"Yes, it is. How can I help you?"
"Good! I am the Lead Nurse at the hospital up the road and I understand you are now open for patients."
"Right you are, Sister!"
"Er, can I speak to the manager please?"
"The manager has gone home for the day. We just operate on a skeleton staff overnight."
"I see. I have a few cases that I'd like to bring in. They are taking up valuable beds, we are full to capacity, but I'm not sure they're quite ready to go home yet."
"I mean, it'd be great if we still had the old convalescent homes but they seem to have gone the way of leeches and trepanning and, well, we all know how hard it is to get a doctor to make a house call these days..."
"Oh, never mind, I am babbling now, reminiscing about days gone by. Are all the staff there trained medical professionals?"
"No, but everyone has undergone the week-long PremierLodge induction course. Our certificates are on the wall in the break room."
"Right. But everything has been cleaned to hospital standards?"
"We have cleaners..."
"Good, jolly good, that's a start. Do the patients get fed at the same time or do they just use room service?"
"Oh, we have a special offer on this week for room service. All patients can get a free half-bottle of wine with every main meal ordered!"
"Wine? I was looking to bring in Mr Jenkins, he is recovering from a stomach ulcer, and Mrs Santori, who had a baby a couple of days ago. I'm not sure either of them are up to a glass of wine at the moment."
"There's a selection of food in the vending machines down the hallway."
"Vending machines? Special offers? Hang on, what is the deal with paying for food? I mean, I know these hotels are meant to save the NHS a fortune but who bills who? Do we pay the hotels to cater? Does the hotel bill the hospital or the local trust? Er, don't tell me the patients get billed?"
"Uh, there has been talk of billing the patients for food. They already have to pay for the telly, phones, soap and extra pillows, blankets and towels..."
"I see. What if one of the patients needs emergency care?"
"The doctor will come back in the morning and do rounds then. Costs a fortune to keep one in overnight on the off chance someone might take a turn for the worse. We're a business, not a charity, y'know."
"But it's cool, visitors can come at any time. It's better than those poxy hospital visiting hours."
"Visiting hours are there to ensure patients get adequate rest."
"But the patients get bored."
"I'm pretty sure Mr Jenkins is too busy dealing with post-operative pain and Mrs Santori is pretty focused on her new baby at the moment. I'm not sure I want to send either of them somewhere where members of the public can wander up and down the corridors at all hours."
"Oh, it's OK - we use G4S for our security here. Anyway, it's all part of the PremierLodge mission statement..."
"Our mission statement. 'PremierLodge Hospital Hotels aim to provide outstanding patient outcomes in a cost-effective, fun medical environment' - it's on the plaque in the foyer."
"Good grief. Is it a medical facility or the set of Grey's Anatomy? Is there a Dr McDreamy on hand?"
"No, but that's a great idea. Might draw in some more clients if we can get a doctor who looks like Patrick Dempsey on staff. We don't want to lose more business to the Infirmary Inn down the road. I'll suggest that at the next staff meeting. Noted!"
"I think I'll just keep Mr Jenkins in for an extra night and send Mrs Santori home tomorrow. If all else fails, they can call an ambulance after they're discharged, I suppose."
"Just remind them that PremierLodge's call centres will be managing 999 calls from now on - 45p a minute, higher from mobiles..."
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