Letters: If dentists can continue to operate during a pandemic, why not family doctors?
SIR – At the height of the Covid pandemic, I visited my dentist to have five dental implants inserted. During one of the sessions, he practically disappeared into my neck in full protective gear to put the necessary screws into my jawbone. After about two hours he reappeared completely unharmed. I also got through the experience without infection and reasonably comfortably. In the meantime I have been unable to establish contact with my family doctor, who is hiding behind a receptionist and a telephone system that doesn’t even allow me to make a long-distance call. Be ashamed of them, their excuses, and their shyness. Sydney Smith Peterborough SIR – While phone or virtual GP appointments can play a role, this cannot be a single approach. It is rotten medicine and does a great disservice to patients. In medical school, we were taught that evaluating and diagnosing a patient’s condition requires a tripod approach: medical history, physical exam, and examination. Remove one leg of the tripod and it will fall down. By depriving patients of the opportunity to see a doctor or nurse, one of the core tenets of recognized good medical practice is eliminated. The effects of this new NHS ideology will be seen when excessive complications, mortality, and litigation become apparent. Matthew Trotter FRCS Rowney Green, Worcestershire SIR – What I think overlooked in the discussion about continuity of care is the need for patients to go to GPs to be referred. I’ve been trying to get a referral for almost six months and have been fobbed off by my family doctors. It took me three weeks to get a phone appointment with a family doctor; then you have to go through the whole X-ray machine, then the three weeks to get another phone appointment with a family doctor to discuss the X-ray results, and then another to discuss the physio results. I now have an appointment for this week, and since this was an appointment by phone when booking, I had to ring the bell and ask for an exchange on face-to-face. It was changed face to face – but I had to wait 37 minutes for the phone to connect to a receptionist. Family doctors were consistently the problem. Carol White Northwold, Norfolk SIR – The position of the British Medical Association (report, May 21) is that “the needs of the profession” should be paramount. This further promotes the concept of an outdated model of care where patients were subordinate to the medical profession. As taxpayers, we are the customers and the medical professionals in the basic care for our needs and not the other way around. Marion Ansell Tonbridge, Kent Israeli Territory SIR – The report “Ireland attacks Israel’s ‘de facto annexation’ of Palestinian land” (May 27) is of course quite correct to say that most countries consider settlements that are Israel Established on the territory conquered in the US in 1967 the Middle East War was considered illegal. What is almost never taken into account is that Jordanian troops attacked the newly formed Jewish state in 1948 and occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Jordan annexed them in 1950 – a move that was not recognized by the UN, the Arab League, or any country other than Britain and Pakistan. When Israel managed to regain control of them in 1967, it would have been logical for the UN – and most countries – to applaud Israel for liberating illegally acquired territories. They didn’t seem to see it that way. Neville Teller Beit Shemesh, Israel Scrap the TV license SIR – I don’t watch sports or television. My Amazon Prime subscription is significantly lower than the license fee. Amazon makes great dramas (no commercials) that are up to the same standard as the BBC. Then why do I need an expensive television license? I think it is time for the BBC to become a commercially run company with a board of directors who have business experience in the world market. Belinda Stevens-Fairchild Moretonhampstead, Devon SIR – In the past, alternatives to royalty have been explored and all have been found to be significant drawbacks. In March, the DCMS committee looked at funding models for public service broadcasting and concluded that none of them were “sufficiently attractive to warrant a recommendation for the next charter period”. Berkshire Prime Minister William Hern Maidenhead to marry SIR – Boris Johnson is fourth Prime Minister to marry in office, not third (Report, May 25). Shortly after the death of his first wife in 1737, Robert Walpole married his long-time lover; she died in childbirth three months later. The little-known third Duke of Grafton, a man known for “idleness and pursuit of pleasure,” began a long and happy second marriage during his two-year premier in 1769. In 1822, the helpless (but practically friendless) Lord Liverpool filled the void in his life left by the death of his first wife through marriage to her best friend. Mr Johnson is only the second Prime Minister to divorce and remarry in 10th place. When Grafton’s first wife tried to give birth to another man in 1769, the marriage was dissolved by parliamentary act, the only way a divorce was possible to be preserved in time. Spurned the scandalous mistress he had openly lived with for years (she is said to have had sex in an opera box), Grafton persuaded the virtuous daughter of the Dean of Worcester to become his new wife. They had nine children. Lord Lexden London SW1 The Meat Business SIR – Claire Finney (“I gave up being a vegetarian – to save the planet,” Features, May 25) writes an article with valid items. But the main problem for many vegetarians and vegans is simply the slaughter process. I dare say that many would like to eat meat again if it weren’t for the end point in the life of animals. No matter how human the process is to us, there is undoubtedly great suffering. How can it be avoided when so many animals have to go through it to feed so many of us? Carol Burke Oswestry, Shropshire Euthanasia for People with Terminal Diseases SIR – Baroness Campbell has been a courageous and effective campaigner for the rights of people with disabilities for many years. These are completely different subjects, and the law presented to the House of Lords last Wednesday has nothing to do with disability, only with making a good death possible for people who are actually dying. Palliative care is wonderful, and of course we need more of it, but it is naive to think that it can treat anything, including the intense hardship caused by total addiction, incontinence, and a pitiful endgame. I recently spent time in bed with someone who died of inoperable cancer. All he wants is control over his inevitable end. Baroness Campbell wants to deny him this right. Dr. Tim Howard Wimborne, Dorset SIR – Suicide has no medical route and is often driven by depression and despair. The act itself is lonely, often violent and destructive, and leaves a legacy of guilt with family and friends. In contrast, euthanasia is voluntary and secured. Death is peaceful and can be accompanied by friends and family. Grief can be alleviated. It’s the opposite of suicide. The choice of assisted death is one of the last great human rights yet to be won. It is time to change our law for the better. Michael Murray Matlock, Derbyshire Student Panels SIR – I am an Ofsted Modern Language Teacher with an Ofsted rating and a good track record. After a recent school tour, I applied to a nearby state school with an Ofsted rating of “Needs Improvement”. When I received the interview schedule, I was amazed that a student body was part of the process. These panels use students of all ages and are known to ask prospective teachers to “sing your favorite song” or “tell us a joke” and ask, “Why do you work as a supply teacher?” use worst-behaving students in these panels as evidence of the “value of their voice” in hopes of improving their attitudes. So far I have only conducted interviews in independent schools and state schools that were rated “excellent” or “good”; none used a student panel. I have since withdrawn my application. Rosamund Dal-Molin Corton, Suffolk Fair Heaven is one step ahead for barometer manufacturers