Cameron, May and Coronavirus

Well, this post didn’t turn out anywhere near the way it thought it might, but in the interests of fairness I thought I’d write and publish it anyway, it may be of interest to somebody.

Hands Up, I confess, I really did think that post 2010 it would be a story about a Coalition/Tory government defunding the NHS in much the same way as they did the Police Service and other Public Sector organisations.  Didn’t quite turn out that way.

With the advent of Coronavirus/Covid hitting the country early this year I imagined that it would be a sorry tale of a nation woefully understaffed and unprepared for the pandemic that swallowed us all up.  You’ll have to make your own minds up about that.  I do have reservations about how Boris the Rumbustious and his Cabinet have handled it, but hopefully that will be fully explored by an Inquiry at some more appropriate time in the future.

I am indebted to NHS Digital for the following data, they are the most recent ones available, only released into the wild last week, although Matt Hancock speaking last week does seem to be in possession of some more up to date, but unpublished, statistics.

An unexpected increase in Doctors and Nurses in the year 2019-2020. Quelle Surprise, who’d a thunk it?

More or less what we’d all like to see I guess, a significant increase in Doctors and Nurses. a small, but valuable, increase in Ambulance Staff and a reduction in Senior Managers and Managers, an overall decrease of about 10%

I don’t profess to know what Staffing Levels in the NHS SHOULD be in order for us to be safe and well-treated, I have to leave that to others, but at least they are on the increase following a, more or less. stagnant period.  Like many others, I suspect, I have no problem with my taxes being spent on the NHS.

BUT, where do we stand in comparison with other countries?  How many Doctors/Nures per 1,000 head of population (or however it’s counted)?  I am grateful to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for an answer to that question and also providing the means whereby I can share it.

DOCTORS – Surprisingly we do somewhat better than some highly developed countries, but still very much in the bottom half of the table.  Although I do take into account that the latest data available appears to be about 2 years old, so we may have improved slightly.

NURSES – We fare somewhat better with our Nurses, slightly closer to the halfway line, but still slightly in the bottom half of the league.

FUNDING – We seem to do slightly better with our Funding, about 2 thirds up the Leaderboard for Spending on Healthcare as a Percentage of GDP, but in all three charts we are consistently falling behind those pesky Frenchies from over the Channel (for example).

In conclusion it would appear that I can’t blame a lack of NHS resources in the face of a Global Pandemic on David Cameron or Theresa May, damn.  As I said earlier I hope that there will eventually be a formal Inquiry into the handling of this Public Health crisis by the current government, and I await the outcome with interest.

Last Updated on

Ambulance Waiting Times

A change of subject today, but another topic very close to my heart.

Did you know that hospitals can be fined £200 for every patient that is kept waiting in an Ambulance at A&E for between 30 minutes and 1 hour?

It gets worse, if kept waiting for over an hour that fine can increase to £1,000.

Why are patients left waiting in an Ambulance once they have arrived at A&E? There is only one answer, government cuts.

I am not bashing the NHS, A&E or the Ambulance/Paramedic Service, I am laying the blame squarely at the door of Central Government, and it has been going on for several years.

Government cuts have led to fewer doctors, fewer nurses, bed-blocking (Local Authorities cannot accept patients being discharged from hospital to a Care Home etc due to their budgets being cut by government and this has a knock-on effect).

Hospitals are struggling financially because of the government cuts, and their situation is being made many times worse by being fined for failing to perform at the required level because of government cuts. The hospitals have less money, then they get fined and ‘robbed’ of some of the little money they did have.

In 2013, collectively, hospitals were fined £44 Million for patients kept waiting in Ambulances. In 2017 one hospital alone was fined £300,000 over a nine month period. Just think what these monies could achieve if spent on patients, instead of being lost in arbitrary ‘fines’.

Doctors, Nurses, Ambulance Drivers, Paramedics, virtually ALL Healthcare Professionals, exist to provide a world class service to their patients. They are hampered in doing this by the government cuts and then have even more money taken away from them because they have failed to meet their targets.

Well done Mr Hunt, I hope that you can sleep at night.

#CutsHaveConsequences in the NHS also.Last Updated on

NHS Reforms Are Working, Waiting Times Are Down

I am NOT having a go at the NHS.  I am a staunch supporter of the NHS, half of my family have, or do, work for the NHS.

Back in February of this year I was finally referred by my GP to see a Hospital Consultant.  End of March I saw the Consultant Surgeon. Having ordered fresh X-Rays he decided that there was no option he could offer me apart from surgery, and that it was urgent.  So he put me on his Urgent List, surgery within 6 weeks.  Nothing Life-Threatening, but seriously affecting my quality of life.

Within days I was given dates for a 5 hour pre-op assessment and my operation, end of May.  No complaints there because he was taking my pre-booked holiday into account.

The day before my op I was contacted by the hospital enquiring about my general well-being and any factors that might affect my suitability for surgery the next day. During the waiting period I had contracted a chest infection, seen my GP and been presribed antibiotics (and taken them).  Sharp intake of breath and the anaesthetist decided that I could not have my op for a minimum of 4 weeks after the completion of my course of antibiotics.  A pain in the derrière, but at least I could understand that part.

Simple, naive me thought that I would simply be sent a new date >4 weeks hence. Silly me.

The very next day I somehow received a letter from the bureaucrats that, as I was “unfit for surgery” I would be removed from the list until my GP declared me fit, which would be a minimum of 4 weeks. Taken off the list, the ‘clock’ effectively reset.

4 weeks on my GP bemusedly certified me fit for surgery and a quick phone call, with letter to follow, got me back on the list. Less than a week later I got a letter informing me of new date for surgery, 12th August.  So my course of antibiotics had effectively delayed my surgery by 10 weeks, not just 4.

A new 5 hour pre-op assessment was called for as the revised date for surgery was >3 months after the previous assessment.  Annoying but fair enough, I understood the need.

Fast Forward to 10th August when I received a phone call from the hospital.  “Bad news I’m afraid, we have to cancel your op as we have no Anaesthetist that day” They hoped to be able to give me a new date later that day or the next. They haven’t managed that yet.

My gripe with this cancellation is that, unlike the previous one, there is no clinical reason for it. Jeremy Hunt has ‘Reformed’ and ‘Improved’ the NHS so that they are now required to provide a  7 day routine service and not just for Emergencies.  So there will be increased resources for that then? No. A 5 day a week service now has to cover 7 days a week with no extra staff.

As I sit here and wait for new appointment when I should have been waking up after my operation it occurs to me that the Surgeon, his Registrar(s) and the Theatre Nurses were rostered to work today but can’t because there are no spare Anaeshetists to cover for the one who has presumably gone Sick. What are those highly skilled professionals doing today now?  Checking paper clips and stitches ready for Monday? Who knows?

So Hunt’s ‘Reforms’ of the NHS have, totally precictably, led to a situation where when one member of the team goes down the whole thing grinds to a halt.  Refusing to increase the resources means that I COULD have had surgery on a Saturday,  only I can’t as the hospital has been robbed of all resilience by the ‘Reforms’.

I have said this before in relation to Police Reforms, but Reform is defined as

make changes in something, (especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.

So where exactly are the improvements above Mr Hunt?

I know I’m biased, this is my personal experience of your Reformed NHS.  Working well isn’t it?

Surgery within 6 weeks is approaching “surgery within 6 months”  and as I write I still don’t have a new date but it sure as hell won’t be Monday will it?

Wherever you look in the Public Sector, the Emergency Services, the Armed Forces, they have been DESTROYED by the Conservative Party.

I hope you are proud of yourselves.Last Updated on

Have I Been ‘Hunted’ Down?

I thought I would leave the usual suspects in peace today.  This post is for my friends and followers in the NHS.

Before I write a single word I want to make it abundantly clear that I have the greatest respect and  admiration for the practitioners of the NHS, my ire and frustration are reserved for our politicians and any NHS Jobsworths there might be out there.

I believe that I have been a real, human victim of NHS Stats Fudging, and this is how it was done.

Some of you may know that I’m waiting for a hip replacement. My GP, in Welsh Wales, was particularly tardy in referring me to a specialist, and the reality is that he did nothing after my first X-Ray (over a period of years) until I began badgering him for a follow-up X-Ray to see how much the joint had deteriorated. Nothing.

Eventually he caved in and sent me for an X-Ray.  No complaints here, phoned the hospital to make an appointment “can you come this afternoon?”. What’s to complain about?

The results are in, the GP says “yes it has got worse, some time within the next 10 years you will need a new hip”.

My (NHS) physio saw the same X-Ray and report and decided that I needed to see a specialist, so she badgered the GP to refer me. The new  E-Referral system kicked in and worked like a dream, within a short period of time I had an appointment with a Consultant Surgeon. Another X-Ray and he decided that my cause was urgent, the joint is at risk of collapsing, a total Hip Replacement was my only option, he put me on his Urgent List, and informed me that I should get a date for surgery within about 6 weeks.

I soon received a letter informing me of a date for surgery at the end of May.  Whilst I was waiting I was asked to complete a questionnaire for the “Outcomes” Department.

Unfortunately for me it all started to go wrong when I suffered a chest infection duringmy waiting   period.  In my naievety I saw my GP, got a script for some Penicillin and got rid of said chest infection before my surgery date.  

24 hours before surgery I was contacted by a nurse enquiring about my general well-being. I thought nothing about telling her of the chest infection “but it’s all cleared up now, I had a course of anti-biotics which I’ve finished”. At that point an Anaesthetist chipped in and said I would have to wait 4 weeks from the end of my course of antibiotics before I could have surgery.  Disappointed, but I accepted it, he’s an Aneasthetist, I’m not.

The very next day I received a letter from an Admin Wallah informing me that I had been removed from the list for a minimum of 4 weeks.  After that time my GP could certify me ‘Fit for Surgery’ and I could go back on the list.  Which is precisely what happened, and that was followed by guess what?  Another date for surgery in 6 weeks time.

While I have been waiting I have been asked to fill in another questionnaire for the Outcomes Department.  My previous Outcome was presumably “Removed from the list after 6 weeks”.

If the surgery now goes ahead as planned I will be recorded as having been dealt with well within the NHS Waiting Times. The reality is that outcome is misleading.  I COULD have been offered a new date for surgery 6 weeks after the course of antibiotics, that would have taken care of the Anaesthetist’s 4 weeks and I could have accepted it. However, through no fault of my own I was removed from the list for 4 weeks then went back on it at the bottom again.  So much for an Urgent need.

I have been told that if hospitals fail to reach rheir Target Times their funding is cut. They have had to devise methods of presenting their figures to make it appear that they are not failing to hit their targets.  This is government-inspired. Thank you Mr Hunt.

The surgeon says my need is urgent, but the Jobsworths know better, and it’s OK for me to wait, just so their figures look better.  After all, a chest infection is not the fault of me or the hospital. S**t Happens as they say.

If the operation now goes ahead as planned I will have been waiting for about 5 months since I saw the surgeon, but the record wil show that I only waited about 6 weeks.

I actually blame the government (there’s a surprise) for this. 

 “Fail to hit your targets and we will reduce your funding” sounds very similar to “Do more with less” born out of another government department’s policies.Last Updated on

Posted in NHS

You’re Having A Laugh

On 22nd March, a brave Constable was murdered by a cowardly terrorist within the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. His name was Keith Palmer and he died protecting public and politicians alike from said terrorist.

On 3rd June 3 terrorists ran amok on London Bridge, and Borough Market.  A young nurse ran towards the casualties and was brutally murdered by the terrorists. Her name was Kirsty Boden.

On 14th June many exceedingly brave Firefighters faced overwhelming odds and entered the inferno that was Grenfell Tower in an attempt to rescue survivors.

On 28th June a group of politicians cheered when they defeated a motion to lift the cap on pay rises for Nurses, Police Officers and Firefighters.  They were led by someone called Theresa May.

That tells you everything you need to know about this current government.

To express your opinions you could write to your MP www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/Last Updated on

Dear Media, Why Do You Hate Us So?

Are you really the right hand men of an incompetent government, intent to bring the Police Service, and others, to their knees? Or is it just that it looks that way?

Newpaper headlines are almost always slanted to make our Police Service look incompetent, violent or corrupt.  Even when the events being reported occur abroad, that fact is omitted from the banner headlines, so that the reader might reasonably assume that was in uk

Shooting of unarmed white man shown in police body camera videoCALIFORNIA

White female police officer charged with manslaughter after shooting unarmed black man Tulsa

Death of unarmed black man Terence Crutcher, shot by police with his hands up, sparks protests and official investigationTulsa

The list goes on.

Even when relaying the news from this country the headlines don’t always describe the reality, or omit an alternative scenario.

Snapchat video captures moment ‘a police officer repeatedly punches a suspect in the head five times’ – when one reads the whole article it is actually mentioned that the suspect was actually biting the officer’s leg and that was why he was being punched.  The article also contained the information that the whole incident had been investigated by the Aforce’s Professional Standards Department who adjuged that the amount of force used was in fact reasonable.  Not the impression given by the banner headline though is it?

Then there’s our old friend corruption. ALL cops are corrupt, didn’t you know?  Well at least that’s what the press would have us believe.

Scotland Yard launches ‘bent cop’ probe after 13 unsolved murder files lost – except that when one reads the whole article it includes this

The Met said they have no evidence the files, all dating back to the 1980s, have been destroyed by corrupt police officers, but added: “This is kept under constant review.”

Not quite such a strong story now is it?  The Met is a HUGE organisation and storage of its paper files must be a total nightmare. It is more probable that they have simply been lost/mislaid/misfiled.

The Met can’t find 13 files, who knows where they are?”  is not such an attention grabbing headline is it?

SOME officers are corrupt, but not very many.  Decent officers won’t and don’t tolerate corruption.  I am absolutely convinced that the Met, along with every other Force, would absolutely love to rid themselves of corrupt officers.  A little thing called EVIDENCE is what keeps getting in the way.  Many Forces have prosecuted and/or sacked corrupt officers when they have the EVIDENCE, but it’s a bit tricky without.

So, members of the press, if you have any EVIDENCE of Police corruption produce it and I’m 100% confident that it will be investigated and the appropriate action taken, if not, please stop labelling cops as Corrupt when you can’t prove it.

It’s no better than me saying that all journos are bunging Police Officers and Prison Officers for information.  I’m sure it goes on but do you ALL do it?  No, probably not.

Stop acting like the government’s paid bullies and try employing more accurate and responsible headlines.

Some while ago I wrote this,  it seems that the Press are playing their part very well.Last Updated on

Bean Counters Or Saviours?

It’s no secret that when I left the Met I went to work for the Metropolitan Police Authority as a Forensic Auditor.

I confess that I did have to ask te question at my interview “What is a Forensic Auditor and what do they do?” as I have never heard of that job before, one of my colleagues had pointed out the vacancy, knew I was retiring and thought that it would be perfect for me.  How right they were, I got the job and had a great time, with the sole exception of the political machinations of working for a Police Authority, although I did get my own back, but I digress.

Well the answer to the question is that a Forensic Auditor is NOT a Bean Counter but more like a civilian investigator with no power of arrest etc.  In all the time I was there I never had to count beans, paper clips, biros or anything.  There were 9 of us in my office, 3 teams of 3, and 6 out of the 9 were retired Police Officers with a variety of skills and backgrounds.

I completely agree and accept that an office of 9 investigators was a luxury and that were lucky, but the unspoken story behind the headlines was that every year our Director had to give a report to the Authority justifying our continued existence, and every year we had either saved, or recovered in civil/criminal court proceedings more than the sum total of employing us.

The point that I am getting round to is this;

Fraud could be costing NHS in England £5.7bn a year, says report

That’s a hell of a lot of money and it’s not for me to say whether that is an accurate figure or not, but as with everything else #CutsHaveConsequences.  The Metropolitan Police Authority disappeared, MOPAC took over and my old office was reduced from 9 to 2 or possibly three, with the rider that they would outsource any big jobs to companies such as PwC, and they don’t come cheap.

I know for a fact that the NHS did have SOME Counter-Fraud Operatives, but not many considering the size of the organisation.  I don’t know how many have survived the cuts, maybe someone could enlighten me.

If the public services such as MOPAC, NHS etc etc took off their blinkers and realised that by employing these people they would actually SAVE money there would be more money for front line activities.

Don’t be fooled, Fraud exists within the Police Service, within the NHS, within the MOD and almost certainly everywhere else, but it is not the employees (in the main) that are committing the fraud, the biggest chunk is committed by the suppliers, and our government want to outsource procurement?  The problem would only get bigger.

I’m not looking for work or a consultancy, I just want our public funds to be well administered and well spent, and sometimes you need to spend money to save it.  I think that we owe it to our public to employ t he means by which we can protect our valuable assets, mainly cash, from the unscrupulous and criminal-minded people seeking to rip us off.

The Home Office advocates Crime Prevention after all, this is just professional Crime Prevention, putting systems in place to prevent fraud and to aggressively pursue those that would defraud the public purse.  Going back many years it was well known in the trade that if you submitted an invoice to the Met they would just pay it, guess what happened next.

It’s not a difficult job to do, you don’t have to be a retired Police Officer, training is available to the required standard with a proper sistificate at the end of it, but job opportunities are dwindling thanks to short-sighted senior management.

Be bold, recruit some Forensic Auditors and save some money, there’s today’s challenge for you.Last Updated on

Critical Mass

CRITICAL MASS

1. (Nuclear Physics) the minimum mass of fissionable material that can sustain a nuclear chain reaction
2. the minimum amount of money or number of people required to start or sustain an operation, business, process, etc:

Well, we must just about be approaching Critical Mass in UK PLC any time now.

I make no apology for concentrating on the wholesale slaughter of our Police Service, nobody would be surprised by that, but it doesn’t stop there does it?

17,000+  fewer Police Officers, with yet more savage cuts to come before 2020.

In the last 4 years the British Army (not including Ghurkas) has been reduced by 19,000 Regular Soldiers and Officers.

In the same period the Royal Navy has been reduced by approx 5,000 and the Royal Air Force by approx 8,000.

The Crown Prosecution Service has seen its budget cut by 25% and staff numbers reduced by 2,500.

Yesterday we heard the news that Addenbrookes Hospital had been graded Inadequate and placed in ‘Special Measures’.  I have to say that my personal opinion, for what that’s worth, is that Addenbrookes is NOT a bad hospital, it is an excellent hospital made bad by the government cuts.  The ‘highlights’ of the Care Quality Commission’s findings were;

  • A “significant shortfall of staff” in a number of areas resulted in staff being moved from one service to another and patients being cared for by workers without relevant training
  • Pressure on surgical services meant routine operations were frequently cancelled and, despite some outstanding maternity services, staffing issues led to regular closures
  • Important messages from the clinical divisions were not highlighted at trust board level
  • Introducing the £200m EPIC IT system for clinical records affected the “ability to report, highlight and take action on data” and meant medicines were not always prescribed correctly
  • Inspectors found “caring staff who did everything they could for patients” and “efficient” and “effective” emergency and major trauma departments

Surely to goodness the first two findings are indicative of budgetary strangulation?  ‘Not enough staff’ is usually caused by ‘not enough money to pay them’ rather than a physical shortage o staff or inability to fill vacancies.  The final point above is an indication of excellence in my book.  If the staff are ‘Caring’, ‘Efficient’ and ‘Effective’ then there is another reason why the hospital is under-performing, isn’t there Jeremy?

The Marine and Coastguard Agency is crumbling around our ears and the stalwarts who were not made redundant are now leaving the Service, presumably due the manner in which they have been treated.

Privatisation of Prisons has had a good effect, most of the lurid headlines we have seen in the last couple of years have taken place at privately run prisons I believe.

The list goes on and on, but getting back to my main point;

I don’t know what it is but somebody out there must do, and is keeping quiet;

There MUST be a Minimum Number of Police Officers, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Doctors, Nurses, Coastguards, Lawyers, etc etc etc that we need for UK PLC to run efficiently and be safe and sustainable i.e. a Critical Mass.  I truly fear that we will soon go below that number, if we haven’t already.  All of the above services are NOT traditional Industries that sell things to make a profit, they all need money pumping into them to make them work and if you strangle that flow of money something breaks, doesn’t get done.  I have seen the question asked many times before – “What shall we stop doing in order to meet your requirements?”  I haven’t yet seen one single answer.

Some time ago I said that I had heard that the Home Office were looking to reduce Police Numbers as low as 80,000, nobody within the Police Service or the Home Office has ever challenged that figure and told me that I am wrong.

The Armed Forces are an embarrassment, through no fault of their own.  I am immensely proud of our Armed Forces, but they can’t get the job done with slashed numbers either.

Three years ago the NHS was the ‘poor cousin’ worldwide;

There were just 2.8 doctors and 8.2 nurses per 10,000 population in 2012, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

In comparison, the other wealthy countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had averages of 3.2 and 8.9 respectively, with the EIU describing the UK figures as “worrying” due to the link between staff numbers and patient outcomes.

n terms of physical resources, the report said the situation was even worse, with just 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 population against an OECD average of 4.8. In Japan there were 13.4 per 1,000.

The UK also had less than half the amount of equipment – such as computerised tomography (CT) scanners and magnetic resonance image (MRI) units – than the average, at 6.8 and 8.7 per million population.

Overall it ranked just 28th out of 30 countries for healthcare resourcing, with only Israel and Turkey coming out worse.

That was three years ago, how bad can it have got since?

Fiddling While Britain Burns
Fiddling While Britain Burns

And all the time the pompous idiots that rule this country sit back and make sure that the bankers etc etc can have their bonuses back and not have to suffer like ‘ordinary’ people.

What makes it all worse, unforgivable even, is that this a cold, calculated, deliberate act by Camoron and his Cronies.  Aided and Abetted by self-serving businessmen and women, Senior Police Officers, possibly even senior Service Personnel, Civil Servants all selling out for a Knighthood or a Peerage.

Now we know exactly what is meant by the words “Reform is Working”

 

Safe to say I’m not in line for either of those but I might just be on some kind of list by now.Last Updated on

Yet Again This Government Treats Thousands Of Voters With Contempt

Way back in the dim and distant I signed one of these on-line Government Petition thingies.  It was to debate a Vote of No Confidence in Jeremy Hunt (NOT Rhyming Slang)?  You can imagine how I excited I felt when I heard that the government was actually going to debate this, and then I received an email informing me that IT HAD BEEN DEBATED.

Almost a quarter of a million people had signed this petition, no small number by anybody’s standards.

So I followed the link to the transcript of the debate, went straight to the bottom to discover what had been resolved.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House has considered the e-petition relating to contracts and conditions in the NHS.

6.55 pm

Sitting adjourned.

WTF?   thought I.  That’s not what they were supposed to be debating, so I went back to the very beginning, a very good place to start.

4.31 pm

Valerie Vaz (in the Chair): A digital debate took place on Twitter, ahead of today’s debate. Mr Speaker has agreed that for this debate members of the public can use handheld electronic devices in the Public Gallery, provided that they are silent. Photos, however, must not be taken.

Helen Jones (Warrington North) (Lab): I beg to move,

That this House has considered the e-petition relating to contracts and conditions in the NHS

 

So, correct me if I’m wrong but the Committee have debated something completely different to the petition and then had the gall to send out an email telling hundreds of thousands of people who had signed the petition that it had been debated, when the reality was something completely different.

One more example, if any more were needed for this government’s total contempt for the Electorate. Man Electorate that for some reason voted for them in May, as this how they are treated.

Totally beyond DESPICABLE.

 Last Updated on

This Country Has Gone Mad

No wonder the NHS is short of money.

Last night Mrs Angry was talking to a member of her family who works in the NHS at a large hospital in one of our cities.

Said relative has unexpectedly resigned her (highly responsible) post with effect from the end of this month.

Why?  I hear you ask.

Because instead of helping to heal seriously sick patients she has become inundated with patients from  “Abroad” who have come here on “holiday” and suddenly been taken ill with a medical problem they have clearly been suffering from for many years.

For some reason, quite unclear to all of us, the NHS has accepted these patients for treatment without requiring them to pay for their treatment, thus radically reducing the already depleted resources available to the residents of that city.

Then it gets worse.  After a few appointments said foreign patient now announces that his/her family are arriving from whichever country it is, and “you must organise housing for me and my family”.

Presumably, because NHS staff possess good humanitarian values, they then get themselves bogged down liaising with the Local Authority to arrange suitable housing for the foreign patient and his/her family.

I might be a crusty old gig, but this seems wrong to me on so many levels.

When I was unfortunate enough to need to take my daughter to. French hospital A&E whilst on holiday we had to pay.

When I lived in France we had to pay for our Healthcare and, normally, claim it back from our Health Insurance company.  Neither as a holidaymaker, nor as a resident, could I pitch up at a French hospital, get free treatment and housing arranged for my family.  Neither, incidentally, was I ever offered any leaflets or information in any language other than French.  If I couldn’t understand it, it was my responsibility to get it translated into English at my own expense, nothing was ever printed in 39 different languages, but we seem to spend a fortune on it.

It seems to an old duffer like me that the NHS (and others) like the Police Service needs to concentrate on those things that are their responsibility and NOT what is somebody else’s job.  It sounds a tad harsh maybe, we’re used to the Police and others being almost like a One Stop Shop, but the government has made clear that that culture has to end, it is not sustainable.

Rant over, enjoy your weekendLast Updated on