One of the worst hospitals I’ve ever visited has to be Middlemore Hospital. It’s a hospital the world shambles was invented for.
Many of the wards and buildings still being used were built by the Americans during the war. The second world war. The Americans did more with them in three years of war than the various bureaucrats in charge of the place have done in the sixty-four years of peace since.
As unpleasant places go, some of the wards at the back of the hospital really take the biscuit.
Even visiting the place is difficult. Car parking is limited – unless you have a staff car pass – and walking from car park to the patient you’re visiting can require serious walking shoes: Not all wards have a car park close to them. And when you’re driving into the place, you’ve got to be careful not to fill up the emergency ward with squashed children, since the ring road and systematic lack of footpaths round the hospital is cunningly designed to funnel pedestrians and their inevitable broods of children right into the line of traffic entering the precinct.
It’s fashionable to say that the hospital/facilities/bureaucracy at hospitals is barely functional, but the staff there are wonderful. But I can’t say that either.
More staff seem more interested in themselves than they do in the patients they’re supposed to be looking after. At the emergency ward they’re largely intent on ensuring that visitors are excluding from getting in to see their loved ones, and in many of the other wards many of them seem to be there just to eat their lunch.
In fact, staff eating their lunch is more important in the scheme of ‘things Middlemore’ than patient health, welfare and privacy. Some of the darker, less pleasant wards have enclosed courtyards with gardens and barbecue areas attached. But these are not for patients – patients are not welcome; these are for staff to eat their lunch.
And the “zero tolerance” policy that the politically-correct leadership of the hospital have implemented means that patients’ need for a private room to discuss treatment or bad news with their family can be intruded upon at any time by staff looking for a place to eat their lunch. Nothing like discussing rectal medication and life-changing decisions while a complete stranger stares at you from across the room eating their sandwiches. “Zero tolerance” means you can’t complain. It also means there’s precisely zero respect for privacy.
Someone once said that under socialism, all of people’s lives are lived right out in public. If you’re not sure if you like discussing personal things in the impersonal mien of a bus terminal, then Middlemore Hospital is the place to test out your feelings on the matter.
I’m looking forward to my mother being released back into the wild shortly, hopefully free of another visit to the place any time soon.