Readers' letters - February 1

We need radical solutions for NHS says a reader
We need radical solutions for NHS says a reader
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We need radical solutions for NHS

Fore more letters:

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
Our cherished health service has been a beacon of how a civilised society provides equal access to care for all and is now under severe threat.
Poor quality of care is now widely reported, with older people and individuals with long-term conditions particularly vulnerable. There are many reasons for the perilous state of the NHS, and whilst inadequate funding is a critical feature, there are other important factors which Government policies have caused.
These include:
A substantial reduction in the number of student nurse and nurse teacher places, combined with the extraordinary increase in the workload of registered nurses, who are expected to support students within wards and community services.
The problem is compounded by many older nurses, who have commendably risen to the challenge of doing more for less, retiring or leaving the profession early, exhausted and disillusioned. They feel undervalued by the Government, which has denied them pay increases and undermined their present working conditions.
There are over 30,000 nursing vacancies, which results in expensive cover from nursing agencies and excessive reliance on support staff.
Another disastrous factor, which this Government is responsible for, is the current commissioner provider split and ideological market
approach. This was made worse by so-called ‘reforms’, which resulted in complex bureaucracy, at massive cost without any real benefits.
The Independent Kings Fund think tank has recently reported on major reductions in mental health services, with one in ten vacancies remaining vacant.
The Care Quality Commission has identified an increased risk to service users’ safety, as a result of problems with staffing. It is relevant to the Lancashire community, as recent reports have identified higher rates of suicide in the Preston and Blackpool areas.
Undervalued service users, their families and mental health care staff, all deserve better.
The Government should be held accountable for their woeful decisions over the past decade and the neglect of public services arising from their almost total focus on Brexit. The problems require radical solutions. There appears to be a growing recognition of the need for cross party discussion on funding and organisation of future health and social care services if they are to be safeguarded in the future.
Malcolm Rae OBE

Robots won’t help workers

Following the forthcoming disaster known as Brexit, another catastrophe is looming over the horizon.
A recent economic survey commissioned by this Government (no less) forecasts that about half a million jobs will be lost in the North West due to the rising tide of automation.
The region that will be worst hit will be Blackburn.
Those in favour of this development (mostly those of the Conservative persuasion) argue that this will be a step upwards into a capitalist paradise of untold riches for all.
They must firstly answer this question: when, in the history of “technological innovation” has this ever resulted in shorter working hours or higher wages for ordinary working people?
No prizes for the
John Prance

‘Winter is coming’

The ‘Doomsday Clock’ has been moved forward 30 seconds as a result of world tensions and the Trump government’s responses to these issues.
Thirty out of 86,400 seconds (one whole day) doesn’t seem too alarming but when you consider it as 30 out of the remaining 120 seconds a different picture is painted.
The two main contributing factors mentioned are nuclear weapons, enthusiastically supported by a number of the world’s leaders, and climate change, enthusiastically denied by a number of the world’s leaders.
Scientists have a reputation for being cautious, double checking their facts and processes and only publishing results that they can stand behind so perhaps we should listen to them.
The same characteristics cannot always be seen in a number of the world’s leaders.
The clock is only symbolic but the problems are real. Let’s listen to the scientists as I like this world and want to do a few things in the next few years, including watching the remaining Game of Thrones episodes.
Beware – our nuclear ‘Winter is coming’.
Dennis Fitzgerald
via email

Pointless voiceover

Watching Michael Portillo’s rail travels on BBC TV has been an enjoyable experience, being both well-filmed and produced.
The more recent series in the UK and USA has adopted the use of a commentator providing us with the most blindingly obvious information that, for example, “Michael is getting on to the train” and “Michael is getting off the train”. An unnecessary irritation for viewers. It is time the BBC got its act together, employing people who have a thorough knowledge of good programming techniques, and thus better using licence payers’ funding.
Anthony Hopkins
Address supplied

Is our PM a ‘pushover’?

Given Theresa May had to rebuke Philip Hammond over Brexit when he said there would be little change in the relationship with the EU, why is the Chancellor still in a job?
The fact he is suggests the PM is a pushover.
Address supplied