Get to bed
IT is a pity that your contributor, Tina Holland, did not just take to her bed instead of bothering her GP. If those with flu-like symptoms just took to their bed, the NHS would not be under so much pressure. I am also very surprised about the alleged comment from a doctor that “I think you may have flu”. Anyone who has had flu will know that you can’t move a muscle let alone get to see the doctor at a surgery.
Michael Glover 

MP’s legacy
CONGRATULATIONS to John Glen on his promotion to be Minister for the City.
As Mr Glen says, this is an important post as the City of London makes a significant contribution to our economy.
Clearly, space did not allow Mr Glen to mention the darker side to the City’s activities namely its pivotal role in the tax avoidance industry.
Revelations in the Paradise Papers and elsewhere show this to be a massive operation involving the siphoning off of billions of pounds to a network of secretive tax havens around the world. This denies the Treasury of much need revenue for cash-starved public services. The current hospital crisis with queues of patients in ambulances and thousands of cancelled operations could be solved in a trice with just a portion of this money.
One of the keys to the perpetuation of this scandal is the role of the Remembrancer – a post unknown to many people. He is the only unelected person to sit in the Commons and is there jealously to protect the City’s interests and that of its bankers.
Mr Glen in his new role could do the country and his constituents an enormous service if he ended this scandalous anachronism and had the Remembrancer removed from the floor of the House. This would pave the way for parliament to bring the City properly into the United Kingdom and end its tax avoidance activities. Truly, Mr Glen would have a well-earned place in the history books if he was able to do this.
Peter Curbishley
Secretary, Salisbury Compass

NHS in crisis
AGAIN this winter, the NHS is in a state of crisis which is entirely predictable and preventable. As reported in the Journal last week, Salisbury District Hospital was at maximum capacity for much of the last two months.
Managers have done a great job in expanding acute care facilities, and staff are working very hard to try and give patients the best care.
However this cannot be sustained over the whole winter: admin staff have been drafted in to help in the front line, and non-urgent clinics and operations have been cancelled.
Very ill patients have, of necessity, spilled over into surgical areas that are neither equipped nor staffed to cope with them.
Underfunding the NHS is a political choice not an economic necessity. 
The government has again failed to provide the level of funding required in good time when it is so clearly needed. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens asked for an extra £4bn. In his recent budget, the Chancellor awarded only £1.6bn. The only interpretation of this government’s deliberate and planned neglect of our NHS is that it is their intention to undermine it, because of an ideological objection to publicly-funded medicine. The standard response from politicians, including our MP John Glen, that ‘there is no magic money tree’ has been roundly discredited and simply won’t wash. Politicians can always fund things when there is the political will.
If you are outraged by the government’s attitude, contact Mr Glen directly on Hopefully, in his newly elevated position he will be able to persuade his ministerial colleagues to change policy. If he fails, don’t forget the NHS at election time.
Dr Robert Scott-Jupp
Salisbury District Hospital

Mental health
I AM a parent of two teenage sons, one of whom has significant mental health problems and addiction issues too. I want to firstly congratulate the Journal for having a page where young people, their families and professionals can voice the needs of young people as well as getting information too.
My son has had mental health issues for a number of years, which has had a huge impact on his teenage years and has led him to using drugs to self-medicate. He has been with CAMHS for approximately 4 years whereupon he was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and anorexia. CAMHS are chronically underfunded, but the waiting lists are growing. Being part of a recent experience, where my son had to stay in hospital for medical reasons but needed acute mental health support for an episode of self-harming whilst in there, we discovered there is no under 18, out of hours acute provision in Wiltshire for a young person to receive face to face support in a crisis situation. CAMHS staff do their best, but can only work with the resources they have. We owe it to all young people to support them in times of crisis, because they are our future and time spent investing in appropriate resources now will save money for governments in the future and help young people have fulfilling lives as adults.
Georgina Cooper

Pothole pain
ENDEAVOURING to avoid a pothole, one of many, in Water Lane/Hale Lane on January 19, I skidded on some black ice and rolled my Jimny4x4. I would like to thank the refuge/recycling collectors who came to my assistance. The were very kind and thoughtful and looked after me until the ambulance arrived. I would also like to thank the ambulance men who attended to me and then took me home.
Patricia Butler

Fund the future
YET again, the NHS finds itself in a very difficult position as the inevitable pressures characteristic of the busy winter period have left healthcare services struggling to cope.
A&E performance figures for December were the worst on record and at major A&E departments in Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire, just 74.7 percent of patients were seen within the four-hour target, below the national average of 77.3 percent.
There is of course a story behind each of these damning statistics, a story of a patient who, despite the best efforts of hardworking staff who have been tirelessly grafting in increasingly difficult conditions, is not getting the level of care they ultimately deserve from the NHS.
And there is of course the wider story, the story of a government who, despite repeated warnings over the pressure the NHS will face this winter, failed to adequately fund services to prepare them for the inevitable challenges ahead.
Politicians of all parties must come together and work towards a long-term funding plan for the NHS that will reverse this dangerous tide and ensure a more sustainable future.
Dr Helena McKeown,
BMA South West regional council chair

Parking mad
I, ALONG with the residents in Salisbury, am concerned and disappointed that our current city council administration has been influenced by their counterparts at County Hall into believing that bus services and car parks are linked. The issues are totally separate. The public consultation was flawed in the beginning by leading people to believe that the cost needed to go up to continue to subsidise the bus services in rural areas.
We are a very popular tourist destination; however, we have a very dysfunctional park and ride service which serves neither residents nor tourism well, as the times of service do not make them a viable option to workers or the many visitors to the city. We fought hard to gain the reduced Sundays and Bank Holiday charges along with free event parking and it is foolhardy economics to do away with this now.
These new parking charges will start in February, and the proposed residents permit charges later in the year. With the increases in the parking charges we will see further demise in our local economy and the shops on offer will also diminish as footfall drops.  Our offer of shops has ceased to be competitive and I feel the Conservatives are no longer even supporting businesses.  It is becoming harder for the independent shops and the larger stores won’t come. 
If we have many more cuts to services and retail, we may as well have a sign saying ‘will the last one to leave Salisbury please turn out the lights!’ 
Councillor Caroline Corbin
Bemerton ward