The older generation are bankrolling NHS, not draining it

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From: Pat Rhodes, Allerton, Bradford.

I READ with anger your front page article (Yorkshire Post, September 22) saying that the boom in the elderly population “could wreck NHS”.

How dare the Government say that the elderly are a strain on resources. Who is it that have paid into the system for years and years to build up the NHS via taxation and still do pay taxes – the over 60s! Who is it that are keeping society going with their volunteering work – the over 60s! Who is it that are keeping business and commerce going by looking after grandchildren so that parents can work – the over 60s! What gratitude does society have – none!

Perhaps the Government can take a look at the benefits system and the drain this is causing on the country’s resources and start criticising them.

From: Roger Crossley, Fall View, Silkstone, Barnsley.

IT was an interesting letter from Ruth Pickles (Yorkshire Post, September 24) in which she berates Jayne Dowle for her comment “nurses should be taught a lesson in kindness”.

She (Ms Pickles) goes on to say a nurse “with such skills is not needed to help an elderly man struggling to put on his shirt”.

Personally, I think that Ms Pickles may have lost sight of what exactly nursing is. Given that doctors are responsible for diagnosis and treatment, then nursing must be responsible for the administration of medication, checking progress, and the basic needs and well-being of the patient.

It is this last part which myself and I think Jayne Dowle are concerned about, because it seems that – in our experiences – basic warmth of human contact has sometimes been lacking.

The main argument, of course, will be that of time and work load, but I think that helping an old man put his shirt on, accompanied with cheerful and encouraging banter, is a huge part of nursing which Ms Pickles seems to dismiss.

I must add, however, that in no way am I condemning all nurses and nursing. Far from it, but perhaps in some cases a shift of attitude to the priorities of the job could be beneficial.

From: Ms V Lloyd, Westfield Crescent, Kirkhamgate, Wakefield.

I WAS very interested to read the letter from Norman J Hazell MBE (Yorkshire Post, September 21) concerning his treatment for a haemorrhage on his eye and the excellent service he received.

I wish him well and a good recovery.

My optician (now retired) diagnosed a haemorrhage behind my right eye over five years ago, and promptly contacted my doctor, who then arranged for me to see the doctor at Clayton Eye Clinic, where I was given an eye test and a further six-monthly visit for three years, with doctors whose language I couldn’t understand.

The last doctor, a lady, put me on a special machine, which showed the large patch behind my eye, but said nothing could be done for it; and the cataracts hadn’t grown so I was referred back to the optician.

Since then my eye has got worse, but after endless visits to Pinderfields, I am told nothing can be done, except to keep watch in case it gets worse.

I am glad Mr Hazell did not have my experience, as it isn’t very pleasant when your 90s catch you up.

From: Peter Cotterill, Riverhead, Sprotbrough, Doncaster.

BOREDOM saps the will to live. Many retired people are bored to a lesser or greater degree, some desperately so.

Your special report (Yorkshire Post, September 22) highlights the problems caused by an ageing population, but short of a statutory maximum age entitlement, government policy has to make the best use of limited resources.

Policy should be directed at making the lives of elderly people as useful as possible, both for their own wellbeing and to support their independence.

The psychological effect of retirement is very similar to that of being long-term unemployed. People get used to long periods of inactivity.

Many retired people would like to be gainfully employed but cannot face the rigmarole of writing CVs, getting CRB checks etc.

The time to sort out the paperwork necessary for a return to active employment, be it only an hour or two a day, is before they give up full-time work when they still have an active frame of mind and before boredom dulls the edge of enthusiasm.

Another priority is to investigate the setting up of an alternative work structure for elderly people who want to contribute while they still can but realistically cannot compete for jobs with younger applicants.

As your report says, there will come a time when the existing provision for the elderly will simply collapse.

The wealthy will cope. The majority might struggle.