The October issue of Westcombe News is now available on this website here.

Unfortunately there was not space to print all the letters we received this month so they are given in full below:

Dear Westcombe News
Hello and thank you for always posting the excellent WN through our letterbox.
  The article on the front page about the nhs is very important and has been written by a professor but I could not understand what he was trying to tell us. Could you re-write/republish  the article on the next edition, so that a none medical person can understand it? It’s a very important subject and I’d like to be able to understand the points that the author is making
Thank you. Regards
Catherine Clancy, Langton way
Dear Westcombe News,
What a wonderful and worrying piece on ‘one Giant Leap Backwards for a Genuine NHS’ on the front page of the September Issue. We should all be voicing our opposition, except of course the hedge fund managers and multinational providers, who could be much enriched as our service is impoverished.
   Readers should grasp the fact that the Education Service is going the same way ….. (this letter has been edited)
Carl Parsons, Combe Avenue
Dear Westcombe News,
I received the latest issue of your newspaper through the door yesterday.
   I was amazed that you thought it appropriate to put such a piece in the newspaper.
   A very similar article has been published in the labourhub website, and if these two authors are not avowed
   Labour party members I would be very surprised. This adds an unwelcome political twist to a local newspaper, which surely should not be political.
   Allyson Pollock was also a member of independent Sage, an extremist group which has caused damage during
the Covid crisis with its unbalanced views. Additionally Allyson herself repeatedly has shared views about
the NHS which have caused substantial damage to general public health and to the country.
If you are going to carry on including such content I no longer wish to receive the Westcombe News.
   I do hope that this newspaper has not been taken over by left wing activists.
Publishing this article surely makes it look like it has.
Paul Cloke
Dear Editor,
My husband and I appreciated the informative and timely leading article in the last issue of WN. All the facts were illuminating – and alarming: the progressive privatisation of the NHS was even confirmed by the prime minister in the first Parliamentary Question Time after the summer break.
   When defending his Government’s proposals about new tax impositions the PM stressed that his party stands for business and free enterprise. Even so and Paradoxically some Tory MPs declared his proposed NI tax rise a socialist ruse manifesting that nowadays people have rather  confused ideas.
Vesna Hardy,  St John’s Park
To the Editor,
At the meeting of the parliamentary committee scrutinising the NHS bill on Tuesday 14th September, the government made an important concession. They said they agreed that “individuals with significant interests in private healthcare” should not be allowed to sit on NHS boards. This appears to  deal with one objection to the health bill passing through committee.
However, another provision still gives cause for concern: Integrated Care Boards can still award and extend contracts for health care services of unlimited value without advertising, including to private companies. This may be a reaction to  the astonishingly bureaucratic requirement when the UK was in the EU that all contracts, however minor should be widely advertised throughout the EU.  This caused huge costs and delays and despondency  among NHS trusts. Even so as it stands, the door may remain wide open for corruption and cronyism – and the wholesale privatisation of services.
Neville Grant, Vanbrugh Park
Dear Westcombe News,
Many residents will have been alarmed by your front page article on the future of the NHS which stated, in terms, that the Health and Care Bill currently going through Parliament  “will complete the dismantling of [the NHS] as a universal, comprehensive, publicly-funded and provided service free at the point of delivery.” This is utterly absurd – nothing could be further from the truth.
   The NHS will always be universal, comprehensive, publicly-funded and free at the point of use – and nothing in the Health and Care Bill will change that. The Bill enacts changes  that have been developed by NHS England itself – not by politicians – and will ensure that the NHS, social care and public health are brought together into an integrated system, which is more flexible to local needs.
    Your article further raised fears that the proposed ‘Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) will follow a model used in America’s very different system. But the independent Nuffield Trust has concluded that these claims are “completely wrong – ICBs will be statutory bodies controlled by NHS England, tax funded, and covering everyone in a given area”.
    We have heard this kind of catastrophising about so-called NHS “privatisation” from the same quarters for years and years – under both Labour and Conservative governments. I would urge readers to consider the Nuffield Trust’s very balanced article on these claims at – and draw their own
Cllr Geoff Brighty
Blackheath Westcombe Ward

Dear Madam,

With regard to your Editorial left wing critique of The Government’s attempt to improve The NHS in England.

First it was the last Labour Government who introduced privatisation to some aspects of The NHS.

The NHS is devolved. Welsh NHS is run by Labour. Scottish NHS is run by a Tartan sub Marxist government.

English taxpayers pay a shed load of money to all 3 devolved nations so they can spend much more per head of population than in England on their NHS.  There is much evidence that the devolved nations health services perform less well than in England and very little evidence that they are more efficient.

 Yours Sincerely,

 Dr David F Senior,     Consultant  Anaesthetist  (Retired).