APPARENTLY the Tories are panicking over the possible effect on their vote in the General Election by the start of the normal winter crisis in the NHS.

We have come to accept that at this time of the year the NHS is unable to cope and we have cancelled operations, patients waiting in ambulances to be admitted and laid in stretchers in corridors because there are no vacancies in the wards.

They are trying to find ways of putting sticking plaster over the problem and then selling parts of the NHS to Trump after the GE2.

This year the situation could be even worse due to numerous Tory decisions.

Firstly, Brexit has resulted in a big decrease in the number of EU citizens joining the NHS and an increasing number leaving.

Secondly, changes in the pension system has resulted in a number of consultants working shorter hours or taking early retirement.

Thirdly, stopping bursaries has resulted in fewer medical students.

Tighter immigration controls has resulted in fewer recruits from outside the EU.

What is needed is for the Government to revoke Article 50 and embark on a programme to recruit more people from both inside and outside the EU.

Being in the EU possible candidates will have more confidence in their long term security.

And for the longer term consider how we can train more of our own staff.

Lynda Daynes, Chairman, Darlington and Sedgefield Liberal Democrats.