Express and Star interviews DAUK’s Dr David Nicholl, a senior consultant, on the current NHS crisis and its impact on patient care

Express and Star reports on the current state of the NHS, by interviewing NHS medics from various backgrounds and specialities. 

DAUK’s Dr David Nicholl, senior Black Country doctor who has been part of the NHS for more than 30 years told Express and Star that the challenges facing the NHS are the “worst he has ever seen”.

He has seen A&E departments becoming overwhelmed and patients stuck in corridors as staff struggle to cope with the level of demand.

“This is a problem in every hospital across the region,” he said.

“I really feel for my colleagues in the emergency departments.

“It’s not pleasant having to work in an environment delivering suboptimal care and it’s not your fault.

“You see delays, and we know that leads to actual patient harm.

“The issues are all over. It’s wrong.

“If anything, people are working to their limits.

“The kind of problems we are seeing this winter, it’s been the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve been a consultant since 2002 and in the NHS since 1989.”

Dr Nicholl, who is part of the Doctors’ Association UK, said the problems are complex and change was needed.

“I think it’s a real challenge. I’m not convinced the government has got a grip on this,” he said.

“The answer that comes from government is that they are spending record sums on the NHS but the reality is that they are failing to invest as much as other EU countries.

“I think there’s stuff that needs to happen that hasn’t happened.

“The issues in social care have still not been addressed.

“That’s why we have the issue with prolonged delays.”

He said staffing shortages were also a huge issue, adding: “What are we doing to retain staff?

“When the government says they are training more doctors than ever before, but if those students are choosing to leave medicine or doctors are retiring early, none of this solves the problem.

“We can’t even get an agreement on the statistics. The Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, dismissed ONS figures that stated last year was one of the UK’s highest death tolls ever recorded outside of the pandemic.”

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released a report claiming that last year was one of Britain’s highest death tolls ever – not including the pandemic.

Mr Barclay claimed the figures in the report needed to be further reviewed because the “numbers within the population” have changed through the years as well as “conditions”.

He also said that “we have a much older population”.

Speaking earlier this month, he added: “As a consequence of the pandemic people had treatment delayed, we know people are still being delayed in terms of treatment… and that has an impact of excess mortality.”

Read the full article here.