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The results are in – and they could not be more decisive.

Yesterday (November 26), This Writer reported on a plan to send NHS patients in England to private hospitals for operations. I pointed out that the NHS currently spends £600 million a year correcting botched private operations and questioned the wisdom of paying private capital, possibly to drain even more money from the public service through incompetence.

Then I asked two questions: Is it safe to hand NHS operations over to private health companies? and Is it safe to discharge patients from hospital early, in order to free up beds?

After nearly 26 hours, the results are beyond question.

No less than 97.14 per cent of respondents – 714 of you – rejected the plan for private health to carry out operations. Only 12 people – 1.56 per cent of respondents – thought it would be safe.

And 95.35 per cent of respondents – 615 of you – said patients should not be discharged early. Just seven people – 1.08 per cent of respondents – thought sending patients home early would be safe.

I should add that, while the results are not scientific in that the respondents are not known to be a representative sample of UK citizens, efforts were made to publicise the poll to people with a wide range of political views.

Considering the emphatic nature of the response, This Writer will communicate it to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. It will be interesting to see how he justifies a policy that has hardly any support at all among the public.

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