NHS: What the professionals want

The surgeon, the receptionist, the chief executive, the general practitioner, the clinical radiologist and the nurse
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Indy Politics

The surgeon
Helen Richardson, 37, North Riding Infirmary, Middlesbrough

"I would like to see the crucial issue of the lack of beds and early discharge after surgery resolved. We need more doctors and one way to solve the problem is to hang on to professionals in the system. This could be done by creating incentives and boosting their quality of life with facilities such as on-site creches for female doctors. The quality of the patients' experience also needs to be improved with a greater number of matrons and cleaner wards."

The receptionist
Millie Grostate, 64, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

"The amount of work that hospital staff get through does not match how much we are paid. I work a 12-hour shift once or twice a week as a main-desk receptionist, as many other staff members do and, in a sense, we have to work those hours to make our living. Lack of equipment is another issue for me. We have a vital lack of wheelchairs and while we once had eight trolleys which carried baggage for patients around the main desk, we now have none."

The chief executive
Mark Britnell, Birmingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

"In Australia, the US and northern Europe the thing that has struck me is that we are always operating at the margins of capacity in the NHS. So my first priority would be more new buildings and equipment and more staff. That would improve morale for staff and patients. We need a radical approach to the care of the elderly to end the way they are passed between institutions. This is among the biggest unresolved issues facing society and the NHS."

The general practitioner
Dr George Rae, Whitley Bay doctor's surgery, Tyneside

"There are not enough NHS professionals and certainly not enough GPs. We have a heavy workload without the commensurate resources. I would like to see patient access to hospital treatment within an acceptable time nationwide, especially for eye and orthopaedic patients, who face longer waiting lists. I want to be able to give each patient a 15-minute consultation, ideally, rather than the 10 or even fewer minutes we can afford at the moment."

The clinical radiologist
Professor Stuart Field, 57, Kent and Canterbury Hospital

"Radiology is pivotal to the diagnosis of diseases in almost all patients and all illnesses so by increasing the workforce in our field, which is suffering grave shortages, the patient path in the NHS system can be shortened, especially for cancer patients and in accident and emergency. The waiting time of huge numbers of A&E patients who need acute, immediate assistance must be cut so they can be properly managed and assessed."

The nurse
Gail Adams, 37, St George Health Care Trust, London

"The biggest problem I see is an insufficient number of hospital beds to deal with the patient demands being made by those in critical conditions via A&E and patients who have to wait an unacceptable time for surgery and hospital referrals. Staff shortages is another area I would like to see an improvement in, and pay. I have been a theatre sister since 1987 and, as a G-grade nurse, I am on a basic London salary of £25,000."