Category Archives: NHS

Managing our schools


I confess I have a vested interested in the way our schools are managed as I have two grandchildren – one in primary and one about to start secondary later this year – plus my daughter is a teaching assistant. Or at least, she was…

She wasn’t always a TA. She used to be a Superintendent Radiotherapist but after her son was born with medical difficulties and spent the first 4 months of his life in Great Ormond Street Hospital, she was unable to return to work as she was his full time carer. Thankfully, as he got older she was able to return to part time work but not with the NHS as they’d rather employ students. After all, they’re cheaper aren’t they? But more of that later.

So she got a part time job at the local primary as a TA. Well below her capabilities but the school were glad to have her especially as they could partially offload their liability in the case of anything happening to threaten my grandson’s life – which was a real possibility.

This year, that all changed. Sam in now off 4 hourly injections and is about to move on to a new school, so guess what? This year they’ve started fucking her about and treating her like shit ‘cos they really don’t care is she’s there or not now.

First they changed her job and reduced her hours. She’s on the dreaded zero hours contract – or at least she would be if they fulfilled their legal requirement to actually issue her with a contract – so they can give her whatever hours they feel like and nothing she can do about it. Then yesterday they called her in to the office and told her they were changing her role and hours again. They really didn’t give a shit if she liked it or not. Why should they? After all she’s a human resource, not a person…

Happily this time it rebounded on them because the NHS has just changed it’s policy and is actively encouraging physios and radiographers to return to the fold. There’s a skills shortage. As a result, she’s going to do the refresher course – previously £3,000 with no guarantee of a job at the end but now gone out the window – will reregister and, with luck and a following wind, go back to her old department. At least the NHS is beginning to see the light!

Unfortunately, not the schools. Rather satisfyingly she was able to say “No thanks. I’ll leave at the end of next week.” And the head teachers response? “Well I guess you get paid more as a radiotherapist!” proving that the daft sod completely missed the point. It’s not about the money. It’s about how you treat people. And, it seems, she’s not the only one they’ve been buggering around.

The answer, of course, is very simple. Schools should be run by a manager not by teachers whose background and training make them fundamentally unsuited to run a school.

There’s an old saying : “Those who can do. Those who can’t teach!” It’s certainly true in this case and, I suspect, in the vast majority of state schools…

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Charlie Gard


My sympathies go out to Charlie Gard’s parents. A sick child is a terrible thing for any parent to have to endure and all the more terrible when the prognosis is life threatening or, even worse, terminal.

I have personal experience of this. When my grandson was born, his blood sugar levels were so low they couldn’t be measured. He suffered – like Charlie – from a genetic disorder which would kill him if untreated. This is CHI or Congenital Hyper Insulinism. In simple terms it’s reverse diabetes. The pancreas bangs out massive doses of insulin which destroys blood sugar levels.

We got lucky. There was a doctor on duty who had worked at GOSH and recognised the condition. He was rushed into intensive care and tubed up. Sugar was pumped into him to keep him alive. A few days later he was rushed to GOSH in an ambulance, blue lights flashing.

He stayed there for four months. 95% of his pancreas was surgically removed. He received live saving drugs every four hours. He was fed through a tube directly into his stomach.

When he got home, his mother had to inject him. At night a feeding pump kept him alive until morning. This went for years until a new drug was developed the meant he only gets injected once a month. This meant the feeding tube was eventually removed. He’s ten now. Checks his own blood sugar and eats something when it drops too low. He’s back at GOSH for a few days every six months for tests and monitoring. There is no cure.

Charlie’s condition is, of course, far more serious but there is no more terrifying an ordeal for any parent than losing a child. I remain convinced from personal experience that everyone at GOSH did everything they could in Charlie’s best interests and am appalled at the vilification they have received from people with no detailed appreciation of the situation.

I have no more knowledge of the facts other than what I have gleaned from the media and, from experience, that can’t always be trusted.

What I do know is that GOSH do not deserve the abuse they have received. I only hope that the people dishing it out never find themselves in the same situation I did.

If they do, then they might come to regret their current behaviour…

Playing politics with people’s lives

junior-doctors-strike
I have a message for the junior doctors : Stop pretending that this strike is not political and that you’re not risking people’s lives by your actions.

When Corbyn was elected, I wrote a piece predicting that as he had no hope of winning an election that the attempts to bring down the Tory government would take to the streets. I’ve been proven right by this strike. It’s like the miner’s strike only with people instead of coal.

When it all started, the BMA’s call was was “Hey! They want you all to take a 30% pay cut!” Well, I’d strike if that was true. But it isn’t. It was bullshit. The doctors are actually being offered a 13% pay rise. So the BMA dropped that and moved on to “They’re putting patient safety at risk!” Well, that’s bullshit too isn’t it? The argument is that doctors are being asked to stretch themselves too thin and that they’ll be working such long hours that it risks patients is also simply not true.

The new contract reduced the maximum hours that a junior doctor can be required to work from 91 to 52 a week. It also give them 15 days paid study leave in their first year, cuts down the number of consecutive nights and long days, and a guaranteed 48 break between long shifts. So far from being more tired and overworked, they should actually be fresher and more fit for work.

So the BMA shifted again. Now it’s all about saving the NHS from privatisation. That’s privatisation that isn’t actually happening – but it sounds good doesn’t it?

We’ve just had the first strike in NHS history that withdraws emergency care. What they’re not quick to point out when peddling their propaganda about the support for this strike is that 22% of junior doctors crossed picket lines and turned up for work. That’s the 22% that mainly aren’t in the BMA. The ones with a conscience and some common sense who put patients before politics.

There is no case for the continued strike action. It’s now all about two things – screwing extra money for Saturday working and bringing down a democratically elected government.

So stop pissing about and get back to work…

Don’t get cancer in Wales

There’s a lot wrong with the English NHS but it pales into insignificance when compared to the Welsh NHS – especially when it comes to playing politics and treating cancer patients.

On the BBC this week was Irfon Williams who was refused a cancer drug because it’s not available on NHS. NICE didn’t approve it because it’s expensive. The drug cetuximab costs around £23,000 to treat a man for 8 months. Mr Williams decided to relocate his family to England so that he could get the drug through the Cancer Drugs Fund which is not available in Wales.

The guy was given two years to live but the treatment has been successful in shrinking his tumours to operative size so his future looks somewhat rosier than it did before. Is he happy? Well, no. It seems that now he’s a lot better he’s using his time to bleat about having to live in England. Well, you could have stayed in Wales and raised the £23,000 yourself couldn’t you Irfon? Or did you just want to be the richest bloke in the cemetary?

This story highlights Welsh cancer tourism to England because Irfon is far from being along in seeking treatment in England. But Wales is, of course, responsible for their health service under devolved powers and is governed by a caring sharing Labour Party so why are these people being saved by the wicked uncaring Tories? Well might you ask.

Labour naturally turn the story round to their twisted lefty thinking. They say that the Tories providing money for these drugs in England demonstrates that the Cancer Drugs Fund is a failed policy. But it’s not the policy that stopping Welsh patients from getting the treatments they need, it’s the policies of the Welsh government. As with lots of Labour propaganda, it’s never their fault and they don’t want facts interfering with a good story.

It’s hard to see how patients getting treated can be described as a ‘policy failure’ when surely the failure is that of the Welsh NHS not providing the same level of care. But if they can drive their own people across the border in fear of their lives, then it works out a lot cheaper for the Welsh doesn’t it?

Croeso i Corbynland…

A cabbie speaks out…

Now come on! I’ve been a cabbie for thirty years and I fink I’ve heard it all, but what’s all this bollocks about me being a bloody counsellor? I mean, whats that all about eh?

Saw it on the google box yesterday. Some dozy bird from the Royal Society for Public Health whatever that is spouting some consultant speak crap about barbers, bookies cabbies and Chris’ know who else being trained up to help loonies sort themselves out.

I mean, who was this bird anyway? Didn’t look old enough to know bugger all about real life and there she is filling the ethnic minority quota slot for some bloody dodgy government quango or somethin’. No doubt straight out of uni with a degree in some ology or other desperate to do anything to repay her student loans.

I’m telling yer, the NHS is a joke these days, innit? And stuff like this makes it a bloody laughing stock, know what I mean?

Mind you, she had a cracking pair of knockers and I’d have given her one. I mean, you’d have to be loony not to, wouldn’ yer?

And did I mention, I had that Boris Johnson in the back of my cab once…