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Look to the private sector

The idea of compulsory insurance aired by the Doctors for Reform group as a solution for the ailing NHS was castigated but a partnership between the private and public sectors would be a positive step.

The NHS should consider compulsory insurance. Some of the comments made by Doctors for Reform will, to many, seem extreme and certainly too radical in the current political climate for any government to consider. This was borne out by the dismissal by Labour politicians.

It should be realised, however, that members of this group appear to be genuine individuals comp-elled to speak out through legitimate concerns.

The group&#39s idea of compulsory insurance was castigated but surely we have a similar system already – as workers and as employers, we pay a national insurance.

The current system needs to change and evolve. This was admitted by Labour in July 2000 when it published its NHS report which highlighted that: “The NHS is a 1940s&#39 system operating in a 21st Century world.”

Healthcare in a civilised society should be readily available to all when needed but as the substantial additional revenue provided to the NHS has yet to make a recognisable impact in improvements, yet more money will have to be raised. The tax burden is already too high for many. A redistribution of tax income will only mean less for other essential services. Reform therefore has to be considered.

I believe it is right to raise these issues and the private sector should be recognised and praised for the considerable contribution it already makes to the nation&#39s health.

If healthcare provision is ref-ormed, there will always be more demand than resources available. There will never be a Utopian system. However, I believe a partnership between the private and the public sectors should be embraced.

I am a strong supporter of the NHS which, as someone who makes his living through arranging private medical insurance, may seem strange. However, I am a much stronger supporter of choice.

My own personal experiences led me to work within this industry after discovering that the choice and control provided by the private sector through insurance was an essential factor in ensuring the health of my family.

If it proves that the best way forward for everyone is to incorporate an element of private provision within the NHS and the Government accepts it, then surely with its recognised presentational skills, it would be able to sell the idea to its supporters and to the population at large.

Colin Boxall is director of E-xcellent Health

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