Don’t close wards – hand them over to Premier Inns

The NHS is not fit for the 21st Century

according to the new chief inspector of hospitals in England

Professor Ted Baker, who started in the role last month, said the system had not adapted to deal with the rise in population, and told The Daily Telegraph “The model of care we have got is still the model we had in the 1960s and 70s.”

In fact, remembering when I spent a year in an NHS hospital with Polio, The Royal Narional Orthoepedic Hospital at Stanmore may have housed patients in Nissen Huts, but the nursing was far superior to today’s care.

It’s all blamed on an historic lack of investment, but in my amateur opinion it could be because no-body at the top cares. What do politically-appointed Ministers know about health care?

In my time at Stanmore the hospital was ruled by a benevolent Matron (to us) and a right tartar to staff that didn’t perform.  She kept an eagle eye on everything, unlike today’s CEOs who wouldn’t dream of dirtying their fingers by running them along cupboard doors to check the cleaning/

One can just imagine Hattie Jacques’ look if introduced to Jeremy Hunt:

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No one thinks ahead today

Matrons would have known that patients will get older, live longer and want to change with the times.  Yet today’s bunch of CEOs don’t seem to look further than the end of their performance-related balance sheets – let alone into the future.  But surprise, surprise – if you are over 60 it is all our fault. The number of pensioners has increased by a third in the last 30 years and no-one saw it coming?

Another thing that has been overlooked is that the average person, faced with a wait of 3 weeks to see their GP, or taking a book down to A & E and waiting four hours, will choose A & E.  So if the Weasel stopped moaning, he would plonk extra doctors he glibly says he is planning to train, into A & E rather than trying to get them to work as GPs in a surgery.

Hospital closures

Big problem on the horizon is the threatened closure of hospital wards.

Hospitals are jumping up and down saying patients are ‘bed blockers’.

Has no-one thought that the reason so many can’t leave hospital is because Convalescent homes have been closed.  So if the hospital’s admin falls down (as it does frequently under today’s pressures), there is no-where to shove Gran when home isn’t suitable.

So instead of closing wards, why on earth don’t hospitals hand them over to Premier Inn?  CEOs seem to love private companies; Premier Inn prides itself on providing rooms for a rate as low as £29 a night – so it would be a whole lot cheaper for a hospital to trundle Gran downstairs into a warm, cosy room, than have her sitting on her bed in a ward, bed blocking.

The Pharmacists could deliver ‘going home’ drugs to the Premier Inn on the premises, rather than to the Ward – and waiting for these is a major contributory factor to bed blocking.  Gran would find heating available in her room, rather than having to go round with arthritic fingers switching it on, and surely it would be cost-effective to provide low-grade staff to deliver a sandwich, make a cup of tea or just tuck them up in bed.


And this would provide a solution for Prof Baker, who worries that “capacity is being squeezed all the time. That is a real concern going forward – because there comes a point at which the capacity isn’t there”.

But you know what’s going to happen.  Before Christmas I can guarantee Gran and her cronies will be crowded into corridors, left lying on trolleys because there is no bed for them, and the CEOs will be sitting in their Boardrooms, discussing how to go forward with the next closure.

CEOs are so busy playing politics, and working out what is their next step on their ‘career path’, that no-one has enough guts to sort anything out before Gran is inadvertendly made in a bed blocker, through no fault of hers.

Meantime Wards are due to be closed, with no plans to open them up, even in an emergency.  And once this happens, and the hospital’s catchment population has increased with all the planned new housing, I just hope the corridors are cleared of all those vending machines dispensing sugary drinks – because the space is going to be needed for emergency trolleys.

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