IoS letters, emails and online postings (4 October 2015)

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The Independent Online

I am one of the “junior doctors” that our Government is attempting to discredit with a view to enforcing an unprecedented pay cut (“Junior doctors vote to have strike ballot”, 27 September). 

I’m contracted to work 37.5 hours this weekend (I’ll probably work more). There’ll be 30-40 acutely ill patients referred to my team each night from A&E. This could be anything from sepsis, heart attack, pneumonia, meningitis, stroke, drug overdose, malignancy, delirium, alcohol withdrawal, and so on. 

One or two might die despite our best efforts. One or two might have a cardiac arrest, and we will do our best to resuscitate them. Some will abuse us because they are intoxicated, demented or just scared. Some of their families will direct their anger at us because they have been waiting for hours. Some will thank us for helping them. Some will cry because I have to tell them their loved ones are dying. 

Don’t be fooled by the term “junior doctor” – this weekend I will be the most senior doctor in the department. I have spent eight years at university. I have three degrees and two diplomas, all paid for by me and student loans, which I am still paying off, seven years after qualifying. It has taken years and years to accumulate the knowledge I need to do my job safely and professionally. 

I have never seen this level of outrage from my colleagues. Most of us are not particularly political. We just want to get on with our jobs. We don’t like to moan, we are not like that. If we were, we wouldn’t be working in the NHS. We just want to be treated fairly, and not demonised for some political agenda.

Dr Mark Pucci

Edgbaston, Birmingham

...

I admired Melvyn Bragg’s withering disdain for John Whittingdale’s and the Government’s raid on the BBC by the transference of the licence fee for the over-75s to the corporation (“Minister’s raid like ‘Mafia call’”, 27 September). This sneaky modus operandi reminds me of the infamous switching of the Independent Living Fund for disabled people to local councils. This fund allows people to live dignified, independent lives but because it is not ring-fenced the financially strapped authorities might use it elsewhere. 

Judith A Daniels

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

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George Osborne’s determination to ignore human rights is only part of the problem (“This Tory China syndrome is a new low” 27 September). The real issue is that he appears oblivious to China’s appalling record on health and safety. 

The recent explosion at Tianjin in northern China killed more than 100 people. The site contained illegal stores of sodium cyanide which have contaminated the local water supply.

This month David Cameron is scheduled to sign a deal with President Xi Jinping which will allow Chinese companies to secure a significant stake in the building of nuclear power plants in the UK. It is even more difficult to build and operate nuclear facilities safely.  

No doubt the Chinese deal will be accompanied by the usual fanfare over British jobs, but it should also be seen as the ultimate triumph of free-market ideology over the safety of the UK population.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones 

Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

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Jane Merrick’s account of meeting Derek Hatton (The New Review, 27 September) was fascinating, but it is puzzling and disturbing that she sees Jeremy Corbyn in the same vein. I am dismayed to see the political editor of a respected newspaper refer to Corbyn and his policies as “hard left” – and in the context of a piece about Militant Tendency! Ray Chandler

Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex

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Charlie Cooper’s report (“Conditions in Calais are ‘truly appalling’”, 27 September) quoted a doctor demanding “the UK and French governments need urgently to improve the environment”. Indeed. Which is why the French Prime Minister announced in August that €5m had been secured, with the help of the European Commission, to build a proper 1,500-capacity facility there, to be opened in the new year.

Richard Kurt

Piccadilly, Manchester

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