Recorder letters: Arms fair, parking, asthma warning, doctors and childhood obesity

PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 August 2017


Demonstration outside previous Arms Fair at ExCel. Picture: KEN MEARS

Join protest against arms fair

Marg Behrman, full address supplied, writes:

Many people will be shocked to learn that ExCeL Exhibition Centre in East London’s Docklands is yet again due to host the world’s biggest arms fair (DSEI) this September.

Over 30,000 arms dealers will be made welcome at this highly profitable event which promotes the sale of bombs, missiles, guns, tanks ,drones, riot control equipment. Those attending will include delegates from some of the worst human rights abusing states.

No thought is given as to where these deadly weapons may end up and how many innocent lives in other parts of the world will be lost and damaged as a consequence of the sales.

Meanwhile badly needed funds will be diverted from health care, education and welfare to pay for these lethal products.

It is urgent that we make our protest heard and stop the arms fair from taking place in east London or anywhere else. For more info: Campaign against Arms Fairs and East London Against Arms Fairs.

We take parking rules seriously

Cllr Pat Murphy, mayoral adviser for environment, writes:

I would like to reassure the unnamed Plaistow resident (Your Opinions) that we take the parking of large vehicles in our resident zones very seriously. We thank him or her for bringing the matter to our attention.

Any resident who sees a permit displayed in a vehicle they suspect to be oversized can report it to our enforcement officers or directly to the council.

We need to know the location and the vehicle registration number. The more detail we have, the better, but please avoid any confrontation with the keeper of the vehicle.

Our parking operations team contacts the keeper and that person has two weeks to prove that it complies with the size criteria permitted by the parking permit. The vehicle must not exceed 2.3 metres in height and/or 5.3 metres in length. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check the vehicle’s dimensions before applying for a permit.

If we find a vehicle exceeds the above dimensions we cancel the permit. If we then see it parked and displaying the cancelled permit during the operational hours of the zone, we issue a penalty charge notice.

The same rules apply to visitor parking vouchers and the dimensions of the vehicle also applies to business permits.

I hope this clarifies the matter.

Spot asthma early warning signs

Sonia Munde, head of Helpline and nurse manager at Asthma UK, writes:

The school summer holiday is sadly coming to an end, and now that children are going back to school it’s important that parents of children with asthma keep an eye out for the early warning signs of an asthma attack.

Children are at a much greater risk of having an asthma attack when they’re back at school, partly due to exposure to triggers such as cold and flu viruses. In fact, the latest hospital admissions data showed children were 1.7 times more likely to be rushed to hospital following an asthma attack in September than in August.

Every 10 seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK, and three people die from asthma every day, so it’s important for parents to spot the signs of an asthma attack early. You should book an urgent appointment with the GP or asthma nurse if your child is: using their reliever inhaler (usually blue) more than three times a week; coughing or wheezing at night; feeling out of breath and struggling to keep up with their friends.

Parents who have any concerns about their child’s asthma can speak to our expert nurses by calling the Asthma UK Helpline on 0300 222 5800 (Mon-Fri; 9am-5pm), and can find more information on how to protect their child when they’re back in school this August by visiting our website

Action needed on overseas doctors

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, British Medical Association junior doctor committee chair and GP trainee in London, writes:

Whilst the announcement by the NHS to launch a new pilot in North East London to recruit more GPs from overseas will provide some much-needed relief for general practice in the short term, it does not go far enough to address the recruitment crisis underpinning general practice

Overseas doctors make a valuable contribution to the NHS and will undoubtedly alleviate some of the pressure on general practice in the region as staff shortages have left many practices struggling to provide enough appointments and services to the public.

Yet despite repeated promises from the government, the latest figures show only a marginal increase of barely one per cent in the GP workforce in England and many that do work in the NHS are considering quitting the profession as the added stress of working under increasing pressure takes its toll. To turn around this desperate situation, and both attract doctors trained in the UK as well as from overseas, the government must take urgent steps to reduce the unsafe workload burden carried by GPs and support them throughout their career so as to encourage them to stay before GP services are pushed to the brink of collapse.

Increase activity to tackle obesity

Steve Chambers, policy and research coordinator, Living Streets, writes:

Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health threats that the UK faces and a year on from the Government’s published childhood obesity strategy we are no closer to having a solution to the problem.

We agree with Cancer Research UK; more needs to be done. The recent announcement announcement on cracking down on calories in popular foods is something, but it’s not the whole picture.

What about the amount of physical activity our children are getting each day? The recommended amount is 60 minutes but just one in five are achieving this.

The Obesity Strategy refers to the recently published Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. But this only commits to increasing the number of primary school children normally walking to school to 55 per cent. Although an increase, it’s a small one. We want to see more ambitious targets around increasing everyday physical activity in our young children so that more are walking and learning vital lifetime healthy habits.

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