Gwen Gibb joined the Pump Rooms as a clerical assistant in 1975.
What did your job involve?
Typing letters, I was responsible for the counting of treatments, allocating the number of points to each treatment, that sort of thing for producing the figures for the health authority and the Warwick District Council. I was receptionist, did all the telephone work. Saw most people when they came in because they brought in their cards from GPs or hospital consultants, that sort of thing. Paid the wages out for the manual staff, swimming pool staff, that sort of thing when the pool manager wasn’t here. Did just about everything that was going.
Spa treatments weren’t fashionable. The place was draining money, it had been left to deteriorate years before 1974, before the changeover from, you know, local government reorganisation and to make anything of it would have cost far, far too much. And also the department was costing too much so in the end it had to go. They couldn’t sustain the expenditure.
In later years, a point system was introduced to help calculate the number of treatments provided to patients.
You had the number of patients, say on that column there and yes, so a Mrs So-and-So had a hot pack and hydrotherapy so okay, you put three there and that was how… So when you see the figures now and they used to shout about us doing seventy odd thousand treatments a year. Yes, we were doing treatments but that doesn’t represent patients, it’s what they were getting. So when I came, we were under threat I think most of the time anyway, but we decided, Anne Golland decided that we had to tighten up on the number of points and that sort of thing, so because we had a lot of people coming in for advice, and so we started counting that as well. So that if they came in for advice, so okay, depending how long was spent on them; one point, two points, anything we could get hold of that represented some value to the patient, we counted. So consequently the numbers went up.
If it was hydrotherapy, it was three points. Shortwave in physiotherapy would be one point. I think Vortex, the Vortex bath, you call jacuzzi now, probably would be I think one point. But if they had two things together, like shortwave and perhaps hot packs or something like that, then that would be two points and yes, hydrotherapy and a hot pack would be three points. And you had, every time, they had treatment cards and it was marked on the card what they had received each visit and you counted the patient and what they’d received and you totted that up at the end of the week and the end of the month and it went off to NHS and the district council.
Did you think the number of treatments increased over the years or decreased?
Oh yes, increased. Very much so, yes. The change came – well at first patients could only be referred from a hospital consultant and if they came from a GP they were private patients so they were charged. But then, I don’t know, maybe ’85, ’84, something like that, it changed so the GPs could refer them. So I mean we had a horrendous waiting list at one stage.