Saturday's Letters: GPs are clinicians in healthcare, not expert accountants

WITH reference to the article "The price of change" (Yorkshire Post, January 18) on planned reforms of the NHS, having worked in the service for 30 years as a clinician, manager and non-executive director of a primary care trust (PCT), I learned to acknowledge some fundamental facts.

GPs are not "team players," they are, rightly, stars in their own firmament, individuals who are in healthcare as clinicians, not accountants. Consortia for financial re-structuring of commissioning are anathema to them. Purchasing, when last offered to GP practices, was delegated to newly-retired bankers, appointed to deal with finance at all levels.

PCTs have done well to establish patient choice. Choose and book works in most areas. As James Gubb states (Yorkshire Post, January 18): "PCTs have built systems, processes and relationships, supporting the commission of health care."

By 2013 they will be abolished, only then will function and purpose be separated, when both are lost.

From: Margaret Plummer, Rosedale, Leven, Beverley.

From: Lee Ingham, Claremont Road, Leeds.

AS the first footballer to be a panelist on Question Time, the former Leeds United player Clarke Carlisle put in a good performance earlier this month.

Although I did not agree with everything he said, it was good to hear someone speak openly and honestly. He was noticeably different from the politician next to him, who talked about her desire to give the public "choice". Am I alone in wanting politicians to say what they really believe rather than hiding behind the mantra of "choice"? Am I alone in not wanting a choice of hospitals but just wanting the nearest one to be good enough? Am I alone in wanting some "bureaucrats" to organise it, rather for my GP to do it? One choice I would like is for the coalition to leave our hospitals and GPs alone.

And this is something I know I am not alone in thinking because Clarke Carlisle, now of Burnley, suggested so.

From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.

THE Conservatives made a huge error in privatising the utilities of gas, electric, water as well as British Railways.

Now they are about to bring in, via the backdoor and undercover, privatisation of much in the NHS, and will follow that by privatising our forests, parks, woodlands, and nature reserves.

The Tories know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

Prisoners must re-earn their rights

From: BJ Cussons, Curly Hill, Ilkley.

WE are wallowing in crime as a result of the interference of "liberal thinkers" of the past two decades (Yorkshire Post, January 21).

Jon Collins could not be more wrong. People's reaction to the thought of prisoners having a vote is nothing to do with "civic death", it is totally because they feel no one has rights who abrogates their responsibilities.

Those rights need re-earning by penitence and actions; they should not be handed on a plate.

The growing anger against European ties is only because of people's despair that European law loses all vestige of common sense, not necessarily because they have become Eurosceptic.

At the same time the hypocrisy of those who seek to inflict constant, ill considered, unnecessary and nonsensical laws upon us is blatant in that they emanate from an organisation whose accounts have not been passed for audit for several years and who sack those who try to bring this to Europe's attention.

From: Roger M Dobson, Ash Street, Cross Hills, Keighley.

HAVING read the article by Jon Collins on the rights of serving prisoners regarding voting, I thought it was rubbish.

Blow the European Court of Human Rights, it is not British and therefore cannot be expected to understand how we, the normal people of this country think regarding the treatment of criminals. In the minds of most people in this country, when a person is sentenced to serve a period of imprisonment he or she then has no rights. If Europe does not like what we do it is time that we came out of the European Union and enjoyed the financial savings that would go with that withdrawal.

From: Michael Swaby, Hainton Avenue, Grimsby.

The length of MP Simon Reevell article opposing voting reform suggests that it could be contentious, and this is indeed the case (Yorkshire Post, January 25).

Mr Reevell correctly states that very few countries use the Alternative Vote. This is because most countries that do not use first past the post prefer some form of proportional representation. The reason that this will not be on the referendum ballot paper is that his party would not agree to it in the coalition negotiations.

In my view, Mr Reevell is incorrect when he says that "AV ends the tradition of one person, one vote". Under the AV system, each person has a single vote, and that vote includes the right to list all the candidates in one's order of preference.

If required, the counting and reallocation of these preferences increases the tally of each of the more popular candidates, until one of them exceeds 50 per cent.

Mr Reevell's strangest assertion is that AV "takes power away from the voters and gives it to party managers". In fact, by enabling voters to be more explicit, it gives them greater leverage and therefore more influence over the eventual outcome.

The interest created by a fairer system could well result in an improved turnout.

Also, the AV will eliminate the corrupting distortion known as "tactical voting". I strongly believe that any person should be able to vote for the candidate of his or her choice, without fear or hesitation.

If a small party polls badly, it should be because it has attracted insufficient support, not because it is disadvantaged by a flawed voting system.

Conservation of the Dales

From: RD Leakey, Giggleswick, Settle, North Yorkshire.

REGARDING the "senseless" Dales idea (Yorkshire Post, January 18), the act of protecting and expanding the Yorkshire Dales is not senseless as branded. It is just Yorkshire people doing their best for the environment, something they are good at doing.

The proposed job cuts are solely to do with accountants call "profits". Those who do not want the expansion of the national park should produce logical reasons.

The people should be told about their real purpose for cutting staff. All something I defy them to do.

All those financiers – who rule the country – want to do is build lucrative motorways across the Dales solely to churn up lucrative money to pay for it all, and again increase profits as if money were a god, and our sole purpose of being on this planet.

Conserving the national park and elsewhere is by far the better option.

Don't waste forest assets

From: Peter R Hyde, Kendale View, Driffield, East Yorkshire.

I HAVE to say that I am very concerned about the idea to sell off Forestry Commission land to private buyers (Yorkshire Post, January 27). It is like selling off the family silver to make a quick buck.

If the land is not paying its way and making a profit, then why would anyone want to buy it?

If it is, then why throw that profit into the pocket of other than the public purse? Maximise the profit by good management but never ever consider the sale of such a priceless asset.

This is a matter to be carefully thought out or the present administration runs the risk of alienating the public by robbing them of their inheritance.

Favourite colours

From: Ken Holmes, Cliffe Common, Selby.

BECAUSE of the "gutter" party politics these days, blue, red or green etc, they no longer interest me. The only colours I love to see are the ones that flutter on a flag pole on the roof of Buckingham Palace when our beloved Queen is in residence.

BBC disgraces itself with vilification of Blair

From: D Birch, Smithy Lane, Cookridge, Leeds.

WITH reference to Nicky Campbell's The Big Questions on BBC1 on Sunday, January 23, I couldn't believe that the broadcaster could sanction the first 20 minutes with Tony Blair being virtually tried as a war criminal over the war in Iraq.

It turned my stomach to listen to some of the vile drivel from the panel and the questioners. How they could say such things and how could the BBC be party to broadcasting them?

The BBC certainly didn't do the country any favours and the damage done to Tony Blair as a worldwide representative of this country is disgraceful – allowing a programme that finished up putting him in the same league as Stalin/Hitler and his mob and Milosevic in Kosovo.

Wars come and go today because right-minded people sanction them. It's done in the name of peace and democracy and front line politicians carry them out with their country's armed forces and do what is necessary.

"War crimes" are done by people noted in paragraph three and quite a few dictators in their own countries, who are killing their own populations. It's time the Chilcott Inquiry was finalised, which in turn will not make any firm decision over the legality of the Iraq War and will certainly not lay the blame on Mr Bush or Mr Blair – unlike the BBC programme-makers, who must have thought it clever to get on the back of yet another visit by Mr Blair to Chilcott.

They are the disgraceful ones and so, too, is the BBC as a whole for allowing it.

Wonderful care from everyone

From: JF Taylor, Butterwick on the Wolds, Weaverthorpe, Malton.

AFTER reading Jayne Dowle's article (Yorkshire Post, January 20), I have nothing but praise and thanks for all the help and treatment I have received from GPs and other staff at my local surgery.

The same applies to all specialists and staff at Scarborough Hospital which I have had to attend in recent years.

The efficiency, courtesy and kindness has been wonderful at all times.

At 89 years (90 if I can survive another four weeks!), I am deeply appreciative of all the help and care I receive.

I'd also like to express my thanks, not only to my family but to the people in this small village who keep an eye on me.

From: Ralph Brader, Thixendale, Malton.

FOLLOWING my eye surgery at Scarborough Hospital, I cannot praise highly enough the efficiency, friendliness of the surgeon, the nurses and staff.

Expensive wind energy

From: Edwin Bateman, South Dyke, Great Salkeld, Penrith, Cumbria.

IF I may comment on the wind farm controversy (Yorkshire Post, January 21) the facts are that the actual energy of windmills is only up to 28 per cent maximum of the figure quoted by "green" enthusiasts, which makes wind energy very expensive. They don't work in windless weather.

On agreeing to take EU directives, UK politicians have been forced to comply with "clean energy" targets at great cost to UK citizens.

The carbon emissions from coal-based power stations have an insignificant effect on the C02 in the atmosphere.

Carbon emissions from motor vehicles can be reduced by 50 per cent by a magnetic device and fuel use cut by 14 to 19 per cent.