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Americans won’t be buying the NHS

Your correspondent Deborah King can rest assured that the Americans will not be ‘buying’ the NHS (SA, June 6) nor, I am confident will any British politician ever allow the NHS to be run by anyone other than the state.

However, my views and any assurances given by any Government will be ignored, as the hue and cry over a trade agreement with the USA is given many column inches in the national and provincial press.

The Americans don’t want to buy or own the NHS, what they want is greater access to some of the lucrative contracts which are currently denied to them.

The spend on private providers which includes such things as cleaning, catering, and yes some clinical services, is worth almost £8 billion per year but represents only seven per cent of the NHS budget.

There are other examples of clinical work being handed over to private companies, some of which appear at first sight to be part of the mainstream NHS.

For example Oxford University Hospital Trust who make no secret of the fact their ‘turnover’ last year was in excess of £1 billion.

The trust is also working towards achieving an organisational credential awarded to exceptional healthcare organisations that meet the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center standards for quality patient care, nursing and midwifery excellence and innovations in professional nursing and midwifery practice. Clearly America offers some benefits to the NHS. To those who think that all NHS medical care is free – it really isn’t.

First, it’s paid for by tax payers and secondly there are many clinical treatments where the private sector has been fundamental to their provision, dentistry, ophthalmic and podiatry being chief among them.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive

Big bin, little bin argy-bargy with council

Problem: big wheelie bin lid gone skew-whiff. Ring council. Long, long wait. Explain situation. No problem new one delivered soon. Two days later arrives. Problem: wrong size. Deliverer clearly makes mistake.

Ring council again. Long, long wait. Explain situation. Council “Analyst” says that deliverer makes no mistake; smaller bins now replace all damaged bigger ones.

Perplexed. Must be the new fashion I think.

I say single widow living opposite has the smaller version too. Suits her- not us! Several people live here.

Sorry, rules is rules!

So ask if all right when new wheelie bin full up I leave extra rubbish black bags by its side.

Sorry, impedes smooth flow of removal of said wheelie bin by said rubbish crew. Can give you extra recycling bins, sir?

Yes, but old bigger bin was, truth be told, not big enough for all rubbish-so how I cope with little bin?

Sorry sir, rules is rules. Anything else sir?

Yes, do you know if YouTube give tutorials on how to successfully fly-tip without threat of prosecution?

Long wait for reply. Give up. Replace ‘phone receiver. Bash nut against brick wall...

Jeff Adams, Bloomsbury

Sure Start loss is Swindon’s shame

Your excellent report on the recent report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (SA, June 1) highlighting the dilemma faced by councils on the increasing numbers of elderly needing social care in the face of savage cuts in the Government grant to councils failed to mention another aspect, the closure of Sure Start children’s centres around the country.

Swindon, shamefully, took the lead in this and I believe is now the only council with no such centres at all.

But now I see that the IFS reports that these centres reduced the likelihood of primary school age children being admitted to hospital, and the risk of injuries to all ages. This also saved the NHS around £5 million (my source - the British Medical Journal.)

I’ve also seen that a Government spokesman has said that every baby should receive five checks from a health visitor - so why did my wife’s grandson, now three, receive only one?

When his mother enquired, she was told they were too short staffed - was the Government spokesman aware of this?

Dr Chris Barry, The Bramptons

D-Day not about the European Union

I am afraid John Stooke (SA, June 8) is historically incorrect when he states “So many of our brave soldiers paid the ultimate price to unite Europe.”

The purpose of D-Day was to liberate the many separate countries in Europe that had suffered under the oppressive military occupation by Nazi Germany since 1940.

The European Economic Community (EEC) was not formed until the Treaty of Rome in 1957; with, originally, only six member states – Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. The European Union (EU) was not created until the Maastricht Treaty in 1993.

Malcolm Morrison, Prospect Hill

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