7 News Archive
Wellesley report sharply critical

By Ulli Diemer
Seven News, May 21, 1977

The Wellesley Hospital has come in for strong criticism in a brief written by a group of local residents, and presented to the hospital May 13.

The brief documents numerous complaints about the hospital, including Emergency Department staff attitudes, treatment of patients and their relatives and friends, follow-up and aftercare.

It charges that although the hospital is a public institution, there is no visible or publicly known means of access to its policy makers, and no accountability to the community it is supposed to serve.

The brief details a number of specific and general criticisms, supports them with case histories collected in an appendix, and suggests changes that should be made, both in the health care provided and in the creation of policy.

At the heart of the brief is the idea that the hospital does not understand the lifestyles and needs of the people who use it. The group strongly stresses the need for this change.

It states that “we do not suggest that standard hospital routine accompanied by a friendly smile will elicit co-operation from, say, an obstreperous skid row alcoholic, nor do we suggest that the Wellesley become a jack-of-all-trades social agency. What we do suggest is that the Wellesley can adequately fulfill its obligations to the surrounding community when it has implemented a hospital-wide policy of staff education and innovation in devising means of treating the poorest and weakest residents.”

The group calls for the creation of a “community advisory committee” to the hospital, which “would monitor hospital policy, channel information and suggestions to board and staff, review complaints and make recommendations, and act when necessary as patient advocate.” It also calls for changes to be made in consultation with this committee, and urges the selection of a ward alderman and a representative of the community to the board of Wellesley Hospital.

The group, consisting of a number of local and community workers and residents, as well as Ward 7 Alderman Janet Howard, is now waiting for a reply to its brief from the hospital’s Board of Governors.

More information on the brief, including comments from patients and some of its recommendations, is on page 7.

Published in Seven News, 21 May 1977

Related topics:
Patient Advocacy