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Yes, the NHS is overstretched and underfunded – but when did it become quite so uncaring?

Under pressure from staff strikes and ballooning waiting lists, the NHS has started treating its patients as an inconvenience, says James Moore. For those with long-term health conditions, this endemic lack of compassion adds to the misery of accessing treatment

Sunday 05 November 2023 16:11 GMT
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I’ve seen for myself the NHS’s communication failures up close as well as failures in basic standards of care
I’ve seen for myself the NHS’s communication failures up close as well as failures in basic standards of care (PA)

Walking down a poorly lit street in heavy rain, Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s former tech guru who has Parkinson’s disease, tripped on a branch dislodged by the recent storms. He crashed to the pavement. With blood pouring from him, he made his way to A&E. That was when his nightmare began.

There were hours stuck on a trolley, anxiety-inducing waits for a call about a badly fractured elbow and a surgery nightmare, going through nil-by-mouth only for his op to be cancelled, occupying a bed for hours on end, to no apparent purpose.

“Getting information about one’s treatment seems like an obstacle race where the system is always one step ahead,” Cellan-Jones said. “But communication between medical staff within and between hospitals also appears hopelessly inadequate, with the gulf between doctors and nurses particularly acute.”

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