Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
I saw in a recent Advertiser that Alex Neil MSP had announced more funding to maintain services at Monklands Hospital. In a time of cuts that is to be applauded. Something that money can’t buy though is a change in the attitude of some of the staff there, especially in relation to the care of the elderly. Over the last year I have seen various family members having to be admitted to Monklands, and while some care has been adequate, never has it been outstanding. What stands above that though are the occasions when it has been shambolic, disjointed and uncaring. Undiagnosed injuries, paying scant attention to records (if they are even available), even the basics such as getting a patients name right. Every complaint can usually be laid at another department’s door, no one ever holds their hands up with a simple “sorry”, no doubt for fear of litigation.
My (and my family’s) experience has been one that has made me increasingly angry. Trying to complain can be like banging your head against a brick wall, and even the “we must learn lessons” line us usually trotted out as the feeblest of apologies has to be dragged out kicking and screaming.
On a recent visit, after running the gauntlet of smokers who guard the entrance, I noticed a visitor having to go and fetch a nurse to attend to a patient. The visitor didn’t know the patient, but saw that the aid alarm which the patient had sounded was being ignored. It wasn’t that there was no nurse available, just that they chose to ignore it. My heart goes out to those poor souls who have no visitors and no one to speak up for them. While others are visited, many of these old folk, many of whom have dementia are left to lie and look at the walls, denied even the small luxury of a television, either unable to operate the complicated controls or unable to afford the astronomical cost of switching it on, which would make even a loan shark blush.
Fixing staff attitudes and the uncaring culture at Monklands Hospital may not be the big headline grabber that Alex Neil would like, but to those who use the hospital it is every bit as important as financial investment, although I’m sure he’ll find it much harder to deliver.