Health of nation is at stake Mr Lansley – scrap Health Bill

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From: Dr Susi Harris, Calder Community Practice, Todmorden Health Centre, Lower George Street, Todmorden.

I AM a GP, addictions specialist and GP appraiser, so I meet a lot of doctors. I was seconded to the National Treatment Agency, and have been closely involved in commissioning, policy and re-tendering processes from both sides.

I understand there is always some resistance to change. My practice is run by a US independent sector healthcare company and my addictions service by a UK plc. I avoid political dogma, I am a pragmatist, familiar with new world economics, and willing to give most things a try.

But in 27 years, I have never seen anything like the reaction surrounding the Health and Social Care Bill. The majority of GPs are against it.

Most GPs I know, level-headed, usually grudgingly accepting souls, have lost faith in the new structures to improve their patients’ health. In one practice of five full-time partners, four now plan early retirement at the peak of their profession, citing the “reforms”: 44 lost GP-years. No amount of structural reshaping can replace this haemorrhaging of knowledge, skills and experience.

Those that used to run the health service limp on, but are depleted by a third, another tranche to go imminently.

The very aims of the Bill are getting forgotten. What happened to integration between health and social care? That could be impacting on our problems with health inequalities and care of the elderly. Where is Public Health England? If we lose our grip on that, we might as well forget about eradicating MRSA, or coping with a real swine flu outbreak.

Costly (£1.7bn) restructuring is causing stagnation on a grand scale, bad for leadership, even worse for patient safety. One PCT chief executive is quoted as saying he doesn’t now know if there is another Mid Staffs on his doorstep. How sure are local MPs that their constituents are safe?

Please tell Mr Lansley to stop – the health of this nation is at stake.

From: Daphne Smith, Holmfirth.

REGARDING Jayne Dowle’s column (Yorkshire Post, January 30) about the treatment received when her husband was admitted to the A & E department I feel it is only fair to try to balance the article by my husband’s experience of the NHS.

My husband has recently been discharged from St James’s Hospital, Leeds, after receiving chemotherapy treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

He was there for seven weeks, in a sterile room on his own for the whole of the time. From the time he was diagnosed at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary as suffering from this disease, to the time he was discharged, the treatment and care he has received has been first class.

The dedication, concern and sheer professionalism astounded us. Nothing was too much trouble, everything was responded to immediately, he was treated with dignity, given choices, given explanations of what was happening, and was not made to feel a nuisance at all. Included in this staff list are the nurses, registrars, cleaners, probationers, porters, sisters and the ambulance staff who brought my husband home.

My husband was on Ward 88 in the Bexley Wing of St James’s Hospital. We feel this country should consider itself lucky to have the NHS and if politicians stopped meddling and left the professionals to get on with it every department would be able to give of its best rather than staff feeling undervalued.

From: Mrs D Lister, Kellett Crescent, Leeds.

SINCE reading of many cases of poor care for the elderly and infirm, I must say there are some really genuine carers in Armley.

My husband has just had two week respite in The Spinney. The accommodation is immaculate and pleasantly decorated. The staff are excellent, nothing is too much trouble and all done with a smile in a friendly atmosphere. They are a credit to their calling.

For the first time my husband is looking forward to his next period of respite.