Letters - February 22, 2017

HEALTHGovernment plans to cripple the NHSBlackpool Council at its January meeting agreed to tell the Government the savings it was demanding in local health care were unrealistic and asked it urgently to invest in social care and the NHS.
Blackpool Victoria HospitalBlackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Pressure on our hospitals is largely attributed to the inability of adult social services to provide care in the community. And our councils, like our hospitals, are constrained by Government taking massive amounts from their annual budgets.

But “bed-blocking” by largely the vulnerable elderly is as much the fault of the dramatic cut in the number of our hospital beds, from 297,000 in 1987 to 130,000 today. In France they have 621 beds for every 100,000 of their population. Germany has 824. In the UK it is 273.

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Government has cut back on hospital beds to save money on the wages of doctors, nurses and ancillary staff. If you don’t have the beds, you don’t need as many people to look after them.

I’m afraid it’s all about money. Yes, Dr Amanda Doyle (Gazette, February 14), every organisation which survives needs to work more smartly, increase its efficiency through investment in equipment and new ideas. But we can’t make silk purses from pigs’ ears. You can’t see your income in STP Area 21 cut by another £572 million in the next year or two and expect the same level of care. It is just not possible.

Shoving hospital elective surgery out to private clinics won’t help the Vic’s finances, either. As that neurosurgeon on the BBC’s ‘Hospital’ documentary commented when his managers wanted more “outsourcing”, why can’t we use that money to “insource” in our own buildings ?

Our GPs receive about £160 annually for each of us on their panel – to cover all treatment by surgery or hospital. Every visit to a commercially run walk-in centre costs the NHS by contrast, £60.

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The simple fact is we wouldn’t be in this deliberately orchestrated crisis in healthcare if we were properly funding our health. Even now, we spend far less of our national income on it than any other western nation.

The Government’s own Office of Budget Responsibility explained how the economy can sustain an increase in spending up to the levels in Europe and America. What is lacking is government will to do so.

They want us to accept leaner, meaner provision in health and social care and push us increasingly to paying for ever more aspects of it.

Tory guru Oliver Letwin has said: “The NHS will cease to exist within five years of a Conservative Government” (only three years to go, then) and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has written that the NHS needs to be replaced by private insurance.

Is that what most of us want?

David Owen

Westcliffe Drive



Power research into heart disease

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Heart disease is heartless. Thousands of people in North West are killed each year by these terrible conditions, so the need to find new, life-saving treatments, is urgent. Around 843,600 people across the region are living with these terrible conditions.

This month is national Heart Month, and the British Heart Foundation is calling on the local community to help us stop heart disease in its tracks. We’re launching a calendar of more than 80 incredible challenge events both in the UK and abroad, to inspire people to get active and help us accelerate the fight against heart disease.

There’s no reason not to get involved.

We are looking for Champions to take on one of our legendary challenge events and help us power the vital research that could make a difference to millions of people.

You can sign up to a BHF event by visiting bhf.org.uk/events for a full list of ways to get involved.

Shonali Rodrigues

Head of Events at British Heart Foundation


Lords make mockery of ‘austerity’ claim

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Earning £300 a day, would certainly inspire anyone to ‘work, rest and play’.

The peers in The House Of Lords have been on to a good thing for over 100 years!

It’s not bad going if you can afford to leave your taxi running whilst you clock in to the House Of Lords to claim your £300 allowance.

It’s about time ‘The Old Peers Pals Act’ scandal is fully exposed.

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There are Lords who clearly do make a considerable and worthy contribution, yet some Lords are claiming very nicely for doing nothing or falling asleep!

The whole thing is an obnoxious combination of Government complacency, arrogance and insincerity that has allowed this kind of administration to happen for decades.

During an age of savage austerity cuts, this kind of ‘cosy’ administration amongst the wealthy makes a mockery of public spending.

Stephen Pierre

Via email


A little bit of magic for resort economy

I am writing to praise Blackpool Magicians’ Club for a magical weekend at their 65th Annual Convention, which this year also hosted the FISM Europe Championships at The Winter Gardens.

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I spoke to a number of visitors from Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, Germany and Spain, the majority of whom had visited and stayed in Blackpool in previous years. What a boost this event must give our hoteliers, guest house owners, eateries and shops.

The shows in the Opera House each evening were magnificent, with the artists performing in front of a full house on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It was a privilege to be in the audience.

Congratulations to all involved in this event.

I am already looking forward to the 66th convention next year.

Alan Haynes

via email