SIR – In my experience, it’s not surprising that he’s on the verge of accidents and emergency care.
A message from my GP practice on December 23 said that while it’s closed over Christmas and New Years, patients should call 111 for minor issues and 999 for emergencies.
The situation in SIR – A&E departments was declared “shocking”. The government’s response was simply to say that there are more staff working on the NHS than ever before.
But this only points to an increase in NHS staff who do not have face-to-face contact with patients. This is the fault of many governments with different views over the last 30 years. Staff numbers alone do not provide meaningful care to patients.
Doctor Malcolm Freeth
SIR – James Le Fanu highlights the IFS report showing that the number of counselors, doctors, nurses and administrators in the NHS has increased significantly since 2019, but patient appointments and admissions numbers have fallen recently. It is currently assumed that hundreds of patients have died needlessly due to hospitalization problems.
The biggest identifiable factor in delays in admissions is apparently the lack of empty beds on the wards, leading to ambulance queues outside the A&E departments. This problem is often referred to as “bed congestion”, so patients who cannot go home due to the lack of an appropriate care package cannot go home.
What happened to convalescent wards, where patients recovering from surgeries or treatment can spend some time in a medical setting to regain their health? These were more lightly staffed than the main wards, but ensured that any post-operative problems did not require readmission through A&E. Their relocation will also provide an out-of-ward location for patients awaiting care packages, evacuating beds and thus facilitating smoother transfers from ambulances to hospitals.
SIR – Dr Le Fanu points out that productivity in the NHS is constantly falling.
One factor is undoubtedly an increased focus on patient safety. The highest quality of care must be provided and risks to the patient must be minimized. But now there are also risks for staff and institutions from lawsuits and negative external scrutiny from the Quality of Care Commission and the media.
Without a simultaneous emphasis on efficiency, the result is a slow process and a lack of innovation. I suggest here that the NHS can learn a lot from independent providers.
Denis Wilkins FRCS
SIR – Despite being a long-time Conservative Party member, I had no say in the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister.
What does it represent other than (supposedly) financial stability?
Fiscal policies put many people in a difficult position; postponed or shelved vital reforms; and made no attempt to deal with the bloated non-medical side of the NHS.
As far as I can see it’s not going anywhere and doing nothing. On the rare occasions he appears, he speaks big like Tony Blair but does very little.
We have no hope of winning the next general election under him. I continue to pay my fees, but they are to the party, not the Prime Minister.
Happy New Year message from SIR – Conservative Party: 56 percent increase in membership fee.
In other words: “Welcome to Rishinomics. We waited until January in case you forgot how we twice rejected the leaders you elected for the MPs you rejected. You may also forget that we threatened to change our rules to avoid a ‘wrong result’ and even completely excluded you.”
honor the faith
SIR – The appointment of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to a knighthood is well deserved, but it is also of broader significance.
Honoring faith leaders is an important way to highlight Britain’s multi-faith landscape. All five of Rabbi Mirvis’ predecessors in the role have been honored. Jonathan Sacks (2005), Immanuel Jakobovits (1981), and Israel Brodie (1969) have been knighted, and precedents have been given for two more recently. Joseph Hertz was made an Honorary Fellow in 1943 and his predecessor Hermann Adler was awarded a CVO in 1909. Indeed, he developed such a rapport with Edward VII that the king referred to him as “My Chief Rabbi.”
Recognition of faith leaders applies not only to the Jewish community but also to other minority faith groups. The honor system helps to recognize and celebrate England’s kaleidoscope of faith.
THE PRESIDENT – I sincerely congratulate our esteemed citizens who were awarded for their services to society at the New Year Honors List.
But in 2023, and at the start of this new Carolean era, shouldn’t we give up the word “Empire” in the honors bestowed? Of course, the time has come for the “Commonwealth” to replace it.
Translate the script
SIR – Regarding handwriting (Letters, December 31), as a dyslexic I developed a doodle to avoid sarcastic comments by my English teacher.
Meanwhile, as a game-avoidance technique, I hid in the library and discovered calligraphy, learning the beauty of gothic, italics, and onsials before copperplate.
I still use a fountain pen, but I’m grateful for spell check software.
Graphology was once a tool that has come a long way at parties. People wanted to know what their writing revealed about them. I was an amateur, but he made us all laugh.
Dentistry in crisis
SIR – State-organized dentistry in the NHS continues to disappoint the public badly, with many warnings both before and since Covid, despite workers doing their best.
It is said that one should never accuse of bad faith anything that can be explained by incompetence. But after more than a decade of such profound incompetence, one really needs to ask: do governments, officials, and ministers hate dentists?
As more dental practices become partially or completely private forever, the Government repeats the same audio quotes saying it is working on reform. But small changes. This kind of talk makes people look stupid.
Fixing NHS dentistry isn’t actually hard, so how much must the Government be ruining everything else it’s trying to regulate? It’s not dentists like us that people should fear, but those in power – especially in this winter of discontent.
mustafa my waist
Baldeep Singh Jalf
Signs of Grace
Mirela Rodica Vlaicu
Jonathan Baron Poznansky
Finbar Francis Bryson
Stephen van Vuuren
SIR – I was disappointed to read that attendees of Bath Abbey service were not able to donate cash (Letters, January 2).
At a time when all institutions, including the church, are begging for inclusiveness, this is definitely a form of discrimination against those who want to donate cash, as well as those who may have trouble with the budget or have limited income.
It has also been proven that being able to pay by card often leads people to spend more money. Should churches encourage their congregations to spend beyond their means?
SIR – Churches should continue to accept cash donations.
Years ago, when my father was at the village council, one of the councilors expressed surprise that the Communion sign should contain small coins instead of the suggested notes.
“Oh, that would be me,” he said. “I put in my contribution, then I empty my pockets.”
Is it time to start stocking up on shoe polish?
SIR – As an old fashioned shoe shiner, I was saddened to learn that the manufacturer of Kiwi polish is planning to discontinue its sale in the UK.
What kind of shelf life does shoe polish have? I am tempted to buy as many things as possible before they disappear completely.
MASTER – I have cleaned my shoes, my daughters’ and my wife’s shoes, every night of my working life. My shoes were polished and I also polished the leather between the sole and heel as my father taught me.
He said you can tell a lot about a person by the condition of their shoes. I’m afraid I’ve judged people this way throughout my career, and I still find it a hard habit to break. I’m definitely not going out without freshly polished shoes and will buy all the Kiwi Parade Gloss I can find.
SIR – I’ve been using Kiwi polish on my leather shoes for over 65 years. I don’t have a trainer, so what should I do now?
MASTER – While I was doing my Patriotic Service at the RAF, an advertisement for Kiwi shoe polish was shown in the station cinema.
When the voice-over insisted, “There is no such thing”, we all shouted “Cherry Blossom!” we shouted.
Futile Covid checks for travelers from China
SIR – Gregory Shenkman (Letters, January 2) supports Covid checks for passengers flying from China to the UK due to the risk of new variants.
Any variant with greater transmissibility than the current omicron mutation will quickly spread around the world no matter what we do. Most people in the UK have been exposed to Covid through vaccination or natural infection, and whatever new incarnations may be, there is nothing we can do but learn to live with this virus.
China has shown that restrictions don’t work, so let’s not keep repeating the same mistakes.
Dr David Walters
Burton Bradstock, Dorset
SIR – With these checks for travelers from China, I feel like the Government has once again closed the barn door after the horse escaped.
Why is this Government always so reluctant to act on issues that really matter? And if he takes action, then why is he always inexcusably incompetent?
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