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2:40pm on Tuesday, 16th July, 2013:

Not Special


It's nice to know that Colchester General Hospital is good at something; it's less nice to know that what it's good at is overseeing the unnecessary deaths of patients. It was one of 19 hospitals examined by National Health Service officials over their alarmingly high death rates, a report concerning which was released today. The 19 hospitals were operated by 14 hospital trusts; as a result of today's report, 11 of these trusts were put into special measures (non-UK readers: this is like a government codeword meaning their management set-up will be rebooted and either they'll miraculously turn into the best in the country or they'll be closed down or sold off; it seems to work with schools). Colchester General Hospital's trust was one of the 3 that escaped sanction.

Apart from its lousy parking provisions, I actually quite like Colchester General Hospital. My grandmother and my mother's second husband both went in with serious conditions and were treated well (although come to think of it, they did both die there). I certainly wouldn't call it bad, anyway; whenever I have cause to go there, it seems to run like a well-oiled machine, albeit one that measures time half an hour behind everyone else.

Colchester General Hospital is run by the Colchester Hospital University trust (which also runs Essex County Hospital, the place I expect to visit to get my eye cysts removed, hopefully without fatal side-effects). The word "University" is in there because Essex University is involved; Essex University is involved because if you want to run with the big universities of the Russell Group, you have to have a medical school, which means you need medical facilities. Turning a regular hospital into a teaching hospital is a quick way to do this, plus it keeps the medics at arm's length (old saying: those vice-chancellors whose university doesn't have a medical school want one; those whose university does have one don't want it). It would therefore have been somewhat embarrassing for the university if Colchester Hospital University had been put into special measures, and probably scuppered any immediate plans to level up to Russell Group status.

Yes, I am waiting for the plumber to come and replace the 5p washer connecting the cistern of the downstairs toilet to the mains. Oh, and since you ask: 40 minutes late and counting...

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Copyright © 2013 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).