I reckon that the NHS needs frontline reinforcements

Zella says we'll be lost if schools on the continent stop teaching English

ZELLA COMPTON: Brits – the frightened children of Europe

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About four months ago, shortly after 9am on a Saturday morning, I attempted to jump over a small obstacle, twisted my leg badly and ended up tearing the cartilage in my knee and ripping a fairly important ligament.

In between chewing painkillers and strapping on ice packs while watching rubbish TV with my leg up on the sofa, it was a pretty horrible time.

If I hadn’t got immediate help, would I have been able to go from wanting to cry in the supermarket because my knee hurt so much to being able to spend nearly seven hours on a bike saddle?

But I was lucky enough to be able to afford a private physiotherapist, who has helped me quite literally get back on my feet.

Things, however, have not been healing as quickly as they should, so the process has begun to assess what’s what in my knee and whether a surgeon needs to have a bit of a look-see.

I love the NHS and I think we lead the world when it comes to accessible health care for everyone.

While I can afford some private physio, I don’t have private medical insurance so there would be no way I could afford surgery.

So I am ever grateful to have another option available to me.

But the NHS’s resources are stretched to breaking point and front line services are the ones that suffer.

A case in point was when I was referred by my doctor to the NHS physiotherapy unit – the first step to see whether I need surgery.

It has taken six weeks from referral to first appointment.

Six weeks in which the scar tissue that mends ligaments could have formed any old way and stopped my knee from bending properly at all.

My knee still isn’t right, but at least I could give it a fighting chance.

Last weekend I cycled 88 miles in training for a charity bike ride taking place on July 2.

If I hadn’t got immediate help, would I have been able to go from wanting to cry in the supermarket because my knee hurt so much to being able to spend nearly seven hours on a bike saddle? I’m not convinced.

Seems to me the NHS needs reinforcements to its front line, if only to save money by not having to see those same patients further down the line.


It’s been an interesting experience watching the EU referendum results come in. I was in mainland Europe for the main event, watching with interest from one hour ahead, wondering whether a bowl of cidre was an appropriate drink for that time in the morning. It was.

Of course the result meant nothing materially changed during my holiday. Naturally I got back in the country okay.

But people on the continent were interested in what I thought about the referendum and Europe.

Now it’s all over I can say I voted for us to remain in, for a number of reasons that now don’t matter.

But this referendum has taught us all an important lesson – that our politics are moving in an alarming fashion towards the US-style televised, fact-free lie-fest.


I’d like to ask for your help. At 9am next Saturday morning I’ll be pushing off at the start of a 93-mile bike ride.

It’s been organised by Chichester-based solicitors George Ide LLP to raise money for Headway West Sussex, a charity that looks after people with life-changing head injuries, as well as the loved ones and carers of those affected.

Headway West Sussex doesn’t get central funding, so has to rely on money gifted, donated, bequeathed, or raised in its shops.

All we’ll be doing is getting sore thighs and backsides – it’s the people at Headway WS who do the hard work.

So please, if you have a pound or two spare, send it our way: justgiving.com/fundraising/GeorgeIdeRide