What's happening to the NHS?

CANCELLED operations, delayed appointments, over-subscribed surgeries and claims of diabolical patient treatment – just what is happening to the NHS?

CANCELLED operations, delayed appointments, over-subscribed surgeries and claims of 'diabolical' patient treatment - just what is happening to the NHS?

Today's Mercury contains reports on all of these issues: A lack of beds which saw operations cancelled at Weston General Hospital; admissions that doctors' surgeries are operating under 'severe pressure' because of rising patient numbers; and claims from patients that a lack of medical resources is costing patients their dignity.

Individually, these stories would be worrying, but collectively they paint an alarming picture of Britain's health service.

A common thread running through these stories is that patients recognise medical workers strive tirelessly to provide top-class care and support.


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Indeed, staff are uniformly praised - instead, the finger of blame points squarely at the higher echelons of the NHS, and decision-makers who hamstring doctors' efforts by imposing restrictive budgets.

How can patients receive the care they need if there aren't enough doctors to offer prompt, thorough treatment?

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How can doctors provide the level of care they aspire to if they don't have the equipment and support personnel in place to help?

Prompt, expert treatment in dignified circumstances represents a minimum expectation for all patients, yet too often the NHS is failing to meet these basic prerequisites.

Today, North Somerset NHS is launching a new patient-interaction project which is says is about 'hearing what ordinary people want from the NHS and then working towards providing it'.

In blunt terms, what people want - and need - is for health service decision makers to loosen the purse strings.

Doctors can't operate if they are spread too thinly and they don't have the resources they need.

Who can make this happen? Whether it be hospital management, NHS trust bosses or even the Government, someone, somewhere needs to take responsibility and restore our health service to the standards people deserve.

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