Dear Sir,

WHEN I read the article, “Spanish health service could learn from Britain” (Majorca Daily Bulletin, Saturday) it totally stopped me in my tracks. Having been a patient under both systems I do not have an iota of doubt about which country has the 'better' health service – and that comes down to Spain every time.

Then I realized that the offending article was written from a doctor's viewpoint and was really all about doctors earnings, about 'expertise' (which our English doctor did not seem to value at all) and about that uniquely British tendancy of sloppy workmanship and wasteage which ensures a perpetually broken system. Take this quote from the article: “Whereas in Spain doctors are more specialised and have to stick to their narrow field of expertise . In the UK they are more general, so in practice you deal with the same doctor during your time in hospital.” Well personally, in these days of the extreme complexity in modern medicine I refer to be the hands of professionals. I wonder how many lives might have been saved in Britain over the past 20 years if expertise had been more highly rated than bonhomie .

My own experience of the Health Service here includes a kidney transplant at Son Dureta eight years ago, continual medication assistance and extraordinary post operative attention from experts ever since.I have an ever growing respect for the system and all the doctors and nurses who work within it.

One simple experience of mine tells a large story. One of Palma's top kidney doctors, a Euro-200-an-hour-man in private practice, spends MORE time each week working for allmost nil wages in public medicine. He was my night doctor ( 11pm to 6 am) during five of my nights in intensive care after my operation. He is not unique in Majorca or Spain. There are dozens of such top medical men in Palma who genuinely devote their lives to medicine and their patients.

If you have ever seen a Harley Street man dash in and out of a London clinic, to talk down to a nurse and to read a temperature and pick up $500 or $1'000 for his ten minute's of 'attention', you will know what I mean! Perhaps I just never came across anything but greed, decaying buildings, grubby anxiety and amateurism in the National Health Service in the UK. I do know that had I had my problem in the UK I would not be alive today to talk about it.

I will end with a further quote from our doctor about people from the UK being “scared” of coming to Spain for reatment: “At least in Britain you know what to expect. Better the devil you know.” xactly my sentiments, but then, I know only angels here!

Meb Cutlack


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