Letters: Welcome to the new austerity health service

 

Share

The decision of Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State, regarding Lewisham Hospital is not a compromise. That is the spin the Government wants to put on it.

He has not retained the A&E dpeartment, if the downgraded "casualty" will not treat standard medical emergenices such as meningitis and pneumonia. There is also no point in having a downgraded maternity unit – only a fully staffed obstetric unit will be as good as services offered elsewhere.

He has ignored local residents, the Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group board, local GPs and hospital consultants. This makes a mockery of the Health and Social Care Bill, which was allegedly introduced to give more decision-making power to local doctors and patients.

I write as a Lewisham GP and resident for the past 27 years. I am not writing as a "nimby". This has implications for health care all over the UK. It appears that it is adminstrators the Secretary of State listens to, not users and doctors.

Dr Monica Aquilina

London SE14

Your article "Mental hospitals treat patients like prisoners" (30 January) comes as no shock, as there has been ill-treatment of patients in mental hospitals for years. However, the cuts which are running right through all areas of the NHS mean that patients at mental hospitals will receive even less of the treatment which they require.

These are some of the most vulnerable patients and they cannot have faith that they will be cared for and supported.

Garry Mitchell

Clydebank

While the Care Quality Commission criticises mental health services for having too few staff to provide basic services, and a leading mental health trust announces 30 per cent cuts in clinical staff to meet spending targets, the Reading Agency (report, 1 February) suggests reading funny stories as an alternative to treatment.

Meanwhile the Government promotes "equivalence" between mental and physical health care. Satirical black comedy? No, this is mental health policy for the 21st century. Serious mental health problems require serious investment in clinical services. Bill Bryson's books are humorous to read, but for patients the joke is wearing thin.

Dr Chris Jones

Consultant Psychiatrist

Norwich

Latest bank scandal hits small firms

This is further evidence of the David-and-Goliath challenges small and medium enterprises face to prosper in the current climate ("Banks face £1.5bn payout for mis-selling interest rate products", 31 January). Taking into account the bruising experience of the PPI claims, it will be interesting to see how tight the squeeze on banks will be resulting from this issue.

It's been said time and time again that SMEs will be the ones to re-establish a strong economy in Britain, yet how can they compete when they are fed bad advice by our banks and aren't able to compete on a level playing field with the big players who find ways to cut corners within our tax system?

Compensation would obviously be a positive outcome for mis-selling victims but I worry that it's too little too late. Assuming compensation is forthcoming, reflecting on the time it has taken to identify this practice, how many corner stores or local restaurants will have already experienced severe financial difficulties, or even gone out of business altogether?

Adam Harper

Director of Professional Development, Association of Accounting Technicians, London EC1

David Buik ("Bonuses are needed", 30 January) trots out the usual nonsense that bankers must be paid obscene amounts of money to ensure that they do their jobs properly.

I genuinely do not understand this line of argument. Should a bus driver get a bonus every time the bus arrives at its destination? Should bar staff get a bonus every time they pull a pint? Should I, as a university lecturer, get a bonus every time my students get a degree?

Ordinary working people do their jobs properly because that is what they are contracted and paid to do. If they do not do their jobs properly, then they will be dismissed and replaced with someone more competent.

Is there something biologically different about bankers which means that the same rules cannot be applied to them as the rest of us; do your job properly or be sacked?

Pete Dorey

Bath

Disastrous wars in Muslim world

Another fine mess the West seems to have got itself into. Each military intervention we make in the Muslim world has a consequence that takes us by surprise. Mali is the latest in a sorry saga.

Osama Bin Laden was a loyal servant of the US throughout its attempt to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Pakistani scholar Iqbal Ahmad warned prophetically in 1998 against US alliances with Islamic radicals: "Covert operations and low-intensity warfare... are the breeding grounds of terror and drugs.... This fellow [Bin Laden] was an ally. He remained an ally. He turns at a particular moment: in 1990, when the US goes into Saudi Arabia with its forces [to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait].

"For him, America had broken its word: the loyal friend betrayed.... These are the chickens of the [1980s] Afghanistan war coming home to roost."

Three years later came 9/11, with Bush and Blair wading in to overthrow the Taliban government of Afghanistan. Western forces became armies of occupation. Not satisfied with their disastrous handiwork, they turned to Iraq, and managed to unleash al-Qa'ida there, where Saddam would never have given it the time of day. Since then we have been unable to resist meddling in Libya, and we now live with the frightening consequences.

Its long overdue we started listening and learning, rather than hectoring and fighting.

David McDowall

Richmond, Surrey

Marilyn Mason (letter, 1 February) condemns the Mali intervention, and writes that if the world needs policing "this is surely a job for a revitalised United Nations, not individual nations".

The current French-led intervention in Mali, in which the British armed forces are playing a small part, is a response to the Malian government's request for help against a jihadi insurgency, and is authorised by the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2071 (12 October 2012), which was adopted unanimously.

SCR 2071 describes Islamist militancy in Mali as a threat to regional peace and security, and authorises the deployment of an international military force to help the Malian authorities recover control of their country.

Geraint Hughes

Swindon

Stop sulking over Europe

The current European in/out fuss is an annoying distraction from the problems that politicians should be addressing: employment, tax, the economy. The idea of leaving Europe is a nonsense.

Instead of pandering to misguided patriots at home, Hague, Cameron and the Foreign Office should be quietly and informally seducing their opposite numbers around Europe with their plan for a better way to do things, rather than going into a rubber-stamping conference of heads of state at Strasbourg and acting like a petulant child at a family party.

We all know there's a lot wrong with Europe: with the money that washes around, and the absurdly expensive European Parliament machinery. But we're in it; it's our family, so let's sit around the dining table and lay down our cards and improve it, not run off and sulk in our bedroom.

Roger Warren

Birmingham

Mary Dejevsky is right to contend that, with the exception of our stubborn insularity about the importance of language learning, the EU's impact on the UK has been considerable and almost entirely beneficial (Voices, 1 February).

However, she misses out one huge benefit to a large community in this country, many of whom can be relied upon to vote in any referendum on EU membership: golfers and the followers of golf. As a member of Team Europe, the UK gets to enjoy winning the Ryder Cup.

Professor David Head

Navenby, Lincolnshire

Not the book I read

We must have read different books. I do not recognise any of Joan Smith's assertions about Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell books ("Mantel peddles snobbish period soap-operas", 31 January).

I loved both books, which I found full of politics, with great characterisation of the women as well as the men. They brought the period alive and are an exciting read. Cromwell is not a snob in the books; Smith fails to understand the issues of class that drive the character.

Lee Adams

Sheffield

An old pronoun rediscovered

In "Chalk Talk," (31 January), Richard Garner tells how Robert T Gardner wants to invent a gender-neutral pronoun. What is the matter with the old one? I'm 68 years old and have been using it for almost all those years.

I see from the Oxford English Dictionary that it has been around even longer, and that "they," along with its counterparts "them," "their" and "themselves" has been used as a gender-neutral pronoun since at least the 16th century.

Graham P Davis

Bracknell, Berkshire

Capital idea

An underground nuclear waste disposal depository requires a rock that is flexible (so that it won't crack in an earthquake), impermeable and situated in a tectonically stable region with good transport links ("Nuclear dump can't find a home", 31 January). The London clay would seem ideal.

Dr David Wheeler

Carlisle

Tickets, please

The Prince of Wales has ridden on a London Tube train. Although HRH and his wife are old enough to qualify for freedom passes, their principal residence is in the county of Gloucestershire, so their free rides in the capital are limited to London's bus network.

Steven Salmon

Guildford, Surrey

Moment of truth

I witnessed a cinema audience applauding over 15 years ago (letter, 31 January). The film was The Full Monty and applause broke out spontaneously at the end as the strippers threw away their hats. Muswell Hill Odeon, oddly enough.

Mark Redhead

Oxford

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: A widow’s tale with an unexpected twist

John Rentoul
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss