Litany of woes in our health and other essential services is a wake-up call for the politicians to get their act together
This week Karen Ireland described how her hospital operation was cancelled within minutes of being taken into theatre because there were no recovery beds available.
Her bad experience prompted many people to tell this newspaper how they, too, had been badly treated.
Their stories about cancelled surgeries, waiting queues and general chaos which now characterises the health service illustrate the frustration, dismay and anger people are experiencing.
One elderly man had a knee operation cancelled at the last minute because the air conditioning had broken down, while one woman had her surgery postponed three times - once at 6am.
The health professionals are doing their best but the real problem lies at Stormont, where there is no Health Minister. Karen appealed in plain language to Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill to sort it out.
In the past week we've had a roller coaster political ride, with a bizarre stand-off between London and Dublin while an apparent thaw was taking place between the two main parties, plus a significant hint that the £1 billion promised to the province as a result of the DUP deal to prop up the Tory Government may not be forthcoming unless devolution is restored.
The improved atmosphere is welcome, but it has to be sustained to make a lasting deal.
People on all sides are angry at the lack of progress in health, education, infrastructure and other matters. For example, if a relative or an individual is waiting for vital surgery, or children are not given adequate resources at school, these problems far outweigh the divisive political point-scoring at Stormont.
If the mood music is indeed improving, the politicians might take time to read the letters of frustration at our flawed NHS and other broken services as a prompt to help them over the line to a badly-needed agreement.