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Poor planning leads to NHS staff shortages

The increased number of people attending the accident and emergency department at the Great Western Hospital (approximately 200 per day), and the prolonged times they have to wait (SA, April 19), are not confined to Swindon.

They are part of a national problem.

The causes are obvious and have been known to be building up over a number of years.

There is a shortage of professional, frontline staff - doctors, nurses, and other professional staff including social workers - both in hospitals and in the community.

There is a shortage of beds, both in hospitals and homes in the community, made worse by the increased number of elderly people who live alone – and so cannot look after themselves if they have even a relatively minor illness or accident.

Because there is a shortage of GPs (hence, a long wait for an appointment) more people will end up in accident and emergency (in spite of diversions to 111 or walk-in centres).

Because modern medicine demands many investigations (scans and blood tests) patients have to wait in A&E for the results before a decision can be made about their admission or discharge.

Because there is a shortage of beds this increases the wait for admission.

Some of the bed shortage is caused by so-called ‘bed-blockers’.

These are people who cannot be discharged safely because there is inadequate care in the community – due to a lack of doctors, nurses, social workers and a lack of nursing or residential homes.

The cause of the shortage of professional staff is poor planning (inadequate numbers being trained), poor terms and conditions of service and so, poor recruitment and retention.

This has caused some people to leave the NHS and seek greener pastures abroad.

Good public services are costly.

The basic problem is that demand exceeds supply.

The NHS needs a radical review to decide what it will provide and how it will be financed and managed.

Malcolm Morrison, Retired Orthopaedic Surgeon, Prospect Hill, Swindon

Parents should read war on drugs book by mums

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be in Morrisons store at Regents Circus and saw two ladies selling a book called Tenacity (How Two Mums Fought a War on Drugs) .

Just out of curiosity I asked them what the book was about.

With real enthusiasm they explained it was on how they fought a war on drugs and the dealers.

Given the fact that there is a problem in Swindon, how often have we read of police raids on houses in the Swindon area and the fact that deals are taking place very publicly in all sorts of places in town.

The other day I spotted needles on the road not too far away from where some young children live.

The problem with drugs and lives ruined is there to be seen if people open their eyes.

As an ex-schoolteacher a lot of parents go into denial when first confronted about their childs involvement.

Maybe more should read this book.

Tenacity is really well written and will hold your attention as well as providing many ideas (some may say advice) that can be used by parents in trying to help their children and protect them in the fight against drugs.

P Mazzotta, Eastcott Hill, Swindon

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