Readers' letters - Wednesday, November 30
GPs in the North West want to provide the best care to their patients – but a new BMA survey lays bare the crisis that is preventing them from delivering enough appointments and services to the public.
According to our poll of over 5,000 GPs, an alarming 83 per cent of GPs in the North West felt that their workload was so excessive it prevented them from being able to deliver safe, high-quality care to their community. While this is worrying it is, sadly, unsurprising. General practice is being overwhelmed by chronic underfunding, staff shortages and an ever increasing workload. There are around 40 million more GP consultations taking place each year than there were a decade ago.
GPs are listening to their patients and suggesting solutions: in this survey they call for more nurses to treat housebound patients and more staff to help those with mental illnesses with better information for patients about how to safely self-care. The Government needs to listen to these calls and implement their promises to provide more resources for the services patients really need. Failure to do so will plunge general practice deeper into crisis and it is patients who will ultimately pay the price.
Dr David Wrigley
GP, BMA deputy chair and BMA rep for North West
Stop Saudi arms exports
The UK Government has decided to reject calls to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen have destroyed food supplies, schools, hospitals and homes.
The conflict has lead to thousands killed, over 3 million fleeing their homes and more than half of the entire Yemeni population is facing starvation. Export licenses to Saudi Arabia for over £3bn worth of arms were granted between March 2015 and March 2016 alone.
The Saudi-led coalition has been accused of violating international humanitarian law, and the UK Government is obligated under both UK and EU law to suspend arms sales to countries accused of such violations.
Despite this, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s defence of this action is essentially that Saudi Arabia will acquire weaponry in any case and hence it should be the UK that is profiting.
This defence is morally reprehensible and may indeed be illegal. It is critical that the UK Government immediately reconsider its position and suspends the sale of British arms exports to the Saudi Arabian-led coalition.
Budget won’t be helping us
As an OAP, I would like to express my disgust at the effect that the Chancellor’s autumn budget statement will have on us. Wasn’t it typical of that genre of true blue Tory multi millionaires, to whom even a cabinet minister’s bloated salary is just pocket money, that the poorest lose out from insurance premium tax hiked by two per cent while big business gets a three per cent cut in corporation tax to increase both profits and sharehold dividends?
This coming so soon after Philip Hammond reneged on a promise made by George Osborne to allow older people the right to cash in small pension annuities after pensions ministers were lobbied by the big six insurance companies, shows how worthless anything he or Theresa May says is.