YEP Letters: November 3

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Treat junior doctors with respect

Vee O’Brien, by email

I am absolutely incensed at Jeremy Hunt and his attitude to “junior” doctors (that’s anyone who isn’t a consultant).

Perhaps he would like to meet me a mother of a doctor and have a discussion about his actions and intentions.

I could tell him about all the years my daughter spent at university studying, the expensive books and equipment we had to find the money to buy. (Of course that wouldn’t be a problem for Jeremy had he wanted to be a doctor, after the fees of Charterhouse, the cost of university would be nothing to his family). The years doing additional training and the cost of all the exams she had to take. The times she has returned home after working long shifts, including weekends and nights having not had the time to have a drink or go to the toilet.

What about working in a busy A&E department where the staffing levels are often at unacceptable levels where too few doctors have to deal with too many patients with life threatening conditions, whilst being pressured by management because the four hour waiting times are being breached. I could give you lots more examples, but I’m sure there are many, many, doctors and their families that can do than far more articulately than me.

The reason she and the other doctors do what they do is because they care passionately about patients and the NHS. It certainly isn’t for the money or the lifestyle. Many doctors have already gone abroad and who can blame them? Why stay here to be treated abominably when you can go to Canada or Australia and be given the respect and quality of life you deserve. It speaks volumes that doctors are considering strike actions. It demonstrates how demoralised they are and how they feel that they have been left with no other option.

Who is Jeremy making comparisons with when he decides on terms and conditions? Certainly not MPs. What is an MP’s basic salary, holidays, expenses, hours? What qualifications and training has he had? My personal view is that there are many, many people who could do an MP’s job, given the chance to be a member of that exclusive club. How many can do a doctor’s job? What’s the worst that can happen if an MP has as bad day? If a doctor makes a mistake because of tiredness etc someone could die.

Mr Hunt, unlike the rest of us, doesn’t have a vested interest in ensuring that we have a NHS that is fit for purpose. Perhaps I’m wrong but I would hazard a guess that when his family require medical care, as with the majority of his colleagues, he attends a private hospital. How many of those doctors endure working conditions he wants to impose on staff working in NHS hospitals?

The sad fact is that being in a job involving money and generating money commands a far higher salary than being responsible for the health of the nation. Of course we need to generate income, but get some perspective. You need a healthy population to generate the income.

Treat healthcare professionals with the respect they deserve, and acknowledge their vital role in society.

Whilst we probably can’t afford to pay them their real worth, we can, and should, ensure that they, at the very least, have adequate working conditions and the financial remuneration they deserve.

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City needs metro system

James Bovington, Horsforth

Every now and then your illustrious publication prints the picture of the planned underground station at City Square and reminds us of the excellent tram based public transport system that Leeds could have enjoyed. You recently did so again in fact on the eve of my 55th birthday. This time you ask is it time that Leeds had an underground system?

Leeds does not need a full tube system with radial routes but should examine the case for a CrossRail system like in London with a number of underground stations at key locations like City Square and Eastgate. This would free up space at Leeds Station and allow regional passengers like those from Skipton and Selby to access the major passenger objectives in the city centre directly. Similar systems operate in Glasgow, Liverpool and on Tyneside.

In the city itself there are a number of routes which could justify either a ‘city rail’ tram system with short tunnel sections where necessary (e.g. in Headingley) but mainly on the surface. Many cities such as our twin Lille have preferred to develop automatic Metro systems and such a system operates as the London Docklands light railway.

In Leeds there might be a case for an automatic largely underground circular Metro which would for example allow direct links between some north Leeds suburbs and St. James’ Hospital and Leeds University.

The arrival of HS2 prompts me to ask if the present Leeds station is in the correct place? Might it not be better to put the whole station underground in the Eastgate/Quarry Hill area and plan for national and regional trains to be reached by the CrossRail tunnel? This is what is planned for Stuttgart.

It interests me to suggest how we could develop in Leeds different types of Metro systems which have already proved their worth in other British and European cities. What saddens me is that those responsible for local transport seem frightened even to evaluate the costs and benefits of a Metro system.

To be the best UK city outside London by 2030 some sort of Metro system is essential. Expensive it may be but barring catastrophe Leeds has centuries of development still to come in which transport investment could pay for itself many times over.

Council should fund housing

John Davies, by email

I gave you some of my views in a letter printed on October 29. Regrettably my differentiation between a debate and a “tackle” were shown to be well founded.

So the summit raised awareness of the work to encourage self builds, suggestions that a “catalyst organisation” would be good and de-risking the planning process which is just what the government and the builders of high market properties want so that the greenfield sites can be attacked for expensive homes.

Embracing new ideas is fine but how many properties are due to be constructed over the next five years and how much will they cost?

What is wrong with an old idea of the council funding the construction of well designed properties built to a high specification for rent using land that is already in the ownership and control of the council?

They can be built by a council works department (remember them?) and use the skills available already and take on proper apprentices for valuable training in all the building trades. I could (and can) go on.

YEP Letters: December 16