Letter: Could George Cross herald NHS death knell like RUC?

Does the George Cross bode ill for the NHS?

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 1:25 pm
RUC men silhouetted by a streetlight in Londonderry in 1994, as they survey the scene of a fatal IRA mortar attack; the force was accorded the George Cross for its work in the face of decades of deadly violence

Maybe I suffer from apophenia, the tendency to perceive meaningful connections between unrelated things, but;

> In 1991, the Ulster Defence Regiment received royal consent and the Queen personally presented the regiment with their colours. The next year, the UDR was deemed‘unfit for purpose’ and was amalgamated with the Royal Irish Rangers (RIR).

> In 2006, the Queen presented the RIR with the Gallantry Cross. Almost immediately, three home service battalions were reckoned ‘unfit for purpose’ and were disbanded. Individuals received ex gratia payments and settlement packages

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Letter to the editor

> In 1999, it was announced that the Royal Ulster Constabulary would be awarded the George Cross. The Queen again honoured the force by personally presenting the George Cross at a ceremony in Hillsborough Castle in April 2000. One year later, the RUC was declared ‘unfit for purpose’ and ceased to exist. Individuals received ex gratia payments and settlement packages.

Public acclaim, financial recompense and Royal recognition seem to be precursors to major reform if not dissolution.

So today, we learn that the NHS HSC is to receive the George Cross

Already we have had the public acclaim in the form of doorstep applause

Already we have had financial recompense of sorts, in that individuals are due to receive ex gratia payments of £500.

How soon the report that the NHS is unfit for purpose?

Is the pandemic response providing cover for accelerating change or naked policy shift?

As US health insurance groups buy up our GP services, as PPE is sourced surreptitiously and as £10 billion of UK tax payers money is set aside for private hospitals (to deal with waiting lists alone), what chance that the George Cross is the ultimate sop to soften the inevitable demise of a truly national health service?

David McCabe, Dromore, Co Down

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