YEP Letters: August 14

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  Justin Tallis/PA Wire
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Justin Tallis/PA Wire
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Check out today’s YEP letters

TV should get its news priorities right

Edna Levi, Leeds

Yet again some of the TV news channels have got their priorities wrong.

The headlines which they considered the most important were that the Jolie-Pitt pair might be reconciled and Taylor Swift bringing a charge in court for an alleged “groping” that took place four years ago.

Relegated to lower down the list was the very dangerous situation of North Korea’s threat to fire a missile over to Guam and President Trump’s counter threat if they attempt this.

The peaceful nations and especially the UK, should concentrate all efforts to help avert these threats and let the personal problems of showbiz publicity seekers be pushed where they belong and that is bottom of the newslists.

Boundary blur between public and private care

Dr John Puntis, Leeds 8

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised for sending advertisements from a private provider to NHS patients undergoing cancer treatment at St James’s Hospital.

This issue was picked up in the national press and highlights the increasingly blurred boundaries between public and private care.

Level 4 in the Bexley Wing (a Private Finance Initiative funded NHS facility) is leased by the Trust to Nova Healthcare for consulting and day care of private patients. Nova’s website displays an impressive picture of Bexley Wing captioned “one of our hospitals”, and explains the benefit of being embedded in St James’s as: “Through this unique partnership, we ensure that our (private - JP) patients . . . . are cared for by consultants . . . who are world renowned specialists”. One might add - “and trained in the public sector”. The supposed ‘benefits’ to the NHS are often obscured in contracts shielded from public scrutiny on grounds of commercial sensitivity.

No wonder that an NHS starved of capital funding finds it impossible to ignore private investment that can deliver state of the art equipment such as precision targeted radiotherapy. The Nuffield Trust estimates the need for an increase in NHS budget of at least £150 billion to preserve the historic rate of growth of spending and deal with rising population costs, far above the level promised by government.

The implication that better care is available to those who can afford to pay was bound to cause distress. Surprisingly, the Trust is now only “reviewing the use” of the Nova leaflet, even though circulation appears incompatible with one of its core values (‘the Leeds way’): to “act with . . . . sensitivity and kindness toward patients”. It would be good to see ‘The Leeds Way’ incorporating a commitment to a comprehensive health service that is publicly funded, provided and accountable. Could it be that increasing private sector involvement, while a short term fix, will ultimately lead to the end of high quality treatment being available to all, irrespective of the ability to pay?

Roll on a Labour government

Mr A Coleman, Wakefield

IF lots more electors had voted Labour in the recent election then the nation’s utility companies would have been nationalised, with profits used for the common good. Most, if not all of them, are now under foreign control and they can charge us, the British people, what they like. Roll on a Labour government.

Stop ‘inverted potholes’

Peter Horton, Ripon

IT was pleasing to read that Leeds City Council is to spend lots of money on the repair of over 13,000 potholes .

It makes a welcome change from wasting taxpayers’ money on producing “inverted potholes”, in other words speed humps.

A recent published report finally showed what we have always known, and that is that speed humps are responsible for a significant increase in air pollution from exhaust emissions due to the slowing down and speeding up of vehicles passing over these abominations.

I wonder if we can expect Leeds City Council to wake up to the facts and to abandon this obsession with destructive humps, and to concentrate their efforts on providing satisfactory and smooth road surfaces.

We won’t take a penny extra

Coun Janette Walker, Independent, Cross Gates and Whinmoor. Coun Sarah Field and Coun Mark Dobson, Garforth & Swillington Independents.

With reference to the YEP August 10 and the announcement that the Labour controlled council have served notice on staff that potentially means that 415 full time staff may lose their jobs through compulsory redundancy by 2020.

This is happening against a backdrop of councillors being offered an uplift of 1% in allowances to be implemented in October and probably backdated to April.

Both the two Garforth and Swillington Independents and the Cross Gates Independent believe that, despite the modest nature of the uplift, it would be obscene to accept this with the shadow of redundancy hanging over many hard working frontline staff.

To that end we have today served notice we will not be accepting any uplift. The three of us already only take the absolute bare minimum so one could argue that 1% of a low figure equates to not very much in the grand scheme of things.

True, but there’s a principle here. We won’t take a penny extra while any member of staff is in fear of his or her job at the hands of a Labour council. Yes, a Labour council.

Stop pursuing vanity projects

DS Boyes, Leeds 13

THANK goodness for the Trussell Trust which has come, again, to the rescue of hungry children in Leeds, although most OAPs like me thought that such hunger disappeared once the Welfare State began in 1948.

But if such problems originally from the 1930s have resurfaced, why is it only a charity doing anything positive to alleviate it?

Leeds City Council, one of the largest local authorities in the country, are clearly failing to do what it supposed to, i.e. look after the people including children. Maybe their priorities are wrong as, e.g. chasing the Capital of Culture award, or even making special provisions for travellers. It all takes money away from more vital services like the welfare of children.

Maybe we need a new council leader or complete new administration at the Civic Hall, one that really cares about the rest of us instead of endless pursuit of vanity projects.

Flats blaze was contained

Mick Clark, Glass Houghton

IN 1979, my grandma Lotte Clark lived on the sixth floor of Wortley Heights flats in Leeds.

It was set on fire when she left an electric cushion plugged in, which she used to warm her back. She became aware of the fire when the window cracked and woke her up.

She managed to find the key to her door and awoke a neighbour and asked them to ring the fire brigade.

I went to the flat the day after, the walls were still warm and black but the fire was confined to her flat and didn’t spread anywhere else.

Everyone else in the block of flats was safe. It’s a long time ago, but proves these flats are safe.

Diana tapes raise doubts

Janet Berry, Hambleton

AFTER watching Channel Four’s documentary on Diana, Princess of Wales, I came to the conclusion that Charles and Camilla are not fit to be King 
and Queen of this great country of ours.

Volunteer for new fundraising group in city

Faye Cryer, Marie Curie Community Fundraiser, Leeds

I am the local Community Fundraiser for Leeds and I am appealing to readers to volunteer for Marie Curie as part of our new fundraising group that is expected to launch next month.

Do you live in the South Leeds area and would like to be part of a fantastic group of volunteers fundraising for Marie Curie, to help more people across area living with a terminal illness get the care and support they deserve?

The charity is on the lookout for new members to join its South Leeds Fundraising Group and would love to hear from anyone interested in finding out more information.

We know there are people living in the local communities across South Leeds who could give a few hours up every month to join other volunteers in fundraising for Marie Curie, and I would love to find them!

With full support from me, they could join a really friendly fundraising froup that would meet every 4-6 weeks, and help with any ideas to raise the vital funds needed for Marie Curie’s services.

The majority of these hours are provided in overnight care, where a Marie Curie nurses goes into people’s own homes to care for the patient overnight.

This support can be invaluable, for both the carers and the patients.

You may already know what this feels like – perhaps you’ve needed to be there for a parent or grandparent. Most of us will have our own experience to share.

In fact, three-quarters of us will need care and support at the end of our lives, due to conditions as varied as terminal cancer, heart disease and dementia.

Marie Curie relies on its fundraising groups to act as a voice of the charity and the cause in their local area to enable this service to continue.

We need people with a broad range of skills to help us with our local fundraising activities, from people with the gift of the gab right through to organisers who can come up with event ideas.

We also need as many helpers as possible, so if you think you’ve got a couple of hours a month that you’d be able to give to a worthwhile cause please get in touch.

Anyone who is interested in finding out more can call Faye on 01274 386190 or email faye.cryer@mariecurie.org.uk. Thank you for your continued support.

Help support life saving research

Nigel Bullock, Area Manager at the British Heart Foundation

This September, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is raising awareness of women and heart disease and I want to encourage readers to help fund life saving heart research by taking part in our Bag It. Beat It. campaign throughout the month.

It’s a sad reality that cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes the deaths of over 3,000 women in north east England alone each year and there are also around 3.5 million women living with cardiovascular disease across the UK.

As the nation’s heart charity, the BHF is determined to fund as much vital research as possible into every aspect of CVD, including causes, better drugs and improved surgical techniques to improve the prospects for anyone affected by CVD in the UK.

It is only with the continued support of people that we will be able to fund this pioneering research.

Having a clear out and donating any unwanted items to your local BHF shop as part of Bag It. Beat It. this September is a really simple way everyone can get involved and help in the fight for every heartbeat.

Every single item donated to your local BHF shop, whether it is clothing shoes, books or records will help continue the fight against coronary heart disease, the UKs single biggest killer.

To help make donating completely hassle-free, we even offer a free home collection service which can be booked either through your local shop or by calling our free phone line on 0800 915 3000.

I really hope readers are able to support us this September and help to Bag It. Beat It. for women affected by heart disease.

To find your local shop, order free donation bags or find out more about what can be donated please visit bagit.bhf.org.uk

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New colony of Humboldt penguins in the new Costal Zone at Lotherton Hall.
21st November 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

YEP Letters: November 22