Saturday's Letters: 'Self-interested outrage' at coalition's plans for the NHS

From: Jack Brown, Lamb Lane, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.

i SERVED 20 years on the Barnsley Area Health Executive Committee as the unpaid representative of Trades Council, resigning only when the Thatcher government began paying members. That voluntary/paid committee rubber-stamped consultants' and nurses' recommendations and built the modern District General Hospital.

Although the Trades Council initially backed my protest against the end of voluntarism, the retired secretary of a public service branch soon took the paid position.

There was not one peep of protest from unionists and socialist professionals (most of the protesting "charities" did not exist) when New Labour effected the most sweeping change of management in the NHS history. The launch of Barnsley's Primary Care Trust was marked by the announcement, by Frank Dobson's new, well-paid chairman and fellow Labour Party member, that 6m was to be ring-fenced for sex change operations.

We're way past the one New Class manager per hospital bed target of Labour empire builders.

We have "health campaigns" that fund a huge ASH shop; mobile testing stations that offer fruit and veg; bribes to volunteers; hiking holidays in the Peak District, etc, etc. How much do the hundreds of Big Brother glossy publications in GP waiting rooms – unread by the illiterate patients who are most unhealthy – cost us?

The coalition must ignore the self-interested outrage, and GPs must return to us the traditional NHS.

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

It appears to me that David Cameron not only wants to ruin the country in the five years he has made possible, by using the Liberal Democrats as his "gun fodder" and ruining them in the process, by playing on their egos into thinking that they would make their mark in the history of Parliament.

He is also in the process of ruining the Conservative Party, who are standing by and letting him have his way on changes that not only affect the working population on national average salaries, but "middle England" too up to the 45,000-50,000 mark who also use the NHS and can't afford private medicine.

They really will break up the NHS if we believe what Andrew Lansley has said, that over half of the GP practices in this country have already agreed to run "practice groups" who will be taking out billions, not millions, from the NHS budget and an NHS that is everyone's lifeline to a longer and better life.

They cannot possibly have got enough data together in the few months they have been in power. Personally, I suspect they are being briefed by private medicine and all that it entails.

From: Allan Davies, Heathfield Court, Grimsby.

AS I read of the Conservative-led coalition's proposals to reform the NHS, I reflect on some words written by Aneurin Bevan himself. He wrote: "They (the Tories] knew the service was already popular with the people. If the service could be killed, they wouldn't mind, but they wish it done more stealthily and in such a fashion that they would not appear to have the responsibility."

Almost 60 years later, Mr Cameron's Government is proceeding almost precisely as Mr Bevan would have expected.

Big money for the public sector chiefs

From: John Richmond, Harrogate Road, Ripon.

Congratulations on your Power and Pay feature on the "movers and shakers" of our region... along with their obscene salaries (Yorkshire Post, January 14).

Nine of the so-called "shakers" are employed as chief executives in some form or other by the NHS at a salary well over 150,000pa (an absolute scandal) while the chief executives of Hull, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, North Yorkshire and Doncaster rate their employment at an even higher figure.

To cap these revelations, Thea Stein will continue to oversee Yorkshire Forward until its long overdue demise and will receive 100,000 with a bonus of a further 9,500.

And if that isn't enough, the Government has appointed Julie Kenny (Rotherham-based) on a two-day week to "wind down" Yorkshire Forward at 523 per day (Yorkshire Post, December 4) – ludicrous!

The biggest mistake that the coalition Government made was that within six weeks of taking office, an emergency act of Parliament should have been put to the House, similar to a state of war emergency where departments could be disbanded forthwith, and such salaries slashed by 20 per cent.

The delay that is now occurring has allowed chief executives, numerous unelected individuals to scurry around dusting off legislation that will baulk many of the well-intended cuts and reductions, especially in the "pen-pushing" areas of local government and the public sector as a whole.

I believe we all need to put our views to our MPs

Opportunity for graduates

From: Martin Edmondson, Chief Executive, Graduates Yorkshire, University of Sheffield.

One of the main issues affecting youth unemployment today is the recent amount of redundancies which has led to a larger pool of skilled workers. This means that young talented graduates have to compete against skilled workers, thus halting their career development.

There is hope; Graduates Yorkshire is working hard to ensure that opportunities of paid internships are available to young people just leaving university.

The Graduates Yorkshire Internship project places particular emphasis on assisting unemployed graduates into work, however the bigger problem tends to be the numbers of graduates who are under-employed.

By placing these graduates into internships, this paves the way for other unemployed young people in the marketplace to take the roles currently held by graduates, thereby assisting the overall youth unemployment problem in Yorkshire.

Businesses also benefit from this arrangement with the opportunity to trial a graduate first.

Unemployment figures may be recently down in Yorkshire as schemes such as ours have opened up graduate opportunities. In the past year we have placed 150 internships and 85 per cent of these have continued into full-time employment.

Schemes like these are essential in helping graduates bridge the gap between university and unemployment, whilst ensuring that young talent is still entering the UK labour market

Green light to spying

From: Kendal Wilson, Wharfebank Terrace, Tadcaster.

I WONDER how important a view we should take on police surveillance upon us, the general public, in the light of the recent story concerning the undercover police officer who infiltrated part of the Green movement and ended up offering no evidence against them in court? I am almost sure many of us will be asking to what extent are we in general being spied upon?

The most disturbing part of this case is the length of time this officer was undercover and the apparent sanctioning for him to undertake intimate relationships with some of the environmental campaigners. You have to pinch yourself.

Ask yourself are these environment campaign groups so dangerous that they merit such an adventurous operation? Or is it the real fact that we have made such a pickle of our planet with millions of cars, over-population, houses and concrete forever, planes criss-crossing the world like spiders' webs, and space junk like an orbiting landfill site?

Bankers and the real world

From: Peter Buckley, Penny Lane, Ripon, North Yorkshire.

IT has just been revealed that the average worker at Goldman Sachs received a total pay package of 269,000 last year.

How does this compare with the average pay packet for workers at the few remaining successful UK manufacturing companies, earning valuable export income?

Also, it would be interesting to learn what percentage of the Goldman Sachs workers were qualified professionals, compared with world-class companies such as Rolls Royce.

Salad days

From: Rita Hobbs, Cliffe Park, Shepley, Huddersfield.

EVERY day there are thousands of people who go out for lunch in Yorkshire, and I for one feel that this experience could be greatly enhanced with just a little more thought. I am talking about the ubiquitous "salad garnish".

I inwardly groan everytime I see this dry piece of iceberg lettuce and its solitary tomato companion, placed beside the quiche, jacket potato or omelette. I then get out my tiny bottle of balsamic and oil dressing, in an attempt to liven it up. Could we be treated to a tiny amount of decent salad dressing of vinaigrette or the like, but not the usual sachet of acidic salad cream?

Children should be taught to value nature

From: Martyn L Scargill, Chantry Meadows, Kilham.

THE article by Robert Fuller (Yorkshire Post, January 15) on barn owls in the Wolds was excellent – but such a harrowing and depressing read. It is so good to see that at least someone cares. One wonders how the owls in other areas have been affected, and indeed what has happened with other species of owls and birds in general.

I would think that patches of ghastly weather have always had this sort of devastating effect on owls, but then man is most likely to blame for shocking weather patterns because of his constant tinke ring around with the natural order of things.

Owls and other creatures would have done better in the past when they did not have so many other perils to face, such as road traffic and the general lack of woodland and hedgerows, particularly in East Yorkshire.

It is vital that more woodland cover is planted for many reasons.

Moreover, one wonders how many traditional barns up and down the country have been replaced by dreary and dismal industrial estate-type sheds for more "efficient" farming.

It is a tremendously good article also, as it should bring the awful plight of wildlife in this country to a greater proportion of the people, as I fear that many in towns and cities are not fully aware of the problem.

Nothing like enough importance is given to nature study in schools these days and many do not even have a nature table.

The environment is vastly important and children should be brought up to realise this, and should value it greatly. It is so fragile – once lost, it can never be replaced, and then nothing could survive – humans included.

In any case, who would wish to exist in a concrete chemical jungle?