THE terrible death of Ndingeko Kunene from rickets at the age of just five months highlights that this disease has become an unexpectedly modern problem.
Although it was recently thought banished to a bygone era, rickets has steadily made a comeback, with hospital admissions rising year on year. A combination of inactive lifestyles, poor diet and fewer children playing outdoors, means that many youngsters aren’t getting the vitamin D they need. Last year’s annual report from the NHS chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies estimated that up to 40pc of young children may have vitamin D below optimum levels and that in the worst cases this can result in hospitalisation due to rickets.
Indeed she considered the issue so serious that she recommended that all children up to the age of four be provided with free vitamin supplements. This is why we proposed this measure in an amendment to the council’s budget, to be paid for by unallocated money in the public health budget.
What a shame that the leader of council Coun Keith Wakefield sought to belittle the proposal, calling it “wacky”, with “no evidence” behind it. This attitude strikes me as more than a little complacent. After all, we should not expect the NHS’s chief medical officer to make a recommendation without a solid evidence base behind it.
Indeed, Coun Wakefield’s Labour colleagues in Birmingham City Council could provide him with evidence that this is an effective approach. Since they introduced the policy in 2005, cases of symptomatic vitamin D deficiency have reduced by nearly 60pc and the scheme has been expanded to the whole of the city.
If Coun Wakefield believes that tackling a serious and growing problem of vitamin deficiency in young children shouldn’t be a priority for Leeds City Council, then he’s entitled to that view. But there is clear and robust evidence that this is an approach that works.
Coun Stewart Golton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Leeds City Council
Respect for graves abroad
EA Lundy is correct about the superior attitude of people towards graves in cemeteries abroad.
On a visit to Compiègne in northern France, the site for the museum of the historic wagon lit railway carriage in which at the end of WW1 the surrender terms of the historic treaty of Versailles was signed – although today just a replica as the original moved first to Paris, then to Germany by Adolf Hitler in WW2 after the fall of France, was destroyed in a subsequent air raid – I also saw a graveyard where actual war medals were attached to some gravestones.
No one there would even think of stealing such objects, unlike in Britain where the metal plaques listing names of fallen soldiers in both world wars are fair game for scrap metal thieves. Perhaps we need both corporal and capital punishment bringing back?
DS Boyes, Upper Rodley Lane, Leeds LS13
Prof correct on climate change
At last a voice of reason! Prof Woodcock is absolutely right. Vested interests run this now huge ‘green’ industry and will say anything to protect it. The BBC constantly have one sided interviews with climate change ‘believers’, hardly ever questioning the science behind it and the fact that there has been no global warming for 17 years is dismissed. We are asked to believe that changes to our weather are a new phenomenon when the earth is billions of years old! They are as bad as creationists.
Denise Best, by e-mail
Did you know my parents?
MY NAME is William HJ Martin and I live in Edmonton, Alberta. I wonder if anyone can help me in finding out more details about my mother and father?
My father, John William Coates was born on August 12 1905 in the sub-district of Horsforth to John William Coates and Margery Maria Cotes (nee Mitchell). Their address is listed on the birth certificate as Todds Cottage, Eccup.
My mother, Florence Mary Dickinson was born in the sub-district of Wortley to Harry Herbert Dickinson and Kirene Dickinson (nee Wilson). Their address is listed as 31 Green Terrace, Wortley.
My father died in Trenton, Ontario, Canada in 1974. He always told us children he was born in Glasgow, Scotland but on his birth certificate it stated Horsforth. When he passed away, his obituary indicated that he was from Glasgow and that his father was James Martin, which does not tie up with the birth certificate. He never did like to talk about himself.
With regard to my mother, she passed away in 2003 and before this she mentioned she had a sister called Alice. She was a war bride and emigrated to Canada after the war.
If anyone has any information please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
William HJ Martin, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Benefits of lay government
THEY SAY clowns are dying out – the circus type, not the council jobsworths. Hardly a day goes by without another story of councillors being paid extortionate sums of public money for very little in return.
Councillors spend an exorbitant amount of time and money defending huge redundancy packages for senior staff, with many of them on six-figure pay-offs.
It’s funny how councillors always ensure the money is first spent on filling their own plates and then watch as the communities they supposedly serve fight over the scraps that are left.
We spend too much money paying people to govern us. We could do just as well with regional lay governments as we rely on justice dispensed by lay people who are all volunteers. Councils should operate on a similar basis.
Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet
Appalled by self-serving MPs
I AM watching Prime Minister’s Question Time and am appalled by the behaviour on display.
Firstly, Cameron did not answer directly a single question he was asked about Royal Mail. He kept deflecting the question to Labour Party activities such as advertising for jobs. He claims to be on the side of hard working people and then engages, along with the likes of Cable, in ripping off the taxpayer.
He referred to the front bench of The Opposition as “muppets”: how mature is that? How mature is it for an MP to use “Twitter” as he does? None of these people, especially those involved in health and social care, deserve a vote. “Lessons to be learned” is their catchphrase as crisis after crisis happens in the NHS and Social Services. Death after death as David Nicholson sits pretty in retirement with his lump sum, thanks to their protection. The only things they serve are themselves and their pockets. Disgusting.
R Kimble, by email
Sneering yobs in parliament
PEOPLE IN this country in some areas are having to rely on food banks to eat. The cost of living is soaring for many people who this hypocritical government claim to care for (hard working people, they say). People over 55 who lose their job are cast onto a scrap heap and they care nothing about this. They’re not vote catchers, you see. Caring and health services are in a state of complete disrepair yet they constantly lie about what they are putting into them (Student Nurse recruitment, for example, has been cut not increased, as they claim).
Yet watch Prime Minister’s Question Time and what you see is a bunch of jeering, sneering children who think it’s funny to behave in this way. They are paid a substantial salary to behave like yobs. They are a disgrace.
T Maunder, Leeds