Star comment: Stories of public services in crisis make for depressing reading

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that our public services are in crisis.

As cuts find their way into the system, backlogs increase and waiting lists extend to ever more improbable time spans, there is concern that the situation will further deteriorate as a new package of austerity is unveiled.

In the case of the NHS, each day seems to bring another set of figures that make for depressing reading. Behind those figures are a million personal stories of people suffering from illness or injury and who face pain and frustration.

June Jones is one such example. A 72-year-old spent approximately 15 hours in A&E after collapsing in a car park, and suffering a broken nose as well as cuts and bruises to her face. Sadly, she is one among many.

Long delays for appointments, tests and diagnoses threaten to shake our confidence in the NHS.

One thing must be made clear as we continue to highlight these problems. No-one blames the nurses, the doctors, the consultants, the radiographers, the physiotherapists.

We know that they are working heroically every day in the most trying of times. And, let us not forget, these are the same people who put their lives on the line during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bottom line is that more resources must be put in to bring down waiting lists. That is money well spent, as delays create more problems for patients down the line that will soak up even more time and money.

The real debate is whether we, as a nation, are content with the present position. Do we wish to pay more through our taxes for better public services, or are we content with decline?

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Data relating to global warming suggests we are heading for catastrophe.

New reports are deeply alarming and suggest we must encourage our politicians to get their act together to work for the common good. With domestic politics wracked in scandal and in-fighting and other countries at war there seems little hope any real progress, however. We are failing to fix the roof while there is time to do so.

Our children and grandchildren will not thank us for showing neglect. The warning signs are clear. The consequences of our inaction could not have been spelled out more plainly.

We can all make differences in our own lives, but it is structural, systemic change will be at the heart of our success or failure. A climate breakdown will have far worse consequences than the recent global pandemic. We cannot say we were not warned. Now is the time to act.

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