22nd December, 1972Vol. 2. No. 29.

Editorial Comment

Distribution of the Standard went somewhat haywire last week. Sorry - we'll try to ensure everyone gets their Christmas Copy on time.

The 2nd NHS Reorganisation Bulletin has been held over.

May we wish everyone a happy Christmas and a happier New Year? And thank everyone associated with The Standard during 1972.

And finally apologise to Mr. Breslin for pinching his excellent article last week.


The first phase in the development of the Rehab. Officer's function is almost complete.

AI have nearly finished the survey regarding the patients' working situation, and although the results of this particular survey are at committee stage, and will not be generally available for some considerable time, they do highlight a very real deficiency in the patients' working situation in relation to the vocational aspect of rehabilitation.
BThe Patients' (Internal) Employment Dept., situated in the Rehab. Office (Phone 361), will be functioning as from January 2nd 1973. Office hours 8.30 to 5.30 each day. Interviews at week-end by arrangement.

A memo to Charge Nurses and Ward sisters with more detailed information will be despatched in due course.

J.A. JOLLEY (Rehab. Officer)

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On the recommendation of the Advisory Appointments Cttee. the Regional Board has appointed Dr B.K.Brooker to the post of Consultant Psychiatrist at Winwick Hospital, with effect from a date to be arranged.



One small or medium-sized Chess table.
L. Bayliss, C/N M 7D


An estimated 516,000 is being spent on capital works to improve fire precautions in hospitals in the Wessex Regional Hospitals Board's area - £246,000 more than was previously expected.

The increase in spending is due to more stringent fire precautions and the increasing costs of providing these precautions.

More than half the work needed, costing £307,000, will be carried out by the end of March 1973 and a further £100,000 has been provisionally allocated for more work in next year's programme.

In a report on fire precautions in the region, which has been sent to the Department of Health and Social Security, the senior fire officer said there was a distinct improvement on all the more important aspects of fire precautions when compared with the previous year. Some hospitals, he said, still fell short of the standards set by the Department, especially in practice fire drills. Although there has been a significant increase in the number of staff receiving instruction on fire precautions, it was considered that the standard of instruction needed further improvement. Recently appointed area fire officers would give this first priority.

Local fire brigade officers were working under increasing pressure since the introduction of the Fire Precautions Act, 1971, and a number of fire reports on hospitals were now overdue. It was also clear that fire brigade officers would be unable to give as much assistance to hospitals in fire instruction as in the past and that hospital authorities would have to appoint additional fire officers if satisfactory standards were to be met.



Heard of flextime? It describes a concept of flexibility of working hours and has been introduced on night duty in an East Birmingham group of hospitals. With this system, the working day (or night) is divided into two periods - the 'coretime' or peak period when workers must be present and the 'flextime' before and after when the employee can arrange hours of starting and finishing both to suit himself and the needs of the job.

At the subnormality division in the East Birmingham group flextime has been introduced on night duty for the senior nursing officer and his three night nursing officers. Administratively, the core period is up to midnight. Problems, such as those of staff deployment, arise in fact even before the night staff arrive on duty and the pressures are greatest until the wards are settled fcr the night. From midnight on, the small hours are usually 'dead' hours so far as activity is concerned until the ward staff nurses and aides start waking the patients in the morning.

The senior nursing officer, Mr. Frank Milner, has found that, instead of being 'on duty' during periods of fruitless inactivity, his hours are far better deployed during the early evening and some of the day, in involvement and liaison with the day staff, interviewing prospective night staff, and meetings with chief and principal nursing officers and heads of departments. Looking at the whole division, the coretime is from about 7.30 p.m. to midnight. After midnight, or by whatever time problems are settled, the night administrators go home - but someone is on call. The three night nursing officers arrange this night cover among themselves and Mr. Milner himself lives close to the divisional offices.

The nursing officers are interchangeable, having been appointed to the group and not to individual hospitals, and hold informal monthly meetings at which they draw up a duty rota. Ward staff in the three hospitals are deployed straight to the individual wards and do not report first to the nursing office, and this system has in fact resulted in better comunications.

Mr Milner involves his night nursing officers in the interviewing of nurses for night duty, and reckons that the nursing officers' day involvement adds up to about 15-25% of their time. His own day involvement is between 35% and 50% of his time and he works a five-night week but is on call at other times as well.

Relationships between day and night staff have improved since Flextime was introduced. As soon as the nursing officers were in post, Mr. Milner encouraged them to visit each ward until they had agreed with the ward sister and charge nurses a ward programme for the night hours and an agreed workload.

The senior nursing officer believes that Flextime could be taken further - to charge nurse and sister level and also on day duty at administrative levels. Ward staff would still need to be structured and not all staff would welcome this type of system. The obvious advantage of Flextime for senior night staff is that it is a much more normal way of life and they do get home to bed for a part of the night.


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Mrs Norma Anderton has asked us to convey to everyone her sincere thanks for all the kindness and sympathy shown her during her recent bereavement.

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Re. Unit 5 Party. In last week's Standard the letter of thanks came from all the committee, not one, and was not intended to have had any one name. So if a name has to be given, next time please give the correct one(s).

So, Gentlemen concerned, a big thank you from All Unit 5 Social Cttee.

E. Page, P. Jones, N. Hill,
J. Mee, C. Houghton, B. Leah.

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Our policy has always been to require letters and articles to be signed. So - with the score at one ticking-off apiece - time out.



On the front page of a national daily newspaper, last week, was the headline, "THE NURSE WITH 30 DEATHS ON HIS CONSCIENCE" and underneath was a picture of the NURSE.

This followed the publication of the recommendations and conclusions of the report of the committee of inquiry into the fire at Coldharbour Hospital last July.

It is hoped to publish the 18 point list of conclusions of the report of the committee of inquiry into the fire at Coldharbour Hospital last July.

Meanwhile may I quote from an editorial in the 'Fire' journal dated September 1972.

"Once again we are confronted with the situation in which desperate efforts are being made to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted."

"There have been many occasions where the leading article could have started in this way, whether it was the Keighley tragedy which led to the Factories Act, The Bolton Club disaster, the tragedies which led to the Shops and Offices Act, and the various hotel fires which played a big part in the Fire Precautions Act. Now everyone is getting excited again, but too late, about the Coldharbour Hospital blaze in which 30 mentally-handicapped men died at Sherbourne.

Meanwhile extensive inquiries are being held, memoranda are being circulated, questions are asked in the Houses of Parliament and promises of improvements are being made by Government Depts. Hospital Managements and others.

But how much warning do these people require? After all it was 4½ years ago that 24 patients died in the Shelton Psychiatric Hospital in Shrewsbury. It took them a year before the Dept. of Health and Social Security gave birth to a revised memorandum replacing the one originally issued in 1966, and since then Regional Hospital Boards have made somewhat feeble efforts to implement the recommendations, some of which can hardly be carried out under present conditions...."

"We can do no better than to repeat word for word the final paragraph in our leading article two years ago which stated that 'unless those M.P.s who stood up to be counted after the Shelton tragedy now have a close look at their efforts; unless the Hospital Management Committees themselves protest loudly at being given responsibility without the means to carry out the designated tasks; unless it is appreciated that while a "belt and braces" policy might not be feasible, a policy of neither belt nor braces will lead straight to disaster...... unless all this happens, we could have another Shelton, or worse, repeated in any of our hospitals, any day or any night of the year,".

How we wish that our fears expressed then had not come so tragically true.

Fire Safety Officer.

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Saturday 23 December - The Final collection of mail from all street posting boxes and all Sub-Post Offices will be made at approximately NOON. No further collections until the morning of 27 December when a full collection will be made from all street posting boxes.

Sunday 24 December )

Monday 25 December ) NO POST OFFICE SERVICES

Tuesday 26 December )

Wednesday 27 December - There will be one delivery of letters andd parcels. Evening collections will be as on a normal weekday. All Post Office counters will be open during the usual hours.

Monday 1 January, 1973

This year again, all offices will be closed on New Years Day and there will be no counter services in the area, no delivery of letters or parcels, no callers facilities.

A full collection will be made from all street posting boxes between 5.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m. Postage Meter items normally handed in at a Post Office counter may be posted into a street posting box using the special envelope or handed in at a main sorting office.

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Jack Shaw has called seasonal halt to his 0 & M articles. And now for something completely different for Christmas.

A silly story in three parts, by R. Bruton

List of Characters -

Fred (He has dirty fingernails, and is obviously stupid)
Algernon (Has piggy eyes, and is plainly insincere)
Interviewer(Half Solomon, half Job)
Prof. Pfrz(All Solomon)

Scenario. -
A T.V. Series - Industrial Relations in Practice - on location at the main factory of Ball-bearing Mousetraps, Ltd. (Brand name - Felix)

Part 1

InterviewerWell if you won't have any sherry, Fred, perhaps you could start us off?'
Fred. 'Yeah well, like.....'
Algernon 'I think what our friend here is trying to say is that here at O & M we, and I would like to stress the corporate nature of our venture here at B.M., we, I repeat, have no problems which couldn't be solved if only..'
I.' I think...'
A." a constructively critical joint appraisal with Management.'
I.'At this point it might he helpful if we could define our terms a little.'
F.'Ere you.'
A.'As I see it, management has the problem of optimising production, for the benefit, I might add, of all. Though working with our somewhat inadequate resources, and I regret to have to say that,..'
A.'...such as our friend here,'

At this point, with a leer of bestial cunning, Fred lurches to his feet and waves a grubby dictionary under Algernon's nose.

F.'Management means gerring yer own way wi trickery an' deceit. Put that in yer portfolio and milk it.'

The camera cuts quickly to I.

I.'To summarise - There would appear to be a measure of disagreement as to the precise meaning of the term 'management.'

Prof Pfrz, would you come in here?'

PP'In here? Not for a gold stop-watch. If these two represent the basic factors in this place well, it's probably more efficient to beat your mice to death with a loaded tooth-pick.'
I.'Next week, our panel of experts will be looking at the role of the critic in the mouse-trap producing cycle.'

Part II

'Well, Fred, could you criticise for us?'

FADE OUT AS I SAYS "Next week - Participation.'

Part III

I.'This week Foreman Critic Fred will outline his usual routine.'
F.'Yeah, well, like.....'
A.'If I could just say something here, we at B.M. were the first in Europe if not the world, I can't speak for space, of course,to permit, no, to encourage, the staff to criticise.'
F.'It doesn't work.'
A.'And this, if I may say so, is how we were repaid. not a single constructive suggestion has been placed before us in two whole years. No ideas for increasing the speed of production - no plans for the more efficient use of the expensive machinery we.....'
F.'It doesn't work - I keep telling you - yer mousetrap doesn't work.'
A.'I really think the whole idea of this post will have to be gone into....'
PP'Fred, can it be made to work?'
F.'0'course, Prof. just take out the ball-bearing'.
A.'Ridiculous. Unthinkable, Er.. how much do the bearings cost?.'
F.'How should I know?'
PP'You'll look into it, Algernon?'
A.'Well of course, I can't promise anything...'
I.'Participation' (he sips his sherry) 'is the watchword at B.M. isn't it Algernon?'
A."M now, just M. Yes it is.'
F.(whose nails look somewhat cleaner) 'Sharing we call it.'
I.'Prof. Pfrz, what's in a name?'
PP'Well what a name should be - like critic, management, or Pfrz for that matter, - is just a handy tag. Shorthand, if you like. It's sometimes difficult to get agreement on what the shorthand is for, but in those cases it's only necessary to add up all the views.'
I.'But suppose some of the views are contradictory? Suppose people disagreed about, say, the meaning of agreement.'

(F & A agreed later that it was at this point they first noticed the thin wisp of smoke rising from the Prof's collar, and noticed the first, slow revolutions of his eyeballs.


P.S. We hear that PP is in a hospital, where he spends all lay crouched before a hole in the skirting board poring over a stop-watch and periodically gnashing his teeth. He is said to be as well as can be expected.

MORAL: (Even silly stories have morals.) He should buy the Felix Mk.II. They're really very good.

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We are sorry to hear of the continued absence due to illness of Ernie Garratt, one of our electricians, and wish him a speedy recovery.


Ian Jackson, Electrician, left to take up another post last week. We wish him every success in his new job.



Remember Bob Noon, once telephonist at the hospital? A recent 'Post and Chronicle' carried a report that he has been confirmed as the first blind man in the world to gain a judo black belt.

His feat is notified in the 1973 Guinness Book of Records, which has just been published.

Bob, who still lives in Vista Avenue, Newton-le-Willows now works in a Wigan bank. After hearing news of his achievement, Bob - founder of the Sumo Keido Dwan judo club - told the paper, "This is good news and will he an honour for the whole town. Naturally I am happy my title has been verified by experts but I am more delighted because of what it means for our club. We have a large number of students and things like this encourage them to keep trying harder. It is also a lesson to people who have an affliction. A person can overcome most problems if he or she really wants to."

Staff who were once members of our own judo club run by ex- C.O.H.S.E. Branch Secretary Bert Dickson may remember sampling Bob's expertise on the judo mat, for he was a regular attender.

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F1D - Winner of Raffle for table lighter - M Neary


The staff and patients of Ward Female 1 Down would like to say how sorry we are that Mrs Adams, our O.T. lady, has moved to another ward. Her cheerful manner and kindness to the ladies on the ward have been a credit to her and to the O.T. Department.

We also wish to thank her for her generous donation to the patients' Xmas party.

Staff and Patients of Female l Down would like to welcome Mrs. Naylor to the ward in Mrs. Adams' place, and are sure she too will prove a valuable asset to the ward.

D. McKendrick and staff, F1D

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We wish to express our appreciation to the Unit Party Committee, who worked hard to give us a very enjoyable evening at the Unit Xmas Party on Friday, 8th Decenber. Also, many thanks to the caterer, bar staff, and the Musician.

G.N. Say & ward staff

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Christmas greetings and very best wishes for the New Year to all staff and patients of Winwick Hospital, from Miss. N. Coppack, Head of Nursing Services.

This year, instead of sending individual greetings, I have made a contribution on your behalf to the Swimming Pool Fund.

My thanks are due to the Editors of The Standard for the privilege off using their columns.

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Welcome to

Mr. S.P. Mather (Holiday Employment)


Mrs J. Fance - T/Staff Nurse.

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