Stornoway Gazette Letters 6.2.14

Ali Finlayson from Ness sent this picture in of the rising and falling waves off Galson.
Ali Finlayson from Ness sent this picture in of the rising and falling waves off Galson.

Home Care Service

Western Isles Carers, Users & Supporters Network (WICUSN) wishes to make the following comments on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s response in the article re: the ‘Withdrawal of Home Care on 24th December 2013’ in the Stornoway Gazette of 16th January 2014.

We appreciate very much that the overnight service resumed care around midnight on the 24th December. That was indeed very good for the people in receipt of the overnight service. However the vast majority of service users do not receive this service. Although they may not fit the criteria for an overnight visit, they may, nevertheless, be extremely vulnerable because of physical or mental disability.

The resumed overnight service would have been of no comfort to service users who were unable to toilet themselves, access a meal or hot drink or get themselves off to bed. If home care staff were at risk because of the severe weather, how much more a person who has to rely on others for assistance with the most basic of functions.

While we accept that individual workers did the best they could in the circumstances, WICUSN would like to question whether the response of the Home Care Service on Christmas Eve was properly thought through.

It may be some care tasks can be performed in advance of the normal daily routines, but how do you bring forward to 3pm in the afternoon the provision of hot meals and drinks, assistance with toileting and getting into bed?

It can only be done if you are prepared to risk these vulnerable people experiencing loss of dignity, extreme discomfort and possibly night-long exposure to cold.

Seventy five percent of WICUSN members are either current or ex carers. Indeed quite a number have over 20 years caring under their belt. We understand that the home care service has to be delivered in partnership with carers, family and friends. Indeed we welcome this.

We are also aware that some carers and family members are themselves of an age or state of health that limits their capacity to assist.

Our expectation was that the home care service would also be aware that those they approached to help out in a crisis were physically and mentally able to do so.

The Comhairle referred to its emergency plan. We suggest that each home care service user should have an individualised emergency plan, worked out in partnership with the service user, carer and family.

We suggest that the age and capability of all people who are contacts for practical assistance in a crisis is recorded and reviewed as part of the continuing assessment of the service user’s circumstances.

Those service users who have no able-bodied family or community support readily accessible should be offered acceptable alternative emergency support arranged by the social work department. A practical solution may be a home carer living in the same vicinity and known to the service user.

The information collated needs to be available to home care organisers when they are coordinating provision on the occasions that it is deemed unsafe for home carers to be travelling around the Island.

WICUSN is raising this matter in the hope of preventing similar difficulties in a future emergency, not for the sake of making a complaint. We hope that serious consideration is given to what we suggest.

Jinty Morrison,


3 Stonefield,


Isle of Lewis, HS2 9EA

Renaming streets

As a resident of Stornoway, I’ve been traipsing up and down Matheson Road for nigh on 70 years.

Perhaps, as the lady from Tobson points out in last week’s issue, it is time for change to the street names.

Maybe we could adopt the numerical system like the Yanks, or a simpler alphabetical one (A Street, B Street and so on).

I’m sure the good folk on Matheson Road would love to have their mail sent to 5, 7,11,13, TYSZKO Street, Stornoway!

Fred Maclennan

34 Newton Street,

Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

Growth for future

In regards to your columnist, I D Campbell’s (Stornoway Gazette, 16.1.14) interesting comments about church maintenance processes, in which he detailed a sequence of authority holders with a Procedural Base in the Westminster Confession of Faith (1643), a source document shared by all Protestants.

It is understood that a Church is an organisation sustaining longer term agreements structuring and formalising the chaos of human competition for long term survival, and that the basis of this structure is the foundations resting in God and in shared biblical interpretation.

It is recognised that multiple human needs are met via this maintenance of long term agreement, and that this requires centralised features of shared culture and spiritual reliability with a centralised reference system that bridges the awesome unknown into human terms of understanding, such as declared in the WCF (1643).

Providence, defined as ‘Gods ongoing influence on created order’, suggests an organic relationship between God and Creation that includes change, and therefore, delivers a human psychological expectation of some sort of continuous change within church and aristocracy (leadership), that reflects, represents, characterises and emphasises Providence, or requires active participation and continuous agreement (and in modern language might be defined, ‘checks and balances’, ‘review and report with recommendations’), of which the Protestant Church itself, is an example in that it can be described as a social-political-religious development that represented the need for change in church practice over a longer term.

Reliance on WCF procedural maintenances, however, seems to indicate a structure that has no built-in Providential capacity to change in response to social or population growth.

It seems to have no facilities for introducing new technology; either mechanical or social, that accords with Providing for Need occurring in relation to Gods Planned Happening.

For example, Abraham’s increased descendants requiring cities not tents, and therefore requiring appropriate organically-grown support structures such as, city planning, with roads, sewage, water, services, and social structures of civil governance, with diverse acceptance within multi-culture community, that meet the requirements of the de facto population.

If Provision for growth is not part of built-in church practice, in what way does church practice that is based on source documents, such as Westminster Confession of Faith, written and presumably representative of population in 1643, represent today’s or future population?

Hazel Mansfield

11 Ford View, Tong

Isle of Lewis