Calming fish in the Medical Physics department

I didn’t think I was going to post again until the New Year but, having had a visit to hospital yesterday (no, not a new problem) I just have to say something, and pose a question.

First, the staff – from receptionist to radiographer, they are truly delightful. I have said that in the past about the staff at Airedale hospital, where I’ve been an inpatient more than once and outpatient more times than I can remember over the past three years, but the same is true at Bradford Royal Infirmary where I was today. Not an inpatient,  just there for a bone scan, the fourth one I’ve had.

Jolly Scottish radiographer and Jamaican goat curry

Previous to that experiences, not on my own behalf but as a visitor, they were not happy ones. My elderly mother was the patient and visiting her was a depressing experience. When I had to to be taken to A&E (Accident & Emergency) three years ago I was, frankly, rather frightened from my previous experiences visiting my mother. However, because of where we live I did not and generally do not go to Bradford, only for the type of scan yesterday. I had the same jolly Scottish radiographer as previously and because for some reason this time he mentioned goat curry made by his Jamaican mother-in-law, he had me reminiscing about my visit to Jamaica years ago.

All this was before the scan, for which you must lay perfectly still for an hour or so while ‘Hawkeye‘ (that’s the name of the scanner, which made me laugh) looks for gamma rays from your bones, blood system having been injected with a radioactive potion a couple of hours before. Something new was after the hour I was stretched out on the ‘table’ he asked me to “sit on the camera” – to get a different view of my pelvis.

 

I couldn’t get WiFi working in the Medical Physics department where the scan was done so spent much of the waiting time in the magnificent new ‘reception’ area – bright, cheerful and more like a shopping centre (mall) – Marks & Spencer Simply Food, Costa coffee shop, newsagents and hospital restaurant – than a hospital. I managed to get WiFi there, partly in the restaurant eating an excellent leek and potato soup, so spent much of the time ‘chatting’ to a dear blogger friend far away.

My question

Which brings me to my question. When our National Health Service is so strapped for cash as repeatedly reported now, nurses underpaid and both patients and visitors ‘ripped off’ with crippling parking charges (luckily I can park some distance away and walk to the hospital) – should what clearly had been a very substantial sum of money be spent on the reception area? Maybe the respective NHS Trust had been as wily as the authorities in the Romanian city of Iasi, where commercial interests were allowed to develop a modern shopping ‘mall’ if they paid for restoration of the nearby magnificent ‘Palace of Culture’ museum. I don’t know.

I cannot decide on my own answer to my question. I understand the reasons for making such reception/waiting areas more bright and cheerful, and it certainly made the experience of visiting hospital better, but would the cash be better spent on medical facilities or staff? What do you think?

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