HAVING experienced lower abdomen pain for some days, on Friday August 28 I telephoned Dyneley House Surgery, Skipton, asking to be referred to a GP.

That same afternoon I received a call and was invited in for a test.

After the consultation, the doctor asked Airedale Hospital to arrange a test, and gave me a form for a blood test.

As Monday was a public holiday, that test was taken on Tuesday.

On Wednesday the call came from Airedale with an appointment for that same afternoon.

Before the afternoon was over, the needful tests had been carried out; I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and given the first dose of the needful treatment.

Had I lived in the USA or some other socially backward country, the first question on that call from the doctor would have been about my level of insurance.

The treatment given there would have been billed, as would the blood test, the diagnosis and, were that insurance adequate, the treatment given, with much more cost to come with ongoing treatment.

Thanks to the NHS all of this was free at the point of need.

I wish to express my thanks to the visionaries who established the NHS, despite political and press opposition, to the staff who carry on that vision and for the extra mile they were prepared to go, even giving a personal phone number so that any concerned member of my family could speak to them directly.

Shame on those who have sold off bits of the NHS to private providers; double shame to those who would allow USA providers to take over some of the profitable sections, and consider that a price worth paying for exiting the EU.

We all owe a tremendous debt to this great institution. Our demand now should be an unswerving 'not for sale'.

Alan Hickman