Letters - March 1, 2017

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We must act now to save health service

What most of the media do not report about the NHS is that, for the last 30 years, our health service has been quietly privatised with half of hospital beds lost in that period.The Health and Social Care Act 2012 abolished our NHS as we know it, and took away the Government’s legal duty to provide health care for us all.

We are at a tipping point. By making speedy trade deals with Donald Trump, Theresa May could sell off our public services to big business. In the 1970s, four per cent of money spent on our health service went to administration, now some say the proportion is over 20 per cent. That’s an extra £15-20 billion a year diverted away from front line care, yet most of the media focus on the less than 0.5 per cent used on health tourists.

The sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have surfaced, in short, they are a massive cuts programme, with sevices being withdrawn and hospitals closing. We can stop STP, but we all need to complain and contact our GPs, MPs and councillors and act before the NHS is lost for good.

Royston Jones

Beryl Avenue



The NHS really does need more money

You’ve got to admire Coun Williams in his attempted defence of the staus quo (Your Say, Gazette, February 24) when he wants the Government to stop throwing money at the NHS. Wish that were the case. Just as local councils in the North have had their income chopped by a half in just six years (£450 million in Blackpool’s case) so has the NHS, which is suffering cuts of £20,000 million over the next four years.

Blackpool Council has huge pressures in its obligations to the long-term sick, the vulnerable elderly and children in its care. There just isn’t the money there to meet those needs.

The NHS is no different. In our STP Area, as the Gazette’s admirable series of two-page spreads has pointed out, the problems for our GPs and Victoria Hospital get ever heavier. The Vic has a shortfall of £37 m over the last three years, £17m alone in the last full year. Previously our hospital had working capital of £25m. It hopes to have £200,000 in the kitty by the end of March.

The nightmare for hospital managers is not meeting break-even by the end of March. If they don’t they face the threat of losing the promised £10m from the Sustainability and Transformation Fund.

Even to deliver the STP proposals locally requires £160m over the next two years for improvement to buildings alone and an increase in staff of 3,200 people.

No, Coun Williams. My plea is not to chuck good money after bad. The NHS is still the most efficient, the most productive and the cheapest health organisation in the advanced world. The Government’s own think-tank, the Office of Budget Responsibility, says that UK health services requires real term funding increases of 3.5 per cent yearly to 2030. Even then we would still be spending less on our health than the rest of Europe.

David Owen LLB (Manc)




Can you help family history research?

I am researching my family history during the Second World War, and will be grateful for any information regarding the RAF in Blackpool and Morecambe during that time.

My mother, Lilian Marsland, married an airman called John William Matthews in Lancaster while in Morecambe in 1942. She was also in the RAF, but according to her record she should have been in Hampshire, at the time and was not on leave, which is curious!

I would also be grateful if a childhood friend Joan Thorpe, who now lives in the Blackpool area, could get in touch with me. I would love to hear from her. Please get in touch on 016977 47105 or send a text to 07949 176687

Anne Cooke (nee Samways)




Are police looking at the wrong people?

Reading about the peaceful anti-fracking event held last Saturday and how afterwards a few protesters wanted to trespass the first of many fracking sites here in Lancashire, makes me wonder at the hysteria voiced by Cuadrilla.

The terms often used by police is “causing a breach of the peace”, disorder, etc. Well I don’t remember anyone causing much of a nuisance on Preston Old Road until Cuadrilla turned up against the wishes of the vast majority of the people of Lancashire.

I would ask the police why they don’t direct their policing actions against this unwanted bunch of individuals trying to exploit our environment.

Then I would ask the Police Commissioner if he wasn’t worried our Constabulary is in danger of being used politically, as during the miners’ strike of 1984? All the signs are there. Where did the police find all those “bobbies” last Saturday, when it’s difficult to spot any at other times?

Frank Martin




Refreshing to ditch milk use-by dates

It is so refreshing to learn that the waste reduction charity, Wrap, is advocating ditching ‘use-by’ dates for milk.

Like many others I was brought up to tell whether milk was okay by sniffing or sipping it. Using old-fashioned common sense has served generations well sussing out if food and drink is safe or not.

Food safety is obviously very important but we now live in a risk-adverse namby-pamby society where more than 100 million pints of milk and more than four million tonnes of food are needlessly chucked out each year.

Unfortunately some people get confused between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates and education by Wrap can only but help.

Louise Bours

North West MEP