Nick Robinson, the BBC political correspondent has just posted this on his website:
Key to today's NHS review is giving patients access to services when they need them. Funnily enough I've just been putting that to the test in Blackpool, so here's my input to the Darzi review.
Finding myself without my asthma inhaler when I needed it in the middle of the night I ring NHS Direct for advice on how to get another. Having answered a dozen form-filling questions (none of which include the basic "what do you think you need?") I am then advised to call another number for an out-of-hours doctors service.
Not wishing to waste a doctor's time in the middle of night I decide to wait till the morning. I go to the local chemist and wave my empty inhaler and wheeze loudly. You need a prescription they say. So I go to the doctor's surgery who say they can get me a prescription if I can wait till three o'clock, or I can go the NHS walk-in centre. Off I go only to be told they don't issue prescriptions there and I need to go somewhere else. Everyone I've spoken to has been pleasant but yet ultimately not helpful.
I've given up and am wheezing my way home.
So a young, intelligent, articulate journalist can't get the system to work; what hope is there for those who are poor, sick, inarticulate, or immobile?
THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO CHANGE THE POLITICS OF THE NHS