RICHARD Lowe invites me to comment on the state of the Labour run NHS in Wales, which has longer waiting times than in England (Real debate should be about priorities, Craven Herald letters, March 7).

A study by the Nuffield Trust in 2022 found that the most likely reason for this was that much more of the budget was being spent on social care in Wales compared to England, where the Westminster government has largely ignored the social care crisis.

Richard makes some good points about an ageing population and corresponding complex needs and correctly asserts that these are problems faced by every country. However his suggestion of a 'different funding model' sounds like he is advocating a private insurance system.

He should be careful what he wishes for - the 2021 comparison of 11 developed countries healthcare systems by the Commonwealth fund, found that the UK is mid-table using the metrics of access to healthcare, efficiency and outcomes (down from first place in 2010). Norway is ranked as the best and their funding model is not dissimilar to ours. The worst by a mile is the USA, where they have a private insurance model, which costs their citizens more per capita to achieve the worst access to care and the worst outcomes.

A big part of controlling the spiralling costs of healthcare must be the advocacy of healthy lifestyles and this must be a central part of the much needed changes Richard alludes to.

I hope the voters of Skipton and Ripon will reflect on the negligence of the Tory government over the last 14 years and cast their votes accordingly.

Doug Clark


Chair, Skipton and Ripon Labour Party