Letters to the Editor



The Times letters page

The Times is the oldest newspaper in the world. Published the first time in 1785 when originally called The Daily Universal Register.

Its readership is nearly 2 million. It is read by the majority of professionals in the United Kingdom. In a recent survey, The Times is read by more people in the upper social class than any other newspaper and becomes compulsory reading of Politians, business people and the professions. It is known abroad as The London Times or The Times of London. Though traditionally a moderately centre-right newspaper and a supporter of the Conservatives, it supported the Labour Party in the 2001 and 2005 general elections. In 2005, according to MORI, the voting intentions of its readership were 40% for the Conservative Party, 29% for the Liberal Democrats, 26% for Labour.
The Letters to the Editor page is several hundred years old and virtually all the well-known names in history have made contributions.

Each letter is number index with the first letter published as 1.

There is one letter addressed to the Daily Telegraph dated 11 September 1979 challenging the General Secretary of a national union on his statement about the effects of the NHS strike on patients. A futher lewtter to the Guardian is also found here.


These letters reproduced here are in reverse date and year order
2018 - 1979

Note: There are two letters addressed to the Daily Telegraph and the Gardian otherwise the rest are letters to the Times

The Times


June 4th

Ministers' duties

Sir, I want to assure Peter Murphy (letter June 2) that some churches have for many years had an understanding with their ministers regarding reporting the confession of a crime to the police. In my group of churches action was taken in two cases which involved the police. Ministers should have a clear understanding that after their first loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ there next duty is to protect church‘s members from harm. The institution itself should have a low priority.

Our responsibility when a crime has been confessed is to report the crime, support the family and others harmed and to see what help we can give to the perpetrator so they may change their ways. Subsequent press coverage may be difficult for the church to accept but our first duty is to protect the flock God has given us.






23rd October 2017

Strategies for Brexit negotiations with the EU. 57

Sir Monty Finniston, chairman of British Steel in the Seventies, gave me several pearls of wisdom regarding negotiations, one of which is applicable today. He said that in a difficult negotiating situation when the other side was blocking you, at the appropriate time, put your papers down, look around everyone and say, “this is not going to work, I am leaving,” and walk out with your management team.

He told me to use it sparingly. I only used it once as a chief nursing officer of a large health authority, and it worked beuatifully.

Dr. Anthony J. Carr




5th May 2017

The efficacy of statins and their side-effects 56

Sir, Not all reactions to statins are in the mind. I am a former registered nurse and I have had heart problems for 32 years. I took statins as soon as they were available. I suffered a further heart attack 18 months ago and was put on a high statin dose of 80 mg daily. Within a few days I was unable to walk more than 1,000 yards before my leg muscles became painful. My dose was reduced to 40mg and within five days I could walk normally.

Someone with less knowledge would have insisted on coming off the treatment and consequently left themselves open to more risk.

Anthony J Carr


9th January 2016 

Determining the risks of drinking alcohol 55

Sir, I disagree with Professor Peter Anderson of Newcastle University that the new advice given on alcohol consumption is confusing. The advice is that we should not drink every day and that, over a period of three to five days, five pints of beer or a bottle and a half of wine should be the maximum consumed. Pregnant women should abstain completely. What is confusing about that?

Dr Anthony J Carr


The Guardian


10th July 2015

Budget’s rewards pass by hard-working public sector 54

• Following the budget proposals, it is obvious that the increased productivity that doctors and nurses have already made in the last five years (and will be required to make in the next four years) has been totally ignored. The 1% increase in salaries each year means the government has in effect scrapped the independent pay review body. NHS salaries will be at least 10% behind those in the private sector over this time span. Several near relatives are nurses and most are considering two options: forgoing career progression, resigning from the NHS and joining an agency, where every hour they work will be compensated well, unlike the present situation where many unpaid hours are worked; or following thousands of their colleagues who have already emigrated to Australia and New Zealand, where their contributions are greatly appreciated. Where possible I recommend a new life abroad.

Dr Anthony Carr

Solihull, West Midlands



Fallon and the case for nuclear deterrence 53

10th April 2015 54

Sir, Having read Michael Fallon’s criticism of Ed Miliband, I believe this type of personal attack on opponents has no place in British politics and as such this article has allowed me to decide which party I will not be voting for in the forthcoming election.

Solihull is a marginal seat for the Conservatives, having lost by only 175 votes in the last general election.

Anthony J Carr



Sign of the times 53

18 November 2014

Sir, I disagree with Ros Altmann (“Ageist road sign promotes prejudice”, Nov 17). The sign warning of elderly people shows a couple in their 70s to 80s, not vigorous people in their 50s. I am in my 80s and am aware that in a busy street I am more vulnerable than previously, in that I am not able to respond as quickly.

Anthony J Carr


Consultant Cover 52

23 December 2013

Sir, I believe the public are unaware of the costs in salary terms alone of providing 24-hour medical consultant care in many of our specialties in hospital or the equivalent in general practice. To provide cover of this type in hospital requires the equivalent of five doctors to cover one post. Taking the average salary of a consultant to be £88,000, ignoring clinical excellence awards, I calculate that the Trust has to find approximately £440,000 to fund each 24-hour post.

Anthony J. Carr


VeiI judgment 51

14 September 2013

Sir, Judge Peter Murphy had a difficult decision to make on the face veil (report, Sept 13). I disagree with the defence counsel's view that the jury would be able to make a judgment based on the defendant's answers and body language despite the veil. Facial expression, in my opinion, can be more important. I have met hundreds of people in my career, and their facial expressions give me more understanding of what they are thinking than body language, which just adds to the overall picture.



Nurse training and the future of healthcare 50

24 April

Sir, I agree with the Royal College of Nursing that the proposed one year as a healthcare assistant leading to nurse training will do little to make nurses more compassionate (report, Apr 22). It is the culture of the hospital that sets the standards of care.

I commenced my hospital career 62 years ago by becoming a ward orderly for six months before taking nurse training leading to State Registration. I was taught as an orderly what to do but not the “why” and the “purpose” of my actions. The seemingly simple task of bed-bathing a patient, for example, is a complex task. Questions one asks oneself include: is the patient weaker than the day before, colour of the skin, verbal and non-verbal signs from the patient, how the patient is breathing, abdominal or chest and so on. I once diagnosed hypostatic pneumonia in an elderly patient. No raised temperature or increased respiration, just that this man could not lift himself up from the bed like he could the day before. Bad practice is easily picked up by “sitting next to Nelly” which future nurse education would have to eradicate.

I would propose a one-year course for all healthcare workers. How many patients today realise that their main nursing care is given by people with little or no training whatsoever? The care assistant would receive proper ward supervision and instruction from clinical teachers and have short periods of teaching on why they were undertaking certain procedures and the purpose of the work. An examination covering the practical and theoretic aspects of basic nursing would be applied at the end of the year, success in which would lead to a licence to practise. This scheme should be overseen and licensed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Dr Anthony J. Carr


On Line Times edition

Training Nurses 49

March 28

Response to letter on the Government's proposals to change nurse training

Having first been employed in 1951 as a ward orderly in a busy Hospital in Birmingham I progressed to nurse training and at one time was the chief nurse to the largest health authority in the country which included being the nominal head of the largest nurse education department with 1,350 student nurses and midwives. I recently formally retired from the NHS as I approached my eightieth birthday. I think therefore I am qualified to review the changes in nurse training and its effects on patient care over the period of sixty one years.

The old regime of caring for patients is no longer appropriate. Then we could do little for many patients except keep them comfortable and clean. A patient for repair of hernia for instance had to be nursed flat in bed after operation and spoon fed for two weeks. Now this is a day case operation. Heart attack victims could only receive pain relief and a cool hand on the brow, which at that time was very supportive and reassuring but little to do with curing the disease.

Now, there is so much can be achieved for patients and the preparation of nurses has to keep pace with this change. It is culture that is at the heart of a good hospital. Giving a new student nurse list of patients to wash and feed for a period will do nothing to produce a caring and compassionate profession but leadership committed to outstanding care will.

Rev Anthony J Carr


2012 On-line Times edition 48

Response to correspondence regarding the abolition of prayers in council meetings

February 14

How is it right that in this country a small minority of people can dictate to the vast majority of the people, through the medium of the courts, how to behave, what to believe and how to act?  The law in turn seems only to support and overly protect the minority against the majority. In any other situation this may be called tyranny.

Dr. Anthony J Carr



Archbishop's View 47

Comment that politics should be left to politicians

December 27

Sir, One of the most inappropriate statements made in relation to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas message (report, Dec 26) came from Gary Streeter, the Tory chairman of the all-party Christians in Parliament when he said that politics should be left to politicians. As an evangelical minister, I will seek to bring the message of the gospel to people. There must, however, be a place for ministers to proclaim the prophetic word, speaking right into the heart of politics. When people see leaders of industry giving themselves pay rises of nearly 50 per cent while holding their workers to 2 per cent something is seriously wrong.

To leave it all to the political parties seems to be an abdication of responsibility for the majority of people. Hardly a Christian attitude.

Dr Anthony J. Carr

Wroxall Abbey Warks


Church and Abuse 46

Written as an on-line letter responding to a letter about child abuse among the clergy in the Roman Catholic Church.

November 3rd

The present situation in the Roman Catholic Church has learned little from the many cases of sexual abuse performed by the clergy all over the world. Unfortunately, just having guidelines and reporting systems however robust will not prevent further child abuse occurring. Until the Church faces the fact that their policies of celibacy are aggravating the situation then no solution is possible.

For most men, religious or not, their normal sexuality is an expression of who they are. Deprive him of his sexuality, unless he is naturally celebrate, he will find other ways of satisfying his need. For instance, iIt was shown in World War II that isolated aircraft bases in England resulted in many cases of homosexuality from normally heterosexual men.

It is only Church Tradition that demands celibacy from its priests. They have a solution but seem not to want to take it. They could turn the Church back to the New Testament. Here we find adequate guidance for those wishing to be part of the ministry. The Apostle Paul says quite bluntly that although he wished everyone was like him “…but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Cor. 7:9).

In the Early Church, requirements for ministry was to be the husband of one wife and be one   “who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence”(1 Tim 3:4).

The solution for the future of child abuse is therefore in the hands of the Church. However; they have they yet to identify the problem but once having recognised it will they be courageous enough to grasp it?


Rev Anthony J Carr



 Ambigous Litergy

Written as an on-line comment to a series of letters discussing the new Latin Mass

September 12, 2011

I believe one of the Church's main tasks is to make the Good News of Jesus as simple and accessible as possible in the place we live in. Surely the use of Latin in services further isolates the Church from one of its main functions; preaching the Gospel to every creature in a language they understand.!

Reverend A J Carr

MP's Pensions

Written as an online comment to the major letter of the day

June 28, 2011

MP's pensions 44

I would be very happy to swap my NHS pension calculated on 40 years service for half pay for the MPs pension based on 2/3rd of pay after just over half that period of service.
Perhaps as public employees they should lead the way and give themselves the same conditions that they are proposing for the public sector. Then they could truly say "we are all in it together".

Reverend A J Carr

Note: The next day (June 29th) in Parliament, the last question put to the Prime Minister mirrored the last part of the above comment!

March 19 2011

Pride, priorities and Armed Forces in decline 43

Sir, I believed David Cameron when he said there was no money left when he became Prime Minister. Several of my grandchildren are about to prepare for university and will be in debt. How is it, then, we are able to finance yet another war, this time in Libya (report, Mar 18)?

Would the money the Government will have to borrow have paid for my grandchildren to go to university free of charge and, if so, how have our priorities become so distorted?

The Rt Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wroxall, Warks


Deceber 1 2010

...and local control 42

Sir, The White Paper on health proposes transferring the public health service to local authorities. The Government should be cautious as to what services are transferred.

In 1974, I was involved as chief nursing officer of a large city in the North of England in taking over the local authority’s midwifery, district nursing and health visiting services. On the first day of transfer, I doubled the number of midwives and school nurses as the existing staffing levels were such that a reasonable service could not be offered to the public.

Over time, the district nursing and health visiting elements were also strengthened. I had looked back over the previous years of the local authority’s plans, and found a gradual deterioration of these services even before any suggestion had been made to transfer these services to the NHS..

My concern with transferred public health services is that once ring-fencing is removed they will have to fight for limited resources which, in my experience, has a poor history under local authority control.

Dr Anthony J. Carr Solihull, W Midlands

16th October 2010

Qualified 41

 Solicitors are not the only profession who use the term ‘qualified’ to designate non-practicing practitioners.

I qualified as a State Registered Nurse (SRN) in 1954. In 1983 this title was changed to Registered General Nurse (RGN) then later still the title changed to the present Registered Nurse (RN). However, upon retirement these designations must not be used by the individual. If I wish to indicate that I was once a registered nurse, I must use the term ‘Qualified Nurse‘. If I insist on using any of my former designations after my name, I am informed by the Nursing & Midwifery Council that I may be prosecuted.

Yours sincerely

 Dr Anthony J Carr

Solihull West Midlands


14th January 2010

William Tyndale’s English 40

Sir, Graham Hellier (letter, Jan 13) is right to point out the significant influence that William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament had upon the English-speaking people. What is not often recognised is that the 1526 edition was the first book of substance to be written in modern English.
It would be truer to say that without Tyndale, Shakespeare would very likely be unknown today, because until that time most important lengthy documents relied upon elements of Norman French, Anglo-Saxon and Latin.He also introduced some important insights into theology. For instance, he removed the word “church” from the Bible replacing it with “congregation”, accurately translating the Greek word ekklesia, meaning called out. The King James Bible compilers, no doubt threatened by the removal of the church hierarchy from scripture, promptly re-installed it. Likewise with the word “love”, which they replaced with “charity”, perhaps fearing loss of revenue.
The British Library for its millennium venture had this New Testament re-issued in its original 1526 language. In 2008 the British Library, in conjunction with David Daniell, reproduced the original manuscript digitalised and in colour. This enables every student of 16th-century English history and every pastor to hold in their hands possibly the most important and beautiful English translation of the New Testament ever written.

The Very Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wren’s Cathedral, Wroxall Abbey, Warwickshire


December 24, 2009

Shakespeare, Marlowe and the Church of Rome 39
It is possible that William Shakespeare did have some leanings towards the Church of Rome

Sir, It is possible that William Shakespeare did have some leanings towards the Church of Rome if his family background is investigated (report, Dec 22). According to Michael Wood, in his In Search of Shakespeare (2003), he places William’s grandfather Richard as bailiff of this church in 1534 when it was known as the Priory of St Leonard, Wroxall. A great aunt of William, Isabella Shakespeare, was prioress from 1501 and an aunt named Joanna Shakespeare was sub-prioress in 1534.
After the destruction of the priory at Wroxall in 1535 the Lady Chapel was converted to the Church of St Leonard parish. There is no recording of a bishop visiting from that time onwards. Wroxall was and still is a small isolated village and there was nothing to prevent secret Roman Catholic services being conducted here. The estate became known as Wroxall Abbey in 1538 and the church renamed Wren’s Chapel in 2001 after one of its famous owners Sir Christopher Wren. It was consecrated a cathedral this year and the Anglican Order of St Leonard established.
The Very Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wren’s Cathedral, Wroxall Abbey, Warks


16 November 2010

The hallmark of good nursing 38

The question is not really about whether a nurse should be

Sir, Inadvertently, Professor Dame June Clark (letter, Nov 13) shows how nursing has moved away from intimate nursing care of the individual to the academic view of the purpose of the nurse. Previously the Royal College of Nursing adopted Virginia Henderson’s “Unique Function of the Nurse” which was: “The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or And to do this in such a way as to help the individual gain independence as rapidly as possible.”
My experience of 55 years involved in nursing is that there are a multitude of experiences available on a ward or in a person’s home if only the graduate nurse incorporates them into a care plan. The cleaner of a ward often has the social history of a patient because they feel safe to disclose personal details of their family life. Next the nursing assistant, who undertakes most of the basic nursing these days and the seconded student nurse who can quickly observe if the nursing care is acceptable or not. If graduate nurses are not tapping into these skills it leaves them isolated from the reality of the situation.
The question is not really about should a nurse be a graduate or not. To the profession the matter is settled. It is rather choosing the right people so that when they get into their high position they can do all that is required by an academic course but, in addition and by example, follow Henderson’s unique function and still see that getting a bedpan for a patient quickly or feeding him if no one else is available, or sitting with a dying patient and talking to them is, from a patient’s point of view, the hallmark of good nursing.
The Very Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wren’s Cathedral Wroxall Abbey, Warwickshire


14 October 2009

MP's Allowances 37

Sir, Unlike most of the public I have considerable sympathy with some of those MPs who are facing repayment of their expenses. It seems incredible that Sir Thomas Legg in his investigation is allowed to set retrospective rules on what are reasonable expenses and what is not. Surely he has gone far beyond his terms reference and his action is against natural justice. His appropriate course of action should have been to return to Parliament and receive advice on what to do if the rules pertaining at the time were non-existent in some areas of claims rather than set arbitrary limits. That is blatantly unfair. I do not support any MP who has deliberately abused the allowance system and they must pay back all that is owed and be forced to leave Parliament. However, during my public life in the health service and now in the Church I have found both local MPs and ministers helpful, supportive and hardworking, having the interests of their constituents at the heart of their endeavours. To brand so many as moneygrabbing thieves is to demean what is in reality a group of dedicated men and women. Maybe an MP will be brave enough to ask for a judicial review to put back some sort of balance to this sorry state of affairs.
The Very Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wren’s Cathedral, Wroxall Abbey, Warwicks

2 March 2009

Less sex education 36

The different approaches to teenage births in the Netherlands and the UK

Sir, How right you are to highlight the different approaches to teenage births in the Netherlands and the UK (“Children having children”, Feb 27).
What is not always understood is that the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches in the Netherlands do not teach the Government’s sex education programmes but rather encourage a parental role in guiding and educating their teenagers.
What is also so outstanding is the different attitudes to teenage pregnancy. There it is still a stigma attached to early-age pregnancy and families are held responsible for the outcome of their teenager’s behaviour. In our no-blame culture anything goes and we only deal with the outcomes, not the cause. I heard some time ago a presentation from a local primary healthcare trust where it proudly announced how it gives council priority to separate housing and how the benefits are organised swiftly when a teenager approaches them. When asked why separate housing was needed and whether the benefits were monitored so that cigarettes, alcohol and drugs were not on the teenager’s agenda, we were accused of not understanding the situation.
It is not more sex education we need but much more accountability in the family and among professionals dealing with them and proper monitoring of the benefits given.
The Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wroxall Abbey, Warks

January 3, 2009

Marital punishment 35

Financial benefits withdrawn from a separated couple who plan to remarry

Sir, Recently my wife and I had the pleasure of helping a couple who had been separated for three years come back together. Their three children were delighted and soon I will have the privilege of conducting the rededication of their wedding vows. I was surprised to learn that the moment they began to live together as husband and wife they had to inform the benefits office and the local council. In consequence considerable financial support was removed from the family. What sort of Government finds it perfectly reasonable to financially reward adultery and desertion but penalises fidelity and commitment in marriage?

Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wroxall Abbey, Warks


27th September 2008

Rotten voting 34

Peterloo instigated the people to demand a reformed Parliament

Sir, While I sympathise with Robin Kempster (letter, Sept 26) and the political understanding of the masses in 1819, it would have been impossible for all men having the vote to influence unduly the political situation. Corruption was rife in the political scene, particularly in the rotten boroughs. Employers would know how their employees had voted because elections at that time were not secret and would have warned them that jobs and houses were on the line if they did not vote in a certain way. What the Peterloo massacre did do was to provoke enough people to demand a reform of Parliament, which came in the Reform Act of 1832.
The Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wroxall Abbey, Warks

8 August 2008

In two minds 33

Believing in one thing but practicing another

Sir, It amazes me how liberal theologians can find different interpretations in Scripture that avoid the more simple minds of an evangelical (“Archbishop believes gay sex is good as marriage”, August 7). Before writing, I read Romans i in 12 translations to see if I could get just a hint of what Dr Williams had found to bring him to the conclusion that this chapter only relates to heterosexuals wishing to become homosexuals and I found none. More serious is the position Dr Williams now finds himself in. He believes in one thing but practices another. The Bible suggests “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James i, 8).
I can identify with Dr Williams. When serving as a member of the council of the Royal College of Nursing, in the 1980s, it proposed a change to the constitution relating to strike action. I resigned from the council to lead a campaign against my colleagues’ proposals. I was repeatedly asked to campaign from within the council but I believed that would put me in a compromising position and show me as being insincere. Unfortunately, the letters disclosed to The Times put Dr Williams in a similar situation.
The Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wroxall Abbey, Warks

9th August 2008

Online letter and response

I refer Dr Carr to Rom.1:26-27, which clearly refers to people who choose to give up heterosexual relations in favour of homosexual ones, on the assumption that everyone is naturally heterosexual. Those born with homosexual orientation cannot simply be identified with this group.
Bouverie, Portsmouth, UK

10th August 2008
I would refer Bouverie to 1 Corinthians vi:9-11 to see if the Apostle Paul really meant that we should interpret the Roman text as he suggested. Paul makes it clear that homosexual and sodomite practices together with a list of other behaviour patterns will exclude people from the kingdom of God.
Dr. Anthony J. Carr, Solihull, UK

8th July 2008

The Church of England still has a lot to learn 32

Give the evangelicals some space and watch those who've lapsed return
Leading letter of the day
Sir, As a free church minister I listen with fascination to the various arguments emerging from the Anglican Communion (report and letters, July 7).
The Communion’s main advantage of being able to accommodate wide and varying beliefs has now become its Achilles heel. The various separate groupings proposed by the Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals seem, in the long term, to be the only practical solution. For instance, if there was established a clear grouping of evangelical ministers and churches, others might be attracted to them.
People forget that most free church denominations were formed by people leaving the Anglican Church. Baptists in the 1600s, Methodists in the late 1700s and even Pentecostals in the last century. The latter grouping originally occurred in 1906 with the Pentecostal experience of the Rev A. A. Boddy in All Saints’ parish church at Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. In 1922 the people associated with his experience were so threatened by the liberal tradition of the Anglican Church at the time that they felt compelled to set up the denomination known as the Assemblies of God.
May it not be that many of these groups would see the advantage of belonging to a vigorous and renewed evangelical section in the Anglican Church that was completely free of liberal theology?
The Rev Anthony J. Carr
Wroxall, Warks

June 22 2008

Sex education and teen mothers 31
Government schemes to reduce the abortion rate amongst teenagers need a moral compass

Sir, The latest government initiative to reduce abortions (report, June 20) among teenagers is a doctrine of despair. Every time the abortion rates go up so does the cry of more sex education. If one traces the abortion or pregnancy rates over the years, the more we educate, provide contraception from the age of 11 (without the parents’ knowledge) and the morning-after pill in schools, so the damage to these young girls increases. We have removed much of the parental moral and physical control over our children’s sexuality.
When teaching “Preparation for parenthood” to 14-year-old boys in 1960 as a bold experiment, I was required to set all our teaching in relation to a committed, loving relationship. We taught that getting a girl pregnant was letting themselves, their family and, of course, the girl down and was a highly irresponsible action with lifelong consequences. Now we want to teach sex education in an amoral way to five-year-olds. In talking to teenagers, they confirm that often the teaching, if they understood it, excited them and caused them to want to experiment. Few were taught in a moral framework.
To believe that education is the way out has proved false, so why continue? To teach the Christian approach of keeping sex for marriage and that the most precious thing we have is our virginity, which is offered to our partner, is laughed out of court. However, until society begins to challenge the modern-day attitude to sex and the authorities’ failed policies then these disasters to our young women will continue.
The Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr

3rd June 2008

Love it or loathe it? The new-look Times 30

Sir, I have read The Times regularly for over 50 years and this is by far the best edition I have had the pleasure to read. The additional colour photographs, the leading articles on page 2 and the new times2 all contribute to bringing your newspaper firmly into the 21st century. The enlarged Opinion pages and the Daily Universal Register are also very welcome.
The Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr

12th May 2008

Tough on cannabis 29

Note: This letter was also reproduced by Peter Hitchens in his article in The Mail on Sunday 18th May 2008

Sir, I support the Government's intention to raise cannabis to category B. As a hospital manager for over ten years and operating under the Mental Health Act (1983), I see almost weekly people sectioned because of mental illness and who either need their section renewed or are appealing against detention. Rarely do I see a teenager or young man who has not taken or who is not taking cannabis. Those rare occasions where cannabis is not used the committee remark upon it. For those vulnerable youngsters the results are tragic.. Bright futures are destroyed and the prospects for them are a life of using the mental health services during recurring episodes of their illness. Employment at best is poor or often non-existent.
I agree with the advisory council that a full educational programme showing the possible effects of smoking cannabis should be undertaken. In my opinion heroin addiction is preferable to cannabis in that heroin treatment can be successful, but once cannabis has triggered a mental illness there is no cure on offer. .

9th May 2008

Men and Women priests? 28

Sir, If the Canon John Burrows wishes to be true to the New Testament Scriptures (letters, May 3), could he indicate where he finds any mention of men or women priests as the only offices I can find are those of apostle, prophet, evangelist and pastor teacher? These gifts were to prepare believers for ‘works of ministry’.
I do find, however, that through Christ’s death a new way was opened so that any believer could carry out the priestly office of entering into the very presence of God by permission of the only high priest, Jesus Christ. There the Holy Spirit and the Lord himself has promised to intercede for them.
Nowhere is there even a hint that a man or woman should stand before God as a representative of the Lord Jesus at Communion because He holds that office himself. Scripture also indicates that all believers are priests in their own right.
The Canon may wish to consider what many scholars believe is that a woman apostle was approved by the Apostle Paul (Romans XVI:7). Some modern translations support this claim and if true the argument about women priests and bishops becomes superfluous.
The Rev Dr Anthony J Carr

29th March 2008

Terminal 5: the costly problems of new systems 27

Sir, I have been involved in the commissioning of two hospitals in my career and if BAA and British Airways had treated this operation as a hospital then the problems they encountered would have been reduced to manageable proportions. One needs to have about 10 per cent of the patients or customers on the first day. There should be 100 per cent of staff of all professions and trades on duty. With this overload of staff, difficulties as they arise can be dealt with competently and quickly.
The Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Solihull, Warks

December 21st 2007

Fact and fiction at Christmas time 26

The Archbishop and other Christians in high places should be careful about what they say in public

Sir, I understood and accepted much of what Dr Rowan Williams said about the Christmas story. I would, however, take issue with him on belief in the virginal conception. I use this word deliberately rather than the Virgin Birth because they are two different things.
Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church hold the teaching that the virginal conception is central to their teaching about the nature of Christ and of humankind. Belief in the fall of man means that all people are born with that fallen nature. If Jesus was born of natural parents he could not become the perfect sacrifice for humankind because he, God, would be also tainted with sin, which would be impossible. Rather he took on himself human nature by going through the process of a supernatural conception and a natural birth through the womb of Mary. The whole nature of Christ is changed if belief in the supernatural conception by the Holy Spirit is rejected, and it also makes mockery of the Creeds.

The Rev Dr Anthony J. Carr
Wroxall Abbey, Warks

July 2, 2007

Modern weddings 25

Sir, While agreeing that the decline has taken place, both the Church and Government could do much more to encourage those who have a Christian faith to have a Christian wedding ceremony (report, June 29). The restrictions placed upon a couple, wishing for a Christian service do not exist if they choose a civic ceremony.
The Government, before the last general election, proposed a freeing-up of the marriage laws. However, this failed in the House of Lords. Many people would welcome a Christian wedding where they could be married at home or in their favourite venue or hotel.
Please can we have help to move into the 21st century?
Wroxall, Warwicks

May 7th 2007

How Tony Blair's ten years will be remembered. 24

(This letter was also reproduced in the magazine 'The Week' Issue 613 12th May 2007)

Sir, I did not recognise the present state of England from Sir John Major’s article (May 2; letters, May 4). While not a supporter of the present Government, my own area has seen extensive developments in the public sector over the last few years.
A new academy has opened in a deprived area of Solihull and has brought renewed hope to many families. I have seen police officers walking the beat most days this week. We have our own sergeant on phone call and e-mail. Hospital development is all round the area. Recently there was completed a large general hospital in Coventry; a new 1,000-bed hospital in Birmingham has commenced and a new psychiatric facility has just had a nine-faith blessing ready for its opening in about a year.
Many of my congregation who have had cancer diagnosed are seen within days, and people with a heart problem have surgery within weeks. This is in stark contrast with the time John Major was Prime Minister. Unless the Conservatives give credit where it is due, the public are not likely to trust them with these public institutions again.

Solihull, West Midlands

28th October 2006

Dressing up faith relations around the world. 23

Sir, I agree with the Archbishop of Canterbury that people have a right to wear whatever symbols of religion they wish but there are negative consequences.
I have found clerical collars to be a barrier to proper communication. Sitting on a crowded train, wearing my clerical collar, some years ago I had four seats to myself. I invited three people who were standing to join me and when I asked why that had not taken the seats previously all said that they thought I needed my private space.
How sad that the clergy by their dress have become separate from the people they are called to serve. People who enter church wearing large wooden crosses round their necks cause me, perhaps wrongly, to think they tend to the fanatical side of Christianity.
Wearing of full veils is cultural not religious, and does cause suspicion and reserve. Wearers must be made to understand that this is the cost of being different.
Wren’s Chapel, Wroxall Abbey


July 15th 2006

Costs of cutting out the father. 22

Sir, Your report, “Fathers out of the picture as lesbians get IVF”, (July 13), is a triumph for women and a near-disaster for the children they will produce. As a father of five and a pastor I often pick up the results of the selfishness of men and women who are unable or unwilling to shoulder their responsibilities to bring up their own children with two distinct role models of father and mother.
I meet young men who have little understanding of what it means to be a loving and caring father. They in turn find their relationships with women and children to be confused and unsatisfactory. It seems that the right to have everything one wants overrides any other consideration in life, even if that decision has the potential to destroy the emotional life of another.
Why are we prepared in law to risk future generations to satisfy the desires and selfishness of women?
Wren’s Chapel,
Wroxall Abbey, Warks

June 10th 2006

Till legal muddle us do part - or maybe 21

Sir, Your report reminds me of how The Times once reported on another wedding. Believing that the Church of England minister was on his way, an 18-year-old who worked in the church helped out by putting on a gown and starting the service. When no vicar appeared he conducted the service and signed the registers. An ecclesiastical court later found that if the couple believed at the time that the person marrying them was qualified to do so then that marriage was legal.
Why not use the same principle here? Both parties believed that the law allowed them to make legal declarations and make solemn vows before witnesses and before a registrar. Regardless of the existing law, that marriage should be protected.
Wroxall Abbey, Warks

Heckling the Health Secretary. 20
May 1, 2006

Sir, The delegates to the RCN’s annual meeting have had their fun with the Secretary of State for Health. As a Fellow of the college, I now invite them to direct their anger at the real culprits. I speak of those chief executives, finance officers and directors of nursing in a minority of health trusts who have allowed overspending of such proportions as to cause embarrassment to those of us who have, for many years, managed to keep within budget on only a fraction of what they are now getting.

Secretaries of State are only humiliated once by an organisation, and the RCN can now expect little co-operation in its future negotiations with Government after the naive behaviour of its members.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Church Traditions . 19
December 10, 2005

Sir, I could accept Father David Sillince's argument (letters, Dec 7) insofar as it relates to the pre-canon era of the New Testament, but he gives no good reason for continuing church tradition afterwards, particularly when it attempts to write in the silent parts such as the role and status of the Virgin Mary or to change what Scripture says.
For instance, St Paul says very clearly that celibacy is a gift (I Corinthians vii, 9), yet from the 4th century church tradition has insisted on the gift becoming a condition of priesthood. That decision has denied countless men a full-orbed life of devotion and service to God and to their people.
Behind the Reformation was the realisation that when the Bible was compared with the then traditions of the Church, many of the latter were incompatible with Scripture. Schism was inevitable. That is why Nonconformists trust only Scripture to be their guide. Many of the church traditions today are still unacceptable to many Christians.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Bishops, believers and the question of biblical truth . 18
October 7, 2005

Sir, Before the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church allowed only the clergy to interpret the Bible to their flock. In this country Tyndale broke the power of the English Church to interpret the Bible by translating from the Greek, a beautiful edition of the New Testament (1525). The Roman Catholic Church again attacks the Bible so it can take back to itself its authority for its interpretation. Christian believers can now pick and mix.
For many Christians the written Word of God is their daily food and drink. There is an authority contained within its pages that surpasses the greatest scholar's interpretation. It is God speaking directly to His people.
To take away the trustworthiness of Scripture is to destroy the very basis of Christianity.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

The Place of Mary, Mother of Jesus in the Anglican Church . 17
May 20, 2005

Sir, How far will the Anglican Church .disassociate itself from the Reformation in its desire to gain recognition from Rome? Although I admit that the evangelicals do not often give the right Place to the Virgin Mary (report, May 17), it is another matter to give her divine attributes that are not warranted by Scripture.
The Bible is clear that there is only one mediator between human beings and God, it is the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy ii, 5)
If we believe in the doctrine of original sin, as Mary was born of natural parents she was contaminated by that sin. Jesus seems to be dismissive of giving too much honour to his Mother when he indicates that all who do the will of the Father are his brother, sister and mother (Matthew x11, 46-50).
The only glimpse we have of Mary in the history of the early Church was when, with Jesus' brothers (Acts I, 14), in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost she received the gift of the Holy Spirit . She did not appear to be given any special place at that time by the Apostles.
There is no scriptural evidence for her bodily assumption into Heaven: these doctrines are of late origin. There is no indication that Mary herself can give us benefits by praying to her. I am afraid we are dealing with superstition and magic, to say otherwise is to take away the uniqueness of Christ and his ministry.
Perhaps the Anglican Church needs a new Reformation.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Mr. Howard's Negative Campaign. 16
April 27, 2005

Sir, I have been a registered conscientious objector for over 50 years so I have a clear view on the war with Iraq. I have not voted for the Labour Party for 45 years. I have served as a Chief Nurse under both Labour and Conservative governments and know their strengths and weaknesses in delivering public services. Even when the last Conservative government drove down standards of patient care significantly I still did not vote for Labour.
I take voting very serious. In national elections I normally go and listen in person to the candidates; question them on their policies if needed, then make a decision.
I was so disillusioned about the present state of politics that I had decided not to vote in this election for the first time in 54 years. However, after listening to Mr. Howard's campaign against Mr. Blair and reading your interview with him today I find that his attacks on the integrity of Tony Blair brings him and his party to new levels of disrespect.
It is obvious that his policies alone are not enough to win him an election., therefore he has to lower himself and his party to these new low depths. This is not what I understand true politics to be. I will now vote decisively.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr
Responsibility for taking decisions on the discharge of mentally ill patients. 15
March 18, 2005

Sir, You report that Peter Bryan, now sentenced to life imprisonment, was discharged by a mental health review tribunal against advice from the Home Office.
Apart from restricted patients, such Bryan, those admitted to a psychiatric hospital currently have two ways appealing against their detention. They may appeal to their hospital managers for discharge at any time; hospital managers must also review any patient due for a renewal of their detention.
Hospital managers are trained lay people, not employees of the health trust . As a hospital manager I may, forming a panel with two colleagues, discharge the patient from detention. Being lay has some important advantages in that the patient's psychiatrist, social worker and nurse must convince us that the current Mental Health Act still applies to the patient in terms we can understand.
We, the panel, must ask ourselves these questions. Is the patient still suffering from mental disorder? If so, is that disorder of a nature or degree which makes treatment in a 'hospital appropriate? Is the detention in a hospital still necessary in the interests of the patient's health or safety, or for the protection of other people?
We ask the questions professionals take for granted. Having talked with the patient privately, we hear the case with the patient present and legally represented, if requested. Our decision-making includes powers of discharge.
We act responsibly, including asking for a second psychiatric assessment if in doubt. Afterwards the chairman of the panel will have discussions with the patient and relatives, if present, and give reason why we have or have not exercised our power to discharge.
If we decide to discharge we can require a care plan to be submitted to us for continuing care in the community.
The new Mental Health Bill proposes to abolish the option to appeal to hospital managers. I am sad that the Government does not see our work as contributing to the health of the patient and the protection of society.
Yours sincerely,
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Christian Values and the Right to die. 14
December 16, 2004

Sir, As a newly qualified registered nurse in 1955 I attended my first professional meeting. I asked if I could be told why in all the books I was required to read for my studies no full chapter was given to medical ethics.
To see what I had in mind, the audience asked for my views on the recently raised debate on abortion. I replied that once abortion was approved it would take about two generations before attention was drawn to disposing of the elderly. This would be followed by considering how to deal with what were then known as the mentally handicapped, and so on to the severely physically disabled.
I was ridiculed for holding those views. I was assured that as we a Christian country, with laws based upon that premise, it was unthinkable that the elderly or the mentally ill would he put to sleep.
With the comments this weekend of Baroness Warnock regarding euthanasia for the elderly (report December 13), and of the Archbishop of York that he would be "hard pressed" to describe this country as Christian (report, same day) my worst nightmare was realised. We are now a secular and humanistic society and our Christian values have been almost completely abandoned. It is literally the survival of the fittest from now on.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Heated Debate on the Possible Breakup of the Anglican Family . 13
November 4, 2004

Sir, For too long those Christians believing in the clear teachings of the New Testament have had fellowship with those in the liberal church who care much more about the present and changing norms in society than the teachings of Christ It is impossible to hold these two views together.
There is this liberal mushy teaching about "God is Love that somehow gets everybody through life and death, conveniently bypassing the clear teaching of Scripture. 1 would advise both clergy and laity to buy a Bible where the words of Jesus are printed in red, and read through the four Gospels only reading the red bits. It is only then that the stark reality of the hard teachings of Jesus is revealed.
I am afraid that the "God of Love" portrayed by the liberals is counterbalanced by a series of warnings about ungodly practices which they often fail to mention. I give but one example when the woman was caught in adultery Jesus did not condemn her but forgave her, then added:" ... go and sin no more (John viii II).
At least Christians can be confident that "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose" (Romans viii, 28).
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Guidance on Sentencing for Courts. 12
September, 2004

Sir, The Lord Chief Justice seems to have lost all sense of justice when making proposals for shorter jail sentences for those who admit their guilt during police investigations. An individual life is the most precious thing any person possesses and for it to be taken away should warrant the most severe sentence that the court may impose.
The new proposals would make sense if the period spent in jail was long enough to justify a reduction. For a majority of the public I meet, taking a life must mean life, not ten to fifteen years then out on license. As this country moves away from its Christian heritage and values and humanistic philosophy takes over, it seems that the need for justice for the individual becomes less important than saving money and time on a trial.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Caring for the Terminally Ill 11
March 9, 2004

Sir, As a chief nursing officer, I undertook a survey of patients who died of a terminal illness (report March 2; see also letters, February 4 and 14) within three days of being admitted to hospitals in Newcastle upon Tyne throughout 1975. In conjunction with the city's general practitioners, we identified 350 such patients. The main reason given for admission to hospital was that relatives were exhausted by the need to provide 24 hour care.
With the cooperation of the city council, which provided eight night sitters, we developed a 24 hour nursing service, for a few days at a time. A dying patient would have a night sitter, and a district nurse would attend every two or three hours, if necessary, to give pain relieving drugs and nursing care. The relatives could go to bed knowing that their loved ones were being adequately cared for. The relief for the corers and the difference those few days made to the families were truly remarkable. After one year in operation we estimated we had saved 351 patients from dying in hospital.
A general hospital is the last place we should send our; terminally ill relatives. Too many staff consider it normal to go to great lengths to try to add a few hours or days to a dying patient. Gone is the attitude in the acute hospital setting, that to nurse a patient to a peaceful death is a valid aim.
A countywide system of home care for the terminally ill would be a sign of our civilisation.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Who, and What Were the Magi? 10
February 12, 2004

Sir, Theologians have to be careful when translating words in isolation. There is no evidence that there were three wise men or Magi. Matthew just says, 'Behold, wise men from the East" (Matthew ii, 1). An assumption is made regarding three persons because there were three gifts given to Jesus of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The scholars interpret Magi in this text, yet they leave exactly the same word in Acts xiii, 6 and 8, interpreted as sorcerer. This word can mean wise men, teachers, priests, astrologers, seers, interpreter of dreams - the list is endless. Perhaps by using the word Magi we are left to work out for ourselves the true meaning.
However, is it not the theologian's job to interpret the text for the lay person?
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Plan to surcharge speeding fines 9
January 14, 2004

Sir, The news that the Government intends to surcharge motorists who speed (report and leading article, January 13) is a step too far.
I have no problem with motorists being fined for breaking the speed limit. I was fined and my licence endorsed some years ago for travelling at 48 mph in a 30 mph limit. The fact that the road was dual carriageway and housing was on one side only was irrelevant. I broke the law and I paid for it.
I have been comprehensively insured for 47 years, only making two claims in that time. Already I pay a surcharge to cover those people who have an accident while driving uninsured. Should I cause injury to anyone I will pay through my insurance. Why should any motorist pay a surcharge for criminals who cause injury and distress to others?
The Government will lose more goodwill through this than through anything else it has yet proposed.
Yours sincerely,
11 Butler Road,
Solihull, West Midlands B92 7QL.

End of the "Paper Trial" on Births, Marriages and Deaths . 8
September 9, 2003
Sir, The proposals for change to the registration arrangements for births marriages and deaths (report, September 9) has been followed closely by many ministers of religion.
This abbey church has marriage records going back to 1587. We carry out about 40 weddings a year and the recording of such weddings is considerable. Immediately after the service two registers have to be completed and a copy in the form of a marriage certificate is given to the couple. Every 13 weeks a further copy of the register has to be forwarded to the local registrar for transmission to the General Register Office. All these documents have to be written out in longhand using special ink The changes proposed mean that the couple will have to obtain g certificate (schedule) from the local registrar. After the wedding the, minister will require the couple to sign the schedule and the witnesses and minister will also sign. The couple must send it back to the registrar.
We shall keep our own. marriage register but the detailed handwritten work will go and allow us more time to concentrate on the couple being married.
Researchers in future generations will be thankful if all this information is captured on computer, rather than spending, hours on microfiche machines reading almost unintelligible writing to compile their own lists.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Blunkett Proposals on Sentencing 7
May 10, 2003

How refreshing to read (report ,"Blunkett challenges judiciary over length of life sentences", Mat 7) of a government minister making proposals that reflect the views of the majority of the community).
In sentencing for murder, most people must be affronted top read of sentences that do not appear to reflect either the crime perpetuated or the pain and suffering felt by the victim, family and friends. Taking life is the most serious crime an individual can commit and the guilty party must pay a high price for such an act unless it can be proved that there were mitigating circumstances.
Although my Church us at the forefront to help both victim and criminal with support, compassion and rehabilitation, the punishment must fit the crime, otherwise we fail the communities in which we live.
Your sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Church leadership 6
October 21, 2002

Sir, Dr Meridel Holland (letter, October 17) seems to suggest that sections of the Church either show all love and compassion or are judgmental and condemning. In my experience, the Church is neither.
If the Church is following true scriptural holiness, then Jesus used both compassion and warning, as an example about the woman taken in adultery. He dealt with her critics justly; in compassion he released her from her sin, but warned: “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John viii, 11, NIV).
The Church’s mission is just the same, namely, to show love and compassion to the sinner, welcoming into its fold all, of whatever sexual orientation, with the love of Christ; teaching them the way of following the Lord in holiness, “without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews xii, 14).
Yours faithfully,
11 Butler Road, Solihull B92 7QL.
October 17.

MOT Test for Disability Benefits . 5
July 6, 2001

Sir, I was amazed at the immediate adverse reaction to the Government's latest proposal to review the disability benefits every three years.
I had a severe heart attack 1983 that forced me to give up employment in 1984. After the usual sickness benefits came to an end I had an interview at the Benefits Office. I was advised to apply to go on to disability benefits. When I enquired how often I would have to be medically examined I was told that once qualifying for these benefits I would be entitled to receive them until I was eligible for the retirement pension.
On that principle alone I rejected the offer. It seemed to me that the system was open to abuse by a large number of people, including myself.
In time I did regain a measure of health and was able to work part-time for the ministry and was ordained in 1995. Surely it is time to review all benefits and allow those permanently disabled to enjoy the benefits without others, disabled for a time, cashing in on the system.
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Is 'stress' being over-emphasised? 4
March 26 2001

Sir, The word "stress", used repeatedly in newspapers and in personal conversation, has moved from meaning a mental, physical, or emotional pressure to an excuse for why things cannot be done or reasons for giving up on a project or piece of work (see, eg, Patience Wheatcroft, Comment, March 20). It has become so prevalent in my Elim church that we have agreed to ban the use of it in our daily conversations.
When I meet men and women who have passion or vision for their work, the word seems never part of their vocabulary. Is it not time for us as individuals to confront it every time it is used and demand that the persons concerned face up to their responsibilities, or would that cause them even more stress?
Yours sincerely,

RUC changes. 3
20 January 2001

From the Reverend Anthony J. Carr
Sir, I made a visit to the Republic of Ireland at the height of the Northern Ireland troubles in the 1970’s. I had been invited to speak to health professionals in Dublin on the work of constructing and commissioning a larger teaching hospital. Before my lecture I was dined with other guests by the Minister of Health and the President of the Royal College of Physicians (Ireland).
During the course of the meal I inquired rather naively why the college had kept its royal title. The president informed me that many professional and institutional bodies in the Republic kept their royal titles in 1922 and saw no problem in submitting changes to their charter to the Privy Council and receiving the signature of the Queen. He did add that to keep their feet on the ground one of his colleagues might, when changes to the charter were being put forward, propose a toast to the Republic.
I thought what a contrast their humour and wit made with the thinking of those who are likely to abolish the name Royal in Northern Ireland today (report: “Unionist anger stirred by RUB name change”, January 19)

Yours faithfully
11 Butler Road
Solihull B92 7QLK

Young Christians . 2
October 27, 2000

Sir, I do just wonder how relevant the Christian Church is today to young people (letter, October 27), and also to our growing ethnic groups. At the Renewal Christian Centre (Elim Church) in Solihull, which is overwhelmingly white Caucasian (97 per cent), we count among our congregation over 30 different nationalities.
Of the approximately 1,200 people coming through the doors of the church on a Sunday over 100 children will attend their own specially prepared service in the morning; in the evening, about 120 to 130 teenagers and those in their early twenties ..
In addition, we have perhaps the largest deaf community in the West Midlands, mainly young adults, predominantly men. We have had a young deaf man travel 40 miles each way on a Sunday morning because no church provides for him, while another moved from Manchester, with his job, to be nearer to us for the same reason.
Is it, I wonder, that we may have found the secret of presenting the Christian Gospel in a way that is relevant to the 21st century while not compromising the message? .
Yours sincerely,
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Case for Nurses Pay Increase 1
September 26, 1994
Sir, I see from The Times (report, September 21) that Kenneth Clarke says that any pay rises in the public sector will have to be found from efficiency savings. Could the Secretary of State for Health, Mrs. Virginia Bottomley, confirm to the public at large and to Kenneth Clarke in particular that the figures she uses on every possible occasion on the television of several million more patients treated every single year do or do not apply during the pay round negotiations? Under the new reforms the number of registered nurses is falling, and my naïve mind thinks that with more patients treated and fewer nurses available, they, the nurses, and their support staff have already had their case proved by the Government
Yours sincerely
Rev. Anthony J. Carr

Letter to the Daily Telegraph

Wffect on patients of hospital strikes

11 September 1979

 SllR-Mr Alan Fisher, General Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees, seems happy to announce at the TUC conference that, contrary to biased newspaper and other media reporting, he and his organisation did not cause the death of any patient during last winter's industrial action.He and others appear to be angry at the Press reaction to their action but they must surely be reacting with "tongue in cheek." National Health Service management at that time was bound by messages from the Secretary of State for Health to play a low profile and not to aggravate the situation by taking action such as the use of voluntary workers.Also, local management's own .decision not to disclose to the Press the really dangerous situation existing in many hospitals helped to cover up to a large extent the real disruption being caused to patients. . They did this because it was felt that this type of approach would help to contain the situation so the public never really knew the real difficulties being experienced in hospital.Mr Fisher may be right and it can never be proved whether reduced cover of wards, the cancellation of theatre lists; delays in in-patient treatment or out-patient attendance, , killed anyone, but I believe that many thousands of Health Service workers could not live with that sort of conscience. I can say 'that when some of Mr Fisher's members took instant strike action it was onlly. the extended cover offered by nurses of other unions often involved in the same dispute, and staff from professional associanons. that prevented very serious situations developing'.

Chairman, Regional Area and
District Nursing Officers Group,
Royal College of Nursing,
London, W.l.




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