We need a free pass to discuss the NHS, not just passports to access it

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I believe that the time has come when the country needs to have a grown up debate about the NHS, what we expect from it and what we are prepared to fund it to do. The vast increase in medical knowledge, number and type of treatments and the cost of drugs not to mention the increase in the population mean that the original idea of a service free to all at the point of delivery may no longer be achievable. Various options including retaining the present system but reviewing the funding, part or full privatisation, the possibility of tax breaks for private health premiums and any other possibilities need to be openly discussed not only by experts in the field but by the public at large. Only then will politicians be able to formulate polices based on what the people actually want, not what politicians think we want.

Roger Brimble



I understand that UK citizens who are entitled to access NHS healthcare in the UK can obtain without charge a European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) which shows entitlement to healthcare in other European countries. Couldn’t the Ehic card be used to prove entitlement to access the NHS too? This would deal with the issues of entitled non-British passport holders and people who don’t have a paper utility bill. And when the Government decide if Ehic will continue after Brexit, they can decide to keep it or replace it with a UKHIC.

Phil Gilbert

Address supplied


The Brexit campaign showed how little we claim back from overseas users of the NHS. I believe it amounted to some £700m. I am sure these doctors would not complain about this money being used to improve the service. Clearly someone has identified that one cause of this failure is not knowing which country to charge and so doctors should accept that it is their responsibility to help.

Trevor Andrews



I thought all entitled to NHS treatment “free at the point of delivery” were in possession of a National Insurance number. Is this no longer the case?

Jennifer Bell



Black December

It started with Black Friday. Then an idiot company came up with a “Black Five Days”. Today it is advertised that Carphone Warehouse is having a “Black 10 Days”. No doubt next year we will have a Black December.  

J H Moffatt



Ambassador Farage will need some training 

I can understand the Government’s irritation at the suggestion that Nigel Farage becomes the UK’s ambassador to the US. Diplomacy is not a part of Farage’s persona that has been too apparent in comparison to the beer swilling, rabble-rousing elements of his character. Perhaps, before being let loose in the United States, he is offered a slightly different ambassadorial post which will allow him to both develop his skills, and also show how effective he is in the role. 

John Broughton



In defence of Melania Trump

Whatever one may think of Donald Trump it was disturbing to see liberals and luvvies reacting to his victory with the out-and-out aggression they profess to abhor in others. A favourite target is his wife Melania who rose from the badlands of a disintegrating Yugoslavia and is fluent in six languages including English, French, German and Italian.

She is just the second foreign-born wife to enter the White House and the most cosmopolitan since Herbert Hoover’s brilliant wife Louise, the only First Lady to speak an Asian language (Chinese). As America’s monolingual, Anglophone bourgeoisie often have difficulty with their native tongue a period of reflective quiet would be welcome.

John Cameron

St Andrews