Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Open Letter

Setting the record straight about the NHS

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 14 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3768
  1. Jacky Davis, co-chair, NHS Consultants’ Association,
  2. Barbara Rafaeli, film and documentary maker
  1. drjcdavis{at}

    More than 100 NHS professionals and patients have added their names to an open letter to Senator John Kerry, who has called for the “lies” that have recently been circulating in the United States about the UK healthcare system to be refuted

    Dear Senator Kerry

    Your reported call for “lies” about healthcare reform to be refuted is essential and requires an urgent response. To that end, may we—British health professionals and patients—respectfully expose those lies about our NHS, a service that our experience shows to work successfully for the benefit of all in this country.

    Patient choice

    There is no “death panel” in the NHS in the United Kingdom or anywhere else in the UK healthcare sector.

    Termination of a pregnancy is a personal decision if approved by two doctors. No board or organisation of any kind makes any decision about termination for fetal abnormality. Such decisions are personally made by those seeking such procedures after counselling by medical and other health professionals.

    Elderly people can get counselling and advice to help them determine their requirements for their future care but only if they wish it. It is a service that provides information about issues such as living wills. This is similar to section 1233 of the proposed healthcare bill in the United States, which provides …

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