TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Those breaks not bargained for

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The Independent Culture
You may not be looking forward quite so eagerly to that fortnight in the sun after watching 'Holiday Hell', tonight's PUBLIC EYE (8pm BBC2). Adrian Davies's thorough documentary investigates the 'double whammy' of some holidays abroad: sub- standard health care and inadequate legal redress. Michael tumbled down the stairs and broke his neck while in Greece. After a four-hour ambulance journey during which a friend had to hold his neck still (the paramedics had no collar), he was put in an Athens hospital bed that was too short for him. He recovered from paralysis, but the negligence of the hospital caused his leg to go gangrenous. It had to be amputated. As other stories show, winning compensation from the Greek authorities is like drawing hens' teeth. The reporter Jenny Cuffe takes a British GP, Jim Harris, round the main state hospital in Heraklion on Crete. Viewing the smashed windows, crumbling plaster and broken air conditioning, he says: 'It's more like a hospital in Beirut than Europe.' The doctor is even more shocked by the lavatories: 'Looks like the English football fans have been here.' Maybe that trip to Skegness doesn't look so bad after all.

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