Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Health tourists must pay Sir: The extent of the use made by non-entitled patients from abroad ('International Health Service', 6 April) should come as no surprise. This increasing stream of information demonstrating the volume and variation will cause even louder gasps and shock.

The NHS is the standard-bearer of the politics of equality and, like all great collective institutions of the left, however altruistic, is fundamentally corrupt. The corruption is so insidious that only those inside gain insight after the collapse.

In the health service there are often concealed two or more levels of care with varying degrees of competence. When the 'health tourist' is forced into paying, they will seek out 'the best', which will now be found in the swelling private sector, leaving the NHS depleted, and open to increasing scrutiny by the public. What was once invisible now becomes visible.

Anthony Mitra FRCS (Hospital consultant, retired) By email Wrong about the weather Sir: Matt Ridley (Diary, 6 April) bemoans the Met Office's lack of success in longerterm forecasting and puts the blame on a computer algorithm predicated on an assumption of global warming. I'd like to offer an alternative theory. Could it be that the Met Office has changed its recruitment policy to favour economists?

Brendan Keelan London SW1 Affordable opera Sir: Steerpike (6 April) claims that a couple of cheap seats for the current Royal Opera production of Die Zauberflote would set Iain Duncan Smith back £220. Not so - he could have had two for as little as £6 each. While it would be of little relevance to a man on such a tight budget, there are over 300 seats priced at £20 or less for the performances referred to by Steerpike, and over 950 priced at £50 or less. Were he willing to join those who choose to stand, Mr Duncan Smith would find another 124 places, all for under a tenner.

Michael Brind Woking, Surrey Rock's fall Sir: Patrick Rock made a powerful contribution to his own defeat at the Portsmouth South by-election in 1984 (Politics, 30 March). In a radio discussion he managed to get the name of the constituency wrong and claimed credit for a hospital that had not been built. Rock is an extraordinary combination of the naive and the astute (as regards political tactics, not strategy). The last time I saw him he was wandering down Whitehall on the day of a civil service strike, his back covered in stickers proclaiming the merits of the strike.

He is blessed with great redeeming charm.

Lord Lexden London SWI Council blunders Sir: I read Harry Mount's article 'The home wreckers' (30 March) with sympathy, but am surprised he places the blame on Russian oligarchs. …

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