NHS employees work stressful hours, are understaffed and many feel underappreciated, again. They face a rising cost of living, some are impacted by the market reaction to Westminster’s mini-budget, and they’re battling for fair wages. And in the midst of all this professional and personal hardship and stress NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde approved £320,000 for a “tiny” garden at the city’s super-hospital. It’s only natural the employees have expressed their disapproval and anger.
On unused land at the edge of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is developing a green area that will be accessible to both patients and staff members. Birch trees, wildflower meadows and sheltered seating areas are some of the features that the health board believes will turn the area close to car park two into a therapeutic and restorative space for both staff members and patients.
Announcement removed after 60 angry comments
A representative of the board stated they were responsible for the management of a large estate and had the responsibility to “conserve and manage biodiversity.”
When the board of directors posted the plans for the project on the employee Facebook group, they were met with dozens of angry comments. The post has since been taken down. One person expressed their confusion by stating, “Many wonder how resources can be found for vanity projects like this, when staffing levels, pay, and hundreds or thousands of patients are either trapped in hospital awaiting community services or stuck on ever-growing waiting lists.”
Board extols the virtues of a space that promotes biodiversity
One of the workers joked that the finished product would be “nothing more than a smokers’ garden.”
A spokesperson for NHSGGC stated:
“Improvements to greenspace and biodiversity play a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of our patients, staff and the wider community we serve. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde manages a substantial outdoor estate and as a public body, we have a duty under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 to conserve and enhance biodiversity as far as possible. Funding for the project has come from our charitable Endowment Fund, NHSGGC and the Scottish Government’s climate change and sustainability capital funding.
“As part of our commitment to sustainability and to create an outdoor space for recreation and enjoyment of nature, a derelict site at the QEUH was identified for development. The space will also enhance local biodiversity, and will create a place where staff and patients can enjoy greenspace and take part in growing activities. We hope the new space will be available for all to enjoy later this summer.”
NHSGGC expect QEUH staff and everyone to enjoy the experience
Gemma Kitson, greenspace and urban realm officer for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said:
“We’re really excited to get this project off the ground, thanks to our funders from the Scottish Government, NHSGGC Endowments and Estates. As spring approaches, and the days start getting longer, we’re looking forward to getting outside and seeing the seasons change. This project will provide a great space on the QEUH campus for staff, patients and visitors to get outside and experience the health and wellbeing benefits associated with arts and nature.”
A £320K garden many workers didn’t asked for has been built
Another worker remarked that there is already enough greenspace with trees and a pond for employees to sit at during their breaks.
“We don’t have too much time, and the time that we do have, we can’t waste traipsing to the other side of the site,” she said. “We do not need this tiny garden that is too far from the hospital for us to be able to get to on our breaks.”
It would seem that, according to staff fighting for what they call a fair wage, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a garden no one asked for is a waste of hard-earned taxpayer money. Will the board relent? No. The garden has now been built.