LUKE MARSDEN: The NHS is on its knees because of broken bureaucracy and wastefulness

​Last weekend I lost four hours of my life to the NHS and I want them back.
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​I’ve seen the cold face of the system and it needs vast improvement.

What have I done you ask? I’m ashamed to admit it. Since I was a child I’ve bitten my nails as if they were an everlasting snack and one day I knew a reckoning would come

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That day arrived last weekend. Saturday, I woke with a small swelling on my left index finger. By Sunday the swelling looked like I was trying to grow another head.

Leigh Walk-In Centre where Luke spent three and a half hoursLeigh Walk-In Centre where Luke spent three and a half hours
Leigh Walk-In Centre where Luke spent three and a half hours

I obviously didn’t want to clog up A&E so I headed to Leigh walk-in centre. It was ram-packed, with coughing kids, folk nursing extreme hangovers and generally looking like an awful cattle market.

I was informed a four-hour wait would be on the optimistic side. With no spare chairs, I perched on a table for three and a half hours.

The nurses who attended to my disgustingly embarrassing swollen finger did a good job of draining and wrapping it like an unwanted Christmas present. I inquired with them about a typical day at the centre. Again four hours was touted as a good one.

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Ironically, when I contacted my doctors for medication on Monday, instead of a GP seeing me, I was told to go to A&E. What a broken system we have.

It is a given by most people that our NHS is on its knees.

But this isn’t through lack of funding or shortage of hard work and dedication from most frontline staff. The NHS is broken by bureaucracy and wasteful middle management decisions.

If I'd had the option to pay for an express line or queue-jump on Sunday like at a theme park, I would’ve leapt at the chance. That model could pay for extra staff and services at the centre.

The free-at-the-point-of-treatment model isn’t sustainable for our NHS. It will only get worse whatever government is in power.

As for my finger you ask? I’ve struggled to write this column but, as the saying goes, not all heroes wear capes.

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