Category Archives: Health

featurenhs

Budgets first, patients last…still?

Older general hospitals in Wales, I single out in particular, Prince Philip, Llanelli, (Hywel Dda Health Board) continue to provide excellent, ‘modern’ standards of ‘health’ and ‘treatment’ care but  a dramatically sub standard of ‘patient’ services. By this I mean food, telecommunications and Internet. For food, the standard fare is reminiscent of a Victorian children’s ward. I realise that the rationale is to get the patients out as soon as possible and not for them to get any taste or liking for the food (and if you are very poorly you don’t care) but in Prince Philip this is bordering on the ridiculous and is not saving any money if that is the objective.

These days when you are a patient, whoever you are, when not comatose, there are long periods of doing nothing trying to recover from whatever ails you. This can be mitigated by watching telly (pre 2011) or nowadays using the modern tools of entertainment and communication afforded by the Internet, mobile phones and social media. Yes, nowadays, even in the deepest darkest and most remote places in Wales, there are people of all ages who have an iPad or laptop or equivalent. I know this to be true because I have seen it first hand. These are no longer ‘gadgets’, they provide a vital link to the outside and continued participation in the ‘outside’ world whether you’re just communicating with family or staying in touch with your business or work (after all there’s nothing else to do apart from staring at your drip or fingering your itchy dressings whilst watching mind numbing day time tv!). The visit by a nurse or a doctor may, sadly, become the high point of your day! OK there are other people on your ward to talk to possibly but many of them may be unconscious,  in pain or unsociable.

So why do Prince Philip Hospital so called ‘patient services’ (see this grandiose statement on their website) deny patients these small (but essential) comforts and facilities? Especially as new hospitals and even some of the older hospitals in Wales do so now. Why is Prince Philip administrative services treating patients (many of whom are professional serious people whatever their age) in this childish and second class manner? This denigrates the work of the wonderful nurses and clinical staff at the hospital. The excuse that we have received (pp the chief executive sic!) is that they are awaiting the availability of funds! This is ridiculous. Provision of internet access these days can be done for really trivial sums or like modern hospitals they can use a service like ‘the Cloud’ where the patient pays a small sum – the hospital needn’t pay anything! So funding is not an issue. I’m not suggesting the hospital provides patients with a tablet, or mobile phone. They all have them anyway.

I am suggesting that if the ‘management’ at Prince Philip truly want, at one fell swoop and at little or no cost, make a real improvement to ‘patient’ services then they should introduce internet access and much improved mobile phone reception (I see patients having to stagger down long corridors in their hospital gowns (and drips) or hang out of windows in attempts to get mobile reception!) at the hospital. For goodness sake get on with it!

copied to AM and MP