It turns out that the NHS isn’t the only healthcare system in Europe to face recurring strokes of the axe.

Trish, an old friend of mine, who has a combination of Multiple Sclerosis and osteoporosis, fell over a  month ago, breaking her right hip and femur. She was taken to hospital in Morlaix, about 30 miles away, where it was decided that surgery was not appropriate as the bones in her legs were too brittle to bond effectively with a metal replacement. Instead, she was placed in traction, with weights suspended from the end of her bed to hold her leg in place – a tiresome, sometimes painful, procedure that she was told could take up to six weeks, to be followed by a course of physiotherapy, first in the hospital, later at home.