Passionate views about NHS future

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From: J Brears, Beal, Goole.

AFTER reading Paul Muller’s article (Yorkshire Post, February 11) re the present NHS, I fully agree with his comments.

I trained at St George’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner and Queen Charlotte’s from 1949-1954 and at that time matron was fully respected and made aware of the patients’ problems on her daily ward rounds – nothing escaped her eagle eye!

The wards themselves were run smoothly by ward sisters and their staff.

Daily rounds were done by consultants and their medical students dressed correctly with ties and white coats – all highly respected by patients and staff alike.

I also recollect an office ran by dedicated staff administering the hospital – all of which appears very different from today.

From: Norman Hazell MBE, Woolgreaves Drive, Sandal, Wakefield.

HOW refreshing it was to read the article written by Paul Muller, a retired surgeon (Yorkshire Post, February 17).

Interesting, but enormously sad to have the dramatic changes that have taken place over the past 50 years related so clearly.

I have a lifelong interest in the health service, like so many working-class people.

Indeed, when Sir Jack Smart stood down as chairman of the Wakefield Area Health Authority in 1988, I was nominated by the Yorkshire Conservative Party to take his place, while working as an engineering designer at Yorkshire Copper Works.

But the Minister of Health told me to replace Sir Jack with a Tory would have been misunderstood, so a trade union man “got the job”.

Since that time I have served on a variety of health committees – always voluntary of course.

From: Mr PJ Gray, Shelley Grove, Sprotbrough, Doncaster.

AS politicians once more prepare to tinker with our National Health Service in an effort to make it “more efficient and more responsive to demand”, the small, still voice of experience and reason surfaces in Mr Paul Muller’s apposite piece (Yorkshire Post, February 11) edition.

Having read – and re-read several times – this article, I feel that it should be required reading for the Health Secretary and his acolytes so that their attempts at improvements to the NHS might be better informed.

Some of Mr Muller’s views – especially about hospital matrons – were wholeheartedly endorsed by my own GP after a less than pleasant hospital experience of my own some little time ago.

From: A Hallam, Cresswell, Worksop.

I HAVE just read the article by Paul Muller on the state of the hospitals in the NHS.

It should be written large on every wall, door and window in every NHS building across the land. Get him out of retirement and pay him a banker’s bonus.

From: Paul Rouse, Main Street, Sutton upon Derwent.

TO run effectively and efficiently, the NHS does not necessarily need more, or less, managers, what it needs are good managers and directors. It should start with the board of every trust.

These boards must be chaired by people with experience of running large organisations and big budgets.

Also, the non-executive directors supporting the chairperson should be fully capable of assessing the performance of the executive directors in financial terms and service provision, and then provide a cross section of specialist skills and experience – financial, clinical, procurement, personnel, communication, logistics etc.

Above all, the directors of an NHS trust should primarily serve the interests of the population who rely on that trust.

This responsibility is presently being ignored by the board of York Hospitals, for example, who are currently hell bent on taking over the ailing Scarborough Hospital trust. This risks diluting the relatively efficient health services in York.

Until we improve its boardrooms, the NHS will continue to waste vast sums of public money on poor decision making by poor managers.

From: Mike Andrews, Cheviot Way, Upper Hopton.

JAYNE Dowle’s recent account of her experience with the NHS (Yorkshire Post, January 30) has provoked a number of letters defending it – though some would appear to share Jayne’s views.

It has been said that the NHS is the nearest thing the British have to a national religion. Certainly, it is usually held in high regard.

However, this should not mean that the NHS is beyond criticism in any aspect of its delivery or ethos.

If evaluation is an essential part of the operation, it surely cannot be allowed to be based on the vagaries of highly subjective anecdotal evidence.

Thus, in the context of proper appraisal, my personal experience of a particular aspect of the NHS is neither here nor there. What is required is valid sampling of the client base together with a rigorous analysis of the results.

From: Eileen Driver, Stokesley & Ayton Labour Party, Cleveland Avenue, Stokesley.

OUR local Labour group fear that closing wards in the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, will mean that some people may suffer or die because they cannot reach hospital in time.

Less quantifiable, will be the patients who will have complications or have to endure some form of ill-health because of delays in reaching hospital.

This is another example of ill-judged Coalition cuts that will hurt and not work.

The decision to close wards must not be carried out as we have the same entitlement to a good Health Service as other parts of the country.

From: JW Smith, Sutton-on-Sea.

HERE we go again. We all ought to fear further incursions of the private sector into the Health Service.

Ever since Mrs Thatcher allowed and encouraged the spread of private hospitals, there have been thousands of instances when routine procedures have gone wrong or left patients with recurring problems. The private hospitals have either said “tough” or been unable to put things right and the National Health Service has been left, often at significant expense, to sort it out.

Taxpayers are now being faced with the costs of corrective surgery for women with defective breast implants which will run up a bill totalling many thousands of pounds. Happy to make handsome profits for treatments, when it comes to dealing with any subsequent problems the private sector simply does not want to know.