Readers' letters - February 1

A cross-party discussion is needed to save the NHS, 'says a correspondent
A cross-party discussion is needed to save the NHS, 'says a correspondent

We need radical solutions for our health service

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
Our cherished health service has been a beacon of how a civilised society provides equal access to care for all and is now under severe threat.
Poor quality of care is now widely reported, with older people and individuals with long-term conditions particularly vulnerable. There are many reasons for the perilous state of the NHS, and whilst inadequate funding is a critical feature, there are other important factors which Government policies have caused.
These include:
A substantial reduction in the number of student nurse and nurse teacher places, combined with the extraordinary increase in the workload of registered nurses, who are expected to support students within wards and community services.
The problem is compounded by many older nurses retiring or leaving the profession early,
exhausted and disillusioned. They feel undervalued by the Government, which has denied them pay increases.
There are more than 30,000 nursing vacancies, which results in expensive cover from nursing agencies and excessive reliance on support staff.
Another disastrous factor, which this Government is responsible for, is the current commissioner/provider split and ideological market approach. This was made worse by so-called
‘reforms’, which resulted in complex bureaucracy.
The Government should be held accountable for their woeful decisions over the past decade and the neglect of public services arising from their almost total focus on Brexit. The problems require radical solutions. There appears to be a growing recognition of the need for cross-party discussion on funding and organisation of future health and social care services if they are to be safeguarded.
Malcolm Rae OBE
Address supplied

No more EU rules during transition
As an MEP who has spent many an hour in the European Parliament, I find the row over the UK potentially losing the right to attend key committee meetings both amusing and depressing in equal measure.
Amusing because our
influence in EU decisions has always been minuscule anyway and depressing because it is something else that doubtless our negotiators will concede.
We voted to leave in 2016 and we should not be subject to new EU laws made during the Brexit transition period, particularly without voting rights.
The mountain of rules and regulations that manacles business in this country is one of the reasons the majority voted to regain our independence. Plans by EU negotiators to generously say that some of the other 27 states could ‘invite’ Britain to observe some committee meetings without any right to influence its content just demonstrates the low regard in which we are held.
Paul Nuttall
North West MEP
UK Independence Party

If I were Prime Minister...

If I were Prime Minister, I would demand all empty and derelict buildings to be transformed into affordable housing and developers would have to build on brown belt land first rather than green belt.
If green belt is built on, the law would require one
nature reserve and one general open green space for every new housing estate.
There would be a cap on rents so tenants could actually be able to afford to rent – and even save for a mortgage at the same time.
We would pay a little more tax, ring-fenced for the NHS and social care. The richer paying more than the poor.
People who abuse the NHS would pay a fine, going towards the health system.
MPs would have to forgo massive pay increases and vanity schemes will have to be disregarded as health comes first.
If I had been Prime Minister in 2016, I would have give people a say on the EU but would have made the threshold higher as it was such a monumental decision – 60 rather than 50 per cent.
If I were Prime Minister... but I’m not.
Theresa May is.
molly clare
via email

How can robots help workers?
Following the forthcoming disaster known as Brexit, another catastrophe is looming over the horizon.
A recent economic survey commissioned by this Government forecasts that about half a million jobs will be lost in the North West due to the rising tide of automation. Those in favour of this development (mostly those of the Conservative persuasion) argue that this will be a step upwards into a capitalist paradise of untold riches for all.
They must firstly answer this question: when, in the history of “technological innovation” has this ever resulted in shorter working hours or higher wages for ordinary working people? No prizes for the answer. Never.
John Prance via email