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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Surgeon reveals NHS crisis

10th August 2007

Martin Bircher, one of the UK's most senior trauma surgeons, talks to the Independent on Sunday about the failures in the NHS trauma system and how patients suffer as a result.


Britain faces a crisis. A severe lack of the emergency beds necessary for trauma patients has led to the suffering of patients who have serious injuries. The Accident and Emergency system and its related management has been stymied by bureaucracy and funding problems.

All of the country's beds are full. Patients can face a wait of 21 days following an accident. The average patient will wait for 12 days, usually in pain, before they are given the treatment they need. This wait can compromise their chances of recovery.

Few hospitals are able to offer the specialist treatment required to treat badly broken bones and most do not have enough beds.

Managers make the decisions regarding patients' movements. Moving a patient to a different hospital can cause added costs, which another area may be reluctant to take on. This causes delays and patients face weeks before treatment is given.

The money needed to provide trauma services should be "top sliced" by the government.

Doctors and nurses working on the front line have their efforts compromised by managers who are primarily concerned with budgets rather than treatment.

Delays do not only mean that patients are left in pain, but can cause complications from blood clots and infections. If a broken bone is left before it is treated, it becomes more difficult to repair.

The system is not working and must be reviewed. Bureaucracy is not the answer. Doctors know what is right for their patients and need to be involved in the "sharp end" of decision making.




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Article Information

Title: Surgeon reveals NHS crisis
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 3710
Date Added: 10th Aug 2007


The Independent

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