CHARGES: Hitting those in most need

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I recently underwent two heart procedures at the Freeman Hospital where the staff were absolutely fantastic.

During the time between both procedures, and afterwards, I was enrolled on a cardiac rehabilitation course at Concordia Leisure centre.

I attended twice a week and, thanks once again to the amazing staff that help run the scheme, I am now back to fitness and have recently moved onto the next level, which is the Healthstart scheme.

This is still part of my rehabilitation, along with many other individuals who have had the same, or more, procedures carried out.

I attended my first session of the Healthstart scheme where we were informed that the charge for attending each session was to rise by £2.20 from £3.40 to £5.60, a rise of 64.5 per cent.

I am dismayed that this rise appears to have been agreed without any meaningful consultation with the users of the scheme, the staff who run the scheme, and other sections of the health community who deal with referrals to the scheme.

Once again it appears to me that the county council, under the guise of an arm’s reach organisation, is targeting the very people that require and need this kind of activity.

It appears to me a way of raising capital for a not-for-profit organisation in a very underhand way.

I have recently contacted the respective heads of Active Northumberland and I am eagerly awaiting a reply.

George Arnott

Seghill