Blocking a bed

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 13 December 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1628
  1. Colin Douglas, doctor and novelist
  1. Edinburgh

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    A long time ago, when the NHS was younger and quite a lot of things worked quite well, there were ways of getting things done. If a toilet was blocked you got a plumber. If a bed was blocked you got a geriatrician. In theory it was all quite simple, though it had to be said that our plumbing colleagues probably had a higher success rate.

    It really was a long time ago. I was a locum registrar in geriatric medicine, back in my teaching hospital after a couple of years wandering, and the doctor on the phone who was upset about the blocked bed was new to me. He worked in the poisons unit. He too was a locum, one …

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