YEP Letters: February 8

Leeds suffragette Leonora Cohen

Check out today’s YEP letters

Remembering a woman of courage

R Kimble, Hawksworth

As we mark the 100th anniversary of The Representation Of The People Act, Leeds should remember Leonora Cohen, sometimes missed in historical accounts of the Suffragette Movement.

Her act related to the Crown Jewels is/was remarkably courageous and an indication of belief and conviction that puts some people to shame these days in their passive acceptance of the “status quo”.

New NHS care models further erode hospitals

Dr John Puntis, Leeds Keep Our NHS Public.

thank you to the YEP for highlighting the underfunding crisis in the NHS and your continued support for hard pressed staff.

Regrettably the Department of Health response is always “we have never put so much money into the NHS and had so many happy employees looking after so many patients”. The banking crisis cost the NHS £20bn in “efficiency savings”, and a pay cap that has translated into a 16 per cent wage cut for staff and an estimated 100,000 unfilled posts.

The disastrous 2012 Health and Social Care Act has not only fragmented services, but wasted huge amounts of money through promoting competitive tendering and privatisation.

Cost pressures from increasing demand far exceed the meagre one per cent annual uplift in budget. Derisory cash injections to improve services have been swallowed up in widespread Trust deficits, and Private Finance Initiative deals are now, according to the National Audit Office, set to cost the tax payer £220bn while offering no demonstrable value for money. NHS England’s blueprint for ‘modernisation’ is in reality a return to a failed pre-NHS patchwork of voluntary, state and private providers.

Proposed new models of care involves further erosion of the hospital sector in the absence of funding for alternative community facilities, while massive cuts to social care also jeopardise such plans.

Fundamental restructuring of services through Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships has gone on largely in secret, and is now evolving into Accountable Care Systems (ACS) where providers will be incentivised to withhold care in order to save money. Integration is the new buzz word, but might well lead to health care being means 
tested and charged for like social care.

ACS raise the possibility of integrated health and social care managed by private companies with long term contracts (think Carillion); such schemes are being challenged in the courts, with a judicial review scheduled in Leeds for April 24.

Meanwhile, the ‘Leeds Health and Care Plan’ is promising to reduce health inequalities, improve services and reduce annual health spending by £700m.

Culture cash is not justified

Jean Burrow, Leeds 28

I’m sorry but I’m truly appalled at the intention to spend £35m on Leeds 2023 cultural programme, which can only be described as a vanity project.

Sculpture and theatre are all very well in times of prosperity but such spending in the current economic climate can never be justified in the face of the homelessness, deprivation and misery which so many of our citizens are experiencing, particularly when their troubles are not of their own making.

Leeds is the very definition of extremes, with its glut of big name designer shopping malls (noticeably quiet during the week) clashing with the unfortunates sleeping in doorways (every night). Nobody takes responsibility for anything these days and nobody cares.

In these circumstances, do you think there is the remotest possibility that some of this money could be redirected towards more practical purposes, with a view to helping those most in need?

We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we ignore them.

Don’t cut our armed forces

Terry Watson, Adel Crag

What is the Government thinking of cutting any of our armed forces?

They are already in a lamentable state and now it seems that the Royal Marines are likely to be cut by 1,000. Both Labour and Conservative Governments have reduced our armed forces drastically. We should be strengthening them not cutting them. Billions could be made available if Theresa May scrapped vanity projects like HS2 and Hinckley point power station and cut overseas aid.

At the height of the Cold War, the RAF boasted more than 30 combat squadrons, they now have six.

The Royal Navy had more than 50 warships and two aircraft carriers, we now have 18. The Army had twice the numbers we have now. If Argentina decided to take back the Falklands what are we going to defend them with? Get your priorities right, Mrs May.

New handbook launched

Maria Coyle, Information Manager at The Children’s Trust

I am writing to tell you about a new handbook entitled Me and My Brain, that has recently been launched by The Children’s Trust for teenagers affected by brain injury.

Being a teenager can be a difficult time with lots of change and decisions to be made. For teenagers with a brain injury these difficulties can be heightened.

Me and My Brain has been written with the help of young people affected by the condition as well as health professionals who specialise in childhood brain injury. It provides advice and guidance on key topics such as bullying, driving, alcohol and education, alongside real life experiences from teenagers.

The handbook is also recommended for family members, teachers, carers or colleagues, providing a detailed explanation of brain injury and how the disability, which is often described as hidden, can effect young people’s day to day lives. Me and My Brain is a free resource and can be ordered from

Every year 40,000 children in the UK are left with a brain injury as a result of an accident or illness. We hope this handbook will be able to help some of these young people through what is often a very difficult time.

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