YOU REPORTED on 23 June (p.21) that doctors are suffering burnout and stress.

This is perfectly true: doctors across the range of specialities are suffering a huge crisis of overwork and under provision.

Their heroism, and that of all NHS staff, has so far saved us from an even worse coronavirus crisis.

Now they are facing the wreckage.

It is estimated that there will be 10 million people on waiting lists this autumn as a result of the crisis so far.

But we should be aware that this result is not just a result of Coronavirus: after years of underfunding, the NHS entered into this year’s crisis in a very weak state.

The NHS will be celebrating its 72nd birthday on 5 July, and we are all encouraged to turn out and clap at 5pm that day.

It is absolutely right to applaud the heroism of all NHS staff.

They no doubt appreciate the support: but to heal their burnout, exhaustion and despair, and to treat the patients left on waiting lists this autumn, takes far more than a round of applause.

The crisis has shown us how much we love the NHS.

Let’s show how much we value it by demanding proper treatment for those who treat us when we are ill. The NHS needs an end to underfunding and an end to the privatization which is draining NHS funds into private investors’ pockets.

Anna Ridehalgh

Southampton

Tel: 023 8055 7360