Letter: Only consensus approach will save the NHS

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Sir: As an NHS user and the spouse of an NHS doctor, I can understand the deep sense of frustration and dismay that Jeremy Lee-Potter (Comment, 20 January) expresses on the present state of the NHS, but to put the blame entirely on "an intransigen t and unpopular government" is not fair.

Both the public and the medical profession knew what Thatcherite philosophy was towards the NHS. I would hold such supine and outdated medical organisations as the BMA (of which Dr Lee-Potter was once a chairman) and the General Medical Council equally responsible for the decline in the NHS. These organisations have outlived their usefulness and do not reflect the views of their respective membership. They belong to the Victorian age and their present structure is fossilised.

Before the 1922 elections, I spoke to about a dozen of my medical friends about how they would vote. Most said they would vote Labour because of the damage that is being done to the NHS by the Conservatives. As soon as the Labour Party announced that it would impose additional taxes on middle-income earners, the same doctors told me that they had changed their minds and would be voting Conservative. Therefore, in the last election, many doctors put their short-term gain before the long-term surv ival ofthe NHS.

My advice to Dr Lee-Potter is simple: "Physician, heal thyself."

Yours faithfully, RIAZ Hasan Harrow, Middlesex