Monday, April 19, 2010

Doors closing.... now shut up

I was visiting someone in the University College Hospital in Central London recently. It was in the evening. The main wards are based on one tower block and I get myself into the lift.As the door closed we were greeted by the lift voice 'please refrain from discussing personal information whilst in the lift...' This repeated for about 7 floors as we wended our way to the top.There were no medical staff at any point in that journey. We all looked at each other at every call at each floor.At one point I felt like blurting out 'at least Mr Jones hemorrhoids are responding to treatment'...just to break the tension.

I assume at some point someone complained or became aware of patient details being discussed by members of the medical staff whilst sharing a trip between floors with members of the public...a complaint..meetings..more meetings...and now we have an interminable voice over in the lift at every floor level in the UCH all day every day.

Could this lesson from a centrally controlled government monolith find itself our way? ie another centrally controlled......

I suppose the station canteen is probably the most likely public arena for possible indiscretions 'careless talk cost wives' and all that. Certainly the lifts at stations I have worked at have either been regularly out of service or so slow most people take the stairs anyway.Station canteens themselves are not the exclusive reserve of officers and office support staff as a number of functions have been outsourced to private contractors.It all boils down to a bit of common sense really and a sense of proportion. Not that that has ever really counted for much in the jobs reaction to things.