Letter: How to prevent emergency patients being turned away

Sir: Government ministers may be forgiven for thinking they have been here before. It was a shortage of paediatric cardiac intensive care beds which provided the impetus for the NHS reforms. Do we now conclude that these reforms have been successful?

The failure of political will to address the two most important questions facing the NHS has led to the present situation. These are: how much do we want to spend on the NHS; and what do we want to spend it on? With an ageing population and medical advances, the demand for hi-tech medical interventions will continue growing. But is it better, for instance, to try to ensure the survival of a 25-week pre-term infant or to improve psychiatric services, at present in chaos?

It is unrealistic to expect local purchasers to resolve these conundrums. Rather it depends on honesty and open debate from national politicians.

Dr J R D Laycock

Southampton

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