Royal Free takes off in strange new direction

VISITING the Royal Free Hospital shortly before Christmas, I saw that all the ward names had been changed, into compass directions. This seems to me an extraordinarily bad idea. 1. It suggests a prison rather than a therapeutic institution and so can hard

VISITING the Royal Free Hospital shortly before Christmas, I saw that all the ward names had been changed, into compass directions. This seems to me an extraordinarily bad idea.

1. It suggests a prison rather than a therapeutic institution and so can hardly be good for the patients.

2. It is a betrayal of all those whose names were commemorated by the wards, and so is potentially demoralising to staff.

3. I cannot see that it is of any help to visitors since each floor is alike. If one supposes a visitor who is semi-literate, this could be very confusing.

Even if one supposes a person who has a strong sense of bearings in the natural world, this is of no help when enveloped in a London building - indeed the compass signs incorporated in the flooring suggest that someone has actually apprehended that the system will cause problems. What is the purpose? And how does a health service that is said to have insufficient money, find enough for this detrimental exercise?

BARBARA BREND

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Haverstock Hill, NW3