Your Letters

There’s still hope for our under-pressure NHS

Letter of the Week: Peter Claydon, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

Without any public consultation a new top-down reorganisation of the NHS has been set in motion.

Simon Stevens, the boss of NHS England, has decided that the way to eliminate mounting NHS deficits is to bring Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local partners and local providers together in 44 new STP footprints.

What, you might ask, is an STP? No, it’s not a sexually transmitted disease, it’s a Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

None the wiser?

Then join the ranks of an awful lot of people who work in or for the NHS.

Our local CCG, North Kirklees CCG, is one of 11 CCGs shoehorned together to implement Simon Stevens’ cuts, rationalisation and privatisation programme for the West Yorkshire footprint.

Initially the proposal was that each footprint would submit its plan for delivering the NHS Five Year View by the end of June, ie the end of this month, but that deadline has now been dropped.

What is worrying about this latest top-down reorganisation is that it looks like a further step towards the US Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO) model where a single organisation delivers the complete spectrum of health services from health insurance to community services to acute hospital services for a large footprint ... like West Yorkshire.

For those of us who would like to see a return to a publicly-funded and publicly-provided NHS there is still hope.

There’s a meeting at Westminster on Tuesday June 28 to consider promoting a Bill, the NHS (Reinstatement) Bill, that would call a halt to the present marketisation of the NHS. Your MP could be an attendee.

Our EU money is recycled

From: Bernard Cosgrove, Norristhorpe

Dear Sir,

Why are taxpayers having to pay tens of thousands in security personnel to protect Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and soon, David Cameron?

In 1963, Premier Harold MacMillan was in hospital when he resigned.

He awoke one morning to find the phone by his bedside had vanished.

“Where is my phone?” he asked.

The nurse said: “Sorry, you’re not allowed it now you’re no longer Prime Minister!”

Nowadays, we cosset failed PMs as if they’re a new Winston Churchill.

Blair and Brown did very little, unless by luck, for the workers of this land.

They started the ball rolling with stealthy, secretive mass immigration, now continued by Cameron.

There are more immigrants to the UK in the last 15 years than in the previous 1,500 years.

Also, four times as many working than British working in the European Union.

Most who live in places like Spain and Portugal do not work, and have taken money there to live and buy homes, and spend in their economies.

People arrive to our shores stone broke.

When politicians say ‘EU money’, it is our money just being recycled, but a sizeable cut taken out.

Why do you think other EU countries want us to stay in? Because they are using our money for themselves.

That’s why they say ‘EU money’!

I know which I’d prefer...

From: Robert Cowan, Sandal

Dear Sir,

I fully agree with the sentiments expressed by Danny Lockwood in his piece in last week’s paper ‘Seeing red at all the lousy service’, and I share many of his experiences.

I too have been left frustrated and sometimes furious by bad service from some major companies, especially when trying to make contact by telephone.

The common response of press one for this and two for that etc and then being placed in a queue is clearly designed to deprive the caller of the will to live, as is the music frequently piped down the line when you are put on hold.

There was a time when I really enjoyed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but ever since it became one of the favourite pieces chosen by some companies to ‘entertain’ callers on hold, I have developed a total aversion to it.

Hearing it by chance on the radio always evokes painful memories for me of protracted waiting in total frustration on the phone while the company concerned seemed to be doing everything to avoid dealing with the matter in hand.

What really riles me however, are the regrettable occasions when paying for an item in a retail outlet the shop assistant is to be found in deep conversation with a colleague, scarcely glancing at you during the transaction and finding difficulty in uttering the words ‘thank you’ on conclusion of the sale.

I have even witnessed this behaviour in some quite upmarket stores where you would not expect it.

It is surely not expecting too much as a paying customer to be treated in both a friendly and polite manner, which fortunately is the case most of the time.

Maybe there are lessons in retail to be learned from across the pond. I remember some time ago going into a store in America.

The shop assistant greeted me in a gushingly warm manner with ‘Well, hello, and how are you today?’.

I looked behind me, thinking she was talking to someone else, so unaccustomed was I to such a warm reception in a store from a complete stranger.

Yes, we could criticise this kind of reception as insincere, but I for one would far rather be treated insincerely but warmly rather than being ignored by a shop assistant whose private conversation I have had the audacity to interrupt.

Lower bed ratio than Columbia

From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

Here is an open letter to my MP. I urge everyone to write to their MP to request that they go to this meeting.

“Dear MP,

Please attend the meeting in Parliament on June 28 at 5pm to 6.30pm. This meeting is to update MPs on the Sustainability and Transformation Plans, to appraise MPs of the multi-nationals now daily making decisions about our health service and to explain the truth of the NHS Bill, dispelling myths and lies.

If you value the health of your constituents, I urge you to attend, because Jeremy Hunt has said that the NHS funding stream is being directed along the lines of US insurer/ provider Kaiser Permenente and to “prevention rather than cure.”

Also, that to achieve this “suspending the tarriff for particular arrangements in particular areas, is very much on the table.”

What is ‘unnecessary’ treatment? That which ‘business’ categorises as ‘unnecessary’ is not what clinicians categorise as unnecessary. Doctors like to use an evidence base for the treatment they provide.

The junior doctors in hospitals recognise ‘the direction of travel’ for the NHS is towards a cliff edge for patients.

The plan for Huddersfield and Halifax hospitals will mean a bed base of 1.6 beds per thousand patients.

There is an area of London where the bed base is likely to be 0 beds per thousand patients, should the government procured multinational consultant advisor succeed with its plans.

We are heading for fewer beds per 1,000 than Columbia.

According to the North Kirklees CCG papers for June 2015 Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust should have 1,105 beds in total across the three sites.

Do you know how many that is per 1,000 people across the North Kirklees and Wakefield district?

We know we can expect long waits! Will Deloitte, presently looking at the trust finances, recommend cuts?

As my MP I would like you to tell me, do you want to see the best and most efficient health service in the world, changed to the worst?

Please attend the meeting on  June 28 2016 at 5pm to 6.30pm in Parliament.

Thank you.”

We’re so much better out

From: Geoff Parkes, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

My name is Geoff Parkes and I reside in Mirfield and have done so for over 40 years. I read Jack Hesketh’s letter last week and agree with it.

I would like to add that we built places for 34,000 school children in the past year.

During the same period 72,000 children have arrived as immigrants from somewhere in the world.

Today I have read that MPs are alleged to be considering  voting to stay in the EU if the referendum votes to leave.

If this is true can I ask through your newspaper if my elected MP Paula Sherriff will vote to stay in.

If she does intend to do that, should it happen, will she resign and stand for re election?

My advice to resolve this possibility is for David Cameron to call a General Election before they take the vote.

Yes I am voting for Brexit because the EU we have now is not what I voted in 1975. Also we may have to join the EU army when it is formed and we may also have to pay extra.

We have voted 72 times against some EU proposals without winning any of them.

I accept there are no guarantees but we will never reform the EU whether we are in or out because Europe is run by people we cannot vote out of office, ie the Commissioners.

I have no fear over human rights issues, I am sure we will address that.

Who are Labour fighting for?

From: Arthur Roberts, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

Are other readers as confused as I am about the Labour Party’s views on the referendum?

I always thought they were the ones who fought for the workers, not on the side of banks, globalised big business, foreigners and even the Tories.

Millons of low-paid workers, and our youth (850,000 unemployed) are either on zero hour contracts, can’t get a job or are forced onto the dole because of the staggering effects of immigration, and that is a fact that ‘Remain’ cannot deny.

With Angela Merkel saying she’d welcome a million migrants into Germany and  politicians such as Yvette Cooper (the Castleford Labour MP) saying she’d house refugees, (which was an empty promise), it is no wonder they are flocking here from the world over.

Looks like I touched nerve

From: G Robinson, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

Well, I must have touched a nerve with my recent letter regarding the work rate and existence of Mirfield Town Council.

The new mayor, Mr Guy, kindly backs me up on this when he acknowledges all the social groups in Mirfield who do good, and goes on to say how the council supports them with grants of our council tax money.

That’s not difficult is it; we would all be more popular if we had a pile of cash to give away. Come on down!

He goes on to say that all the council members are volunteers, well apart from the three paid Kirklees councillors who take up town council seats.

Mr Guy is not having a chosen charity to support this year, instead he is dedicating his time to defending green spaces; from whom, developers or travellers? But at least the council have listened; there is a fence now around Knowle Park to ward off unwanted guests, I just hope there’s a strong lock on the gate.

Mirfield has been massively over-developed in the last 30 years, so come on, don’t tell us you’re all going to start tree-hugging.

The defibrillator is a great idea, but 24/7 access may be hard to implement, and who knows how to use one? Worthy of praise nonetheless.

Vivien Lees Hamilton’s letter was a typical response, in it she claims to have raised vast sums over her three years in office, and not a penny of it from town council coffers.

As they say where I shop, ‘Every little helps’. When’s the next Royal visit?

The asset transfer of the council chambers from Kirklees to Mirfield Town Council evoked the same old arguments; crumbling infrastructure, not enough cash, nobody attracted to the empty rooms to pay an ongoing rent.

So, the paperwork was completed, the barricades were erected and the ramparts were manned?

Er, no. The building was vacated by our civic heroes because of damp conditions in the wettest winter on record, what a glorious last stand.

So, do keep us up to date on the progress of you securing back your traditional seats of office in the council chambers.

It would be good to attend the odd council meeting or two, but where are you based these days, does anybody out here in the normal world know?

Come on, stand up and fight for Mirfield; Kirklees seem to have you just where they want you, dangling on a string.

Come on Mr Guy, prize yourself away from the tree, put some fire in your bellies and fight for Mirfield’s fair share.

Some of you are a shoddy lot

From: Ms A Rawat, Batley

Dear Sir,

Rest in peace Muhammad Ali. You gave my father and I a lot of joy watching you in the 70s.

You were a great sportsman, a fantastic wit, and I love it that you even decided to be a political and human rights activist.

I met you at your book signing event in Leeds many years ago, and you were lovely, sweet, kind and humble; you will always be the greatest.

Kirklees councillors – make us proud of you. For the last many years I have felt disgust for you all, as well as the MPs.

Adrian Lythgoe says he will run the council whilst there is no council leader, but the senior management always have done that anyway, haven’t they, whilst you elected people looked on no matter what they did?

If you are not half asleep, you are not paying your council tax. Okay, okay, it’s only some of you, but what a shoddy lot some of you/many of you are.

Have you only decided to wake up and be angry and take decisive action when Shabir Pandor wants to be council leader?

Why can’t we see that in you always?

Shabir Pandor is in my Batley West ward, and you can be assured I have never voted for him, and never will.

In fact, having found out what they are like in recent years, I will never vote for anyone from the local Labour team in my ward.

I used to vote blindly for Labour as I liked their values, but the individuals representing them do not, in my experience, uphold these values and work to them.

Representing Labour in my area means a guaranteed vote as the Asians will vote blindly for Labour, as I used to do.

But being a council leader is taking it many steps higher, and I am glad that many of you are up in arms and have stopped him.

But he did incredibly get 30 votes from his party.

If he is the best that they’ve got, they’ve really got problems.

In my opinion, a council leader needs to be well educated and/or have high intellectual capabilities, so as to deal adequately with higher level matters and documents.

Does he have these qualities? Or is he just egotistical and maniacal for power?

The problem is we never get to know the educational and intellectual capabilities of candidates before we vote for them. I think we should.

Also what job did they do before, or are doing now?

If they are not fit for a job, even at a medium level elsewhere, how can they have these jobs as councillors and represent the many of us with different concerns?

I don’t think they can and, in my experience, they don’t, leaving most of us, I believe, unrepresented.

I believe if people were to be up in arms, and if we had at least 70 per cent coming out to vote, and had better information to base our votes on, we would have better representatives.

I would then happily champion my local councillor to be the leader of the council.

Regarding the Euro vote, what a big, big decision. There are pros and cons on both sides.

Why was it made that Europeans can come here and claim benefits and free housing and everything else?

I thought it was supposed to be all about easier access for trade and free movement for employment.

Employment. Trade. Not benefits for them and the whole family.

I do like that we can work together for climate change and fishing welfare. I have no idea how I am going to vote yet; it is the biggest decision we are going to make in a long time.

I might chicken out and leave it for people who feel strongly either way.

Or ring the call handler at Npower who took my depression away the day after the Scottish referendum, when he stated that staying with Britain was the best thing for them, as they couldn’t have afforded it on their own, and neither can Wales.

Somehow, I could believe that he was right. Now where is his number?

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