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Dear Spotlight, 

My wife Sue SRN called me in to watch your programme which was to celebrate the start of OUR NHS 75 years ago from Torbay Hospital

There is much that I could say about it. It started nervously with rehearsed statements by senior staff in the Acute Medical Unit. It included short interviews of patients in the AMU. But as journalists you must have moral and ethical reservations about video recording vulnerable people after oral permission is gained.

Ms Graham interviewed Dr Matt Halkes a consultant anaesthetist. His morale appeared to be low and he started with 'its very hard times'. There was mention of technology and 'apps'. Mr Kevin Dixon of 'Healthwatch' added very little as expected but included 'we must involve patients'! Healthwatch tries to blunt the reality.  Dr Sarah Wollaston, whom I know is a good GP, said this in her smiling contribution - 'Its very difficult to be efficient when your beds are very full.' This was after Ms Graham asked whether they would encourage people to come into the NHS - this 'business'.

Your editor included a piece showing the mountainous nurse with 'head set' communicating with a neurologist sitting remotely via the net. The patient had multiple sclerosis and had a spinal symptom. You might know, that of all specialists, neurologists need to take careful histories and then examine the patient, and especially the 'nervous system', with great skill and in detail. The editor included a clip of this nurse falling over. Was this mocking? Mrs Williams, the happy patient, said it was good to avoid the germs in attending the hospital.  Some truth there perhaps.

An image of Teignmouth Hospital was shown and audio - 'the first hospital to be built by the NHS'. The BBC will know its fate might now be sealed, a ridiculous centre for a medical bureaucracy having been approved by Teignbridge 'planning' two weeks ago to replace just a few functions of a closing hospital.

The BBC - the State Broadcaster - motto 'Nation shall Speak Peace unto Nation', is funded by us to tell us the facts and to present well informed and balanced discussion of important issues. It has reported the deaths following unnecessary and experimental inoculation without informed consent for C19 in Appleby Care Home Callington and in Holmesley Care Home Sidford.  But there was no follow up eg autopsy studies at the RD&E of the victims from the latter care home. You often reported the terrible delays in paramedic response to emergency calls leading to death in some instances, and the greater illness due to delayed diagnosis and treatment in more.

However, this programme from Torbay Hospital, where I was the senior orthopaedic and trauma specialist 1975 to 1992, grasped no nettles and did not show why one e-mailed comment to the programme said that the NHS was a shambles. You showed the graph of 'satisfaction' polling, repeated by Mr Pym on the national news.

What did you omit which would paint a fuller picture? Ms Graham could have asked what the bed state was yesterday, including so called delayed discharges. Also the numbers of patients - most of whom who should have been presenting in GP surgeries, waiting in the A&E, along with the average waiting time. Not mentioned often - those numbers dying inappropriately in an acute hospital when in former times they could receive very skilled end of life care in community hospitals from doctors and nurses they knew, and  with family and friends near by. Was the Edith Morgan unit full yesterday and how many requests for urgent admission were being met for acute mental illness?

You omitted completely any reference to the fact that planned ie elective operations, especially in my specialism of orthopaedic surgery - joint prostheses, are now being carried out in private facilities - Mount Stewart Hospital in Torbay, in Plymouth, in the Duchy Hospital in Cornwall, and in Shepton Mallet and in many others. These are funded from the £150 billion NHS budget. I know that Shepton Mallet can carry out a THR with NHS funding if the patient is asked and agrees to provide part of the fee. This goes against several principles founded in the NHS. Remember, and broadcast, that this government spewed £400 billion on its response to an engineered virus causing unexceptional mortality, though nasty.

My wife was recently referred by an optometrist for likely cataract surgery. This was followed by a letter from 'My Care'. Four options were offered including one based at Exeter Airport. Each was private. The excellent Torbay Opthalmology Department was not included.

And I know how well calling 111 as often advised actually works. With a serious cellulitis of my R leg 2 years ago, and potentially fatal for limb or life, I knew that oral antibiotics were not conquering the infection, and that IV infusion was needed. After 17 hours waiting for a response that weekend from 111, I called 999. I was provided with a taxi to the RD&E where I was eventually treated very well over 3 days and on the road to recovery from a very painful condition.

There are many instances of the most excellent care, and there are 'firms' within the DGHs that still have the highest morale and skills eg urology at the RD&E. There are many doctors, nurses, physios etc doing their very best but who know that there is underlying chaos resulting primarily from OUR NHS being a political football.  And they know too that it has been dismantled deliberately, but surreptitiously, over the past 40 years. My home page carries this evidence

I have summarised this frankly evil process as 'destabilise>demoralise>dismantle. I could add now - nearly destroyed. BUT it will be rebuilt.

I wrote twice to the medical directors of Torbay and the RD&E. When patients receive the worst care it should be brought to those with the responsibility to investigate, direct and correct -

They are worth the study - of at least your home affairs correspondent Ben Woolvin. I had an offer of a telephone discussion with Dr Dyer (covid rules) from the Torbay CEO, but never a word from Dr Adrian Harris at the RD&E.  That I had served there was not relevant.  This is the last paragraph of the second posting -

"I add though, that there are many very skilled and conscientious people serving in OUR NHS. They suffer under central diktats and ever changing ‘policies’. ‘Managerialism’ is rife. It is said that administrative staff numbers at Torbay Hospital are in excess of the medical. A ‘clearing of the decks’ is needed, and can only come with a public inquiry – set up urgently. I attach a colourful letter in metaphor. ‘SS NHS – letter Western Morning News 27-03-14’."

And a very important fact emerged later re case 8, our eldest grandaughter.  It was learned that ketamine was being used to spike drinks. In reading, I learned that the blood levels found in unconsciousness due to ketamine are not that different from those found in death due to this pharmaceutical. Isabel might have died in the RD&E whilst alcoholic intoxication was assumed.

A fine mentor, and later colleague, Robin Ling, who developed the very widely used Exeter THR with engineer Clive Lee, called with we fellow surgeons for expansion of the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital, Exeter with its 120 beds. We knew how this operation freed so many from pain and disability. And we knew also that the need for this was increasing all the while. The later response of the DoH via the RD&E board was to bulldoze this hospital and replace it with 2 wards at the RD&E in the so called Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre - a name now being lost. Cancelled lists are common, whilst 33 surgeons vie for beds.And £14,000 are found by some to buy a THR.

I had to take Sue for a follow-up at the Nuffield in Exeter.  I know her common women's complaint is not being dealt with in OUR NHS. The car park is always jammed full, whilst apprehensive patients wait inside. A green van is there again  'Goodbye waiting lists'. 'Hello award winning healthcare' followed by the Nuffield website address.

OUR NHS has been set up to fail - quietly at first, as advised by Letwin, Redwood and Ridley, but now this plan is laid wide open. The British public is always slow to rise. but rise it will.The NHS will regain its excellence and efficiency. An increasingly impoverished population needs it more than ever, as well as regaining its own health. 

for truth

David Halpin MB BS FRCS  Haytor, Dartmoor.

ps  I see there are 42 e-mails to, or copied to Spotlight. I cannot recall any response bar Mrs Mountjoy re HPV in 2009. I was interviewed for 20 seconds re community hospital bed closures, and with Ms Graham in a group re CHs.

And I attach the last of about 15 opinion pieces by me in the Mid Devon Advertiser.  Quote - The doctor knows what is needed - thought, calm, skill - and a place for the new patient to rest while a careful history and examination takes place.