Recorder letters: Healthcare funding, Oliver!, climate change and more

Queen's Hospital, flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS

Queen's Hospital, flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. - Credit: Archant

Letters from Recorder readers this week

Spend healthcare money on improving services

Linda Hoad, Wood View Mews, writes:

Both Queen's and King George hospitals have been in need of improvements and investment for years and now Nelft has lost a rating and is in need of improving.

Now we are told that BHRUT and Nelft might or might not (no doubt after spending a fortune on meetings and consultations to decide) form a triage which would need a new chief executive and other roles to go alongside this new plan.

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All this is doing is creating new departments and new jobs when a structure is already in place.

All trusts should be independent of others, especially failing ones. I feel this is all unnecessary and just wasting money.

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This money would be better spent on providing a better blood service at The Victoria Centre - doing the place up which is a disgrace and opening longer hours.

The space at Queen's Hospital in the service areas for patients could be improved, one has only four cubicles, not nearly enough.

The money needs to get the hospitals' ratings up to a good standard which other hospitals not being linked to other trusts seem to do countrywide.

Brookside's Oliver! West End quality

John Dunn, Mallard Close, Cranham, writes:

My wife and I saw the musical Oliver! at The Brookside Theatre in Romford.

Not only was I pleasantly surprised with the new raked seating but I was knocked out by the show. The whole cast was amazing and the children were absolutely fantastic.

I didn't expect to see a West End quality performance on our doorstep in Romford but this show was more than worthy of that status. Well done to everyone involved at this lovely theatre.

What do you think? Email

Put your faith in climate experts

Neil Robinson, Alder Avenue, Upminster, writes:

I don't know if Cllr Durant (Recorder, September 6) is a qualified climate scientist. I admit I'm not.

However, some simple research - including sources such as the New Scientist and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - shows his claim that human-initiated CO2 emissions are somehow insignificant is not one supported by most experts.

Ice cores indicate atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have remained between 180 and 300 parts per million for the past half-a-million years, but in recent centuries levels have risen sharply to at least 380ppm.

I won't go into the details here, but the thrust of the scientists' argument is that human activity has upset the natural processes that regulate CO2 levels, causing global temperature increases.

Cllr Durant's and Mr Matthews' assertion that melting icebergs don't cause sea levels to rise is flawed. True, water expands as ice crystals form and it contracts as melting occurs - but above four degrees celsius, water expands again. And it appears Cllr Durant has confused weight with volume.

Icebergs are composed of fresh water, which as it melts takes up a larger volume than the displaced salt water.

I should add, many experts have concluded that melting ice, on land and sea, is causing a worrying rise in sea levels.

If I have made mistakes, perhaps knowledgeable Recorder readers will correct me.

In the end it comes down to trust. I'll provide a comparison.

If you needed your appendix removed, would you trust the task to a qualified surgeon, or would you turn to a man in the pub who, though not medically qualified, offers to perform the operation that afternoon in his kitchen?

The fellow has some knowledge of human anatomy; he points out - correctly - that doctors sometimes make mistakes. And he adds with an encouraging smile: "How hard can it be?"

Take a common sense approach to climate change

Cllr David Durant, Rainham and Wennington Independent Residents Group, writes:

Ian Pirie (Recorder, September 13), says a small amount of something can have a dramatic effect!

I'm sure it can, but human emissions of carbon dioxide are a fraction 0.0012 per cent of the atmosphere and easily eclipsed by naturally occurring and variable carbon dioxide which itself makes up only a tiny fraction, about 0.04pc of the atmosphere. Hence the human bit becomes irrelevant even if you bizarrely believe the carbon dioxide wonder gas is harmful to the environment.

Rather than address this elementary point the Climate Jehovah's say "trust the scientists", just as their forebears used to say "trust the priests", rather than trust common sense.

And common sense means understanding that many things determine climate and that carbon dioxide, like oxygen is essential to life on earth, because humans and animals cannot breathe without it and it's the food plants breathe to make them grow.

David Hughes, Green Party media advisor (Recorder, September 13), claims all scientists agree man made carbon dioxide emissions determines climate, but then contradicts this alleged consensus by highlighting the role of water vapour, which presumably makes him a "climate denier"? He then mentions disappearing polar bears and pacific islands due to rising sea levels, except polar bear numbers are increasing and some areas are under water due to land sinking rather than sea levels rising.

Finally he professes concern for African and Indian farmers, but how does stopping the use of cheap fossil fuels help poor countries develop and increasing fuel bills to "save the planet" won't help British pensioners survive winter or does he believe the end justifies the means?

Licensing borough landlords is vital

M Edwards, Shaftesbury Road, Romford, writes:

I have now joined Companies House User Panel aiming to improve their website.

Havering Council's intention to license landlords annually is to be applauded and is long overdue. Licensing agents need to be licensed too.

At present anyone can set up business without any qualifications whatsoever which is ludicrous. Letting agents facilitate the dubious activities of buy-to-let sharks. And antisocial behaviour is rife in this area now (and increasing).

Once these registers are established, contact details including telephone numbers and email should be available to neighbours of these rental properties.

We do live in the 21st century after all.

Criteria for obtaining tenants who do not cause problems, are:

1. Checking references of prospective working tenants thoroughly and if possible, in person.

2. Checking periodically who is really living in that rental property, not who you think is living there.

3. Only persons actually named on Tenancy Agreement must be living in the rental property otherwse it is sub-letting pure and simple.

4. Always change locks on rental properties between tenancies. Bad pennies have a tendency to boomerang back!

5. Respect neighbours' complaints and deal with them quickly and permanently. They have lives too.

Understand signs of online bullying

Tony Sherrard, senior supervisor, Childline, writes:

Today's digital world means that bullying can be relentless 24 hours a day, following children into their homes - the very place they should feel safe.

This can have a serious impact on their wellbeing and mental health, affecting their self-worth, leaving them feeling isolated and potentially triggering depression.

We know from contacts to Childline that online bullying is a serious problem that is affecting young people across the UK.

At its worst, bullying has driven children and young people to self-harm, and even take their own lives.

Online bullying can often have a significant effect on a child's behaviour, so it's important that parents keep a close eye out for any changes.

Children may display signs which can include nervousness, a lack of self-confidence, or becoming distressed and withdrawn.

It could have a knock-on effect on their academic performance, or they may have problems with eating or sleeping."

Used positively, the online world can provide social opportunities and access to a vast amount of information with the click of a button.

But it can also be used as a gateway for harmful activity which is not restricted to bullying.

This includes young people being exposed to inappropriate material and the risk of them being groomed.

These are risks that children face whether they are online for two minutes or five hours and it is important they are protected.

This is why the NSPCC has spent the last couple of years campaigning for the government to bring in an independent regulator to enforce a legal duty of care on social networks. We urge the government to make the drafting of these new laws a priority.

It is important that children and young people know they can talk to someone if anything happens. If anything they see online makes them upset or uncomfortable, then they can talk to their parents, another adult they trust or they can call Childline confidentially on 0800 1111.

Support RSPCA in legacy donations

Jessica Taylor Bayliss, head of legacy marketing, RSPCA, writes:

More than half of the RSPCA's work is funded by kind legacy donations. These gifts in Wills are vital in continuing to help animals in need and we're incredibly grateful to our supporters who decide to leave a gift to us.

Last year, the RSPCA rescued more than 103,000 animals and a lot of this work would not be possible without legacies.

We are a nation of animal lovers and leaving a gift in your Will is an opportunity to have a lasting impact on animal welfare and help the RSPCA continue helping animals in need.

Legacies have helped animals just like Bronx, the American Bulldog who is currently being cared for by staff at RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital in London.

This soppy and friendly big dog was found by a police officer in the Crystal Palace area in a terrible state. He was dehydrated, emaciated and covered in urine stains and pressure sores possibly from being in a cage.

He should have weighed around 50kg but the poor five-year-old dog weighed just half that when he came into RSPCA care.

The veterinary staff at one of the RSPCA's busiest animal hospitals are now working hard to rehabilitate Bronx before he will be ready to be rehomed.

Last year, the RSPCA rescued more than 6,000 dogs like Bronx and more than 22,000 cats.

In 2018, our animal centres and branches gave 40,738 animals a second chance of a new home and the four wildlife centres took in 18,000 animals which is around two every hour.

Our scope is huge and none of this would be possible without our generous supporters.

Anything you can give is greatly appreciated and helps the thousands of pets we save each year from cruelty, neglect, and abandonment, and the thousands of wild animals we rescue and release back into the wild.

Make tackling suicide a priority

Dr Andrew Molodynski, mental health lead, BMA consultants committee, writes:

For those of us working in frontline mental health services it is extremely worrying to see a rise in suicide rates in the UK for the first time in five years.

According to figures published recently by the Office for National Statistics, there were a total of 6,507 suicides registered by coroners in the UK last year; that is equivalent to 11.2 per 100,000 people - up 11.8 per cent on the previous year.

In 2018, London had a suicide rate of 13.8 per 100,000 population for males and 4.1 per 100,000 for females.

Every suicide is a tragedy and devastating for families and friends; however, suicide is often preventable and more must be done to make sure this increase is not the beginning of a more sinister trend.

Demand for mental health care has been rapidly rising for a number years, but frontline services have not seen the investment so vitally needed in order to keep pace.

It is shameful that in the 21st Century patients are being failed by reduced services and longer waits for treatments, while frontline mental health staff continue to placed under more and more pressure.

This situation is not tenable for much longer.

While there has been some recent focus on suicide prevention strategies, there must be a greater focus on improving public mental health in the UK, with more investment for local services.

A life-course approach is definitely required, ensuring support for mental health during childhood, education, employment and into later life.

It must now finally be time for kind words from health leaders to become actions- parity of resources and care, not of esteem

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