Letter: What the health service can afford

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The Independent Online
Sir: You state (leading article, 26 June) that, "The more public health we enjoy, the less need there will be for the NHS to be continually racked by crisis". You are wrong. The best that health promotion and preventive medicine can achieve is the prolongation of life of the current generation, a tendency that will be enhanced by advances of medical technology, some of which verge on the obscene, resulting in a faster-growing geriatric population who may be able to run marathons but who do not create wealth.

Nature shows us the most beautiful, best adapted life forms are the result of a struggle for existence with survival of the fittest, but only for as long as they are in their prime. Non-productive geriatrics have no place in nature. That is the harsh economic reality the NHS and welfare state are up against.

Dr R HIGH

Haydon Bridge, Northumberland

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