THE treatment of patients in hospitals has provoked recent press headlines of hours spent on trolleys awaiting treatment or admission.

May I tell a very different tale?

I was called in by the orthopaedic team, through A&E for an urgent review of a back problem.

I arrived at noon and, within 20 minutes, had been seen by a triage nurse.

She let me know what was happening, where I was going and how long before I would be seen.

The orthopaedic team was in surgery and there was a delay of just over an hour before a member of the team came to begin the assessment.

Meanwhile, I had gone through to my allotted A&E section and it became clear I would have to stay overnight.

The hospital was full but there were six emergency beds in a small “ward” off main A&E and I was admitted to one of these.

At 4pm, I was seen by the senior registrar and told I had been put on the MRI scan list for as soon as possible.

I was kept informed at every stage and scanned the next day at 10am and sent home at noon with a clear picture of what was to be done in the future.

The staff were largely young, some fully qualified, others at the beginning of their careers and some on the first rungs of qualifications.

They were all, without exception, committed and deeply caring.

Their transparent pleasure in what they did rubbed off on all the patients.

They were run off their feet but never did I hear a grumpy word from them or those they were treating.

To me, it should be a benchmark to other trusts throughout the UK.

And the hospital? Salisbury District.


Chairman of the Shaftesbury Abbey View Medical Centre Patients Reference Group