Yet again, the NHS finds itself in a very difficult position as the inevitable pressures characteristic of the busy winter period have left health care services struggling to cope.
Accident &Emergency performance figures for December were the worst on record and at major A&E departments in Nottinghamshire, just 71.4 per cent of patients were seen within the four-hour target, below the national average of 77.3 per cent.
There is, of course, a story behind each of these damning statistics, a story of a patient who, despite the best efforts of hardworking staff who have been tirelessly grafting in increasingly difficult conditions, is not getting the level of care they ultimately deserve from the NHS.
Despite repeated warnings over the pressure the NHS will face this winter, heath services were again unprepared for the inevitable surge in demand as long-term funding and improvements to workforce planning are necessary to meet future challenges head on.
Politicians of all parties must come together and work toward a long-term funding and staffing plan for the NHS that will reverse this dangerous tide and ensure a more sustainable future.
Dr Peter Holden
BMA East Midlands regional council chairman