Thanks to Dr Melanie Morgan-Jones in East Garston for sharing the letter she wrote to the council this week:
I’m writing to voice my extreme concern over the proposed library cuts in this locality. I feel that I am quite justified and qualified to raise this in view of my exposure to the daily mental and emotional wellbeing of my patients within a clinical setting. Many of these individuals are retired and reside in the Lambourn valley. Over the weeks since the announcement that the local library may be closed in Lambourn for example, I am finding that the incidence of anxiety and depression presented in my practice has increased significantly because of the potential loss of this very important social/ educational resource and communication centre in the village. The news has served to impact their daily lives particularly hard and to such an extent that many are asking for prescriptions to help them cope. Ultimately this will have a national impact on our already stretched NHS funding. Please re-consider any closure decision very seriously in view of this information because I am deeply concerned for these people. I have seen almost 50 people over the last 3 weeks who are voicing worries over the potential situation and many take these further cuts to services, which are particularly supported by the elderly and infirm, as a typical ‘first port of call ‘ for authorities and the Government. They feel that they are unable to fight due to their vulnerability and that there is no meaningful attempt made to consider the long term impact that this will have on them and their community as a whole.
I’m certain that if the service is cut then the retailers in Lambourn will also suffer because I know that many people combine their library visit with a shopping visit. Many have reported to me that they will now shop online suggesting further isolation which we know from research has a serious implication both socially and financially. It may be useful to also consider that anxiety and depression are facets of the already enormous and growing problem which this country has to deal with in relation to providing funding for care for those people with long term neurological conditions (pw LTNC).
Dr Melanie Morgan-Jones (D Health)