Letter: The future of the NHS: political consensus and the divisions that remain

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The Independent Online
Sir: Susan Smart spent pounds 1,700 to have her hernia operation performed privately, taking 19 days from her initial consultation to procedure ("Quick hernia repair that replaced a family holiday", 14 June).

At the Trust I work in, a similar patient would wait about eight weeks from the initial consultation, at a cost to the NHS of only pounds 415. The ability to choose the time and date of your operation is only possible if there is plenty of space on operating lists and empty beds to put patients in. The difference between the two costs is thus a measure of the relative inefficiency of the private sector plus, of course, profit.

Yours faithfully,



Co Durham

14 June