WITH just one week left to respond to a consultation on the way community health services are run in the county, Stroud residents should make every effort to take part.

Health campaigners have waged a long battle to ensure a fair deal for ordinary citizens and they now say we face a straight choice between privatisation or keeping health services publicly run.

Everyone would agree that the NHS is far from perfect – in parts there is excessive bureaucracy and on occasion waiting times are unacceptable.

But no system is perfect, and while reforms are necessary, privatisation is not the answer.

If you doubt that just look at the privatised American system, which lacks universal coverage and is renowned for being both expensive and highly inefficient.

It defies belief that we should even contemplate modelling our healthcare on a discredited and unjust system like that.

Despite its faults, the NHS, like the BBC, is a public institution we can all be proud of – the tribute paid to it during the opening ceremony of the Olympics bears testament to that.

The conventional wisdom of the last 30 years has been that the private sector always performs better than the state when it comes to delivering services – the spectacular failure of G4S to provide security at the Olympics further helped to explode that myth.

Put simply, NHS services should not be run by companies which put private profit before patient care.

To take part in the consultation visit www.nhsglos.nhs.uk