IF VOTERS are still wondering whether the Tories are going to privatise the NHS, then wake up! It is already happening.

I recently visited my NHS GP about a skin cancer problem. I was referred for treatment to a private UK-based company called About Health Ltd. The NHS has contracted out dermatology and appointment management services to About Health Ltd.

I also went to my NHS GP about a minor swelling in my foot. I was referred for treatment to a private hospital run by Ramsay Health Care. The NHS has contracted out orthopaedic services to Ramsay. According to its website: "Ramsay Health Care was established in 1964 and has grown to become a global hospital group operating 480 facilities across 11 countries, making it one of the largest and most diverse private healthcare companies in the world.” It currently operates in Cumbria and Lancashire.

The treatment I received at the Ramsay hospital was a simple hydrocortisone injection. But I had to visit the private hospital four times before I received this treatment. On the fourth occasion, I was met by a porter who insisted on wheeling me down to the operating theatre. There I was met by four medical staff, one of whom gave the injection while the other three watched on. I was a bit baffled about the number of hospital visits, the superfluous staff and unnecessary facilities. Then it dawned on me that the cost of this private healthcare was being charged to the NHS under its private contract. Four appointments, five staff and an operating theatre for just one simple injection. A nice little earner.

This is what is now happening to the NHS under the Tories.

Hugh Connor