I seem to have spent a lot of time in hospitals during the last few months. This week it has been because Jayne has been admitted to East Surrey hospital. On Sunday she had some headaches and I spent the night keeping an eye on her. Eventually I took her up to the hospital early on Monday, after calling NHS Direct, and spent the next eight hours or so up there, then came home to pick up a bag of stuff since it looked like she would be staying there for a while.
The reason is meningitis which I have to admit was in the back of my mind when I took her in, though I was hoping it would turn out to be nothing and we would get told off for wasting their time. When she was wired up to beeping machines and various drips I figured we weren’t going to get sent away. It is all looking good now but she has to stay in for a at least a few days while the antibiotics or whatever do their job.
Well done to the NHS for doing such a good job in such a bloody awful building. And it is a terrible building. The hospital is a sprawling place with a maze of corridors, about a quarter of a mile from one end to the other. I really think that a more compact layout with several more stories would be more sensible. Another thng about the layout is that there are not many doors, or not closed ones anyway, so air conditioning doesn’t do a great job. It is never working to keep an enclosed area cool but is having any coolness leeched away into corridors, and on to the outside world since a lot of the doors to the many courtyards are open.
A tower block with a smaller footprint would surely be more effective in many ways.
The one good thing about the hospital facilities, from a visitor’s point of view, is the shop. The league of friends run a nice little coffee shop which charges reasonable prices. You get so used to outlets with a captive customer base trying to screw the customers that it makes a change when you find they don’t charge £1.50 for a can of coke. Just look at the WH Smith in an airport, motorway services or rail terminus to see how usually works. Apparently that is coming to an end though. The hosptal is closing down the shops run by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis and having franchises of places like Tesco, Smiths, Boots, Costa or places like that. Instead of £1.30 for a filter coffee and a packet of posh biscuits it will a few pounds for a skinny decaf flatscreen Americano. Not good when you have gone up there in an unplanned emergency situation like I did, with only a few pounds on you, most of which went on the car parking.
I was only able to have a coffee at all because I saved at least six pounds by parking in the golf club car park instead of the hospital car park. The hospital keep trying to introduce parking charges for staff and the consequence of that will probably be that the golf club car park gets full up by 7am.
It wouldn’t have been such a problem if I had realised there was an ATM on the site. I just assumed that if there was one it would be one of those ones that charges you to withdraw your own money, and I automatically and unconsciously don’t count them. Apparently not, and I am kicking myself. Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that go. It would fit in with all the other ways the management are trying to gouge staff, patients and visitors out of a few quid. It is getting to the point where a visit to Thorpe Park will be cheaper than a day visiting somebody in hospital.
Fortunately for Jayne the medical attention is better than the structure, and we never had to worry that any treatment for what is, after all, a life-threatening disease would be jeopardised by a lack or funds or insurance and had no risk of bankrupting ourselves for treatment. Worth bearing in mind when attempts to dismantle the NHS start getting mentioned again.