Obviously it is wrong to attack NHS staff. But does the government’s new ‘zero tolerance’ policy consider why such attacks take place? There are eternal reasons, such as the inherent nastiness of some people, and wider social ones, such as drug abuse. Are there also specific NHS-related ones too, though? The worst aspects of the NHS are not usually medical: they are to do with a bureaucracy which puts patients last. It is utterly extraordinary, for example, that a waiting time of four hours in A&E is now the norm or even, it would seem, the (often missed) target. Often have I sat there wondering not at the aggression of patients, but at their quiet acceptance of such ill treatment. It is wrong when patients attack, but not surprising.
This article is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator notes, available in this week’s magazine