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Recorder letters: TB in Newham, older working women and wildlife

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 October 2017

Newham no longer has the highest TB rates in London.

Newham no longer has the highest TB rates in London.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

No longer the worst area for TB

Cllr Clive Furness, mayoral advisor for health, writes:

I am putting metaphorical pen to paper in response to Elwin Cockett’s piece in last week’s Recorder. Your readers might be interested to note that Newham does not have ‘the highest TB rates in England’.

In 2011, before Public Health came back within the purview of the local authority there were some 119 active cases of TB per 100,000 members of the population. This equated to 370 people with active TB identified during the course of the year.

With Public Health the responsibility of the local authority the incidence of active TB became a priority. We worked closely with NHS Newham (the CCG) and Newham GPs to design and implement a TB screening programme that has become an exemplar that has been spread across London and the country by the NHS.

Alongside the clinical screening programme, Newham Council has addressed the social factors that cause people to be susceptible to TB.

The most comprehensive licencing and enforcement programme in the country has resulted in a major improvement in the quality of private sector housing in the borough; Newham’s job brokerage scheme, Workplace has meant that over 30,000 of Newham’s unemployed residents have found work.

The result of this has been that the incidence of active TB in Newham has been cut from 119 per 100,000 to 54, this equated to 191 individuals in 2016, a little over half the 2011 figure.

Newham is the only borough in London to have shown a decrease each and every year, and whilst we have some way to go to meet the London average of about 26 cases per 100,000 we are on the right trajectory.

For the first time in over two decades, in 2016, Newham ceased to have the worst TB figures in the country.

Support older woman in work

Sally Newland, Old Age Rage Page, writes:

I would like to raise the issue of the number of women, including myself, who have been treated so unfairly because of the change in pension age.

When I started work in 1972 I was expecting to retire at 60. I understand that men have always had to work until they were 65 and this was not a position of equality.

However when they started work in the early 1970s they knew that they would not retire until 65 so for them there has only be a real increase of one or two years in what they had expected. For women this has been an increase of at least six years more that they expected.

One possibly unexpected result of this governmental increase in the working age is that there is no enforced action to ensure that employers have a distinct policy to ensure that people of a certain age are not forced out of their professional roles years before they are at a pensionable age and then rejected again when applying for a new but similar role.

Many highly experienced women are unable to secure a job at their original or higher level once they reach 55 and over.

At an age when life should be getting easier this generation of 60 plus have to work for an extra six or seven years to end up with nothing extra when they retire.

I have consulted with many women of a similar age and from the same generation as me. There are those who hit the magic number of 60 just a few years ago and received their full state pension, paid no more National Insurance contributions if they continued working and if applicable received their workplace pension.

There are others who became reliant on their state pension and also got help with their rent, utilities and council tax.

Then there are the ones that have been forced from their well paid jobs years before they can claim their state pension ; using underhand tactics that range from subtle undermining of their confidence down to full-on downright bullying.

I have come to terms with the fact that I have to work for an extra six years, but cannot accept the fact that I do not seem to get offered jobs that I am well qualified or even over qualified for.

I am considering starting a campaign to ensure that all employers have to prove that they are not discriminating against older workers.

There could be league tables for employers who can present data to demonstrate that they do employ older workers. I know that there is one retail chain that specialises in employing those of retirement age or older. At least then you would have an idea what companies to apply to!

Until all companies, both private and public, are made to be more accountable, then many women of my generation are becoming ‘lost’ in the work force. Many of our MPs and GPs are over retirement age and still commanding high salaries; age doesn’t seem to have the same impact on their ability to get high wages. It should therefore go without saying that we, as women under pension age, should be allowed to gain /continue in employment in a range of jobs and professions and to be paid accordingly until we reach that magic number of 66, 67 or is it 70?

Protect wildlife on fundraising day

Andy Murray OBE, tennis players, writes:

Since 1970, wildlife populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles around the world have more than halved (58 per cent), and sadly at a rate that shows no sign yet of slowing down.

This isn’t just an issue impacting the rest of the world – in the UK, many of our own species are witnessing a shocking decline in numbers, with many at risk of extinction.

That’s why, as a WWF global ambassador and a parent, I’m asking everyone to come together and Wear It Wild on Friday, October 20, 2017 to help WWF protect our precious wildlife and their habitats.

For the third year, WWF is challenging the nation to Wear It Wild and don animal-inspired fancy dress and raise money.

As little as £5 can help train sniffer dogs to track down tiger poachers. £20 can help researchers better understand the impact of climate change on wildlife like polar bears. While, £120 could pay for a camera to help monitor wild giant pandas.

Everyone can take part in Wear It Wild on Friday, October 20. Simply visit: wwf.org.uk/wearitwild, dress up and donate to help protect our planet and its wildlife.

Don’t forget to share #WearItWild so we can see what you have planned.

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