The fallacy of opting for private healthcare | Letter

Going private does not free up NHS waiting lists, says David Hinchliffe

It was no surprise to learn that increasing numbers of people are turning to private healthcare because of NHS waiting lists (Fears of ‘two-tier’ system as NHS waiting lists prompt more people to go private, 27 October), but I was genuinely shocked that the retired NHS worker that you quoted felt she was somehow helping others by paying for her hip surgery.

While fully sympathising over the difficult situation she faced with osteoarthritis, I feel she was wide of the mark in suggesting that her going private “might free up a space for somebody who couldn’t do that”. The vast majority of orthopaedic surgeons operating privately also work in the NHS, where, if they worked full-time, the waiting lists in their specialty would be markedly reduced.
David Hinchliffe
Former chair, Commons health committee

Letters

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