COMMENT: It’s rare to to see such open criticism from staff

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Like workers in any other field, NHS staff don’t usually raise their heads above the parapet to criticise their boss.

In private they’ll probably let off steam by talking to friends and colleagues about their problems at work. But not in public.

So it’s a measure of how desperate things are becoming at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham when a registrar feels the need to highlight the situation in A&E to ‘the boss’, health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Dr Jamie Fryer, who describes himself as a ‘rather cynical emergency medicine registrar in the south’, lived up to his own billing when he tweeted: ‘16 ambulances queueing in Portsmouth. Just another weekend in May. No flu, no norovirus. Just a normal day. Thanks for ur help @Jeremy_Hunt.’

It was accompanied by a picture of the waiting area outside A&E packed with ambulances.

Despite Dr Fryer having just 158 followers, at the time of writing the tweet had been shared more than 800 times and was continuing to rise.

As revealed in The News last month, QA spent 134 days on black alert, the highest level, in 2016 – an increase from 87 the year before, and 68 in 2014.

But this tweet was a snapshot from when the hospital was supposedly operating on a ‘normal’ day.

Clearly this is not a situation that is going to fix itself. The obvious answer would be better funding and resources – but where is that money going to come from?

The beleaguered and embattled hospital staff face difficult situations every day, and they have our full backing.

Thankfully – as they should – they have the support of the majority of the public, which is well aware of the tough conditions they are working under.

Next year the NHS will reach its 70th anniversary. If things are allowed to carry on the way there are, there will be little to celebrate.

Next month’s general election is not just about Brexit – it is not hyperbole to suggest that the future of the NHS could also well be at stake. Remember that when you cast your vote on June 8.