"Finding your way around the hospital"

About: The Great Western Hospital

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Recently I had cause to visit my bother at the Great Western Hospital Swindon. My brother was transferred between two wards whilst there, and had trips to the X ray department.

On one occasion we found the signs hard to follow and must have missed some, and ended up quite a way from where we should have been, which to myself was not a big ordeal, but for my brother's wife (using a walking stick because of a stroke a year or so ago) it was, and she began to get fatigued.

When we visited the hospital the next time we needed to find another department where my brother currently was having treatment and asked for directions at the reception desk. The lady there was very helpful, but then I happened to ask why the hospital did not use the same very effective method that was used at the previously NHS built Princess Margaret's Hospital, prior to its demolition, by using coloured lines and foot imprints on the floor as a guide, such as a yellow line for X-ray, a red one for A&E, blue for outpatients etc.

The lady smiled and replied, because we don't own the hospital (meaning it was PFI built) we are not allowed to stick anything on the floors, and in fact we even need to get permission to stick any notices on the wall. I smiled back at her and said, oh well talk about making things easy as we appear to have gone backward in time, instead of forwards.

We eventually ended up in the correct department, although more by sheer luck than judgement I think. It was a splendid system that worked so very well, for so many years at the Princess Margaret's Hospital. Has red tape or some sort of dogma prevented it being adopted? As it can't surely be the result of cost.

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