Bob Woodd Walker – Essex County Standard

You report the ‘birth’ of Anglian Community Enterprise with a budget of £50million. “ACE will be driven by market forces.” “It will be run along the lines of a business.” Your photo is of the signing of a “business transfer agreement.”

Naturally we want the NHS to be run efficiently, but the risk is that cheapness may be the only criterion for choosing contracts; many other factors should be taken into account. Indeed the whole bureaucratic rigmarole of contracting, often difficult and arbitary to quantify, is in itself very costly. Moreover, we do not want various ‘providers’ to supply services independently and uncoordinatedly. For example, the Oaks Hospital is said to be enlarging to take on more NHS work – at a profit – so why not increase facilities at the General instead? Earlier you reported that a great many expensive medicines were being returned unused to pharmacists who then arranged for their destruction. This waste is not wholly the responsibility of the patients, for it is the Regulations which quite unnecessarily insist on this, as they do with all the perfectly good food which is buried or composted.

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