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Florence Nightingale would be horrified that we deny people natural light

Spending all day in artificial light is not good for patients' physical or psychological health

A close relative, Richard, was recently admitted to hospital via A&E suffering from pneumonia and pleural effusion.

It was a bank holiday, beds were in short supply, so although he was a respiratory medical emergency – being over 70 – he was admitted to an acute assessment ward for the elderly.

Like most modern wards it was made up of multi-bedded bays and single rooms. Admission went smoothly and the nursing care was pretty good. But there was one thing I found shocking, something that in 50 years in nursing I had never seen before.

His seven-bed bay had almost no windows, just two narrow frosted-glass slits high up on the end wall. Patients received no direct natural light, and had no view.

‘The absence of daylight is depressing,’ reported Richard. ‘Artificial lighting is essential night and day. Only a few windows in the complex open;


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