No major privatising

The Centenary Building at Lancaster Royal Infirmary.
The Centenary Building at Lancaster Royal Infirmary.

In the Lancaster Guardian dated October 2, your correspondents the Hartleys alleged (without giving examples): “changes that have led to massive privatisation of NHS services”.

As a recently retired Lancaster GP and executive member of Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (LNCCG), I was involved in the management of the NHS at local and national level, and can reassure readers that there certainly has not been any “massive privatisation of NHS services”.

At the public AGM of LNCCG, we were informed that the CCG funds a small amount of private work, mainly when University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust subcontracts work when short of capacity, in order to ensure that patients receive treatment on time. These figures are on the public record.

Small amounts are also spent on, for instance, the Hearing Aid service. Patients are offered a choice (as is their right) of having a hearing aid fitted at the RLI or by a private provider. The latter is not “more expensive”: it is not allowed to be. NHS or commercial services are paid at exactly the same tariff price.

Regarding the “transfer of taxpayers money to private companies” this does indeed occur on a “massive” scale: GPs, dentists, chemists and opticians have all been private contractors to the NHS since its inception. Are the Hartleys suggesting that we “nationalise” these services?

Dr Robin Jackson

Address supplied.