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Supply and demand

Your two-page coverage of public health issues, together with your excellent editorial and Brian Ford’s comments on obesity (SA March 3), highlight some of the present pressures on the NHS.

As many readers will be aware, the NHS has been teetering on the brink of crisis for some time now. But politicians seem to be unwilling to get to grips with the fundamental problem.

The basic problem is that demand exceeds supply. The demand has increased recently because people are living longer (and old people have more diseases than the young) and also because of the range of modern treatments that are now available (but are expensive).

The supply has not kept pace with the demand due to the inability to recruit and retain professional staff (such as doctors, nurses and other therapists) and the lack of appropriate financing. The solution of the problem can only be by increasing the supply or reducing the demand – or a mixture of both.

Increasing supply means more front-line professional staff (so more money) and better (and less?) management. Decreasing demand means some form of rationing (deciding what will, and what will not, be provided on the NHS); or possibly, introducing some sort of payment at the time of delivery (over and above the present prescription charges) – as occurs in virtually all other health services throughout the world.

One final problem. These solutions are politically sensitive, so they are unpopular with politicians! Hence the inertia. We need an independent (non-party) enquiry to suggest ways of making the NHS fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Malcolm Morrison, Retired Orthopaedic Surgeon, Prospect Hill, Swindon

Cherry picking services

As a keen student of politics and human behaviour, I was intrigued to read the comment made by a council spokesman with regard to the recruitment for the lollipop lady in Westlea. They said: “School crossing patrols are not a statutory service.” As such the council is not obligated to provide a school crossing patrol (SA March 19). I know the statement to be correct, but isn’t it odd how the council cherry picks what it will support.

When it suits their purpose, the council will tell the electorate that they have a moral obligation to act despite their being no legal or statutory imperative compelling them to spend what can be quite large sums of money. The moral argument is often used as a front to embarrass or isolate any objectors to what is described as a virtuous proposal.

The cost of a school crossing patrol is probably less than the cost associated with a single accident which may result from not having a lollipop lady, but putting a child’s life does not tick the boxes in the Civic Offices in the same way as spending money on updating the Wyvern.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Fed up with Brexit

I am absolutely fed up of the Brexit debacle especially the fascist behaviour of the remain voters.

To be anti-democratic is the epitome of fascism. Many fascist leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini brainwashed people that their thoughts and views were the only ones that counted. When remainers say things like “Brexit voters didn’t know what they were voting for” or “we can’t have a no deal” then they are no better with their thoughts than the aforementioned oppressors.

Instead of their campaigning or their marches may I suggest channelling their energy into something more.

A Collins, Broome Manor Lane, Swindon

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