Patients are routinely handed 'poor quality' literature, giving 'outdated information' which 'does not reflect the needs of modern hospital users' says the NHS Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
'Our typical patient these days is aged between 18 and 26, and they really don't care for details on recovery times, or the correct method of taking their pre-op laxatives,' explained 82-year-old PALS worker Ethel Myrmidon. 'They are more likely to visit the helpdesk on the day of their admission, asking things like 'what colour will my gown be?' or 'can visitors bring me Macky Dee?'. We're just not trained to answer this kind of thing -- I lost my colour vision in 1974 and I have absolutely no idea who Macky Dee is.'
Other hospital departments agree that patient knowledge is poor. 'You won't believe how many times we have to turn away semen samples because they're contaminated with saliva,' said one clinical pathologist. 'And I really can't understand how anyone would try to provide a stool sample directly into that little tube. Surely they can see it's never going to fit.'
NHS management are 'urgently investigating' the need to change their information sheets. 'We do not believe that it would benefit our patients if we denied them details of our pre-operative requirements or basic information about their procedure,' says an NHS statement, 'but we are actively modernising our leaflets based on feedback from PALS to include some of the more common queries, such as advice on sneaking their bessie mates into the patient-only toilets, or whether they're allowed to get off with their doctor, nurse or the-only-non-minging-one from the cleaning staff.'
'We also plan to reflect the age range and educational background of some of our clientele,' said the release, 'and we will be clarifying some of the instructions. We need to start with an update to our medical terminology -- renaming 'penis' and 'vagina' as ‘cock' and 'chuff', for example, and we will be making sure we have clear pictograms explaining just how many visitors constitutes 'two to a bed'.'
PALS staff remain unconvinced by suggestions from management that things will change. 'I don't believe a word of it,' said Mrs Myrmidon. 'No matter how clearly they explain things on those grey, faded photocopies, I'm still going to have patients visiting me to ask what time the porn comes on the hospital TV, or women complaining that their pessary tasted funny. I've simply had enough.'