GPs already hold their own purse strings

From: DL Long, Coxley Crescent, Netherton, Wakefield.

THE article by Jayne Dowle (Yorkshire Post, May 23) that “GPs should be our rock, not a financial commodity” makes little sense.

GPs are self-employed and, thus, are already running a business. Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts are being abolished because they are ineffective and brimming over with non-jobs.

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Finding a GP is not hard as they are paid “per capita” and no practice can ever get enough patients.

Years of incompetent New Labour management, by individuals such as Patricia Hewitt and John Reid, have eroded much if not all of the faith people had in the professional abilities of their GP.

From: Derek Milner, Member of the Alzheimer’s Society, Hook Road, Goole.

Les Arnott (Yorkshire Post, May 23) is right to correct Elaine Johnson regarding the assertions she made about the NHS (Yorkshire Post, May 19).

She also needs correction on another point. It is untrue for her to state that the NHS is free at the point of delivery. Should she even have to cope with the cruel and devastating consequences of dementia she would soon adjust her perspective.

The NHS offers no free support for dementia sufferers until a thorough in-depth means test has been carried out, often including the value of the family home. The fact that one has paid NHS contributions over a lifetime’s work is of no consequence.

Just ask any of the thousands in this country who are having to pay for the care of loved ones, from their own or their loved ones’ resources with fees upwards of £500 per week in most care homes.

From: Elaine Johnson, Lincoln Road, Welton, Lincoln.

WhilE accepting the rebuke from Les Arnott regarding the treatment the young man hit by a bus would have received in a French hospital (Yorkshire Post, May 23), I would like to point out that he would also have received a bill. Under that country’s system, he would have had to pay this and then, depending on his circumstances, a significant percentage would have been reimbursed.

To cover the difference, the majority of French people take out “complementary” insurance.

The point remains: our medical care is free at the point of delivery. It is not elsewhere.

Real cost of mileage

From: MJ O’Rourke, Lynndale Avenue, Crosshills, Keighley. West Yorkshire.

IN the context of your reports concerning council payments of mileage rates to employees (Yorkshire Post, May 21), the prominence given to council payments above what you refer to as the “government recommended mileage rate of 40 pence per mile, increased to 45p this year” conveys a consistent impression both that councils are profligate, and that in consequence, council car mileage recipients are profiteering.

I do not believe the mileage rate you refer to is “ a recommended government rate”. As a long-retired council employee, I may be out of touch and wrong, but I believe the mileage figure you quote is not a government recommended figure, but actually refers to the Inland Revenue mileage payment threshold above which a recipient is obliged to pay both income tax and national insurance contributions.

There are issues for debate concerning whether the Inland Revenue rate is fair and reasonable. However better researched and balanced reporting on your part would also have mentioned mileage costs as calculated by reputable organisations such as the AA or RAC. The AA, for example, calculates overall running costs per mile for cheapest petrol vehicles up to a value of £12,000, as 65.8 pence per mile up to 5,000 miles per year.

Greek tragedy down to euro

From: Rodney Atkinson, Meadowfield Road, Stocksfield, Northumberland.

IN the midst of the gravest crisis in Greece caused by their massive debts and membership of the euro the Mayor of Athens, Yiorgos Kaminis, has acknowledged: “Not since the German occupation during the Second World War, has Athens been in such a dreadful state”.

The two periods are not dissimilar in other respects. There has been for some years mounting anti-German feeling in Greece (Hugo Radice, Yorkshire Post, May 25) since Berlin is rightly seen as the architect of the European Union and its currency the euro which have made Greece’s financial difficulties into an impossible, inescapable, debt-laden morass.

Never have the people of one country been so disgracefully sacrificed to save the finances and ambitions of the imperial European State. And Greece will not be the last EU member to be so sacrificed on the euro-federalist altar.

Dystopian future

From: David F Chambers, Sladeburn Drive, Northallerton.

I DREAMED we were living 14 years from now, and had more than achieved the promised 50 per cent reduction in emission of greenhouse gases.

All was not well. Industry by and large had either failed, or emigrated together with skilled employees, due mainly to the cost and irregularity of electricity supply. Imports had declined sharply as inbound shipping found it increasingly difficult to navigate the offshore wind farms.

Change was apparent in the countryside. Methane-emitting livestock had been abolished, and the forests of wind turbines now more than equalled the shrinking areas of actual woodland. The wood-burning stove had virtually replaced the domestic cooker and central heating system for all but the very well-off.

Scientists and politicians still fostered the dread of global warming but now an additional fear was widespread as it became ever more obvious that temperatures worldwide were on a downward trend.

Sources close to the Government spoke of near panic due to re-election concerns. Fundamental staff changes at the BBC were rumoured, and Prince Charles had for a time been absent from the public scene.

It was only a dream of course, but possibly influenced by Bill Carmichael’s thought-provoking column (Yorkshire Post, May 20).