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"Damn right rude site manager needs"

About: Musgrove Park Hospital

After seeing appeals on social media asking for help from 4x4 drivers when it snowed this week, I popped along to MPH after dropping someone else into Taunton. I was told to look for the site manager who had gone to A&E. I made my way to reception, who pointed me around the corner to a nurses station. I explained I was in the area with my 4x4 and asked if anyone needed any help getting back to Bridgwater. I was having a chat with a group of colleagues and we were starting to discuss arranging lifts home in the morning and the possibility of a nurse leaving early so she could have a lift with me when I was passing.

We were then approached by a lady with a clipboard who I assume from her manner and the conversation must have been the afore mentioned site manager I was looking for.

To say she was rude and came across as obnoxious is an understatement. Yes, she did say you (the hospital/nhs) were grateful for all the support last year. But then came the most shocking sentence I have ever heard "we are not letting our staff in your vehicles until we see proof of drivers licence and insurance documents".

This clearly wasn't an issue last year, and on none of the requests for help this year did it state you would need to come along with this documentation. Seriously do you think we would drive our precious 4x4's in those conditions without holding either of those legal requirements. Our priority is getting your staff home or to work safely so you (the hospital) can continue providing care for those who need it most. We are not a bunch of law breaking, money grabbing idiots. I believe last year we were hailed as heroes for everything we did.

The nurses looked devastated as I'm sure after a long night shift all they would have wanted to do was get home safely to bed. I said I was leaving as like many others I don't carry my insurance papers around with me and wasn't allowed to make any arrangements without showing them. Surely once 'your' staff have clocked off they can make their own decisions on how they get home.

The sad thing is one of the colleagues involved felt the need to apologise to me on social media for what happened. No-one should have to apologise for someone else's behaviour.

If this is the way people offering help are going to be spoken to then one day you may not have any help. We all do what we do in our own time at our own expense and do not expect to be spoken to in this way.

Maybe the site manager needs to work on her bedside manner.

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Response from Alison Wootton, Director of Patient Care, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Alison Wootton

Dear 4X4 driver,

I was saddened to read your feedback and I have made some inquiries about what happened.

Following the extreme difficulties we experienced last year when it snowed we have reviewed our emergency plan.

At that time you describe the Trust had not put out a request for volunteer drivers, as we now have an arrangement for a county wide 4X4 service arranged via the local clinical commissioning group to ensure staff are able to get to work and return home at the end of their shift, however if we had experienced prolonged adverse weather we may have asked for assistance from members of the public.

On the night in question the clinical site manager on shift did speak with a member of the public regarding the use of volunteer 4x4’s. We would like to express our apologies if you felt the clinical site manager was rude this would certainly have not be her intention.

The clinical site manger had already discussed the conversation with you, with her manager as she recognised it had not gone well.

Over the summer, as a Trust, we reviewed our processes and to ensure the of safety of our staff and the drivers themselves we have devised a policy where we are required to see and hold a copy of individuals drivers licence and insurance documents. If we did ask for assistance from the public we would ensure the new requirements would be clearly communicated and the change explained to the volunteer drivers.

We remain extremely grateful for the support of 4X4 drivers who volunteered and came to our aid last year and I am sure there will be a time in the future where we may need to make a similar appeal and I hope you are not put off in offering help by your experience as this was not the site managers intention.

I know this explanation and apology can't make up for your experience but I hope the explanation of the new arrangements and that they have been put in place with the best intentions is helpful.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful