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Inside the Future Hospital waiting room: a doctors’ mess

Inside the Future Hospital waiting room: a doctors’ mess

Friday 14 December 2018

Inside the Future Hospital waiting room: a doctors’ mess

Friday 14 December 2018

Working in the medical profession can be a messy business for various reasons - as can the process to build a new hospital - but the ‘mess’ that doctors say they currently need in Jersey is a different kind altogether…

In a high-stress job such as the medical profession, the Group Managing Director of Health Services Robert Sainsbury, says that a break-out space where staff can relax together will be a much-needed facility when the new hospital is built.

In the last instalment of the week-long Express series ‘Inside the Future Hospital waiting room’, Robert Sainsbury explains the need for the special space that hospital staff have had to go without so far... 


Pictured: Group Managing Director for Health Robert Sainsbury has been outlining the challenges hospital staff face on a daily basis in facilities that have been deemed "not fit for purpose".

Whether surgeon, GP, nurse or a different kind of health professional, working in a hospital is no easy feat - it's fast-paced, sometimes mucky, involves long shifts, and can be extremely emotional, with recovery successes often punctuated with disappointments and the need to break bad news.

Understandably, Mr Sainsbury explains, this can take its toll on workers' wellbeing, so it's crucially important to ensure that the people caring for the island have time to take care of themselves as well.

It's for that reason a 'mess' is "essential", as it would provide a space for staff to use “when they have difficult times and they need some peer support."

He told Express: “We are asking these individuals to work in incredibly difficult situations… [which] are very stressful. They deal with very emotional circumstances [and] they need the facility… we need modern facilities that our staff are able to use whether that’s to get changed, have a shower or just to sit down for 10 minutes." 


Pictured: A 'doctors' mess' is an "essential" facility for all employees working in the hospital, Mr Sainsbury says.

But at the moment there is nowhere for doctors to enjoy a moment to themselves to breathe, de-stress or simply catch up with colleagues.

The issue, Mr Sainsbury explains, is a lack of space at the current site. "All of our services are working in crowded facilities. It is very difficult… within this site, [as] there are lots of space constraints and there are lots of pressures on space.”

Despite attempts, this means that hospital management officials have so far been unsuccessful in providing a 'mess', meaning that staff are forced to be “flexible” when finding places to have down-time while working long shifts, for instance.

Making a 'mess' is therefore something high on the priorities list for the hospital - and the sooner a new one can be built, he says, wherever that may be, the better.


Pictured: Mr Sainsbury's concerns about the delay on the Future Hospital were published alongside the Hospital Policy Development Board's review of the project.

In the meantime, a group of junior doctors has started a hunt for an 'interim' relaxation space.

Mr Sainsbury's concerns about the current hospital site, which he has this week highlighted in Express' series, were shared with the Chief Minister in a 'Clinical Risks' report forming part of a wider review of what some politicians have dubbed a "flawed" decision to refurbish the current hospital site.

Whether that actually happens, though, will be revealed very soon.

The Inspector tasked with reviewing the Planning Application has sent his report to the Environment Minister for approval, and a decision is expected imminently. The wait for a final decision on the Future Hospital may soon be over - or be about to get even longer...


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