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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 16:30 GMT
Two years on: NHS voices around the UK
Two years after the BBC's first Your NHS day, we asked people involved with the NHS around the country what they thought had changed - for better or worse.

Ken Davidson
Cardiac Surgeon

Ken Davidson, cardiac surgeon

During the past two years I have worked as a cardiac surgeon at the Golden Jubilee Hospital, near Glasgow, which offers some of the best heart surgery facilities in Scotland for patients, relatives and staff.

Using these state-of-the-art facilities, along with the cardiologists, we have been able to reduce drastically the waiting times for coronary revascularisation.

Most patients can now be offered whatever treatment is required within a few months.

Waiting lists for heart surgery in Scotland are at their lowest ever - no patients now have to wait more than 6 months and most wait around 3-4 months.

The Golden Jubilee Hospital has carried out around 500 heart operations on Scottish patients since it was purchased by the NHS in July 2002.

Patients (and relatives) are prepared to travel if it means earlier treatment in good facilities, but continuity of care is an issue.

Carol Barton
Carer for elderly, mentally ill patients
(Winner of 2002 Your NHS Hero Award)


Carol Barton, elderly care nurse

Since my award two years ago, I think the NHS has got worse.

The elderly are forgotten - they are left on trollies and stuck in hospital for weeks on end with nowhere to go.

Some of them can't speak up for themselves and some have got no relatives. They need someone to speak up for them.

The nurses are up against it. They're short-staffed and it's not their fault - it really is all down to money.

The money has to come from somewhere - somebody has to do something fast.

Brian Thornton
Modern Matron, Emergency Department

Brian Thornton, male matron

People often tell me how good things were in the NHS of the past.

But that was a past where people routinely waited for a day in Accident and Emergency (A&E) to see a doctor. That was a time when hospitals were not monitored for standards and for the cleanliness of the environment in which we care for our patients.

Now we have the targets and the standards, and most people are trying hard to achieve these. We must not forget about our patients and one of my key roles is to ensure they have the best possible experience. This includes clinical care and the environment in which we deliver that care.

Promoting evidence-based practice, I equip my staff to use their skills and experience in providing the highest standards of care within the resources available.

Targets have helped reduce waiting levels for admission to hospital. Now we need to make sure that the fundamentals of nursing are given a high priority.

Dr Robbie Coull
Working around the UK

Dr Robbie Coull, GP

I'm a locum working in GP surgeries throughout the country.

The NHS is not getting better, it is getting worse and has become more Stalinist over the last two years. It's more bureaucratic and target driven.

The layers of management have mushroomed to meet government dictats. It's no longer about treating patients.

The government may have spent a lot more money on the NHS, but the reality on the ground is that morale is low and GPs, nurses and consultants are leaving.

If we carry on like this, I do not think the NHS will exist in its current form in the next 5-10 years.

Your NHS: For Better or Worse was broadcast on Wednesday, 24 March 2004, at 21:00 GMT on BBC One. You can watch it again on the website.


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