Censorship and inaccesible toilets.

Earlier in my stay in APH I tweeted about poor – as in zero – communication between medical staff and patients; about plain, old-fashioned cock-ups; about the absurdly high noise level from the overnight staff (think half a dozen students, fresh from the pub and let loose in a kitchen).
A few days later I had a warning from my consultant to be careful what I tweeted as it was upsetting the staff.

So let me be absolutely clear about two things – what I tweeted was the truth, and confidentiality was protected (i.e. no-one was named).

Since then things have been much better which, frankly, is far the best way not to attract critical tweets. And obviously, while giving in to any degree of threat pisses me off, I can’t afford to alienate people from whom I need help.

I have to say, though, that APH is in serious breach of the Equality Act.

On my ward is a large and very heavy door labelled “Accessible WC”. No, it bloody isn’t! Admittedly it’s very well fitted out with grab bars and a small, low-level basin. Massive snag though – access for wheelies is virtually impossible.

To get in or out one has to enlist the help of a member of the nursing staff whom, of course, are frequently engaged on more important tasks. This need to have help means that the “accessible” description  a had joke, and I’m told such toilets are common throughout the hospital.

Now in my third week I have devised a mehod of getting in and out that is only possible because my strength has improved, and because I use a rigid-framed chair. It would be impossible in a folder. The point is, though, I shouldn’t have to – any wheelie, or other disabled person should be able to tet in and out without help or special techniques. That’s what accessible means.

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9 thoughts on “Censorship and inaccesible toilets.

  1. Hi Ron
    I’ve been pleased to see you are doing slightly better (everything is relative of course!). I’m a bit concerned with their attitude to your writing. Do they monitor your site then to know what you are doing?

    I’ve been concerned about this ever since reading about the chap who got “discharged” from his GP’s office (sorry, brain not functioning enough to find the right word) for tweeting what they deemed was an offensive tweet after he got annoyed about the receptionists. (Please note that he was not rude to them in person).

    Now as I have mentioned before, the catalogue of errors and neglect I have suffered in my own hospital is too long to repeat here. I think I have already told you about how a trip to the toilet is usually a 40 minute long expedition! As I may well have cause to talk about them again I am now very careful neither to mention which one it is, nor to mention where I live (as it would then be fairly obvious which it is). However neither had the chap above and it is a mystery as to how he was identified.

    Being rude and abusive towards hospital staff is one thing. But being unable to talk about bad treatment received is quite another and a worrying trend. I have tried complaining about what had gone on through official channels and had no joy. On one occasion when the fault clearly lay with management they refused to admit what had happened (calling a meeting during ward hours and leaving the ward unattended for an hour) and unfairly blamed the nursing staff. With such an attitude it is impossible to get anywhere. Under these circumstances writing about it, be it on twitter or a blog is a helpful outlet for sometimes quite traumatic events. This should not be censored.

    • I should say in my defence that I’m always polite and quietly spoken even when angry. I was a union rep and it was a technique in which we were trained.

  2. seems to me this “trend” is becoming all too prevalent nowadays. from the government to the DWP to police and now to hospitals. have they nothing better to do for Gods sake? looks like our days of free speech are well and truly numbered.

  3. As a fellow wheelie, I suggest heading towards the inaccessible disabled loo with a determinded expression and a pick axe, while whistling the theme from ‘The Great Escape’, they might get the message!

  4. |Hi Ron…

    I share your sentiments regarding hospital staff exactly. That is just the kind of thing they would do in hospital – attempt to curb your right to Freedom of Expression – rights guaranteed by the ECHR and enshrined in law in the Human Rights Act. Typical micro managing of any who would tell the truth.

    In my personal experience the night duty staff on duty when I was last in hospital did not give a s%*t about any of their patients. I was in so much discomfort they left me to slowly shuffle up and down the entire length of the main corridor ALL NIGHT – as it caused me less pain than lying in a hospital bed. I probably slowly meandered several miles in total, but anything was better than lying there in pain. They could have given me something to help, but they refused and were unpleasant to boot. As the ward had other sick people in it I did not want to make a scene, raise my voice and upset the other patients and I felt too weak to stand my ground so I acquiesced to some extent.

    I have never forgotten it.

    They say that they will make nurses do menial ordinary nursing before going on to do their degrees in the future but… if they are attracting people to the profession who need to be shown how to be compassionate (but are clearly not, in their normal day to day lives) then we are truly F%&*£D!!

  5. I think it’s outrageous that you were told to be careful what you tweeted in case you upset the staff. You strike me as the kind of person who considers your views and your words very carefully before posting anything, and having been in hospital in a very vulnerable state myself, I think it’s essential that you have a means of reporting your experiences. Partly as an outlet, as Spoonydoc says above, but also because this is your life and you have a right to tell people the truth about it and people need to know.
    I have known some awesome nurses in hospital, and consultants too, but unfortunately there are a few bad apples around and their actions can make you miserable, give you pain and a whole lot worse. When I was dependent on night staff bringing me a commode one individual made me feel such a nuisance that I held off ringing the bell for as long as I could because I had woken her up from a deep sleep just an hour before. (I felt bad for waking her. At the time, you’re in pain, afraid, and feeling very small so can’t see it rationally. Now I’m just gobsmacked.) I insist that you continue to speak the truth as you see it – your down-to-earth intelligence keeps me going in this mixed-up world.

    • I think it’s fair to say that most staff on this ward are good to excellent, let down by a largely inflexible system. For example meds round is 10:30-ish. I have out of sequence meds at 13:00. It makes sense to me to get them at 10:30 and keep them until they’re due – but we’re not trusted to not run amock, overdose and die messily. I’ve been told this by two different ward sisters and a staff nurse and – no matter how many times it’s repeated – it remains the purest bovine ordure.

      So, by the time I’ve tracked down the nurse with key, I’m running half an hour late – not good when in serious pain.

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