Observer Comment: People deserve to be treated with respect when they are in hospital

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IS the latest news about the Conquest a new low for the hospital?

The report by health inspectors into standards of care makes very grim reading.

People deserve to be treated with respect when they are in hospital. It’s a stressful time both for patients and their family and friends.

But to hear that one patient was left without food all day and could not reach for a drink is inexcusable, as is leaving an elderly patient with a fractured hip on a trolley for more than seven hours.

It’s all very well the hospital trust saying there are staff shortages. It has been trying to recruit new staff, while at the same time grappling with a huge debt, run up over the last year.

But, whether there are too few doctors and nurses or not on the wards, poor standards in basic patient privacy and dignity are unforgivable.

Reports of low morale from staff themselves and accusations of managers not listening to concerns are equally as shameful.

The hospital’s chief executive, Darren Grayson, has made an unreserved apology – and quite rightly so – while pledging improvements. But these will be empty words for those people whose standard of care fell short of their expectations.

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THE news that the Olympic torch will be staying the night here in Hastings is a brilliant boost for the town.

Ever since the announcement was made that the games were heading to London, towns all over the UK have been thinking of ways to cash in on the feel good factor.

Being nearer to the capital than most, there was always the chance that the knock-on effect would ripple down to the south coast. Plenty of visitors will want cheap accommodation away from the hustle and bustle of London. Foreign tourists may also want to tie in the Olympics with a traditional English holiday. Where could they find a more quintesentially English town than Hastings?

The torch visit is a great opportunity for the town. Not just for local businesses but for the many local people who will not be able to afford to attend the games, but who still want to experience the Olympic spirit.

Our thanks go to John Hodges and the team behind the torch bid.

Maybe, considering our links with our African twin town, the local powers-that-be might encourage the Sierra Leone athletics squad to set up base in Hastings. They would certainly get a warm welcome.

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THE saying goes you should never discuss religion, football or politics with friends. Beliefs on each are too entrenched. Nevertheless, members of all three local parties were united in their praise of former MP Michael Foster who this week was awarded the freedom of the borough.

Whatever your political beliefs, you would be hard pressed to argue for a more deserving recipient.

Michael has given more than 45 years of service to this town and helped attract millions in regeneration funding.

Hopefully his legacy will be a brighter, prosperous Hastings.