I am writing to complain about the recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme on the NHS, which was politically biased...
I was a non-executive director of my local primary care trust.for five years until last October and was proud to be part of an organisation that made so many striking improvements to our services for patients during this time.
For example, waiting lists at our hospital fell from a typical 18 months to six and are expected to disappear altogether for outpatients in April - an amazing achievement.
We also introduced huge improvements in patient access to their GPs, bringing in a system which guaranteed 48-hour access to a doctor - instead of the one to two-week waits often previously experienced. Not surprisingly, we also noticed increasing evidence of satisfaction with our services among our patients.
So I was not surprised when the chair of the British Medical Association's.private medicine committee was quoted in the press last year, complaining that because of the reduced waiting lists: 'Private medicine is disappearing outside London and the South East.'
Yet these major improvements received hardly a mention in the programme, although reducing waiting lists has been.the principal focus for the increased government spending on the NHS since its election in 1997.
The programme's inherent bias was also illustrated by the minimal air time given to the government's defenders, who were usually made to look foolish and treated in an aggressive and bullying manner. The programme also demonstrated its political bias with its endless reference to 'New Labour' rather than 'the government'. I do not understand the need for this unless the programme was planned as a deliberate attack a particular political party. If so, why was there no comparable analysis of opposition party health policies?
Yes, this government has made many mistakes along the way, but in a number of important respects, it has improved the service beyond recognition - though no-one would have thought so from this heavily biased production.....
Donald Reid, non-executive director, Watford and Three Rivers PCT, 2001-2006..