And another thing… (10 August 2016)

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HIV: Funding reckless lifestyles takes money away from even more vulnerable people
There has been a lot said already about the NHS losing its battle not to fund the expensive preventative treatment (PrEP) against HIV.

As someone who happens to be gay I welcome any treatment in the fight against this vile virus, which has robbed so many young people of living out their full potential and leading them to premature deaths.

However, to pay £400 per month per person for a preventative drug and thus giving permission for people to act irresponsibly and promiscuously is insane and morally wrong. It is not the sign of an inclusive society to give permission to a section of our community to do what they want without thinking of the consequences.

By funding reckless lifestyles we are taking away much needed funding from even more vulnerable people, and in particular young people with mental health issues. Young adults who are self-harming are being abandoned due to lack of funding. This is a crisis and it is an insult to pour money into a section of society who believe it is their right to act as they want and for the taxpayer to foot the bill.

Please let’s bring common sense back into the arena and start looking after the people who truly deserve better – and for me that is young, vulnerable adults with mental health issues.

Patrick Gillan
Tunbridge Wells

Mr Sankey: A change of view on Brexit?
I was delighted to read in your newspaper [July 27] that Matthew Sankey is expanding his restaurant business in Tunbridge Wells and is looking for a large new site in the town centre. When he spoke at the referendum debate at the Assembly Hall in the run-up to the referendum he argued strongly that it would be a disaster if we voted to leave the EU, with dire consequences for business and many jobs lost. I am pleased that he has evidently come round to my point of view, which is that leaving the EU will bring in a new era of optimism for business and improve opportunities across the country. I wish him success with his new venture.

Councillor Claire Stewart
Organiser Vote Leave Tunbridge Wells
Via email

Gatwick: Hard to know what’s going on
As if there are not enough potentially bitter pills to swallow in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, now we are being told that a second runway at Gatwick is back on the table.

It’s hard to know what’s going on any more. The corporate elite of London and the politicians seem to be playing some kind of elaborate game.

As they do so, they don’t seem to care about the consequences for ordinary people. It’s all about appearances. We absolutely must be able to show that Britain is open for business.

And right now, apparently, we desperately need it because we’ve decided we are better off ‘going it alone’ – even though no-one seems to have any idea what happens next.

They say the referendum result was a protest vote against the political class and moneyed interests of big business.

It seems to me that there is hardly a better example of the establishment forging ahead with its own hugely expensive plans without giving a stuff about Joe and Jo Bloggs.

Campaign groups in this area have won many notable victories to stop the narrowing of the flight paths over our communities so that the noise can be spread over a wider area.

There can rarely have been a better example of the common man making himself heard (above the din of the planes) than these estimable efforts by the likes of Gatwick Obviously Not.

Rodney Perchard
Via email

Civic complex: A personal monument
Recently, Cllr Jukes and the council’s Chief Executive, William Benson, proudly announced that they run the borough as if it was a business, leaving us – the shareholders? The customers? – to infer prudence, caution, good governance, safe hands on the tiller, and tight purse strings.

The council, this ‘private business’, has a wizard idea: It needs a new HQ because, it’s said, the existing one’s not fit for purpose and, here’s the clincher, they have a client lined up who will occupy 60 per cent of the space. The income from this client will underwrite the cost of the venture, so it’s put to the board, job done.

This client, the main underpinning of the whole enterprise, the foundation which made the project viable, has now pulled out and you’d think that the basis on which the new HQ was predicated had evaporated – there’s no copper-bottomed; gold-plated; lead-lined assurance left: It no longer satisfies the private business’s test for robustness.

But our dear leader is not to be put off, he must have his personal monument; a testament to his term of office; his vanity project: Jukes’ Towers, just as Greg Clark has his out at Pembury [hospital] and look where that’s got us. It’s now become a speculative venture into property development. Prudence? Caution? Good governance? Do these two ever ponder the state of the roads as they drive into town? It’s all fur coat and no knickers.

Edward Baker
Tunbridge Wells

School breaks: May they last forever
I just love school holidays! I am not a parent myself but I am a motorist who has to drive into town every day. How much nicer and quicker it is with all the kids away on the beaches. May the school breaks get longer.

Sarak Deakin
Via email

Pembury: Needs independent scrutiny
Nigel Edwards of the Nuffield Trust think tank said [July 27] and I quote from your article: “The fact is that it’s almost impossible for trusts not to run up deficits when they’re being paid less in real terms than they were five years ago to perform the same treatments.”

We must consider some of the extra expenses our NHS Trust is subjected to:

Observe both hospital emergency entrances. You will see ambulances from the private sector constantly in use. These will not be performing acts of charity, they will be charging our NHS Trust for their professional services.

‘Medical Agency staff’ are being engaged at huge expense. This is because of staff shortages, or the failure to replace staff who leave the service (many because they were totally stressed out) Also, please bear this in mind: Our Trust is being ‘managed’ by executives who receive high pay cheques, one of whom is earning more than the Prime Minister.

Perhaps their methods of ‘management’ require in-depth, independent scrutiny? Or are they fit for purpose?

June Moore
Via email

Pembury: Is overspend PFI related?
I’m no accountant (I’m an acupuncturist) but I wonder if the £24million a year overspend at the Pembury hospital is anything to do with the £2million a month in PFI payments? Why blame bankers and lawyers, though, when we’ve got greedy ‘agency staff’?

Dan Keown
Via email

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