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Recorder letters: Ambulance rating, freezing rail fares and NHS funding

PUBLISHED: 12:30 19 January 2020

The London Ambulance Service was recently rated Good by the CQC. Picture: KEN MEARS

The London Ambulance Service was recently rated Good by the CQC. Picture: KEN MEARS

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

Show gratitude to our 'amazing' ambulance staff

Paul Cooper, Becontree, writes:

London Ambulance Service has recently been rated Good overall but Requires Improvement in some areas by the Care Quality Commission, as reported in the Recorder.

In many key measures (effective, caring, responsive and well-led) it's rated Good but is falling down on a few crucial but fixable points.

Importantly, it seems to suggest that front-line ambulance staff numbers were adequate and staff were well trained and managed.

Therefore, we should not be alarmed because it seems, although important, the problems can be fixed quite quickly.

A quick injection of time and energy to stock take medicine and identify and replace out of date stock should not be problematic - likewise with equipment.

Storing medicine and securing vehicles seems to suggest more care and attention is needed. And a better rota system surely cannot be beyond the wit of the service.

If each area tasked someone with identifying the relevant issues to their area and set about addressing these it would bump all areas up to Good.

With the immense pressures in London - and without further investment - I think we owe the amazing women and men working in this service a huge show of appreciation.

Freezing rail fares proves argument

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly Member for City & East, writes:

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Local people have quite rightly lost patience with continuous rail fare hikes, particularly when many have seen little to no improvement of their services.

The burden on peoples' pockets could surely be lessened, and services improved, if privately operated metro services are devolved into the more capable hands of TfL.

You need only to look at City Hall's decision to freeze TfL fares for the fourth-year running to know that rail devolution could make life that little bit more affordable for London's beleaguered commuters.

Single pay as you go fares and paper single tickets on tube, London Overground and Docklands Light Rail services remain as they did in 2016. So too ticket prices for buses and trams, for Santander Cycle hire and for the Emirates Air Line. Unfortunately, City Hall does not have power to freeze fares on travelcards, because those prices have to be set in agreement with train operating companies and the government.

By the end of next year, this freeze will have saved each London household on average £200, providing a helping hand to those hit by the ever-rising costs of living and the lasting impacts of chronic austerity.

Government must properly fund our NHS

Dr Gary Marlowe, Chairman, BMA London Regional Council, writes:

The recent election saw intense focus on our national health service, and rightly so.

Years of underfunding have pushed the NHS to the limit.

The UK now has the second lowest number of doctors in leading European nations relative to its population, according to research published last month, with waiting times for A&E care, cancer treatment and planned operations now dangerously high. General practice is also experiencing unprecedented pressures as GP numbers continue to fall while patient numbers rise. We, as doctors, will continue to provide the best care possible with the resources at our disposal, however, without adequate investment the NHS will not be sustainable, and patient access to quality care will be reduced to an unacceptable level.

Politicians have promised more money, more staff and more resources, however, there remains concern that the Conservative NHS spending pledges will still lead to a shortfall by 2023/24 of £6.2 billion.

Therefore, we need MPs across London, who have been elected to make our voices heard in Westminster, to hold this government to account over the promises made on the campaign trail, while pushing for further commitments.

It is vital that the government listen to doctors and other health workers and properly back the NHS and its workforce in the long-term - without it we risk patients being seriously let down by the services they and their families depend on.

- To have your opinions published in the Recorder email newsdesk@newhamrecorder.co.uk or write to The Editor, Newham Recorder, 7th Floor, Maritime House, 1 Linton Road, Barking, IG11 8HG.


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