It is time to accept that we cannot go on with the NHS the way we are doing. The key, fundamental, world-best feature is “free at the point of need” with no-one denied service when the need it. That is a staggering commitment. Unfortunately, with a net population increase of 500,000 people in the UK every year and an aging population (because the NHS is so good), we cannot afford what we are trying to do. We need to have a public discussion about what the NHS should do and which treatments is should not be doing. Perhaps the most tricky possibility is to find a way of the NHS working with patients who might wish to pay for a bit extra without either short-changing those who do not pay a bit extra, nor privatising the organisation by the back door, Do I think it is possible? Well, I am hoping so because I have been humbled recently by being appointed a Governor of the Salisbury NHS Hospital. To be part of the discussion is a privilege and one that all of us should be part of. Each of us has an obligation, partly for selfish reasons, to write to our own MP and tell them all what we think the NHS should do and what it should not do. Aall of that without losing the competence, care and compassion of which the nation is justly proud.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 19 June 18