What with one thing and the other this year, my family and I have had more cause than usual to be grateful to live in this part of the county.
Unlike a friend of mine, who has to wait a fortnight for an ‘emergency’ appointment unless she hangs on the phone first thing in the morning, we have a fantastic doctors’ surgery that can offer us appointments quickly and who know us well.
And the check-ups that are needed at QA and St Mary’s are as regular as clockwork.
But still it’s obvious the service is at full stretch.
I’ve written here before about a problem I’ve been having with my knee for most of this year, which a couple of weeks ago culminated in an MRI scan to find out what I’d actually done to it.
The results are in and it seems I’ve done a pretty thorough job of mangling it, so surgery is the only option.
But I was shocked to find out that the waiting list to see the specialist is four to five weeks long, not including Christmas, and then there’s an 18-month waiting list after that.
That makes it about a five-and-a-half month wait and then up to a year to get back to running.
In total, I’m looking at about 2.5 years without being able to walk properly.
But I’m lucky.
I was told that the only reason I’m being offered the surgery on the NHS is because I’m a hugely active person and that exercise is a major part of my lifestyle.
The alternative would be no surgery and years of constant pain, or to save up the thousands of pounds it would cost to have it done privately.
Now we read in The News that the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainability and Transformation Plan, which looks at healthcare across the county and how the NHS can save money while still meeting the needs of patients, is due to publish a report on the need to save £577m of cash.
It seems to me we’re hurtling down the road to privatisation and there’s nothing we’re going to be able to do about it.
I HOPE BLETCHLEY STUDENTS CAN CHANNEL GENIUS OF THE PAST
How cool that Bletchley Park is going to house a new generation of code-breakers.
Not, as in World War Two, people who can crack codes used to encrypt enemy messages, but this time the type of code that is used in cyber warfare.
There are plans for a training college to teach cybersecurity skills to 16-19 year-olds at the Buckinghamshire site, with the intention for it to open in 2018.
There seems to be a new cyber attack reported in the media every week, with mobile phone provider Three the latest to be targeted.
Perhaps the students at this new college can channel the genius of the people based at Bletchley in years past to combat this latest threat from enemies that want to do us harm.
HAVE FUN, BUT PLEASE BE SAFE OUT THERE AT CHRISTMAS TIME
Young Tommy Ranshaw went out for the evening one night in February, but he never made it back home.
For some reason he ended up walking on to a railway crossing when the barriers were down and the lights were flashing and was hit by a train.
He survived for a while, but later died in hospital.
In a film released by the British Transport Police, Tommy’s mum is urging people to be aware of the danger of level crossings.
It’s ahead of the Christmas period, when alcohol-related railway incidents rise by 25 per cent, according to Network Rail.
It’s easy to think a night out is just going to be a fun time with your mates.
But please, be safe out there this Christmas-time.