Well, what do you expect?

Which prompts a related thought. What most of us accepted until a few decades ago in terms of privacy and comfort is less acceptable today. And this relates not just to hotels, but to establishments such as hospitals and care homes … shouldn’t it? The quite scandalous phenomenon of mixed-sex wards may be on its way out, but even many new hospitals – designed with extravagant public spaces – have retained old-fashioned assumptions about communal sleeping, bathrooms and catering. Many patients are still admitted to wards where there are between 10 and 20 other patients, with just one or two private alcoves. Privacy is a diaphanous curtain that pulls around the bed.


If it’s the State providing it then what it provided will be what it is convenient for the State to provide, not what the consumer might actually want.

11 thoughts on “Well, what do you expect?”

  1. To be totally honest, you’re not actually supposed to be shagging the girlfriend while you’re in hospital anyway. What else do you need privacy for? As to communal wards, I’ve been in hospital isolation, in a room on my own for months, “Oh look, a squirrel!” doesn’t hit the half of it.

    “mixed sex wards on the way out”. And which set of window lickers introduced that, then? Cos they didn’t have them when I was a boy.

  2. When you are really ill, you are not so bothered about privacy.
    As I discovered recently when I had a groin strain (hence why I am not using my real name).

  3. When you are really ill, you are not so bothered about privacy.

    This. If I was very unwell and did not require isolation (i.e. due to being infectious/immuno-compromised), I’d want to be within view of the nursing/medical team, at all times – not shut away in a cubicle. Whilst I sympathise with the author’s concerns over privacy, she doesn’t seem to have much grasp of what actually happens in acute care.

  4. @Bnis,

    Then they can pay for it. Currently people don’t pay for individual rooms because the collective decision was taken to not do so.

    Again the “mixed sex” thing is a cost issue. And really, what’s the damn problem? If you’re stuck in a hospital you’re going to have people of the opposite sex directly doing unpleasant and intimate things to you, who cares if there are other sickos of the opposite sex on the same ward?

  5. People’d like a choice on that

    A choice on what? The article conflates a whole bunch of different things – if I’m otherwise well & booked in for a minor procedure that requires an overnight stay, give me the private room, complementary glass of wine & heart-attack breakfast. If I require acute care, I really, really don’t give a fcuk about room service (and, to a degree, privacy). That said, single rooms offer improved infection control… but if a loved one with dementia is an inpatient, I really don’t want them shut away in a cubicle (unless it’s necessary), I want eyes-on visibility. Cubicles are a major risk factor in preventable falls. Etc etc.

    By all means pay for a sliding-scale range of hotel services, but don’t pretend that it’s a simple issue.

  6. bloke (not) in spain

    Under the UK’s NHS the patient is already paying for it. That’s,(regrettably) how it works.
    lost_nurse gives excellent advice on wise choices. It’d be nice to have the opportunity to make them.

  7. Spending a few nights in a ward full of sick old people snoring, talking in their sleep, shouting obscenities, sleepwalking and trying to attract the attention of the nurses can be a bit of a trial. Being in a private room leaves only the last as a problem.

    In fact, I myself was the cause of a sleepless night for a ward full of patients, (and the nurses on duty). Until the medical profession diagnosed my hypothyroidism I used to have a very low heart rate when asleep. Whilst being monitored overnight with a heart monitor, I would doze off, my heart rate would drop below the machine’s threshold and the alarm would go off waking everyone in earshot including me, whereupon my pulse would shoot up. The machine however would carry on bonging until reset by a nurse whence the whole performance would be repeated.

  8. bloke (not) in spain

    Be careful, Kevin, of falling into the lost_nurse trap.
    He/she uses a standard tactic. To use all manner of persuasive instances where one’s choice might not be beneficial. Then we argue the instances & by the time we’ve reached a stalemate we’ve all forgotten what the subject was & the bastards have gotten their way.
    It’s simply a matter of choice & who chooses. It’s not about what is chosen.

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