South Wales Echo letters: Thursday, April 2, 2020

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Learn these lessons and support local businesses

We live in Dinas Powys and are so fortunate to have a few local shops. I won’t name them, they’ll know who they are, the butcher, greengrocer, paper shop and the local, small Nisa who have all provided us with a service that is second to none, delivering our orders regularly to our doorstep.

I’m sure there are other communities who can echo these experiences but there also many more who can’t. This is not meant to be a criticism of the large supermarkets, especially those workers on the shop floor, the drivers and those behind the scenes in the warehouses who are working their socks off. But as we know, there have been times when they just haven’t coped when house deliveries and certain goods have been well nigh impossible to get.

I was a child of World War II and used to shop in our local town where there were about three butcher shops, an equivalent number of greengrocers, two fishmongers, a bakery – all prior to the growth of the supermarkets and their lower prices undercutting smaller businesses. I hasten to add, though, I believe in this global society we live in now there is a need and room for them.

If there are lessons to be drawn from this crisis, one must be for communities to support local businesses and to persuade government and councils via grants to encourage a resurgence of these local shops for normal times and also when difficult times strike. They are our lifeline and salt of the earth.

Arwel P Williams

Dinas Powys

Abuse of health workers must stop

With increasing circulation of Covid-19 in the community, the NHS in Wales is facing one of its greatest challenges.

Your GP surgery is at the forefront of this and we are experiencing unprecedented pressure. To allow us to continue to treat you and the most vulnerable and sick in our society, and to help reduce the spread of coronavirus within our community, the way we deliver care to you is changing.

GPs are now initially carrying out consultations via video calls and telephone consultations. This is minimising the number of people attending GP surgeries until they have had their initial symptoms diagnosed. Following this, where a patient may have Covid-19 but is managing their symptoms, they are being advised to not attend the surgery and instead isolate at home.

Please be reassured however that, when they cannot diagnose you remotely, GPs are still able to see patients for face to face consultations with appropriate precautions being taken for everyone’s safety.

This system is helping to keep the public and all staff working at GP surgeries safe while allowing us to treat patients and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

If you feel you have Covid-19, please do not go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

The initial symptoms of the virus are a high temperature and/or new continuous cough. If you have either of these, everyone in your household must stay at home for 14 days. You can ring NHS 111, which is available across the whole of Wales, for information or advice and they will help you decide if you need to contact your GP.

The doctors and other health professionals that usually help patients after a GP referral are also working hard to keep you safe during this difficult time. These staff, often known as secondary care or hospital care, are still helping patients who have received an emergency referral.

These doctors and staff still need to take precautions to make sure they are kept safe because some people referred to them could be carrying the coronavirus without showing any symptoms. So that staff and all the patients they see are kept safe, we have been pushing for all medical staff to be issued with appropriate protective equipment.

However, many secondary care doctors have moved to the frontline and are managing coronavirus cases so that they can assist the patients most in need of medical care and assistance at this time of crisis. This is why some routine and non-emergency appointments and surgeries have had to be postponed.

We are also hearing distressing reports of frontline staff working in GP practices, hospitals and pharmacies being abused by members of the public. This must stop. We understand that this is a frightening time for everyone, but we are all in this together.

Please be patient with everyone who works in the health service. Doctors, nurses and other health professionals are not super-human. They are doing their best to help and support you in very stressful conditions.

Please help all our health services by following the Welsh Government’s guidelines, so that we can help keep you and your family safe. We are all in this together. Support us to treat you to the very best of our ability.

Dr David Bailey

Chair, BMA Welsh Council

Some might need a little extra help

The coronavirus pandemic is a confusing and troubling time for us all. As people across the UK follow government advice to stay at home, many are worried about the impact this could have on some of our more vulnerable members of society who might already be feeling isolated and alone.

It is perhaps an especially challenging time for the 121,000 blind and partially sighted people across Wales. Many rely on regular face-to-face connections with family, friends and key workers to shop, cook, exercise, and socialise.

We at RNIB Cymru have been heartened to see the incredible community responses to those in need and know that many people have been able to maintain safe connections with those around them. However, we know that some people might need a little extra help.

If you are living with sight loss, RNIB Cymru is here to offer support and advice on a range of topics. We are here to listen; if you need something, let us know.

We will continue to work to protect the rights of blind and partially sighted people in Wales for the duration of the pandemic. We are ensuring that crucial healthcare information is available in accessible formats, making wellbeing calls to older members of our community, running telephone and online social groups, and providing up-to-date advice on the issues that concern blind and partially sighted people the most. We will also be adapting and increasing our support services as the situation unfolds in the coming weeks. Our Helpline is open from 8am to 8pm every weekday. Call 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk for friendly, up to date information and advice.

Ansley Workman

RNIB Cymru Director

I know how to solve shopping problem!

If the supermarkets want to stop panic buying they can stop the use of trolleys, and issue baskets only. But this will not happen because they want bigger profits.

It’s just a case of greedy people feeding greedy people, a fact of life.

Man cannot live on bread alone, just give a thought for other people.

Owen Martin

Rumney, Cardiff



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