Letter: NHS in crisis

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The "flu crisis" has led to another staff shortage in the NHS. This will no doubt give way to another round of pay claims, the most eagerly highlighted by the media being that from nurses.

Could I shock you by saying that hour for hour a junior doctor earns roughly the same as a nurse? They only earn the "fortune" perceived because they work such long hours - because there aren't enough doctors.

It is the whole work force of the NHS that counts. Nurses, doctors, porters, cleaners and even (reluctantly) managers. Without them the NHS is doomed, so all reasonable pay demands must be met.

However, before April we will be told that public funds will not stretch, and then the public and the politicians will have a choice. Do we want taxes to remain as low as they are, or do we want a health service that is full of well-motivated, well-trained and physically and mentally alert staff? Because we can't have both.

You get what you pay for.

Dr C COLE

Queen Alexandra Hospital

Cosham, Hampshire

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