WHEN a politician sounds off about the National Health Service, it has to be seen in the context of their own party affiliation.

But when a doctor with 30 years’ experience in general practice expresses grave fears about the direction of the service, it carries more weight.

Professor Ahmet Fuat has put his head above the parapet by writing passionately about the fragmentation and commercialisation of the NHS he has served for three decades.

Unless we wake up to what’s happening, he says, a health service which is the envy of the world will be lost.

Professor Fuat’s anger emanates from his experience of trying to recover from a fire which ripped through his surgery in Darlington.

While patients and the network of local doctors have been supportive, the experience of dealing with the wider NHS has proved to be disheartening.

Instead of support, Professor Fuat has encountered financial self-interest and a lack of empathy.

The plight of a local doctors’ surgery has been seen by some sections of the NHS as an opportunity to cash in – and that is a serious accusation indeed for any health professional to make.

“They have lost touch with grassroots health care,” he says.

The beauty of the NHS, in the way it was conceived by Aneurin Bevan, was that it had a national, holistic identity.

But Professor Fuat paints a disturbing picture of an organisation which has been broken into elements which too often work against each other.

It is time for Britain to fight back against what is happening, he says. And if a dedicated doctor believes the NHS has lost its sense of compassion, we really should take note.