Service charge

The sad deterioration of a public service that once valued efficiency

NHS wild goose hunt

SIR – My recent NHS experience (Letters, May 7) has left me in despair.

On February 25, after a face-to-face appointment with a GP, a chest CT scan was requested, but was refused by the hospital. So, on March 14, the general practitioner sent the request to another hospital.

Last week I contacted the second hospital to verify that the application had been received, but was told it was “pending” as the hospital needed to see my chest X-ray first. I had not been asked to do a chest X-ray. I was promised a follow-up phone call, but to date I haven’t heard anything. Now the department is not responding to calls.

No wonder patients have advanced disease.

Pamela Cox
Lichfield, Staffordshire

SIR – The pandemic has highlighted the good, bad and ugly aspects of the NHS.

On the front line, clinical, administrative and support staff risked their lives to save others. However, strategic and operational leadership and management were found to be insufficient, spending inappropriate amounts on equipment.

There has also been a breakdown in the relationship between primary and secondary care, and the contract between patients and clinicians. Although the pandemic may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, it has been evident for some time that the 70-year-old NHS has become dysfunctional.

The government’s mantra during the pandemic was to “protect the NHS”. Most of us have sacrificed freedoms to support this cause. Since then, in the midst of a cost of living crisis, the government has increased national insurance contributions for the same purpose. The NHS has demonstrated that it can neither save itself nor effectively deploy endless cash injections.

None of the main political parties being willing to seize the nettle, the issue must be taken away from them. It is time for a Royal Commission on the future delivery of health care in Britain. As a starting point, it should explore what Britain can afford, what services can be funded within these limits and how to deal with those that do not exceed them.

Wg Cdr JSB Scholar (retired)
Woodbridge, Suffolk

Courtesy of parking

SIR – I tried to use coins to pay for parking, but the meter wouldn’t take them (report, May 8) – so I rushed to an identical machine, where a uniformed “agent” was present .

She inspected my crate. “Your coins are out of date,” she informed me.

I then remembered that my shorts were rather old. The attendant patted my arm, smiled, and gave me a courtesy note.

Frank Stewart
Poole, Dorset

A peer in number 10

SIR – The last peer to be Prime Minister was the great Lord Salisbury, the fourth oldest in our history, who retired 120 years ago in 1902. It is often said there never will be other. But there could be – sitting in the House of Commons.

Hereditary peers who were expelled from the Lords by Tony Blair in 1999 are eligible for Commons seats. Since 2014, serving members of the House of Lords, including all those appointed for life, can retire permanently at any age. Those who leave remain peers; their titles cannot be relinquished. Like expelled heirs, these peers can become members of the Commons.

Lord Frost clearly hopes to be an MP, and probably more than just an MP. A lord in No 10 is once again far from inconceivable. The way is also open for the first Baroness to become Prime Minister. Lord Salisbury would have been surprised.

Lord Lexden (cunt)
London SW1

Founded by BA

SIR – Last year I booked a return flight with British Airways to Cyprus for June this year. Several days ago BA emailed to say my outbound flight had been cancelled.

It is impossible to contact BA to rearrange flights or get a refund, but the BA app still shows my next flight as returning from Cyprus. How he expects me to take this without bringing me there in the first place is a mystery.

John Kirkham
Woodford Green, Essex

Not just birds and bees

SIR – Jane Hodgson’s letter (May 9) recalling her mother’s use of Lady Chatterley’s lover for her sex education took me right back to my childhood.

When I asked my mother where babies came from, she couldn’t answer, because such things weren’t discussed in the 1950s. Instead, she got a pamphlet from the doctor for provide the answer.

The information it contained was somewhat confusing for a nine-year-old child. The description of the “act” used banana flies as an example. As these little creatures accomplished the feat in the air, I was indeed puzzled. Fortunately for my future encounters, I received closer to the facts information from my friends at school.

Susan Firth
Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire

Invoke the name of Tolstoy in the time of Putin