The two fine letters in your February 10 edition regarding the calamity that has overtaken the NHS in general and our local hospital in particular excellently sum up the situation and indicate where the problems lie, but fail to suggest a solution.
Perhaps your correspondents thought this only too obvious – more money!
On the reasonable assumption that it is unlikely that any career politician will have the guts to simply raise taxes, might I make my own humble alternative suggestions:
Stop most overseas aid. Who can argue that it is not ridiculous to give money away that we need at home?
Use the money currently paid to the EU. Obviously some will be required to replace current subsidies, but there will be a substantial surplice.
Stop vanity projects like HS2 – billions just to save businessmen 20 minutes?
End the Trident programme. Also end in-work benefits by forcing employers to pay proper wages. Restrict child-related benefits to the first two now, not just in the future, but including those already with us.
Restrict rents: legislate to impose minimum renting periods and bring back council housing.
Limit the period of unemployment pay after which claimants would have to take the first job offered. Employers would have to allow time off for job interviews.
All income over £2million should be taxed at 90 per cent Who could not live comfortably on that?
Deport all illegal immigrants and foreign criminals without all the lawyer-enriching machinations.
End health tourism – restrict free healthcare to those who have lived here and contributed for at least five years and make all those coming to this country take out health insurance before being allowed entry. Legalise drugs but tax them heavily. It would save a fortune not having to enforce the law and prosecuting and punishing offenders. It works already with the only legalised drug – alcohol.
On the other side – The privatisation of the NHS should be reversed and statutes brought in to stop any more Tory attempts to bring this about.
Mrs Thatcher’s dogmatic ending of state-run care homes should be reversed and reasonably priced care offered to all in a nationalised system. It seems obvious that profits should not be made from ill health and old age. This would also free up hospital beds and ensure decent care.
Patients should contribute a proportion of the “hotel” costs when staying in hospital or care homes.
Decent care in the recipients’ own homes should be provided by the state, thus also freeing beds and cutting care home places.
The student bursary for nurses should be restored on condition they work in the NHS.
Doctors on accepting medicine courses should also contract to working a period in the NHS in general practice or where required.
Salaried doctors should be introduced into general practice and top medics pay scales restricted.
The excessive number of committees, quangos and management boards should be cut.
None of this would prevent people from paying for private care if they chose to.
These are just my ideas but I still think the best solution would simply be to raise taxes.
Ironically, I have just received a letter from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to tell me there are no appointments currently available in the cardiology department.
Edward Wheatley, Hunstanton