NEVER a day passes when there are not comments as to the state of the NHS, but rarely do we hear of the dedication shown by the nursing staff.

I have recently been discharged from Southampton General Hospital where I had a major operation.

The recovery was complicated by my contracting double pneumonia and I also suffer from Parkinson's Disease and type 2 diabetes.

Two days after my operation my blood pressure dropped dangerously low and for 24 hours I was tended by an outreach nurse (a nurse responsible for giving high dependency nursing on any of the wards.) The ward was invariably understaffed and the nurses were very busy until way beyond their shift finish time as there was still work to complete. It was not unusual for a nurse to start work at 7.30am and not finish until 9.30pm and they frequently went without breaks.

Very often the equipment that the nurses were working with was faulty and they had to beg from other wards so that they could complete their work.

There was one night when a patient asked for a blanket (to go with the sheet that was covering their bed) only to be told that there were not any to be found on the ward.

Through all these problems the nurses always had a cheerful word for the patients.

The lot of the nurses was not made easier, when on two separate occasions; two individuals from the management team (same pair on each occasion) visited the ward.

On the first occasion they were doing an audit in the drip stands to which the pumps were fitted. They were looking at the number of three footed stands as opposed to the four footed stands.

A piece of black tape was put around the upright on a four footed stand and brown tape on the three footed stands.

It would seem that they wanted to know the number of three footed stands as it had been deemed that these were not as safe as the four footed stand and on the grounds of safety it had been deemed essential to replace all three footed stands.

I had used both without any problems and felt that here was another area where the management were about to waste money.

The following day the same pair came back to the ward on a different errand. Their timing could not have been worse, as there were a number or ward rounds taking place and it was not difficult to see that it was not the best time to interrupt.

They still pushed ahead without thinking that maybe the patients' well being should be paramount.

This time they wanted to know how many computer stands were on the ward that were not being utilised.

A nurse told them that they did not have any. This obviously did not satisfy the managers. One had the feeling that they felt that some goods were being held from them on purpose, even though there wasn't.

A lot of the staff originate from the Philippines or from areas where the cost of hiring the nurses was lower than the UK.

This is fine when we are genuinely short of staff but even within Southampton there are numerous stories where nurses have qualified from university with their degree, only to find that there are not any vacancies as these have gone to nurses brought in from outside the EU.

An employer will not be able to get a work permit for an applicant if the post can be filled by a UK or EU resident and therefore are unlikely to consider applicants resident outside the EU if the post can be filled from within.

Perhaps the powers to be should look very carefully at the number of nurses qualifying from just Southampton each year and how many have been unable to secure posts as these have already been taken by nurses from outside the EU.