This Christmas, Accident & Emergency doctors would like 600 extra senior colleagues, tens of thousands more hospital beds*, billions invested into community care so the elderly and vulnerable aren’t bounced straight into casualty when things go wrong, and for GPs to see more minor injuries.
The leader of Britain’s emergency doctors warned six weeks ago that this could be the “worst winter” for A&E. Now we learn that the first week of December saw record emergency admissions, meaning many more people left waiting more than four hours for treatment (our cover story, page 4) – and this before cold weather strikes. If doctors’ gloomier predictions are realised, the Prime Minister may regret pledging to personally oversee the NHS winter response.
(*A trolley is not a bed.)
Do you have a relative you don’t like – and haven’t yet bought them a Christmas present? Possibly you have a high boredom threshold yourself? May I shamelessly draw your attention to Lot 22 in the second round of our charity auction: lunch with the, er, Editor of i. The first hours saw bidding rise to a heady £150. I can promise fine food, topped with lashings of indiscretion, a sneak preview of the next day’s pages and some insight into the daily workings of Britain’s fastest growing newspaper. Our other lots include original artwork by the Chapman brothers (probably not one for young children, even if they’ve been very naughty), prints by the wildlife photographer Nick Brandt, dance lessons from Strictly Come Dancing’s Robin Windsor, and private tours of the Bank of England, London Zoo, Parliament and Kew Gardens. More details at independent.co.uk/auction2013. Proceeds go to Space for Giants, who endeavour to save Earth’s elephants from extinction. Today we report from Hong Kong, where the appetite for ivory fires fresh slaughter.