No such thing as bad publicity on hospital and health - suggests columnist Hugh Rogers
Gary Walker, the former Chief Executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals and now the health service's self-appointed whistleblower in chief, may not be the most popular person in certain quarters just at the moment, but we should at least be grateful to him for keeping the affairs of hospitals in this region firmly in pole position in the papers and on television.
I am not one of those who think that the best publicity is no publicity at all.
On the contrary, we should welcome journalistic interest in local health services.
I want the people of Scunthorpe in particular to take a keen and active interest in their local hospital . And I should say the same if I lived in Goole or Grimsby. Connection to the community is, after all, what a Foundation Trust is all about.
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So I don't mind the plethora of stories - double page spreads two weeks running, forsooth - which local media - newspapers, television and radio - are lavishing on what they see as the burning health-related issues of the day . Will they close Scunthorpe Maternity Unit ? Why is our mortality rate higher than anyone would like it to be ? And so on and so forth.
These issues will be resolved in the course of time, but by then I hope that the habit of discussing hospital affairs will be so ingrained in the community and reflected by local journalists, that the current high level of coverage for news about our hospitals will continue. Good news, as well as the other kind. Hopefully, public demand will lead to a profusion of stories about the very positive ways by which the Trust strives to serve us and the high standard of patient care which is demonstrated on a daily basis by all hospital staff.
I wouldn't want to work in today's over-regulated hospitals. The pressures on doctors, nurses and administrators are formidable, especially against a background of exceptional budgetary constraint. Those who do spend their working lives trying to do their best to serve the health needs of the people of Scunthorpe (and Goole, and Grimsby) deserve all the help and support they can get. From whatever quarter it comes.