Letters - January 11, 2017

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Underfunding, not immigration, is key

It is interesting that health tourism is debated at this time, when the country is embroiled with Brexit and we have no idea what will happen to our reciprocal agreements within Europe when we leave the union (Gazette, January 6).

The rules for immigrants and visitors have already changed with the Immigration Act 2014 (which came into force in April 2015), which requires temporary residents from outside the European Economic Area entering the United Kingdom for more than six months to pay a surcharge prior to entry in order to access the NHS for free. Normally, our reciprocal arrangements for health care within the EU work well for residents of the UK abroad and visitors to Britain.

There has been debate about the impact of immigration on the NHS, but there is a lack of reliable data on the use of health services by immigrants and visitors, and routine data sources do not record the information necessary to make a robust estimate. This is not limited to immigrants: the use of GP and community services by UK residents is not recorded either.

Recently, as reported in the Guardian, an NHS doctor regarded the cost of health tourism as a drop in the ocean of NHS spending, with an estimated £200 million a year spent treating people who have travelled here with the intent of obtaining free health care, a mere 0.3per cent of the overall NHS budget. This issue is therefore distracting from the main problems of underfunding in the NHS, when the government uses private health care to treat NHS patients at more cost to the NHS, at the same time as cutting staff, training bursaries and closing wards.

Alongside this, immigrants make up a substantial part of the NHS workforce. If we lose our reciprocal agreements post-Brexit, will the government have a policy for more loss of income?

Marjorie Nye

38 degrees Blackpool Fylde and Wyre, the campaign group to save the NHS


Start search for renewables now

I would like to respond to the letter from Brian Coope on the subject of anti-fracking protestors (Your Say, Gazette, January 6).

Phrases such as “law-breaking rent-a-mobs” and “people who have no stake in the local area” are not only highly misleading but perjorative. I am a law-abiding citizen and I take great exception to being tarred in this way by someone who is very obviously a cheerleader for the fossil fuel industry.

Mr Coope says that we should “search for other alternatives sometime in the future”, but fails to say why we shouldn’t being doing this right now. His thinking appears to be that we should be maximising the profits now and letting the future take care of itself. That is a dangerous and self-serving strategy and our children and grandchildren will not thank us for it.

Nick Danby

Preston Road



Protestors are just responsible citizens

I write in response to the letter from Brian Coope (Your Say, Gazette, January 6). It was very good of him to advise that any anti-fracking protests should be carried out within the law.

However, he made several outspoken, inaccurate and inflammatory comments with regard to people who express concern about the controversial fracking process. Indeed, he infers that anyone who has a concern about fracking is in some way irresponsible.

I believe that Mr Coope may well be involved in worthwhile community projects in the local area. Can I therefore suggest that he considers meeting up with members of Frack Free Lancashire, a group of responsible citizens, all of whom, having attended Cuadrilla’s presentations and carried out their own in-depth research, now share their concerns of the fracking process and the manner in which it is being forced on to Lancashire and wide swathes of the country as a whole.

He would discover a real community ethos there!

They are not “rent-a-mob professional protesters”, as Mr Coope implies. They are decent, responsible citizens. Furthermore, several of them are members of another target of his heavy-handed criticism, Friends of the Earth – an organisation that does an enormous amount of good in raising awareness of issues that threaten our environment, not just fracking.

Regardless of whether one is pro- or anti-fracking, there really is no need to resort to castigating people who don’t share his extreme views.

J Bailie

via email


Lucky to have known a marvellous couple

On behalf of many local people, we would like to pay tribute to the lives of David and Nina Hodgson, both recently deceased.

After David’s promising army career was halted by illness they transferred to Bispham, where David set up and developed a milk round, followed by what became a most popular hardware store. His outgoing personality and generosity abounded.

Meantime Nina, a local teacher, provided sustenance for the many who visited their “open house” home , particularly the boys and some staff of the Collegiate School. David developed an interest in rugby and in the future careers of many young people. The latter was researched thoroughly, and many now very successful people owe him a debt of gratitude. Nina became chairperson of the governors of Palatine School.

As time took its toll on their health, they were sustained by the love of friends and neighbours , who appreciated all they had done for others.

They were fortunate enough to see their son-in-law, Andrew (Charlie, to all who knew him at Collegiate School)become the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and Wendy, their daughter, his Lady Mayoress this year. Our condolences and best wishes go to them both.

Thank you David and Nina, we are all lucky to have known you .

Name and address supplied