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Letters: Health bill reaches the acute stage

David Owen says most NHS workers believed Cameron’s protestations of his commitment to the NHS because they were aware he had experience of it through his late son’s illness (Report, 8 February). It needs to be said that Cameron had no option but to use the NHS for his son’s rare and chronic illness because private hospitals do not treat such conditions. They make their money from elective surgery and the treatment of acute conditions. These are short-term problems that respond quickly to treatment, leading to full recovery. Private health insurers will generally not cover chronic conditions. We should all be aware of this as Cameron tries to shove the NHS into the jaws of private providers.
Judith Scott

• This year the Tories and the Lib Dems are foisting mayoral referendums on our major cities followed by a vote later in the year to choose an elected person to run the county police force. I want neither, but I would like a referendum of the future of the NHS in England — something that matters far more to me and countless others. Will we get one? Of course not. To show I am not a lone voice, I have posted an e-petition request to the government website under the heading “National Health Service national changes referendum request”.
Robert Howard

• You report that Cameron is determined to set up the battle on the health bill as being “between a bureaucrat-run and a doctor-run NHS”. But there will be bureaucrats either way. The crucial difference is whether they are publicly employed, with some degree of accountability to us; or whether (as in the US), they are employed by consultancies and insurance companies, accountable only to their shareholders. The US system costs much more, excludes large sections of society and produces worse health outcomes.
Alan Wenban-Smith
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