Reader letters of the week: NHS 111 service, Norwich roundabouts, the BBC and gun legislation
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Here are some of the best reader letters we have seen so far this week, you can join the discussion by commenting below.
•Would better education have saved the life of William?
Monday February 1
Whimpwell Green, Happisburgh.
I am becoming increasingly cynical about the 'meaningless apology syndrome'. G4S, for one, many areas of the NHS, and transport providers; the railways in particular seem to be regular 'offenders'. Most apologies seem to me to be forced, shallow and, I suspect, of little comfort to the intended recipients.
Actions count for more. Put your money where your mouth is, I say.
- 1 Screams of daughter run over by her dad heard by murder jury
- 2 Vehicles worth £50k stolen from Royal Norfolk Show
- 3 New fishing tackle shop has 'amazing opening day'
- 4 Couple who transformed old mill into unique new home put it up for sale
- 5 New headteacher appointed at village high school
- 6 Plans for 13 new homes near historic former railway line
- 7 Former professional dressage rider died in four-vehicle motorcycle crash
- 8 New sites for gypsies and travellers proposed in Norwich area
- 9 Primary school left without governors after mass walkout
- 10 Man killed 96-year-old bystander in road rage crash
However, the tragic death of a 12-month-old toddler, William Mead, appallingly let down by GPs and the NHS 111 service, should certainly warrant more than an apology. Unfortunately, it is clear that throughout the NHS there are medical practitioners who are in ignorance of some rare diseases. And this seems to apply in our hospitals, our GP surgeries and in the call handling centres which operate the 111 service and yet these diseases are often life-threatening or life-limiting. Frankly, that isn't good enough and no apology can ever compensate.
Motorists who are found guilty of transgressing certain rules of the Highway Code can attend a voluntary awareness course as part of their penalty. Why then isn't it the case that doctors, GPs, or any other medical professionals who have clearly displayed any 'awareness gap' are not required to attend awareness workshops to remedy the situation?
Let's remember, these people make life and death decisions. Poor William Mead yesterday, you tomorrow? Ignorance is dangerous. If you are unaware of the facts surrounding William's demise, then investigate them and ask yourself whether, with better education, he might just have been saved. That would surely be better than a meaningless apology after the event.
•Roundabout changes are good, but transport chiefs must be more bold
Tuesday February 2
TC Right to Ride Network regional representative for eastern England,
Dell Road, Oulton Broad.
I write with reference to the report (EDP January 20) on the proposed improvements for cyclists on the Catton Grove roundabout.
It is unfortunate Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council cannot do what they would ideally like but it is encouraging both are thinking in those terms.
As I do not live in Norwich I acknowledge I am commenting without the benefit of a 'site visit.' However, it is probably fair to say that what they propose instead is doing the best they can in the circumstances, at least for less 'traffic confident' cyclists and for encouraging those to cycle who won't for that reason.
That said, I agree with the points raised by Norwich Cycling Campaign, particularly that making the middle of the roundabout smaller, encourages faster driving round it. It means drivers will potentially be driving faster coming off the roundabout where cyclists will re-join the road. It would also be discouraging adherence to the 20mph speed limit.
One gets the feeling that while there is a desire to help cycling it is accompanied by a niggling concern about upsetting drivers just a bit too much. I urge members and officers to resolve to be braver.
With regard cyclists having to re-join the road, there is an ironic unfortunate logic to the fact that some of the worst accident spots for cyclists are where off-road facilities end and cyclists have to re-join the road. It is partly why CTC policy is that the priority should be to see if the actual road environment can be improved. What the councils originally wanted was just that.
That said, there are often involved 'ifs and buts' in debates about road safety measures. It could be argued that even with the original proposal cyclists would be coming off the roundabout suddenly unsegregated from motor traffic.
Overall however, it would still have been better. The segregated facility would mean that on leaving the roundabout the road positioning of motor vehicles would be more likely to be such as to be giving cyclists the proper amount of space. Also, it would help drivers to register that cyclists are actually on the road. In the circumstances I suggest prominent signs advising drivers that cyclists are re-joining the road.
•Anything good has to be paid for, and the BBC is good value
Wednesday February 3
Cedar Avenue, Spixworth,
Mr G R Bond, (Letters, January 30) exemplifies a commonly-held view, much espoused by politicians – that you can enjoy a public service without paying for it.
He bemoans the absence of many live sports from our BBC Television screens, while at the same time pointing out that people over 75 are given 'free' TV licences. They are not free, of course, but have until recently been paid for out of general taxation by the government.
George Osborne has now required the BBC to pay for these by providing free licences to the over 75s, which he sees as a great result for the Treasury, saving it some £650m, but in consequence depriving the corporation of this amount which could have been used to retain some of the kinds of programmes Mr Bond would like to see. As the provision of free licences to the over-75s was originally part of governmental policy – rather as it also used to fund the BBC World Service, whose cost has also been thrown back on the corporation – then, as I see it, the fact that the government has decided that it will not fund the policy beyond 2016, means it should simply stop, and over-75s be returned to the mainstream of licence payers.
Television, thanks to the very expensive paradigm pushed by Sky, which has always seemed determined to outbid the much poorer terrestrial broadcasters, is a competitive market place, and unless the government gives the BBC a non-exclusive right to the principal sporting events, matters are only likely to worsen.
We are fortunate that for less than £2.50 a week, we have the choice of some half-dozen TV channels...local and national radio, and several excellent orchestras, together with the promenade concerts, which no other terrestrial broadcaster has so far seen fit to compete with – with the laudable exception of Classic FM. Anyone who has had to endure American television will know how soul-destroying it is. Watching programmes which are interrupted every five minutes for some mindless 'word from our sponsor'. Long may the BBC avoid having to take advertising.
Thursday February 4
Silfield Road, Wymondham.
I was most saddened and angry to read of Rory, the pet cat, being shot by a pellet gun near Bellrope Close in Wymondham (EDP, January 30). If identified, the perpetrator of this cowardly and thuggish act should be named, shamed and made to pay the vet's bill.
Although legislation on air guns was tightened several years ago it needs to be further strengthened.
For example, no person under 18 should be allowed to handle such weapons on public or private ground, but nowadays with irresponsible 'cowboys' about who'll shoot indiscriminately at anything that moves other action to control air gun usage needs to be taken.
All air guns should be licensed in England as, I believe, they are in Scotland.
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