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What the Evening News said

PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:13 02 July 2010

Rhoda Talbot who was put into a store room at the N&N hospital

Rhoda Talbot who was put into a store room at the N&N hospital

They call them clinical treatment rooms, our readers call them cupboards.

They call them clinical treatment rooms, our readers call them cupboards.

The voice of target-driven, cash-counting health care can call these windowless, poky rooms whatever they like. However, for those who have had the misfortune of being kept in them, their name is irrelevant - they just don't want to have to stay in them.

And in this day and age, no one should need to. In no way, shape or form is it acceptable for people to be cared for in a modern hospital in this way.

Since the Evening News, last Friday, first revealed how patients were being kept in store rooms like the one you see on this page, we have been telephoned by many people outraged at what's going on at our hospital.

While executives at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital trot out meaningless gobbledygook to defend their use of the rooms, officialdom appears not to care one jot that the people who matter - the patients - are appalled that they are being treated in these conditions.

The so-called justification for using these store rooms - sorry, 'clinical treatment rooms' - is endless. The N&N's director of nursing talks of 'escalation areas', a 'sustained increase in admissions', 'operational challenges', 'risk assessed' conditions, 'appropriate patients' and 'electric profiling beds'. On and on it goes.

The one thing lacking in all the explanation is any sense of being able to see things from the patient perspective. The fact is that any rational person would judge it wholly unnacceptable to keep sick people in these rooms. No apology. No commitment to reviewing the procedures which got us here in the first place. No nothing. Just a stark 'we're right, you're wrong, get used to it'.

But that's not good enough. The National Health Service is probably the most-valued British institution of all. Staffed by highly committed and dedicated nurses, doctors and support staff. People working their fingers to the bone to provide excellent care with staffing levels and surroundings fit for the job. But as the pressures on our NHS increase, it is all to easy for those in positions of authority to lose sight of the values and priorities which still matter in this country.

These people are public servants and are answerable to us, the people of Norwich, their patients. If we're not happy with things it's their duty to act, not bury their heads in the sand and ignore our views. This smacks of health care driven by people with calculators, not nurses with thermometers. By the same token, it's our duty to make them see sense. As the local newspaper we would be failing our readers if we didn't try to get things changed.

It's not what we expect from our NHS. And it's not what we expect from a brand new hospital which we're usually rightfully proud of.

Today the Evening News is demanding a full and complete review of how these 'clinical treatment rooms' are used. We believe that, ideally, they should never be used to house patients.

The people of Norwich deserve to have complete confidence that when they or their relatives need care at the N&N it is of an acceptable standard. Acceptable to the patients, not acceptable to the pen pushers.

There's no place for this in Norwich. We want dignity for our readers and will fight to see it achieved.

On pages four and five you can read the background to this whole saga, the stories of some of those who've endured the rooms, what the rooms are like and demands from politicians and medical professionals for the practice to be halted.

We also need to hear from you to ensure officials at the N&N take action right now. We will be providing daily updates in the newspaper and online at eveningnews24.co.uk to report on how our campaign is progressing. If you have a story to share about your, or a relative's, stay in one of these rooms call Evening News reporter Sarah Hall on 01603 772426 or email sarah.hall2@archant.co.uk. The quicker we act, the quicker we can change things for the better.

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