I READ with considerable interest Faith Eckersall's article in the Echo on the issue of the huge backlog of maintenance in Dorset NHS hospitals running into tens of millions.

But then the fact is we no longer have a National Health Service in our country. That has all gone.

What we have since 2013 is a consortium of 200 Clinical Commissioning Groups. Each one with budgetary responsibility for its NHS area. For Dorset our "CCG" is Dorset CCG.

The CCG commissioners purchase services from NHS hospitals and clinical groups including doctors' surgeries. Each CCGs control its purse strings.

What we have then is NHS running as a pseudo commercial market. Hospitals and doctors offer their medical services, commissioners buy services on behalf of the public.

The horror then in the whole system we end with commissioning group areas, and hospitals, competing with one another for funding.

And so it is now in Dorset. On offer from our CCG is some £187 million for expansion of Bournemouth hospital for A&E and maternity. But then the cost of this the loss of the A&E and maternity from Poole, close down of three cottage hospitals, with a target to cut £180 million a year from Dorset budgets.

That then is why a Dorset County Council committee, speaking for the people of Dorset, voted to refer the whole deal back to the Secretary of State. In Poole we are waiting for Poole council to do likewise.

But then the sting in the tail. The most chilling part of all. If Dorset does not accept what is on offer, from our CCG, the £187 million package could be withdrawn and go to a more "compliant" CCG area.

Such then is the nature of our 21st century pseudo market NHS, we end with a classic race to the bottom. CCGs that will cut get some modernising funds, those that resist are penalised. A shockingly failing system, the evidence before our eyes.


Jubilee Road, Parkstone, Poole