As your articles and letters have shown, we are indebted to our volunteers.
Without them, many of our services would not function, let alone charities and community projects.
I think we need to be careful, however, of relying too much on this unsung, unpaid army of lovely people.
Volunteers, by definition, do not get paid, and until recently we have been able to call upon a large group of older people who were able to retire at a reasonable age (60). Those days are disappearing.
Women, who form the bulk of our volunteer army, are having to wait until they are 67 years old until they retire, and then they may not have the time or money to spare.
We have learnt throughout this pandemic how much we rely on our public services. Those same public services are now on their knees.
There is a shortage of nursing staff, schools have become reliant on volunteer helpers and many libraries have had to close. It was in the 1930s when we realised that philanthropy alone could not meet the need. That paved the way for the introduction of all those public services which we now see as the mark of a civilised society, such as schools, decent affordable housing and the NHS.
All this was introduced immediately after the war by the Attlee government, which was a Labour government; and it brought you all these things as well as wiping out 40 per cent of the national debt from the war. All in the space of six years! Quite an achievement. Our public services need proper funding. We must not ask for everything to be done by “volunteers”.
From: Su V Hudson, Knottingley.
REGARDING your remarks in The Yorkshire Post on how to teach care. Having spent 11 weeks in a West Riding hospital earlier this year (non-Covid related), I would like to tell you of my experiences.
Student nurses from Huddersfield University were excellent – very kind, caring and obliging. Kitchen staff and cleaners likewise and the nursing assistants were first class.
However, the nurses were lacking in care, attention and just general patient welfare. Not just to me but noticeably to other patients – they had no care attitudes.
I was thoroughly disgusted and at times hurt by their attitude. Well done Huddersfield University for sending out such well-informed and helpful students.
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