For decades, if not generations, Britain’s NHS has been the envy of the world. But, sadly, in 2022, it is now in dire trouble and patients are being put at serious risk as a result.

It’s not the British opposition political parties which are saying this, it is a cross party group of MPs, who report “England alone is now short of 12,000 hospital doctors and more than 50,000 nurses and midwives, this is the worst workforce crisis in NHS history.”

This is nothing short of a national disgrace and most of this dreadful decline has happened under the watch of successive Tory governments.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who chairs the Commons health and social care select committee that produced the report, said tackling the shortage must be a “top priority” for the new prime minister when she or he takes over in September. “Persistent understaffing in the NHS poses a serious risk to staff and patient safety, a situation compounded by the absence of a long-term plan by the government to tackle it,” he said.

What an indictment!

So where on earth is the government going to conjure up all these much-needed medical staff?. They are not hiding in locked tooms eagerly waiting to be released. It will take years to sort out and all the time patients will be waiting longer and longer to be seen by a doctor or get a bed in hospital. Without a doubt people will die waiting.

The founding fathers of the NHS, back just after WW2, will turn in their graves to know that their dream of providing health treatment for all has been so callously treated.

But why has this happened. Here’s a simple explanation. The NHS has for far too long been left in the hands of people who are rich enough not to need its services.

Oh yes, Boris Johnston rushed to the NHS when he had Covid and needed all the medical care the NHS could give to get him through it – and private hospitals didn’t have that expertise.

And oh yes, we got all the platitudes from him and his Tory right wing mates thanking the NHS. But it was all so very short lived wasn’t it. Look what paltry pay rises are on offer now.

And it is all because, waiting in the wings, are all the private hospitals and private care homes for those who can afford them.

Now just imagine a scenario where those private hospitals and medical care facilities were all “nationalised” and brought into the orbit of the NHS. People with money were no longer able to queue jump and get medical care, and instead had to wait alongside everyone else.

Imagine if the super-rich, Lords, Ladies and even the Monarchy had to wait in an ambulance for hours before a bed was available in hospital, had to ring up at 8.30am and listen to endless music in a queue for ages to get an appointment to see a doctor and then had a “screening interrogation” before you could get a face-to-face appointment.

Imagine no Harley Street for the rich, and surgeons spending a few hours in an NHS hospital before rushing off to do private work to earn big bucks.

So, the NHS is currently is in a disastrous state because of an acute staff shortage. I cannot believe that staff shortage exists in the private sector – because the pay is better. My wife, a retired nurse, did her stint in hospitals but was paid far more on the “bank” at private hospitals.

So here’s the solution. Get all medical care under the umbrella of the NHS and pay doctors, nurses, midwives and ancillary staff more – something they so richly deserve. If the rich want to get their medical treatment overseas because they can’t stand the prospect of queueing with the riff-raff, then make sure they pay a heavy price to return to the UK.

And to those who say they should be able to queue jump I would say to them they are selfish to the core. Why should they live and others die simply because they have money, or have employers who have paid for expensive medical insurance?

The UK must properly fund the NHS and the only way to do this is to put the burden on the shoulders of those who can most afford it – the rich. And they would quickly cough up if they knew the only way of getting good, prompt medical treatment was to ensure hospitals are all properly funded and staffed.

This takes me conveniently on to the current leadership race for the next prime minister. Liz Truss is front runner because she is advocating tax cuts and it is the rich who will most benefit from that.

She claims the cuts will be funded by economic growth. It’s bulls**t – how can the UK get economic growth when the world is teetering on the edge of a global recession? If the UK economy cannot grow any tax cuts would have to be funded by increased borrowing which is inflationary and leads to interest rate rises, or there would have to be even more public service cuts – including, presumably, to the NHS.

Sunak wanted an increase in business rates next year, which is stupid, because that would make UK businesses less competitive. Heaven knows whether he has done a U turn on that one – he should be advocating putting up taxes for the megga rich while reducing tax for the much less well off.

But he knows a Tory government, which has watched as the rich get richer and the poor poorer for the past decade, is never likely to change their colours now and the 150,000 or so Tory members would never vote for it or him.

I was amazed to hear that the bosses of energy companies get more than a million in salary each year plus mega bonuses, and no doubt bosses of the top 250 UK companies get the same or more.

Can anyone justify that sort of pay? If they are ill, should their ambulance or hospital trolley be pushed to the front of the queue? What do you think? If you too have an opinion, write to The Leader and tell us at: