This government has learned nothing from the Windrush scandal – just ask any doctor

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Monday 26 August 2019 12:14 BST
Almost a quarter of sick days were taken for mental health reasons, analysis finds
Almost a quarter of sick days were taken for mental health reasons, analysis finds (PA)

This government’s policy to end free NHS care for all EU citizens who are not ordinarily resident in the UK after 31 October in the event of a no-deal Brexit is both discriminatory and short-sighted. Many EU citizens living in this great country feel affronted that they may be asked to prove their right to NHS care after Brexit, as the government ratchets up its hostile environment rhetoric. Has it learned nothing from Windrush?

Speak to any NHS manager or doctor about how they will administer this policy, and many will tell you just how unworkable and unethical it is. The job of NHS staff is to ensure patients get treated, not to act like border guards. This approach does nothing to engender goodwill in EU member states. The Johnson magic money tree will need to be shaken once again as the NHS struggles to cope with thousands of retired British citizens living in the EU coming home to seek NHS care after a no-deal Brexit.

Munira Wilson

Free to whom?

I wonder how much Seth Dellow has paid into our supposedly “free” NHS? If he really believes the service is free, I could show him some of the income tax and national insurance bills that I have paid over the past 55 years. On the (thankfully) infrequent occasions when I need to use the NHS, I do so as a customer who has paid their subscription – and so I feel entitled to comment and, if necessary, complain about the quality of the service provided to me.

Furthermore, anyone who thinks the service is free at the point of delivery should talk to their dentist, optician and pharmacist and try to persuade them to drop their charges.

Sam Boote

Force the BBC to compete

While one must applaud Boris Johnson for pointing out to the BBC that they are breaking an agreement by refusing to fund free TV licenses for the elderly, he needs to be rather more proactive than merely expressing his “irritation”. What is needed is for the prime minister to make it crystal clear to this bloated and parasitic monopoly corporation that if it does not immediately agree to fund these licences, then the government will abolish not only elderly persons licenses but all TV licenses, and force the BBC to compete on a level playing field with all the other producers by raising its revenue from advertising or pay-as-you-view. This would, if nothing else, force it to produce quality programming that people wish to watch.

Ian McNicholas
Ebbw Vale

Not my feminism

Harriet Hall’s column alarmed me. The day I read Cosmopolitan at the hairdresser and saw advertisements encouraging young women to have their “ugly” external genitalia surgically modified, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. If that is feminism in the 21st century – basically, voluntary female genital mutilation – then the ideals of my generation or ’68ers and their younger sisters have been perverted.

We wanted to be admitted to medical school on the same terms as males rather than needing higher exam results; not to be patronised or patted on the behind; for there to be no exclusion zones in the university (except the loo); not to be asked about our intentions for marriage or children at job interviews; fair shares of coffee-making and washing-up at ward rounds; and equal pension rights and to be paid the same as males (a goal still not achieved for women doctors of my age, because backdating the concession to equality would “cost too much”).

We never dreamt that women not yet born would feel pressure to remodel their bodies to resemble a Barbie doll, or pay £2,000 to have their vagina “rejuvenated” by laser. My mother’s generation were physically restricted by armour-plated underwear, stiletto heels, Panstick, harsh perms, sleeping in metal curlers and hairnets. I thought we’d got past that mortification of the flesh. Plus ça change... but there’s more money to be made from surgical procedures – usually by men.

Dr Trish Fowlie
Address withheld

We’re none the wiser, either

It is not surprising to hear that Donald Tusk was “none the wiser” regarding the UK’s Brexit position after his initial meeting with Boris Johnson. Listening to Johnson trying to speak coherently is like watching a person immediately after major dental surgery trying to buy a bus ticket to an unknown destination in a foreign language they are unfamiliar with. However, I think it unfair to cast aspersions as to Donald Tusk’s intellect; I believe that the more correct message is that he was no better informed after the meeting.

Matt Minshall

The fifth R of recyling

Tesco offers us four Rs to reduce single use plastics. May I suggest a fifth: return. If we are faced with plastic which cannot be put into the recycling bin when we have finished with it, then let’s concentrate the minds of supermarket bosses by returning it the store. Their plastic, their problem.

Ian Hurdley

Speak up

I entirely agree with Janet Street-Porter. I am an 87-year-old Welsh widow and listen to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme regularly. John Humphrys is a great favourite of mine, for many reasons, but not least because of his diction. I can hear every word and he does not swallow the end of his sentences. I am not looking forward to his well-earned retirement.

Merrill Johns

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