098) 2/11/20 – 28/11/20

28th November


p. 6 is about Covid infection rates, local and national



p. 7 “Mayor predicting city will reach whole year of lockdown restrictions”Leicester being unfairly treated.


p. 12 NATIONAL “Rules ‘could ease before Christmas’” – PM

p. 20 “Fear of ‘health desert’ under hospitals plan”, subtitled “Campaigners raise concerns”


NHS trying blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer


27th November

Three more patients with coronavirus die in Hinckley hospital


p. 6 (“Join NHS heroes at infirmary”, about jobs)

Pages 1 – 5 are about the situation in Leicester, with detailed explanation of the rules on p. 2.




Good Morning Britain GP says Christmas bubble plan has ‘no scientific basis’


p. 12 “PM faces rebellion on new measures”

26th November

Pages 4 and 5 “Infection rate dropping, but still too high”

and “Hospital death toll rises by 44”

p. 15 a letter by John Wallace under “Hospitals plan flawed – people need to reacts”

 Good news- £450m for Hospitals Revamp?Born in the Leicester General hospital in 1944 and reliant on the services of the NHS in Leicester and Leicestershire, I am pleased about the much overdue £450m Government funding for the transformation of Leicester/shire hospitals, but I believe the proposals are flawed and a rethink is required before it is endorsed.At last, the long awaited consultation has been announced and is in the public domain, it will run from 28th of September until the 21st December 2020, however the promised leaflet to every household which gives information has yet to be received by me nor many other people .I am however reliably informed that you can view the consultation document/s by logging on to http://www.betterhospitalsleicester.nhs.uk/ it is 1700 pages long but essentially it means the plan leaves two main hospitals, the LRI and the Glenfield, with the General closed as a critical care hospital.Upwards of 80 services will be removed from the General to the other sites which leaves 3 to 4 main services remaining, one of which will be the diabetes centre, and another, the GP lead Evington Primary Care Centre which may contain a midwife lead birthing centre, but that’s only for a 12 month trial.A main driver, and necessary part of the £450m plan is the intended sale of the majority of the land at the General, unacceptably leaving no space for future development to cope with our aging population.I applaud the plans to bring all the children services into the LRI, but how much more can be located on a very cramped site with already major access and parking problems and in an area of high air pollution. Things are not much better at the Glenfield.I was shocked to read in the Mercury on Monday 16th November that on the previous Friday evening that patients were left waiting for admittance to the Accident and Emergency for more than 5hours outside in around 20 ambulances because there were no beds inside!The proposal claims to provide 139 extra beds by 2024 which is not adequate as clearly shown by the current lack of beds I mention above.Furthermore, there is no consideration on how the plans can cope with the demand necessary to deal with pandemics and whilst NHS managers claim in the media that they have coped well with Covid-19 they ignore the fact that little other urgent surgery has taken place, and practically no elective surgery or regular monitoring of medical conditions has taken place either.Hospital staff are exhausted by the tremendous demand on their skills and the stress of working under so much pressure. This has been made worse by the current low staff levels, and the inability to meaningfully recruit and replace the many leavers. There does not seem to be any financial provision within the £450m plans to cover the cost of the necessary increase of personnel.It is intimated that any extra future accommodation needs will not be necessary as this will be covered by Care in the Community, but there are no actual plans to meet this already inadequate provision.Another concern is the proposed closure of St Mary’s hospital in Melton Mowbray. People in the area fear that having to travel to Leicester for maternity matters, with particular worries about traffic and delays at the time of birth, will result in tragic circumstances.The speculative birthing unit in the General has no plans for post-natal care which is a strong caring feature of St Mary’s, much appreciated by mothers.I am pleased to see that the Leicester Mercury Patients Panel and the “Save our NHS Leicestershire” campaign group (seehttp://saveournhsleicestershire.org/), are expressing their concerns and how the plans can be improved.I would encourage all readers to take time to consider the proposals and respond to the consultation.John Wallace Groby

“    “   a letter by three pressure groups under “Birth centre is service we can’t afford to lose”

p. 21 “Hospitals supporting diversity” – signed charta

25th November

p. 6 “Testing centre opens in car park” – Blaby

p. “6 County areas with most cases” – Covid, now led by Loughborough

p. 12 NATIONAL, brief “Pupils self-isolating” – high rates in secondary schools

 p. 15 a letter by Robert Ball under “How many households have NHS brochure?”

 Only five week’s to go in the twelve week long public consultation to reorganise Leicester’s hospitals. How many people have received a paper copy of the NHS brochure explaining how to get involved in the consultation?

It was understood a brochure would come through everyone’s door to explain the plan. I believe more than 2000 people have already replied to the consultation. However, from the responses of people at online meetings and on social media I’m fairly sure that thousands of residents have still not received the brochure out of the 1.2 million in the city and county who are entitled to be involved.

The proposed plan has been described by health experts as the most radical change to Leicester’s hospitals to take place in a generation.Leicester General Hospital will close moving acute services and maternity to new units at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. Leaving a diabetes centre, possibly a GP hub and a maternity unit subject to consultation. All remaining NHS land and property not required sold.

The consultation only deals with hospitals. While the implied plans and funding for expanded community services to make up for inadequate numbers of beds don’t exist. And nor does the funding to implement them.Leicester Mercury could do a great service for residents if they conduct a straw poll to gauge how many have received a paper brochure explaining how to get involved

also letters

                           nameless under “I wish people would just follow the simple rules”

                           Mags Lewis under “Disabled are not treated fairly in city” – lots of points made

Sad to hear of death of man who saved my life-tribute to Professor Gershlick consultant cardiologist


24th November

p. 6 “Testing centre opens in car park” – Blaby

p. “6 County areas with most cases” – Covid, now led by Loughborough

p. 11 “8m mental health unit welcomes first patient” – The Beacon at Glenfield Hospital


p. 12 NATIONAL, brief “Pupils self-isolating” – high rates in secondary schools

12 “                   “UK ‘spent £10bn on costlier PPE” – NATIONAL AUDIT REPORT


23rd November

p. 11 “How to find out total number of Covid cases close to you”, subtitled “NHS postcode checker shows infection rate within a mile of your home”

p. 15 a letter by Dr Rebecca Acres, BMA, under “Smart decisions will help us beat this virus” – advocating stricter, clearer and properly enforced rules

plus a couple of items on Covid in a school and the Harborough-funeral-Covid-Compliance dispute

Postcode checker lets you see how many coronavirus cases there are within 1 mile of your front door


21st November

Page 2/3 “NHS is facing a winter like no other – we really need everyone to do their bit”


“          “    “’This is not where we wanted to be at halfway through lockdown’” – councils’ leaders



p. 3 “’The good news, testing kits are coming – but bad news is the equipment to record results isn’t here’” – Prof Ivan Browne

p. 3 “Pupils sent home…” – situation in schools

 p. 4 “How many times do we need to tell people the rules?”, subtitled  – “Police chief urges 18-24s to be responsible

p. 4/5 “How to get tested if you have virus symptoms” – where and how to book

p. 5 “I wouldn’t want anyone else.. go through (Covid).” – 46-year-old survivor

p. 13 WORLD “Pfizer seeking jab’s emergency approval”

p. 15 a letter from Giuliana Foster under “This is wrong time for hospitals consultation” – during pandemic


I have very serious concerns that now is NOT the right time to hold a crucial public consultation over the reconfiguration of Leicester hospitals. Second national lockdown aside, we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

Whilst welcoming the recent allocation of £450M to re-configure Leicester Hospitals, how on earth are the general public expected to engage with this. I note that in a signed letter, by NHS Leicester officials and clinicians they stated that they want to encourage readers/ general public to take part in the consultation to share their hopes/aspirations for the NHS. (Leicester Mercury 7th November – Set the Record Straight)

Under normal circumstances engagements between NHS representatives and the public would take place in a public place where people could exchange their thoughts and concerns with each other as well as with officials. This is not possible ‘on-line’, but due to the current pandemic it is the only option available to engage with the consultation.

The NHS Leicester public engagements/meetings online are hosted by Microsoft teams and are not easy to access. (See letter in Leicester Mercury dated 14th Nov from Satinder Toor, who is computer literate but outlines all the problems he incurred and indeed missed the first 15 minutes of the meeting as it was so difficult to join). Not everyone is I.T. literate. Not everyone has access to the internet. Many of those people will be the elderly, infirm, people withmental health issues or learning difficulties andthose who are struggling financially. Indeed, the most vulnerable in our society who need to be involved in this consultation.

A promise was made that every household in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland would receive a brochure notifying them of the consultation and how to engage. There appears to have been some problems with this and Andy Williams – CEO of 3 Clinical Commissioning Groups agreed to look into this promptly on October 15th at a Joint Overview Health Scrutiny Committee meeting. Here we are almost 1 calendar month on and over halfway through the Public Consultation and it is evident that thousands of homes have still NOT received this.

So, the NHS officials stated that they wish to encourage the public to get involved with this public consultation, but I have to ask, given the above, how can this be a meaningful consultation as it is quite clear that their attempts at inclusion, are at best questionable. Public debate/interaction is almost stifled.

Giuliana Foster 

20th Nov

p. 6 “Oadby and Wigston back in the top 10 for infection rates”

p. 7 “Vaccination centre set to open in the county”

p. 7 “New testing site for non-drivers” – Victoria Park

p. 26 Liz Kendall in In the House under “Government must act now to reunite families, make care home visits priority” –  it is exclusively about the latter and key-worker status for relatives


19th November

p. 7 “PPE breaches risked elderly at care home” – Ashton Care Home, Hinckley; findings generally quite shocking


p. 1 “Second wave ‘to be worse than first’” – Andy Williams


p. 4 “Operations called off as medics get set for spike”

p. 6 “Five parts of the county in top 50 for infection rate”



p. 10 “New children’s hospital could serve as campaigner’s legacy” – Gill Smart, co-founder of Heart Link


p. 12 NATIONAL “Vaccine ‘is 95% effective and safe’” – Pfizer’s

18th November

p. 10 “City is Covid capital of region with highest ever number of cases”


p. 11 “’It’ s like we are sitting ducks, waiting to become infected’” – Leics Partnership Trust NHS office workers



AN employee of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust says workers are living in fear after people tested positive for Covid-19 in their office.

The employee, who wished to remain anonymo…

p. 15 a letter by Robert Ball under “Consultation on plans for hospitals premature”

Effective community services are crucial to the success of the plan to reorganise Leicester’s hospital service, but the hospital consultation does not include details and proposals for their expansion. (Setting the record straight, Nov 7th)

Local NHS leaders says that an expansion in community services, including treatment at home, will compensate for the rising need for hospital beds. 

At present we have neither sufficient beds nor sufficient community services. Demand for both will increase due to population growth projected. 

The hospital consultation does not also include proposals for community hospitals, GP practices or mental health.

We know at the moment that many patients and carers find community services have let them down because they are not sufficient. 

Any expansion of community services must take account of the social care crisis, due to years of real terms cuts in funding and the vulnerability in communities, which has been exacerbated by the Coronavirus.

The people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) must not be disadvantaged by the proposal to reorganise Leicester’s hospital service. However, at the moment we are being asked to give our views on plans to reorganise hospital services without knowing what the rest of the jigsaw puzzle looks like.

Logic indicates community services should be up and running and proving the necessary quality of health care before Leicester’s hospital services are changed. Not the other way round. This is something the LLR Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee should consider when forming a final judgement on the proposal.

Despite what local NHS leaders are saying, their consultation is premature.




17th November

p. 6 “Schools chief upbeat over Covid-19 rates” – the infection in schools

p. 7 “Volunteers are needed for final-phase vaccine testing”

p. 12 NATIONAL “US vaccine could be in UK by spring”

16th November

Pages 1, 4, 5, 12 and 21 are about the virus:

p. 1 & 4 ”14,000 pupils absent due to coronavirus” – city and county

p. 4 “Nearly 600 new cases recorded”                            “      “      “

p. 5 “’Rates need to halve to get county into tier 1’”

p. 12 NATIONAL “’Back to normal life next winter’” – scientist behind first vaccine

p. 21 ”’Your GP surgeries are open in lockdown”

p. 15 a letter of praise for Glenfield staff

November 14

Hospital; problems with  sutures after birth and a long wait for repair; publicising it to help other women


p. 12 NATIONAL, brief “R value ‘is dropping’” – but still above 1

Tributes paid to ‘dedicated’ anaesthetist who died at Leicester hospital after contracting Covid-19 – He was being treated at the Glenfield Hospital when he died


New coronavirus testing centre opens in Leicestershire town(Oadby)- The area is still one of the worst affected


p. 15 a letter by Satinder Toor under “Wait until pandemic is over before consulting” – on hospitals reconfiguration

p. 19 “Black people are twice as likely to be infected with Covid”, subtitled “Rate among Asians also 1.5 times that for white people” – UHL findings


13th November

p. 6 “15 areas with most infections over a fortnight revealed” – county

        “Work on walk-in Covid testing centre to begin” – in Blaby

p. 11 “I could have lost my life or leg…” – in praise of air ambulance

p. 12 NATIONAL “NHS waiting list at 12-year high”


p. 15 a letter on hospitals reconfiguration by Tom Barker under “Not reassured by health chiefs’ letter”

 We write in response to the report by local NHS leaders printed in the Mercury’s letters page last Saturday (‘Setting the record straight on hospitals proposals’, November 7).

NHS bosses say they want to “set the record straight” on the claim that they “have not considered Covid-19” when thinking about the £450million reorganisation of our local hospitals.

Yet it is a statement of fact that, outside the consultation questionnaire, the remaining 1500+ pages of the pre-consultation business case (the detailed plan and justification for the hospital reorganisation) makes no reference to Covid-19 and pandemic preparedness.

The Leicester Mercury Patients Panel has produced an excellent briefing paper which argues that the proposals for reorganising our hospital services need to be revised to incorporate the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The paper draws on the chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, who has suggested that new hospital designs need to reflect, amongst other things:

•             More convertible space to allow clinical areas to be moved or re-equipped to much higher specifications without major building work;

•             Generous room size specifications (or “loose fit”) and adaptable spaces where the design of rooms can accommodate multiple functions and change of use;

•             Ordinary inpatient rooms which have been designed so they can be converted to critical care rooms with enough space for complex equipment and access to extra power;

•             Outpatient departments which may be smaller and more orientated towards procedures on the one hand but with more well-equipped spaces to do remote consultations on the other.

The letter from NHS leaders goes on to say that now is not the time to “shelve plans and hunker down” because they have learned so much “in planning for, and dealing with, the impact of the first wave.”  

They seem to ignore the fact that the public they claim to be consulting is being forced to “hunker down” due to a second spike in infections. It is hardly surprising then that so few people even know about their plans.

And how could any of lessons from the pandemic really have been learned if the plan to reorganise our hospitals was submitted in January 2020, i.e. before the lessons of the pandemic could begin to be explored, and not updated since then?

As health campaigners and service users, we are extremely concerned that we are being rushed into a plan that could adversely affect the future of our hospital services at a time when the public is distracted by a national public health crisis.

Leicester General Hospital and St Mary’s Birth Centre are both under threat of closure. Come to the Save Our NHS Leicestershire online public meeting on Saturday November 21 at 2pm to hear more about the improvements that we are fighting for. Register on this link: https://cutt.ly/SONHSL

12th November

Leicester’s Children’s Hospital appeal edges closer to £7.5m target

‘It is for the children, families and the amazing staff on those wards that we are making this donation’


Record number of new covid cases in City and County


The 15 Leicestershire areas where 1,449 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed


City now included in mass testing roll-out”



Everything you need to know about coronavirus mass testing that is coming to Leicester


Pre-lockdown 2 ‘last hurrah’ could be to blame for Leicestershire’s spike in new coronavirus cases


p. 9 “Death toll in city’s hospitals up by 24”


p. 12 NATIONAL “I’ll get Covid 19 jab, says Johnson”

p. 12 “Mental health barrier” – review found triple disadvantaged groups

p. 24 “Rethink on vitamin test could save NHS millions” – Vitamin D tests overordered


11th November

p. 1 “Leicester left off the list for Covid mass testing”

p. 4 “Walk-in centre opens in town” – Market Harborough

p. 4 “City to tell Hancock it should be included in roll-out of mass tests”

p. 8 “Designated care home sought for residents who have coronavirus”


p. 9 “More schools hit by rising Covid cases in county” – includes city

p. 12 “UK ‘among first to get vaccine’” – Hancock

 New vaccine more than 90 per cent effective against Covid says Pfizer


Who will get the Covid vaccine first?


p. 15 a letter by Sofia Wiking, Leic. Socialist Alternative, under “More hospitals and staff needed, not fewer”

10th November

Pages 6 – 9 are about Covid and lockdown:

p. 6 “’Tests being processed at a rate unmatched’”

        “Practice patients to ‘stay away’”   – staff member with Covid

p. 7 “Hundreds of pupils and staff forced to self-isolate” – Covid in schools

p. 8/9 personal story of loss, 51-year-old

p. 9 “Reasons for leaving home to avoid fine” – the rules

p. 12 NATIONAL “PM: We cannot rely on vaccine”

9th November

Pages 1 and 4 “Student tells…” – 20-year-old, no underlying conditions, very ill and warning other young people

Pages 5 – 7 all lockdown;

p. 6 “More than 1,000 tests positive at weekend”

p. 7 “’We need to go further’ to suppress spread, says health boss”

p. 7 “Testing centre opens in town” – Coalville

 p. 15 an unnamed letter under “Picking up the pieces of a broken consensus”

7th November

185 areas in England see rise in Covid cases (includes full country list)


p. 5 “Prime minister visits Covid testing site”



p. 10 “Plans to discharge patients drawn up” ( Leicester hospitals)


p. 10 “The second wave ‘is set to be worse than first’” – hospitals


p. 11 “PPE stocks sufficient” (Leicester hospitals)


p. 11 “Patients who needed intensive care got it” –report in The Times is denied as happening in Leicester


p. 12 “UK Covid infection rate ‘slows down’” – no, rate of increase has slowed a bit

A letter signed by Andrew Furlong, Carolyn Fox, Prof Azhar Farooqi, Prof Mayur Lakhani and Caroline Trevithick under “Setting record straight on hospitals proposals” – rebutting campaigners

6th November

Coronavirus flares up again in east and north of LeicesterThe original ‘hotspots’ that led to lockdown in the summer have seen rates rise again faster than elsewhere in the city


p. 4 “Warning ‘second wave will be worse’” – hospitals

 p. 15 a long, obviously well researched letter by Elizabeth Warren under “I fear for new mums under hospitals plan”

5th November

Pages 1 and 5 “Two deaths, 39 infected in care home Covid outbreak” – Vishram Ghar, Netherhall


p. 6 “2.2k pupils off school last week due to virus” – county


p. 11 “Many more people with autism are suffering like I am. We need support”


p. 12 NATIONAL “Lockdown start to ‘save the NHS’” – PM

p. 10 “Son found his dad sat in urine, faeces at nursing home” – ombudsman investigating


4th November

Test and trace delays ‘dangerous, unacceptable and leading to more infections in Leicester’ The city council has now offered to take over


p. 6 a 25-year old city councillor talking about the still-lasting effects of Covid (Lindsay Broadwell)


p. 7 about lockdown and infection in school

p. 12 NATIONAL “There are better days ahead -PM”

p. 12 “                , brief “’Don’t return home’” – during lockdown, students are urged

p. 15 three letters:

David Goodger under “We’re paying the price for hopeless appointments” – of ministers

Ian Sharpe under “”Remember promises? Now check the record” – health, economy and all

Adam Krupa under “Weekly testing for all could be the solution”

3rd November

p. 15, by Ally Sultana, NSPCC, under “Serious risk of failing generation of babies” – no health visitor support during pandemic


p. 6 “People urged to call 111 with ailments” – NHS

 p. 8/9 P. Soulsby, N. Rushton and J. Ashworth on lockdown, and “Majority of 3,102 cases in county”


p. 10/11 “Don’t delay over smear tests…” – warning by 25-year-old who had HPV vaccine but had advanced pre-cancerous cells


p. 12 NATIONAL “’Tech will help us defeat Covid-19’” – Boris

2nd November

Pages 1/2/3 “Special Report”, “Firm behind the care home that was closed”, subtitled “Special Report: As concerns are raised about operator, we look in detail” – Leicestershire County Care Ltd.


p. 11 “Ex-soldier ‘did not get the support he needed’” – MoD accused after suicide


p. 15 a letter by Tom Barker under “Join the discussion about hospitals plans”


p. 15 a letter by Mags Lewis under “Genuine involvement can avoid costly errors” – about lack of access to rehabilitation under Covid and lack of consultation of accessibility experts and disabled in street design changes  

Letters by Muriel Harrison and and Frank Friedmann

 and and Frank Friedmann

p. 16 In the House Claudia Webbe under @Leicester has been sacrificed and left behind”


p. 19 “Mum opens up about pregnancy depression”