Medics knew hospital would be too small

Your report (SA, January 26) about the pressure on the GWH (Great Western Hospital) during the pandemic, raising the question about its size, is not exactly new news.

And Stan Pajak was not alone when he criticised its size when the plans were approved in 1999.

Well before that, back in the 1970s and ‘80s when the Western and Northern expansions of Swindon were being built, following advice from the local GP committee and the hospital Medical Advisory Committee, the (then) Swindon Health Authority considered the possibility of building a second hospital in the northern part of town.

This idea was rejected in favour of expanding the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Indeed, Phase 4 was being planned (down to the detail of individual room plans) when it was suddenly stopped due to a cut back in funding.

Then came the plans to replace the PMH with the GWH in the 1990s.

All the local medical opinion (both hospital consultants and GPs) was of the same view as Stan Pajak’s – that it was too small. But this expert opinion was ignored.

Ever since it was opened, it has been under pressure – particularly for more beds.

This has been highlighted in the most dramatic way by the coronavirus crisis.

This is yet another example of the people in Whitehall – the Ministers and Civil Servants – thinking they know best!

“When will they ever learn” (as the song goes) to talk to – and listen to – the people on the front-line who have to treat real people – not statistical models?

Malcolm Morrison

Retired Surgeon

Prospect Hill

New president's executive orders a worrying sign

It is very disturbing that the new USA President Joe Biden can make major changes to about twenty laws using Executive Orders without consulting the Congress or the Senate.

The cancellation of fracking and abandoning the pipeline to Canada will increase the cost of petrol for all drivers.

The changes to women's rights regarding sports and prison conditions will affect the rights of all women very badly.

He also plans to open the southern border to two million additional immigrants despite the fact that there have been riots all through the summer about the shortage of jobs and houses in many America cities.

If Joe Biden can do all this during his first week in office then we should all have a great sense of foreboding about the next four years.

Steve Halden

Beaufort Green