Decorus UK Ltd in Administration

I have been informed today that Decorus UK Ltd, based in Colchester, is filing for Administration.

The company stopped paying staff and assessors salaries in February 2017 after a whistle-blowing investigation ceased all funding from the Government to Decorus UK and in turn the cash dried up.


What next for Learners?

An email from CRC today confirmed:

“We have been made aware that Decorus UK Ltd are going into administration.  Due to the seriousness of the situation we have given notice to terminate our contract with Decorus UK Ltd and will endeavour to continue to give every apprentice the opportunity to achieve their apprenticeship.  We are currently finalising the recovery plan and will commence training with your employees as soon as possible with either ourselves or an approved provider. “

Therefore, it is a case of waiting for CRC to be able to arrange new Assessors; a very frustrating position to be in but unfortunately a waiting game that will have to be played out.


Brights pub, Colchester – Memories

I was recently reading a history of Colchester pubs on the Camulos website when I noticed a brief listing for ‘Brights’; a pub which was situated on Straight Road.

The pub had a relatively short life compared to others being open for just 12 years from 1884 until 1996 when poor trade let to be being demolished to make way for a number of homes on the site.

My memories of Brights

Brights was a really important place for me because it’s where I discovered my love of live music. At the age of 12 I saw my first ever live band – Blade Chain – and was instantly hooked (I’ve since gone on to front a number of bands myself).

I was also the first place I discovered being served alcohol underage, the Landlord when I was 12 seemingly careless about servicing me bottle of Kay’s Cider after I’d played along to a song with the band during an interval!

Sadly, however, a lack of business and complaints from local residents eventually resulted in the demise of Brights.

What are you memories? Leave them below…


New OFSTED approved pre-school opens in Monkwick

A new OFSTED approved pre-school has opened for Monkwick and the surrounding area.

Little Polar Bear Pre-School is providing care from 9am until midday from Monday to Friday, including free 15 hours government funding per week for 3 to 5 year olds.

“We’re very proud to be able to provide this new service for the local community” said Managing Director Olha Kozlovska.

Based at the Scout Centre behind The Parade on Queen Elizabeth Way, Monkwick, any parents interested in their child attending the pre-school should call Olha on 07504115447 or send an email to



DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles in crackdown on law breakers

DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles

DVLA Clamps Untaxed VehiclesDrivers are being warned as the DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles at the roadside of the road if they fail to pay for Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax).

The DVLA and Local Authorities are carrying our sweeps of major towns and cities across the UK as they look for vehicles where drivers have failed to pay road tax. These photos were capture on Mersea Road, Colchester, Essex, on 17th February 2017.

Vehicles fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology are being utilised by the DVLA quickly identify vehicles which are untaxed. The vehicles are then clamped with bright yellow wheel clamps; both serving as embarrassment to the owner and a warning to other drivers.

The move comes as a result of millions of drivers failing to tax their vehicles since the tax disc was abolished for an online only system in October 2014. As a result, the number of untaxed vehicle rose to over 560,00 in the summer of 2015.


The DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles where drivers have tried to dodge VED

Seemingly, some vehicle owners believe that the lack of a tax disc displayed in the vehicle means that they can get away without insuring it. However, the modern ANPR system can tell officials if a vehicle has tax or insurance within a matter of seconds by querying the DVLA and Motor Insurers databases.


The real cost of driving without road tax

The DVLA clamps untaxed vehicles and then charges to have the impounded vehicle released. There is a £100 release fee plus the price of the road tax. A vehicle not taxed within 24 hours may be removed and destroyed after 7 days.

The clamps can be fitted by the DVLA, the police, local councils and VOSA.

The message is clear: if you can’t afford to tax your vehicle, it shouldn’t be used on the road. Sooner or later you’ll be caught.

Another vehicle which was clamped by Colchester Borough Council or the DVLA on Mersea Road, Colchester



An NHS Hospital in crises – Colchester Hospital problems

Colchester Hospital

The NHS is failing. It’s a fact that I’d been warned about but didn’t quite believe until a close family member was admitted to Colchester Hospital in December 2016.

I should be clear before I commence: the NHS appears to have saved my dad’s life, and for that I am truly grateful. The Radiotherapy department and the cancer care he received prior to being admitted to a ward in Colchester Hospital was excellent. Sadly, however, it was an expected admittance to West Bergholt Ward which almost killed him.

A seemingly never-ending list of mistakes started almost as soon as he was admitted to Colchester hospital. Recovering from weeks of radiotherapy, he was unable to swallow and had managed no liquids for over 24 hours. After he was seen, he was promised an IV drip. 2 hours later there was no news…then 3….then 4. After chasing the staff we discovered his notes had already been lost in the chaotic A&E department. Not a good start.


Over a 2 day wait for a bed

Next he would face a 2 day wait for a bed, so in the meantime was left on a gurney in the Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU). Over 48 hours there, with a nurse who was so anxious about every move she made and even struggled to work out how to switch the overhead light on.

An hour later this nurse would break the feeding tube which had been inserted into his stomach via this nose. Lucky for him it wasn’t an airline keeping him alive.

Thankfully, a senior nurse would come on duty later and ensure he had enough morphine to at least get a few hours sleep.


Colchester Hospital is understaffed and badly managed

We were told that the cause of all the delays was a lack of staff, both nurses and doctors. There were many on holiday. Now of course I totally understand that people want to spend Christmas with their families, but how can any decent management team allow the hospital to be understaffed at one of the busiest times of the year?


Lack of doctors

Within a couple of days my dad’s prescription for IV had run out. It would take another 24 hours for a doctor to make it to him to prescribe more. That was another 24 hours with no liquids for someone who was unable to swallow even his own saliva. The reason we were told, once again, was due to a lack of staff. Water is a basic human right, which is seemingly overlooked in Colchester Hospital.

This brings me neatly on to the next point.


Nurses are unable to use their initiative

Not because they can’t, but because they’re not allowed to.

For example, the issue of no IV fluid. You don’t need to be medically trained to know that a basic requirement for the human body is water, so it would seem to make perfect sense to allow a nurse to take the initiative to replace an IV of saline and water to someone who had run out.

Not in the NHS.

In the NHS, you have to have a procedure for every single thing. Of course, you need these procedures to prevent mistakes from occurring because hospitals are being sued for millions every year due to negligence. As a result, nurses have the ability to make even basic decisions removed from them. Perhaps this is a bigger issue of a lack of qualified staff, I’ve no idea, but I do know that this wastes a lot of time and is bound to decrease recovery times for patients. It must be hugely frustrating for nurses and is yet another reason why the NHS is failing to take proper care of patients.


Lack of communication

One of the biggest problems in the hospital wards is a serious lack of communication, which may of the senior staff agreed with when we spoke to them.

For example, on one occasion my dad was due to have a procedure at midday for a tube to be inserted into his nose. This has been agreed by a team of specialists. Half an hour before, we inquired as to why he hadn’t yet had his pre-med. We were then told by a very abrupt Staff Nurse that the procedure wouldn’t be going ahead, because “we don’t do that procedure on the weekend and you’ve been misinformed”. I asked her if she has checked. “Yes, I’ve been down their and there is no one there”. This caused panic for my dad who was already very nervous. After 20 minutes of worry, two porters arrived to take him downstairs for the procedure.

It turns out that not only had the nurse not been told, but she admitted to lying about checking with the department. I never did get to the bottom of why.


‘Keep fighting’

One nurse could see that things were bad for my dad. She leaned across the bed and said to my mother to “keep fighting” for him. This was a sad recognition from a member of staff just how bad things were. She was tired, over-worked and frustrated. She could see that Colchester Hospital was falling apart and there was no one to help and support her.


Writing the wrong information in notes

Whilst on the ward, a man in the bed opposite had been taken down for an x-ray and left in the hallway for 2 hours before a porter returned to take him back to the ward. In the meantime, he missed his slot for his Parkinson’s medication. Beginning to shake, he told a nurse that he needed to get back on track for his mediation as his symptoms were returning. She said he would have to wait until the next dose (in one hour) and wrote “medication refused” in his notes.


Bed sores

This same patient was unable to walk and had been complaining for bed sores. He was told that a special mattress would be provided to help move him and prevent them.

Three days later there was still no sign of the mattress. He was in agony and unable to move from the bed as he was catheterised.


Bed blocking

One of the reasons were were told for the delay in finding dad a bed on a ward was because there were too many patients waiting to be sent home, an issue known as bed blocking. This is due to a wider issue of there not being enough Social Care outside of hospitals to cope with people returning home and it’s a problem faced by hundreds of hospitals country-wide.


Wrong medication

On one occasion, a Staff Nurse attempted to give my dad oramorph (an oral form of morphine). This despite it being noted that my dad was allergic to it, and despite the doctor prescribing intravenous morphine. Had I not been there, she would have given him something which would have made a man unable to swallow violently sick. When I pointed out the mistake the nurse says “I suppose I ought to read his notes”. I kid you not. This actually happened.


A lack of empathy

The problem with some NHS staff is a lack of empathy.  Whether this is because they are so busy, or because they’ve hardened in their work, some nurses were plain nasty. One of them snapped at my dad for asking for morphine because it was two hours overdue and he was in a lot of pain.

Another nurse was overheard saying that one of the patients on the ward was “worse than a child”. Whilst she may have thought this, saying it to an elderly man who is bed ridden is rude and unprofessional.


Scared to be in hospital

On a few occasions my dad said he was scared to be in hospital. He said that he had seen so many things going wrong all around him that he genuine feared he might end up being the victim of some sort of negligence.


Complain, complain, complain!

The only way to get anything done in the hospital was by complaining. Initially, we complained to the ward Matron, who was very apologetic and did put a plan or care in place. Sadly, however, it quickly lapsed.

Eventually, after 5 days of my dad having no nutition (they couldn’t get an NG feeding tube in) I had to complain to Tammy Diles in the Head of Patient Experience. With her help (was excellent) we managed to get a meeting with my dad’s consultant and the Head of Cancer nursing. Had she not got involved, I hate to think how much longer he would have gone without proper care and nourishment.


The NHS is failing

13 years ago, my grandfather died at Colchester hospital after a GP failed to noticed a collapsed lung with lead to him contracting pneumonia. At that time, the hospital showed signs of already being under stress.

The recent experience in 2017 of my dad being treated has only shown me how much worse the care at Colchester Hospital has become and how Colchester Hospital is falling apart.

I’m not surprised doctors and nurses don’t want to work here. It’s chaotic and it’s thankless. The nurses are run into the ground. You have decent nurses who really care and really want to do a good job, fighting against a system of inadequate staffing, a percentage of unqualified and bumbling staff, a lack of doctors able to give even basic medication, and increasing number of admissions. The NHS is failing and faces a £30 billion predicted budget shortfall by 2020.

In the same week as all that I have written about was going on, the Red Cross was called in to help Accident & Emergency departments in some hospitals across the UK. Referring to it as a ‘humanitarian crises‘, the Red Cross called on Theresa May’s government to provide more funds for health and social care. The Government quickly rebuffed this and told their NHS bosses to deny their was a problem.

I can assure you that there is a problem. I have seen it first hand for a number of weeks. As a country, we have to accept that the NHS is failing and listen to the people who are telling us there are problems. We can’t keep burying our head in the sand.


On a positive note

I should be fair. The NHS spotted and removed a cancerous tumour from my dad’s neck within a matter of weeks. In that respect the NHS may have saved his life and that absolutely must be noted. The new radiotherapy department at the hospital is excellent and is a shining example of how the NHS could and should be.

Sadly, the contrast between that department at the actual hospital wards couldn’t be any further apart. You go into hospital for help and care, but I would be scared to be admitted today. The NHS is failing. There is a serious lack of investment in the NHS, not just by the Conservative Government by by the Labour Government before it. Austerity isn’t going to help save lives – it’s going to kill them. You simply can’t run a hospital like a business.

It’s sad to think that my dad was saved from cancer in one section of Colchester Hospital, and then could have died from dehydration on a ward just a few metres away. The contrast between these two areas of the hospital couldn’t be any further apart.

There are some people in the hospital who have no one. No one who visits, no one who can keep an eye on their care and no one who can fight their corner. My family and myself have absolutely no doubt that people are dying in the hospital who could have recovered and it’s a very sad situation which I am sure it not just representative of Colchester Hospital.


Asia Delight, Chinese takeaway delivery, Colchester

Asia Delight Chinese food takeaway re-opened in 2016 with new owners and a new menu. The restaurant has had a makeover with the reception area now much more cleaner and with nice new seats. It offers takeaway only.

The company can be contacted on 01206 548881.

Asia Delight deliver within a 3 mile area (or for a small fee over 3 miles).

The restaurant can be found at: 9 The Parade, Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, CO2 8LY.

5 out of 5 food hygiene rating

At the time of writing, Asia Delight had been awarded a 5 out of 5 rating on food hygiene.

My rating

The new takeaway has improved considerably since it re-opened. The previous owners were somewhat rude but the new owners seem much more friendly. The quality of the food has also improved and the new management have clearly made an effort to improve the cleanliness and hygiene of the business.

Recommended dishes

I recommend the lamb and ginger with spring onion (49a) and also the Happy Family (44b)


You can view Asia Delight’s menu below (click the image to make it bigger):


Lack of GP appointments, yet even more homes coming to Colchester

It seems peculiar at the time of the announcement of more homes coming to Colchester, GP practices are already struggling to provide appointments; and there seems little planning is being made for extra provision any time soon.

Most doctors surgeries in Colchester now offer a ‘same day only’ appointment system. Patients are expected to call in the morning that they want an appointment and almost no surgeries will offer an appointment for the next day. Booking an appointment in advance can be very difficult, and patients are often palmed off on a nurse practitioner. If the practice runs out of slots, it leaves the patient either waiting on the emergency list, waiting for hours in the surgery to see the emergency doctor, or being sent to the Walk-in Centre.

Many GP Practices admit that they are struggling to recruit enough doctors to see patients and the GP’s that are working are under extreme pressure to get their patients in and out as quickly as possible. This increases the risk of mistakes being made or a diagnoses being missed completely.

Meanwhile, Essex County Council plan to build 2000 homes on Middlewick Ranges, as well as building a completely new town on the outside of Marks Tey which could having as many as 14,000 homes.

Walk In Centre and Accident & Emergency already under huge pressure

Once a patient is declined an appointment it leaves them with very little choice other than go to the Walk In centre. In some cases, the patient may go to A&E.

In many cases, both of these services would be under less pressure if the patient could see a doctor at their own practice. In fact, patients are being turned away from Colchester A&E meaning the Walk In centre is the only place for them to go.

Lack of Infrastructure

Asked anyone who lives in Colchester about the traffic, and you’ll almost certainly receive nothing but complaints. The same can be said for GP appointments where there seems to be a huge contrast in the availability of appointments (and this appears to vary depending on what area of the town you live in).

The problem with Colchester is that new and updated infrastructure never seems to follow the thousands of houses being built. The Praecedo estate saw hundreds of new homes built on former garrison land but no new GP surgery. The local primary school – St John’s Green – did get a new campus. However, this was for a school that was already bursting at the seams prior to completion of Praecedo and which has since had to apply for planning permission for a two-storey extension just two years after opening.

Of course, the problem with the lack of GP appointments is a more deep routed. General Practitioners have been under attacked by the Conservative Government. Just like teaching, people are leaving the medical profession in the droves due to the constant attack from the Government. Building new GP surgeries is one thing: providing suitable staff is quite another.

Colchester is close to bursting

Of course new homes are needed for our growing and ageing population. Unfortunately it feels as if Colchester is being forced to take more than it’s fair share of growth. Thousands of new homes have popped up all over the town including Copford, Stanway, Turner Rise, Severalls and now Middlewick.

It seems Colchester is destined to turn from a Market Town to a sprawling city, and I find this very sad.


Beggars at Colchester Aldi

My wife came home last night concerned, after yet another beggar had approached her asking for some change to “get a bus home” as she was putting her shopping in the car at Aldi on Magdalen Street in Colchester. This is a regular occurrence and the same bunch of people seem to be preying on women or the elderly who are on their own or with kids.

My wife is savvy and she knows what this is all about. She knows that money isn’t being spent on a bus fair but instead on booze or heroin, and firmly said no.

What annoyed us the most is that this man – dressed all in black with his head covered by his hood – approached her when she was with my 8 year old daughter and it made my daughter very concerned. He then moved onto the next person – a lady who looked in her mid 60s – and approached her with the same story. She was obviously scared and so said he could return her trolley and keep the £1.

It’s nothing new in the area of town, of course. When I lived in New Town I was regularly approached by the same women who would claim that her car had broken down and that she needed some money to buy petrol to get to her sick daughter. When I offered to drive her home, her attitude quickly turned from a desperate pleading person, to an abusive nightmare.

Please don’t give these people money

Many of us, including me, want to help people who are struggling. But paying these beggars to go away isn’t helping you or them. If you give them money you are only encouraging them to return time and time again and you’re helping to feed their addiction.

Instead, give the money to a charity like Shelter. There is help available for people who are homeless but it does rely on the charities being there and also on them asking for help.

The likelyhood is that if you give people money who approach you in the street in this manner, that they will spend it on heroin. It’s a stark reality. Don’t fund their habit.