Hospital care and A&E targets to see each patient within four hours have been missed over the past three years, however it is now at its worst level on record.
The news prompted the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats to criticise the Conservative’s treatment of the NHS. However, Boris Johnson has dismissed the claims, saying the poor records are instead a result of “huge demand”.
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It’s worth noting that despite the demand, most patients are still seen on time for their appointments. However, as the years have gone on, more people are on the waiting lists and targets are not being hit. From the perspective of the public and sensationalist news outlets, the NHS is crumbling and has limited days left. But what is it like when people are working in that environment?
Hannah* has been working as an NHS healthcare assistant for the past two and a half years, and knows first hand what it is like to be short-staffed.
“I was working a night shift when we were just one or two staff down, as we did the morning jobs, a patient got up and fell. Luckily they were okay, but it was scary to think that if we’d just had the right number of staff it probably wouldn’t have happened.
With short staffing I have to deal with things that maybe I’m not best suited for. I’ve been hit, felt up and had things thrown at me. It’s nothing I can’t deal with, but I find it more tricky to look after a minimum of six patients if I’m having to deal with aggression”.
I asked if Hannah had considered giving up her job as a result of these experiences:
“Absolutely not. I love my job and I love helping people, and if everyone who had a bad day quit then who would be left? I don’t think the NHS is in as big of a crisis as it’s made out to be, but at the grass roots level we can see the impacts of budget cuts and understaffing.”
*names have been changed for anonymity
Words by Eleanor Smith | Subbing: Hannah Wilson