Readers’ letters - April 18

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Companies profit while NHS suffers

Many people have praised the treatment received from the NHS and rightly so, staff within the service show a commitment to their responsibilities, whilst caring for patients.

That’s despite staff often being under extreme pressure due to alterations within the NHS.

The Sustainability and Transformation plan is designed to try to cope with escalating numbers of patients without increasing funding, and is NOT something that has been developed to improve services.

There is now a shortage of doctors and nurses. Eighty nurses from the Philippines have been recruited.

One wonders if this Government is capable of any forward thinking.

Whilst they recruit staff from abroad, the Government has, from 2017, stopped bursaries for those training for a career in nursing.

Now instead a young would-be nurse can apply for a loan to pay for training.

The Royal College of Nurses opposed this change, claiming it was ‘unfair’.

The Royal College of Midwives said the prospect of graduating with debts of £50,000 would discourage many, although the NHS is struggling to fill vacancies.

In my opinion, the planned Tory erosion of our NHS is proceeding as more ‘for profit firms’ are given lucrative contracts within the service.

Jack Croysdill

Address supplied

teaching

The reality of ‘long holidays’

I read with interest Dave M’s letter concerning school holidays (LP April 11).

INSET days (derived from IN-SErvice Training) were brought about by the then Secretary of State for Education, Kenneth Baker, and hence the sobriquet ‘Baker Days’.

Dave M suggests that these days should be taken by teachers in school during the holiday period. In point of fact, these days were taken OFF teachers’ holidays but with attendance at the INSET days being compulsory.

Not only that but, initially, it also cost teachers as, until faced with a revolt among the teaching profession, they were not even entitled to travelling expenses.

Thus for Dave M to suggest that teachers lose even more of their holidays is going beyond the pale.

Now to address his point about in his opinion of teachers having more holidays than they seem entitled to. Quite a few jobs have perks, so why should teachers be any different to have this ‘perk’ of long holidays?

Let us look at the reality.

Many teachers are in their classrooms way before the ringing of the school bell to start the day.

I can quote many examples where other professions have been surprised by the dedication of the teaching profession.

Then there are all the various after school clubs/societies and PE activities that teachers take an active roll in, again technically within their own time.

Indeed, various surveys have suggested that the average working week of a teacher is way above that which is required.

This extra work also extends into the holiday period as teachers either reorganise their classrooms after a term or return early from their holidays in order to prepare for the next term or choose to work at home.

So, Dave M, these holidays are not looking so long now, are they?

And what about that payback time for all the extra hours that teachers put in and, for which, they are not technically paid and that includes parent/teacher consultation evenings for which the teachers can only claim the pitiful travelling expenses?

Finally, let us not forget that teachers also have families but what chance do they have of taking a term time (cheap) holiday?

No, they have to pay top whack as the holiday firms use the old adage of supply and demand.

I recall one teacher who left after just two years to work with a well known department store.

The attraction? Well firstly doing what he did then: teach, BUT for twice the salary and he had three DAYS to prepare for just one HOUR lecture.

Just imagine that school teachers had that luxury. So one day’s teaching means 15 days (with no ‘overtime’) to prepare for that one day’s teaching.

Yes, Dave M, it would never work so, in essence, teaching is done on the cheap.

And yet you begrudge teachers their ‘long’ holidays!

You should be thanking teachers up and down the country for all the extra work they do, rather than belittling them by in effect saying that they do not deserve their ‘long’ holidays and from a viewpoint of knowing very little about the teaching profession.

Do not forget also that all workers are entitled to both holiday pay and also the statutory Bank Holidays (or days in lie). But, for teachers, most of these are included in their holidays. Good Friday and Easter Monday are part of their Easter Holidays with no days added in lieu.

Neil Swindlehurst

Walmer Bridge

environment

Blame people who drop litter

Susan Lucas wrote in about litter spoiling a lovely spot (LP Letters April 15).

Last weekend we had two young Spanish women staying with us, and they went for a walk along the Lancaster Canal towpath.

They were so appalled by the amount of litter in the canal that they got hold of a net and some binbags and spent two hours cleaning it up.

Sadly the people passing by weren’t very supportive.

They made comments like “there’s no point in doing that, it will just get dirty again”.

The worst was a gang of children who abused them – one child threw a bottle into the canal and said “go on, clean that up”.

Perhaps rather than blaming the council for not cleaning the litter up, we should be blaming the people who drop it? And isn’t it sad we have to wait for visiting tourists to show us the way?

Name and address supplied

pavements

Leave space for wheelchairs

Those who leave space on the pavement for one wheelchair to pass seem to forget that wheelchairs are not programmed to follow each other and sometimes meet going in opposite directions, so space for two wheelchairs to pass each other safely is the minimum space required.

To my knowledge motorists only pay road tax – use of pavements is for the use of those who are not motorists.

This is for safety reasons.

Don Webb

via email