Too many pen-pushers in the NHS


Two recent contraversial articles with a common interest appeared in the Ely Standard and are worthy of comment.

Firstly, the NHS sparked outrage by increasing car park charges for all users, including nurses whom Rishi Sumark refuses to exclude plus the fact that Rachael Power, the chief executive claims it is in more need of extra finance which in my view is partly self inflicted but it is not beyond redemption.

A million nurses (on band 5) expect  five per cent a pay award in April 2023, plus a lump sum of between one and £3,000, but the NHS is already poised to dilute their wages with extra parking charges, which should not have been necessary had there been much less wastage.

Admittedly, private firms are involved but are suitably rewarded but the NHS still benefitted to the tune of £271 million over 2018/19 as well as the government input.

There are several avenues they could persue to reduce costs; patients, failing to attend booked appointments for example.

They could pay a nominal fee in advance which is refunded in full after their appointment, or if thet had canmcelled the appointment in sufficient time.

Some American states adopt a similar system and is highly successful, except only half their dollars is returned.

Several NHS chief executives draw six figure salaries compared to our Prime Minister who gets bareley half that amount and has the whole country to control but his counter parts are responsible for just one entity.

Some visitors to the countryt come and get medical treatment, such as maternity assistance on the NHS, even though they are not entitled to free treatment, then disappear back to their homeland thus witholding payment, but, it seems without much effort to retrieve it.

Paying up front would be one solution. Middle management seems over populated with penpushers and instead of recruiting more of them,that money would be better spent on more nursing staff, to the benefit of us all.

Then there is the colossal bill paying for unnecessary operations, such as boob jobs and transgender ops to name just a few which should be privately funded.

Covid could be partly to blame for a an empyt money pot but I doubt if that applies to Brexit or Ukraine, though some may disagree.

It is more likely to be poor mismanagament. To conclude with mention of car parks, at present there are no charges in Ely, but I do not feel over confident at all that it will remain that way for too long.

I suspect discussions of this is just nature could just be in limbo.

Barry Colling


Come and meet the Easter Bunny

We are holding an Easter Bunny event at the Prickwillow Engine Museum next month at our opening event.

This takes place on Sunday April 9, from midday to 4pm. This is a child friendly event where children can meet the Easter Bunny and his helper, receive an Easter egg and enjoy many activities including fun/craft activities and crack the code treasure hunt.

There is a small charge of £3 per child. It is also hoped we will run some of our large pumping engines. Hot and cold snacks and drinks will also be available, and parking is free.

Normal entry fees apply of £5 for adults; concessions are £4 and children under 16 are free.

Ken Woods

Prickwillow Engine Museum


Ely Choral invites you to catherdral performance

Ely’s largest choir invites you to a dramatic and moving performance in Ely Cathedral.

Mozart’s Requiem ranks next to Handel’s Messiah as one of the best-known and popular works ever.

Ely Choral Society, led by Andrew Parnell, will perform this work together with the lesser known Salve Regina by Haydn.

Ely Cathedral Octagon provides the ideal venue for our 100-strong choir accompanied by the orchestra (Camerata East led by Helen Medlock) together with Glen Dempsey, assistant director of Music Ely

Cathedral on organ. Soloists are Susanna MacRae, Emma Lewis, Richard Symons and Harley Jones who all have prominent parts in both works.

Having received the commission from a mysterious stranger, Mozart composed it as he was approaching his own death, leaving it incomplete.

It is said he was humming the moving Lacrimosa on his death bed. The version we are singing is the best-known traditional version completed by Mozart’s pupil, Sussmayr.

The concert takes place on Saturday April 22. Tickets are £25, £20, £10 and £5 for U18s from the cathedral box office or online at:

Angela Major


Congestion charge plan needed a referendum

On Tuesday last week, councillors at Cambridgeshire County Council received a petition signed by more than 15,000 Cambridgeshire residents calling for the people of Cambridgeshire to be given a referendum on whether or not to bring in a road charge in Cambridge, commonly known as the 'Cambridge Congestion Charge'.  

There was also a motion from Cllr Steve Count recommending that the referendum should take place. 

The motion was lost.

The arguments made by those opposing the idea of a referendum were deplorable and condescending, intimating that this was 'too complex' a decision for the people of Cambridgeshire to be able to decide.  

County councillors are chosen by the people of Cambridgeshire to represent them.  Not one of the current county councillors stood for election on a promise of bringing in a road charge. 

They have not sought the permission of the people to make what is a fundamental change to the functioning of our county.

By refusing to hold a referendum the Liberal Democrat led coalition administration at the county council deny the people of Cambridgeshire the right to any democratic input. 

To make this decision, as they will do after the district council elections in May, with no mandate and in the face of such obvious massive opposition is unconscionable.

The only opportunity left for voters to be able to 'send them a message' is the district council elections taking place on May 4.  


Anna Bailey

Leader of East Cambridgeshire District 

Take part in Easter competition

Easter colouring sheets for a competition are available from the Little Downham Book Cafe. Please complete your picture and return it to the book cafe.

There are three age groups for the competition - under six, six to 10 and over 10. Prizes will be given to three pictures in each group.

The prize-giving event will then take place at the Little Downham Book Cafe, which is held at the village hall in Main Street, on Good Friday (April 7), from 10am to midday.

We might be lucky to get a visit from the Easter bunny for this event.

For more information, contact: 

Julie Rees

Book Cafe Manager



Soham Community Reports

Soham Community Group

Members of the Monday Club met in the Causeway Community centre on the morning of Monday, March 20.

On arrival at the club, the voluntary helpers served tea, coffee, cakes, sausage rolls and cheese scones.

To boost club funds, a bring-and-buy sale was organised with a good selection of items including clothes, shoes, jigsaws, and costume jewellery.

This was well supported.

For lunch on this occasion, pie, mash and vegetables followed by spotted dick and custard, all supplied by the Soham Cherry Tree, were served.

Following lunch, Ann Fleet organised the raffle of the many prizes including a donation from Rose Free, knitted chicks with cream eggs inside.

Refreshments were served and games of bingo were played, with prizes donated by Andrew Fleet which brought a most enjoyable day to a close. Members then made their way home.

Community Care Coffee Morning

On the morning of Tuesday, March 21, Diane Wheeling welcomed 19 people to the coffee morning in The Pavilion.

There was time to catch up with friends and lots of chat while visitors were served coffee, tea and biscuits.

A selection of books were available to buy. Diane organised the raffle of prizes donated by the members.

More members would be very welcome at these coffee mornings which are held on Tuesdays, from 9am to 11am.

Comrades Club

It was eyes down at 7.45 pm for the bingo players who meet every Tuesday evening in the Comrades Club.

During a break for refreshments, the raffle took place. New members would be very welcome. Doors open at 7pm for eyes down at 7.45pm.

Over 60s Club

On Monday, March 20, a party of members from the club enjoyed a day out in King's Lynn.

On arrival they made their way to a local cafe’ for coffee before a browse around the shops and lunch.

After lunch, they met at the Corn Exchange for the Neil Sands production of When You Are Smiling.

It was a spirit-lifting afternoon filled with laughter and musical memories and everyone enjoyed it. It was then time to board the coach for the journey home.

On the afternoon of Friday, March 24, Ruth Ginn welcomed members to the meeting in The Pavilion which was well attended.

Ruth introduced Sheila Jeffery, from Marie Curie. She is the chairman and a fundraiser who was accompanied by a team member Margaret.

Sheila began her talk on a personal note. Before becoming a Marie Curie nurse, she worked in the x-ray department at Newmarket Hospital.

She then went on to talk about the history of Marie Curie which gives support and care for people living with a terminal illness.

Sheila spoke about the charity that started in 1948 with the first donation of £75.

Marie Curie has been around as long as the NHS and for more than 60 years it has been there for hundreds of thousands of families.

There is no government funding and they rely on public donations. A selection of items to raise funds were available for members to buy.

Ruth thanked Sheila for a very informative and interesting talk. Refreshments were served and Richard organised the raffle.

Ruth reminded members that the meeting on March 31 has  Easter Theme when members are invited to make hats and bring poems and readings to the meeting.

On behalf of members who went on the outing on Monday she thanked Richard Badcock for organising the lovely day out. The meeting closed with the singing of the club hymn.

Yvonee Long

Soham Correspondent