Sir, Alice Thomson is right to point out the futility of blaming A&E waiting times on GPs (“How to fix your A&E emergency, Mr Hunt”, June 5). However, to argue that closing hospitals and A&Es will lead to the collapse of the NHS is not only incorrect, it is the worst possible conclusion to draw from the difficulties facing emergency care providers.
The only way the NHS is likely to be made sustainable is through significant, clinically-led reconfiguration of hospital-based care. This requires courageous leadership and difficult decisions that are often opposed by local people. The assertion that no more A&E departments should close in response to the pressure on services will only further undermine this vital work, which seeks to strengthen community-based care and improve the NHS offering away from the emergency room.
Sam Burrows is a healthcare expert at PA Consulting Group
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