LETTER: Health Service

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Your survey of a not necessary representative sample on the NHS (Essential Information, June 2) demonstrates the usual misunderstanding on the involvement of the private sector in the health service.

Are the 66 per cent of people, who say they are opposed to the private sector running the NHS, aware that virtually all GPs are self-employed, providing their NHS services under contract?

Are they aware that the wonderful orthopaedic services provided in Sussex by Horder Healthcare are coming from a private sector charitable provider?

Nearly all pharmacies and opticians providing NHS services are also private.

The Benenden Hospital in Kent and other private hospitals and clinics already provide a range of services to NHS patients under contract.

It seems to be an article of left-wing faith that only a public paid employee can provide NHS medical services.

I suspect most people, if they stepped back from the political slogan “No Privatisation of the NHS”, are happy to receive efficient and timely medical treatment from any provider and if the private sector can provide that more efficiently, why should it be prevented?

The other issues on universal access, GP appointments, and hospital parking all boil down to how much the public are prepared to pay.

Unfortunately, simply adding more and more onto taxation for medical services, the scope and cost of which are growing exponentially, is not a long-term solution.

Other more efficient health systems in Europe rely on co-payment by the patient.

We already have prescription charges and I suspect that some further payments for making an appointment to see your GP or Consultant will have to be introduced.

Why not a £20 charge for missing a medical appointment? What about a £200 fee for turning up drunk at Accident & Emergency.

I used to resent charges for hospital parking. Now I am pleased to be able contribute a little bit back for the treatment I have received from a financially hard-pressed NHS.

Micheal Staples

Grove Road, Seaford