Hinterland - 15 November 2021

In Hinterland this week - remembrance, COP’s rural implications, budget slight of hand to give rural areas a lesser deal in the successor to EU funding, hospitals at bursting point, profiteering in social care and the challenges of spending a rural penny. For more information read on...

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WW1 Essex soldier's bugle used in Remembrance Last Post

This is remembrance week and we start with a heart warming story from rural Essex full of musical remembrance. This article tells us:

A bugle played during World War One by a soldier has been used to sound The Last Post at a Remembrance service.

Pte Henry Howard was in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and played his bugle in the army band, his great grandson said.

The bugle hung proudly on the family's walls for generations but has now been played again to mark the 100th anniversary of the war memorial in Pvt Howard's home village of Dedham, Essex.

Pte Howard played The Last Post when the memorial was unveiled in 1921.

His great grandson, Mark Manning, 63, was at the ceremony in Dedham earlier to remember the fallen, including Pte Howard's son-in-law - Mr Manning's grandfather.

Pte Howard survived the war and lived until 1954, but Mr Manning's grandfather, Harry Polson, was killed in World War Two, and his name is inscribed on the Dedham memorial.

The village first unveiled its memorial in 1921 and ex-army bugler Henry Howard stood in Royal Square in Dedham, as people fell silent to listen to the melancholy tones of The Last Post, played on his wartime bugle.


COP26: How might decisions at the climate summit change our lives?

You should follow the hyperlink for this story. It sketches out in detail how our lives are likely to change as a consequence of the COP agreements made this week. A number of the impacts will need a radical rethink about how we live in rural England, particularly in relation to car use, farming, tourism and health. This article begins with the following intro…

A deal has been agreed and signed at the climate summit in Glasgow, you might be left wondering what - if anything - it will mean for you. Here are some ways in which the decisions made at COP26 could change your life.


Rural firms to 'lose out on millions' after funding cut

A major challenge, is exposed here, it regards the imposition of a rurally disadvantaged approach to the follow on from EU funding, smuggled into the small print around the budget, which fortunately the CLA are onto, but which merits some concerted lobbying and action. This article tells us.

Rural firms are set to lose out on hundreds of millions under revised funding plans unveiled in the recent Budget, the Country Land and Business Association has warned.

The CLA, which represents 28,000 rural businesses and farmers, has criticised the government for removing support aimed at levelling up the rural economy.

The group found that spending plans under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will lead to a shortfall of £315 million for rural businesses over a seven-year period.

The figure represents the discrepancy in funding assigned to tackling regional economic disparities through the EU’s Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), versus what will be received under the UKSPF to bolster rural productivity.

But the government's new plans signal a marked shift from previous EU investment models, where rural areas benefitted from a ringfenced fund every year. 

Closer inspection of the 2021/2022 Budget shows that there will be no dedicated funding in the UKSPF for rural businesses, as the ESIF rural fund had already been allocated for 2020/2021.


NHS is at breaking point and putting patients at high risk, bosses warn

I fear its going to be very difficult and not just because of covid for those people who get ill in rural settings in England this year. This story tells us:

The survey of the most senior executives running hospitals, ambulance services, mental health providers, community services, primary care and integrated care systems comes hours before new performance figures for the NHS in England are due to be published.

The number of people waiting for hospital treatment in England has hit a record high of 5.7 million as the NHS struggles to clear the backlog of care that has been worsened by the pandemic. Updated figures are expected on Thursday.

The greatest areas of concern for NHS leaders are primary care, and urgent and emergency care, according to the survey.

Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Almost every healthcare leader we’ve spoken to is warning that the NHS is under unsustainable pressure, and they are worried the situation will worsen, as we head into deep midwinter, unless action is taken. They are also sounding alarm bells over risks to patient safety if their services become overwhelmed, on top of a severe workforce crisis.

“The health and social care secretary says the NHS is not under unsustainable pressure, but NHS leaders are clear that we have reached a tipping point. Frontline providers across all parts of the NHS are under intolerable pressure.”


Staffing agencies triple rates as care homes and NHS fight over nurses

Workforce shortages are the biggest challenge assailing health and care and are at their most acute in rural settings around care. This article points to some people getting rather rich off the back of this situation. It tells us:

Nursing shortages are allowing “profiteering” staffing agencies to triple their rates, care leaders have warned, raising the risk of vulnerable patients being forced to move care homes and increasing the burden on the NHS.

The crisis is forcing some nursing homes to become standard residential care homes without support for people with chronic diseases.

The shortage also makes it harder for NHS hospitals to discharge patients. Some hospitals have redeployed their own staff into nursing homes to free beds in hospitals. In other places, NHS trusts are competing for staff with care providers.

Geoff Butcher, director of Blackadder Corporation, which runs six homes in the West Midlands, said that he paid nurses about £19.50 an hour, slightly higher than the NHS rate of £16.52. “Two of our nurses resigned recently and they’ve gone to an agency for £35 an hour,” he said. “And that agency then came to us and said we can have these staff back at £52 an hour. They want £95 an hour for those nurses on a bank holiday nightshift. It’s utterly unaffordable.


And Finally

Skip to the loo? Easier said than done as Britain loses hundreds of public toilets

As I get older I begin to identify with the sentiments in this article. If you can find a public loo in many rural settings you’re either in a parallel universe or lost. This story tells us:

Public toilets are not as convenient as they were. Getting caught short outside home has become an increasingly tricky problem as a result.

The trouble has been caused by austerity-hit councils in the UK who are not legally required to provide toilets for the public and who have cut expenditure on them in order to protect services that they are obliged by law to provide for local people.

The result is a major reduction of Ladies and Gents across the nation. According to Freedom of Information data obtained by local government researcher Jack Shaw and shared with the Observer, the number of public lavatories that local authorities have funded and maintained fell from 3,154 in 2015/16 to 2,556 in 2020/21 – a drop of 19% across the past six years, which comes on top of reductions in previous years.

Public health workers have warned that this loss of public conveniences is now causing major problems for a range of people, including the homeless, disabled, outdoor workers and those whose illnesses dictate frequent toilet use.

According to a 2019 report by the Royal Society for Public Health, imaginatively titled Taking the P***, the effect has been to create a “urinary leash” ,with one in five people stating that a lack of facilities in their neighbourhood means they restrict outings from their homes.


About the author:
Hinterland is written for the Rural Services Network by Ivan Annibal, of rural economic practitioners Rose Regeneration.


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