Parking fees are enough to make you sick

IT S ironic that Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon MSP has announced car parking charges are to be abolished at NHS hospitals across Scotland when only last year hospital bosses in Comet country announced intentions to start charging disabled blue badge ho

IT'S ironic that Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon MSP has announced car parking charges are to be abolished at NHS hospitals across Scotland when only last year hospital bosses in Comet country announced intentions to start charging disabled blue badge holders for parking at Lister.

Sturgeon said the move, which takes effect at 14 Scottish hospitals from December 31, would help reaffirm the NHS's founding principle of healthcare free at the point of delivery. Lister bosses clearly can't have had this founding principle at the forefront of their minds when they set out their intentions.

Sturgeon also said: "It's simply not fair to expect patients or visitors to have to pay when they come to hospital, when they may be suffering personal anxiety, stress or grief."

But our hospital bosses have a different take on what is fair, suggesting the decision to charge blue badge holders for using Lister's parking facilities is in fact driven by the need for improved fairness in how parking charges are applied to different groups of patients and visitors.

It seems both sets of intentions strive for fairness by making everybody equal, but it's a pity the perception of this in Scotland is to charge no one, whereas in Comet country it is to charge everyone.

I'VE heard it all now - computer games are good for your health!

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Apparently tests have shown holding a controller and moving your arms to navigate characters burns 40 per cent more calories than doing nothing.

This latest revelation appears not to take into consideration that playing computer games can result in eye strain and headaches, not to mention that medics have long linked gaming with soaring obesity figures.

And what about social interaction? Computer games, popular with children, are often played alone. Youngsters should be outside, in the fresh air, playing with their friends. Not only would they be improving their social skills and building friendships, I've also no doubt they would be burning more calories riding bikes, playing football or simply dashing about, than sitting indoors playing computer games. And what's more, they'd be having fun!

According to this recent study, playing bowling games on a Wii burns 98 per cent more calories than doing nothing, while running games 451 per cent more.

I've no doubt the news that gaming burns calories will delight many struggling to get the gym, but I don't think it's time to give up the treadmill in favour of a games console.

THE media is often accused of reporting hard-hitting, negative and controversial stories at the expense of ignoring the softer, more positive and uplifting ones.

Well, now The Comet is focussing on heart-warming tales as it looks for nominees for The Comet Community Awards 2008.

Week after week, we have focussed on those in the community who have been brave, selfless or inspiring to others.

Nominations so far have included a mother who has donated a slice of her liver to her sick six-year-old daughter, a pensioner who works tirelessly and voluntarily to support young people, and a badminton player who has spina bifida and whose positive outlook on life has changed people's attitudes for the better.

You have just three weeks left to nominate someone you think deserves recognition for their efforts, so get involved now.

There are 13 award categories, including Young Achiever, Parent in a Million, Role Model of the Year and Lifetime Achievement.

To nominate someone you know, call Sarah Scott on 01438 866023, email her at sarah.scott@archant. co.uk or visit www.thecomet24.co.uk/ communityawards before September 26.

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