Dear Reader: Harrogate Hospital's woes + an outstanding stand-up!

Harrogate Hospital.
Harrogate Hospital.

A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

I feel nothing but gratitude for the standard of treatment I received at Harrogate Hospital during my three-day stay three months ago.
Not that this surprised me. The hospital’s always enjoyed a good reputation for quality of care and general organisation.
So the news that the NHS Foundation Trust it’s part of is currently facing a financial deficit of £2.8 million came as a real shock.
Everyone involved seems confident this will turn out to be a short-term phenomenon which can be sorted out quickly.
But Harrogate Hospital is not alone in the situation it finds itself.
Headlines regularly tell of similar tales of woe across the public sector these days – in jails, schools, railways, mental health and social care.
Who’s to blame and what’s caused this in an era of public-private partnerships, outsourcing, agency staff and constant restructuring is hard to say.
It’s tempting to say “spare me the details” when confronted by such a complex web of cause and effect.
To delve any deeper into the subject risks drowning in the murky waters of politics.
But one thing remains crystal clear to me, however.
I don’t remember those sort of headlines in the days when Harrogate Hospital seemed to be more in control of its own destiny and was freer to make its own decisions.

Harrogate comedian Maisie Adam.

Harrogate comedian Maisie Adam.


Maisie Adam looked pleased but a little bewildered by her own success sitting across from me during an interview at Marconi café in Harrogate one lunchtime last week.
As well as excitement at the speed of her own progress, there was a note of surprise in the voice of this former head girl at St Aidan’s High School in Harrogate.
It’s fair to say she’s a little new to the scene.
This talented young comedian and actress only made her live debut on the stand-up circuit last October.
Now she’s in the final of So You Think You’re Funny? which take later place this month at the Edinburgh Fringe's famous Gilded Balloon venue.
It’s worth noting that other names to have done rather well in the same competition include Peter Kay, Sarah Millican, John Bishop, Jack Whitehall, Sarah Millican, Russell Brand and Jimmy Carr.
Still in her early 20s, the bright-eyed Maisie was bright and likable, as you’d expect.
Oh, and very funny.
But there was something else about her I couldn’t quite place until I was in Liverpool at the weekend being shown round the childhood home of Paul McCartney as part of a National Trust Tour.
This tiny council house from the 1950s was a veritable time machine, full of photos of the teenage Beatle taken by his brother Mike all those years ago.
But in every black and white picture it was possible to detect a quietly steely look in the eyes of the bright and likable young man which would serve him well on his rise to success.