Letters: Exemplary care, courtesy of the NHS

Share

During the furore surrounding the Francis report on the hospital healthcare meted out by the Mid Staffordshire NHS, my father died in the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff – yes, the very same one Anne Clwyd had attacked recently for the (mis) treatment of her husband. My father, Jim Hawkins, a committed socialist, trade unionist and fervently loyal supporter of the NHS, was treated with the utmost care, kindness and thoughtfulness by all the medical staff who came into contact with him during his very brief illness. At every stage we were consulted, and the primary concern was to make my father comfortable and pain free. He would have been so proud of them, and so grateful for their care and commitment... and I know that being a true egalitarian he would want this for all. We must try and make it so.

Lin Hawkins

Bridgwater, Somerset

Whoever said that top-down targets produced accountability? Whoever believed that ticking boxes ensured compliance with quality? Targets arbitrarily state that some aspects are more important than others with dire results – as in the distortion of hospital waiting lists and schools moving good teachers to league table subjects.

Targets assembled by group agreement of the people who must deliver them can be a route to good practice. But mechanistic box ticking results in what can be measured being given priority – neglecting less measurable actions. Like patient care, for instance.

Diane Brace

London N1

There is no doubt that the NHS in many places needed reform, but of course this is the opportunity for the Coalition to further its privatisation agenda.

The fault will never be admitted, because it was started in the Thatcher/Major era with the development of internal markets and tendering of essential services such as cleaning, and through the New Labour era with the abomination of PFI, development of the trusts and so on. The reality is that the NHS has not been safe in politicians' hands since the late 1970s.

What we had until recently was the framework still apparent of a world-class, efficient and largely universal health service. The steady erosion of this vital service, by those with their noses in the troughs and their bank balances expanding even as they lecture us about "efficiency" and "improvement", accelerates daily with the signing of private-sector contracts. It is theft and vandalism on a truly monumental scale.

John Griffin

Burntwood, Staffordshire

There's no hope of policing the food chain

We can't police hospitals, mental institutes and old people's homes properly, where there are family, friends and staff who voice their concerns and are not listened to. So what hope is there that we can police the meat industry?

Sara Starkey

Tonbridge, Kent

If horsemeat costs €900 a tonne and beef €3,500, then surely it's time that we started eating horses. In real terms this means that, if it were used legitimately, we could enjoy horsemeat products that were virtually 100 per cent meat instead of just 30 per cent meat and 70 per cent filler (ie rubbish to which nobody wants to put a name and which may well pose far more risks). And, even with their meat-content three times higher, horsemeat products would still be cheaper. There are a lot of people in Britain who would like to have that option.

Paul Dunwell

Alton, Hampshire

I was shocked to hear Prime Minister David Cameron saying that horsemeat found in a variety of ready-made foods did not constitute a risk to humans. How can he possibly say this? He has no idea where the meat originated, the health of the animals concerned, or what breeding regime they were kept under, among a variety of other issues.

Andrew Gibbons

Esher, Surrey

It may be reassuring to the UK public to mention that in Germany there are butcher's shops which sell only horse meat – Pferdmetzgerei. It is seen as a completely normal and legal activity.

Eric Evans

Dorchester, Dorset

For all those who are experiencing nausea and worse after finding out that their beef burgers had horse and pig meat, there is a simple solution. Go vegetarian and explore a whole world of gourmet food. Experience the freedom of eating food that does not involve the killing of sentient beings. You will be in good company. Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, Tony Benn, Bill Clinton, Joanne Lumley, Martin Shaw, the list goes on. Enjoy!

Nitin Mehta

Croydon, Greater London

Having just finished reading Beastly Things by Donna Leon, first published in April 2012, I was amazed to find that the storyline mirrors almost exactly the current horsemeat scandal. Surely Ms Leon can't have been the only person to have known what was going on. What were the regulators doing?

Angela Robertson

Redhill, Surrey

Irrespective of what rules and regulations are in force, some food processors are always prepared to cut costs. There are already many serious concerns about processed food and the additives used in their preparation. As an ultimate precaution people should be advised to go back to basics in food preparation so that they know exactly what is in the food being prepared for the table.

Dennis Grattan

Aberdeen

Richard III was a nefarious schemer

One could add to Valerie Crews' letter (6 February) that Richard III was appointed Edward V's Lord Protector as the boy was aged 12 years. He did not carry out this function. He cancelled the coronation ceremony. He alleged that Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville in 1464 was bigamous because he had married one Eleanor Talbot in 1461, so that the two princes were illegitimate.

Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells and ally of Richard III, alleged orally that he had conducted the 1461 ceremony. No document was ever produced to corroborate this fact. Crucially, Eleanor Talbot herself never asserted any such marriage. A pre-marriage contract existed between Edward IV and Lady Talbot but nothing more.

In any event Eleanor Talbot died in 1468 before either prince was born, so that any allegation of illegitimacy would have fallen by the wayside. The only tribunal which had jurisdiction to declare bigamous the Woodville marriage was an ecclesiastical court, not a parliament packed with Richard's cronies.

All this implicates Richard III as a deliberate schemer to get himself crowned king instead of Edward V. No wonder the two princes disappeared.

David Ashton

Shipbourne, Kent

I back the idea of a plaque or statue to the memory of Pocahontas (letter, 6 February). Shakespeare wrote terrific lines for Richard III, but I haven't heard that Richard himself wrote anything as moving as did Captain John Smith, in a letter to a friend, about "an unbelievinge creature, namely Pokahuntas, to whom my harte and best thoughts are and have been a longe tyme so intangled and inthralled in soe intricate a laborinth that I was even a wearied to unwynde myself thereout."

Julius Hogben

London W10

Ashamed of my Catholic Church

After reading Peter Stanford's article about the Catholic Church (8 February) I have been struggling to find the right words for 24 hours. In the end simplest is best: Thank you.

My beliefs in the Catholic Church lead me to support asylum seekers, the downtrodden and oppressed. In so far as other people's personal lives have anything to do with me I support loving committed relationships of any type. I am embarrassed and ashamed by my beloved church campaigning vigorously against gay marriage and failing to show love to those who have not so long ago been shunned. Not in all our names indeed.

Dr Gemma Stockford

Burgess Hill, West Sussex

Workers priced out of London

I take the opposite view of the London housing market to James Payton (letter, 4 February). Higher interest rates are unlikely to cause a collapse in house prices, since it is investment money that is underpinning the London market, and not the availability of cheap mortgage funding. The surge in house prices is already having serious consequences for the capital's economy, with more and more of those who work in London finding it an impossible place in which to live. With even higher rents and/or longer commutes in prospect, businesses will find recruiting staff an increasing challenge.

Nigel Wilkins

London SW7

Why mention the judge's gender?

What has the fact that Constance Briscoe is a woman and black got to do with your report? (9 February). Surely the first paragraph could have started "A high-profile barrister and part-time judge..." If it had been a white man it would have done.

Stuart Cramer

London W6

Marriage service

Sarah Thursfield asserts that "the marriage service still asks 'Who gives this woman'" (letters, 8 February). This wording only remains in the Alternative Services, series one version of the marriage service. The current, more widely used, Common Worship service, does not contain any wording with such a meaning.

Revd Ian S Partridge

Louth, Lincolnshire

Gove's 'U-turn'

A pity that much of the media gleefully howled a derisive "U-turn", describing Gove's decision. Should we not be applauding a return to calm judgement and professional experience? Should not the headlines have read "Welcome return to common sense" or "Gove recovers sanity" or some such?

Roy Evans

Harpenden, Hertfordshire

Force be with him

Your obituary of renowned film make-up artist Stuart Freeborn (9 February) rightly acknowledged him as the creator of Yoda. However the picture of Yoda that accompanied the obituary was the CGI version produced for the egregious Star Wars prequels, rather than the physical puppet Freeborn actually produced for The Empire Strikes Back. Disappointed I was.

Martyn P Jackson

Cramlington, Northumberland

React Now

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

Senior Automation Tester – Permanent – West Sussex – Circa £40k

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

KS2 Teacher Plymouth

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

KS1 Teacher Cornwall

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Apple CEO Timothy Cook  

Tim Cook coming out as gay publicly for the first time matters to young men like me

Leigh Dowd
 

Daily catch-up: war on drugs, shocking polls and Balls family news

John Rentoul
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes