Quality NHS time is so vital

I AGREE with Lee Blake (Letters, August 23) that the NHS is now being run as a profit-making business and not a public service. In my 20 or so years there, before becoming so disillusioned I left, I witnessed such ridiculous and questionable situations as

I AGREE with Lee Blake (Letters, August 23) that the NHS is now being run as a profit-making business and not a public service.

In my 20 or so years there, before becoming so disillusioned I left, I witnessed such ridiculous and questionable situations as 10 NHS managers watching one NHS workman digging a hole, the entrance foyer to a large mental health hospital being extravagantly refurbished with chandeliers and deep pile carpets while the wards themselves were left uncleaned and with broken fixtures and not enough staff, and I was subjected to the most useless waste of time from a variety of other managers there.

However, the insistence that only measurable results should attract funding still gives me cause for concern. So many of the health services offered - that help people time and time again - are simply not truly measurable in objective terms. Indeed in mental health the number of times a person is repeatedly admitted may be seen as the mental health services failing if the NHS is looking only for "finished and never repeated" health episodes to be counted as success.

But it cannot all be simply about how many people any service can rush in and out through their doors. The quality of help afforded to those struggling with mental health issues must also be of primary importance and funded accordingly, so that the time they require is available and so they are not shoved out of the door simply because their time is up for that episode or because the service needs to show they have "treated" many more people just to claim the funding for the numbers they see.

Too much focus on quantity always compromises quality in my experience, and we are dealing with people's lives, remembering that mental health problems can affect anyone at any time - we're not just dealing with how many boxes of goods can get packed and sent out.

ROSALYN YOUNG

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Shawley Road

Sawtry

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