Readers' letters - March 8

Marching for NHS and against Slash, Trash and Plunder

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 3:43 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:11 am
Demonstrators attend a rally in central London, in support of the NHS

Last Saturday, along with hundreds of thousands of people, I proudly marched in London as part of the Save Our NHS demonstration.

We marched to protest about the increasing privatisation and under-funding of our NHS. As the American philosopher and historian Noam Chomsky says, “the standard technique of privatisations is defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, and hand it over to private capital”.

This is what is starting to happen to our NHS.

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Private companies are bidding for and getting huge NHS contracts, such as Virgin care, and Care UK, and hide behind the NHS logo so the vast majority of us don’t know they are increasingly running sectors of our NHS.

NHS England is promoting Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), which they claim brings decision making within the NHS under local control, but the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), in November 2016, said: “STPs are the mechanism to deliver the NHS five-year forward view, particularly the required savings of £22bn”. No wonder my fellow NHS marchers refer to STPs as Slash Trash and Plunder.

The most moving speech I heard on Saturday was made by Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis, who simply read from the leaflet which was delivered to every household in the UK when the NHS was founded in 1948, and explained to our parents, grandparents and, in my case, great grandparents, that “it will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone – rich or poor, man, woman or child –can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items...”


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Helping children with dog fears

Many of us either own a dog or will meet one when out and about, but your readers might be surprised to know that research from Dogs Trust has shown that one in three children is afraid of dogs.

We are offering free advice to help families, and anyone who regularly comes into contact with dogs, improve their understanding of man’s best friend. This includes tips on how to approach a dog safely and how to respond when a dog approaches you, to pointers for parents who have a child who is scared of dogs.

Thanks to funds from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Dogs Trust is also running free workshops in schools to help children to feel more confident around dogs.

Visit www.learnwith for more information.

Adrian Burder

Dogs Trust CEO

What about the litter louts?

I’m sick of hearing about people getting their bowels in an uproar about our four-legged friends leaving poo and owners not removing it.

Whilst I and most owners are conscientious in this regard, may I speak for the animals?

They have to dodge broken glass on pavements as uncaring two-legged beings throw their empty bottles to shatter where paws are at risk. Take your empty glass bottles home please.

Neil Kendall

via email

Giving projects a chance to shine

The National Lottery Awards 2017 are open for entries, giving Lottery-funded projects a chance to shine in the national limelight. The awards recognise the amazing work done by organisations using National Lottery funding to transform communities and change lives. They celebrate the unsung heroes behind the success of local arts, sports, heritage, and community projects.

Seven projects will be recognised at a star-studded awards ceremony broadcast on BBC One later this year and each will win a £3,000 cash prize. Visit to nominate projects. All entries must be in by midnight on Friday, April 7.

John Barrowman MBE

National Lottery Awards Ambassador