This month has been quiet since I have been receiving some excellent treatment for a relatively minor problem from both dermatology and ophthalmology at the QMC. The staff were so skilled and very kind, and the management and coordination between the departments was exemplary.
I am telling you this because I am sad that at this week’s Full Council meeting I’ll be seconding a motion from Cllr Welsh calling for a public enquiry into the situation in the maternity department at NUH. Unfortunately it is inevitable that there will be unavoidable problems with the delivery of some babies, but there are increasing concerns over a number of incidents, staffing, and how incidents are reported at NUH. Staff are working under increasing levels of stress due to extreme staff shortages and the spotlight upon them. It is now time for a public enquiry to allow a proper understanding of what is going on locally and how it compares to the national picture. No one wants NUH maternity to just be satisfactory – we all want staff to be able to work in such a way to make it the best, for all children and parents in Nottingham.
I attended the “March with Midwives” vigil this Sunday at Forest Fields, which was held as one of hundreds of similar events across the country to highlight the critically low staffing levels and dangerous working conditions in midwifery. The working environment is now so poor that for every 30 new midwives that are trained and join the service, 29 midwives leave.
Once again I am bringing the motion to the council meeting calling for a 20mph speed limit on residential roads in all residential areas across Nottinghamshire. I hope this finally gets discussed and passed as it chimes with a number of local campaigns.
Last week at Environment and Transport Committee we discussed the Council’s Bus Plan. This contains lots of great ideas including some decarbonisation of the bus fleet (some of it is already biogas), but it was shocking to read how the money put into the buses has declined over the last few years for relatively constant number of passengers; this probably explains our high bus fares. I think the buses need even better marketing too: I use them at this time of year and for me, from my house, I consider them a real treat! I was a member of the County’s Highways Review Team which has just reported. It was a lot of work for the officers and it is great that there will now be a more long term approach to road and pavement repairs, although perhaps we wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t suffered swingeing cuts in the last 10 years.. ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. I have asked that Car Share schemes (like Hiyacar or Enterprise Car Club) be put on the work programme of the committee as I think that if even a few people use them, it will reduce the carbon emissions tied up in making cars, and resolve some of the parking problems in central West Bridgford.
Meanwhile the government have given us the Integrated Rail Plan this week. I have made no secret of the fact that I was no fan of the HS2 plans for Nottingham. I could not see how a rail service that did not go to major conurbations could be green, so I am pleased with the “promise” of a direct train to Birmingham in 26 mins and London 57 mins, albeit in more than 20 years’ time. I will be asking a question at Rushcliffe about money wasted on the Toton plans. But the new plan assumes we want to look south: the loss of the link between Sheffield and Leeds leaves us cut off from the North, unless we suffer the indignity of crossing Newark to access the East Coast Main Line. The most compelling argument for HS2 was that it would increase capacity on the rail track, increasing reliability and allowing more of the local stopping trains that are so essential for an integrated service. I hope alternative solutions can be built into the Midland Mainline upgrade. But I have some immediate suggestions: phase out wasteful first class carriages and cut fares to European average.
As you can tell.. public transport is my pet subject. I am re-establishing a transport group within the West Bridgford Local Area Forum. This is not intended to be a large group but I would be interested in being put in contact with any transport workers or other experts who could join or contribute in other ways. COP26 has come and gone.. we need to act locally.
This month I went to the a local memorial and remembrance day service which was very moving. It was nice to meet some familiar faces in a different context. I would be interested in visiting other religious and community groups if the opportunity should arise.