Readers’ letters - May 12

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We are trying to ice a collapsing cake

It is my understanding that the NHS receives ever-increasing funding year on year, irrespective of the party in government, which does not seem to go anywhere in resolving the problem for GP surgeries and hospitals up and down the country.

Dare I suggest that perhaps the money is not spent in the best, most productive way?

Costly changes brought about by CCGs and developed by layers of NHS management, including hugely expensive IT systems that have failed to deliver the promise of a national spine to connect all healthcare services, are two such examples.

The latest initiative is to introduce a £45m programme of training for receptionists to become care navigators as part of the NHS Five Year Forward View for general practice.

I am not convinced this is the best way of allocating the necessary appointments. The NHS desperately needs more GPs to replace the ones who are retiring in large numbers, causing surgeries to close as they fail to attract new GPs.

Jeremy Hunt’s policy of seven-day access to GPs and expensive hubs introduced with a view to easing the impact on A&E departments again did not solve that issue as patient demand and expectation rose to unprecedented levels. Greater awareness and education needs to be implemented amongst society if we are to preserve our wonderful NHS.

At the moment we are trying to ice a collapsing cake – all the money put in won’t make any difference if the basic ingredients aren’t put into place. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Carolyn Hulland

Address supplied

politics

No austerity for the richest

Fifteen years ago, there were 21 UK-based billionaires in the Sunday Times Rich List, Now there are 134.

Over the past 12 months, 19 have seen their wealth rise by more than £1bn within a single year.

As many people remain anxious about Britain’s future outside the EU, the total wealth of Britain’s 1,000 richest individuals and families soared to £658bn – a rise of 14 per cent on last year.

The combined wealth of the top 500 surged to £580bn, more than the £575bn total wealth of the 1,000 richest people in 2016.

Robert Watts, the list’s compiler, says: “While many of us are worried about the outcome of the EU referendum, many of Britain’s richest people just kept calm and carried on making billions.”

Top of the list were Sri and Gopi Hinduja (pictured)with £16.2bn, up £3.2bn on last year. £1bn per year equates to £2.7m a day, or to put it another way, £114,000 an hour. The 134 represents only the tip of the iceberg, the threshold to join this elite club is £100m.

I would like to ask Theresa May to explain again why the austerity measures are still with us and how we’re really all in it together. If we are, I, for one, don’t get it.

Allen Jenkinson

Address supplied

nostalgia

My encounter with Fred

Today’s Looking Back picture shows the late Fred Dibnah signing autographs.

The venue is the car park of the Red Lion Pub, Longton, circa 1992.

In the background stands his Aveling and Porter steam roller, once owned by Flintshire County Council.

The roller is named Betsy, after his mother.

It was previously named Allison, after his first wife.

A divorce followed and Allison’s name was removed.

Fred’s line of thought was that “wives could come and go, but his mother was forever.”

In the photo, his young son plays at his feet. The boot lid served as a bar top. Fred signed his autograph for myself and it was done with a great flourish. Anyone who saw his TV documentaries on buildings and castles could see that his detailed drawings of these showed he had been to art school. As I was leaving, his wife Susan told him to take it easy with his beer. He had three pints to drink. His parting words to me was “I’m not doing so bad, am I?”

E H Simister

Bamber Bridge

society

Our city is not Proud Preston

To walk down Fishergate or Friargate is no longer a pleasant family experience. On Good Friday morning, we counted over 20 beggars, some still asleep in shop doorways, with others drinking cheap alcohol and smoking whatever they smoke.

Later the same day, they broke into small abusive groups, shouting and swearing at each other in front of families and shoppers.

This behaviour does not encourage people to visit the city centre and should be addressed. At the moment it is not Proud Preston.

Name and address supplied

politics

Tactical voting to stay in EU

Theresa May wants us to vote for her in the coming election “to give me the mandate to negotiate with the EU”. Well, half of us did not wish to leave the EU anyway.

The folly of abandoning the good ship must now be clear to Leave voters too.

What has Brexit produced so far? Not a stronger pound, not a brighter economy nor any easing of austerity – but hate in the streets, threats to the staffing of farming, the construction industry and our beloved NHS and clear signs of our financial industry ‘doing a continental’.

So far, the only new jobs produced are for London-based white-collar trade negotiators. Is this what the hard-working Brexiters of the North wanted? I very much doubt it.

More than anything else, the coming election must be about tactical voting – about how to remain in the EU.

Forget your habitual loyalties. People with a genuine interest in our nation’s future should not vote for the Conservatives nor for their Ukip bedfellows.

Ken Cooke

via email

politics

Leave May’s marriage alone

Re: Theresa May and allegations of sexism in her marriage. For goodness sake!

Has it never occurred to those people saying it’s sexist that many of us live like this, like living like this and will continue to live like this.

It is called pulling together and getting things done.

If her marriage was truly sexist, then no way would she herself have risen to the height she has.

Leave her alone to get on with it and here is a thought!

If whoever instigated this nonsense spent their time on serious issues instead of wasting it on petty tripe they too might one day shine on the world stage.

Is it any wonder the world is like it is?!

C Cross

via email