Enticing NHS heroes into private web

Have your say

From: John Bolton, Gregory Springs Mount, Mirfield.

SINCE your story “Deals offer companies foothold in Yorkshire NHS care” (Yorkshire Post, October 12), further articles have seemed to me to have had a clear relevance. You have covered age discrimination in the light of NHS cuts and then the prediction that by “2040 there will 1.2 million OAPs with breast cancer”.

Linking the steps toward privatisation which have already been agreed to the subsequent details regarding cuts threatening the level of services to the elderly is not very comforting to this 77-year-old reader – but then 2040 is not likely to be a personal threat.

As with many of advancing years, I can tick many of the conditions referred to in these pieces and I am in a position to be able to compare the private practice standards against the NHS in one aspect. I was offered a hearing test by the high street company mentioned (Specsavers), in a facility totally unfit for purpose. When I had the NHS test in a properly constructed, soundproof room, I was even more convinced.

If (and it is a big if) these companies are able to meet their obligations in so many different areas of the nation’s health, what standards will apply?

My NHS involvement became a major factor in my life 20 years ago when I had a heart attack. Thanks to their response, I have since been able to lead a fairly normal active life. I am now in my ninth year of treatment for prostate cancer and awaiting an endoscope examination.

I have always found NHS front-line staff to be first class, well trained and dedicated to caring. Patients are their motivation, they are heroes. No wonder these same companies will soon be enticing them into their web for where else can such people be found?

Cycle of US elections

From: Rev PN Hayward, Allonby, Maryport, Cumbria.

LOOKING back at the last 18 United States presidential elections, right back to those of the war, we find that in half of them (nine) the retiring president was re-elected – Roosevelt (1940 and 1944), Truman (1948), Eisenhower (1956), Johnson (1964), Nixon (1972), Reagan (1984), Clinton (1996), and GW Bush (2004). Only three have been defeated – Ford (1976), Carter (1980) and George Bush (2004). In the other six – 1952, 1960, 1968, 1988, 2000 and 2008 – the outgoing president was not a candidate.

The US re-elected every retiring president (if he was a candidate) for a remarkable 44 years – between Hoover’s 1932 defeat (after the Wall Street crash) and Ford’s in 1976 (narrowly, after the Nixon affair) – irrespective of party, and frequently with big majorities. People over there are apparently reluctant to experiment to try to get something better.

Such research would appear to place Barack Obama in an unassailable position. Yet the last nine elections by themselves paint a different picture – only three presidents re-elected, three defeated, and no former president among the other three.

Young could swing vote

From: Maureen McGregor Hunt, Woolley, near Wakefield.

JAYNE Dowle’s article (Yorkshire Post, October 15) “Why I wouldn’t vote for 16-year-old electors” was spot on. However, that very day the agreement was signed and David Cameron gave the Scottish government “the option to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds”. It is now almost a fait accompli. The option will certainly be taken up.

Idealistic, inexperienced young heads could just swing the vote which would break up our United Kingdom. When I visited Scotland in the spring, I was assured by relatives and others that the swing to the Scottish Nationalists at the last election was a protest against the Labour Government, not a vote for Alex Salmond.

As I have equally strong ties to both countries, I believe I can speak objectively. When I was a child, there is no doubt that the Scots were the poor relations – and they resented it. Today, however, the tables have turned and the Scots are the indulged, rather spoiled members of what Mr Cameron described as the United Kingdom family. Our strengths and influence obviously lie in being united, a band of brothers. “One for all, all for one”

The tank that is half full

From: David F Chambers, Sladeburn Drive, Northallerton.

I’VE discovered a way to beat the high cost of petrol (Yorkshire Post, October 18). The rule is never to let the level in the tank drop below the half-full mark. I find that in this way I just have to pay for the cost of topping-up. It’s as simple as that.

Last week I was charged £28.30 – a little more than half the cost of a full tank. With the savings I am thinking about an electric car. The carbon emissions of 
my present car engine would instead become those of the power station in producing the extra electricity I shall consume and I shall enjoy the smug feeling that I’m doing my bit in these perilous times.

I overheard the word “fruit cake” but have no reason to suppose it referred to me.