An advertisement (appointments, page 77, 23 March) for a private patient manager for the Royal United Hospital Bath trust states proudly:
'The trust is renowned for its innovative approach to patient services. . .'
Having visited the trust last month to bring an elderly relative for admission, I wonder whether this innovative approach was behind the closing of both the entrance to the hospital and the reception area.
A scenic diversion at what used to be the way in to the patient drop-off area led to a dead end. I phoned the number scribbled on a scrap of paper stuck to the closed reception desk. 'Where is the drop-off point now that the main entrance is closed?' The porter answered: 'Oh, we never thought of that. Perhaps you should try A&E.'
Preventing patients from getting in is an easy way of saving money on expensive bed nights and treatments, and is clearly part of this trust's innovative approach. At the beginning of her treatment they booked my relative into a ward but neglected to tell anyone outside the hospital.
Luckily, I phoned to ask for news or she would have been put on the did-not-attend list and sent to the back of the queue. Perhaps the way forward is simply to buy some barriers and a few diversion signs and wait for the budget surplus to accrue. Or perhaps the 'managers' could learn to manage.
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