Herts Ad Comment: Stone-throwing on the A414 and broken NHS

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You can imagine the scene. You are driving along the A414 in the early evening, the fields either side concealed by darkness, the rush hour traffic just starting to ease...

Then without warning, “BANG!” your window explodes in a torrent of glass, and you struggle to keep control of your vehicle in wake of the shock, swerving between lanes as the wind from the shattered window blows into your car.

Meanwhile, further back down the road, some lowlife moron laughs at their latest act of reckless vandalism, not for one moment contemplating that but for the grace of God, they could have killed someone.

So far nobody has been seriously injured in this latest wave of stone-throwing attacks on motorists using the A414 and Colney Heath Lane, but that could easily change.

All it takes is for a driver to lose control after being pelted with a stone for an accident to occur, and the consequences of that are likely to be far more serious than a broken window.

The problem with incidents of this nature is actually tracking down those responsible, Even with increased police patrols, they are having to cover a wide area of open countryside in conditions which do not encourage detection and pursuit.

Only a helicopter with thermal imagery cameras is likely to stand a chance of catching the perpetrators, and then it has to be in the right place at the right time to have any reasonable chance of success.

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Ultimately, we have to hope that those responsible for these mindless attacks come to their senses before it’s too late, as unless they do sooner or later their acts of vandalism will end in tragedy.

In the meantime, it’s worth getting the message out warning road users to be on their guard when driving along these roads, just in case they become the next victims of these roadside hoodlums.

“The NHS in Herts is broken,” said Cllr Chris White this week, and he’s probably right.

In the wake of last week’s shocking news that we are to lose 39 community beds from St Albans City Hospital, the latest CQC report for West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust has highlighted the fact that standards are still far from acceptable in any of our local hospitals.

Of course there was the expected spin about those services which had improved as part of a 2,000-word explanation for why the trust was still failing in many areas, but at the end of the day the CQC report’s findings are clear: the trust still has a lot to do before it can get out of special measures.

Perhaps the blame for some of these problems lies with constant budget cuts, but surely most of the responsibility has to be taken by the trust’s leaders, who have failed to introduce necessary procedures and processes to improve services to the required levels?

Mind you with such a rapid turnaround in chief executives over the past few years, it’s no wonder that the trust is still in a state of crisis.

The current incumbent has only been in place since last June, and obviously still has a lot of work to do in order to turn things around, so let’s hope she sticks around long enough to achieve this.