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30th Jun, 2022

LETTERS: Your discussion from around the borough in this week's Observer

Once again elderly care has made the headlines in the Solihull Observer (November 1).

The appalling situation at the new Chelmunds Court Care home has led to calls from the Solihull Green Party leader for the installation of CCTV cameras as a priority in all care homes to monitor neglect and prevent abuse.

This might be a useful tool in safeguarding the elderly but should not be used as an alternative to addressing the root causes of the ongoing problems at Chelmunds Court and other privately managed care homes.

Back in 1975 my grandmother was a resident in a Solihull council managed care home. It never entered my mind that she could possibly be abused. In fact, her care was excellent, she was well cared for, fed and mentally stimulated. Comparing her end of life care to that which my father received, who resided in a Solihull private care home, I would say there is a lot to be learnt.

What has gone wrong with the system? We are now living in the 21st century, we should be going forwards not backwards.

As residents of Solihull we need to be ensuring our elected councillors are being proactive in their scrutiny of care home management, and calling Runwood Homes the contractors of Chelmunds Court to account for their poor management.

The fragmented private system based on profit is not working. It is time for social care to be integrated into the NHS, funded from general taxation. Private care homes are failing to provide adequately trained staff, where there can be a high staff turn over that can lead to a stressful working atmosphere that is not conducive to caring. An “In house” approach to care could facilitate monitoring, training and management resulting in better outcomes for staff and residents.

CCTV will not solve the issues caused by under funding and poor management. It could possibly be a short-term fix but we need to demand more for our elderly residents.

Gill Beyer

Solihull resident and Labour Party member.

This November marks 100 years since the end of the First World War. On this anniversary, it’s so important that we remember the people and animals that lost their lives during this terrible conflict.

More than 16 million horses, donkeys and other animals were made to serve during the war – transporting everything from ammunition and messages to food rations and supplies. They hauled guns and pulled ambulances, while cavalry horses often led the charge on the front line.

They faced unimaginable horrors – and, tragically, nine million of these animals were killed.

As we stop to remember those who suffered and died a century ago, we must also not forget that animals continue to be innocent victims in brutal conflicts across the world today.

In recent years, SPANA has worked in war zones – from Kosovo and Iraq to Afghanistan – to provide urgent veterinary treatment to animals in severe distress.

As we commemorate Armistice Day, it is a sad reality that this appalling suffering is not a distant memory, consigned to history. But while there are animals in desperate need, during times of war and peace, it is vital that help is on hand for them.

Geoffrey Dennis

Chief Executive, SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad)

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