The initial experiences of third world type filthy conditions, was in the now defunct "Battle" hospital, the second of maladministration of drugs was a couple of years later in the Royal Berks! Where also because I was admitted in the early hours of the morning as an emergency, I spent about 8 hours on a gurney in the A&E dept before being admitted to a ward! Although I must admit it was more hygienic than the Battle, the quality of nursing was just as variable, from the very good to very bad!!I once had the dubious pleasure of rendering first aid to a patient with an MI. He had collapsed in the shared waiting room of a very big estate GP Surgery (20 GPs). I was there as a pharmaceutical rep. Myself and another rep who was an ex RAF Nurse gave first aid until the responder arrived. The only two GPs who bothered to stick their noses out of their door were more concerned with whose patient he was than his condition; he died on the way to hospital.
Big BIrd is right, you just can't give information out over the phone without first satisfying yourself that you are speaking to a next of kin. That being said most ward staff will understand that you may be close without being a relative and will make an effort to establish with the patient if they want you to be privy to any information.
Lifting is another matter and there is lifting and lifting. If you just want to straighten up on the bed then there are plenty of passive techniques which allow you to use the nurse's arm or shoulder as a fulcrum to adjust your position without endangering the healthcare worker.
I don't recognise Old Colonial's Reading experience because I've never come across such conditions in an NHS Hospital, that does not mean that it didn't happen, just that I don't think it's the norm. My experience is that NHS staff work wonders with the resourses available and often will willingly go the extra mile, even for patients who do nothing but carp and nit pick about almost everything. I don't for one moment think that the quality of care will be less under the NHS, just that a civilian atmosphere may not necessarily be the best atmosphere for soldiers injured in battle. Seeing a comrade casevaced is as gut wrenching as seeing a coffin go off, one of your 'family' is going into the unknown. A military hospital is within most soldier's comfort zones because they know that, whatever else happens to them, they are amongst their own.