Tam's Tall Tales

- Death Star

NHS South Glasgow University Hospital

Health Service Plays Musical Hospitals
The newest and biggest hospital in Scotland - South Glasgow University Hospital - opens during May 2015. Its name doesn't exactly trip of the tongue so because one of the main buildings is star-shaped. with typical Glaswegian humour the new facility has been nicknamed "Death Star" by the locals (ignoring the fact that the death star in Star Wars was round). The hospital has been created on the site of what used to be known as the "Southern General" Hospital in Govan, south of the Clyde Tunnel.

There is a new 1,109-bed adult hospital and a 256-bed children's hospital and two major Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments - one for adults and one for children plus a new maternity hospital and state-of-the-art laboratory services. Every patient in the general wards in the 14-floor hospital will have their own single room with en-suite facilities and windows out across the surrounding area. In the new children's hospital, 80% of the 256 beds are single, en-suite, with parents' accommodation alongside.

There are 29 operating theatres and a landing pad on the roof, for rescue helicopters. The high tech facilities extends to advanced lifts and robots delivering routine supplies to the wards - they give a verbal warning if they detect people in their path. Fortunately, they don't look like the sci-fi Daleks in "Dr Who" and menacingly announce "Exterminate!" Patients can also "check in" for their appointments at automated service points which may reduce long queues but may not be popular with older patients.

Southern General inpatients and emergency department and theatres will move to the new building to allow demolition of the older buildings (to be completed next year) On 30 May inpatients and the emergency department at the Western Infirmary will also relocate and in June The Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill will transfer to its new home.

Up to 10,000 NHS (National Health Service) staff will be based at the new location when it is fully operational. Unlike many other large building projects in recent years, Scotland's biggest-ever hospital building project was handed over ahead of time and under budget. Construction work on the hospital began in early 2011 and it became the biggest building site in Scotland.

Of course, not everyone is happy with the reduction in the number of A&E locations - residents in the north west of Glasgow now have to get through the Clyde Tunnel to the new facilities and there is concern that particularly at peak times ambulances will have great difficulty in negotiating approach roads and the tunnel itself which can often be subject to roadworks. And, of course, there is concern that parking for those who travel there by car will be as inadequate as it always is at Scottish hospitals. That will be particularly the case initially as the staff car parking has not yet been completed. There will also be a new "Minor Injuries Units" with great potential for patients turning up at the "wrong" location (major or minor?).

Over the weekend of 23/24 May there were reports of the Accident and Emergency reception being "like a war zone" with corridors full of people "six deep". One patient with pneumonia who had been referred by his doctor to the hospital, waited from 4pm to 6.45pm before seeing a nurse for assessment and was seated in a chair in a corridor until 8.45pm before someone took a blood test. His wife who was with him had asked several times for a trolley bed for him.

Tam O'Ranter
April 2015

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2015

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