Dear Editor, The Birmingham Post Article - Thursday, June 5, 2008, Page 5 "Polyclinics not the answer to relieve hospital pressure"
You quote Health Secretary Alan Johnson as saying "the 150 new 'GP-run' Health Centres being opened are being paid for with new money".
If you ask the three Birmingham Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), each of which have been told by the Government to open one of these centres regardless of any clinical need, you will obtain a different response.
The health centres have to be paid for from within PCT's existing resources, in other words at the expense of current services.
In addition, the Birmingham PCTs are being forced to procure an additional six new GP practices across the city, again in the absence of any clearly identified need.
Whilst these may indeed be funded initially by new money, the reality is that the new practices are intended to take patients, and therefore funding, away from existing practices.
Pursuing this policy means there is a genuine risk that existing surgeries, currently providing excellent quality of care and services to their patients, might become unviable and close.
This will not improve access and choice for patients, but worsen it.
The Government wants commercial organisa-tions, run for shareholder profit, to bid for the new health centres and surgeries.
Elsewhere in your newspaper you debate whether allowing private sector managers to run hospitals may or may not be a good idea. What is clear is that this government's agenda of privatisation and commercialisation of general practice will signal the end of the system of holistic, personalised and long-erm care which is the bedrock of the NHS.
Dr Robert Morley, Executive Secretary
It's been a bit busy, so let's catch up on a few things
Dear Editor, It has been an enormously busy year as the regional minister so I can understand why Paul Burke (Letters, 5/6/08) may have missed a few things.
On 3rd March 2008, I launched the region's first skills action plan; the following week, on 10th March our transport priorities were set out; on 31st March I launched a report on our region's plans to develop Academic Health Science Centres - plans that are continuing apace and will bring huge benefits to our region's links between science and the health of our people.
If Mr Burke missed March, he may re-call some of last year's work - which included staging a regional conference with the then Secretary of State for Culture, Rt Hon James Purnell MP, to develop plans for enhancing the West Midlands' reputation.
The announcement by Channel 4 of the £10 million Digital Media Fund is evidence of our growing reputation in this important area.
All of this is detailed - and there are plenty of documents to show - on the websites of Advantage West Midlands and Government Office for the West Midlands as well as my own.
Still to come are strategies on trade and business engagement with India!
No doubt there'll be a few things wrong which is why we publish these documents - for the public to read and give their views. Through this they can help identify errors. Errors which are of course my own.
Students can still be rebels with a cause
Dear Editor, I'd like to highlight the factual inaccuracies in your article entitled, 'NUS tries to put the activist into student life' which was published on 4 June.
The National Union of Students (NUS) is one of the largest student organisations in the world.
We represent over seven million students, giving them a voice and putting them at the heart of the decision making process in the UK.
It is wholly inaccurate to say that, 'Edinburgh, St Andrews, UMIST, Glasgow and Imperial College London have also cut themselves loose from the union'.
Edinburgh Student Association student body rejoined NUS some time ago, having 'cut itself loose in the 1980s.
Imperial College London's student body is an active member of NUS. Also, one of the Universities you mention, UMIST, ceased to exist in 2004.
Our inaugural NUS Awards, which will be held in Birmingham, will demonstrate that student activism is not 'dead' and that students are leading the way with more organised and focused activism.
The awards will showcase the talent and commitment in the student movement and highlight the breadth and depth of innovative and pioneering work done by students and students' unions alike.
Gemma Tumelty NUS National President
Don't miss out on the chance of adopting an 'old' friend
Dear Editor, June spells the height of the kitten season for Birmingham Cats Protection Adoption Centre in Hollywood, with plenty of people on the kitten waiting list and visitors flocking to see them.
However, for the older cats at the shelter this indicates the start of a long slow summer.
Unless we rehome adult cats we have no more space to accommodate new arrivals and we already have a very long waiting list of cats to come in. Mother cats are indeed the by- product of the kitten season, but make such loving and friendly pets, and many of them are barely out of kittenhood themselves.
Often they have had to grow up before their time, and once their kittens have been rehomed they would love nothing more than the chance to become kittens again themselves.
The joy of adopting an adult cat is that you often see a sad, lonely and confused cat blossom into a playful, confident and affectionate one; they almost regress back into kittens! It's so rewarding.
These days it s not unusual for cats to live into their late teens or even early twenties, but cats as young as 5 or 6 are often overlooked for being 1too old. Adult cats each have their own unique personality and would like nothing more than the chance to enjoy the sunshine this summer.
If you think you have room in your life to accommodate an adult cat, please contact the Birmingham Cats Protection Adoption Centre on 01564 822 020, or visit their website: www.birmingham.cats.org.uk