EU recruitment

WITH the Budget day due sometime soon, and the current controversy about immigration controls, I hope the Chancellor Rishi Sunak will get the message that the number of EU workers filling jobs in the UK is entirely our own fault.

Not, I hasten to add for letting them in, but for so crippling our education system that we have a large reservoir of young people not qualified or motivated for university education, and failed by the crippling cuts to and second class status of further education colleges.

If they were able to accommodate students not suited to the academic bias of traditional sixth forms, we would have a motivated generation of practically trained, numerate and literate young workers able to fill the thousands of vacancies that already exist prior to the imposition of post Brexit migration controls.

Every single foreign worker that we recruit represents the UK freeloading on the superior education and training available in their home countries, and we should be ashamed of ourselves especially when nurses, for example, are recruited from countries where their need for primary healthcare is even more acute than ours.

Even before Brexit, we had been forced by austerity cuts into becoming a nation where we cannot protect our people from crime, ill health, old age, homelessness, infirmity and ignorance.

I seem to remember that these were the dragons that the Beveridge Report sought to slaughter.

Christopher Purser, Sowerby

NHS support

VERY well said Geoff Cousins (D&S Times letters, Feb 28). The NHS is not in a dire state as Mr Wilmington suggested the other week.

It certainly faces difficulties (the spread of the coronavirus being just the latest and most pressing matter) which we are all aware of but trying to engender a sense of panic is not in anyone's interests and is bad for the morale of NHS staff who Mr Wilmington tries to suggest he supports.

Like Mr Cousins, I come across countless examples of excellent treatment received locally from GPs, therapists and in our local hospital, the Friarage, which despite what some people might suggest is actually going from strength to strength.

The changes to hip and knee surgery you reported last week are just another example of the improvements there.

Rory Browne, Northallerton

Struggling NHS

GEOFF COUSINS (D&S Times letters, Feb 28) criticises my exposition of the plight of the NHS. He says I am scaremongering.

I reject that. I stand by every word I said.

Did he read the letter from Mr Graham (D&S Times letters, Feb 14) explaining the terrible situation he and his wife experienced?

Did he miss the several media reports this last week about critical situations in the NHS?

We agree on the high quality and dedication of NHS staff. He should remember though that medical professionals cannot openly complain. When a GP phoned us at 8pm the other evening, should she still have been working? Or another one who went in at 6am to keep on top of the paper work before his surgery?

Mr Cousins says we should expect medical staff to work hard. He should keep in mind that, like everyone else, they can and do make mistakes. Working too hard, for too long, can lead to that.

I recently made a GP appointment. The wait was two and a half weeks.

My wife waited an hour beyond her appointment time to see her GP, such was her workload.

At a time when local populations expand, often with elderly people, funding to GPs in real terms has dramatically shrunk in recent years. NHS staff are doing their utmost to cope. They try to keep cheery.

Then there is the outpatient situation. Pray not to get an appointment well down the list at a busy clinic. The waiting time will probably be well beyond your appointment, such is the demand on the clinicians needing to see so many patients.

I am towards the end of a two and a half month wait for an outpatient appointment for a serious condition.

I wouldn’t struggle to find patients who are in a far worse plight.

Mr Cousins accepts that the NHS faces challenges to find enough doctors and nurses to cope, and more money is needed. He says that money is on its way. If recent history is anything to go by, I would advise him not to hold his breath. There is in excess of 43,000 nurse vacancies alone in the NHS (Nursing Times).

Doctors are retiring early and otherwise leaving the profession because of workloads.

I am glad that Mr Cousins had a good experience.

He is not unique, but there are far too many cases very much otherwise in terms of waiting.

Mervyn Wilmington, Harmby, Leyburn

Rural policing

WITH reference to the article "Police car cuts trigger rural community fears" (D&S Times, Feb 28).

No amount of tinkering with the number of police vehicles will solve the problems in rural policing.

Crime of all types is rising because there are too few police officers working on the ground.

Towns , like Hawes, surely warrant a fully functioning police office let alone the occasional almost mythical sighting of a single officer.

Timothy Wood, Guisborough

Richmond School

I AM not normally someone who writes to newspapers but I was so disappointed to read a comment made by our MP in his article in last week’s D&S Times (Feb 28).

He was talking about Northallerton College “entering a new era with it being managed by the academy trust which has made such a success of Richmond and Stokesley Schools.” I am not sure what he means by success.

I am sure the academy trust does a good job, but in my opinion Richmond School has always been an excellent school. I taught there back in the late 70s, our three children were educated there during the 90s, I know staff and students who work there now.

The school has always served the young people from the very top of Swaledale, to those who live in the surrounding villages and Richmond itself, to the very best of its ability.

Its success is based on the young people and their parents working closely with the staff, not necessarily because it has become part of an academy.

Jan McManners, Richmond

Waste guilt

WE are constantly made to feel guilty about how much waste we produce and the pollution caused by our modern lifestyles.

We try to make the right choices and do our best to reduce, reuse and recycle where we can.

We all question our impacts upon the environment like plastic found in the oceans and waste dumped on Third World countries.

But as consumers, we are being led down the garden path and made to feel culpable; we are being deceived into feeling this blame.

Enough is enough.

Responsibility for Waste lies squarely with the producers or the retailers of the products that create the waste.

They have sold us their products and they have to take ownership and pay for disposal of their product waste when it reaches the end of its life.

It is wrong for the blame to be shifted down the line and be placed upon the consumer.

There is some regulation in place already that addresses larger products with greater, more toxic environmental impacts like the End of Life Vehicle Regs – car manufacturers have to take back, break-up and dispose of their products. No more burnt out vehicles littering the streets.

And the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment Regs – fridges, televisions, mobile phones, vacuums all get recycled with the cost going back to the producer.

This makes/encourages/forces them to design their products so they have less harmful impacts and are cheaper and easier to recycle at the end of their life.

The packaging regulations state that if a company’s activities produce/use a certain amount of cardboard etc. then they have to take back a similar amount (50 tonnes?).

This is why supermarkets provide recycling facilities for cardboard, plastic and glass, not out of the goodness of their hearts.

We need a national campaign and the introduction of general municipal waste regulations because there is still far too much general municipal waste produced that cannot easily be recycled and is disposed of to landfill – think of single use plastics (sachets, straws), clothes, mattresses etc.

The economics of general municipal waste are skewed and distorted so that producers get away with passing responsibility down the line to consumers, and local councils end up having to deal with our recycling, which ultimately falls back to us the taxpayers to pay for.

This must change and we must force the producers, retailers and supermarkets to take back and deal with the waste packaging and products that they have designed, manufactured and sold to us.

Maybe we could keep supermarket receipts and save our non-recyclable waste ready for return to the retailer.

Very quickly I believe we would see a massive reduction in municipal waste with innovative solutions that are better for the environment, save resources and rest more easily upon our consciousness.

Kevin Stewart, Richmond

A66 dualling

WITH the greatest of respect to Daphne Clarke (D&S Times letters, Feb 28) and her comments about our MP and his appointment as Chancellor, can I point out that the upgrading of the A66 to dual carriageway has already been agreed (which Mr Sunak argued for when he was a backbench MP) and, following the consultation on the route options last summer, work is underway.

Juliet Kingdom, Melsonby

He's everywhere

I HAVE counted Rishi Sunak’s appearance in eight separate articles in this week’s D&S Times. Mr Sunak has the ability to get where water can’t – or indeed where many politicians can no longer be.

Sarah Jane Bryson, St Helen Auckland

Teacher perils

I RECENTLY had a hernia operation. A member of the theatre team (in his 50s) approached and said, “I know you”.

“I’m sorry”, I said, “I’m afraid I can’t place you”.

“Oh, I know you alright” he replied, with a hint of menace. “You gave me the cane at school.”

(Remember the good old days!) “Surely never!” said I. “You did”, said he, “And I’m the anaesthetist!”

The injection for the epidural felt that a twelve inch bayonet thrust – a fitting quid pro quo for all those years of joyful school days memory.

During the actual operation, I heard the anaesthetist's colleague (surgeon) comment “Hey, come and have a look at this, that’ll have to come out”

They never said what it was.

But my hearing aid disappeared a week before and I’m still searching for it.

Michael Baldasera, Darlington

Virus panic

Millennium bug - we are all doomed. Swine flu - we are all doomed. SARS err yes - doomed. Brexit - no Marmite doomed. See a pattern here?

The media can never resist ramping up a problem into a crisis and then into a world class disaster. Forward and centre stands the much revered (by the BBC) spectre of Brexit in the shape of Laura Kuenssberg “are we all going to die of the Coronavirus Prime Minister?”

Ye Gods, and I was just getting used to putting the TV on again after her regular Brexit media diatribes caused me to switch the TV news off.

Now I have fallen back on replaying recorded episodes of The Sweeney and Minder for the fourth time. Have we all gone soft?

Anyway I can’t stop, I must race over to the shops to clear the shelves of toilet rolls before global panic sets in. It says it will in the papers!

Chris Greenwell, Darlington.