Support this under-pressure profession
Letter of the Week: Ian New, Liversedge
I often thought Danny Lockwood’s ‘Ed Lines’ pieces were written simply to draw responses. Well, here is my response to the ‘Junior docs are no angels’ entry.
You submit that Mr Hunt’s cause of a seven-day NHS is fair, despite his massaging of the figures.
There’s the crux of the matter. The Government is not funding the NHS sufficiently to provide a five-day service and, rather than address that issue, has created a smokescreen about doctors not agreeing to contract changes (note the parallel charade of school academies and education funding).
Your faux-racist comments about there not being enough doctors to staff Dewsbury hospital on a Sunday night suggests that it is only at the weekend that this problem exists.
As I understand it this is not correct as there is insufficient cover within Mid-Yorkshire Trust hospitals at most times and this picture is repeated across the country.
The comment about 80 per cent of medical students leaving the country is hard to verify, despite extensive Google time.
There has, according to the national press, been an increase in applications for the required forms since the contract negotiations failed, which does not necessarily mean these doctors will abandon the NHS.
The reason they are keeping options open is that they face undue stress if they stay.
Yes, they are comparatively well paid, but bear in mind that they start with a minimum of £45-£54k of student debt and doctors pay for their own training and exams once they are qualified at costs ranging between £1k to £9k PA depending on seniority and specialism.
The reason they are averse to working the overtime specified in the new contract is not because it does not have enough “ching-ching”, to use your phrase, it is because they know that the rosters they are already working leave them tired and exhausted.
Junior doctors are regularly going beyond their contracted hours (for no additional payment) and any further demands will leave them jeopardising patient safety and that’s what could lead to patient deaths.
I therefore urge you to support the BMA and the profession which has one of the highest suicide rates, instead of a Health Secretary who wrote a book on how to dismantle the NHS.
EU information search is like knitting fog
From: Mrs Hacking, via email
As someone who is weighing the facts up of staying or leaving the EU, watching Patrick Milford recently I found his views very enlightening.
I would beg to differ that the EU is our biggest market, as we export only nine per cent to the EU market and the rest of the world take 91 per cent.
It’s a big world out there and England can compete in the bigger market and should not be afraid of competition.
I would also like to comment on Britain being stronger, safer and better off in the EU. That is a lot of humbug.
What makes us safer being in or out of the EU? Is it the intelligence we share? We do that anyway.
So far as I can see we will be better off outside the EU. We will be able to control our borders – we need to have the choice of who we allow into our country, doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, in other words people with skills.
As I see it, staying in the EU we will have no control. We will be better off as we will save the contribution we make to the EU, which is an astronomical amount of money and could be used here in Britain.
Jobs would be filled by British people that are struggling to get work.
We are one of the richest countries in the world, although we maybe small we must not forget we are Great Britain and proud of it.
We are respected by the rest of the world and do not need the backing of the EU to rubber stamp us.
We are now raising wages to give a better standard of living for our people. We can trade with any country in the world, including the EU even if we exit, not forgetting we import more from the EU than we export.
I’m sure that Germany will still want to sell their cars to us, France will still want to export wine to us and we certainly like to drink it.
These are just a few points that I, just an ordinary housewife, have gleaned so far with the debate. But on the other side all I can gather is we should be scared of leaving. Why, can anybody tell me? It’s like knitting fog getting any genuine information on staying in the EU. I leave you with this question – can anybody answer it?
Funding is robbing Peter to pay Paul
From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury
I refer to a letter last week from ‘Name and Address Supplied’ about the hustings. Council elections are quite likely irrelevant these days, even though huge amounts of NHS funds are chanelled to councils.
Kirklees Council gets contributions from Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs.
Local authorities are now dependent on CCGs to hand over this NHS money, through the Better Care Fund, to make up for the huge central government cuts to local authorities’ adults health and social care budgets.
As dependents in this CCG/local authority commissioning “partnership”, local authorities seem to have lost any will and capacity to challenge the CCGs; their health scrutiny powers are totally compromised.
Scrutiny seems now just a process of going through a kind of show trial to dupe and placate the public, without holding the CCGs, company providers and health trusts to account in any meaningful way.
‘Integration’ (with or without ‘devolution’) is an opportunity to rob NHS Peter to pay statutory duty social care Paul.
This has happened as far as I can see. It is a way to siphon supposedly ring-fenced NHS money out of the back door into social care.
Doctors argument was wide of the mark
From: Mark O’Hara, via email
I have to agree with Danny Lockwood’s columns regarding the EU – Danny is spot-on.
However with regard to the junior doctors I feel that he is off-beam.
The argument that has promoted the strike is that this ever-leeching Government is trying to impose an unsafe contract; unsafe for both patients and doctors.
The Government put in their manifesto that they would introduce a seven-day NHS; it is already seven days.
Their intention is to rota more doctors on a weekend but without increasing staff. The result would be mayhem; the overstretched doctors would be even more overstretched for the reduced numbers working during the week when their colleagues were scheduled to work weekends.
No; the doctors have had the foresight to see that if the Government imposed the contract then the NHS would collapse and more privatisation would follow; which incidentally Jeremy Hunt would undoubtedly be very happy as some years ago he co-wrote a book on how to privatise the NHS.
These are the ‘facts’. Now with regard to ‘Emley EU Voter’, they are wrong on two important counts in their arguments about only reading the ‘Mail’ last week.
1: The Government were wrong in sending out propaganda in favour of the EU. Last year they had promised not to influence the referendum before the start of the campaigning.
Again, like most of Cameron’s promises he reneged on it. However Emley EU Voter states that they were right in giving the facts. What facts? The literature was totally one-sided; didn’t contain any fact; they were all assumptions/guesses based on dubious data.
It didn’t mention the ‘cons’ of remaining; only the pluses. At least 20 erroneous items of information that were worst case scenarios at best; no facts and no mention of the spiralling and overwhelming immigration (330,000 this last year alone) nor the forcing down of wages, lack of school places and NHS problems due to that.
2: The writer said to that to get a fair assessment, Danny’s daughter ought to read the Mirror and the New Day etc.
He didn’t say to read the others that are pro ‘Out’ to strike a balance in order to make a decision, he was pushing ‘Remain’ to the exclusion of everything else.
3: The letter writer also didn’t mention that we are currently part of an institution that hasn’t been able to balance its books for 20 years due to corruption; nor that Italy is nearly bankrupt; Spain and Portugal are nearing the same and that Greece was thrown to the wolves; and this is an organisation that he wants us to stay with.
If we do, then we’ll go down like the rest. These are the ‘facts’. We need to break free and be Great again.
Better coverage for elections is needed
From: Pat Crisp, Batley
I was very disappointed with the lack of coverage of the council election candidates, we only had their names. We don’t even get leaflets put in our doors or visits.
Sorry, we did get one. Also there was nothing about the PPC elections.
There was a meeting I read about but it was too late to go. Most people don’t get their local paper until the weekend.
Meetings need to be in the paper the week before so people can arrange to be there.
It was a good job we had done our postal votes a few weeks ago and we knew who we wanted.
But lots of folks rely on their local paper for this information.