IT’S not long since we wrote about an elderly woman who waited 12 hours overnight to be admitted to Great Western Hospital.

She had been taken in by ambulance, and a loved one described horrific scenes including cubicles being full and patients being treated on trolleys.

The hospital management’s official statement consisted mainly of the usual excuses, but the last few words were interesting: “A big thank you to all our staff who work hard to provide safe and high quality care at busy times.”

I’m sure the trust bosses meant those words most sincerely, and there was no attempt whatsoever to suggest our story was somehow targeting ordinary hospital workers. Such a suggestion, quite apart from being an utterly amoral, cynical, disgraceful human shield exercise and a rancid insult to the public’s intelligence, would be 100 per cent doomed to failure for two reasons.

First, we all know how hard-working our frontline hospital staff are, whether because we know them personally or because we’ve been helped by them at a time of pain, distress and fear.

Second, we also all know that when overcrowding and field hospital conditions occur, they are not the fault of frontline staff. They are the fault of well-paid NHS executives and the establishment buffoons who ignored warnings given nearly 20 years ago that Great Western Hospital simply wouldn’t be big enough.

As the trust bosses are so anxious to proclaim their gratitude to frontline staff, perhaps they’d care to back up the sentiment with practical assistance.

Hiring enough staff to treat people in a timely manner without undergoing terrible workplace stress might be a start, and would also prevent poorly members of the public from having extra misery added to their plight.

In the meantime, every one of those frontline staff, plus the ordinary back room staff who support them, can rest assured of our profound gratitude and wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Do you call this justice?

A FEW days ago a Swindon man called Alexander Field was given a suspended sentence for having hundreds of child abuse images and videos on his computer.

He had shared some with other deviant wastes of skin.

At around the same time, a Swindon man called Stephen Smith failed to have an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence reduced.

Smith’s offence? Nicking expensive stuff from BT and flogging it through his own company.

And there, in a nutshell, is an illustration of the sort of offence our lawmakers regard as significant and the sort they don’t.

After all, big business must be protected. How else would it be able to offer lucrative directorships and share options to politicians and former politicians?