YEP Letters: October 19

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Great news on river investments

Richard Gibson, by email

Great to read about the investments to improve the environment of the River Aire (‘Eco plan to lure salmon to Leeds’, YEP October 17).

Who knows, we might all soon be singing the old folk song starting: “please take me where the sweet river Aire bubbles and sparkles through Leeds, let me lay there and dream by that beautiful stream where waterfowl nest in the reeds....”

Golden hellos will not stop GP shortages

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, Leeds.

GENERAL practice is facing unprecedented pressure from rising workloads, stagnating budgets and a workforce crisis that has left many parts of the country without enough GPs to treat patients.

New proposals do appear to acknowledge the specific problems facing rural areas in England, but “golden hellos” are not a new idea and unlikely to solve the overall workforce crisis given we are failing badly to train enough GPs to meet current demands.

There is already an incentive programme for “hard to recruit areas” that has been operating since 2016 and it is not clear whether this new announcement, which comes without any real details, is any different from that scheme.

There are also many other areas of the country, including urban areas, that are also suffering from GP shortages.

A recent BMA survey found that one in three practices nationwide had vacancies that they were unable to fill after 12 months.

The Government is not on course to reach its target of 5,000 extra GPs by 2020. We need the Government to commit to a long-term plan that gives general practice the resources it needs to deliver the service patients deserve.

On the announcement on indemnity, it is encouraging that the Secretary of State (Jeremy Hunt) has recognised this unacceptable financial burden being placed on GPs.

Average indemnity costs have risen by more than 50 per cent between 2010 and 2016.

There is clear evidence from a recent NHS England survey that this is reducing the willingness of GPs to work, for example, in out of hours settings where the average annual indemnity rise is around 20 per cent.

It is vital that every GP has this form of insurance, but they should not be expected to be in a system where they are facing inflated yearly increases, especially at a time when many GPs are working increasing numbers of hours to provide care to patients.

The commitment to provide state-backed indemnity cover is a particularly welcome step after the talks the Government has being having directly with the British Medical Association over the summer.

We do, however, need more detail on the financing of this scheme and it must cover all GPs whether they are a partner, salaried, locum, prison or other GP.

It is also important we make progress quickly and deliver real change.

No sympathy for MP

Martin J Phillips, Leeds

With regard to your article about Greg Mulholland losing his seat in June’s General Election, Mr Mulholland did NOT “..... face the same challenges confronting all those who lose their jobs with little warning”.

To start with, at £74,000+ per year his wages were higher than most people who lose their job. Unlike most people in employment, Mr. Mulholland was able to claim expenses for the things other people have to pay for from their wages; in his last year in office this was over £55,000.

On top of this Mr Mulholland received a tax free “resettlement grant” of at least £33,000, a “winding-up allowance” of £53,000, and is entitled to a parliamentary pension of around £27,750.

I do not know of anyone who, when losing their job, has received such generous severance. Why on earth he needed to take out a loan is beyond me.

What really irks me is the fact that he can claim all this money while disabled people are losing benefits and living below the bread-line thanks to Mr Mulholland’s party supporting stingent changes to the benefit system during the coalition government 2010 to 2015. I have no sympathy for him at all!

Anger over train ‘gridlock’

Denise Throp, Scugog, Canada

On September 28 I caught the transpennine express from Leeds to Manchester airport, departing at 8:24 am. The train also stopped at Huddersfield and Manchester.

It was difficult getting on to the train because the area in front of the doors was blocked with people.

I managed to get on, but others couldn’t. I asked two young (20s) women to move down ( I would have but my large suitcase would have blocked the aisle). They ignored me. When I asked a second time one of the women said, “I don’t want to.” So I moved into the aisle and made room. I noticed several empty seats marked “reserved” and after a few minutes, sat in one.

The selfish women got off the train in Manchester. One of the women, who had boarded last, explained that one of the reserved seats was hers, but she had been unable to get to it.

I imagine this kind of situation happens every day - gridlock on the train caused by insufficient luggage room, unused reserved seats and selfish people.

I see the airport station opened in 1993 - one has to wonder why the trains going to the airport do not have a special carriage with room for travellers with luggage.

MPs’ hypocrisy

John Appleyard, Liversedge

Those of us involved with tenants groups are aware of the concern of this government’s new Universal Credit system which means that claimants must wait for a minimum of six weeks for a first payment which can lead to poverty, rent arrears and homelessness. Compare this to the Members of Parliament who support this draconian act. On first entering Parliament they are given a maximum one week before being given financial advice, provided with a salary advance and how to claim housing costs in advance. Pure hypocrisy!

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