'The politicians have got to do something': Concerns in Shrewsbury over money wasted in NHS

Frontline NHS workers still have the unswerving support of many people in the county who instead put the spotlight on politicians and leaders to find solutions to huge problems in the health service.

Heather and Barrie Jones..
Heather and Barrie Jones..

As a series of strikes involving ambulance staff and nurses rumble on the Shropshire Star asked people in the streets of Shrewsbury what they think - and there were strong opinions among NHS workers, patients and members of the public who are calling for change.

Mrs Angela Davis, aged 71, from Shrewsbury, was full of praise for NHS staff after treatment for breast cancer.

"I had to go in for three lots of surgery and every time the staff were fantastic, really nice and went out of their way to be caring," she said.

But Mrs Davis, who has the all-clear now, thinks it is time for big reforms to try to solve ongoing issues.

"The NHS now has big problems and has got to be reformed," she said. "The politicians have got to do something."

She doesn't know what the answer is but suggested looking into an insurance-based system.

"I do not know what the answer is, they have got to get their heads together, it is going to be a big thing to reform the NHS. I had very good treatment but the A&E department is in a mess.

"I do not know where the money is going to come from to pay more to settle the strikes but the public are with the nurses and support them."

An angry but anonymous passer-by on Friday added that he thought money should be spent on life and death issues, not things like gender re-assignment and cosmetic surgery.

"I do not see why my taxes should be used for that kind of thing," he said. "The money should be used for keeping people alive."

And Anthony Robshaw, 66, of Shrewsbury thinks it is time for the country as a whole to pull in its horns and not help other countries and immigrants.

"The strikers need more money but this is the wrong way to do it," he said. "I think they could go back to work - everyone is fighting for money now, firefighters, driving instructors. The country hasn't got enough money to pay for them all.

"Money is wasted on immigrants and should be used in this country. We hear stories of nurses using foodbanks. When the country is flush with money we can help other countries but when it's not we should concentrate on people living here."

Paul Bates, 73, of Frankwell, Shrewsbury, said: "The NHS is still there if you need it but there is too much bureaucracy. They ought to go back 30 years to when they had matrons on the wards."

Paul Bates from Shrewsbury..

Former GP in Wales, Heather Jones, aged 72, thinks the health service has become a 'bottomless pit" and money is "being spent when it should not be."

"I am much more concerned about money being wasted on things that are not needed and on peripheral things. It is not going to attract more doctors who are leaving the service."

Dr Jones said the NHS should also consider things like getting patients to pay for missed appointments, paying for meals and other 'hotel services' in hospitals.

"They could also look at central purchasing and the way the money is spent on prescriptions. They are free in Wales."

Husband Barrie Jones, a solicitor, said: "From my experience medics are working with one hand tied behind their backs."

Heather and Barrie Jones..

Kathryn Mould, 75, from Birmingham, said she thought money is wasted on "non-essential admin."

Melenia, aged 56, and Pete Ryan, 50, were also in Shrewsbury from Birmingham's Hodge Hill area. They were full of praise for staff at Heartlands hospital for helping their children with health issues.

Melenia and Pete Ryan..

"I think the NHS should get more money, they work really hard," said Mrs Ryan. "One of the nurses we saw worked a 12 hour shift before going home. We didn't think we would see her the next day but she was in early again, working non-stop.

"It is a hard job and I could not believe the abuse they get."

Retired occupational therapist Gwyneth Evans, aged 75, worked in the NHS for 35 years, including at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, near Oswestry, and at Welshpool.

Gwyneth Evans

"I think there should be more accountability for the management," said Mrs Evans who retired 15 years ago. "To keep within the budgets and to achieve patient satisfaction."

She added that if she could have her time again she would not hesitate to work for the NHS.

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