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If we want the NHS to survive, we need to spend more

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Sunday 06 August 2023 23:18 BST
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I have nothing but praise for all the staff in the hospital. But I could see the stresses and strains they were under
I have nothing but praise for all the staff in the hospital. But I could see the stresses and strains they were under (PA Wire)

I’ve just been discharged from hospital having spent eight days there being treated for pneumonia. One hundred years ago I probably wouldn’t have been able to write this as I would have died (without antibiotics). Seventy-six years ago (pre-NHS) I might have died because the treatment could not be afforded. I know how lucky I am.

I have nothing but praise for all the staff in the hospital. But I could see the stresses and strains they were under. This is particularly the case on the night shift when there seemed to be one senior and three junior nurses to look after the ward. There are consequences for the number of unfilled posts and the low pay. I’m pretty certain that the health secretary (or any of his predecessors) has never done a nightshift alongside these wonderful people who sometimes deal with very difficult situations with minimal backup. So, whatever he thinks he knows about the health service, he only has a very superficial understanding – probably good enough for the round of TV interviews.

I never clapped for carers during Covid because I knew it was just a political stunt. What the NHS needs is proper funding; a proper workforce plan. At some point we need to face up to reality. If we want the NHS to survive, we need to spend more.

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