A THOUSAND hospital workers at two local trusts are going on strike for three days on Monday.

The strikes at the North and South Tees trusts will affect hospitals on Teesside and in North Yorkshire. More specifically, they will affect patients.

This week, the Office for National Statistics said that is research showed that 9.7m people, or 21 per cent of the population, were waiting for an NHS appointment. This is considerably higher than the official statistics of 6.3m people waiting for 7.6m appointments, possibly because there is some sleight of hand going on about how follow-up appointments are counted.

And, after more than a year, the junior doctors dispute is unresolved with the doctors’ union having a mandate for more strikes until September.

Is this the health unions sensing a weak government and so flexing their muscles? Or is it a symptom of the exasperation felt by health workers who are being ground down by the never-ending workload?

Either way, the public is increasingly fed up with the situation, with the endless strikes and the forever waiting. Satisfaction with the NHS, according to the British Social Attitudes Survey, is at its lowest for more than 40 years.

It will take time to turn around the NHS supertanker and bring waiting times down, but surely the NHS, and by extension the Government, can sort out its personnel issues so that the service can concentrate on working through the backlog rather than being perennially at war with itself.