Rose-tinted NHS

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Irvine Inglis (Letters, 23 October) must be viewing pre-1948 medicine through rose-coloured spectacles to regard it as having high standards of patient care. It had nothing of the kind.

Healthcare depended on whether you could afford to pay for medical insurance and, in spite of the Lloyd George reforms, many couldn’t, while the voluntary hospitals run by charities were often on the brink of financial collapse and had to turn patients away. Paupers had to go to the old Poor Law hospitals which were decrepit, poorly staffed, universally loathed and could provide only the most basic emergency treatment. Many thousands died prematurely every year from pneumonia, meningitis, TB, diphtheria and polio. High standards? I don’t think so.

BARRY HUGHES

Comiston Drive

Edinburgh