The Perambulations of a Peripatetic Paediatrician
Part 1. What happens in Vegas…..
They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well that may be so for the holiday maker or party-animal but if you’re a locum like me then consider modifying the expression to ‘What happens in Eastbourne goes on Tripadvisor’.
Let me explain why…
There are enough uncertainties in the world of locuming – like when the next locum opportunity will arise, or what that opportunity will be like – without having to add even more unknown’s into the mix.
For me, one of those great unknown’s is accommodation. When I got my current post [somewhere in East-Sussex] my big decision was ‘hospital accommodation or private?’
Now, I didn’t have a home of my own, and all my belonging were in storage or in the back of my Mazda, but buying a home was out, as was a long term house rental because of the concern [fortunately, totally unfounded] at the back of my mind that the post could be found wanting and I would end up having to leave after three weeks.
My thoughts were that hospital accommodation offered the bonus of theoretically being able to roll out of bed and onto the ward [via the shower] but was disadvantaged by the Busman’s Holiday-like prospect of living life in its entirety in hospital which is something I have strenuously avoided revisiting since ending my House-officer days a very long time ago. Living at work, was also cheap, but needed to be set-aside having to live cheek-by-jowl with other doctors – a profession not known for keeping office hours, holding wall-flower strewn parties and excessive beauty sleep. The biggest problem with weighing up these pro’s and con’s however was that accommodation of any sort can be such a mixed bag that you don’t know if you’re looking at staying in the equivalent of the Abu Dhabi Hilton or the Bates Motel – but this is why sites like Tripadvisor have flourished.
But when it comes to hospital accommodation it is virtually impossible to find reviews about what’s on offer because generally it doesn’t get reviewed on Tripadvisor. You could of-course try rolling up to the accommodation office of the hospital [if unlike me it isn’t 300 miles away.] Though I found [on trying to do this for my next attachment] that things were booked up months in advance and a room wasn’t even available to have a look at.
Unfortunately when it comes to reviews other types of accommodation aren’t always reviewed either, like short stay let’s for instance. A short stay let is a bit like renting holiday accommodation. The benefits of this arrangement are that you can often get rental property for a couple of months at a time without all the arrangements of a proper rental, the price also includes everything. The big negative is that the price can often be quite inflated especially during the holiday season so you do need to be prepared to haggle and the legalese does need to be borne in mind. Also if you turn up and the bath isn’t working, it’s not like renting a hotel room where you simply move nextdoor.
A short stay, after a lot of thought and finger crossing is what I have plumped for in the end and it is proving quality wise to be like a Sergio Leone Western, with venues comprising The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Sadly these could all have been simply improved but for a few dollars more being spent on them. [okay, enough of the (Best) Western Jokes.]
So that’s why I am determined to do my part for others in a similar position to me, to review every single property I have stayed in to date as a locum and yes, that means that it’s all going to go on Tripadvisor, or be linked to a blog via Tripadvisor. Every broken-on arrival fridge, bath and washing machine, every room “cleaned to [supposedly, but not really] exacting standards”, yes it’s all going to be regurgitated, splashed-over de-whitewashed in splendid Times New Roman font so that you unknown yet discerning-locum-reader-accomodation-seeker can be well informed before you set foot in the same establishment, or as Count Dracula would put it, in reference to staking out a hotel “Enter freely and your own free will.”
So here’s a thought, if you’re in a similar position, why not think about doing the same?
Dr Munib Haroon