Thursday, August 4, 2011

What a Day

Any day that involves being knocked out and ending up naked with your arse in the air can't be good!

My irritation button was pushed when our Healthcare told me that I was off outside for another biopsy.  The nurse called me "Gunn", not Mr Gunn.  A small thing, I know, but it gets my goat when NHS staff who work in a prison pick up nasty habits and attitudes from prison staff. They begin to treat us as prisoners rather than patients.

The day only got worse when I arrived in hospital to be told that I was getting a general anaesthetic.  It was a surprise, because the prison healthcare had hijacked the letter from the hospital and not bothered to tell me the details.

And in the hospital, I was interested to discover that they called me Mr, even having a form to detail how I prefer to be addressed.  I went with Ben, obviously.

NHS staff working in prison take note - we have a whole institution to talk to us as prisoners rather than people.  You can feel free to treat us as patients first.


  1. You want the NHS staff working in a prison to call you MR, you want the NHS staff working in the hospital to call you Ben. But on this blog we all know thats not your real name.

    Logical thinking....not

    Anyway are you on the sick? I only ask cos I wanted to know if I'd get my lawnmower back for the weeekend?

  2. It's all about dehumanising the people you're working with, nothing new here.

    Mr is fine I'd have thought, personally I don't like people I don't know calling me by my first name but every company I deal with seems to be on a first name basis with me now!

  3. Most of the healthcare staff are quite humane when they first start working in the prisons but turn against inmates because of the abuse they suffer over time, usually from addicts demanding their medication. After being sworn at, spat at, threatened and bullied for medication even the most tolerant nurse has had enough. Not all prison attitudes are picked up from prison officers, there is another side to this argument!

  4. Anonymous #2

    You raise a good point, but I'm sure nurses working in A&E get sworn at and spat at by addicts and drunks pretty frequently too, and they don't start treating everyone who walks through their door as though they are scum, so why should prisoners be treated any differently?

    Some prisoners are vile, some are not, and, as professionals, it behooves NHS staff to figure out which they are working with before they make their judgment.

  5. Anonymous #1

    Ben is a nickname, as I'm sure you are aware. He has never made any attempt to hide his real name (John) and Ben certainly isn't a pseudonym. He is happy to allow his real name to be known and in that regard he is clearly less cowardly than you...

  6. Sorry, your Majesty.

  7. Regarding the first sentence of Ben's post - You speak for yourself, dearie.

  8. Next time someone blurts your name, as though you are not fit to wipe their shoes, you must nonchalantly turn and say: "you may speak."

  9. Anonymous @ 4 Aug 09:53

    If you went into your doctor surgery you would expect to be treated in a polite and courteous manner would you not? The norm you would expect would be for your title followed by your surname (e.g. Mr Smith) unless otherwise specified by you. In the hospital Ben was given an option by the staff as to what he would preferred to be called and he chose Ben, while not his birth name is the name by which he is known. I suspect what Ben was getting at was the fact that the NHS staff in the prison did not show any common courtesy and simply called him by his surname rather than taking the effort to add Mr before it or enquire as to what name he would like to be addressed by.

  10. oh my! Poor dear Ben, hope you are okay!

  11. @ Wigarse

    I think it would be interesting to get an analysis of the similarities and differences, ideally from someone who has worked in both situations. Is the support offered to healthcare personel in prisons the same as that in A&E? What percentage of the cases you'd have to deal with are likely to be what Anon2 described?

    I suspect it's a combination of both stressful patients and picking up prison service attitudes - I'd guess that A&E nurses wish at times that they could disrespect their patients right back, but because there's a stronger convention against it they rein themselves in.

  12. So callous from your ivory tower Anonymous 1 - try putting yourself in someone else's place (it's called empathy).


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