Wanstead favours a longer school day

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Wanstead residents have narrowly bucked the national trend by voting in favour of extending the school day to help children catch up after Covid.

Forty-one percent (41%) of respondents to a Wanstead Community Forum Facebook poll wanted to extend the school day with 35% against after schools were closed for most pupils for much of 2020.

This compares to a YouGov poll for The Times newspaper which found 60% opposed longer hours while 30% agreed with extending the school day.

The Times has set up a new Education Commission to examine the future of education. The panel includes former Labour MP Tristram Hunt; Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow; and children’s author Sir Michael Morpurgo. The Commission will run for one year and publish a final report in June 2022.

Wanstead Church School was rated outstanding after an inspection by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) in 2017 while Wanstead High School was rated good in 2019.

Majority of residents want face-to-face GP consultations

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New research has found that most Wanstead residents would prefer an online booking system but a face-to-face consultation when visiting their doctor.

Sixty-two percent of respondents to a Facebook poll wanted to book online but meet in person, while 25% preferred a triage system in which they completed an online form and their GP decided whether a face-to-face appointment was necessary.

The findings follow recent debate in the media after patients expressed frustration about not being able to book a face-to-face consulation with GPs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that following the outcry Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS Medical Director for Primary Care, and Ed Waller, Director of Primary Care, have written to GPs outlining new guidance. The Telegraph claims the letter states:

“GP practices must all ensure they are offering face-to-face appointments.

“While the expanded use of video, online and telephone consultations can be maintained where patients find benefit from them, this should be done alongside a clear offer of appointments in person.

“Practices should respect preferences for face-to-face care.”

A review on the NHS website dated 17 March 2021 for The Wanstead Place Surgery states:

“In response to a query I’d submitted to the practice I was phoned by a doctor, at the appointed time. The conversation was kind, thorough, informative and unrushed and I was asked if there was anything else that was worrying me.”

A comment dated 16 October 2020 states:

“Since you can not get to see any doctor but have to wait for a phone call the service is very poor.”

A review posted on the 16 April 2021 for The Evergreen Surgery on Wanstead High Street states:

“I have visited this practice a few times over the years as an emergency patient and more recently had my 2 Covid injections there. I cannot praise this surgery enough.”

A comment dated 17 March 2021 claims:

“Reception staff are rude and make assumptions without asking questions…Doctors are lovely, if you can get near them.”

Following news of the updated NHS guidance, Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:

“Patients have made clear how difficult they have been finding access to GP services, and that most commonly they clearly prefer to see their GP in person. We called for the restoration of in-person appointments as the default option when we published our second Pandemic Patient Experience report, which showed starkly how patients have been struggling to access primary care in a way that meets their needs.

“It will be a great relief to many patients to know that their GP should now unquestionably be offering face to face appointments. We saw how media reports of our findings clearly resonated with patients and arose strong feelings. We hope that many patients will now be able to rebuild their relationships with their GPs and benefit from the assurance that will bring them.”

Windrush Community Fund

A new fund has launched to raise awareness and support engagement among those eligible for the Government’s Windrush Compensation Schemes.

Charitable, community and grassroots organisations that work with affected communities can bid for an award between £2,500 to £25,000 to help ensure all people affected by Windrush are aware of the support available and are not missing out on the schemes.

The Home Office fund has been designed with the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group and will be administered by Voice4Change England. It has been set up to encourage applications from those organisations that are led by or work with affected communities who faced difficulties demonstrating their lawful status in the UK and suffered losses as a result. This covers people who settled in the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1 January 1973 and people of any nationality who were settled before the end of 1988.

To find out more please visit:

https://voice4change-england.com/500k-windrush-community-fund-opens-for-bids/.

Many feel concerned at night

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A majority of people do not feel safe at night in Wanstead, according to a new poll.

Seventy-six (76%) percent of respondents to a survey conducted on Facebook said they did not feel safe walking alone at night in Wanstead.

The findings come after the disappearance of a woman in South London which has prompted many women to share their experiences and concerns about walking alone in the capital at night.

In comments underneath the Wanstead Community Forum Facebook poll, members shared their own experiences. One reported being followed while walking their dogs while another was “catcalled” on the High Street. A resident also reported abuse being directed at members of the LGBT community.

The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has acknowledged that women do not feel safe on streets in the capital. He told LBC radio:

“It’s really important that people of my gender understand that if you’re a woman or a girl your experience of our city in any public space, whether it’s in the workplace, on the streets and public transport, is very different to if you are a man or a boy. It’s really important that people like me in positions of influence understand and take steps to address that”.

Covid-19 lockdown restrictions

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According to media reports this morning there appears to be some confusion around the current rules. A summary of Government guidance is:

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

You should follow this guidance immediately. This is the law.

Leaving home

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

*shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
*go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
*exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
*meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
*seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
attend education or childcare – for those eligible

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local – unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work. Stay local means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

The full guidance can be found here.

Face masks likely to cause environmental problem

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Millions of disposable face masks are being discarded every day, according new analysis by TradeWaste.co.uk.

The public waste company has estimated that 53 million masks are being sent to UK landfill every day after being thrown away often onto the street.

Disposable face masks are typically made from three plastic layers including a non-woven plastic fabric outer, a melt-blown polymer filter, and a non-woven plastic fabric inner as well as cotton ear loops and a metal nose piece.

The survey found that 58 million face masks are used daily in the UK with 10% being reused but 90% thrown away.

“We as a country need better disposal methods to cope with huge numbers of disposable masks being thrown away – most cannot be recycled”, says Charlotte Green from TradeWaste.co.uk.

“If restrictions and mask use continue then this issue is going to get progressively worse – action needs to be taken.”

The company estimate that 129 billion face masks are in use globally per month.

Central Line platform display boards not working (again)

The platform display boards at Wanstead appear to have stopped functioning after working for just 5 days.

The boards, which relay information about the destination and timing of trains, were fixed on 27 November 2019 but were not working on the morning of 2 December.

The previous fault took 29 days to repair. Once again, we wait…

Platform display boards not working for 17 days (so far)

As regular readers will know The Wanstead Post has long campaigned to #improvethecentralline.

Commuters using Wanstead Station will have noticed that the platform display boards stopped working on 30 October 2019 and 17 days later have yet to be repaired.

The Wanstead Post has raised the issue with Central Line management and received the following response:

“I’m sorry for the impact that this is having on your journeys. I’ve had a response from the station that we’re chasing the contractor responsible for maintenance and that parts needed for the fix are on back order. Once received they will be installed as a matter of urgency”.

We wait…