I do not know enough about the out-sourcing of MSK services to comment, but I have to take issue with some of the letters sent to you on the subject. Last week’s submission from Mr Skidmore, ‘NHS worker for 17 years’, disturbed me.
I and very many others spent our entire working lives in the NHS. He stated that the present Government is doing a mass privatisation of the service. No government that wishes to be elected would do any such thing because the voters would not stand for it.
The NHS has always relied for some services on outside providers – cleaning services, optical and pharmaceutical work, much of dentistry, the construction of buildings, etc.
Mr Skidmore ought to have firstly looked at the statistics. He would have found that the last Government out-sourced to private companies more in each year than has the present coalition in any year.
I have voted for every one of the traditional parties and for UKIP (once) during my life. Also I worked as an NHS consultant whole-time at my hospitals, choosing not to do private practice.
As long as the NHS is funded out of our taxes and is free at the point of use for the core services, its principle is not diminished.
The managers of the service are under an obligation to minimise cost and maximise efficiency. It does not bother me just as long as I know that the contractors have a proper contract, which can be cancelled if they do not do the job as agreed and within price.
People in this area speak gratefully of being sent (as NHS patients) to Goring Hall for surgery.
The very last thing NHS staff need is for their workplace to be a recurring theme at every election. To use the NHS as a political point-scoring exercise is most unhelpful. And politicians must resist the temptation of encouraging their followers to ‘weaponise’ the service.
Dr Philip Williams
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