Herald Opinion: Governments cannot play politics with people’s lives

UNACCEPTABLE is the only way to describe the news of a more than 3,000 per cent increase in the number of people waiting more than six weeks for vital hospital tests.

This week we report on the shocking revelation that the number of local patients waiting for urgent examinations has rocketed from 19 to 660 in just 12 months - one of the worst records in the country.

This includes people waiting for cancer tests and CT scans. One can only hope someone who has been tested for a worrying lump will not be made to wait for more than six weeks.

The soaring number of anxious patients has occurred since the Coalition Government scrapped guidelines set by the previous administration which said patients should wait no longer than six weeks to be tested.

The Labour Government was slated for being obsessed with NHS statistics, ticking boxes and achieving targets, often to the detriment of overall patient care, according to critics.

But it appears in this instance the guidelines were doing some good.

It’s clearly a crunch time for the NHS and its freewheeling finances have to be tackled.

But systems shouldn’t be reversed or dismantled purely on an ideological basis.

Governments cannot play politics with people’s lives.

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CYCLISTS and seafront walkers should make their views known on the county council’s proposed new bike path from Downs at Holywell to the Wish Tower.

The suggestion is to mark out a bike path which enables cyclists to share King Edward’s Parade and Dukes Drive with walkers.

The aim is to make things safer for both parties and create one big brotherhood of man for those on Shanks’s Pony and on two wheels.

As the Herald pointed out when the scheme was first unveiled, a cycle path has to be constructed properly and clearly differentiated, to make sure the walkers stay out of harm’s way.

Otherwise, as Brighton’s shoddy seafront cycle path shows, they are at best useless, and at worst, dangerous for all concerned.