Visiting times

I am sure I have written about this before, in relation to my thoughts about the whole visiting times situation in the UK.

Thanks to the work of John’s Campaign, the status quo is being eroded and the wards are being unlocked.

For me, I return to questioning where my passion for this came-from;

I was three, maybe four years old when my mum took me to the nursery.

This was the 1970’s and they didn’t allow parents inside. Fin. They just weren’t allowed past the front door. The rules – whether based on meanness, some sort of psychological theory or twisted logic, I don’t know.

Fast-forward to the 1990’s. My mum was in hospital in Glasgow. She was very ill at the time. I would travel down either from Dundee or up from Sheffield were I later moved after university and had to play chase the willow with the visiting times, at the Victoria Royal Infirmary or the Southern General in Glasgow.

Waiting outside, the relatives queuing-up to see their loved-ones, or, worse, and probably what maddened me the most, when I arrived late, say after finishing work on a Friday to only have ten or fifteen minutes of visiting before the bell went.

Sure, I sometime stayed longer; I would duck-out of the view of Sister, try to avoid eye contact. I might even dare to interrupt ‘handover’ and ask permission.

I hated this and the whole concept of access-rules in relation to care and seeing my mum when she was sick and afraid was maddening.

Jump to the 2010’s when I was at last able to influence the system in my hospital – getting rid of the constraints of time on a loved-ones access rights.

And now John’s Campaign, and tomorrow, the Groen Hart Hospital in Gouda.

So much tradition, hierarchy, authority and fear is heaped upon this idea of restricted access; so many excuses are thought-up – infection control, distraction of the nurses or doctors, noise, you name-it, someone will think-up an objection.

Yet, our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters when ill aren’t prisoners. They shouldn’t have to give-up their human rights to see who they want when they want for as long as they want; yes, there are things that need to be done in hospital – cleaning, medicines, procedures – but, what should take priority – the system or the person the system is designed to support?

Let’s pull down those visiting signs.

Let’s join with John’s Campaign and start a global movement!

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