Expectations vs Offerings

Conversation overheard on NHS paediatric ward last evening:
15 year old boy: what’s the wifi password on this ward?
Nurse: what?
15yob: you know, the wifi? I can see it, but when i try to connect it’s asking me for a password. what’s the password?
Nurse: (slightly flustered) oh that! That’s not connected. You can’t use it. I’ll go and ask.
(and she scampers off – 15yob returns to phone game and then swaps over to his iPad)
(10 minutes later nursey returns looking triumphant )
Nurse: Well I have talked to the staff nurse, and she says that is only for the doctors, it’s not connected, and if it was you’d have to pay for it. So that’s that.
(and she turns and waltzes away)

15yob returns to his game.

A quick look around the ward shows that it is teaming with hitech kit. A PC, a PS2 and a PS3, a Wii, an Xbox (of incredible vintage), flat screen tv, old CRT for PS2, blue Ray, and an array of remote controls. I can understand why a 15yob might expect to be able to connect to the wifi that he can see.

Let’s look a little more closely at his expectations of the NHS and compare it to the actual offerings.

15 year old boy: what’s the wifi password on this ward?

Expectation 1: there is a wifi connection – I should be able to use it
Expectation 2: The nurse will know the password and will probably give it to me

Wow! I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely uplifting that our teenagers (and future electorate) feel that if there is a wifi signal in a public place they should be able to connect to it. That tells me where society is moving to and that we will eventually have a tech enabled society.

That 15yob would expect the nurse to know the password is a little strange to me. I wouldn’t expect that. But I think the implied expectation, that ‘those in the know’ would know the password, is one that again uplifts me and gives me a sense of hope.

Offering 1: There is a wifi connection available in the ward. It is password protected. Not sure if anyone/anything is actually using it. One thing is certain. Patients currently can’t use it.


So where does that leave us? The NHS is not living up to the expectations of our kids, because it doesn’t understand what our kids want or expect.

So politicians, please don’t make grandiose plans for the future of the NHS when the organisation doesn’t understand the basics.

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