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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Waiting patiently
The programme was broadcast on Sunday 14 July at 2000BST, on BBC Two

Two years ago, the government launched the NHS Plan, saying it was the most ambitious set of reforms since its inception more than 50 years ago.

The Government has staked its credibility on delivering a health service fit for the 21st century.


In this programme, National Health Service staff talked candidly about their fears and hopes for the future and the mounting political pressures to deliver a reformed health service that will satisfy both government and public expectations.

We met frontline staff at the University College London Hospitals Trust who have to deliver some of the key Government targets.

These include reducing in-patients and out-patients waiting times, improving cleanliness and lowering the incidents of hospital-acquired infections, which according to microbiologist Vanya Gant "costs the NHS tens of millions of pounds a year".

Unpredictable

Heart surgeon Martin Hayward
Surgeon and clinical director of the Orthopaedic unit, Johan Witt, has some of the longest waiting lists in the hospital.

He talked about attempts to meet a new target ensuring no patient waits longer than 15 months for an operation, and explained how the target has been tightened so that from April of this year no patient should wait longer than 12 months.

But with a lack of resources and bed shortages, Dr Witt said he was struggling to reduce his list of long-waiters at the same time as well as coping with a growing list of patients who urgently need a hip or knee operation.

In the cardiology department, the Government wants heart operation patients to face a wait of no more than 12 months.

Heart Surgeon Martin Hayward pointed out there were many unpredictable circumstances, such as a shortage of cardiac nurses and intensive care beds which can lead to him having to cancel operations.

Narrator: Greta Scacchi
Producer and Director: Joanna Bartholomew
Editor: Anne Tyerman

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See also:

18 Apr 02 | Health
15 Jan 02 | Health
15 Jan 02 | Health
28 Jul 00 | NHS reform
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