Metro letters, February 1: ‘Video calls to NHS leave us humiliated’

What’s got readers talking (Pictures: Getty/Alamy/

Metro readers are still sounding the alarm for the NHS, with one stating that remote consultations have stripped their elderly mother of her dignity.

The subject of travelling on buses has accelerated to the point that now one letter-writer suggests that drivers’ attitudes could be passengers’ own fault.

Elsewhere, a self-employed man expresses his belief that being your own boss is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Read on to see what else has gotten readers’ brains working overtime.

■ Regarding the news that thousands of patients will get emergency advice by video call instead of going to A&E to ease pressure on overstretched hospitals (Metro, Mon).

I’m thankful that I live in a country where I can receive medical support that’s ‘free’, for now. However, I’m concerned about the level of service we’re receiving from our doctors and hospitals, especially for our elderly and vulnerable.

It’s scary that diagnoses are done by phone and soon to be by Zoom. My most recent experience is having to send pictures of my 84-year-old mother’s bottom to show the boil she has. The doctor won’t visit despite her mobility problems. We’ve been told the pictures will be discussed and we’ll be contacted.

My mum worked tirelessly for the NHS and is now reduced to exposing herself in this way to get treatment. My concern is where will it end? Will the next step be home operations? What will it take for the government – whichever party – to really look at what is happening and actually do something, not just make promises? Debbie Ellison, South-East

■ We’re experiencing a true brain-drain as a result of our top consultants and doctors leaving the NHS for better salaries overseas. We must improve their package to retain them. Lou, Ealing

The NHS is suffering a brain drain, one reader writes (Picture: Alamy)

■ This country is in the doldrums and we’re bombarded with coverage of all the strikes but no one gives the points of view of the majority of employees who are not public workers or who don’t have a union to support them.

Everyone is in the same position with the high cost of living but millions of workers have no recourse to industrial action and in most cases no prospect of pay rises anywhere close to those demanded particularly by public sector workers. Yet who will fund those rises? The taxpayers, so they are going to be hit twice.

We’re becoming a two-tier country yet all workers have a value. We often talk about the NHS and Covid but where would we have been without the supermarket staff, factory workers and others during that time?

On the bus, I pass NHS strikers cheering and waving outside our hospital but it is apparent from the other passengers that I’m not the only individual who sees the unfairness and inequality that exists between the working population. Phyllis Beck, Eastbourne

‘Being your own boss isn’t the utopia that many think’

There’s freedom in being your own boss, but the buck stops with you (Picture: Getty)

■ Nearly 70 per cent of us dream of being our own boss so that we can increase our pay and control our hours, according to a poll by AA Driving School (Metro, Mon). They have no idea about basic economics. I’ve been my own boss all my life and love what I do but the idea that I can pay myself more or work shorter hours is laughable. The buck stops with me and I often have to work longer hours to make what a wage slave makes. But I get to do what I want and don’t have to let some idiot tell me what to do. If you want more money and shorter hours, don’t give up your day job. Just be ready to kiss up to the boss even more for a raise and shorter hours. Paul Wiffen, Romford

‘Brexit’s real impact won’t be apparent for decades’

■ In response to David (MetroTalk, Mon) who ‘began his day with a smirk’ after reading a letter here by ‘a remoaner still complaining seven years later’. This displays why democracy is of questionable legitimacy in an age where citizens number in the millions, not hundreds at the time the Greeks invented it. A hugely significant policy such as Brexit wouldn’t even begin to show its true effects until a number of years after being voted for, and probably for decades after. Harry, Camden

What you said…

Yesterday, a Metro reader, Julian Self of Milton Keynes, said: ‘Ministers often don’t have a modicum of knowledge of the fields they are put in charge of.’

It came after former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi was sacked as chairman of the Conservative Party after it was found that he was not completely open about his tax arrangements.

We asked you whether experts should serve in government.

You said:

  • Yes – at least they’d know what they’re doing (69%)
  • Maybe – they already serve as advisors anyway (19%)
  • None of the above – I’ll leave my comment below (6%)
  • No – their scope would be too narrow (6%)

‘Bus drivers erratic? Well, passengers don’t help themselves’

■ In defence of bus drivers following Emilio’s complaint that ‘the vast majority aren’t fit to drive cattle’. (MetroTalk, Mon). These are some of the issues we have to contend with. In hours of poor light, many potential passengers wear dark clothes and stand still near bus stops. If spotted at all, it will be at the last minute. At stops where more than one service stops, throw out an arm to let the driver know you want to get on. If you’re on the bus, ring the bell for your stop, not as you are approaching the previous one or actually going past the one you wanted. This kind of behaviour often leads the driver to behave in a way people may find erratic. All drivers want to do is keep you safe. Do your bit too. Mike Ford, Droitwich

The debate about travelling on buses shows no sign of slowing down (Picture: Getty)

■ I boarded the bus and said thank you. When I got off the driver said, ‘I’ve never had any passenger say good morning to me before. You can get on my bus any time for being so polite.’ Gillian (OAP), London

■ I totally agree with the MetroTalk complaints about bus drivers. The way they leave the bus stops, I marvel at how I’ve seen so few old people fall over. David Sandle, London

■ I use a walking stick and the bus drivers slam on the brakes on so hard and at speed. David, Glasgow

■ What’s the deal with people listening to music on public transport with no headphones? We don’t need to hear it, people. JM, Glasgow

‘Where does truth lie over Russia threat?’

Better the devil you know? Or not? (Picture: AFP/Getty)

■ The Kremlin called Boris Johnson a liar over his claim Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him (Metro, Tue). The ex-prime minister told of a phone call in which Putin said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile, it would only take a minute, or something like that.’ Johnson wouldn’t know the truth even if it smacked him in the mouth. Putin is a monster but when it comes to choosing who lies the least, my vote would be with Putin. Ged Jarvis, Manchester

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