There are fewer hospital beds per person in Britain than most other European countries, with less than half the proportion of many, a report has found.
A few months ago, my consultant oncologist sat with me in his room and wrote on the top of a consent form “Palliative chemotherapy with the intent of relieving symptoms”. This was my second time facing the chemotherapy wringer for the incurable, rare sarcoma residing in my abdomen, and a huge decision that I had made after much deliberation and discussion.
One in every 16 people treated at an NHS hospital fall ill with an infection, according to a government health agency report. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said the rate of infections, which are a “very real threat” to patients’ lives, was “unacceptably high”.
The government’s position on food banks was mired in confusion after it emerged that David Cameron had enthusiastically backed their work at a Christian faith group’s Easter reception, in contrast to biting criticism of the schemes made last week by Iain Duncan Smith’s work and pensions department.
Richard, 79, a retired railway engineer in the Midlands, is cheerful and courteous on Good Friday as he explains that since the council axed the Dial-a-Ride scheme his social life, including a lunch club, shopping and outings, has been reduced to a single visit each week to church. A neurological condition means that Richard (not his real name) needs a wheelchair. A member of the congregation comes to push him the short distance to church. “I’m extremely lucky in that respect,” he says. Richard is now confined to his room in his sheltered accommodation, six days out of seven. A reduction in staff from six to two also means that his fellow residents are unknown to each other, as there is no extra help to arrange social events.