By Mike Cunningham On February 29th, 2012 at 4:40 pm
We are regaled with yet another ‘survey’, bringing us conclusions that we all know and have learnt by heart already. ‘Dignity’ is the new watchword, and apparently woe betide any nurse, assistant or doctor who does not treat a patient with courtesy and consideration! Yawn, blah, blah, heard-it-all-before!
As I myself was ushered into hospital in Newcastle, I was asked “How did I expect to be addressed? Was it to be ‘Mike’, or ‘Michael”?
My name, which was solemnly written in black marker above my bed, was of course ‘Mr. Cunningham’. I believe that I was the only patient in that entire 1500-bed hospital to ask to be addressed by his surname. You might ask why? I do not grab at Christian names of people whom I have just met, I do not know them. At that stage, I don’t know if I wish to know them; so they remain as Mr. XXXX, or Mrs. ZZZZ; or by their title, until such time as we mutually agree that we have known each other long enough to dispense with the formality, and address one another by our given Christian names.
Informality breeds, as far as I am concerned, contempt; and a too easy leap into informality leads to a destruction of the necessary gap between those who work in a hospital, and those who have to be there because they are ill!
I am a person, with a name and an individuality given me by my Creator, and I will never, ever, call some snotty-nosed git ‘Robin’ because he wishes to be ‘comfortable’ when talking with me! Neither will I ever let him, or any other complete stranger, call me anything else but Mr. Cunningham until I specifically permit them to do so!
By Mike Cunningham On December 23rd, 2011 at 8:29 pm
PFI hospital maintenance contracts may be reported as being crazy, with lamp changes costing £450.00 each, but the truth is less ‘headline-worthy’.
Imagine if you, as the contractor, have to sign up to replace a huge variety of light fittings and lamps by a set time, if so required by the hospital.
You have to arrange to buy and store a certain number of each type of lamp and fitting, and then ascertain whether the ‘three hours to change a lamp’ can be achieved. You then have to check whether a lamp needs to be changed in a corridor (one man, a step ladder) or a 400 watt fitting set thirty foot up against the ambulance bay adjacent to the Emergency entrance (three men, a hydraulic lift, specialist tools); or even a fitting in an operating room, (one man, but special dust control measures and re-sterilisation), and then you price and average out accordingly.
So you also allow for an electrician to be on call 24/7, together with a vehicle, as well as calling in stand-by crews if there is more than one job to tackle.
You then add up all the types of lamps and fittings, costing this in terms of working capital tied up, and add that to the total costs of the job. Then you add a 10% profit margin; and then you realise that is where the £450.00 to change a lamp comes from.
The Contracts were all arranged by the super-brains who were led and motivated by ‘New Labour’, so when the cost of the PFI contracts is calculated as some £61 billion, we all know who to blame!
By David Vance On August 26th, 2011 at 7:10 am
Talk about the fat of the land…
Tougher action – including taxing junk food – is needed by all governments if the obesity crisis is going to be tackled, experts say. The international group of researchers, who have published a series of articles in The Lancet, said no country had yet got to grips with the problem. They said changes in society meant it was getting harder for people to live healthy lives. And they warned without state action, health systems could become swamped. Obesity-related problems, such as diabetes, were now accounting for between 2% and 6% of health care costs in most countries.
This is a tough one. On the one hand, you DO see an awful lot of very fat people, most distressingly children waddling through our streets. Why? Lack of exercise and poor diet, I guess. What will this mean for the future? A lot more pressure on our socialised health system. But the answer is NOT for the State to decide just how fat or thin people should be. It is for individuals to take responsibility for their own health. But the conundrum is this; in a socialised health care system they can get away with being irresponsibility. When one chooses private healthcare watch what happens your premium as you supersize yourself. That’s the right sort of motivation.
By David Vance On June 8th, 2011 at 7:01 pm
Our NHS – the envy of the world. Staffed by caring nurses and dedicated doctors, we are surely lucky to have such a system of health provision. Yes?
Two heartbroken parents have slammed ‘inhumane’ nurses who left their dead son lying in the middle of a hospital corridor and stepped over his corpse for more than ten hours thinking he was asleep. CCTV captured staff pulling the lifeless body of Peter Thompson along the floor like they were ‘dragging the body of a dead animal’. Today a coroner said his death was ‘wholly preventable’ and believes he could have survived but for the neglect of nursing staff, three of whom now face disciplinary proceedings.
Disciplinary proceedings? No, they should be sacked and it’s as simple as that. One of the profound problems of the NHS is the stunning lack of responsibility. Rather like the teaching profession, no one gets sacked unless things go atrociously wrong. How much more wrong can they go than in this case?
By David Vance On May 28th, 2011 at 9:34 am
This article caught my eye. As readers will know, I have been regularly castigated in the media (BBC in particular) for daring to suggest that the NHS is far from perfect and needs major reform if it is to deliver. If you mention filthy hospital wards, uncaring nurses, bloated bureaucracy, vast waste, gross incompetency..you are damned. The NHS is beyond criticism and this absurdity characterises debate in the UK. And yet…
“No system of universal healthcare is perfect. All have their pros and cons. But by common agreement, the best and most effective tend to be those that combine public provision with some form of co-payment or compulsory health insurance. Many of the best healthcare systems also allow for extensive private sector involvement.
Yet in the UK, anything that could be construed as partial “privatisation” remains strictly off limits. Similarly, any discussion of co-payment that goes beyond simple prescription charges, dental care and so on, is taboo. Debate about the future of the NHS remains largely frozen in a miasma of post-war nostalgia. On healthcare reform, as on much else, Britain is firmly stuck in the past.
Even Sweden, spiritual home of the high-tax, social market economy, enthusiastically embraces both co-payment and private sector participation. You won’t pay less than 15 euros to see a doctor in Sweden”
And then this;
“It is often said that providing for the old and sick is the mark of a civilised society, and so it is. But if maintaining spending on healthcare and pensioners is at the expense of investment in future competitiveness – infrastructure, training and education – then it condemns the country to long-term decline.
The idea of co-payment is thought perfectly acceptable for education – higher tuition fees are just that. But when it comes to healthcare, it’s not to be discussed. The policy choices seem ever more dictated by the demographics of an ageing society. Britain prefers to spend wastefully on its past than invest in its future.
Upholding the “free at the point of use” principle for healthcare will eventually bankrupt the country if nothing is done…”
The fact is that the NHS does need major surgery but no one will countenance this. Our craven political class, bowing to media approval, keep backing off. And yet there is one certainty and it is this; the NHS is guaranteed to fail in the long term unless there is change.