No quick-fixes

I AM a little bit concerned with your headline Should doctors run Hinchingbrooke? (November 15). It implies that Mr Cameron, the well-known PM-in waiting, stated that doctors should set the policies and manage our besieged hospital. Now, I have a lot o

I AM a little bit concerned with your headline "Should doctors run Hinchingbrooke?" (November 15).

It implies that Mr Cameron, the well-known PM-in waiting, stated that doctors should set the policies and manage our besieged hospital.

Now, I have a lot of respect for the medical profession, despite their tendency to poke and prod me and stuff me with tablets.

However, a hospital is not just a place for consultations, surgery and the analysis of stool samples.

A high proportion of its spending must be on the accommodation of patients, feeding them and the staff, the installation and maintenance of equipment and maintenance of the buildings, personnel services and provision for visitors.

I question whether the training and work experience of surgeons and doctors give them any particular qualifications to manage such activities.

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If Mr Cameron is suggesting that surgeons and GPs take over the running of Hinchingbrooke, I tend to disagree.

The next time someone cuts me open and is rummaging around my inside, I would like to think that his or her mind is on the job and not also considering the possible doubling of the car park fee to keep open a ward.

I believe that Mr Cameron was once a management consultant of some sort. His skills, in devising policies for success, were evident when he

co-wrote the last Conservative manifesto for Michael Howard (remember him?). So good that he actually got his job.

Of course, if I were a cynical Old Labour supporter, I might think that Cameron was just jumping on a bandwagon. But, of course, he isn't, because he also wants to "take politics out of the NHS".

On that basis, we can expect to hear no more from him on the subject.

Hospitals are an emotive subject and should be the subject of a calm, rational, debate.

They must always be funded from taxation. Whoever forms the management will be faced with the same decisions on how much we can afford to pay and which of the many conflicting claims can be met satisfactorily at any one time.

In the case of the NHS, when local policies favour certain types of medical activity to the detriment of others, this is then criticised as a "postcode lottery".

And, of course, every manager-in-waiting, be they a politician or even a doctor, will aim to "strip away layers of bureaucracy" and concentrate on essential services. And then end up by firing a couple of cleaners.

I do not think that headline-grabbing quick-fixes are much help in such debates.


The Whistlers

St Ives

# EAST of England Strategic Health Authority states that the acute services review requires a long-term strategic approach.

This should have always been the case, and the SHA is now compounding previous errors by seeking to remove established services from Hinchingbrooke.

Much is made of the so-called financial problems of Hinchingbrooke yet, only recently, The Hunts Post revealed that money paid by Hinchingbrooke to central NHS funds would not be returned.

The removal of a further £19million from Hinchingbrooke is due to NHS accounting practices. Both cases should be seen as a fraudulent attempt to bamboozle the taxpaying public regarding the hospital's finances.

Because Huntingdon is a fast-growing area, with restricted access to Addenbrooke's via the overloaded A14, the strategic view must surely be to keep as many services as possible at Hinchingbrooke.

I hope that we will not see the usual Government so-called economy measures where facilities are shut at a cost, only to reopen later at a much greater cost to the taxpayer.

The fact that Hinchingbrooke is the smallest hospital in the east of England is irrelevant.

Hinchingbrooke is the largest hospital in the Huntingdon district and should be valued as such. We must also remember John Prescott telling us to reduce the use of our cars.

If patients and their visitors have to travel to Cambridge or Peterborough for medical treatment, we can all doubt this Government's so-called "green credentials".


Palmers Lane


# WITH reference to Mrs Whitehead's letter (November 15), I totally agree with all the comments made about the stoma care given by Margaret Campbell and her team.

I also have been a patient of Margaret's for just over a year and she has always been there when I need her.

Stomas can sometimes put us into embarrassing situations which need a prompt solution, something Margaret gives, but this will not be the case, I fear, if a move to Addenbrooke's takes place. A few weeks ago, my wife and I were going on a day out and needed to go through Cambridge.

We left home at 9.20am and finally passed by Addenbrooke's at 11.30am - at that time Cambridge was totally gridlocked. So, come on Government, think again.

Leave Hinchingbrooke as it is because a move to Addenbrooke's is going to spell total disaster for patients from St Neots and Huntingdon trying to get there for appointments and visiting loved ones.


Andrew Road


# I RANG about the meeting on the future of Hinchingbrooke Hospital because there are meetings at Huntingdon, St Ives and Buckden, but none for St Neots.

The lady said space is short.

What about the sports halls of Longsands School and Ernulf School or the Priory Centre? Again, St Neots loses out.

In the 1950s, St Neots had its own maternity home - an old house at Little Paxton. The gatehouse is still there, but bungalows were built on the site.


Shirdley Road


# THE Chancellor of the Exchequer recently visited Basra and pledged £100million of our money to the Iraqi government.

The following weekend, the Prime Minister flew out to Lahore and pledged £300million to the Pakistani government.

Presumably, they are unaware of the plight of Hinchingbrooke and other hospitals in this country and of the old proverb "Charity begins at home".


Church Meadows

St Neots