Letters - Monday, November 2, 2020
It is obvious that this Christmas will not be what we are used to.
We will not be able to enjoy the festive season with large family gatherings in other people’s homes, many will be without work and even more will be homeless.
Due to the inane mismanagement of this disease, when the winter months start to bite and the flu season starts, we can safely say there will be many more needing hospital treatment.
Therefore, letting the disease run rampant among the population (herd immunity) simply does not hold water, as our NHS before Covid-19 at the end of last year was at breaking point, due to being short of 40,000 nurses and of doctors too.
A certain catastrophe was averted, entirely due to the expertise, skill, and knowledge of NHS clinicians.
Therefore, it can be argued that herd immunity, if applied now, would not work as the NHS would be inundated and overwhelmed.
Herd immunity was attempted in February 2020 but was abandoned.
However, in an attempt to create beds in hospitals, thousands of elderly infirm people in hospitals were moved to care homes without any testing of patients or staff.
As staff did not have the relevant PPE or test kits, the obvious occurred; elderly infirm people sadly lost their lives.
Therefore, in these confusing and ever-darkening days with apparently no escape, what we need now is to be led by lions and not by seaside donkeys.
Improve existing hospitals instead
I was amazed to read of plans to run down Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary, and replace it with a ‘Super Hospital’, somewhere near Garstang.
This is not sensible. If there is any extra money available, it should go towards sustaining and improving existing hospitals.
I was appointed consultant renal (kidney) physician to provide specialist services in Preston, Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow (and occasionally Ulverston).
It was a tough working life, and I saw a lot of the local geography.
I used to get great satisfaction from seeing patients close to their homes, in Barrow, Kendal, and Lancaster. Prior to my appointment, these patients had to travel to Preston or Manchester to see my equivalent.
So please Whitehall Boffins, listen to the local people and our local MPs, and bin the Garstang Super Hospital.
I hold Royal Preston Hospital in particularly high regard. I had life-saving neuro-surgery there on December 4, 2019.
Dr S P Gibson
Retired consultant physician and nephrologist
What about other causes of death?
When Boris and the two gloom merchants are giving out daily Covid-19 death statistics, would it not be more informative if they also gave us the figures for deaths from other illnesses? In October, week 41, there were 9,954 deaths, of which 438 were from Covid-19 – in other words 1.5 per cent.
A rose by any other name...
In the same week that this Conservative Government voted to allow the poorest children in the land to go hungry during school holidays, I read that The Department of Transport is planning to spend £7m to re-brand Highways England to National Highways. As the last, multi- million, rebrand was only five years ago, I think tax payers have a right to protest at this unnecessary expense.
After all, didn’t Shakespeare say, “A rose by any other name will still smell as sweet”?
Soy sauce and other ‘steps forward’
Recently the UK negotiated a trade agreement with Japan. The Government trumpeted that whereas under World Trade Organisation rules the tariff on soy sauce is six per cent, under our new agreement with Japan the level will be zero per cent. This is wonderful news for those who use soy sauce.
On the other hand it should be noted that for years the UK, as a member of the EU, benefited from the EU trade agreement with Japan, by which the tariff on soy sauce was – would you believe - zero per cent. So a lot of work has gone into (and incredible disruption caused by) a Brexit shift that will leave us precisely where we were in the first place.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect is that a government department has had the effrontery to present this as some big step forward.