How many people really understand how the NHS works?

From: Dr Paul Charlson, Westfield Park, Brough.

THERE is considerable opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill from both professionals and the public. I suspect that public opposition has its root in the professional organisations speaking out against the Bill.

It is my impression that most people do not really understand how the NHS works. Few people realise that GPs are self-employed and operate as small private businesses which has been a real positive for patients over the years. No one has complained about this being “privatisation”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Part of the problem is that the way that the Bill has been portrayed.

If you say that the Bill will enable clinicians to redesign services to achieve better care and patients will have more choice of services closer to home then most people would support that. Conversely you could state that the Bill will take clinicians away from their patients to spend time managing the NHS and services are being privatised then most people would not support that. Actually both sets of statements are true.

Lastly, the NHS would still need to save £20bn over four years with or without the Bill and the two are separate issues. For those who wish to scrap the Bill what are the alternatives? The ship has already left the dock in a force nine gale, better to steer a path to calmer waters than try to turn it around and risk sinking it.

From: Ken Holmes, Cliffe Common, Selby, York.

IT was pathetic to see the Prime Minister David Cameron and his Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, swanning round hospitals with their shirt sleeves rolled up. It’s a fair bet to say that neither of them have ever had to roll their shirt sleeves up and done a week’s manual work in their lives.

Incidentally, could Mr Cameron please redirect his unwanted cash giveaway to India to the fantastic charity-funded Yorkshire Air Ambulance Service and the like, in our own country?

From: C Horsman, Coppergate, Nafferton, East Yorkshire.

further to Christine Robinson’s praise for the NHS (Yorkshire Post, February 6), fortunately she lives near York, and is treated in Harrogate and Leeds. But she should live in the large county of East Yorkshire where there is hardly anything. Never be ill on a Wednesday or weekends. We are the 14th worst in Europe.

From: Judy Robinson, chief executive, Involve Yorkshire and Humber (formerly Yorkshire and the Humber Forum), The Headrow, Leeds.

YOUR front page article on the widening health and wealth gap in Yorkshire and Humber (Yorkshire Post, February 15) gives evidence of shocking health inequalities. I am extremely concerned that the gap in Yorkshire and Humber will continue to widen.

As well as the work of local NHS bodies, voluntary and community sector organisations play a major role in promoting the health of individuals and communities. The voluntary sector runs advice centres, walking groups, mental health support and drug and alcohol projects, to name but a few, all of which have a positive impact on people’s health.

Our recent survey of the sector has shown us the problems such organisations are having in maintaining the quality and scope of their services as funding decreases.

It’s crucial that central government and Local Enterprise Partnerships take note of such important research, and support the central role of the voluntary sector in promoting health and reducing health inequalities.

If the voluntary sector is not sustained in order to support those most in need, and to reach the most disadvantaged communities, I can only see health inequalities in our region increasing.