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'Third World' hospital care a cruel misnomer

MARY Hood should never have suffered as she did in the Ulster Hospital, but 'Third World care' (page 1 headline, March 13)? No, no and no again.

Hospitals in Northern Ireland should never be described as 'Third World'. First, the term 'Third World' has been considered derogatory for many years, suggesting that people in Africa, Latin America and Asia are somehow third-class people. 'Majority World' is better.

Second, the quality of some hospitals in the 'Third World' is easily comparable to our hospitals. They are well-run, well-staffed, well-supplied and offer excellent care. Sadly, these hospitals are private and cater for the rich few.

Third, the hospitals you have in mind are probably rural, underfunded, and truly poverty stricken. Unless you have worked there (as my wife has), you have simply no idea what they can be like.

Does any hospital here cook its food over an open fire? Does any hospital here ever say, "Sorry, we have no painkillers"? Not by a very long way.

Rural hospitals in the 'Third World' are as they are because they have no choice. Our hospitals are as they are because we choose to spend our money in ways that are simply crazy.

Who in their right mind would spend more than £100m on sports stadia, £77m on the Titanic centre and countless millions on an education system that perpetuates social division, then claim that we can't afford decent healthcare?

PROFESSOR DREW GIBSON

Union Theological College, Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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