Gazette letters: Whittington doctors’ strike, Ecuador earthquake and bus safety

Doctors striking outside The Whittington. Left, Cllr Caroline Russell

Doctors striking outside The Whittington. Left, Cllr Caroline Russell - Credit: Supplied

The decision to continue with this week’s junior doctors’ strikes was not taken lightly, writes Cllr Caroline Russell, Islington Green Party.

People go into medicine because they want to treat patients and not to stand on a picket line to protect their jobs and patient safety. It is wrong that they have been forced to this point by the obstinate approach of the health secretary.

The government must change the way it treats our NHS and reopen negotiations with the junior doctors. A caring health secretary would put forward a contract that is fair and works for staff and patients alike.

Until then, I will continue to stand in solidarity with these NHS staff.

Industrial action is a last resort. The junior doctors I spoke to on Tuesday morning outside The Whittington were striking with a heavy heart. They just want Jeremy Hunt to talk to them and were ready to call off this action if he drops his insistence on imposing a new contract.

It’s welcome news that senior doctors covered emergency and life-saving care this week but this situation cannot continue. The government is risking patient safety and is simply attacking a hard-working, highly skilled workforce with its bullying and disrespectful attitude towards the junior doctors. It has to stop.

After the devastating events in our beautiful Ecuador, families are in desperate need of help and resources, writes S Alexandra M Sanchez, Quill Street, Islington.

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Although we are miles away, let’s show our solidarity as a community and come together to bless and help those in need.

I am looking to put a group of people together who can spare some time to organise this. It can be all kinds of help from helping with ideas to helping organise how the help is received by those in need in Ecuador.

Please – let’s all come together here in the UK.

Can we please find out what we may need to start fundraising, or what we need to do in order to share and gather as much help as possible?

I hope to hear from you soon through the Islington Gazette.

Editor’s note: If you are interested in helping, please e-mail me and I will put you in touch with Ms Sanchez:

The NHS has to change to continue to exist, so the junior doctors’ disagreement with central government could be viewed in a different light, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

For example, should the government have aspirations to contract out the service in the future at a reduced cost for the taxpayer, then it is economically logical to have doctors working a “time exposure” contract, in opposition to a system where they work the same job but get enhanced payments for different days. We live 24/7 – this is dictated by the capitalist machine we subscribe to live by.

In truth, have you ever seen a starving doctor? They are the privileged.

Clearly, central government aspires to hold down the costs. It is their job. New Labour may be the source of current conditioning as they gave doctors a blank cheque. The National Health Service is caving in economically so if the new contract annoys some junior doctors but saves the NHS then it is the only option.

It is a good one for the people who need it: weak, vulnerable, ill, the people who cannot afford private healthcare like doctors and politicians – the well heeled.

The hilarity, or hypocrisy, of the scenario is that politicians control their own guaranteed pay rise, and have their reduced food and drink at the House of Commons.

Meanwhile, other members of society are busy heading to the bank – the foodbank, that is.

The standard response of the council spokesman to [Rebecca Bruce’s bus collision – see p9] reminds me of the time, years ago, when I was told that pedestrians were the cause of accidents at the junction of Offord and Thornhill Roads, N1, and that as there hadn’t been any fatalities there was no case to install a zebra-crossing, writes Meg Howarth, Ellington Street, Islington.

The request had been made after my then five-year-old daughter and I had almost been hit by a car speeding out of Thornhill and turning east into Offord. We were on our way to primary school. Anyone familiar with the area will know that a pedestrian crossing is now in place.

Alas, it was several years before common sense was applied to this dangerous busy junction.

Last Friday more than 170 countries signed up to the Paris climate change agreement, a record number for a new international treaty and a historic step forward for the planet, writes Andrew Myer, Islington Green Party, Horsell Road, Islington.

But now there’s just the small matter of all those nations actually putting their money where their mouth is.

On the same day I was at a building industry conference in Brighton about energy in housing. Experts laid out how many millions of our homes need improvement if we’re to meet the government’s long-term targets for carbon reduction. Unfortunately, at the same conference the speaker from the Department of Energy and Climate Change made it clear the Tories have no real strategy in place to start the move towards lower carbon housing.

It is still possible to make improvements at a local level. Elected Greens on the London Assembly have persuaded previous mayors to fund the retrofitting of more than 100,000 homes; Sian Berry is committed, if elected, to rolling out an insulation programme to a million London homes.