.

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DP, not FoI

In the rush to ‘put the paper to bed’ last week my letter on Data Protection was headed [‘FoI is to protect citizen’.

This should have read ‘DP is to protect citizen’ (DP for Data Protection)

FoI is the common abbreviation for Freedom of Information. It allows those who are interested to access much Government information, and not to protect the citizen. FoI is not yet law on the island. The Data Protection Act became law here in 2002 .

Alan Croll, Douglas

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