I have always had a problem with issues of privacy in acute hospitals. I started my career as a clinical psychologist working with people with learning disabilities and being very aware that I was going into people's homes - even when they were in NHS care.
As part of the interview for my first acute hospital job I was paraded through a series of wards to show me the range of services that they provided. Personally, I would have found a written list and discussion more informative and certainly I would prefer not to have been taken past elderly ladies in a state of partial undress when I had no clinical reason to be there.
When working in hospitals I have always felt that I only go into patient areas if I have a specific reason to be there. Conversations with staff could easily be managed in more 'administrative' parts of a ward.
Recently I had the experience of being asked to assess a number of different hospitals and found myself asking the question 'if I was a hotel assessor would I want to be shown into people's bedrooms while they were occupying them?' I admit it would be difficult to check under a pseudonym to try out the clinical care and hotel services but as a patient would I want people wandering around me who had no specific reason to be there?
Perhaps I am oversensitive to this issue and too easily embarrassed - I will admit that even visiting friends in hospital can sometimes be a bit embarrassing when you find them in a state of undress that I feel they would never show to me in their own home.
The NHS has moved on a long way in the 25 years that I worked in it but I still believe that we can all have blind spots for things that we take for granted as being the norm. Is privacy really being adequately recognised?
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