Post letters: Apprenticeships, mental health, veterans visiting battlefields and heart disease

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 April 2018

Sandra Baerens of Coventry University at a recent Dagenham campus open day.

Sandra Baerens of Coventry University at a recent Dagenham campus open day.


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

University supporting apprentices

Leonard Restall, formerly from Barking, writes:

The news that Dagenham’s Coventry University campus is to offer degrees for apprentices, reported in last week’s Post, is a very welcome innovation in providing educational training for apprentices that can earn as well as learn.

Recently I made comments in respect to the National Apprentices Week which aimed to encourage the high percentage of school-leavers that do not go on to university to take up an apprenticeship.

Apprentice schemes improve the employability of the apprentice and leads to the means of getting a good job, and may lead to increasing their confidence in order to advance to managerial positions later. Although there are various forms in which an apprenticeship scheme may follow, this one offered by the university campus in Dagenham should be very attractive to many school leavers and the two new students Mario Ndokaj and Jamilah Riat will be the first to enrol in a digital and technology degree and earn as well as progress within their company.

This scheme is a low cost career focussed mode of education and should appeal to many students. It appears from reports that the scheme may be available for anyone over the age of 18 years and to people who may be new to the career they want to take up.

This could be a wonderful opportunity for students to make good progress towards their career future as well as help considerably various businesses in the local area, with low personal costs.

This will provide a high point for local educational success and those within the University, and local education reponsible are to be commended.

Mental health care not adequate

Rob Behrens, parliamentary and health service ombudsman, writes:

One in four adults will experience a mental health problem each year yet often mental health care falls below the standards we should expect.

Last week we revealed that some of our most vulnerable patients, many of whom have complex mental health conditions, are being badly let down by the NHS, causing them needless suffering and distress.

In our report ‘Maintaining momentum: driving improvements in mental health care’, we found that some patients are not being treated with dignity and respect of their human rights and this is further compounded by poor complaint handling.

Our investigations shine a light on severe failings but this is not done to attribute blame. We aim to ensure that the organisations complained about make changes to prevent the mistakes happening to others.

In this instance, this is to ensure that mental health patients get access to the treatment and support they need.

This is only possible due to patients and their families taking the important step of complaining when things go wrong.

The vast majority of complaints are resolved locally.

However if you are not satisfied, you have the right to bring it to us – the parliamentary and health service ombudsman - for an independent and impartial view.

Help veterans revisit battlefields

Charles Byrne, director general, Royal British Legion, writes:

It’s The Royal British Legion’s belief that every World War II veteran should have the chance to revisit the battlefield on which they served.

Thanks to new LIBOR funding from HM Treasury, we are now able to offer a fully funded trip to anyone who served in our Armed Forces during World War II.

However, as there is no unified record of World War II veterans that are alive today, I am reaching out to you and your readers in the hope that you can help us spread the word.

The trips will take place between spring and autumn this year and a family member and a carer will also be able to go along and share this pilgrimage of Remembrance with them.

Organised by Remembrance Travel, part of The Royal British Legion, the trip will give the World War IIveterans - now mostly in their 90s - a chance to meet up with fellow ex-service men and women, and pay their respects to their fallen comrades.

Veterans who may be interested in this opportunity need to apply through our tour operator, Arena Travel on 01473 660800, or visit:

Help us tackle heart disease

Professor Federica Marelli-Berg, BHF funded professor at Barts and the London, Queen Mary University London, writes:

As a professor of cardiovascular immunology at Barts and the London, Queen Mary University London, I see first-hand how devastating heart disease can be. We are determined to spare more families the pain of losing a loved one to these condition

Research funded by the British Heart Foundation has helped halve death rates from heart and circulatory diseases over the past 50 years.

So much of our work has only been possible thanks to the amazing individuals who have remembered the BHF in their Will.

These special gifts fund more than a quarter of all cardiovascular research in the UK.

In the past year London residents left more than £6.8 million their Wills to the British Heart Foundation to help fund life saving cardiovascular research.

I would personally like to honour these people and express our gratitude to their families for making research breakthroughs possible and helping to save thousands of lives.

But there’s still so much more to do, and there are 720,000 people in London living with cardiovascular disease right now.

A new study shows that a third of over 65s polled in London said they would consider leaving a gift to charity in their Will, the top motivations for this included ‘wanting to make a difference’ and it ‘feeling like the right thing to do’.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have already decided to support the BHF in this unique way and encourage more people to consider doing the same, so we can unlock further medical breakthroughs and save more lives.

A gift of any size, after you’ve provided for your loved ones, will enable the BHF to continue to fund pioneering research so we can beat heart and circulatory disease for good.

To find out more about leaving a gift in your Will, please visit

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