Your editorial (31 March) calling for repeal of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act is a transformative shift of position and potentially very significant. Repeal will save huge sums of money for the NHS with immediate effect. If sustainability and transformation plans are used to return to geographical areas, ending stand-alone hospitals, substantive returns in terms of integrated care will be easier to achieve. I hope Labour will soon commit to repeal the Act.
David Cameron admitted that this act was the coalition government’s biggest mistake. Theresa May should remove it from the statute book as an economy measure.
House of Lords
• The NHS was designed to serve a more or less cohesive, class-based society where there was a political will to provide jobs and homes for all. Illness was due to bad luck and everyone deserved treatment.
We now know that bad luck is not random: unjustifiable inequalities set relatively disadvantaged people on an unhealthy path. The fact that resilient individuals will buck the trend merely fuels public scorn for people who cannot help themselves.
Without public investment in egalitarian family and social provision from the start of life, the NHS will seem increasingly irrelevant to citizens who have swallowed the idea that you can’t rely on the state to look after you, and expect to pay for everything they get.
The “flexible, efficient organisation” that you call for will never be able to care for a demoralised population with diminishing opportunities for good health. The NHS is cornered in a retail world that has no concept of socialism.
Dr Sebastian Kraemer
• Replacing routine operations with non-surgical treatments implies that 60 years of NHS funding, staffing and competence crises arose from a system clogging itself up with unnecessary operations (Deborah Orr, 1 April). If avoiding them can significantly reduce the workload, removing targets should not be necessary. The danger of removing waiting time targets is that it will allow the stream of unnecessary work to continue unmonitored, to the great reward of the medical profession, relieved of the risk of being challenged about what they are doing at taxpayers’ expense.
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