AS many readers have testified, we are all justly proud and thankful for our NHS, but occasionally it lets us down, and its only right that those lapses should be publicised, especially when its been done sneakily.

I was referred for physiotherapy by my GP, who gave me the phone number but said it was difficult to get through. That turned out to be an understatement, with numerous calls that went unanswered and much listening to the recording - a most frustrating experience.

So I wrote on April 7 asking for an appointment. So far, nearly three weeks later, there has been no reply.

The management of this so-called service has clearly sanctioned this as a matter of policy, as I very much doubt if this rude and callous behaviour is simply the work of the physiotherapists themselves. One can picture the scene: manager - 'we must save money [or whatever], but we don't want a public row or have to justify ourselves, so let's make the service largely unobtainable. That way people are unlikely to complain, and most people wont notice. Aren't we clever fellows?'

Whatever the reasons behind this management-sanctioned behaviour, I doubt if it will have been agreed to by the public. As usual, the main impact will be felt by the less able and the less well off. And those with conditions needing treatment are left to fend for themselves while the uncaring fat cats in what is laughingly called 'community services' sit cosily in their offices.

This is a scandal. How many people have had a similar experience to mine? And what can be done about it? It is supposed to be the NHS after all; or is this going to privatised?

J OLIVER

Audley Close

St Ives