Pretty much the only reason why I ended up writing to the chief executive of Sandwell hospital yesterday was because he was the only member of the board of trustees who had an email address.
The other members were named, pictured, and brief CVs provided. But no email addresses were provided for any of them. There was no way of communicating with them directly. The chief executive was, in effect, their prison warder. You could speak to him, but not to them. They were being held incommunicado.
Which was odd. Was it an inadvertent mistake? It didn’t look like it. It looked deliberate. But why did they need to be kept incommunicado? What was so dangerous about publishing their email addresses?
I wondered if I could get hold of their email addresses by other means. Pretty much everyone in the NHS seems to have an @nhs.net email address, so they probably had them too.
I didn’t find any of their email addresses, but as I meandered through ‘NHS-world’ I came across doctors and nurses who quite obviously cared a lot about their patients.
And I suddenly realised that OF COURSE most people in the medical profession care about their patients!! That’s their vocation, after all. But the chief executive of the hospital wasn’t a doctor. He was a managerial professional. If he wasn’t running Sandwell hospital, he’d have been running some government department or company or boot camp.
I think I’m beginning to see how these smoking bans may get introduced. It’s probably not that the doctors and nurses want them (although some may), but rather that the non-medical professional hospital managers want them. And the hospital managers are most likely appointed by the NHS senior management, which will also consist of managerial types with no medical background. And they probably all get their orders from central government. Orders, for example, to impose smoking bans.
It looks to me like there may be two cultures in the NHS. There are the caring doctors and nurses. And there is the uncaring management.
And, if it exists, this could prove to be a useful cultural division. And instead of contacting the heartless, sadistic management like I did yesterday, I’d be better off looking for genuinely caring medical professionals, and asking them what they think of smoking bans. And I bet that, if they really do care about their patients, they probably hate all these cruel and spiteful bans. Anyone who had a heart would.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are lots and lots of them. And we smokers may have a great many friends and allies inside the NHS. But they’re kept incommunicado. They have no voice. And all we ever hear is the voice of their jackbooted, government-appointed overlords.
It looks like a very interesting line of enquiry: instead of going looking for enemies in the NHS, go looking for friends inside the NHS.
So I may go trawling the internet for caring medical professionals. I’ve already found one or two likely candidates (with email addresses). My idea is to write very nice emails to them, asking what they think of smoking bans in hospitals. Maybe most of them won’t reply. But I’m sure some will. And of those who reply, some will agree with the bans, and some won’t. And they’ll maybe be able to explain what’s going on inside hospitals like Sandwell.
I’ll keep y’all posted.
Not the medical profession, but the universities.