The Yorkshire Post says: NHS cuts are a very bitter pill

Does Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt appreciate the funding challenges in North Yorkshire?
Does Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt appreciate the funding challenges in North Yorkshire?
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THE OBFUSCATION by NHS England over the latest raft of health cuts in North Yorkshire must be challenged – the public interest demands nothing less.

Not only does the Leeds-based quango refuse to say when details will be made public but it says managers are working “to plan how best to deliver services to patients within their fair share of the NHS budget”. Just how disingenuous can you get?

This, for the record, is an area where day-to-day health services have been compromised by historic debts because successive governments have failed to acknowledge the true cost of providing care in rural and coastal communities.

This is an area which has already taken difficult decisions in an attempt to balance the books – obese patients and smokers have been banned from undergoing routine surgery. Now it’s being asked to find another £14m, the most bitter of pills.

And this is an area where elderly patients are already suffering additional anxiety as they’re forced to travel long distances for those routine services that are no longer available in their local community.

Rather than hiding behind bland platitudes that lack empathy, someone – whether it be Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt or one of the highly-paid NHS England managers – needs to spend time with health practitioners, and patients, in North Yorkshire and see the difficulties for themselves.

They need to front up, and work with the local community to deliver practical and pragmatic efficiencies, rather than expecting patients to accept a second class service that has the potential to compromise safety because of the mismanagement of all those executives – past and present – who have not fought for a fairer deal for rural areas. For, unless this happens, it is – in all probability – going to take a preventable tragedy for health executives to be brought to their senses.

The decorations are down, only the orange creams are left in the chocolate box, the holidays are over, the money is spent and more divorces are initiated than at any time of the year. So any campaign that encourages me to give up something that brings me even a little post-Christmas comfort will always fall as flat as my mood. So here is a list of things I am not giving up in January: meat, wine, carbs, and razors, especially razors. Before I continue, this column is not going to turn into a Piers Morgan style rant about a Gregg’s vegan sausage roll (best advertising they could have hoped for). If you want to be a vegan, be a vegan. If you want to cut down on your drinking after an over-indulgent festive period do so. If you’ve put on a few pounds eat less until you can button up those trousers again. And if you’ve slobbed in your armchair in front of the telly, get up and go for a walk. But don’t insist we are all going to hell in a handcart if we don’t join you. A plethora of adverts for diets, gym memberships, healthy options, just makes me want to sink deeper under the duvet and reach for that last mince pie. This is probably because I have always been the type of person who feels the urge to do exactly the opposite of what is expected of me, or worse still is good for me. And quite frankly I have never seen the point in choosing a month as depressing as January to give up something you have no intention of giving up forever just because the marketing boys tell you it’s good for you and good for the profits of the products they are pushing. Especially if you plan to give up giving it up come February 1. Lifestyle changes are one thing. Fads and smug ‘look at me I am not eating/drinking this or that for a whole month’ is something completely different. Which brings me on to JanuHAIRY. Now this is a new one for 2019. The brain child, bless her, of a 21-year-old drama student who grew out her body hair for a one-woman show and now wants us to do the same in January. Oh well it’s easier than giving up wine, I suppose. I certainly haven’t the heart to tell her that during January, or indeed throughout the winter months, there are probably a million women doing just that because they can’t be bothered when winter clothing covers a multitude of hairy sins. It’s the ethos that by shaving your legs you are somehow body shaming other women that grates as much as a week’s worth of stubble on a pair of tights. And because she is young, bless her, I don’t really want to point out that in the pictures of her with hairy armpits proudly on display she is wearing a lovely soft pale pink lipstick and has beautifully shaped eyebrows – and why not? The irony is the so-called “natural woman” campaign has been embraced would you believe it by a company that makes razors for women. Billie proudly boasts in its campaign that its adverts are a ‘celebration of body hair’, which is somewhat strange considering they sell women’s razors ‘to give your lady bod some love.’ See what I mean about marketing? Look, body shaming is a serious issue. But let’s not body shame the vast majority of us who find the idea of having hairy armpits, well quite frankly, gross. Nor is it a case that we are conforming to a male vision of beauty. As far as I know men’s razors still outsell women’s, though I quite agree just because they have a pink handle they shouldn’t be twice the price. Shaving your legs is no different to having your hair cut or slapping on some lipstick. If it makes you feel good do it. If not, don’t. So this January and every month, let’s me and you make a pact. Do something for you, not because everyone else tells you you should, but because you want to. It really is that simple. Anyway must go. I am washing my hair and painting my nails. Oh, and shaving my legs.