YP Comment: NHS is propped up by goodwill. Hospital staffing crisis revealed

THE LAW of unintended consequences explains, in part, why hospitals across Yorkshire will be so short-staffed this Easter.

Dewsbury Hospital where staffing concerns have been highlighted.

After ordering NHS trusts to cut the amount of money spent on temporary ‘locum’ staff in order to balance their books, there’s now a shortage of doctors and nurses prepared to work these shifts for significantly reduced pay.

Their stance is understandable – why should they offer their professional expertise for next to nothing because of the failure of successive governments, Tory and Labour alike, to recognise the extent to which the National Health Service is only running on goodwill because there are simply not enough medical professionals to meet the ever increasing demands of patients?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dr Cliff Mann, the head of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, is not the only person to highlight this concern. A quite harrowing debate in Parliament on Monday night saw Dewsbury MP Paula Sheriff reveal the possibility of a repeat of the Mid Staffs scandal if staffing shortages were not tackled by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

She disclosed a conversation with the trust’s chief executive, Stephen Eames, in which he revealed that the organisation has been in “crisis mode” for 14 months. For, while an additional 120 beds have been provided at hospitals in Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract, Ms Sherriff says the “100 extra staff 
who should have accompanied that expansion are nowhere to be seen”, hence the appalling cases of neglect which she highlighted.

This is the context to an invidious situation whereby medical staff will have to take short cuts, and make uncomfortable compromises, just to provide their patients with a modicum of care while also knowing that they, and not their superiors, will be hung out to dry if an allegation of negligence is lodged. And this explains why the NHS is increasingly bereft of goodwill – there’s only so much that doctors and nurses can do on a single shift, and are prepared to do, when they’re working for a Government which appears to be in denial about the scale of the staffing shortage and its consequences.

Adam Johnson jailed: Downfall of sex shame footballer

FOR DISGRACED footballer Adam Johnson, a six year prison sentence – he will be eligible for parole in March 2019 – is still relatively lenient compared to the lifetime of torment that will be suffered by the 15-year-old schoolgirl whom he groomed with hundreds of explicit text messages before sexually assaulting her in the back of his car.

His career in ruins, Johnson is undeserving of sympathy because of not only the gratuitous manner in which he exploited his celebrity status but his total contempt for the judicial process. Having protested his innocence for more than a year, presumably because he wanted to maximise his income as a millionaire footballer while hoping against hope that his victim would withdraw her claims, the 28-year-old also displayed an unforgivable amount of insolence.

At one point, his trial was curtailed because he told a friend that he was ‘bored’ – this one-time England international clearly did not appreciate, or understand, the seriousness of his paedophilia and his betrayal of not just the infatuated young girl in question, but his family, supporters and those footballers who are exemplary role models.

Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of this sick case is that West Yorkshire Police were able to deploy so many officers to Bradford Crown Court to protect Johnson as he sprinted from a decoy car into the halls of justice. As he begins his incarceration, the only person that Johnson needs protecting from is himself and his own depravity.

Hope in its heart: Restoring the Easter message

IF Easter is not to become just another weekend, it is important that this traditional period of reflection does not become eroded by commercial considerations – chocolate manufacturer Cadbury is belatedly facing a public backlash after dispensing with the word ‘Easter’ from the packaging of its eggs.

Contrast this with the irrepressible Archbishop of York who will spend Easter on the road as part of inspirational Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing as he continues to take the Christian message to the people. Not everyone, however, need to go to such extraordinary lengths to reaffirm their values.

For, if everyone just paused and asked what they could do to become a better person, society might be able to move forward with greater hope in its heart, and with Easter restored to its rightful status.