GETTING lost in a good novel was just what the doctor ordered as the Great Western Hospital launched its new fiction collection to mark World Book Night.

Staff were invited to browse the hospital library’s newest offerings yesterday, and flick through the pages of the latest bestsellers while enjoying a hot drink and slice of cake.

GWH also gave away 85 volumes donated by the Reading Agency as part of its World Book Night celebrations – a gift greeted by its most avid readers.

Although very few are aware of the hospital’s book service in the community, the library is an essential research hub with the latest medical textbooks and journals available to doctors, nurses and students.

The fiction collection, which already counts 230 books, all donated by employees, will allow workers from administration staff to consultants a welcome break from their high-pressured jobs.

“Before this we were about research and management study but other medical libraries have introduced a fiction section to allow staff to borrow books for pleasure so we thought we would do the same and launch for World Book Night, which is about encouraging adults to read for pleasure,” said head librarian Sam Burgess, one of four library staff.

“In just one hour we had six people register to the library. The new collection has made an impact already.

“It is about staff’s wellbeing and about them taking time to switch off. It’s important when you work in a high pressure environment.”

To encourage staff to broaden their literary horizons, the library invited them to borrow one of its mystery reads – novels wrapped to cover their titles – and surprise themselves with something they might not normally have picked.

Maxine Buyanga, matron for trauma and orthopaedics services, was one of the first to select one of the mystery books – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

“I am always at the library doing my work or some research,” she said. “There is a lot of formal reading involved in my type of work and it’s nice to be able to get a novel at the library, relax and read something easy and not so taxing mentally.”

Kay Doyle, bank administrator at GWH, was also at the launch of the collection.

“Having a fiction section here will be much more of a draw,” she said. “I used the local library but because of the opening times it was not always possible for me to get there in time. So this is ideal, really.”