About a month ago I was admitted to St James’s A & E unit, apparently acutely ill from a virus infection.
After being assessed and admitted to a ward I was invited to fill in a feedback form, either on paper or online. “Fair enough,” you might think, but the fundamental question asked was “Would you recommend this ward to your friends?” Are they serious?
Can anyone imagine the social gathering at which someone says “the next time you’re hit by a bus you must try St. James’ A & E unit!”? or going on line to consult iWantGreatCare before the ambulance arrives the next time you have an accident?
Yesterday I was at St James’s again for a routine appointment at the haematology unit (a splendid unit by the way, to which I owe my life.) I had to collect a prescription from the pharmacy before leaving, and again I was offered the same questionnaire. Who consults online recommendations before cashing their prescriptions? I cheerfully declined the offer.
Which presiding genius came up with this idea? If I knew I could suggest a useful way in which the NHS could save a little money!
Or perhaps this is a crafty idea from our privatisation-focused government in order to prepare us for the day when we can compare profit-driven companies with each other for quality of service, cost, appropriate insurance cover etc., in the delivery of health services in pretty much the same way as we’re encouraged to study competing tariffs for energy supplies. Brave new world!
Tony Schofield, Pudsey
Let’s escape the Time Warp
We need to learn from history. There’s strong evidence that people don’t like overhead wires and don’t want them. Out of some 50 trolleybus systems that have existed at various times in the UK, none are left.
Leeds itself has been there twice before, and Bradford once.
Leeds trolleybuses lasted until 1928. Then we had trams until 1959 (I went to school on those). Bradford’s trolleybuses survived until 1972. I can vouch for the fact that the overhead cabling in both cities looked awful and disfigured the streets.
People were glad to see them go.
More recently, Liverpool tried to build a trolleybus scheme called MRT. Almost a twin of NGT, it failed at the public inquiry in 1998. The inspector’s report and the Secretary of State’s official letter are highly relevant to NGT.
The Inspector wrote: ‘the trolleybus required overhead wires which, however tastefully designed, could not be presented as an attractive feature of the townscape and which constrained flexibility of operation.’ The Secretary of State wrote: ‘the Inspector has suggested that the objectives of the scheme might be met more cost-effectively by more modest measures, such as by way of high quality buses and priority measures.
From the available evidence, and in the absence of a suitable comparative study, The Secretary of State is not inclined to dispute that view.’
Powering a bus from overhead wires is a very old idea and deeply unattractive visually and aesthetically. It was used in the past because there were no suitable alternatives, but this is no longer the case. Leeds deserves better.
David Tong, by email
We’ll get no benefit
I wish to congratulate the YEP on its excellent front page of October 16, which illustrates graphically some of the destruction that would result on the A660 were New Generation Transport to be implemented; and on a very balanced editorial.
A similar spread on the effects south of the river would be illuminating. Some small comments: ‘the network will slash journey-times’: yes, by 13 minutes, peak-time, estimated, if you get on the trolleybus at Holt Park and travel to City Square, but of course the saving diminishes the further down the route you go; by when you get to where I live, Hyde Park, by the time I’ve walked further to get to the trolleybus stop, I’ve gained no time at all. That’s assuming I can get on the trolleybus anyway, which I think is unlikely: the economics of the scheme are predicated on the principle that it will fill up at Holt Park and Boddington, most of them travelling to the universities and the city-centre.
If that is the case, those of us in between will get no benefit: and since in fact the overall effect will be to diminish bus-frequency, we lose. Then, while the trolleybus may travel faster than existing buses, other traffic will travel slower, to prioritize the trolley bus. The opposition is not restricted to ‘some residents in and around Headingley’: there is strenuous opposition from Belle Isle to West Park.
Tony Green, Leeds 6
I’ll join protest at trolleybus
I HAVE never been on a protest march in my life, yet. But if there is one in protest of a trolley bus in Leeds, as is planned, I will join it.
It has now reached the stage of yes or no and like the letter of Christopher Todd (September 27) says, it’s a save face question that Leeds Council have in front of them.
There is only one answer the people of Leeds will accept and it is drop the idea of overhead cables.
AE Hague, Bellbrooke Grove, Leeds 9
Hunslet Moor in view
Regarding your aerial photos (YEP, October 11) the top right hand picture is of Hunslet Moor, with the Longroyd estate in the foreground and Cockburn school bottom left,
Gerry Thornton, by email
They’re out of touch
With reference to the item on page 28 (YEP October 16) – why can’t all these commuters use public transport to avoid paying for parking, and not park ceaselessly in residential streets? Use a bus, or if it’s more convenient, drive to a railway station and take the train; it’s far quicker and easier!
Cameron showed explicitly (Wednesday October 16) his complete indifference to the plight of some people.
When asked at PMQs if he was “ashamed” of the fact that the Red Cross are distributing food parcels in England for the first time in 70 years, he replied by saying what a good job they (the Red Cross) were doing! Both he and his posh boys, with their modernist, inappropriate- for-their-age haircuts designed to show how “now” they are, are deeply lacking in compassion and out of touch completely with the consequences of their policies for others than their own social class. Despicable.
T Maunder, by email
Opposed to privatisation
Mel Smart’s idea to lower the cost of energy supplies requires a little extra thought. Where does the Government acquire the funding to set up fully equipped and staffed office accommodation?
It would need to borrow the money at the going interest rate! This would equate to obtaining money from share holders and paying them dividends.
Having purchased the gas and electricity how would it get it to the consumer? Via the existing distribution systems and at the same cost as present suppliers! This cost is to maintain and improve those systems.
I do not believe that the Civil Service would be any more efficient than the private sector.
I own no shares and am not biased towards the private sector.
In fact I am presently very much opposed to the privatisation of the Post Office.
Brian Perkins, by email