Bedding down

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the Scottish Government has stated that all future hospital buildings will have single rooms (your report, 18 May). The main reason for this policy is to prevent the spread of infection from one patient to another. This does seem a reasonable policy but there are some problems with single-person wards. Proper supervision of single wards requires extra staff and some patients can be left feeling isolated. A large number of the patients in our hospital are elderly and, sadly, a considerable proportion of these patients may have difficulty in calling for help due to medical problems like poor eyesight or dementia.

Elderly patients often have difficulty using bells and buzzers to summon help. I am not suggesting we go back to large Florence Nightingale wards, but surely there is a case for small, multi-bedded wards?

Hugh M Mackenzie

Bonnethill Road
Pitlochry, Perthshire

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