Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

‘LYON’ ghost sign

Ghost signs are signs and notices relating to shops and businesses from years ago.

They can be painted on walls, and be barely visible today, or may be hidden behind current shop signs, only becoming visible if the shop gets a new sign installed, and the previous one is discarded.

I had been looking at a guy who popped up on a rooftop just along from the Beresford (he was supposed to be there, working on something), when I noticed an outline I hadn’t spotted before, looking like a vertical ‘LYON’ advert which was painted on a back wall years ago.

Sauchiehall Street LYON ghost sign

Sauchiehall Street LYON ghost sign

I’m guessing there may have been a Lyons tea shop somewhere in the street below this, but also wonder what happened to the ‘S’, since the proper name was “Lyons’ Tea”.

Maybe it would have been obscured by the roof line of the day, so they didn’t bother.

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20/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Elfin Safety beats hospital volunteers

Mad Hatter's tea partyWorking though a bit of backlog, I was sad to see that an earlier item which had noted Elfin Safety used to ban Bute hospital tea parties was soon followed up with more bad news.

I read that not only had the Jobsworth NHS manager that imposed the ban managed to scupper the tea parties, but she also led to the disbanding of the group that had organised them.

The Friends of the Annexe came together some 12 years ago, and in that time were able to raise over £30,000 to help with the Victoria Hospital Annexe on the Isle of Bute, and enhanced the lives of those who were homed in the facility, which accommodates long-stay patients.

The matter arose when an NHS hotel services manager caught the group holding a tea party for the patients, where friends and family could bring cakes and biscuits to be enjoyed by the patients, and the manager announced that the parties could no longer continue unless the Friends obtained suitable food handling training and qualifications.

For what it’s worth, this is surely nothing more than Jobsworth nonsense. If we take the story at face value, and all that was involved was tea, cakes, and biscuits, then what food handling training and qualifications would apply? I would assume that the hospital’s own nursing staff would be looking after any individual dietary requirements of the patients, which a food handling certificate has nothing to do with, so is not relevant. There would be no cooking involved, so temperature control and the potential cross-contamination of cooked and raw food is not relevant either.

I think patients, and visitors, are more likely to be at risk of something being spread from the hospital’s own tea trolley, as it wanders throughout the hospital, rather than a packet of digestive biscuits bought the same day from the nearby supermarket.

Disbanded

In two open letters published in the island’s newspaper, The Buteman, both the chairperson and the secretary of The Friends of the Annexe expressed their thanks to all those who had contributed to the success of the Friends over the years, and for what they had achieved.

Friends say farewell after tea party row

Rather than add to speculation regarding the matter, I’d like to quote from chairperson Janette Henderson’s letter:

As chairperson of the ‘Friends of the Annexe’ I feel I must put a few things straight with regard to our tea parties at the Annexe.

As a committee we were told by a staff member that we were not allowed to have these events up at the Annexe again. Seemingly, it had been discussed at a hospital meeting that the strawberry tea could take place on the date planned, but we would have to be notified that we could not run this kind of event at the hospital unless we had food handling certificates.

A staff member announced this without the permission of the hotel services manager – and in a way that was quite daunting, when we had prepared and were opening the event in 30 minutes.

We were upset, but I have since had a meeting with the administrating team at the Annexe and have had it explained that we were certainly allowed to go ahead that day – but in the future, only those with a food handling certificate would comply with the regulations of the hospital.

I can quite understand this, as we are working with patients who could succumb to a further complication in their condition.

Giving the falling numbers of Friends (three are said to have retired this year) and the requirement of the health and hygiene regulations now being imposed on them, the Friend have decided to  “quit while they are ahead” and announced their disbandment.

It is with regret that we have come to the conclusion that health and hygiene regulations now prohibit us from fundraising at the Annexe.

The committee has decided to forward any remaining funds to NHS Highland, to be used for the Victoria Annexe equipment fund, and to close their accounts.

Robert McKirdy
Secretary/treasurer, Friends of the Annexe

I’m afraid I still feel less charitable than the Friends, and have had numerous relations who have had to endure long-term stays in hospital, and anything at all that could brighten even one day was highly valued and appreciated, and looked forward to with great anticipation.

It’s difficult to put into words the light that appears in their eyes when they see someone arrive to spend some time with them and break the monotony of a long-term stay.

Granted, the Friends may have been retiring at some point soon in any case, but the fact is they are gone from the Annexe now, and it would seem that there is no-one to take their place, and that anyone that does will have to have qualifications – a barrier to volunteer work. And if we really are talking about cakes and biscuits, surely an over-reaction?

The real losers here must surely be the patients, and worst of all, those who have no family or friends that may have visited them, and for whom the Friends brought a little joy to.

// <!–Friends say farewell after tea party row–><!–A GROUP of local volunteers who have helped raise more than £30,000 for patients at the Victoria Hospital Annexe in Rothesay has decided to disband – just weeks after being told food handling regulations would stop them holding their regular fund raising tea parties.
–><!–Rothesay Bute Victoria “NHS Highland” Annexe–>

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Friends say farewell after tea party row

Volunteers disband after raising more than £30,000
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Published Date:
13 August 2009

A GROUP of local volunteers who have helped raise more than £30,000 for patients at the Victoria Hospital Annexe in Rothesay has decided to disband – just weeks after being told food handling regulations would stop them holding their regular fund raising tea parties.

The Friends of the Annexe committee decided this week to disband the organisation after spending more than 12 years raising funds to help improve the facilities and lives of the long term patients in the Townhead building.

Last month, just before

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the start of their annual strawberry tea, held at the Annexe since the group was formed in 1997, the group was told by an NHS manager that they would not be allowed to hold similar events in future unless they had the appropriate food handling certificates.

But the group’s chairperson, Janette Henderson, says other factors are behind the committee’s decision to cease the Friends’ activities.

“We have decided that we would disband the Friends of the Annexe,” Mrs Henderson wrote in a letter to this week’s issue.

“We are all getting a little older, and recently we have had three members having to retire, and we feel that maybe we should all stand aside – in other words, quit while we are ahead.”

However, the Friends’ secretary and treasurer, Robert McKirdy, in another letter to this week’s issue, says the dispute over the tea parties was behind the decision to disband.

“It is with regret that health and hygiene regulations now prohibit us from fund raising at the Annexe,” Mr McKirdy wrote.

“The committee has decided to forward any remaining funds to NHS Highland to be used for the Victoria Annexe equipment fund, and close their accounts.”

Both letters are published in full below.

The money raised has allowed the annexe to buy new equiment such as pressure mattresses or fridges and recently redecorate the entrance hall and patients’ dayroom.

Viv Smith, NHS Highland’s locality manager for Cowal and Bute, said: “The Friends have worked closely with local health care staff on Bute, and we thank them for their many kind gifts for the Annexe and their hard work and dedication to patients.”

*******************
Friends end their fund raising

As chairperson of the ‘Friends of the Annexe’ I feel I must put a few things straight with regard to our tea parties at the Annexe.

As a committee we were told by a staff member that we were not allowed to have these events up at the Annexe again. Seemingly, it had been discussed at a hospital meeting that the strawberry tea could take place on the date planned, but we would have to be notified that we could not run this kind of event at the hospital unless we had food handling certificates.

A staff member announced this without the permission of the hotel services manager – and in a way that was quite daunting, when we had prepared and were opening the event in 30 minutes.

We were upset, but I have since had a meeting with the administrating team at the Annexe and have had it explained that we were certainly allowed to go ahead that day – but in the future, only those with a food handling certificate would comply with the regulations of the hospital.

I can quite understand this, as we are working with patients who could succumb to a further complication in their condition.

16/09/2009 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elfin Safety used to ban Bute hospital tea parties

Mad Hatter's tea partyYet another example of an over-zealous Jobsworth using Health & Safety claims to justify spoiling someone else’s fun, and reminds us of our earlier story regarding the Inverclyde Royal Hospital tea bar to be axed. Again, I think my money would be safe if I took bets that the real Health & Safety Executive would say “Nothing to do with us” if they were asked.

This time it’s an NHS hotel services manager who was visiting the Victoria Hospital Annexe on the Isle of Bute, and caught members of the Friend of the Annexe while their setting up their annual strawberry tea (which has been held there for the past 12 years) – and told them it would be the last such event at the Annexe. The visiting NHS manager told the Friend that the food they were bringing on to the premises did not meet specific food handling requirements.

In a statement to the local paper, The Buteman, Jeanette Henderson (the Friends’ chairperson) said: “I understand why it’s happened, and the lady’s concerns, but I think they could have put it a better way. I have written a letter to her saying I was disappointed they hadn’t been told me personally. I’m quite willing for them to train us in food handling as that is really the issue. It was just so badly done on Wednesday.”

The group’s secretary, Robert McKirdy, told told the paper he wanted to see the order in writing before making any decisions.

An NHS spokesman said the food handling requirements were there for the good of the patients, and that they had to be very careful about what food was brought into a hospital, adding “We strongly recognise the importance local charities play in the upkeep of these hospitals, and do not wish to cause any unnecessary distress.  We would be happy to work with the Friends and staff there to solve this issue, and help them meet the requirements we are obliged to uphold.”

I’d like to have heard that the manager involved had been sent on a course to teach her some of the skills needed in dealing tactfully with other people. I can only wonder at how fast anyone wanted to get out of any hotel she ever managed. There are ways to deal with people and sensitive issues, and she does not seem to be aware of them – either that, or the Jobsworth tag is justified.

Friends of the Annexe

According to the article, the Friends have run fund raising functions over the years to support the Annexe, and have raised in excess of £30,000 in their time, and supported the redecoration of one of the halls, and funded the purchase of four new mattresses.

The hospital homes long-stay patients, people who may once have had their own homes, and the volunteers say the tea parties brightened up their day and provided the opportunity for them to see people and have a chat.

The parties allowed friends and family to bring their own cakes and biscuits to be enjoyed, and these are hardly food items that can cause problems and need particularly specialised or careful handling, such as meat and dairy products.

When other members of the committee heard of the announcement that the tea parties were banned, they were said to be furious at the news.

20/07/2009 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inverclyde Royal Hospital tea bar to be axed

Unwanted cardboard coffee culture

Unwanted cardboard coffee culture

The League of Hospital Friends is reported to have operated their tea bar from their premises at IRH for about 36 years, very successfully and popularly by all accounts, but is apparently to be thrown out and replaced by a ‘cafe-culture’ Aroma coffee shop.

Unless the tea bar is rescued, where rices are kept low and the service is staffed on a voluntary basis, it will close next spring — despite a recent £30,000 refurbishment.

The League of Friends is said to have raised over £1 million for equipment at the IRH, patient transport and support for medical groups since 1973, and to currently be contributing around £100,000 per annum back into the community.

This would be enough to get them a mention, but when I saw the Aroma coffee shop described as being similar to Strabuck’s – politely described as purveyors of overpriced slops (how do they justify their astronomical prices for some hot water knocked silly and given an even sillier set of name, just to make them look kewl?) – that was the last straw.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board’s decision to shut the hugely popular facility to make way for their own Starbucks-style ‘coffee culture’ cafe has seen hospital staff, patients and politicians lined u to attack the move, and the Greenock Telegraph and the League of Friends have set up a campaign to save the tea bar. The local paper has reported on the matter bach on April 9, and again on April 17 and April 22. The story has also been reported in the Dunoon Observer online.

Petition sheets have been placed in newsagents across Greenock, Gourock and Port Glasgow.

They have also set up an online petion: Save the Inverclyde Royal Hospital’s tea bar

The health board says profits from its new Aroma cafe would be ‘ploughed straight back into hospitals to benefit patient care and in many cases, sustain and create new NHS jobs’. This doesn’t seem to show any concern for the volunteers who no longer be serving at IRH, nor does it address the issue of the redistribution of those profits.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said that the new cafe would create between ten and fifteen jobs, which would help workers affected by the closure of the nearby Ravenscraig hospital. She continued: “The tea bar staff have done a superb job, but where it is considered appropriate, Aroma cafes will replace existing tea bars in hospitals across Scotland. The volunteers will be welcome to continue providing support in other ways, and we will continue to talk through with them how they can help. In this time of recession and increasing unemployment levels, this initiative should be seen as a small but important job creation opportunity.”

At the moment, that £1 million raised by the League of Friends since 1973 was clearly retruned back into IRH and the Inverclyde community, on hi-tech hospital equipment, lifeline transport services and support for local medical organisations. Last year, funds enabled IRH to purchase the latest technology muscle scanner at a cost of £40,000 (one of only two in Scotland). There appears to be no assurance that profits from Aroma would be returned to the community that raised them, and could just be pooled and redistributed as those on-high saw fit.

In a briefing issued by the League of Friends, chair Jean Rees said: “We are proud of the service we provide and the sustained success of our fundraising efforts. Some of our members have been involved for many years – one was awarded an MBE for her work.  We feel that, particularly in the current economic climate, a very successful charity such as ours should be welcomed rather than disbanded. When we met with health board management it was, however, made clear to us that this decision has been taken and there is no room for compromise.

Readers, IRH patients, relatives, hospital workers, union leaders and politicians are furious at the move.

17/04/2009 Posted by | Appeal | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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