Letters - February 6, 2018

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Stock pic GP Doctors NHS
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We need radical solutions for the NHS

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

Our cherished health service has been a beacon of how a civilised society provides equal access to care for all and is now under severe threat.

Poor quality of care is now widely reported, with older people and individuals with long-term conditions particularly vulnerable. There are many reasons for the perilous state of the NHS, and whilst inadequate funding is a critical feature, there are other important factors which Government policies have caused.

These include:

* A substantial reduction in the number of student nurse and nurse teacher places, combined with the extraordinary increase in the workload of registered nurses, who are expected to support students within wards and community services.

* The problem is compounded by many older nurses, who have commendably risen to the challenge of doing more for less, retiring or leaving the profession early, exhausted and disillusioned. They feel undervalued by the Government, which has denied them pay increases and undermined their present working conditions.

* There are over 30,000 nursing vacancies, which results in expensive cover from nursing agencies and excessive reliance on support staff.

* Another disastrous factor, which this Government is responsible for, is the current commissioner provider split and ideological market 
approach. This was made worse by so-called ‘reforms’, which resulted in complex bureaucracy, at massive cost without any real benefits.

The Independent Kings Fund think tank has recently reported on major reductions in mental health services, with one in 10 vacancies remaining vacant.

The Care Quality Commission has identified an increased risk to service users’ safety, as a result of problems with staffing. It is relevant to the Lancashire community, as recent reports have identified higher rates of suicide in the Preston and Blackpool areas.

Undervalued service users, their families and mental health care staff, all deserve better.

The Government should be held accountable for their woeful decisions over the past decade and the neglect of public services arising from their almost total focus on Brexit. The problems require radical solutions. There appears to be a growing recognition of the need for cross party discussion on funding and organisation of future health and social care services if they are to be safeguarded in the future.

Malcolm Rae OBE

Address supplied


Don’t ignore cause of complaints

I wonder if Coun Fred Jackson has actually listened to, and understood, the comments made by Blackpool’s residents and visitors about the serious disruption caused by the roadworks being carried out in the town centre? It might help him understand the issues if he looked occasionally at readers comments here in The Gazette.

Most people do not object, in principle, to improvements being carried out in Blackpool but they have objected strongly to the timing and the scale of the works being carried out in the town centre which have affected pre-Christmas trade and the post-Christmas sales. Coun Jackson talks about short-term pain for motorists but fails to even mention the effect the disruption has had on businesses in the town centre. Does he not think these are of any importance?

As far as I can tell, people welcome plans for the conference centre, the new ‘Sands’ hotel and the Imax cinema but many see no value in the extension of the tramway to Blackpool North Station. The work to move utility pipes underneath sections of Talbot Road and its junctions - which seems to be the main cause of the disruption - is in preparation for laying the new tram tracks for the North Station tramway link (as reported by the Gazette on January 23) and has little to do with the new conference centre of Imax cinema schemes. I think it’s understandable that people complain about issues relating to the ‘tramway disruption’ and Coun Jackson (and colleagues) should answer this rather than trying to deflect criticism by referring to benefits of schemes which have no bearing on the key points of the complaints.

Coun Jackson might also note that there are some concerns about plans for the development schemes to provide “more places to shop and eat” (The Gazette, January 23). The town centre already has a huge number of empty shops and restaurants and the council might do better if it concentrated on trying to fill some of these (including the empty units at 1 Bickerstaffe Square in the council’s Talbot Gateway development) before adding to the empty units.


Palatine Road 


Go the extra mile for diabetes sufferers

Diabetes UK is urging people to go the extra mile on Sunday May 20 by taking part in this year’s Simply Health Great Manchester Run for the charity.

The iconic race sees thousands of runners take on both the 10k and half marathon challenges making the event suitable for all athletic abilities.

Diabetes is a serious condition that, if not properly managed, can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and amputation. Every day, around 700 people are diagnosed with diabetes so every mile you run and every pound you raise for Diabetes UK will help us realise a world where diabetes can do no harm.

All runners who join the Diabetes UK team receive a branded vest, crazy hair, a fundraising toolkit, online support and training tips. They will also be cheered on by Diabetes UK supporters along the route giving them an extra boost towards the finish line.

To sign up just visit: www.diabetes.org.uk/great-manchester-run

Stephen Ryan

Head of the North, 
Diabetes UK