Out of idle curiosity, I googled my old hospital the other day. I found quite a few pictures and memories of people and events, things I didn`t even know I remembered came flooding back, although I ended up even more depressed and angry than I was before…..
That`s us, at the weekly team brief. We had a system whereby all the staff rotated between all of the theatres at staggered intervals. everyone knew what was happening, everyone was happy. Relatively speaking, anyway….there`s always someone who isn`t….but they has a chance to air their grievance. That`s theatre 6…Genito-Urinary… The big guy in the middle is Dave. I spoke about him in an earlier post. He was soft-spoken, and yet had a very dry, slightly mocking sense of humour. occasionally it would take someone a minute or two before they realised they`d been insulted. But he, like everyone else, always gave 100%.
This is theatre 7, one of the two gynaecological theatres. It also doubled as an `emergency` theatre, so we did virtually anything that came through the door, and by god, did we. Around 4.30 every afternoon, you could saunter round and check the emergency book..there would always be at least three or four cases waiting to be done, and it was rare to finish before 11 pm.
Since it was one of the bigger theatres, it was also the one used for organ retrievals. Not a pleasant experience, its true, particularly when the donor was young…but having worked in transplant units, (and, purely from a selfish point of view)…a necessary one….and the thought that maybe six or seven people would have new lives helps enormously.
A three-month stint in this theatre and you could handle anything. You also developed a thick skin…the humour was often dark, and always merciless. The staff there took no prisoners. I loved working there…..
The recovery room….always the last to begin and the last to finish. If a couple of theatres finished together, there would be more patients than staff, and the call would go out for help….(not always easy, the theatre staff would be rushing to get off, for a quick lunch, or coffee before they started again. A colleague and I one day `argued` out side the door over who was assisting….`I`m helping…..`No, I am`…..Eventually, there were 5 of us…`You helped yesterday,`…I`m helping, because I respect the staff`…`No, I`m helping because love the Sister….`No, I love them all, I`M helping`. ` The staff sat there open-mouthed…..
That was then, This is now…..
Recovery is deserted, the theatres stripped and bare, the lights permanently off. No more noise, no bustle, no rushing footsteps. No…`Help in recovery, please….Dr. xxxx to theatre 4…..Orderly to Theatre 2, please`…No more life….No more laughter….
Outside, it’s the same….
On the right, the stairs in the acute medical wing, 2 wards upstairs, 2 below. It was here that I met the Hospital General
Manager, who was showing the mayor and assorted local dignitaries….I was going to a `Come as your favourite sexual fetish`
party…and was wearing skin-tight leather trousers, a multiple slashed white vest, was handcuffed, and with a bull-whip round my neck……
Without flinching, she said `..and this is our deputy theatre manager…..`
On the left, part of the waiting area for out-patients. Through the window is the remains of an ornamental water garden. There used to be a family of ducks, who were always reported on in the monthly news-letter. If you look closely, just behind there is the window to our coffee-room. Someone taped my cigarettes outside the window once, and as I reached up to get them…they pulled my trousers down. Unfortunately, they had gripped my underwear as well…..the two little old ladies sitting on those chairs gave me a big smile and waved…..
On the right…part of the Social Club. There was a bar, a hall, a small stage, squash court and a small gym. The hall was often hired out to local groups…keep-fit, women`s self defence…local W.I. used it a few times, and local bands would sometimes play there. The christmas revues were held there and we had parties there, usually for benefit of the hospital in some way. The best was probably a `Rocky Horror` party…500 people…live band, disco,,,large screen with the film playing as we partied. The proceeds paid for six portable televisions for the children`s ward…5 disappeared later…parents often `forgot` that the TV wasn`t theirs…..
So…apart from fond memories…why am I depressed and annoyed?
The first 3 pictures were taken in 1991, just after the wards/theatres/A&E/out-patients/radiology etc were opened...they cost millions of pounds. The hospital closed in 2006…just 15 years later.
Say it slowly….15 years….millions of pounds….
It was sold off, along with its sister hospital in 2006, after a couple of reorganizations, to build a new `super-hospital` that would be` developed to meet the modern stresses of the 21st century,` and `meet the needs of the community`…which all sounds very good.
I quote from the Hansard report, just before it was built….`I am concerned that it will contain only 939 beds. That is somewhat disappointing, because it is only four more than the 935 beds currently contained in the two hospitals`. ...and it STILL has 939 beds….
All that…for four beds…..
My job is to give you all the facilities, resources and help I can, and then to leave you alone as professional men and women to use your skill and judgement without hindrance.
Aneurin Bevan – Message to the Medical Profession
I don`t think this is what he meant…..