WESTWELL OF ELY: There’s no need for such poor communication!

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell, - Credit: Archant

Communication is an over-used word that is bandied around by politicians, councils and large institutions.

They even appoint communications officers so that everyone knows exactly what is happening.

So why are so many mistakes being made through poor communication?

The crowning glory was the report of a police service that helped a man who fell ill and had to go to hospital.

The thoughtful policemen left his car outside the station for safe keeping. The next shift had not been informed, saw the strange car parked outside and took the expected procedure. They blew it up, suspecting it was planted there by terrorists!

Time and again we joke about ‘the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing’, but unfortunately it is often true.

I am phoned regularly by UK-based businesses cold-calling. I had asked the telephone provider to block such calls and it agreed. When I queried why their system wasn’t working, I was told it was out of its control because the blocking was done by a private firm. What kind of communication service is that?

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A lot of poor communication is caused by laziness. We all know the experience of having to think of a myriad of questions to get an answer to a simple question.

Go into the shops, ask for an item and the assistant often waves a hand in the general direction and instructs you to get it yourself.

When computers became the main source of communication the plan was, I believe, for workers to be able to do their jobs better and quicker.

Yet, how many times have we had to stand and wait while they ‘wait’ for the computer? In a hospital recently a patient anxious not to miss an appointment, instead of waiting for a letter to arrive, simply went to the department and was able to make the appointment verbally and immediately.

I’ve even heard of a council which forgot to tell a family the date of the father’s cremation, so no-one turned up.

Last December, I phoned to ask a local bus company about timetable changes in January.

I was told there would be no change. This was untrue. Quite often in Market Street a bus is not listed, so if you believe the information you could miss the bus completely by assuming it had come and gone.

In this day and age, with highly sophisticated communications systems now available there is no excuse for poor communication!