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Condition Red
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Sunday 25 March 2001
Reporter Vivian White
Producer Rabinder Minhas
Assistant Producers Tracy Williams & Joanna Lee


At the beginning of January an NHS Hospital, St. Peter's in Chertsey, allowed a Panorama team in to film. They stayed for the next two months.

For much of time, the A&E Department has been on "Red Alert", the status managers use to describe conditions when patient pressures, staffing and bed shortages mean that the department is at its most stretched.

Vivian White's report shows the reality of the NHS in one hospital in the south of England, chosen because it was not atypical. Staff tell Panorama that it is like winter all year round. A Sister in A&E says she would not like to be nursed in the substandard conditions shown in the programme.

The Hospital's difficulties are compounded by nursing homes for the elderly closing down, so that old people "block" precious NHS beds. The film compares this reality to the ambitious targets set out in the Government's 10 year NHS Plan.

Long waits in A&E and cancelled operations are still the grim reality for many patients in the NHS.

Reporter Vivian White put your questions to Stephen Fash and Sian Thomas at St. Peter's Hospital in Chertsey. Our apologies for the poor sound quality in this webcast.

Chief Executive Stephen Fash responds to your comments.

See Also:

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Panorama's Vivian White
"Accident & Emergency - a typical Monday afternoon in January"
Panorama's Vivian White
"At home Bill Hutchison is packing ready to go into hospital - if he can get a bed"

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