I FULLY agree with Councillor Andy Brown (GP services at risk, Craven Herald letters) about the erosion of GP services which are being increasingly run for the benefit of private companies such as Modality.

However privatisation of the NHS is more advanced and more widespread than Councillor Brown suggests. For example NHS ophthalmology services are at risk of falling completely into private hands following a recent move to subcontract cataract operations to private hospitals.

This is just one example of many where small but significant sections of the NHS are hived off to private contractors. The result will be that the NHS will be reduced to a commissioning service, costs will go up and we will all be at the mercy of private companies which can dictate their terms and costs.

It's important to realise that this is not inevitable - it is the result of political choices made by 14 years of Tory Governments. In 2010 after 13 years of a Labour Government you were guaranteed to see a GP within two days, waiting lists were at an all time low and patient satisfaction with the NHS were at record highs.

We will have a General Election this year and history tells us we will either have a Labour Government or a Tory one. We have historically been a safe Tory seat, but again this is not inevitable. When the election comes I hope voters will reflect on the last 14 years and ask themselves if they are happy with the choices made by our political leaders. I struggle to think of anything which has improved during that time.

Doug Clark


Chair, Skipton and Ripon Labour Party