Complaining about rainy days and telly

First published in Your Say St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by

We had one of those conversations the other night that are often parodied by comedians, you know the ones. I found myself moaning about how difficult life was because it was raining a little (well actually a lot, but anyway..)and the fact that there was nothing on the telly worth watching; despite paying a fortune each month to receive a load of old twaddle. Then I stopped and thought about it. Surely it’s a good thing that it’s raining – good for the garden, keeps my local park free of litter as no one is lying around in it, washes the streets and generally makes Watford smell fresher. It’s also surely the ‘best thing ever’ that there’s nothing worth watching on the telly. I should be able to entertain myself in some way without the domineering box in the corner (although it’s not so much a box, now a giant floating flat screen in the corner). It’s amazing how we like to moan about things rather than focus on the positives. I did a short live radio interview the other night about the number of complaints the NHS receives following a national report published earlier in the day. Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans hospitals had a total of just over 500 last year –considering we treat over ½ million people each year, are open 24/7 and have 4000 staff maybe it wan't too awful (although you're right, one is too many). The radio interviewer asked me why we had so many and what I thought was wrong. I said it was always very disappointing and we regret it when people have a bad experience in our hospitals. We encourage people to let us know when things go wrong so that we can improve and stop them happening again. I emphasised that every complaint is responded to personally by our Chief Executive and is reported to the Board. Later, I realised the point I should have got across was that yes we have complaints, yes we get things wrong and that is something we must get better at, but what never gets published by any ‘national agency/health watchdog’, presumably because we all prefer to believe bad news, are the many letters, probably 10 times as many as complaints, that we receive daily conveying thanks and compliments to our staff. So next time you tend to dwell on the negatives like a rainy day or the telly, try and turn it round and see a different side. Me? I’m off to take the dog for a walk ….or I would if it wasn’t raining so hard, perhaps I’ll just flick through the channels one more time.

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