Readers’ letters - January 14

Junior doctors and medical students demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London. See letter
Junior doctors and medical students demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London. See letter

Time for tax just for NHS

The doctors’ strike which we have just suffered illustrates the deepening distrust which exists between the Government and the BMA.

It seems entirely reasonable that the junior doctors want the present offer in writing, which would prevent the various hospital trusts, by whom they are employed, to force them to do overtime outside the agreed contract conditions and also reduce their earnings.

All of this illustrates the underfunded and shaky state of our present NHS.

A recent published graph illustrated that, although we are lauded as having the finest NHS among the European nations, the UK is the lowest funded NHS service nation per head of population in the EU.

We are all rightly proud of our NHS, but each Government is coming under increasing pressure to raise the much needed funds to provide treatment and relieve the increasing pressures on A&E services out of the existing budget, which could be so easily resolved by raising hypothecated taxes strictly for the NHS.

If this option was presented to the electorate, it seems most likely this would be accepted by all, such is the importance we attach to receiving our free future medical treatment, regardless of our ability to pay individually.

So this recent illustration by the Government in order to reduce NHS expenses, by renegotiating junior doctors’ pay, could have been avoided.

The necessity to avoid paying these outrageous charges incurred by NHS trusts to provide emergency doctors’ relief are rightly to be resisted, but can only be prevented in future by making the NHS more attractive to all UK trained doctors.

The cost to the UK in training doctors for them to go abroad to receive better salaries and working conditions in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand should be calculated by the BMA and used to illustrate to the Government the real costs to our nation.

E J Tilley via email

No mention of dredging

The latest anti-EU myth is that EU directives cause flooding.

The mythmakers would like us to believe that dredging is verboten, as they seek to exploit the recent devastation to people’s lives and livelihoods to further their cause.

But EU Directive 2007/60 on the assessment and management of flood risks does not mention dredging at all. Instead, it calls for urgent action to prevent, protect against and prepare for floods, because “floods endanger lives and cause human tragedy as well as heavy economic losses”. It also reinforces the rights of the public to access flood planning information and to have a say in the planning process.

When the Somerset Levels flooded in winter 2013/14, the UK Environment Agency had, (in accordance with the EU directive, and also with common sense), surveyed the area and created a plan.

The plan involved dredging, but they had only begun to execute it in October 2013. This means that if river silt made the floods worse, this was because of a failure to implement the EU directive.

J Robin Hughes

Address supplied

MP ‘Muppets’

When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour party I thought the change might be a good thing, but now it seems I was wrong, for the Corbyn Chorus look like a line of Muppets with no more chance of winning the next election than Nigel Farage.

Joseph G Dawson via email