Silent privatisation of the health service | Letters


Your report (Beauticians’ mole removals letting skin cancers grow and causing burns, 12 February) highlights dangers to patients from interventions performed outside the NHS. In 2019, NHS England (NHSE) published guidance for commissioners on restricting a number of NHS procedures. “Removal of benign skin lesions” was in fact the major target for predicted reduced activity/anticipated savings. While the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence was involved in the NHSE consultation, it has not endorsed the recommendations to reduce activity through withdrawal of funding.

In the light of your report, it’s ironic that one of NHSE’s stated objectives was to “reduce avoidable harm to patients”. It appears that the law of unintended consequences was not given due consideration. Increased risk to patients is an example of what happens when healthcare is treated as a market commodity.
Dr John Puntis
Co-chair, Keep Our NHS Public

A recent appointment with a healthcare professional at my GP confirmed that wax build-up explained my recent hearing loss. I was initially told that the practice had no syringing appointments currently available, but later they called and said they had decided to no longer offer this service, and that the cheapest option they recommended is £60 at Boots. I’m angered that access to health is increasingly linked to ability to pay. Silent privatisation of the NHS, I guess.
Liam Clegg
York

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