Letter: NHS funding

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The Independent Online
Sir: The spectre has again been raised of "the end of our free health service" (3 October). The inadequate resourcing of the National Health Service is plain to all. We have surgeons and anaesthetists standing idle, operating theatres standing empty, and patients standing waiting - because we cannot afford to pay for their operations and we will not pay nurses to look after them.

So who should pay? Either those who are earning must pay from increased taxes; or those who are ill (and therefore often not earning) must pay by the introduction of charges.

If our leaders insist on their dogma of reducing taxes, it will be the patients who are charged, placing the burden on the weak, and widening further the gap between the haves and the have nots.

If Frank Dobson really is committed to Labour's promise that access to the NHS must be based on need and not ability to pay, then let him make it clear that access for those who are in need must be funded by those who do have the ability to pay.

HUGH J THOMSON

Consultant surgeon

Birmingham

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