Readers’ letters - October 26

There's a need for more training places for student nurses says a correspondent. See letter
There's a need for more training places for student nurses says a correspondent. See letter
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Provide more training places

Earlier this year, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned of a crisis looming in health services set to affect the vital services provided to patients in this area.

Nurses recruited from outside the European Economic Area since 2011 faced being removed from the country if they were not earning at least £35,000 after six years as part of changes to immigration laws.

As well as wasting thousands in recruitment costs, the changes posed real workforce challenges for many healthcare providers across the North West already struggling to fill vacancies.

Common sense has now prevailed. The Government has announced that nursing will be placed on the list of professions exempt from this rule – a victory for nurses and more importantly patients.

But this change of stance is only temporary and while it will help in recruiting nurses and alleviate staff shortages in the short-term, we need to look further ahead.

The RCN wants this common sense approach extended to the training and retaining of more nurses in the longer term.

The Government must significantly increase student nurse training places so our patients are no longer at the mercy of global workforce trends.

Estephanie Dunn, Regional Director,

Royal College of Nursing, North West Region

We understand fracking perils

Professor Averil Macdonald, the chairman of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, and a professor of science engagement, claimed this week that women oppose fracking because they don’t understand the issues involved, and follow their gut, rather than the facts.

Well, Prof Macdonald, I feel it is you that does not understand the facts when it comes to the stance women are taking on fracking.

Do you think that, because of not studying the subject of science past the age of 16, it means we are incapable of self- study in later life? Does it make us less intelligent? Don’t women go on to take up courses in later life that requires dedicated study?

Many of the women in the anti-fracking movement are articulate, well-educated women and are determined that fracking will not go ahead in this country for the exact reason that they “do understand” the consequences of this huge industrial nightmare waiting in the wings threatening to change our landscapes, our health and our way of lives.

Your statement is ridiculous in the extreme and you are playing straight into the misogynous attitude that is still prevalent in our society. You do a disservice to women and you should retract your statement.

Coun Gail Hodson, via email

Globalisation caused problem

Job losses in Britain’s steel industry are a tragedy for the workers concerned. However, to blame the government is to fly in the face of the facts. In 1851, Britain produced 51 per cent of the world’s output. Today it accounts for seven per cent of European production. In 1980, the industry employed some 100,000. Today, only 31,000 are directly employed, and that number is falling. The price of steel has halved since 2011, and by 25 per cent since March this year. The key reason is that China, which produces more steel than all other states combined, has switched its growth model from exports to domestic needs in order to meet the demands of a growing wealthy middle class.

Tragic though the job losses are , Britain’s steel industry will never return to its halcyon days. Globalisation and other economic factors are the cause of the decline. All governments share part of the blame, but no government can beat global forces of the kind that have swept the world since 1985. The fulcrum of world power is steadily moving eastwards.

Dr B A Clayton, address supplied

Police used to be respected

Having been born and raised from the early 1950s onwards, police in my native town’s community were to be feared and, if an officer should ever turn up on our doorstep, it was seen as being shamed among our neighbours.

To even think of assaulting a police officer just wasn’t thought of.

I recall being horrified as a kid when given a dressing down by our local policeman when he found myself and a mate climbing on some scaffolding attached to newly built houses and scared he might tell my parents.

Times have changed and discipline gone right out the window, so that even the police aren’t allowed to physically put us in our place.

Yet they have to put up with assaults from members of the public when reprimanded for something they shouldn’t be doing (LEP October 21).

If an officer approached me I’d be mortified to say the least.

A spokesman states officers know what to expect and the risks involved, but this shouldn’t include biting, kicking, spitting and a complete disrespect for our police and their quest to keep the public safe, especially when cutbacks mean fewer officers on our streets, making it so much harder for those remaining with crime increasing because of it.

Yes, they chose to do the job, but anyone disrespecting or assaulting them should remember that officers also have parents, husbands or wives, siblings or children, just like us, and deserve to go home in one piece!

Clifford Chambers, address supplied

Time for officers to be armed

With yet another police officer killed on duty, mown down by a robber in a stolen pick-up truck, is it time for the police to be armed? When dealing with ever more desperate criminals with no respect for the law or human life, is a baton and a CS gas spray adequate protection?

I have driven across 16 countries in Europe, and all police there are routinely armed. On top of that, without the death penalty, just what deterrent is there today, with so many prepared to kill without a thought? Hanging could be replaced by other methods, but something needs to be done. Why are our politicians, who have no qualms over dropping bombs in the Middle East, so squeamish about problems here?

D S Boyes, address supplied