RE: Political promises and the NHS.

As someone who has spent a large part of my life working in various parts of the NHS and care sector, could I humbly suggest the following.

Although of course money is both needed and welcome for hospitals and GP services (I and many of the people I have worked with), feel that unless several very specific areas are dealt with the same issues will keep occurring.

1 Social care - needs to have continuous fair funding and organising, especially within the community. The Republic of Ireland seems to have an excellent system to prevent ‘blocking’ of acute hospital beds - worth our politicians taking a look at.

2 The obesity crisis - imaginative, clever ways are needed for reaching everyone, adults and children, all ages. Lots of help, plus some incentive required.

3 A&E being overused - A&E should not be used because someone cannot reach a GP. GP surgeries with more than three doctors surely could have one doctor available each day for non-appointments, ie if you need to be seen quickly - turn up and wait (could be advised of a one to one-and-a-half hour window).

4 Early diagnosis of serious conditions is all important. There is, and has been, for many, many years a terrible shortage of radiographers and radiologists. This has to be remedied now. Lots of extra trainees, but trained people encouraged here from elsewhere.

5 Similarly with physiotherapist. Desperately needed to aid number one.

6 Health promotion - a vigorous programme, encouragement and incentive for people to take responsibility, with advice and help for improving and maintaining their own health.

7 A serious acknowledgement by politicians of all colours that social problems are the underlying cause of much ill health. Lack of education and knowledge about good nutrition, being able to afford good basic food, being able to keep warm, access to simple exercise, security of housing, work, income, prolonged stress in all these basic areas can, and often does, lead to mental and physical illness, ie stop ‘medicalising’ social problems. Call them what they are and deal with them as such.

B Skitt, West Heslerton

Save our planet

Fracking just might be in retreat in the UK thanks to increasing public awareness of its contribution to global warming and to the protests both have engendered.

The battle to save the planet has, however, scarcely begun. Despite the climate emergency and fracking moratorium it has been forced to declare, the news that this government through UK Export Finance has agreed to support Argentina’s burgeoning shale industry, using a £1bn fund intended to help UK companies export expertise over a wide area including “green energy and healthcare”, has come as no surprise to those aware of the hypocrisy underlying the principle of ‘greenwashing’.

Government’s support for the industry fuelling climate change has increased over the last year to £2bn, a timeframe within which the fossil fuel companies’ own campaign of greenwashing seems to have hit new heights. It is tempting to conclude that the government has been fooled and that its policies are the result of this campaign, but I fear the truth is more damning, and that our government is playing exactly the same greenwashing game as the industry, sensible as ever to potential profit.

COP 26 in Glasgow next year is designed to produce an international response to the climate emergency. Our government’s hypocritical approach to this will take some explaining to our guests.

David Cragg-James, Stonegrave

Pump plan rejected

THE recommendation to replace the two air polluting portable diesel powered water pumps on Castlegate with permanently installed submersible electric pumps was rejected by all but two Independent members of the policy and resources committee (Cllr Lindsay Burr and myself).

The rest of the committee, who had clearly decided (or had been told) before the meeting to leave common sense at home, voted to continue to allow the pollution of the air on Castlegate with nitrogen dioxide caused by the use of diesel pumps.

We received patronising pats on the head from the North Yorkshire County Council flood liaison officer, who presented us with artificially inflated estimates of the cost of the scheme, which were, even by conservative standards, 10 times greater than the ‘real-world’ costs I have obtained. Members lapped-up the officers’ reports like dishes of warm milk.

The P&R committee voted, without any purposeful or reasonable consideration of the recommendation, to continue poisoning the children and adults of Castlegate and Malton and Norton with nitrogen dioxide.

To add insult to injury, due to political intervention, council is denied the opportunity to overturn this shameful, and probably illegal, decision of the Ryedale District Council policy and resources committee.

Simon Thackray, Brawby