Stop knocking May
Sir: I find this knocking of Theresa May increasingly depressing (‘Theresa’s choice’, 3 February). She has a terrible job which she was dropped into when David Cameron resigned. She was a Remainer, yet she is expected to steer the UK through the Brexit process of leaving the EU with no experience, as it has never happened before. She needs all the support she can get, so please give it to her. No one wants her job right now anyway.
My NHS experience
Sir: I am very glad to hear that Mr Hawkes has had better experiences in NHS hospitals than I did (Letters, 3 February). Perhaps in leafy Bucks there are private hospitals which compete with their NHS counterparts, unlike in this part of the world. Incidentally, I have had a letter from my MP with a consent form giving him permission to speak to the head of the NHS hospital trust to which the hospital I described belongs. With the editor’s permission, I will report back.
I also had no intention of implying that use of a Zimmer frame implies mental senility. I have one myself, which I keep beside my bed to hang my litter stick and electronic bed control on.
Scotby Village, Carlisle
Sir: I was interested in Elizabeth Roberts’s account of the horrors of her week in hospital (‘Admission of failure’, 27 January). I too spent an unplanned eight nights in hospital over Christmas. Mine was in Zams, Austria — the result of my father telling me to ‘man up’ in response to complaints of a prolonged stomach ache. I collapsed with acute appendicitis soon after.
My experience, in contrast to hers, began with a new ambulance, which arrived for free (courtesy of a European Health Insurance card). I was offloaded into a near empty A&E department at 9.45 p.m. on 21 December. I was given an ultrasound in 15 minutes and operated on within the hour, before being dispatched to a single room with an ensuite bathroom. As for cleanliness — I could have very happily eaten my breakfast off the floor. All the nurses were charming and gave every appearance of really caring about their hospital and patients. My parents had not waved a credit card. This service would be provided to all. It is true that the total bill for my stay was €3,400 (which was met by our travel insurance) but this was sent on to my parents in due course.
In a world where the zeitgeist is about the angst created by inequality, the UK needs urgent investment in its health system. Otherwise it will become the lesser among equals when compared to its European counterparts.
Hector Tyser (aged 14)
Farming ain’t broke
Sir: Writing as one who has been in farming for more than 60 years, I would like to make the following points (Letters, 27 January). Firstly, Sir James Dyson runs an extremely efficient and beneficial enterprise for the nation, and his investment is a model one compared with many rich men who place their money offshore. Secondly, land in Britain is still cheap when one realises one acre has much the same value as one Bitcoin. And thirdly, most farmers make a large contribution to the maintenance of the landscape and the rural economy, while producing high-quality food. Coincidentally, food in Britain is considerably cheaper than food in China. All of this adds up to the current system that works well — so why try to fix it?
Sir: Mary Wakefield’s telling article reveals the dreadful shortcomings in the UN (‘Why hasn’t the #MeToo gang exposed the UN?’, 27 January). How can it be made accountable? Surely a start can be made by the women who currently occupy the positions of special envoy to UNHCR and the UN women’s goodwill ambassador.
Sir: One message of the film Darkest Hour is, as Charles Moore observes, ‘that it is sometimes both possible and necessary, if continental Europe is going one way, for Britain to go the other’ (The Spectator’s Notes, 3 February). Members of the audience may recall that, four years after the events the film portrays, Britain, still under Churchill’s leadership, spent some effort and blood in getting back there.
A veteran vet
Sir: Not wishing to bring the wrath of the British Veterinary Association upon my head, I instead confine myself to facts (Real life, 27 January). Some three years ago, I took our treasured 12-year-old dachshund to the vet for advice about her mounting age-related ailments. A young vet examined her and listed a series of expensive treatments which I might consider, though ‘no pressure’. I sought a second opinion from another vet, hoping to gain his opinion before his imminent retirement. This gentleman also examined the dog equally thoroughly; his advice, ‘Do nothing, let her live on. You will know when the right moment has come for action.’ My point? Neither vet was in any way wrong. One, surely more conscious of the litigious nature of so many clients nowadays, understandably followed the protocols he had been taught. The other, from a less litigious age and with a wealth of experience, gave advice based on the latter. Our dog lived on until last June, when she was painlessly put to sleep, nibbling a biscuit to the end.
BVA — please don’t be so prickly.
Storrington, West Sussex