As the NHS prepares to mark its 70th anniversary, it has perhaps never faced greater pressures.
The predicament of Julie Gilmour, who cannot help her colleagues at Herdmanflat Hospital in Haddington, because she has to wait up to 10 months to see a surgeon starkly illustrates the predicament facing the health service. As staff struggle to cope with their growing workload, the pressures only seem to add up. When the workforce is under so much pressure, it becomes harder to attract new staff and to hang on to those who are there already.
That makes it all the more remarkable that the level of service which we are used to receiving remains extremely high. We may struggle to get to see a doctor or surgeon when we really need to, but when we do the care we receive is usually first class. That speaks volumes for the dedication of the frontline staff.
This week we will be putting a focus on the NHS to mark its 70th anniversary on Thursday. We will be celebrating its achievements, considering its future and asking what needs to be done to meet its current challenges. Our National Health Service is a fantastic institution which will undoubtedly need to change to stay that way for another 70 years.