I'D LIKE to use my column to make some personal comments on Future Fit.

For those who attended the public meeting arranged by Oswestry Town Council to gauge the public’s response to proposed change will have seen me sitting between both camps as chairperson for the evening.

As chair, your job is to remain as neutral as possible – and quite right too, otherwise there is no point to having a chair.

To be quite honest, though, I would have been happier sitting in the audience letting Future Fit know how their proposals strike fear rather than reassurance into people’s hearts, myself included.

There were some excellent points made from the audience, many of which have been voiced before during the first round of consultation in which around £4.5million has been wasted.

Now I would like to make those points on which I had to remain silent on the night.

Firstly is the matter of distance and access. I am not talking about life-saving situations, rather referring to the matter of partners or relatives being able to get to either visit a sick patient or get to a non-urgent appointment at Telford Hospital, which is one of the proposals on offer.

Sick people need reassurance, not the additional worry of family who either don’t drive or have difficulty getting around on public transport.

Hospitals are not stress-free environments at the best of times, and putting obstacles such as inaccessibility in people’s way at a time when they have enough to cope with is sheer madness.

Secondly, and this comes from first-hand experience of living in a time which saw the rot begin under Margaret Thatcher’s government with no improvement under Blair et al, I truly wince when they talk about the difficulty they face recruiting nurses.

I would love them to answer why it is that to become a nurse you have to go to university. Many, many, very good, dedicated and competent nurses in the past started their careers as cadet nurses.

With practical experience coming first, theory then makes more sense – at least, it did when I was teaching.

Nowadays, it's theory first and very little practical, a few weeks here and there. Not exactly the kind of base on which to build a confident workforce.

No wonder so many nursing graduates don’t stay in the job for long and we turn agencies or to those trained elsewhere, costing us even more money.

Bad practice and bad management – but this comes as no surprise to those of us who are old enough to have witnessed a world-renowned service turned into a failing business because of the rise of a management structure, one in which money comes first over patients' concerns – a good example being that of Future Fit. Shame on you.

n As we know, Oswestry is blessed with many, many, fine events. Behind these events are teams or individuals who put hours and hours into organisation, so hats off to all.

For me, though, I have to confess the most stressful thing of being a mayor is for me putting on an event on behalf of your chosen charities.

Yes, I have sorted the place, time and type of event, as well as tickets, posters and even some raffle prizes. So why the stress, you may ask. But for anyone out there who has experienced the same, the most worrying thing is getting people to commit themselves to what promises to be a fun event, with live music.

So just a reminder to all you good folk out there my chosen charities are Lingen Davies and the Shropshire Young Carers based in Oswestry). My event is a Luxurious Afternoon Tea, with prosecco and live music at the Wynnstay on Saturday, September 22. Why don’t you make up a table with friends? If not, come along anyway and meet new people – you will be made most welcome.

Tickets at £25 each are available from Rowanthorn and Christians Jewellers – and from myself of course.