Its the small things

I was in an NHS waiting room today in a large hospital. The people around me were all waiting for tests for serious conditions, some of which may be cancerous.

All around us we were surrounded by posters exhorting us to not ignore the early signs of the very condition those present were there to have investigated.

Given that those present had all been to see a GP, been referred, and were waiting to have a test. What purpose is the poster serving? It may be a small thing, but in private hospitals they just have cheap watercolour prints on the wall – somehow it seems calmer, holding out the prospect of wellness, not threatening sickness.

People sitting in a hospital waiting room know why they are there and their imagination has usually taken them to worst case scenario and beyond. Wouldn’t it be worth saving on the printing and blu tac?

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About iansthoughts

Chief Operating Officer at DEFRA, and former council Chief Executive. All views expressed are my own and not formal policy of my employers current or past.
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One Response to Its the small things

  1. Roger White says:

    Ian – I agree with your point about NHS posters and indeed wrote myself a while ago (a small plug here) – “I’ve been reminded on visits to both my GP surgery and a hospital recently that the NHS suffers from two diseases unique to it – posteritis and advanced leaflet mania.”. The whole post is at http://helpgov.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/customer-service-strikes-again/#comments although it’s more of an extended grump about Sainsbury’s with an after-thought about public sector customer service.

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