OUR healthcare is beginning to take a real strain and this is something that we need to prioritise.

This week I took a visit to an accident and emergency department with my friend and the waiting time was just horrendous. We set foot in accident and emergency around 10am in the morning and by 2pm we still hadn’t even received her results back for her blood tests.

I understand that there is a severe demand and that those admitted have to be put in priority order but there are ways to deal with these and even an idea of approximate wait time would be beneficial. Clearly there is a major crisis in our NHS system.

Christmas saw the worst waiting times for accident and emergency and included all staff members and volunteers to be involved in anyway they can to make up for it.

There just aren’t enough people to help out and in my local surgery, strikes are becoming a regular thing in order to protest about the long hours and low pay within the NHS. This just then adds to set-backs and to even more appointments and some patients are in desperate need of surgery.

On the news, a doctor himself was awaiting important heart surgery and even his surgery date was postponed and delayed. That just sums up the whole system and even doctors and nurses themselves are not getting the care and treatment they deserve.

Often when I have attended a GP appointment, there seems to be a system of moving on to the next patient as soon as possible and not getting to the root of the problem. This just creates a ripple effect of continuous appointments that are prolonged and ignored, creating a whole new entire issue that could have been sorted in the first place. And I can also see it from the healthcare professionals’ view as well.

The amount of time and stress they must go through everyday must become overwhelming and there is a constant flow of people needing help. With a profession that looks at the treatment and care of other people, I think it is about time that we began to pay attention to their needs and created an even stronger and sustainable system. Everything needs to be looked at and reassessed because this cannot carry on.

My friend went from the GP, to the walk-in clinic, to A & E, to just go back to the GP again for quite a serious issue. So it’s all a massive roundabout that isn’t being used efficiently.

In an extreme case this week, one patient suffering with appendicitis was waiting from 3am until midday, having still not been seen and having to camp on the floor due to the lack of space anywhere in the A & E department.

This is a crisis that can no longer be brushed aside. The care of the staff members is praised and we must applaud all of the doctors and nurses that are at hand to help, but we also need to help them and can no longer afford to make cuts to a system that is so vital to everyone in our community. It’s just a disgrace.

Anyone that comments on our healthcare, especially ministers, need to spend time in hospitals and clinics because otherwise where are they getting their information from?

If we continue to cut the NHS, people will die. With the estimate of 120,000 extra deaths already blamed already for the NHS cuts, there is a desperate need to evaluate the situation and the benefits to our country as a whole.

By Nia Powell, a former Devizes School and St John’s and drama school pupil, who has formed The O’Company Theatre.