Is this privatisation of the NHS

Mike Wood’s Inside Politics column (News January 17) should be a warning to us all about this Government’s NHS deliberate upheaval plans. He highlighted the Specsavers venture into NHS hearing aid provisions.

By the time Specsavers and any other private provider of NHS services has siphoned off some of the patients no doubt the NHS audiology department and others will become uneconomical and rife for closure and lost to the NHS for ever.

NHS costs will appear to come down only for the external provider costs to be lost within some accounting scheme!

The existing Hospital Trusts which are to be disbanded are hell bent on wrecking the NHS before the new Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) take over in April.

We can read of many maternity and A&E closures to ‘improve the service’. We all know that this is a euphemism for cost-cutting. The proposed cuts at Dewsbury and Pontefract can finance Pinderfields cost whilst extending journeys from three miles to 15 miles in my case and many others.

The worst example of this is in the London Borough of Lewisham where there is a proposal to close the local hospital in order to make two adjacent hospitals viable which are in a different Hospital Trust to Lewisham. It is an ominous portent of what can happen here.

Even Government Ministers are complaining and campaigning against such closures. Chris Grayling said: “Axing my local Epsom unit is sticking two fingers up at Surrey residents” and William Haigh has campaigned over a North Yorkshire hospital. Jeremy Hunt campaigned similarly prior to his appointment as Health Minister.

If NHS services are to be vandalised in this way the CCG should make the decisions and then carry them out. In this way they cannot hide behind the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust being responsible for the outcome. This reorganisation is contrary to what David Cameron pledged before he became Prime Minister.

This is privatisation of the NHS and we will all pay in some way eventually. There are some of us who can remember the days before the NHS when money to pay the doctor’s bill was collected door-to-door. Let us hope this is never repeated. We should all heed Mike Wood’s warning and protest against this harmful NHS vandalism.

DENNIS MILLER

Oxford Road

Gomersal