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NHS pride.

SIR - Are the residents of Blaenau Gwent and Wales generally proud of the way in which the National Health Service has been, (and is)! being administered today?

Day by day, one reads of various "mishaps" another happening. in our hospitals - which, if they were administered in the way they should be, would not occur.

The people of Blaenau Gwent should be particularly concerned because it was in that constituency that the service was created.

The late Aneurin Bevan took the very efficient service administered by Tredegar Medical Aid Society (TMAS) as the model for the future National Scheme.

As Michael Foot has told me - "he would have been appalled at the incompetence and carelessness which is apparent today in a service intended for everyone regardless of their circumstances, and to which they are entitled".

The biggest mistake that has been made in the service, is that it has been uscd as a political football over the years. If the service had been run like the TMAS was, without the army of beaurocrats, accountants and other unnecessary staff, many problems would be avoided. The present government's actions of "throwing money at the problem, in the hope that this will solve it", will not work, because this money will end up by being used for other purposes.

Before money is allocated, a positive workable plan of reform should be devised and the service should be allowed to be administered and run by the people who know what they are doing (the medical and nursing staff).

Effective training of doctors and nurses should be started, and schools and colleges be motivated and encouraged to get schoolleavers to consider medicine as a career.

The Prime Minister has said he will provide a large number of doctors in the next five or 10 years. Where will they come from?

Doctors and nurses take five years to train.

To import these workers involves the added expense of ensuring they are properly qualified, and can speak English well enough to avoid misdiagnosis or other problems.

Surely one answer is to rid the service of the unproductive bureaucrats and bring people who would have the experience and knowledge to bring about improvements.

It makes me sad when I see the work that my late father and his many colleagues did for well over 50 years, being brought to no import, by people who have no real understanding of the concept of what the NHS was intended to be in 1948.

My book The Health of A Nation, which has been praised by readers all over the country, has endeavoured to reflect the truth behind the service, and look to a positive future. The events of the past few years make me wonder whether I wasted my time, and whether there is a positive future?

Those who feel as I do, must continue to speak out, until we get the sort of service which was intended.

KENNETH M BRYANT Grays Road, Farncombe, Godalming, Surrey
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 27, 2002
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