Getting treated in the UK can sometimes turn into a nightmare

Getting treated in the UK can sometimes turn into a nightmare

Getting an appointment with a doctor, scheduling an operation or going to a hospital emergency room: treatment has become a nightmare for many Britons who have seen their public health system, which has been in crisis for years, collapsing.

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Yusuf Mahmud Nazir was a 5-year-old boy who lived with his family in the Sheffield region of northern England. On November 23, he died of pneumonia after being sent home from the hospital after waiting several hours. According to his family, they were told “there were no beds available.”

The tragedy of this family has rocked the country and made the front page of the UK media, shining a harsh spotlight on the crisis that is rocking the public health system, the NHS, which was established in 1948 and long considered the jewel of Britain’s public services .

But years of underfunding, the pandemic and now record inflation are stretching their opposition and that of their nurses, who are striking again on Wednesday and Thursday to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

Getting treated in the UK can sometimes turn into a nightmare

Patients have longer waits to see a doctor, receive treatment, have surgery, or simply have an ambulance come to their home in an emergency. Emergency services are overwhelmed, clogged with patients unable to see a doctor.

More than 7 million people are currently waiting for treatment in the country, a record.

British media have been reporting on the dramatic individual stories of dozens of families for months.

So in the Chron of Lesley Weekley, 73, of Barry in Wales, who recounts how she spent almost two hours trying to get an ambulance to take the train to her husband, who is dying of a heart attack at home .

“She’s a mother who is at home having a heart attack and not receiving treatment because there is no ambulance to go to her house. He is a father who does not have surgery for his cancer because there is no bed available for post-operative care. She’s a grandmother dying alone because there isn’t a nurse to hold her hand, simply because there aren’t enough nurses,” Orla told AFP Dooley, a 29-year-old striking nurse, met outside Saint George’s Hospital in the south london.

According to the latest figures available, the average waiting time for an ambulance in England has hit a record, exceeding 90 minutes for so-called ‘Category 2’ patients, including suspected heart attack or stroke.

And more than 54,000 people waited more than 12 hours for treatment in December after passing through the doors of a hospital emergency room.

Martin Clark, a 68-year-old father, died of a heart attack in November. After waiting 45 minutes for an ambulance, his family took him to the hospital themselves.

“The NHS is broken. Everyone is afraid of getting sick and wondering what will happen next. Things have to change,” his wife Ann told the BBC, adding that she wondered if he would still be alive if he was cared for more quickly.

Health experts say the crisis has been brewing for a long time, with staff shortages and chronic underfunding under successive Conservative governments.

But the situation worsened with Brexit as many nurses came from the European Union and the difficulties of replacing doctors and nurses were exhausted after the pandemic and are now leaving the sector.

NHS England has 130,000 jobs to fill, including 12,000 doctors in hospitals and 47,000 nurses.

The Conservative government released around £6billion to help the NHS in the autumn and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to reduce waiting lists in early January.