Readers' letters - September 7

Strikes will alienate patients

Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 4:16 pm
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 5:00 pm
Junior doctors protesting outside the Department of Health in Whitehall. See letters about the new proposed strikes

While I have some sympathy for our hard-working junior doctors in the NHS, their latest proposed strike actions may start to become counter-productive.

So far, I think the general public have, by-and-large, been supportive of their cause. However, this latest strike action may start to alienate these ‘supporters’.

Junior doctors are not alone in working unsocial hours and that includes weekends. Many thousands of other workers also have to do the same.

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Many of these people accept that, when they take on a job which includes working unsocial hours, then this is how it is going to be. They also acknowledge they may be paid extra for working these unsocial hours, but equally accept that this may not be the case. Thus they accept their terms and conditions of their employment.

Why can’t junior doctors do the same?

To suggest junior doctors should be in the privileged position of not having to work what they perceive to be unsocial hours, is somewhat perverse and naïve.

Many are already paid handsomely compared to others who also have to work unsocial hours.

They should also realise that people do not only become ill during normal working hours but 24/7. Thus they should accept that they will be paid so much for the work that they do and that will/may involve working unsocial hours.

However, also, this should not be a carte blanche excuse for hospital managers to expect all junior doctors to work an excessive amount of unsocial hours and it should certainly not be the case that any Government impose any contract which has the same effect.

Equally, it should not be the case that a group of workers – however much held in high esteem – should harm the loyalty that its ‘customers’ has for them.

It may well be the case that not only will they lose patients (to private care) but equally lead to their ‘customers’ losing patience.

Let me illustrate my point about alienating customers through strike action. I fancied getting a Spirit of Scotland Pass for travel on train, ferry and bus anywhere in that country.

One thing put me off doing that: the RMT’s decision to strike a number of times on ScotRail services. This was going to have a major disruption to my planned journeys. Thus, not only was ScotRail affected by my lack of custom but so too were all the other transport services, and indeed all the various industries which rely on tourism in Scotland. I was probably one of many.

Thus I implore the junior doctors to accept their lot and get on with it, just like many people already do in this country. Instant gratification is not always possible in all jobs, despite the population seeming to think that it is. ‘I want it all and I want it now’ is a poor mantra to follow.

An NHS Customer

GPs working a five-day week

Why is it that so many GPs do not work a five-day week as they always used to do?

So many only work three or four days a week.

Where is the continuity of care for their patients? Do they get paid too much so they can choose to work part-time?

More appointments could be made if the doctors are there for a full five days, not just part-time.

Concerned Patient, Preston

Please empty dog waste bins

Most dog owners in Cottam are responsible owners and clean up after their dogs, but the council is not emptying the bins, especially the one on the green near the primary school. You can only imagine the smell. It is annoying when the Dog Trust has a Big Scoop campaign to encourage dog owners to clean up.

Name and address supplied

New Alf was disappointing

I tuned into BBC 4 recently and watched the remake of the Alf Garnett classic BBC TV sitcom, Till Death Us Do Part.

What a terrible let down it was. The actor, Simon Day, who played Alf Garnett, was NOT a patch on the brilliant Warren Mitchell who played the original character. His actions and body language just wasn’t the same. The script, sadly, had been watered down so it would not offend the PC brigade.

I wonder what the families of both the late Johnny Speight (who wrote the original series) and Warren Mitchell thought of it?

Unfortunately, I sat bored watching it.

I would have written a better script! They could have introduced his grandson, who was grown up and just like his granddad.

Darryl Ashton, Blackpool

Did you serve in World War Two?

I am an historian and author specialising in Christianity in wartime, and am seeking to contact any readers you may have who served in the British armed services during the Second World War and who would define themselves as Christians.

I would like to hear from men and women who would be willing to answer a questionnaire about their experiences and possibly be interviewed over the telephone or in person.

This information would then be used in a PhD research project I am undertaking at the University of Durham.

If you know of anyone

who would be willing to share memories, I can be contacted at [email protected]

John Broom, Sheffield

I’m trying to trace grandad

I am trying to find my grandfather or any of his family.

His name is James P T Casey. He was an Auto Engineer setter and was last known to be living in Brackenbury Road, Preston, in 1969. He was married in Preston to a lady called Elizabeth Dickinson, now deceased.

If any of this sounds familiar or if you knew or remember my granddad James Casey, please contact me at [email protected] I would be eternally grateful.

Carla Casey, Ireland