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Peverley: way off or spot on?

To paraphrase a well-known saying: 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good column.' Dr Phil Peverley's rant against bowel cancer screening (Columnists, 14 June) was misplaced and misinformed.

He should know we are now into the national programme – it is no longer a pilot and is targeted at people between 60 and 69.

Moreover, it is a cancer for which screening does fulfil Wilson's criteria and is cost-effective.The tragedy is that we took so long to get around to introducing it. Dr Peverley might usefully read the information for GPs at www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk before sounding off in such an ill-informed way.

All is not lost, though – he can always turn up to his own primary care trust's CPD session on bowel cancer screening in two months' time.

From Professor Greg Rubin, professor of primary care, University of Sunderland

• From Dr William Barclay, Croydon, Surrey
I would like to reply to Dr Phil Peverley's question (Columnists, 14 June): 'When are we going to realise that improving the quality of our patients' lives is best done by leaving them alone to get on with it?'

The answer is that it will only end when the politicians are not involved in healthcare.Trying to prevent anything and everything that could possibly be bad is what 21st-century UK politicians do.

I do not think they, or at least certainly New Labour, will ever grasp the idea of actions having unintended consequences.Until and unless there is a rational public debate between educated people, as opposed to tabloid headlines, sound bites on TV and politicians seeming to act as if the long term is next week, I feel confident we can look forward to much of the same, but more so.

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