Recorder letters: NHS staff, back to school, renters, BHF, Step-up for charity, ME support

PUBLISHED: 12:30 31 May 2020

Mental health support must be given to all NHS staff. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Images

Mental health support must be given to all NHS staff. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

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

Focus on NHS staff mental health

Dr Gary Marlowe, chairman, British Medical Association (BMA), London Regional, writes:

Covid-19 has undoubtedly put a huge strain on the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. It has greatly exacerbated the challenges staff faced before the pandemic and now it is adding significant new ones.

Many doctors have experienced a significant rise in their workload and have had to deal with the added anxiety of concerns over PPE and their own safety while delivering care on the frontline during the pandemic. It is unacceptable that 48 per cent of frontline workers in London are carrying this burden.

The NHS must step up its mental health support offer to all staff in London during and after this pandemic. Supporting the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of the workforce must be a top priority for the NHS for the long-term.

I won’t risk my child at school

A Newham parent, writes:

I will not send my year one child to school in June.

I won’t put my child’s life in danger, I would prefer to withdraw my child from school and do homeschooling.

Renters must be treated fairly

Sian Berry, Green Party London Assembly member, writes:

I’m really worried that we are going to see more and more people flowing onto the streets as they cannot pay their debts. The mayor said this is already happening and homelessness charities have said they are “busier than ever”.

The mayor’s advocacy on behalf of London’s renters has not included asking rent arrears built up in the months of the crisis to be forgiven. He supported renters and argued against evictions today, but I am so disappointed that he maintained his position that renters’ debt should remain in place for years after this. That is fundamentally wrong.

The correct principle is not for renters to bear the burden of the crisis for years into the future.

Instead, government should provide support for small landlords who are in need due to lost income, in the same way it has for other small businesses. I put this proposal to the minister for London


I hope the mayor changes his mind and joins me and housing campaigners to press the government to treat London’s renters fairly and prevent thousands of us from struggling with debt for years into the future.

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BHF has extended its services

Maureen Talbot, head of clinical support, British Heart Foundation, writes:

Heart disease is one of the most common pre-existing health conditions in people who have died with Covid-19.

The uncertainty of the situation means we can’t answer every question, but we can often reassure people who might feel anxious and provide information and support specific to their condition.

Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen an unprecedented demand for this service. In response we’ve extended our Helpline opening hours, added to its specialist nursing team and launched an appeal to help us continue providing this service.

If you’re feeling unwell or concerned about your heart condition, it’s still vital that you use NHS services as you always would.

However, our team of nurses are available if you’re trying to understand what the pandemic means for you or the health of a loved one.

To contact the BHF’s Heart Helpline call 0300 330 3311 or email

Step up to help cancer charity

Joe Gray, England and Harlequins rugby player, c/o Bowel Cancer UK, writes:

I’m absolutely delighted to be a patron of Bowel Cancer UK and to be supporting their fundraising campaign Step up for 30.

Sport is obviously a huge part of my life and in these uncertain times exercise is a wonderful way to improve your mental and physical health.

It’s really simple to take part in Step up for 30, just get active each day throughout June and ask people to sponsor you. There are lots of creative and easy ways you can get active throughout the month without any equipment or in and around your home.

Every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s over 42,000 people every year.

But with the money raised through events like Step up for 30, Bowel Cancer UK can continue to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer.

• What are you waiting for? Sign up today visit:

We’re here to help if you have ME

Sonya Chowdhury, chief executive, Action for ME, writes:

To those reading who already live with ME, we know that living under “lockdown” thanks to chronic and often disabling symptoms is nothing new.

Action for ME’s Crisis, Advocacy and Support Service can help source practical local assistance, and advocate for health and social care needs, as well as offering comprehensive information and support to manage ME.

• Please call on 0117 927 9551 or email and we will do what we can.

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