Please queue for the cancer service – the NHS this week

By Richard Grimes

Staff issues

Cash-strapped Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust has blamed its staff shortages on “bad behaviour” from neighbouring trusts who are breaking agency spending caps.

More than 6 percent of staff are taking sick leave at Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital, a figure that has been described as “worrying”.

A community service for cancer patients in Norfolk has had to “temporarily suspend new referrals” because of a lack of staff. There are 98 people waiting to receive this service.


Southmead Hospital in Bristol is reporting a £51.6m deficit for the last financial year – double what it had predicted. Meanwhile, the trust was fined £7m for failing to meet government targets.

Warrington and Halton Hospitals Trust has reported a deficit of £19.9m for the last financial year. The trust has failed to meet last year’s £8.7m savings target by £1.2m, and their savings target for this year has increased to £10.1m.


Petitions asking the government to ring-fence A&E, maternity, stroke, paediatric and other acute services at North Devon District Hospital are gathering pace; more than 4,200 signatures have been collected so far.

A petition to stop Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital from downgrading has reached more than 3,600 signatures in one week.

Eighteen retired consultants have spoken out over the future of Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary. They warn that the number of serious incidents at the hospital will not be addressed “without a dramatic increase in finances”. In Maryport in Cumbria, a local GP has said that if the town’s hospital is closed it would “tear the heart out of the community”.


  • Countess of Chester Hospital has decided “at short notice” not to extend the contract with private company Phoenix Health to provide bariatric surgery for obesity. Meanwhile “fat-related” hospital admissions are “soaring” in the Black Country and Staffordshire.
  • Three walk-in centres in Birmingham could be closed under plans by Birmingham CrossCity CCG.
  • A GP in Plymouth who suffered a heart attack while trying to battle the stress of funding cuts said: “It is no longer possible for patients to have their own GP available every weekday. It is the end of an era of general practice as we knew it.”
  • Four GP practices in Brighton and Hove run by the private company, The Practice Group, are likely to close by the end of the year because the company was “withdrawing its contract”.
  • The Young Minds charity have called for urgent action because children in Lancashire are being sent miles away for mental health services because of a lack of beds in the county. A spokesman said: “We often hear from parents who are furious they can only visit their children once a week or once a fortnight, because the distances are so far and travel costs are so expensive.”
  • The family of a man with mental health problems and who is believed to have taken his own life says he “died as a result of the closure of Bootham Park Hospital” in York.
  • The rehab ward at Burnley General Hospital has been closed.

Waiting times

Hundreds of patients were stuck waiting in ambulances outside Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield in March.

A man was left writhing in agony on the floor for two hours with a suspected broken shoulder waiting for an ambulance in Portsmouth. A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said: “Demand for our emergency service in Portsmouth is extremely high and therefore we have to prioritise our available resources to those patients in life-threatening conditions”.

A campaign group in Hartlepool says it was told that A&E was so busy last week that “staff were asking people to go home unless it was a serious emergency”. At one point on Thursday there were 16 people waiting on trolleys due to increased pressure.


Proposals by James Cook University Hospital to make nursing and midwifery staff work an extra shift every four weeks have been shelved. Staff were concerned that the proposed shift changes would see fewer nurses on the wards, “compromising patient care”.

A consultation on proposals to close four cottage hospitals in South Devon has been put on hold. The CCG has not given a reason for the delay.

2 thoughts on “Please queue for the cancer service – the NHS this week

  1. And why is all this happening ? Because of the deliberate underfunding of the NHS, to cause it to fail, and prepare the ground for privatisation. Remember British Rail ? Late trains and long delays. Dirty worn-out carriages, dreadful stale sandwiches that became a national joke. Years of neglect and deliberate underfunding by the government. Then a bargain firesale of everything to the private sector in 1993. Now we have the most expensive train-fares in Europe, and one of the least efficient rail networks. All in the name of private-sector profit.
    The NHS is going exactly the same way, and one of these days , if we are not very careful, it too is going to come to the end of the line.


  2. lets not forget the way they deliberately set dentist up for the same deal .. try find a dentist is impossible and expensive


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