Archive for the 'A bit of a rant' Category

Skills shortage

Successive governments have told us that Britain needs to admit hordes of skilled migrant workers to do the jobs for which we have insufficient home-grown talent.

Clearly we don't train enough native parcel-posting parking-pricks, so we have to import people whose grasp of the English language, manners and road-courtesy leaves much to be desired. That grasp seems to be restricted to the words "I moving, yes?", mumbled in what sounds like a Carpathian accent, and delivered with a free scowl and no contrition. Apparently the skill of noticing huge vacant parking spaces to the left and to the right isn't mandatory:

Identity Crisis

Posted by on December 19th 2017 in A bit of a rant

Why is it that, in this age of lightning-fast networked computers, apps for every conceivable eventuality, and allegedly-ever-improving standards of education, the health services of this country still can't match names to phone numbers and/or documents?

Fail 1

A few weeks back I had a toenail avulsion, courtesy of the NHS. It's a standard procedure with a standard recovery regime - nail off, chemicals applied, dressing on, first self-redressing 2 days later, first clinic-redressing the day after that, then self-redressing every 2 days for a month, then a second clinic-redressing, assessment and discharge. The appointment for that second clinic-redressing should have been arranged during the first clinic-redressing session, and I was handed a set of sheets with instructions which included a space for the podiatrist to write in the details of second clinic-redressing appointment.

When the month was about up I consulted the paperwork to plan for the appointment but found that they hadn't written down the details, so I had to phone the booking office to get that information and that's where it started to turn weird... the system was telling them that I'd been discharged 3 days after the procedure, which isn't standard practise. They asked me to check the paperwork... it definitely didn't have any appointment details on it. Worse still, it didn't even have my name on it, according to the paperwork I was "Lyni Sargent". After I'd had a pop at them, they wasted no time in making an appointment for me.

Just to compound the confusion, they had no record of ever having treated a "Lyni Sargent", so why she had a post-op instruction sheet printed for her is a complete mystery. Maybe the system's wrong, and Lyni is still waiting for a call or letter that will never come, while her neglected toe's gangrene goes untreated.

Fail 2

Last week the home-care bods who visit my M-i-L rang our land-line yet again. Now there's a back-story here, and I'll keep it brief... my M-i-L has 4 offspring, and each of them has a spouse, and all eight have submitted their contact details so that there's always someone available to handle carer-calls when it all goes to pot. In practice, however, most of the calls were aimed at my Chris via our land-line and we'd assumed that was because the carers knew that she lives closest to her Mum. The problem was that my Chris works a fair distance away and at later-than-usual hours, and calls became cascades as the panic propagated from here through siblings and spouses, so we insisted that the carers created and used a Priority Contact List. It has five entries, starting with the nearest son, then his wife, then my Chris (her mobile number for when she's at work), then the next-nearest son, and finally my Chris again (our land-line number). The other son lives so far away that he's not on the Priority Contact List because he can't be expected to attend within the hour.

Anyway, as I was saying, the bods rang our land-line and I picked up. They had dialled the fifth entry first, and for some bizarre reason they were expecting me to answer to the name "Geoff", supposedly the spouse of my Chris. Yes, you guessed it, Geoff is the one who lives far, far away and who is not on the list and who isn't married to or living with my wife.

When I said that I wasn't Geoff, they thought that I might be "Sue", who is the spouse of Geoff's brother, and who doesn't live either here or with Geoff. Eventually they decided that I must be "Chris", the person that they were actually trying to contact, and I had to nail into their numb-skulls yet again that Chris was at work and could have been reached on her mobile, but only after the previous priority numbers had been tried.

The following day I went to their office to bang a few heads together. Again.

After getting home with a printout of the Priority Contact List we found that when they created it they had transposed a couple of digits of Chris' mobile number, so they would never have got through to her that way. And they weren't using the bloody list anyway, they were using a database which has the same transposition error and has the contacts in alphabetical, not priority, order.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention what dire emergency had prompted the carers to pick up the Bat-Phone to initiate this communication crisis... one of them had been into the pantry and had found some tinned fruit which was just past its "Best Before:" date. Whoopie-fucking-doo!

Fail 3

Today my mobile rang and I answered it to find that it was a call from the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening peeps, they wanted to discuss the twice-postponed impending internal photo-shoot which is their birthday present for all 55-year-olds (with all of the delays, it's taken so long that I'll be nearer to 56 than to 55 when they get a round tuit). For some dumb-fuck reason they had it in their heads that I was "Melvyn Hines". They've sent me an enema-pack, and they've told me where I can stick it. BOHICA, Melvyn!


So, in the space of a few weeks I've been Lyni, Geoff, Sue, Chris and Melvyn. On Friday I'll be having an MRI scan to see if I need a replacement knee, and God only knows what gratuitous identity will be assigned to me for that. If it turns out to be "Neil", they can fuck off.

Kudos for effort

It's an improvement of sorts:

At least she fully-blocked only my neighbour's ingress/egress, I had only her driver's side impeding mine.

To be fair, she put in way more effort than the two who visited here earlier...

I'd answered the front door to a bloke who, while looking straight at the adjacent number-plaque which bears a number that's clearly not 20, proceeded to ask me if this was number 20. If that wasn't enough lunacy, about a minute later he (I think it was the same bloke) had made his way up our side-garden path and was trying to get through our garden gate (the one that's marked "Private"), and when I went out of the back door to accost him for trespassing he proceeded to asked me the same question again! He was an estate agent. I was unamused.

And not five minutes later the postwoman dumped a pile of junk-mail through our door. She was unimpressed at being called back from the other end of the close for me to hand it all back to her. She claimed that she had not noticed our opt-out notice or the sign on our letter-box flap:

One of the junk-mails was from Specsavers, I recommended that she should keep it for herself but I think that she was so unobservant that she couldn't see the irony of it.

So, we've had a fair crop of eejuts already, and it's not even lunchtime. It doesn't bode well for the rest of the week.

A waste of time and money for all concerned

Posted by on August 1st 2017 in A bit of a rant

It's that time again. The annual Vascular Review. It's always a good indicator of how provincial our NHS is.

My GP's surgery is in Leicestershire and if I need specialist treatment they refer me to one of the three Leicester hospitals which use a common networked data system so there's a shared data repository. The edited highlights, such as blood-test results, treatment regimes and medical procedures are communicated to my GP. It's not rocket-science.

At that same Leicestershire GP surgery is a Vascular Clinic (VC) where they monitor "those who have a medical history of Coronary Heart Disease (Heart Attacks and Angina), Strokes or Mini-Strokes and Peripheral Vascular Disease". Once a year they take your bloods, send them off for testing, and later they call you back in for a review. The VC team works independently, keeps its own records, and sends the bloods for testing at The George Eliot over the border in Warwickshire.

But there are problems... the Leicestershire data system and the Warwickshire data system don't interact very well at all, and access to one does not necessarily give access to the other.

So on the one hand we have GPs who get the data from the Leicester hospitals, and on the other hand we have the VC team which gets the Warwickshire blood-test results but can't access any of the 137 blood-test results that the Leicester hospitals have on record for me from FBC/cholesterol/ferritin/glucose tests done during the last 20 months (including 21 test results since the previous Vascular Review), tests which will continue to be done on a frequent basis for at least another 16 months, and intermittently after that until I fall off the perch of mortality and go on to mime in the Norwegian Blue Choir.

It would be so easy if the VC team could use either the phone or the computer to call up my most-recent test-results (13th July 2017 at The Royal), review them, and then either phone me or send me a letter telling me that I don't need to attend because all is well. I already know that all is well - the team at The Royal is currently checking these things at least once every two months, not once every 12 months.

But no, that's far too simple and therefore it can't be done. Instead, to maintain the unnecessary complexity and wastefulness that the NHS has become inured to, I had to attend an appointment at the VC for another needle in the arm (but, strangely, they did no standard obs such as blood pressures, heart-rate, respiration and sats), and now I'm waiting to be called in for another appointment at the VC for a review of the results when they become available. It's unlikely that anything bad will show up, but if it does it'll mean yet another appointment with the GP which will probably result in a referral to one of the three Leicester hospitals, thus perpetuating the data disconnect.

Bloody Hell, as the saying goes.

Badministrative errors

Posted by on July 12th 2017 in A bit of a rant

The school's website is just as dodgy as its messaging service.

For ALL of the current academic year their website's calendar has been telling all and sundry that this term will end on Friday July 14th. We booked our holiday with that date in mind:

Furthermore, for many weeks it has been telling the same all and sundry that the Year 12 Futures (Future's???) Conference finishes on Thursday July 13th:

Well, it ain't so. TODAY we found out that TODAY is both the last day of term for Year 12 students and the last day of the Year 12 Futures (Future's???) Conference.

You can guess how diplomatic I was when I phoned the school to listen to the staff pointing the verbal finger of blame at the admins and concocting made-up-on-the-fly excuses.

FFS, HAJC, if you're going to have an informative website, the least you could do is check that the information there is actually correct.

Ad nauseam

Posted by on June 9th 2017 in A bit of a rant


Posted by on June 5th 2017 in A bit of a rant

Only three days to go until the big day.

And only after midday today did we find out about the following, via a friend who emailed me today after himself finding out about it only a few hours beforehand.

Of course, by then it was too late to re-jig my evening and far too late to submit any questions:

Of the people we've talked to about this, nobody noticed anything about it in the local free magazines and papers, nobody noticed any posters around the village, nor around the town (nor in the pub loos), and nobody received any flyers through the door.

Just goes to show how much they really want to engage with us.

Situation Normal.

Dealt a Yarborough

Posted by on June 1st 2017 in A bit of a rant

Only a week to go until the big day.

When it comes to General Elections I've never had any problems choosing which candidate got my vote... until this one.

We have only four parties vying for the top spot here:

and I have misgivings about all of them.

LibDems: They've had my vote before, and their candidate stands the best chance of ousting our current absentee-landlord, but after Clegg broke his tuition fees pledge while polishing Cameron's buttocks I don't think that I can bring myself to trust the LibDems again.

Labour: Well, when your head honcho has played poker with his cards face-up by ruling out ever using Britain’s nuclear deterrent (thus making it no deterrent whatsoever) and whose credibility on defence is in tatters, who's going to keep the flag flying if Johnny Foreigner decides to take a pop at us? Moreover, there's NATO's Article 5 which say something like "an armed attack against one NATO member shall be considered an attack against them all". In that circumstance what's the top man going to deploy? Sharp sticks? Harsh words? Economic-migrant car-washers armed with wet sponges?

Conservatives: As a party they seem to have it in the bag already, but there's no way that our current candidate will get my vote even if his gaffer was [insert your preferred benevolent deity here]. My views on our current candidate's 30 years as Our Man In Havana At The Conning Towers are well-documented on this blog and don't need repeating here.

So that leaves the Greens. The party that favours ungreen* wind-farms here, there and everywhere. No thanks.

I think it may well be a case of "None of the above".

But I'll still go to the Polling Station even if it's only to bait the tellers.

* Probably not a real word but it seems to fit.

Subtle hint

Posted by on May 27th 2017 in A bit of a rant

Above: My feedback on the Royal Mail Door-to-Door Opt-Out Scheme. Soon afterwards, it was fed back into the local post-box.

Maybe I should have written it in all known languages, as it's clear that they can't read (or can't be arsed to read) the English version of the form which I've printed, completed, laminated and stuck to the front door directly above the letterbox, the flap of which also bears a "No Junk Mail" sign:

I suppose they've "lost" all of the properly-completed forms which I've sent to Freepost ROYAL MAIL CUSTOMER SERVICES this year.

Oh FFS! He’s standing again! (Version 2, with added YT clip)

Posted by on May 11th 2017 in A bit of a rant, In the News

This is a re-hash of my post of 7th May 2010. Not much has changed, so for obvious reasons it's a copy/paste job with only minor edits and additions...

For 30 years we've had the same MP, and in all that time we've only ever seen him once, when he was in Hinckley town centre drumming up support for his re-election in 2015. Hardly surprising, really, as he still lives nowhere near his Bosworth constituency, he still lives 140 miles away in Sussex, which is still even further away from Bosworth than Westminster is. He's tried to claim expenses for astrology software and for an intimate relationships course, and was guilty of accepting cash-for-questions. He believes that homeopathy can fix the NHS. He's still never responded directly to any of the questions that I've put to him, preferring to "sub out" the job to somebody else. We had high hopes that he'd be ousted in 2010, and even higher hopes in 2015, but, despite calls for him to stand down he's going to be campaigning for yet another term.

His obsession with using his parliamentary position to campaign for homeopathy is, to me, just plain wrong. He's paid to represent his constituents, not to pursue his own personal agenda.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not anti-homeopathy, I'm not anti-Tory, I don't much mind which party ends up in government and if the Tories had decided to adopt a different candidate here I would have given him/her due consideration for my vote. No, I just want to see the back of this self-serving fool. Actually, seeing ANY part of this fool is unlikely. He's like the absentee landlord, happy to accept the rent-money but never there when you need him to fix the property. It's not what's expected of a public servant, and certainly not what I expect of my representative in Parliament.

We're going to be screwed. Again.


I think he gets through the candidate adoption process using homeopathic methods like this:

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