IoS letters, emails & online postings (19 January 2014)



I was saddened to read about Joan Smith’s recent experience and that she feels the needs of NHS healthcare professionals are put above patients’ needs (“It’s not difficult. Sick people need doctors”, 12 January).

Even though NHS doctors are confronted with an increasingly challenging and high-pressured environment, our priority is to provide the best possible care. A key blocker is the funding problems that the NHS is facing.

GPs are seeing more people than ever – an estimated  340 million consultations a year. All NHS services are under enormous pressure from a combination of rising demand, falling resources and staff shortages in key specialties. There is little evidence to suggest that problems with GP access are increasing pressure on emergency care.

Joan Smith is right that the government must implement a more robust out-of-hours system. Although four out of 10 GPs continue to work in out-of-hours care, the resources available to the service have remained static for many years despite increases in demand. A system-wide approach is needed, looking at everything from NHS 111 to community care services.

The BMA shares Joan Smith’s concerns that when she called NHS 111 she “got an ‘adviser’... who appeared to be reading from a script.” We have repeatedly warned that removing doctors and nurses from the frontline risked turning the service into nothing more than a call centre. The Government needs to improve the service by making it more clinician-led.

Joan Smith’s aunt’s care was not good enough. We should do better, but we need the Government to stop cutting and allocate sufficient resources to ensure that we really can provide the best care for our patients.

Dr Mark Porter

Chairman, British Medical Association

London WC1

Brian Paddick (“We mustn’t forget what plebgate is really about”, 12 January) suggests that the false claims made by PC Keith Wallis were politically motivated; but that our trust in the police should not be unduly shaken. How can it not be? 

We regarded the policeman as likely to be more honest and honourable than the politician. How wrong we were! By playing down the importance of  “plebgate”, Brian Paddick – an ex-Met officer himself – illustrates just how oblivious the police sometimes are to the high standards of conduct expected of them; and how the spectacle of fellow officers closing ranks to protect their own, further damages their standing in our eyes.

John Boaler

Calne, Wiltshire

It is extraordinary that in the coverage of the death of Ariel Sharon (Special report,  12 January) there was no reference to the wars of 1967 and 1973 when Sharon’s military leadership contributed to the salvation of Israel.

Charles Foster

Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire

I’m sure many of us can agree with the thrust of Sarah Hughes’ piece (“Finally, television dramas that know when to stop”, Arts & Books, 12 January) that too many TV dramas overstay their welcome. But when she says that we, the viewers, should “stop demanding” that every series has a sequel, I feel she should be directing her remarks to those who commission and buy programmes. No, this is all about ratings, marketing and advertising space. Downton Abbey action figure anyone?

Geoff Hulme

Altrincham, Cheshire

I agree with your editorial (“A small triumph for democracy”, 12 January). But I feel select committees need to go further. If they brought in members of the public, who worked within the field the committee was discussing, it is more likely they would get a realistic picture of what is happening on the ground. This would allow select committees to hear the voice of the people.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

Katy Guest (“I’m no toff, but I’d prefer a pro-Oxbridge bias”, 12 January) is right to argue that there’s nothing wrong with a pro-Oxbridge bias when it comes to recruitment. However, it is objectionable to see so many from the top public schools being favoured – it is this that concerns we meritocrats.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. Email: Online:

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Nick Clegg (R) Liberal Democrat Leader and former leader Charles Kennedy MP, joined the general election campaign trail on April 8, 2010  

Charles Kennedy: The only mainstream political leader who spoke sense

Tim Farron
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific