Letter: Reviving the NHS

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The Independent Online
Sir: Last month, I was referred by my GP for an emergency consultation with a specialist at Bedford County Hospital after months of muscular pain in my shoulders. A week later, I received an appointment four months hence. By taking a short-term cancellation, however, I saw him three weeks ago. Among the treatment prescribed was physiotherapy once a week at the hospital.

On the first appointment, my eyes fell on a notice stuck to the wall in my cubicle. It stated that over the last 12 months, an average of six hundred appointments per month had failed to show. According to the staff, none had cancelled in advance, so no one on the waiting list could have those missed appointments.

No wonder waiting lists are so long, and rising. One solution would be to levy a fine for non-appearance without a legitimate excuse. The money raised would be of use to our beleaguered NHS.

MICHAEL JOHNSON

Cranfield, Bedfordshire

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