As The NHS Crow Flies…

“Southend Hospital, Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.”

via Urgent care services – NHS Choices.

…not that I would – as there are closer options – but if decided to haul my carcass down to good old Southend Hospital for a viewing, NHS Choices handily can provide me with the distance between my billet and the hospital: fifteen and half miles give or take. Very useful.

But then it also informs me, in parentheses, that the distance quoted is “in a straight line”. Hang on a minute, any crow flying from here to there would not only have to find its way across the emptiness that is the Dengie Peninsula, it would, first, have to make it over the Blackwater River and later the River Crouch, before over-topping the suburban fastnesses of Rochford and environs then finally swooping down on its prey. As it were.

Fine if you are that crow – though if you were a wounded crow in need of hospital treatment for a broken wing say, perhaps not so fine after all. Utterly meaningless in any case to the human, land-fast, traveller.

Google Maps more usefully gives the real door-to-door distance as over 31 miles; twice the nominal NHS Crow Road.

I  am all for the NHS giving information to its patients and the wider public about how and where to access its services (though to be honest anyone who doesn’t know where their local hospital is or how to get there is perhaps not worth saving), but when the information is systemically duff – i.e. it has duffness built into it – you have to ask: 1) Who thought this was a good idea; 2) Who decided to waste public money on such a non-runner? Or flier.

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