By Ann Widdecombe for The Express
IT IS reported that 40 per cent of NHS trusts are proposing to cut the number of routine operations they do in order to save money.
The result will be longer waiting lists for hip and knee replacements. In short this is just the latest measure in a long run of measures to ration NHS treatment.
The impact on the better-off will be zilch as they will do what they have always done and book themselves into the nearest private hospital.
Others will find it less easy but if they ditch the family holiday and buy a smaller car they can get out of the painful misery.
That leaves those who, if they starved for months, could never afford private treatment and they will just limp on, in this case literally, and they are the very people Nye Bevan set the service up to help.
Our problem is that we have come to confuse the aim of the NHS with the vehicle chosen to deliver it.
The aim was that nobody should ever be denied treatment simply because he or she could not afford it.
The vehicle then chosen was a service free to all, regardless of means, at the point of reception.
The vehicle has broken down and the poor are being denied. The crazy insistence that we should all get healthcare free means an increasing number of people are not getting it at all.
Yet still no politician has the courage to face up to this and start looking at alternatives.
Tomorrow we vote in a new government and I fervently hope it will be a Conservative one but not one of the parties has offered a serious quest for different ways to deliver health in this country.
As far as the NHS is concerned, all we can be sure of is that the poor will be increasingly dispossessed.
May God help them, because for a certainty our politicians won't.