CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night TV: Watch this and you’ll have tantrums – why are NHS pen pushers so useless?
The secret life of the zoo
The brilliance of NHS medical teams Hospital (BBC2) makes you speechless. This also applies to the terrible incompetence that is revealed in one management error after another.
Cameras watched as cardiovascular surgeon Francesco Torella saved a life with soothing calm, operating at the Royal Liverpool Hospital on Dave, a 74-year-old taxi driver with an aneurysm only minutes away from death.
“It’s going to be a gentle operation,” Mr. Torella assured his assistants, “not to break.”
His expertise seemed undeniable. But across the road stood a one-billion-pound building that was meant to be the Royal’s new state-of-the-art house, empty – a towering symbol of NHS disability.
BC2 show Hospital shows the harsh reality of life at the Royal Liverpool Hospital
Following the collapse of contractor Carillion, this empty shell of a hospital needs £ 300 million in repairs to make it habitable. The concrete skeleton threatens to fall apart and all outer covering must be lifted and replaced.
That is mismanagement on a large scale. But smaller disasters seem to burst out every hour, all threatening lives.
We saw a senior doctor search the departments in increasing irritation for a missing patient. Tommy, who had aggressive prostate cancer, was moved to another bed and was now lost in the system.
Meanwhile, 91-year-old Ron was transferred from the Royal to Aintree, five miles away, without his papers. The records were not printed and somehow administrators could not send them by e-mail. Ron, who had crushed his hip in a fall, suffered hours of added pain.
It is without rational explanation that surgical miracles are performed every day in health care, but apparently it is impossible to expect the basic administration to be done.
Things can be worse. Imagine that the situation was the other way around, with efficient archiving but endless bungles and howlers from the doctors.
In every department, infallible secretaries came to bed with the punctuality of quartz clockwork, to sum up the botch-ups of that day: “Good afternoon, Mrs. E. Smith, you were admitted this morning at 8.12 am and 13 seconds for ingrown toenail surgery.
Fugitive of the night:
On the run from surveillance squadrons in Hunted (C4), 78-year-old Mervyn knew a trick from his SAS training and 24 years of military intelligence. Escape and evasion was his specialty. The moral is, never underestimate an oldie.
‘In the past nine hours and four minutes I am happy to say that we have permanently solved the problem of the toenail by amputating both feet. Moreover, I see that we have removed one kidney and sewed you in with surgical scissors.
‘The costs for the scissors are £ 114.23. Do you want to pay with a card or PayPal? “
Administrative disruptions also caused damage to the chimpanzees in Chester The secret life of the zoo (C4). Alpha-man Dylan, 32, the director of the chimpanzee group, neglected his duty to his shareholders.
Alpha chimpanzees are like business magnates, constantly fighting hostile takeovers and micro-managing every aspect of daily business. Ambitious young subordinates must be beaten (literally) and retain a complex hierarchy. But Dylan failed the standards so badly that he might as well have outsourced Chimp Inc to the disgraceful bosses of Carillion.
Teenage monkeys ran amok. Babies are trampled. When Dylan was not lying unconscious in the sun, he harassed every woman within reach.
Dylan was raised by a gang of subordinates. He has since been relegated to office boy.
As always with this series, composed of hours of shots made with a hidden camera, there was a wealth of fascinating animal behavior on display. And as always it was almost human.