LETTERS: Our weekly round-up of readers' views

Dr Nik Johnson

Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer chief executive, Cambs LM C - Credit: Archant

Magnificent response by GPs throughout the pandemic.  

An open letter to all Cambridgeshire & Peterborough GPs and general practice staff has been sent by Mayor Dr Nik Johnson and Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chief executive of Cambs LMC, the body that represents all GPs.  

Thank you for your immense hard work and selflessness in serving your patients and communities in the capital throughout the awful COVID-19 pandemic. 

We know just how challenging this has been for GPs, nurses, administration staff, and others in your practices providing care and support.  

And you responded magnificently to the COVID-19 pandemic, developing a range of innovative solutions to provide advice and treatment safely using telephone and online consultations, expanding rapidly in a way few believed possible, alongside face to face.  

You have helped slow the spread of the virus by enabling people to seek care from home, as well as reducing vulnerable people’s risk to exposure. 

The pandemic has, directly and indirectly, increased the health and wider wellbeing needs of our communities, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough GPs and their teams have stepped up to provide this additional care safely, effectively and with compassion.  

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Every GP practice across our system is caring for more patients than ever before, whose needs are increasingly complex.  

As expert generalists in whole person care, at a time when the physical and mental health of our local population has been tested to its limits, you deserve to feel very proud of what you have done - and continue to do, to maintain and protect their health and wellbeing.  

Often, we are aware, at considerable cost to yourself and your loved ones. 

We know that every member of every general practice team has worked harder than ever.  

We know that the ongoing workforce crisis in general practice has been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 on practices, with even fewer GPs, nurses and staff available at a time when backlogs in other settings have increased demand. 

You should be incredibly proud of your role in the success of the vaccination programme across a programme that could never have been delivered without general practice.  

It has been a monumental effort to vaccinate so many people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in such a short period of time, and our population owes you and your staff a huge debt of gratitude, with more than 1.4 million people having received their 1st and 2nd doses.  

Official figures show that practices are consistently offering more appointments and patient access than pre-pandemic. Figures of 500,000 appointments per month (NHS Digital) are not uncommon.  

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough GPs have delivered a huge volume of the COVID-19 vaccination programme (over 640,000 vaccinations!) as well as simultaneously responding to acute need, offering pro-active and preventative care, embedded in local communities, playing a key role in mitigating the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 across our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.  

We are committed to highlighting the incredible achievements of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s general practice teams and being allies of hard-working practice staff, condemning abuse, and calling out inaccurate and anti-GP statements whenever and wherever found. 

We recognise your diligence, commitment, and need for support. We pledge that we will continue to call for adequate funding and conditions for the general practice workforce across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Working together, we can champion and deliver safe effective services that continue to meet the needs of the diverse communities we all serve. 

Dr Nik Johnson 

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer Chief Executive, Cambs LMC 

Entries sought for Tedora Cup 

St. Andrew’s Church in Witchford is looking for entries and sponsors to their Tedora Cup poetry competition.  

The free to enter competition is an annual poetry contest where entrants compete to win the Tedora Cup, the top prize donated by the Tedora family awarded to the overall winner each year.  

This year’s writing theme is peace.  

The contest has three age groups for entrants; 12 and under, 13 to 17 and 18 and over.  

All entries should be sent in by September 25 either digitally to rjwestwell@hotmail.com or posted to St. Andrew’s Church, 73A Main St., Witchford, Ely, Cambs. CB6 2HQ.  

Entrants should include their name, address, phone number, email address and age or write adult if 18 or over.   

Winners will be announced at a concert in the church on October 25 at 7 p.m.  

All entrants retain copyright of their work but agree the church can use it for future activities. 

Rosemary Westwell  

Is it time for a change?  

 For about 12 years now we have had a Conservative government. 

They have run their race, their self-serving policy doesn't change, Boris has ensured that. 

We need a new government, one that is fair to all and not controlled by the Bullingdon Boys or the Etonian Elite. 

The working classes deserve better, remember the song when brave soldiers mainly from working-class families marched to almost certain death for King and Country? 

Reader Alan Shepherd recently wrote in the Cambridge News that “when have we been well off with a Labour government?'' 

As a Labour voter I say we have fared worse with this Tory administration, the cost-of-living crisis has proven that. 

This is way past the Tory government's bed time, whoever is selected as our new prime minister there is little prospect of a favourable change of policy to emerge with Boris lurking not too far away.  

Who can predict what will now happen? 

As I drifted off to sleep last night, I had this mental picture of that luxury marquee set up for Boris and Carrie by a businessman who clearly benefitted from our Tory government. 

I thought of all that wonderful food and drink available and compared it to our working-class diet. 

It doesn't look right that people of privilege can expect such a higher standard living compared to the working classes.   



Summer holiday warning 

With the kids on school holidays and looking for some entertainment, it appears that many kids have discovered the reservoir down Thrift Road (just off Hasse Rd) Soham. 
Whilst I don’t want to appear a killjoy, I know it’s quite nice to get in some cool water during the hot weather, but not only is this quite dangerous for the kids, they’re also crossing Soham bypass to get to it. They don’t use the bridge at Downfields, as it’s too far to walk. 
The reservoir has easy access for anyone on foot, I believe dog walkers use it too and the kids have told me that there’s been broken glass and rubbish down there as well. 
It just seems like an accident waiting to happen, with the obvious dangers of deep water and risking their lives to get to and from it, there’s also the risk of them causing a motor accident on such a busy road. 
I’m left wondering why the reservoir is not fenced in? If it’s for business use, for watering the land, I would’ve thought that the owners would have a duty of care to secure the site, like that of builders, for example, who have to secure their sites to safeguard the public. The reservoir is right next to a public footpath. 
Concerned mum, 
N Jarman. 


Concern over policing  

I was appalled to read that her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary Roy Wisher has looked at Cambridgeshire police performance and come to the conclusion that it is not very good at responding to the public or investigating crime!  

The inspector reached the conclusion that this is less than adequate and requires immediate improvement. 
Two things regarding this judgement 1) We could have told him that without him having study their performance and 2) The primary purpose of the police is to respond to the Public and investigate crime. So, in that respect our police force has failed in fulfilling its primary purpose.  
Responsibility for this damning judgement must lie with Nick Dean the Chief Constable. He has been in charge for almost five years and has plenty of time to get it right.  
To illustrate how poorly our police are performing you only have to make the comparison with the Suffolk police force.  

Suffolk is very similar to Cambridgeshire.in terms of population size, it covers a very similar area, with almost equal police numbers. But their police force massively out performs our own. 
For example, regarding response times for Suffolk police, 93.7% of 999 calls were answered within the target time and the percentage of immediate response incidents where the target time was also met was 92.9%. They ranked 6th and 8th respectively out of all the 42 police forces.  
By comparison Cambridgeshire's force were ranked a dismal 22/42 and 33/42 respectively. 
Regarding percentage of all recorded crimes detected, Suffolk was 35% ranking them 3rd out of 42 whereas Cambridgeshire was only 24% putting them a dreadful 31st out of 42 forces.  
If Suffolk can do it why can't Cambridgeshire? 
Responsibility for this dreadful performance must be down to Nick Dean the Chief Constable. I and many others think he should be replaced with immediate effect. 

(Via email)