Not even its stoutest defenders could dispute that the NHS is in the throes of crisis. The behemoth is buckling, and not just because of the extraordinary pressures of winter. It seems in terminal decline.

Record waiting lists for surgery. A&E departments overloaded. Ambulances queuing for hours to offload the sick and injured. And the GP system close to complete collapse.

Some claim these problems could be solved if only the NHS got extra funding. But by no credible yardstick could it be said to be starved of cash.

This year alone the health service will receive £178.5billion – and last month’s Budget promised even more.

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Not even its stoutest defenders could dispute that the NHS is in the throes of crisis

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Not even its stoutest defenders could dispute that the NHS is in the throes of crisis

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Not even its stoutest defenders could dispute that the NHS is in the throes of crisis

The public reasonably expects the money to be spent well. Too often, though, that simply isn’t the case.

A mind-blowing £3billion a year is forked out for locum doctors and nurses to tackle severe staff shortages.

And as the Mail reveals today, a shocking half a billion pounds of that ends up with recruitment firms as fees.

To rub salt into the wound, as frontline NHS staff toiled, employees at one agency were rewarded for a profitable year with an all-expenses-paid Caribbean holiday.

Record waiting lists for surgery. A&E departments overloaded. Ambulances queuing for hours to offload the sick and injured. Pictured: Ambulances queueing outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on December 23

Record waiting lists for surgery. A&E departments overloaded. Ambulances queuing for hours to offload the sick and injured. Pictured: Ambulances queueing outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on December 23

Record waiting lists for surgery. A&E departments overloaded. Ambulances queuing for hours to offload the sick and injured. Pictured: Ambulances queueing outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on December 23

These ‘locum leeches’ undoubtedly exploit the NHS’s over-reliance on temps to push up their rates.

But the reality is, health chiefs are at the mercy of firms because of their chronic failures in training and recruiting staff.

The Government, too, must shoulder some blame for this unsustainable situation. Creating more places at medical school would be a start – although it would take time before new medics are qualified.

What is intolerable is the constant papering over cracks. The case for root-and-branch reform of the NHS grows stronger every day – including a strategy to address this dismal and dangerous staffing crisis.

A shameful betrayal

They showed unimaginable courage and allegiance. So ministers should hang their heads in shame at failing to give sanctuary to thousands of Afghans who worked for Britain in that brutal war.

Sixteen months after Western forces fled, these heroes – many of them interpreters – and their families remain stranded in Afghanistan, their lives in daily danger from Taliban reprisal.

The Foreign Office insists it is processing asylum claims quickly and has relocated 23,000 people. But that is cold comfort for those still at the mercy of the fanatics.

For seven years, this paper’s award-winning Betrayal of the Brave campaign has battled tirelessly to get them to safety.

What sort of country accepts endless Channel migrants to whom it owes nothing, but abandons the friends who served us?

Perverse policing

So dreadful is the Metropolitan Police’s record on fighting crime and keeping public order that it has suffered the indignity of being placed in special measures.

But instead of focusing all their attention on reclaiming London’s streets, top officers are squandering more than £1million a year on ‘woke’ diversity and inclusion managers.

That money could have funded frontline bobbies. Could there be any more damning indictment of Scotland Yard’s twisted priorities than that it puts the dictates of political correctness above getting back to the basics of policing?

So dreadful is the Metropolitan Police¿s record on fighting crime and keeping public order that it has suffered the indignity of being placed in special measures (file image)

So dreadful is the Metropolitan Police¿s record on fighting crime and keeping public order that it has suffered the indignity of being placed in special measures (file image)

So dreadful is the Metropolitan Police’s record on fighting crime and keeping public order that it has suffered the indignity of being placed in special measures (file image)

HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy’s flagship, was meant to be a symbol of British military power. 

Yet since entering service in 2019, the cursed £3.2billion aircraft carrier has spent more time being repaired after breaking down than at sea. 

There really is no defending this shambolic failure of UK engineering. 

Rule the waves? We’d struggle to rule a duck pond.

HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy¿s flagship, was meant to be a symbol of British military power

HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy¿s flagship, was meant to be a symbol of British military power

HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy’s flagship, was meant to be a symbol of British military power

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