Thursday, July 20, 2006

Strike at district hospital

A funny thing happened on the way from the doctor's.......

Mrs. Curly had a great need to see a doctor today, we are blessed with belonging to a smashing group practice in South Shields where you WILL be seen by a doctor, even if you do not have an appointment. Mrs. Curly has been suffering some pain and agony the last seven days with a very worrying growth on her back, and having ignored it for too long was desperate to have a doctor prescribe some magic potion to make it go away. We love our doctors, they have always been friendly, quick, helpfull, and obliging. Today the doctor told Mrs. Curly that this lump, this abscess, needed to be removed as quickly as possible, so a telephone call was made to the South Tyneside District Hospital and arrangements made for this "minor surgery" to be carried out today under local anaesthetic. How good does it get?

Near the appointed time we drove to the hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields where we were greeted by a picket line of Unison and GMB members, protesting over some pay deal for domestic cleaning staff! Inspired? No we were not! Regular readers will recall that the District Hospital came under my close scrutiny near the time of my dear mother's death, wards had been closed down because of a virulent infection. Confident? No we were not!

Where is the committment to doing a job these days? Why put at risk the general hygene and cleanliness of a hospital and it's patients? What good are trades union representatives if they cannot negotiate effectively on behalf of their members without resorting to old fashioned strike action. Taking members out on strike is almost an admission of failure on behalf of shop stewards and other negotiators.

Friends of Mrs. Curly were seen on the picket line encouraging visitors, out patients, delivery men and sundry others to visit the hospital on another day, or encourage us to back their campaign for higher wages. We had hoped that the visit today would be routine, straight forward, in and out, but the picket line was merely a portent of further troubles ahead. We made our way to the Urgent Care Centre where we stood at a receptionist's window for three minutes being benignly ignored as she carried on tapping details into a keyboard, then she sent us to a ward, Mrs. Curly now starts to worry.

On the ward a nurse asked Mrs. Curly if she could just wait a minute while she ascertained which bed she was going to be admitted to, this was the point at which a look of horror passed over my wife's face! There had been no mention of an admission when the GP telephoned the hospital, indeed the GP assured us that the procedure would probably take less than an hour. The nurse even related to the hospital doctor that my wife had met and spoken to earlier in the day, the truth is Mrs. Curly had had no prior contact with any person within the District Hospital. It was then explained that the surgeon responsible for this procedure was in theatre until 5.30 p.m. and would then assess Mrs. Curly's abscess and consider if it was necessary to operate under a general anaesthetic or not, either way he would want to keep her in hospital overnight for observations.

There had been no consideration for our circumstances, the fact that we have two young children that needed caring for, washing, feeding, taken to school next morning, or that I need to be opening the Corner Shop at 6.00 a.m.! Surely they didn't expect my wife to agree to all of this at the drop of a hat or the whim of a surgeon? The whole deal is OFF! The great work done by the GP went to waste because some damn people working in our NHS hospital hasn't been taught how to communicate with others!


If all the protagonists in the cleaner's dispute had improved their communication skills, perhaps we would not have seen a picket line today.


Evening Chronicle

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yes! another sunderland supporting blogging labourite. think there's 3 of us now...

and I haven't seen one skunk yet!
I know it that blogging can get exciting at times El Tom, but in your haste to read another blog from a Sunderland fan, you failed to read the side bar.

Unfortunately I have never been described as a Labour supporter, but thanks for dropping in!
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