Health and Safety BS

Actual Date 31/10/12

Today I spent 3 hours in my hospital being taught how to move a box and a patient. Now, in my previous life I was a sound engineer for a small company near Liverpool, I was also the technical manager of a huge theatre group in Newcastle. This means that in my time I have done a lot of heavy lifting and I have managed it without damaging my back.

Therefore when I had to spend 3 hours listening to a dreary old nurse talk to me about how to safely lift a box (something I’m 90% sure I won’t be doing much of as a medical student/doctor) I felt a little bit patronised. I understand that the health and safety executive actually run the country, they were the bane of my existence in both my old job and my previous degree. Obviously I know that in an environment such as a hospital there are a lot of health and safety concerns that require you to pay attention to your surroundings and to not be stupid. Boxes however are not one of these things.

To make it worse, I am still on crutches. This means that I couldn’t even take part in the practical parts of the session so I could show the woman that I was more than capable of lifting a sodding box. As the session ended, I breathed a sigh of relief. Sadly this relief was short-lived. We had homework. A 12 page booklet that we had to complete before the end of the semester and return to the school office. If we didn’t complete it to a satisfactory standard we would not be signed off to work in the hospital. So I’ve just spent the last 2 hours doing it so it’s out-of-the-way. I have nothing better to do tonight anyway. It just makes me wonder how a trust that is struggling financially (it’s no secret) can afford to employ 8 people full-time in the hospital “Moving and Handling safety department”. I can understand 2 people part-time, splitting their time between that and their real job, but they have 4 dedicated nurses for training staff, two secretaries, a manager and someone else that probably makes the coffee. The bureaucracy of the NHS astounds me sometimes. I’m going to work on “a how many NHS staff does it take to change a lightbulb” joke. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Ironically, leaning over my desk filling this sodding booklet in has given me backache. Brilliant.

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