SIR – The NHS will urge the public to avoid A&E to ‘minimize’ pressure on emergency and emergency services (report 20 August) That’s all well and good if there are alternatives. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. My 88 year old father in Torquay called his GP’s office the morning after a recent fall to no avail.
When he couldn’t penetrate the first line of defense (automated phone system), he decided to travel to A&E on several buses. There, like hundreds of thousands of others across the country, he had to wait more than four hours but eventually received the necessary care for his broken collarbone.
It is possible that he would have been directed by his GP’s office to go to the emergency room anyway if he could have reached someone. However, without clear direction for GPs to focus on improving communication with patients, this advice from the NHS is unlikely to deter many from contacting A&E directly.
Grand Haven, Michigan, United States
SIR – Getting an appointment with your GP is like winning the lottery. The default position of the 111 phone system is to recommend emergency room attendance. Now we have to be warned not to go to emergency rooms to protect the health system.
How do I cancel my enforced membership in this failed system and receive reimbursement for medical expenses from a provider of my choice?
SIR – This new campaign to ‘protect the NHS’ is urging the public to avoid going to the emergency department. What should people do – fix their broken limbs and treat their own heart attacks?
How many more people will die because they don’t get proper health care? It’s difficult to get an in-person appointment with a GP and the emergency services are in crisis. The NHS is not fit for purpose.
With the cost of living rising every day, most people cannot afford private health insurance. What happens to the NI dues that all working people pay? They don’t seem to be going in the direction of public health.
SIR – The NHS has closed local hospitals and reduced the number of available beds by over 2,500. This has resulted in an endless blocking of beds as there is no place to send elderly patients who are healthy enough to go home but do not have the proper community support there.
We have the fewest hospital beds per capita in Western Europe, yet the NHS has made manager recruitment a priority. You can’t get out of a health crisis without enough beds, doctors and nurses.
SIR – When I worked in the NHS we thought we were being ironic when we said it would work just fine without patients. Obviously we predicted the future.
Isle of Arran, Buteshire
Murders in London
SIR – Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, claims that the killing spree in the capital is linked to longer days and heat waves (report, August 20). If so, why hasn’t he done anything about it? Will he wait until winter, when, according to his logic, the murder will have peaked? What actions will he take for next summer?
Places of the Russell group
SIR – It is ridiculous that 20 percent of Russell Group’s university places went to foreign students (report, August 19).
Vice Chancellors fund their inflated salaries by depriving British students of their rightful places. They also risk creating a Western security threat by allowing Chinese students to take 26 percent of foreign student places.
State funding should be scaled back until this balances out. Britain desperately needs more local doctors and engineers, to name just two specialties.
Role of the RNLI
SIR – Tobias Ellwood, Chairman of the Commons Defense Committee, said: “The Navy is being dragged into an operation in which it should never have been involved” (“Royal Navy withdraws from migrant patrols,” report, August 16).
The same is certainly true of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which is supposed to be saving lives at sea during the peak holiday season and does not offer taxi services for those who volunteer in unseaworthy vessels on the world’s busiest shipping lane.
Last year Priti Patel, the home secretary, paid £55million to help French border guards stop illegal migration. What does it achieve?
Long Sutton, Somerset
Civil Victoria Cross
SIR – I was pleased to read the report on Thomas Kavanagh’s Victoria Cross (“There’s no disguising rarity of a civil VC”, August 19).
My great-grandfather, Ross Lowis Mangles, was the first civilian to be awarded the VC after the Siege of Arrah in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny. He was also a member of the Bengali Civil Service.
My cousin and I presented the VC medal to the National Army Museum about 20 years ago. I remember that after a guided tour of the India room we were treated to an excellent lunch and our photos were taken. I am very proud of my heritage.
Shalfleet, Isle of Wight
SIR – In 1964, as a newcomer to Sotheby’s, I was sent by train to the Surrey suburbs to collect and arrange the sale of Thomas Kavanagh’s Victoria Cross – my first solo business trip.
It was sold for an inflated amount of £500. I still have a soft spot for the medal and the remarkable story of Kavanagh’s exploits.
New Malden, Surrey
Amazed and confused
SIR – When I arrived at a restaurant recently, I was asked my name. “Amazing” was the answer when I gave it. Then I was asked if I have allergies. “No I said. ‘Amazing’ was the reply. Really?
dr David L Hearn
future of broadcasting
SIR – Before the Media Bill goes to Parliament, we would like to stress that vital action is needed to ensure the future of British broadcasting is secure and thriving.
We’re proud of the role public service broadcasters play as the foundation of great British content – in drama, sport, comedy, documentaries, national and local news. We bring communities together for moments of national pride and remembrance. We commission 30,000 hours a year of original British content from all nations and regions for all tastes in Welsh, Gaelic and English, reaching 90 per cent of British adults every week.
In 2019, before the Covid pandemic, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport estimated that the creative industries contributed £116 billion to the UK economy – more than the aerospace, automotive, life sciences, oil and gas sectors combined . Last year the sector almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels, contributing over £100bn.
However, UK media legislation has not been updated since 2003. Urgent changes are needed. In particular, it must be ensured that services such as iPlayer, ITVX, All 4, My5, STV Player and S4C Clic are always available and easy to find for viewers on all major TV platforms. This allows us to continue to fund the quality content that audiences have come to expect.
To inspire the next generation of Lionesses, major sporting events must be accessible to all—free of charge and not hidden behind a paywall. We need to allow viewers to watch their favorites, like the Fifa World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, both live and on demand.
Key elements of the government’s proposed media law will help public service broadcasters deliver trusted, impartial news to consumers and stimulate investment in the creative industries. Recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee have reminded us of the importance of public service broadcasting. We urge the Government to come up with these key proposals to ensure a prosperous future in a thriving UK media and digital ecology.
Director General, BBC
CEO, ITV plc
President, Paramount UK, Australia, Canada and Israel
Managing Director STV
The problem of taking children to the cinema