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Simplest solution to cutbacks is for people to adopt a lifestyle without smoking, alcohol and junk food



Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

There seems to be widespread consternation at the prospect of Government cutbacks in the health service budget. But, really, the masses of people have it in their own hands to alleviate the situation.

A significant number of beds in hospitals are occupied by people with avoidable sickness. Often it originates with what people ingest.

If there was a trend away from consumption of drugs, excess alcohol, smoking, junk food etc and a move towards eating more healthy, nutritional food, then hospital space would be freed up and resources could be concentrated on unavoidable illnesses.

However, in much of society, there is no appetite for this obvious solution.

I work for a large bank in Northern Ireland, which has a performance-related pay increase system, which takes into account how an employee has worked during the year.

One idea suggested in my group was to have occasional days when lunch would consist of chips, bread and butter - something which appealed to most of them. Because I don't like such (and knowing that my cholesterol level is high), I chose not to join in.

Months later, in a performance review, I was shocked when I was criticised for not taking part in what was described as 'team-building' and marked down in my rating because of it. The result is that, in real income value, my pay has been reduced.

As someone who has worked since the age of 17 (ie for over 40 years), with never one day off for sickness, surely this approach is self-defeating for the company - as well as being unfair to me? Some employers would give extra days holiday to encourage good attendance, rather than discourage by punishing good practice.

If managers and leaders in business are showing such bad judgment, is it any wonder that the health service is in crisis?


Carrickfergus, Co Antrim

Belfast Telegraph