Letters, Monday, June 29, 2015

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Help to shape the future

Leaders in the North are being called upon to shape the future of the region’s economy by contributing to the development of a Great North Plan, capable of delivering a Northern Powerhouse.

 The collaboration between IPPR North and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is inviting businesses, planners, academics, local councils, civil society groups – indeed, anyone living or working in the region – to share their thoughts about whether we need a Great North Plan and their ideas about what it should be.

 The consultation is in response to the perceived need for a new form of framework for the region.

 The North needs infrastructure projects capable of genuinely transforming the region’s economy as it makes the journey from an industrial past to a more connected future.

 Investing in infrastructure is essential to competing in the global economy and driving economic growth.

 The Government’s focus on the Northern Powerhouse means the region has a unique opportunity to shape its destiny and tip the balance in the North’s favour.

 Our partnership with the RTPI will help influence this thinking, and we would urge the best and brightest minds to put their proposals forward.

Ed Cox,

Director at IPPR North

Need action to save NHS

For the sake of every single one of our patients across Sunderland and the rest of the UK, it’s time for the Government to get real over the crisis facing the NHS.

 At our annual conference, doctors raised concerns that the unprecedented and increasing pressure on doctors, alongside the Government’s focus on budget cuts, is affecting patient care, and having an impact on doctor’s wellbeing.

 A recent BMA survey showed that nine out of 10 GPs feel their heavy workload has negatively impacted on the quality of patient services, and a third of doctors consider themselves to be suffering from, or have suffered from, burnout.

 Politicians continue to tell us how much they treasure the NHS, yet they keep making unachievable promises to win favour and headlines.

 The Government had promised 5,000 additional GPs by 2020. We challenged this unrealistic figure on the basis that general practice is already in a recruitment and retention crisis. The Government has now climbed down and admitted this is a maximum it might achieve.

 It has pledged to expand services, though without any convincing detail or costing, and its pledge to fund increased demand in the NHS properly turns out to be £8bn a year by 2020 when all agree the deficit is £30bn.

 Patients and NHS staff don’t need unrealistic promises; we need clear plans, with clear funding for matching demand and delivering improvements.

Mark Porter,

Chairman of council,

British Medical Association