Letters: How hospitals fix waiting times

These letters were published in the 4th November edition of The Independent

Share

I attended an outpatient clinic at one of the large London hospitals. I arrived 10 minutes before the appointment time and was depressed to see about 40 people already waiting.

After about 10 minutes I was called in by a nurse who asked me various questions, some of which were answered by the referral letter she had on her clipboard and others of which seemed irrelevant to my condition. She then told me to go out and wait for the doctor to call me. He called me four and a quarter hours later.

Coincidentally we were having supper that evening with a doctor friend who works at the hospital. When I told him of my experience he grinned and said that, if the Government plays games with the hospital over waiting times, the hospital reciprocates. He said my waiting time will have been recorded as 10 minutes, as that’s how long I waited before seeing the nurse. The fact that I waited another four and a quarter hours before seeing the doctor was irrelevant (“Revealed, how targets make the A&E crisis far worse”, 31 October).

I asked him if all outpatient clinics at the hospital had a nurse whose role was to call people in and tick them off in order to fix their waiting time and he said yes, as it enabled the hospital to achieve its waiting time target.

Martin Richards

London SW12

 

Stick to the  ethics of the  Co-op bank

Over the past two decades many charities and campaigning groups have moved their accounts to the Co-operative Bank and urged others to do so. A major reason for this was the bank’s ethical policy – which sets out clearly and uniquely how monies will and will not be invested.

As customers, we call those involved in setting out the bank’s future to do their utmost to set in stone the continuance of the Co-operative Bank ethical policy and the underlying commitments to customer consultation, well-resourced implementation, third-party independent audit and warts-and-all reporting. The establishment of these commitments in the Articles of Association of a new entity would provide serious reassurance that the Co-operative Bank can continue to be a world leader in ethical investment.

Jenny Ricks

Head of Campaigns, Action Aid

Mary Shephard

General Manager, Animal Aid

Mark Farmaner

Director, Burma Campaign UK

Tim Hunt

Director, Ethical Consumer

Craig Bennett

Director of Policy and Campaigns, Friends of the Earth

John Sauven

Executive Director, Greenpeace UK

Sally Copley

 Head of UK Campaigns, Oxfam

Phoebe Cullingworth

Ents Officer, People & Planet

Keith Tyrell

Director, Pesticide Action Network

Catherine Haworth

Chief Executive Officer, ShareAction

Jeanette Longfield

 Co-ordinator, Sustain

Paul Monaghan

 Director, Up the Ethics

John Hilary

Executive Director, War On Want

Nick Dearden

Director, World Development Movement

Food banks see depth of need

Your recent pieces giving details of vastly increasing numbers of people having recourse to food banks, and highlighting the work of the excellent Trussell Trust, gave a considerable underestimate of the number of people in need.

There are many food banks operating independently, including the one in my home town, which has within it areas of the worst deprivation in the country, and many other organisations working in this area of need.

Additionally, there is a huge network of soup kitchens, most of which have experienced not only an increased demand, but a changing one. For the past 20 years the kitchen with which I am involved had an attendance of an average of 35, mainly single men; this has now risen to an average of 95 and sadly includes families.

It has become apparent that a significant proportion of the increased need is directly attributable to the imposition of draconian benefit sanctions; for example, being late for an interview means two weeks of benefit being halved.

One wonders too what effect the operation of this draconian system has on the front-line workers in offices paying benefits who are prevented from using any professional discretion.

Diane Parker

Blackpool

War’s forgotten casualties

On Remembrance Day, please spare a thought for all the many munitions workers, mostly young women, who were killed and injured by their work producing munitions. They are just as  much casualties of war as front-line troops.

Many of these forgotten casualties of war were not only killed and injured by accidents and explosions in munitions factories but by their exposure to very toxic chemicals, with many dying of toxic liver overload and conditions such as aplastic anaemia which can be precursor conditions to cancers. There are lists with names and addresses of some of these casualties now posted on the internet.

The legacy of the exposure to toxic chemicals can be passed in the form of cell mutations to future generations.

Edward Priestley

Brighouse, West Yorkshire

HS2 will be  no good to us

I live about a third of the way from Birmingham to London and am interested to know what use HS2 will be to the many travellers like me who would have to travel nearly 40 miles either by road or current rail north-west into Birmingham in order to access the line. This would be pointless and both time- and energy-consuming.

Assuming that the majority of rail users travelling between Birmingham and London will use HS2, what will become of the current regular services on the existing track? It would appear inevitable that with loss of revenue on these services they will be reduced, leaving those of us not in the major conurbations much worse off.

Graham Ruff

Lutterworth, Leicestershire

We are being told much about the ability of HS2 to reduce travelling times and to increase capacity for passengers. But I have seen nothing about its use as a means of transporting goods. The high-speed rail through the tunnel between Folkestone and Calais takes a substantial amount of goods traffic, particularly at night.

Surely there should be an opportunity to use HS2 to carry a substantial proportion of goods, particularly at night, between the North, the Midlands and London rather than have it clogging up the roads.

AB Crews

Beckenham, Kent

 

Peter Kampman  (letter, 2 November) writes from Edinburgh: ”I have yet to read about [HS2’s] connectivity to Europe”. I can advise him not to hold his breath. Seven years after Eurostar services started from St Pancras, the East Coast train company website still tells us Paris is “not a valid destination”. Eurostar and HS2 are for Londoners. The rest of the country can go hang.

Chris Bond

Newcastle upon Tyne

Etiquette for a lover’s letter

Keith Flett (letter, 2 November) says he is reassured by Rebekah Brooks choosing to communicate with Andy Coulson, during their affair, by sending a letter. It would, perhaps, have been more reassuring to Andy Coulson if the letter had been handwritten and not typed and saved on a computer.

Letters from lovers, close friends and family should be hand-written and personal. I have a large box full of hand-written letters from my late husband which is one of my most valued possessions. I wonder if Andy Coulson kept this particular letter from Rebekah Brooks, or was it shredded instantly?

Gillian Munrow

Amersham, Buckinghamshire

 

Written out  of history

I look forward to making a judgement on your new front cover on Thursday, as someone who bought the original Watford-printed issue and has stuck with the paper since.

I am puzzled, however, that you  mention in your Letter from the Editor (2 November) three of the founders of The Independent, but omit that giant of Fleet Street, Brett Straub. Has he done something to upset you, or was his role in the Leveson Report just one PR stunt too many?

Colin Standfield

London W7

Nothing cancels Guantanamo

Your paean for President Obama (leading article, 2 November) is misjudged. Whatever good he does, you must never forget the abomination that is Guantanamo Bay. Innocent men have been “disappeared”.

 Whatever comment you may make on behalf of the USA or its President, you must never end  without qualifying it by mentioning Guantanamo Bay. To do otherwise is to be complicit in this crime.

Finlay Fraser

Cottingham, East Yorkshire

Brand’s revolt

Howard Jacobson (2 November) has completely missed the point about the Paxman-Brand encounter. Democracy is meaningless when, once in power, all our politicians are the same, whatever their previous rhetoric. Corporate greed is ever channelling wealth into the hands of the very few and creating a disenfranchised generation – who will revolt.

STEFAN WICKHAM

Hove, East Sussex

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

An unelectable extremist who hijacked their party has already served as prime minister – her name was Margaret Thatcher

Jacques Peretti
 

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent