The NHS and how it is managed nationally is one of those enduring political footballs that nobody seems able to control.
And this week’s events show that the health service simply cannot cope in times of stress.
There has got to be something fundamentally wrong with the system if an influx of patients at winter brings everything to crisis point.
Perhaps it is lack of funding.
Perhaps it is lack of staff.
Perhaps it is poor management at Government level.
Perhaps it is because hospitals are no longer complete masters of their own financial destiny and beholden to others.
Successive governments have made changes they think will improve the NHS, and yet year after year hospitals are unable to cope in winter and fail to hit financial or performance targets.
For how many more winters will members of the public have to be told not to go to accident and emergency departments in their town?
Significant investment in hospital services and staff is the only way to avoid a repeat of the scenes at hospitals up and down the land every winter.
Neil Pickford, Editor