Letters - January 15, 2018

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Horse riders need better rural access

Michael Gove’s announcement of a post-Brexit emphasis on encouraging farmers to create more ‘public goods’ in return for subsidies is to be welcomed.

However, although enhancing biodiversity through the new policy has grabbed the headlines, there was also mention of creating better access to the countryside.

Let’s hope this will cover not just walkers but also horse-riders, currently constrained to using the limited number of bridleways for off-road recreational riding (even though many tracks designated as public footpaths are sufficiently robust to take horses).

Much of the existing public rights-of-way network is not fit for purpose because so many bridleways lead to busy roads and are therefore unusable, and, in many places, even rural roads are too fast and dangerous for safe riding.

Riders are therefore constrained to using schooling arenas or small areas around the stable-yards where their horses live.

What is needed are off-road circuits of five to 15 miles where riders can enjoy pleasant hacking from safe parking places.

Riders are happy to put money into the rural economy – but the infrastructure has to exist to make this possible.

Janet Cochrane

via email

HEALTH

Paying price for hospital closures

I’m a ex-nurse from the 60s 70s and 80s and the obvious answer to this horrendous situation is to open up continuation hospitals. F0r the elderly, who are blocking beds in the general hospitals, the answer is to re-open geriatric hospitals, so they can be nursed until able to go home.

i remember taking patients to sitting ambulances to be transferred to a local continuation hospital until they were well enough to go home. Some were post-operation patients.

Someone in their wisdom decided that these places were no longer needed. Absolute madness and rubbish. Now we are all suffering from their incompetence.

They deserve all they get now for closing these absolutely necessary hospitals.

I remember visiting at least two of my elderly relatives at the local geriatric hospital where they were nursed until ready and able to return home,or one of them went into a rest home.

I am so very angry. How can the people, councils and government see what these decisions have done to us?

Janette Ellwood

Via email

HEALTH

Keep politics away from our NHS

Would it not be a good idea if the National Health Service became a ‘non-political’ football?

If all the major political parties could agree that a certain amount of money could be spent annually, say for the next 20-year period, and this budget was managed by a non-political ‘board of directors’ – including clinicians from a variety of disciplines and specialities and chaired by a political appointee if you like – we could get away from the short-term political mud-slinging which has taken place for most of my life.

The amount of the budget could be set at a percentage of GDP which would be agreed by the politicians.

The 20-year period could be reviewed and amended at, say, 10 years.

In both cases it would be possible that both the Labour Party and the Conservatives could be ‘in power’ during this time, but the agreed Budget would stand.

Hopefully this could reduce, if not eliminate, the constant bickering which currently takes place.

Mike Dennis

via email

HEALTH

Ryanair has much in common with NHS

The cancellation of January’s non-urgent operations by the NHS looks to have a lot in common with the cancellation of flights last autumn by Ryanair.

Both involve managers who shut their eyes to the blatantly obvious until it was too late. Both involve a desperate last-minute attempt to avoid the resulting chaos.

Both involve taking it out on the innocent ‘customers’, who are having to put up with the cancellations. I doubt that heads will roll in either organisation. Why not?

Michael Green

Address supplied