What's new this series?
Life has moved on for Kim, Den and Pippa. Their ward at King Edward VIIIth has shut down as part of a stalled renewal programme and the staff have relocated to ward K2, at neighbouring St Jude’s, a few miles away. K2 (all the wards take their names from mountain ranges) has two bays, side rooms, and is well equipped, a marked contrast to life at Teds. But with modern equipment come old fashioned problems.
With a shuttle bus that leaves five minutes before the end of the shift, a ward station that faces the wrong way round, and electronic crash beds that tilt and turn at the flick of a button, K2 offers a minefield of pitfalls, protocols, procedures and patient pathways set to entrap the unwary newcomers. With a shopping mall in the foyer, a glitzy coffee bar - Chatters - in the corner of the canteen, and modern art installations in the grounds (alright, patch of grass where the smokers hang out) St Jude’s neatly sums up the modern, thrusting, forward looking, flawed, NHS. But look behind this gloss and glitz and there lie the same litany of lumps, wheezes, hips, trips and slips and failing health of an elderly female list.
Patients come and go as before, some home, others to meet their maker, as relatives fill in the canvas of everyday life in this quiet backwater. Up the escalator, along the colour coded corridor, and through the CCTV controlled doors into K2, and we’re back where we always were; getting on with life and death among the drip stands and bedpans of an everyday ward in an everyday hospital.