Less lip service, more action  is needed to save our NHS | Emma Kay

Let’s be crystal clear: our NHS is at breaking point.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 3:53 pm
NHS waiting lists are soaring, as staff are overstretched

The NHS is no longer skating on thin ice but wading through a soupy, sludgy water that many people are struggling to splash through and find a safe and dry place to put their feet.

It has been like this for many a decade now but the past two years have placed it in a torrential turmoil from which, sadly, it may never recover.

This vitally essential service is so financially overstretched that it is seen by us, disappointingly, as the normal state of affairs to routinely skip over health staff for their more than well-deserved pay rises.

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Even more so now after their part in tackling one the scariest and most impactful pandemics, heck, no, one of the most impactful moments in history.

In April 2021 there were 4.7m people in England waiting for routine operations and procedure. As of writing this article this has risen in three months to 5.3m people.

That is just under 10 per cent of England’s population. The NHS backlog was already way behind and playing catch-up despite decades of promises from governments of all the main parties of ‘billions’ and ‘radical changes’ to make waiting lists a thing of the past.

With Covid now part and parcel of our lives, it seems the wait is going to be weighty and likely to get worse with a projection that the waiting list will creep up to 13m.

The BBC did analysis recently which highlighted almost a third of hospitals have more than 10 per cent of their patients going for more than a year without treatment. Again, so disappointing for those who are suffering from painful maladies, but I expect that figure does not make you sit up – it is what we see as normal from this fantastic organisation, starved of the finance we want it to have.

So how can we help the NHS? What is to be done? It seems blind worship does little to nothing, as to be expected. Our prime minster is quick to give praise to the NHS but not quick enough to do things that matter, like give pay rises. I for one would gladly pay an extra penny in the pound on my taxes to fund lifesaving nurses, doctors and support staff.

But where would the pay most benefit? An idea could be to bring back training bursaries for nurses and have them generally more involved with a pay package to match their skills.

Allowing the people on the front line who know the industry way better than our government to run things is a bit of a no brainer. You want the NHS to be more stable? Give them more power.

Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly count is here for everyone to dip their wings in and have fun in this nationwide event to count some of our favourite flutterers.

This sizeable survey helps us to see how healthy our environment is by counting creatures that are vital to our ever-changing eco system.

Sure, they are colourfully good to look at but their dwindling demise means we have to do more than simply stare at these wonderful miracles of nature. Butterflies are key pollinators and are under threat.

Go online and download the app and your butterfly ID sheet. This data will be collected by experts and used in ever important conservation efforts.

Keep your eyes peeled for those peacocks, move along for the meadow brown and take in the elegance and beauty of the tortoise shell.

The count runs until August 8 so get spotting and plotting on the interactive maps.

Let wild gardens flourish

For many, freshly mown grass is paramount during the summer. We have a strange desire for lawns to be neat patches of perfectly aligned pistachio and parakeet green.

Cutting the grass to a regimented level is an obsession that spans decades. However, it’s a far cry from the normality of nature and offers little for wildlife to thrive. No wildflowers popping out like little celebrations of colour to preserve precious bee populations.

A garden allowed to wildly tower and flourish is far better for your soil and far better for your soul. Letting part of your garden grow wild reduces the amount of harmful chemicals like nitrogen dioxide and benzene that pollute our environment.

Having a boost of biodiversity in your garden also makes it a far more interesting place to survey. Having a whole wildlife encounter right in your own backyard surely beats the monstrosity of endless and unnatural shaved green grass.