James O'Brien: NHS 'teetering on the brink' amid staffing crisis

15 November 2021, 15:11 | Updated: 16 November 2021, 22:21

By Seán Hickey

As staff shortages in the health sector threaten to cripple Britain this winter, James O'Brien admitted the situation is 'scary'.

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James O'Brien spent an hour of his show taking calls from those affected by severe shortages in the health service, leading to longer waiting times in A&E, for ambulances and other essential services.

He shared his concern at some of the numbers showing a crisis on the horizon: "Vacancies heading to 45,000 in England, thousands of specialist nurses set to retire and then of course 100,000 vacancies across the health service in general".

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"The idea that, potentially as winter comes, [we're] on the brink of a particularly treacherous precipice is increasingly hard to ignore."

James O'Brien feared that as we head into the depths of winter, where the health service traditionally gets stretched, that "this is just a little bit scary".

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He assured listeners that he was not scaremongering on the shortages:

"Most of the evidence I'm seeing is that we're teetering upon the brink of a particularly tricky period and I do think it's better to be clear eyed about these things."

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He asked listeners working in the NHS to call in and tell him that shortages are being exaggerated, given that he hadn't had a single conversation the whole hour which said he was wrong.

"I don't think I've had even the vaguest suggestion that things aren't quite as bad as our contributors are suggesting."

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