from the hospital system in this state would not be a good idea. This morning's paper is full of "top secret reports" about this. It makes for the sort of headlines that the media dreams about. It gives people something to talk about. Rumours fly around and get drunk in with the morning coffee in the office or eaten with lunch at the local cafe.
There has even been talk of closing the "WCH" - the Women's and Children's Hospital. That would be a mistake.
When I was a kitten it was simply a hospital for children. I don't know how big it was. I know they were expanding it. I can remember being taken for "a walk" and being pushed by a nurse across mustard coloured sand being used on the site of the then new building. Nowadays it is an "old" building...and there are two even older buildings on the same site.
I made numerous trips there when I was teaching. My profoundly disabled students spent far too much time in hospital but the place treated them well. I have been in and out of the WCH since then too - being called in to help children with profound communication problems for the most part. The fact that the hospital staff are not just willing but anxious to get help with such things indicates a different ethos. The people who work there do, for the most part, want to work with children.
My doctor nephew did a stint there while he was training. He also confirmed my view that the WCH doesn't work quite the same way as a hospital for adults. He liked working with the children and might even have chosen to go on working with them but was less keen on having to handle over-anxious parents.
Our newest adult neighbour is a paediatrician and I sense the same attitude in her. You have to work with children in a different way. They need adults who specialise in caring for children while also being qualified in their specialist fields. Staff have to be prepared to work with that clown doctor around to distract the child. They need to use language a child can understand. They need patience.
And they need a sense of humour. My first visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children will forever be stamped in my memory by the sight of a young doctor crawling out from under a bed. He looked up at me with a wry smile and said,
"First catch your patient."
No, we can't just close the WCH. It doesn't work like that.