Letters: Tackling bureaucratic inefficiency is the first step to reforming the NHS

SIR – I recently received two letters from the NHS in the same post delivery but in separate envelopes. One was to notify me of an outpatient consultant appointment, and the other was to cancel this appointment – with no alternative offered.

This kind of incompetence is endemic throughout the organisation, and there is no point in wasting yet more money on it without a radical overhaul of management staff and practices.

W J Foden
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

SIR – Let me suggest one way to transform the NHS, based on my experience of the excellent system in France.

Here we make our own appointments with hospital doctors, having been given a letter to convey to them by our GP. We carry our own…

Letters: Take politics out of law degrees to protect judicial independence

SIR – I am confident that the judiciary is not politically motivated in the party-political sense (Letters, December 30). However, after Cherry/Miller (No 2), it is probably no longer possible to avoid greater scrutiny of the make-up of the Supreme Court, especially since it reached a unanimous decision on a matter that another court, which included the Lord Chief Justice and Master of the Rolls, held to be non-justiciable.

The problem is achieving this scrutiny without affecting the independence of the judiciary. I have three suggestions. First, the Judicial Appointments Commission should be overhauled and both its membership and the criteria for judicial appointments should be reviewed. Secondly,…

Letters: A secret weapon to help the Border Force secure British waters

SIR – In response to the letters (December 28) from Commander Bill Nimmo-Scott, Squadron Leader James A Cowan and David Taylor, discussing how to prevent people-smugglers from crossing the Channel, I would like to point out that the Royal Navy already has a number of suitable fast patrol boats available.

There are 14 vessels of the Archer class (P2000), currently assigned to the University Royal Naval Units. These vessels are built to Royal Navy standards and have the necessary gun mounts – and, in some cases, weapons – already fitted.

With a regular crew and a detachment of Royal Marines for boarding duties, these could easily be deployed to support the Border Force and, once Brexit is complete,…

Letters: Experienced ‘amateurs’ could offer added protection in the Channel

SIR – The idea of second-hand patrol boats, in conjunction with light spotter aeroplanes (Letters, December 28), might help stem the flood of illegal immigrants. It would also free up both the Royal Navy and the Border Force to confront drugs and arms smugglers, unlawful fishermen, real criminals and the Queen’s enemies in general.

However, in both the RN and RAF there is a manpower problem. As the crews of the proposed small vessels and light aircraft need not be trained to service standards, may I suggest the reintroduction of the Second World War’s successful Royal Naval Volunteer (Supplementary) Reserve, along with an RAF equivalent?

Before 1939, the ranks of the RNV (S) R were drawn from…

Letters: Second-hand yachts can’t guard the Channel against people-smugglers

SIR – Lieutenant Commander David Wright (Letters, December 27) has a very good idea in suggesting the Ministry of Defence buy half a dozen second-hand motor yachts to patrol the Channel to prevent people-smugglers from using the sea route from France.

But, if the experience with HMS Wakeful is anything to go by, it would soon suffer from “mission creep”. Wakeful was a Swedish tug bought as a tender to submarines operating from the Clyde. It did not help that all its documentation was in Swedish. It acted as part of the Fishery Protection Squadron for some years, but in the final analysis it cost a fortune and was replaced by a purpose-built ship, HMS Sentinel.

With civilian yachts, the very adequate…

Letters: Interrogation and interruption on Today are a discourtesy to listeners

SIR – Henry Webber (Letters, December 24) points out that, since the ministerial boycott of the Today programme, it has been more enjoyable, without constant interruptions from interviewers.

All BBC political broadcasting would be more enjoyable if interviewers learnt the difference between interviewing and interrogation; if they knew how to ask questions without advancing their own opinions; if they understood that to interrupt is a discourtesy not just to the interviewee but to listeners also; and if they realised that aggressive, ill-tempered interviewing is plain bad manners as well as often counterproductive.

Perhaps a training course with some of our skilled young barristers wouldn’t go…