I work for the NHS - and it certainly ain't perfect. I've just finished a weekend of nights in a busy city hospital, and acute care is being pushed to the absolute limit (in this respect, hot weather is as bad as the cold variety). At 3 in the morning, A&E was still rammed, ambos were parked up unable to offload and some patients who needed high dependency care were having to be nursed on general wards. The staff nurses on my team hadn't taken a break for three nights running. In my view, their efforts were nothing short of heroic - but there is no getting around the fact that such conditions are likely to result in sub-optimal care. If there ain't enough beds, and there ain't enough boots on the ground, things will go wrong. It's not necessarily a case of deliberate neglect (although I'm not disputing proven cases of poor practice) - it's simple maths. And (as frontline staff have been screaming for years) the single biggest improvement to care on general wards would be to increase the trained nurse:patient ratio (at present it can be anything from 1:6-12!) - not that the UK is likely to commit to such a thing.
Meanwhile, this government & the schoolboy that is Jeremy Hunt are doing little to help matters. Indeed, their idiot reforms are making a difficult situation a whole lot worse, not least given that increasingly fragmented services are resulting in more pressure being placed upon A&E. Nor do I care much for the protestations of NuLab (current political "debate" being a slanging match about blame), on whose watch much damage was done (although some things improved). But what really fugging annoys me is the Daily Failograph/general media spin on all this. I'm not generally a tin-foil conspiracist, but the soundbite headlines & mis-reporting of mortality figures is pretty outrageous. Indeed, it does nothing to serve the cause of those who have suffered poor care, nor does it advance the kind of improvements that are needed.
Anyway, there's an excellent blog post here: