From: Anne Kennedy, Chair, RCN Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Board.
MORE than two months have now passed since the decision was made that the UK will be leaving the European Union. Since the referendum there has been much talk but little clarity about what happens next and the consequences of this result for all of us.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) remains particularly concerned about the impact on the nursing workforce. NHS hospitals, care homes and other organisations across the health and social care sectors across the UK rely on the huge contribution of nursing staff from both inside and outside the EU.
Figures show there are currently more than 33,000 EU-trained nurses registered to work in the UK. Nearly 800 of these work in our region. The continuing uncertainty about what Brexit means for the future of EU nursing staff already working here and those interested in doing so threatens to worsen nursing shortages, already threatened by changes to student funding and the removal of bursaries.
We also continue to hear of cases of abuse directed at EU nursing staff following the referendum and the assumption by some that they should have left the UK. Such prejudice is reprehensible. There must be zero tolerance of any such abuse.
The RCN will ensure that the nursing voice is heard as negotiations on leaving the EU commence and will support our members who are affected. We must never lose sight of the fact that without EU nurses, patient care would undoubtedly suffer.
From: Mary Jackson, West Ella Way, Kirk Ella, Hull.
VOTERS may justifiably have wanted to demonstrate their anger with the Cameron government by voting for Brexit, but paradoxically what they have done is to help bring about a right wing coup.
With Labour in its present state of disarray, it is hard to foresee anything other than an increasingly hard right government for many years to come.
This will bring a demolition of the National Health Service, further cuts in benefits, destruction of workers’ rights, a loss of civil liberties and less gender equality.
We were misled by the Leave campaign into believing that there would be immediate extra money for the Health Service. Instead we are witnessing the creation of hugely expensive government departments to oversee Brexit.
These will be staffed by unelected bureaucrats who will either be biased in favour of Brexit and therefore unable to get the best outcomes for Britain, or by those reluctant to see Brexit to its disastrous conclusion.
Don’t knock my old school
From: Adrian F Sunman, Lunn Lane, South Collingham, Newark.
WITH all due respect to your correspondent Mr Geoffrey Bryant (who doesn’t disclose the type of school he attended), I had the privilege of spending three very happy years at a rural secondary modern school which was second to none.
Discipline was strict but the teachers took an active, caring, and intelligent interest in the welfare of pupils. Hard work and achievement were not only expected but regarded as the norm. Every opportunity to broaden our horizons through outings and field trips was taken.
All pupils had a chance to try their hand at woodwork, housecraft and rural studies, as well as the traditional academic ones. Any suggestion that the education offered at our school was inferior to that provided at the local grammar school would have been met with laughter and incredulity.
When I was 14, a decision was taken to close my school for reasons which had nothing to do with education and everything to do with obeying the ideological diktat of the then Labour Government. My last 18 months of school, spent in the unfamiliar and cramped conditions of a newly-created comprehensive, were far less happy.
It is perhaps hardly surprising that I am heartily sick of people disparaging secondary modern schools and perpetuating the myth that they offered inferior education – I suspect they know little about them. They offered far more opportunities and a much broader curriculum than the extended primary education which was the lot of most young people educated prior to Rab Butler’s 1944 Education Act.
Policies create housing crisis
From: Coun Peter Gruen, Scrutiny Chair for Public Health, Leeds Council.
GOOD to see a real debate taking place about the housing crisis nationally and therefore locally.
I recently contributed to this by setting out how we should massively increase public social housing; both to buy and to rent.
Two Government policies could be scrapped immediately to help: first, the give-away 70 per cent ‘discount’ on the best council properties has exacerbated an already well acknowledged shortage with, in many cases, these houses finding their way into the pockets of private landlords; and secondly the pandering to ‘volume’ housebuilders by preventing councils’ from including a reasonable number of affordable homes in planning decisions.
Now the National Housing Federation’s study adds further qualitative evidence by telling us what we long suspected: it costs £21 a week more to house a family in a private-rented property than in a social home.
And the take by landlords in housing benefit has exploded from £4.6bn in 2008 to £9.3bn this year. They also confirm that it takes the proceeds from three forced sell-off of great social homes to replace just one property.
What conclusion can you possibly draw? The deliberate Government policy is to increase the demand by suppressing the supply of good quality public housing so that vast profits can be made by individual s at the expense of everyone seeking their own home for the first time.